VERBAL AND NON-VERBAL COMMUNICATION
**The word “communication” is derived from the Latin word communis which means common. In its application, it means a common ground of understanding.
Communication means sharing ideas, thoughts, and feelings with one another. Communication is a basis for understanding one another. A lot of problems can be solved through communication. For example, India and Pakistan. War is not the only solution for all the problems between these two countries. A much better alternative is communication. Communication must be carried out in a clear cut manner. Bad communication skills may lead to serious issues like; some publicly made political statements have created conflicts between political parties.
Communication is a god given gift. Man is a communicating animal. Man can communicate through words when compared to any other animal. He can share ideas, thoughts and feelings with one another. He alone has the power to express in words. Sight, sound, touch, smell and taste are the modes of exchange of message. Communication is the story of man and his efforts to communication effectively.
The whole process of communication involves the following elements:
Message – A piece of information which the sender wants to send to the receiver.
Sender – The first person who wants to send the message to another person. At times, the sender is required to have the subject knowledge of the message he wants to send.
Encoding – The process of conversion of the subject matter into symbols is called encoding. In encoding process, the sender must use certain symbols, signs, words, actions, pictures, audio-visuals etc. for translating ideas, facts, and feelings.
Channel – The sender must be select proper channel for sending information. Sender can select any channel through written or oral media.
Receiver – Is a listener who listens to the message and thinks of a proper response to be given when the message ends.
Decoding – During decoding, the encoded message sent by the sender is translated into ordinary understandable language. The receiver can convert the message sent by the sender into symbols, signs, words, actions, pictures, audio-visuals etc. to get the meaning of the message.
Message – This contains what sender wants the receiver to know. It includes the verbal message and non-verbal messages inferred from the sender and the environment.
Feedback – In every communication, the sender wants to get feedback from receiver. If the sender does not get any feedback from receiver we can consider that message is not effective. That’s why the sender wants feedback from receiver. In every communication, message is effective if the sender gets feedback from receiver. This feedback is also useful for sender to improve his communication.
Communication through words is called verbal communication. It is face to face communication. Face-to-face communication is a basic situation in which verbal communication is involved. Verbal communication is classified into two types:
A. Oral communication
B. Written communication
*“Language and verbal skills are gifted by birth from the institution of family.”
Different families speak different languages. This, results in the members of a particular family are taught their native language from their birth itself.
A) Oral communication:
Oral communication can be carried out using mouth. This communication is i.e., speaking through words. It is face-to-face communication. Oral communication requires the speaker to possess speaking skills. The fearless and truthful speeches have always won the hearts of the people. For example, politicians have always tried to win elections through their attracting speeches. Several melodies sung by many singers remain in our hearts long after they are gone. Inspirational speeches and thoughts remain till the ends of time.
In oral communication, the speaker must have good speaking skill, subject knowledge, clarity in his voice and audibility.
1) Feedback :
In oral communication, the speaker gets quick response by the listener, the reason being the speaker and the listener will be face-to-face. It is very useful for the speaker as the response from the sender allows him to correct and improve himself the next time, in case of any errors.
2) Speedy :
Oral communication is very speedy as it is face to face. Here response can be received on the spot. Oral communication is not time consuming but is rather time saving.
3) Group communication:
Group communication makes use of oral communication as written communication will not be very effective. This is because groups may be large or small. Here the speaker is face to face with the listeners. This type of communication is mostly used in election propagandas, conferences, meetings, seminars etc.
1) No record:
In oral communication, the sender and the receiver talk face to face. There is no written record for this and hence this cannot be considered as a valid proof in the court of law unless it is taped.
2) Lengthy message:
Lengthy messages in oral communication may make the listeners to lose concentration and interest to listen. Lengthy messages may bore the listener and he takes a nap when the message is being delivered. This ruins the whole intention of communication. The listener may also forget what was told in the beginning. This kind of lengthy messages may result in poor response from the receiver.
3) Cost :
Oral communication is face to face. When communicating with a large group, a lot of mechanical devices may need to be used for aspects such as audibility. This results in incur of loss.
B) Written communication:
Written communication is achieved through writing. In written communication, message to be sent is attached in a paper. In written communication, errors can be corrected when compared to oral communication. For written communication writing skills are required. The message to be sent must be brief. Lengthy messages are not advised. Written communication includes letters, circulars, memos,
Telegrams, reports, questionnaires, manuals etc. Written communication includes everything that has to be written and transmitted in the written form.
