Types of Communication: Verbal And Non-Verbal Communication

Types of Communication

Communication can take place without the use of words and letters. The communication that takes place using words and letters is called verbal communication and the communication taking place without the use of words is called nonverbal communication.

Communication are two types:

  • Verbal Communication
  • Non-Verbal Communication

Table of Content

Verbal Communication

Communication by the use of words and language is called Verbal Communication. If you want to describe some abstract concept or some past events or some complex matters you need words and language.

To express your thoughts through the language you have to arrange the words into various parts of speech in proper sequences according to the rules of grammar.

The basic forms of verbal communication are

  1. Speaking 30%
  2. Listening 45%
  3. Writing 9%
  4. Reading 16%

Of these speaking and writing are used to send the message to the audience while listening and reading are used to receive the message.

Types of verbal communication are

Oral Communication

Human is the only species gifted with speech. Human acquired oral communication skills earlier. Writing came afterwards. In our day-to-day life, we communicate orally more than in writing. Oral communication skill helps us to build and develop human relationships. Even in business houses, oral communication is used more for sending messages than written communication.

Executives spend 30% of their time in speaking. Giving instructions, conducting interviews and business talks, attending a meeting, making speeches are important activities involving oral communication in business.

Advantages of Oral Communication

It is time-saving

Dictating the message, getting it typed and mailing it to the receiver takes more time. Instead, oral communication is immediate. Hence many business executives prefer to save paperwork by communicating orally.

It saves money

Oral communication proves economical compared to written communication in many situations. A lot of stationery and executive time is wasted when they increase the correspondence and insist on every instruction in writing.

It is a more effective tool of persuasion and control

It lends a personal touch to communication and helps in resolving conflicts, and developing personal and friendly relations. Oral persuasion solves many of our problems.

It provides immediate feedback

The audience acknowledges the receipt of the message and provides a positive or a negative reaction to our message and seeks the clarification. In written communication such feedback is delayed hence transactions are prolonged.

It increases the efficiency of communication

Using body language and voice modulations the speaker can convey different shades of meaning to the audience through an oral presentation and convey the message more effectively.

It is flexible

In oral communication, there is a scope for the speaker to modify his message accordingly to the feedback of the audience. If the audience is not giving a response, the speaker can motivate them. If the audience is found in a confused state, the speaker can give clarification and explanation. These things are not possible in written communication.

It is suitable for group communication

Oral communication is the most suitable mode of communication while communicating with a group at meetings, conferences, assemblies etc.

It promotes goodwill

Informal oral communication with friends, colleagues, customers, suppliers, staff, and top executives promotes friendly relations and helps to create image and goodwill.

Limitations of Oral Communication

Sometimes it consumes more time and money

Sometimes where communicate is at afar-off place arranging a personal meeting and discussing the matter may consume more time and money. Instead, the same matters can be settled economically through written communication.-

Oral messages cannot be retained for a long time

Hence when the messages are lengthy and complex it is better to put them in writing rather than setting orally.

It has no legal validity

Oral messages do not have any legal validity unless they are taped and recorded in proper form.

It has greater chances of misunderstanding

In oral communication,the speaker transmits the message without proper planning and organization of thoughts. Sometimes listener may be inattentive and may not receive the message properly. Hence there are chances of misunderstanding and confusion.

Not easy to fix responsibility for mistakes

Oral commitments are not reliable because the people may disown the responsibility in case of problems arising out of it. People may not remain firm with their words. Hence, it becomes difficult to fix responsibility for mistakes in communication for problems arising therefrom.

It cannot be referred in future

Generally, oral communication is not recorded in any form hence it cannot be referred in future for any purpose.

Written Communication

In written communication, the transmitter of an idea encodes it in the form of a written message and send it to the audience through a proper channel. Written communication includes letters, circulars, memos, telegrams, reports, fax, books, e-mail and so on. Everything that is transmitted in written form falls in this category of communication.

The writing skills have been evolved through a long history of man’s attempt to communicate and to keep a record of communication. For this purpose, every language has evolved its own rules of grammar. In writing these rules have to be strictly followed.

Advantages of Written Communication

It is accurate and precise

Generally, the communicator takes great care in preparing a written message,While oral communication is personal the written communication rises above the personal level, especially in business organizations where precision is the law. Hence it is more accurate and precise.

