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Verbal vs. Nonverbal Communication

Communication is an instrumental tool which facilitates effective interaction among individuals. Although it is vital in improving interpersonal relationships, most people take it for granted and fail to enhance their communication skills. It can be either verbal or nonverbal, and the type used to exchange information or ideas is influenced by various factors, including the parties involved as well as the environment. Verbal communication involves the conveyance of a message using oral or written words. Conversely, nonverbal communication uses body language to send a particular message. While verbal and nonverbal communications involve transferring and receiving information and are not connected to the brain, they are significantly different in such features as structure, miscommunication, continuousness, and distance and time.

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Verbal communication develops differently in various cultures and is structured while nonverbal communication is not. Verbal communication is regulated by grammar rules to ensure that the conveyed message is clear (Wahyuni 80). This aspect of specific pattern of communication is vital since it guarantees a similar understanding of a particular message among the individuals using the same language. Conversely, nonverbal communication lacks a definite array of conveying a message. It has no guiding rules, and one can interpret the sent information according to their wish. Nevertheless, nonverbal communication has an instrumental role in supporting verbal communication to enhance meaning of sent information.

The chances of miscommunication in verbal communications are significantly lower than in nonverbal communication. Notably, every word used in verbal communication has a specific meaning, minimizing the possibility of being misinterpreted. The intended message significance is preserved even when words are translated into other languages. Conversely, there are numerous facial expressions which people can make using muscles in their faces. The lexes depend on how someone responds to a particular stimulus. Additionally, there are types of nonverbal communications whose meaning varies from one culture to another (Wahyuni 82). For instance, avoiding direct eye contact when speaking to an older person is a sign of respect in some cultures, but it can be interpreted as a person being shy. Therefore, the likelihoods of misinterpreting nonverbal communication are high, mainly when cultural background differs.

The chances of miscommunication depending on situations and places are also lower in verbal communication than in nonverbal communication. Whereas one receives immediate feedback when using verbal communication, it is impossible in nonverbal communication because it takes some time to show the emotions (Wahyuni 82). Indeed, an individual has to process the meaning of a message conveyed verbally before responding nonverbally. The tone of verbal communication minimizes the possibility of miscommunication in different situations, even when someone is playacting. However, miscommunication can be inevitable in various places, such as Asia and the United States because of varying cultures. Nevertheless, misunderstanding of nonverbal communication does not occur in all situations. Thus, verbal communication is easily influenced by social as well as cultural factors.

Distance is insignificant in verbal communication, and it takes a short period of time to convey a message, contrary to nonverbal communication. People use different means of sending information such as phone calls, letters, and chats to transmit messages. The distance does not matter even though one has to choose the medium wisely to guarantee effective communication. However, long-distance inhibits nonverbal communication, requiring individuals’ face-to-face interaction to show and receive a particular message. Additionally, it is time consuming compared to verbal communication. One can take time to receive and interpret nonverbal messages before giving appropriate feedback. Therefore, verbal communication is faster, efficient, and convenient regardless of location of involved parties.

Contrary to nonverbal communication, verbal communication has limited continuousness because it is easier for someone to interrupt. It has a starting point when one initiates communication and stops when it is terminated or interrupted. Different factors such as sound and visible movements can interrupt verbal communication. On the other hand, nonverbal communication continues without inference once it is initiated. Nonverbal cues are evident even when individuals have stopped talking. For instance, people smile or laugh after they comment on something good. Therefore, nonverbal communication can endure external elements that interfere with transmission of information.

Despite the differences between nonverbal and verbal communication, their role and usage consistency are similar. Both forms of communication involve sending and receiving messages, regardless of the medium used to transmit information. In most cases, individuals use verbal and nonverbal communication in parallel to guarantee the useful meaning of the anticipated outcomes (Bhat and Kingsley 39). Nonverbal communication has various functions such as reinforcement, regulation, accentuation, and substitution. Moreover, both verbal and nonverbal communication are not inherent because they are learned. People learn how to pronounce words, write well-structured sentences, and use their faces and other parts of the body to convey a meaningful message. Further, they have no direct connection to the brain of individuals. Undeniably, the brain only receives, processes and interprets messages, and generates appropriate feedback. Thus, verbal and nonverbal communications complement each other to enhance the meaning of conveyed messages.

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In conclusion, verbal and nonverbal communication differ in structure, miscommunication, continuousness, and distance and time. Verbal communication is regulated by grammar rules, has minimum miscommunication possibilities, is not inhibited by distance, takes a short time, and is quickly interrupted, contrary to nonverbal communication. However, common features associated with verbal and nonverbal communication are that they are not inherent or directly connected to individual’s brain and involve transferring and receiving of information. Additionally, they are used in parallel in most cases, with nonverbal playing the role of reinforcement or accentuation of particular message.

Works Cited

Bhat, B. Vishnu, and Manoj Kumar Kingsley. “Effective Non-Verbal Communication.” Effective Medical Communication, edited by Subhash Chandra Parija and Balachandra V. Adkoli, Springer, 2020, pp. 39–47.

Wahyuni, Akhtim. “The Power of Verbal and Nonverbal Communication in Learning”. Proceedings of the 1St International Conference on Intellectuals’ Global Responsibility (ICIGR 2017), vol. 125, 2018, pp. 80-83. Web.

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