Communications forms and contexts: Verbal and Non-verbal Communication COMMUNICATION FORMS & CONTEXTS
Verbal & Non-Verbal Communication
In general, human beings communicate using two main forms: verbal communication and non-verbal communication.
Verbal communication, simply put, is any form of communication that uses words in order to convey meaning or transmit messages. Essentially, verbal communication is either speech or writing. There are four main skills that human beings put into practice when engaging in verbal communication: reading, writing, speaking and listening. Any verbal communication involves at least two of these skills.
Language is the one thing that all four verbal communication skills have in common; it is a specifically human form of communication that uses symbols to represent ideas and concepts. Later on in the course, we will look more closely at the concept of language, its uses and variations.
Non-Verbal Communication is the form of communication that does not involve the use of speech or writing. In effect, non-verbal communication is the use of voice, space, objects, movement, time and the five senses to convey meanings that without using words. Because the types of non-verbal communication focus on physical actions and manipulations to convey meaning, they are often referred to as communicative behaviours.
Communicative behaviours comprise the following:
Vocalics refers to the use of voice in communicating messages. This does not include actual words, but modulations in tone of voice, rate of speech, pitch and non-verbal utterances. Because vocalics is often used in conjunction with speech communication (i.e. – verbal), it is often referred to as paralanguage.
Proxemics is the use of space to communicate. Standing close to someone may indicate that you like her; likewise, changing seat during an exam may indicate that you suspect your neighbour of cheating or some sort of discomfort.
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