It creates a permanent record

Written communication results in a permanent record of the organization, which is useful for future reference. Past records prove beneficial in formulating new policies and solving future problems. In the absence of such past records (like accounting information, legal agreements, etc.) a great confusion and chaos will be created in the working of business organizations.

It creates legal evidence

Written records are acceptable as legal evidence in case of any disputes in the court of law. Hence business executives insist that even if some deals are settled orally, they should be confirmed in writing.

It has wide access

Written communication has wide access. It helps to communicate a large and scattered audience through mass mailing or e-mail at a reasonable cost and with great speed. Thus the new schemes or changes in prices of products can be informed to thousands of customers simultaneously through circular letters and e-mail.

It promotes the goodwill of the organization

Prompt and efficient written communication with the various parties concerned with the business promotes the goodwill of the organization.

It helps to fix responsibilities

The communication in writing is preserved hence it helps to assign responsibilities. The people may go back on words spoken but not on their words in writing, Hence in case of future complication, you can detect the person responsible based on written records.

Limitations of Written Communication

It is expensive

Written communication consumes the valuable time of business executives and it also involves the stationery, postage, typing etc. hence it proves expensive.

It is time consuming

Written communication consumes a lot of time in preparations of the message, typing it, then mailing it through proper channel. Instead, oral communication either face-to-face or through telephone gives fast results.

It is inflexible

If the audience has doubts in the written message the immediate clarification cannot be had. Even the communicator cannot mould his message according to need, of the situation as in case of oral communication. Hence it is rigid compared to oral communication.

No immediate feedback

The response of the audience to the written communication is received very late compared to oral communication. It is, therefore, time-consuming.

It creates huge paperwork and files

Emphasis on written communication creates mountains of papers and file, which require large space and custody houses. Electronic modes of written communication, however, solved this problem to some extent. Electronic preservation of records through floppies and discs has reduced the paperwork to a great extent.

Communication through Listening and Reading

Effective communication is a two-way process. For effectively imparting our ideas, we should possess speaking or writing skills. But for receiving the message properly we should also possess listening and reading skills. Business executives spend 45% of their working time in listening and 16% on reading.

The most critical aspect of listening and reading process is interpretation and evaluation of ideas received. While absorbing the message you must decide what is important and remember the main idea, which is most important.

Non Verbal Communication

Non verbal communication is the most basic form of communication. Our ancestors communicated with one another by using their bodies. They gritted their teeth to show anger, they smiled and touched one another to indicate affection, we still use nonverbal cues to express superiority, dependence, dislike, respect, love and other feelings.

Importance of Non-Verbal Communication

Though the nonverbal communication is unstructured and spontaneous it creates more impact than verbal communication. The research has shown that nonverbal communication accounts for 93% of our total communication. The importance of nonverbal communication is for 2 reasons.

  1. Reliability
  2. Efficiency

Types of Non-Verbal Communication

Body Language

Body language is a very important factor in oral communication. Facial expressions, postures, gestures, hand movements all supplement the speech of the speaker. Most of our body language is involuntary or unconscious, yet it makes a powerful impact on the listener.

Facial Expressions

Facial expression is an obvious communicative factor. The feeling or the thought in our mind influences most of us, by the action or the reaction whether it is anger or happiness, sadness or frown and all these feelings are depicted by facial expressions.


It is not easy to define posture but putting it in general words posture means how we carry ourselves. The way we stand, the way we sit, the way we lean, the way we hold our body are the deciding factors for body language.


The way we move our hands, head and our body in general in support of the words that we speak are called gestures. Gestures are closely related to the person’s behavior and personality and are different with every human being.

The way we move our hands, head and our body in general in support of the words that we speak are called gestures. Gestures are closely related to the person’s behavior and personality and are different with every human being.

The way we move our hands, head and our body in general in support of the words that we speak are called gestures. Gestures are closely related to the person’s behavior and personality and are different with every human being.

Eye Contact

The most important aspect of body language is eye contact. It is almost impossible to define eye behavior but even though it is very explicit to understand. Eye contact is important during conversations too.

Overall Appearance

Overall appearance comprises clothing, sense of environment and energy level with which the conversation is executed. A confident and sensible person takes care of all these and uses all the accessories to emphasis the body language.

