Verbal and non-verbal communication

Communication may vary depending on how the information is transmitted and how it is received by the receiver.

According to this, communication can be classified into two large groups: verbal and non-verbal .

The verbal communication is one where the message is verbalized, because the words are used either orally or in writing. While non-verbal communication is one that occurs without the use of words, gestures, looks, body movements are used, among other expressions.

Many times, these two types of communication are used simultaneously when transmitting a message, forming a mixed communication. This can be seen in movies, comics, and commercials, to name just a few examples.

Verbal communicationNon-verbal communication
DefinitionIt is when words are used in the process of transmitting information between sender and receiver.It is when words are not used to transmit information from sender to receiver.
TypesOral and written.Anyone that does not involve the use of words.
senses usedHearing and sight.Hearing, sight, touch, smell and taste.
ExamplesConversations, interviews, books, letters, emails, among others.Gestures, looks, posture, emoticons, facial and body expressions, among others.

What is verbal communication?

It is the process by which two or more people interact by sharing information through the word .

Verbal communication is often complemented by non-verbal communication to reinforce the message and give a clearer idea of ​​what is being said. Although sometimes these two types of communication can contradict each other during the transmission of the message.

Verbal communication involves the use of words to construct sentences that convey thoughts. These words can be delivered orally or through writing.

Oral communication

It is one where spoken words are used or sounds are emitted verbally. Intonation and vocalization play a fundamental role in this type of communication so that the message arrives effectively and can be interpreted by the receiver.

Very important elements such as paralinguistics are used in this type of communication, which, despite not being verbal, helps to indicate emotions and feelings while speaking. Thus, tones and sounds are emitted that indicate fear, surprise, interest or disinterest, mischief, among others.

Throughout history, oral communication has developed with the origin of languages ​​and the linguistic characteristics of each population.

Examples of oral communication would be a conversation between colleagues, a cry of surprise, or a telephone conversation.

Written communication

It is one that is done through written codes . Unlike oral communication, written communication can last over time. This means that the interaction with the receptor does not occur immediately.

Written communication has developed over time with the creation of new media, and will be constantly evolving as science and technology continue to create new channels of communication.

Examples of written communication would be hieroglyphs, letters, emails, or chats.

See also:

What is nonverbal communication?

It is when messages are transmitted using non-linguistic signs . This is the oldest type of communication, as it was the way people communicated when language did not exist.

Non-verbal messages can be transmitted unconsciously , while they can be perceived unintentionally.

Non-verbal communication can become ambiguous, because it is not always possible to control what is transmitted with the image or the corporal expressions. In the same way, many times these messages are not interpreted in the correct way by the receiver.

For this reason, non-verbal communication generally seeks to reinforce the message that is transmitted verbally. Thus, the receiver can better decode the message.

Non-verbal messages can also be transmitted through written communication when using colors or emoticons, for example.

Examples of non-verbal communication would be gestures, signs, facial and body expressions, posture, looks, physical appearance, or colors.

Types of verbal and non-verbal communication

Verbal and non-verbal communication can be transmitted in different ways and for different purposes. Taking these criteria into account, they can be classified according to the relationship between the sender and the receiver or the communication medium that is being used.

Depending on the relationship between sender and receiver


It is carried out when the receiver is not also acting as a sender. For example: on road signs or in advertisements.


It occurs when the sender can also become a receiver. This happens in any conversation between two people.

Depending on the communication medium


This includes the messages that are transmitted through traditional audiovisual media such as film, radio and television.


This type of written communication includes newspapers, magazines, brochures, posters, brochures, among others.


Digital communication is possible thanks to technology, this includes emails, social networks such as Facebook or Instagram, and other platforms that allow the massive distribution of information such as YouTube, Podcast or Blogspot.

Currently, traditional media, both audiovisual and written, also have a digital presence.

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