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Communication is a fundamental key in our daily life as it strengthens our existing relationships and help us to form positive bonds in future interactions. Communication can be defined as the process whereby there is transmission or exchange of information from one entity to another. The two main types of communication that we commonly used are verbal communication and non verbal communication.
Verbal communication is the spoken, oral and unwritten way of communication. It makes use of words, vocabulary, numbers and symbols and is organized in sentences. One of the characteristic of verbal communication is that it provides information and direction. When we communicate verbally, we are providing direction, clarity or delivering information. Verbal communication can affirm, correct and precise the message that is being transmitted to the other party.
The advantage of verbal communication is that it is the fastest way of interaction and it is also used as a medium that provides the opportunity for immediate feedback. Feedback is essential as it allows individuals to give their personal opinion on the matter which has been discussed and also to make sure that the message transmitted was well understood. Moreover, by using verbal communication there is less paperwork and we can instant decisions if there is an emergency.
In addition to this verbal communication can be used to clarify where there is a misunderstanding or not enough information provided. This is typically seen in group communication and in large organizations where information can easily get lost in the channels or can be misunderstood when it is communicated. During verbal communication we can have long conversations as it is less expensive to interact with people. Furthermore, verbal communication has the power of influence. This can be best demonstrated by a Prime Minister of a country, where he makes a speech and the entire country id watching, listening and responding to his verbal communication. Other examples can be between a boss and his employee or between a mother and her daughter, where the words used have a deep effect on the concerned persons.
There are several limitations of verbal communication and the main one is miscommunication. In other words, what the listener hears is often what is meant. The simplest words, for example, have a different connotation for people. Another common disadvantage of verbal communication is the cultural differences between the sender and the receiver. This difference can arise from the individuals speaking different languages, inability to understand the other person's colloquial phrases or a difference in understanding basic terms. For example, a Mauritian and a Chinese will not be able to communicate because of different culture and language. Sometimes we can misunderstand a person by his or her tone of voice. For example, in my house itself, my mother-in-law says good things to everyone but her tone of voice is not good. She talks rather loudly which cause the others to misinterpret what she is saying. This is quite a disadvantage as this can create discord in relationships.
Moreover, there is the disadvantage of longevity. Receivers may quickly forget the message and they may have difficulty trying to recall the message. Also in verbal communication there is no credibility in case one of the party goes back on his or her words as there is no document to confirm the same.
Non verbal communication is the process of communication through sending and receiving wordless messages. Such messages can be communicated trough gesture, body language or posture, facial expression and eye contact, object communication such as clothing, hairstyles or even architecture. Non verbal communication is quite important in our life as it is used to clarify and make verbal communication more understandable. It has been found that when people communicate with each other, 55% of the message is transmitted as body language, 38% by the manner of speaking which includes accent, voice quality, emphasis, voice projection, pace, expression, pitch and volume, and the remaining 7% is conveyed through the spoken words.
Non verbal communication has some advantages that emphasize on its importance in our life. It makes conversation short and brief. Thus it saves time and can be used as a tool to communicate with people who do not understand certain languages or who are from different cultures and background. There are instances in which body language is found to be more effective as compared to verbal communication, such as in cases of directions, shapes, inclination towards someone and personalities. Furthermore, it increases authenticity as body language cannot be easily controlled when compared to spoken words, they can be considered to be more genuine. Body language is in fact very powerful in expressing a person's inner feelings.
Other benefits can of non verbal communication are that we can communicate with someone who is hard of hearing and also with someone who is far away. For example, when we travel we sometimes notice someone we know at the bus stop and by using non verbal communication we succeed in communicating with the other person about what we want to say. In addition to this, non verbal communication can be used at a place where we are supposed to maintain silence, for example in libraries where we should remain silent so as not to disturb the others. Thus non verbal cues are used to communicate to other individuals. Some examples of positively interpreted body language gesture can be nodding head which means "I see" or "I understand", stroking chin which signifies serious evaluation or deep consideration or thought and leaning forward or facing the speaker directly shows the intensity and interest of the listener.
However, there are several drawbacks of non verbal communication. It can be prone to misunderstanding and therefore cannot be used as a public tool for communication. For example, while talking in front of an audience, some people have the tendency to clench their fists or rub their chin or nose. The audience, instead of focusing on the individual's presentation will rather concentrate on the non verbal actions he is transmitting. This shows the nervousness of the speaker and it is quite a disadvantage as his presentation will not have the necessary impact on the audience. Also, in verbal communication we cannot have long conversations which mean that we cannot discuss the particulars of our message and thus we cannot transmit factual information.
Moreover, non verbal communication has less precision. For example, sometimes closing our fist may either mean that we are angry or maybe we are nervous unless we precise this action by using the right words. Non verbal communication is less influential and cannot be used everywhere as it will not make great impression upon people. In communication it is necessary to have the right feedback for important decision making but non verbal communication makes this process slow and tedious which will be a big disadvantage in urgent situations. Some examples of typical negatively interpreted body language gesture can be wagging finger back and forth which means that someone is wrong or hands or fingers in front of mouth which shows reluctance to talk or embarrassment.
As a conclusion we can say that both verbal and non verbal communication is important in our life. In fact, they are both intended to complement one another so as not to create confusion, mistrust and disappointment. For example, sometimes we meet a close friend after a very long time and we promise to call that person so as to keep in touch. But, in most cases we do not ever make time to do so. This situation can create confusion and mistrust. So, what is said should be complemented by what should be done. Also, verbal and non verbal communication affirms the message we are transmitting. For example, a politician during the election campaign makes lots of speeches but his words will have more impact when combine with the right gestures and body language. Verbal and non verbal communication is part of the backbone of society. They are necessary to people getting along with each other and building the cultures we call our own.