Para language

The word para language is related to oral communication and the word paragraph is related to written communication. Actually, if we try to find out the etymology of these two words para language would find itself farther in the past than the word paragraph, logically keeping in mind that the oral communication developed far earlier than written communication we will not be able to differentiate the topic and idea changes in the entire passage and we will have difficulty in comprehending it at a stretch.

In the same fashion if oral verbal delivery is without breaks, pauses, influences, and gestures we will find the entire delivery difficult to comprehend and there may be a communication gap because of the lack of para-language.


Voice is the first signal that we use or receive. It tells us so much about the speaker’s gender, background, education, training and temperament. If you are more observant, you will find different types of voices like, clear, musical, cultivated, pleasant, and unpleasant and so on.

Pitch Variation

Most of us introduce wide variations in pitch while speaking. These variations are necessary to catch the listener’s attention and to keep the listener interested in us.

Speaking Speed

Many people wrongly believe that speaking at high speed proves fluency. But observations prove that communicating at high speed is less effective. Generally, we have different speed in our delivery on different occasions and as far as our teaching profession is concerned, we must speedup at easier topics and must slow down at difficult messages.


We cannot and should not keep on speaking without pausing. Pauses allow the audience to comprehend the idea or the message you have delivered before it and make them ready to accept a concurrent idea, which follows the pause. But pauses must be at the right place and of limited duration. Incorrect use of pauses may create problems and may result in the loss of attention and polarization.

Volume Variation

Our speech should be loud enough to be audible to the audience, not too loud to put them away. Monitoring our speech volume in context to the different messages during our speech enlivens our idea and the idea is put through the audience’s psyche.


This is one of the most important parts of para language concept. Consciously or per-conscious in nature we all adhere to this, in some fashion or the other, during our speech delivery. Utterances like ‘oh’, ‘um’, ‘you know’, ‘ok’, ‘look at it’, ‘think’, etc. are known as non-influence .

They give the speaker breathing time and the audience time to think over what has been said and after comprehending that they become ready for the next to follow.Are you satisfied with this orientation?

Word Stress

I would like to start this topic by giving an example.

Are you satisfied with this orientation?

Are you satisfied with this orientation?

Are you satisfied with this orientation?

Proper word stress stands crucial importance and enables the speaker to change the meaning of the sentence every time they use it.

Time and Space Language

Our use of times is a very subtle non-verbal communication. The time given to listen and speak to people creates a sense of self-esteem in them. Time is such an important factor that if a communicator misses the appropriate time for conversation it becomes very difficult to get another opportunity for the same conversation which makes the conversation and communication effective.

If the communicator is communicating with 1 person and if and if the same communicator at some other time is communicating with 15 people his/her sense of space he at some other time is communicating with 15 people his sense of space management in communicating must be subtle enough to understand the volume variation, body language, etc.

Sign Language

From time immemorial man has been using sign language for communication. Sign language has two forms

Visual Signs Colour

Colour is an important effective sign of communication. Colours are silent communicators of different ideas. We use colours to enliven a dull environment. Traffic signals are based on colour. Colours also symbolize moods; they are also used for identification.


Pictorial presentation is the most suitable mode for mass communication. Paintings and engravings found on the walls of ancient races and temples convey us a lot of information about the tribes, races, rules of the past. Hence pictures are an effective form of non-verbal communication.


Graphs and charts are the efficient means of conveying statistical information to a layman. Even a common man can judge the overall situation and understand the relationship between charts. However, such charts and graphs should be prepared skillfully and properly labelled.


A poster is a combination of pictures and words. The use of words is minimum. They help in public education. They effectively persuade matters like AIDS awareness and many other such concepts.

Signs and Signals

A sign is a mark used to represent mathematical calculations. Several other signs are used worldwide, eg: the danger sign by the skull and bones.

Audio Signs

Audio Signs They are symbols perceived by ears. Mankind has used sound signals since the beginning of civilization. Ancient people to convey the information using different drum bits. Even today we use different alarm signals such as fire alarm, casualty alarm.

Advantages and Limitations of Non-verbal Communication

Non-verbal methods have an almost instant effect because of quicker grasp by the receiver. It takes less time to see a colour or picture and to hear a horn or bell than to read and understand words and sentences. This quality of speed is convenient and response makes nonverbal methods extremely useful in many situations.

For illiterate people, the best possible mode of communication is nonverbal communication. As nonverbal communication has advantages, it has limitations also. Complex communications cannot be described in nonverbal communication. It cannot be used as constitutional proofs.

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