1) Permanent record :
Written communication makes use of written materials which can be kept safe for a long time. This can act as a proof in many areas like the court of law.
The message to be sent can be prepared well in advance. This provides a means to correct errors and clearly and briefly plan what is to be proposed.
3) Wide access:
Through SMSs, e-mails, the same message can be sent to many people at the same time.
1) Time consuming:
One of the major disadvantages of written communication is that it is time consuming. A lot of time is spent in preparing for the communication, writing and transmitting the message.
2) Costly :
Written communication makes use of stationery items. This leads to loss in terms of money. The sender may take a lot of time in shaping the message and editing. This results in loss of precious man-hours.
Communication that involves neither written nor spoken words, but often occurs with another aspect of communication is called non-verbal communication. In non-verbal communication visual and audio signs such as pictures, drawings, sounds and signs are used to convey the message. For example, old movies of Charlie Chaplin used only images, parking signs, banners, siren from a racing fire engine, beacon from a lighthouse by themselves convey messages to the intended.
In non-verbal communication there are five types.
1) Sign language
Sign language consists of visual signs, audio signs and audio-video signs.
• Visual signs: Signs related to our sense of seeing come under visual signs. For example, by looking at the danger sign in a high volt electric pole we come to the conclusion that the pole should not be touched. Likewise the signs such as no horn please, zebra crossing etc. make clear their intentions.
• Audio signs: This is related to our sense of hearing. They are used when visual signs are not useful or cannot be seen, and also when there is an urgency. For example, hooters fitted on top of ambulance vans are audio signs. Siren in factories, alarm clocks, doorbells etc.
• Audio-Visual signs: This is related to both our sense of seeing and hearing. For example, the light indicator and sound from a vehicle indicates that the vehicle is about to take a turn.
2) Body language
Body language is suitable to express feelings, emotions like grief, joy, anger, fear, nervousness, tension, anxiety, concern, astonishment, frustration etc. Body language includes facial expressions, gestures, body movements, postures, eye contact and touch. For example, a bharatanatyam dancer makes use of navarasas, facial expressions, mudras to express him/herself. In the movies of Charlie Chaplin, there is no sound and only the facial expressions, postures and actions describe the story of the whole film. In a classroom, the students come to know the mood of the lecturer by looking at his facial expression.
3) Para language
Para means ‘like’. Hence, para language is ‘like-language’. It is non-verbal since it does not consist of words. But it is close to verbal communication because it shows how words are spoken or utterance made. In a para language, the speaker’s voice is very important. While communicating, the speaker’s pitch variations, speaking speed, pause, volume variation, speech breakers are noticed. Example, during seminars, a student’s voice reveals his confidence, stress, fluency etc. Other examples could be a radio jockey , television show anchor etc.
Proxemics is the study of space between two interacting persons. This space defines the level of intimacy between them. Personal things cannot be communicated publicly. Likewise, intimate, public, social and public things should be communicated in its respective manner. Example, if a person has some personal family problem, it is wise and necessary to solve it with his family members. This matter should not be made public.
5) Layout, designs and color
Layout and designs convey messages loud and clear. It highlights only the important points and does not contain unnecessary details. Example, if there is new offer in a shop, it is depicted or shown in design and layout. Different colors highlight different meaning. Like in a traffic signal, red means stop, yellow means get ready and green means move. In a football match, if a player is shown a yellow card by the referee, it means a warning and a red card means the player has to leave the field.
Communication is very necessary. The proper use of all the types of communication leads to effective communication. Communication to be carried out in a proper manner requires the sender and the receiver to mutually understand symbols, signs etc. when communicating verbally or non-verbally. A sender should have good communicating skills. If the sender does not communicate properly, the result could be disastrous. After sending a message, the sender should receive a response from the receiver as it helps sender to communicate in a better manner in future.
1)William Barton and Andrew Beck, Get Set for Communication Studies,2005, Edinburgh University Press Ltd., page no. 58 – 64
2) **Dr. Meeta Nihalani, Dr. AShwini Agarwal, Managerial Communication, 2009, Shiva Kumar Sharma Ritu Publications, page no. 133 – 162
3) *R.C. Bhatia, Business Communication, Ane’s Student Edition, page no. 27 – 40