Verbal and Non-Verbal Communication – Differences and Examples

We explain what verbal and non-verbal communication is, their differences and examples. Also, what is graphic communication.

Verbal and non-verbal communication
Verbal and non-verbal communication can complement each other.

What is verbal and non-verbal communication?

The human being is an animal with unique communication skills. This is because we have a language, that is, the ability to generate signs and understand ourselves through them, which gives rise to both verbal and non-verbal communication.

  • Verbal communication (CV) is one that depends on linguistic signs, that is, when language intervenes. This can occur orally or in writing, and using whatever code (language or language) it may be, although the verbal is commonly identified with oral communication.
  • Non-verbal communication (NVC) is the one that dispenses with linguistic signs, that is, in which the word does not take part, and therefore it is produced through gestures, movements or other types of signs.

However, we must note that these two types of communication do not form separate worlds, since when we speak we usually resort to non-verbal communication to qualify, accompany, emphasize or contradict what we are saying with language, as when we use facial gestures to include in what has been said information that is not made explicit through words.

Both verbal communication and non-verbal communication are part of the information transmission capacities between human beings, something intrinsic to our species.

Difference between verbal and non-verbal communication

The differences between verbal and non-verbal communication can be summarized as follows:

Verbal communication (CV)Non-verbal communication (CNV)
Use linguistic signs, either orally or in writing.He does not use linguistic signs, but signs of another type, or gestures, etc.
It responds to a social convention, since it depends on the code used (language) so that the sender and receiver can understand each other.It tends to be universal, that is, to serve regardless of the cultural tradition or the language used by the sender and receiver.
It is precise and concrete: you say what you want to say, and you can always add more words to clarify it.It is less precise, tends to be vague, ambiguous, and allows for a much lower level of detail.
It can happen across distances, with the help of technology or writing.It is totally direct and contextual, if we take it out of its very moment of production it loses all meaning.
It depends on the conscious and voluntary emission of the word, so that if there is silence it is not communicated.It occurs constantly, whether conscious or unconscious, voluntary or involuntary, even while speaking.
It is unique and exclusive to the human being.It is shared by humans with animals.

Examples of verbal and non-verbal communication

Are examples of Verbal communication:

  • A conversation street with the neighbor.
  • A phone call.
  • A letter sent by post.
  • An instant message on a chat.
  • A new in the local newspaper.
  • A discussion at the screams between two drivers who almost collided on the corner.
  • A love declaration during a serenade.
  • A novel or any book we read.
  • A conference taught to a specialized audience.
  • A defense plea from an attorney in court.

For their part, they are examples of non-verbal communication:

  • Ask a seller abroad for three loaves, raising three fingers hand in hand.
  • Greet a friend from a distance with a gesture of the hand.
  • Smile at him to that person we like.
  • Tell a deaf-mute where to walk pointing out with the finger.
  • Cross your arms in an argument.
  • Applaud when the show is over.
  • Teach him a clenched fist to a person with whom we are about to fight.
  • Make a disgusted face when someone suggests we eat something unpleasant.
  • Whistling at a dog to come meet us.
  • When one cat growls at another so that it does not approach you.

Graphic communication

verbal and non-verbal graphic communication
Graphic communication can use illustrations, drawings, photographs, and more.

For its part, we speak of graphic communication to refer to what is carried out without linguistic signs, but through graphic or visual content. This means that it is a non-verbal, but indirect form of communication, mediated by illustrations, drawings, maps, logos, icons or even photographs and paintings, rather than by the body or gestures.

Graphic communication It is an important complement to verbal communication, especially in the advertising and artistic fields. It may or may not construct its own sign languages, as is the case with traffic signs: they are not verbal signs, but graphics, but they must be learned and are part of a closed communication system.