Discuss the different types of communication. What is the role of nonverbal communication in the larger communication


Discuss the different types of communication. What is the role of nonverbal communication in the larger communication process?


Verbal and nonverbal communication are the two major types of communication found in organizational communication processes. Verbal communication includes oral, written, and electronic forms of communication. Nonverbal communication includes eye movements, gestures, facial expressions, tone  of voice, and the like. Both verbal and nonverbal communication can appear together in a communication process and interact to create meaning for a receiver. Nonverbal communication adds much of the feeling and emotion that a sender wants  to give to a message. Nonverbal communication often has more effect than verbal communication on the meaning receivers give a message.

Verbal Communication

Oral and written messages are the two major forms of verbal communication. The following paragraphs discuss many characteristics of the different forms of verbal communication you will likely find in today’s organizations. Oral communication includes all forms of speech between a sender and receiver.12 Oral communication can occur during face-to-face interaction or by telephone, radio, or television. Although oral communication usually has the immediate attention of the receiver, sometimes the message can be recorded and played later; cassette recordings, telephone answering devices, and computerrecorded voice-mail are examples.

Unless the interaction is transcribed or recorded, oral communication leaves no retrievable record of the message and response. When the sender wants to affect the receiver’s opinion on some matter, oral communication is more effective than written. Nonverbal communication by both the sender and the receiver, however, can affect the final interpretation of the message. American Sign Language (ASL), the language that deaf and hearing-impaired people use, is a form of verbal communication.13 Although it is a visual language, communication theorists classify it as mainly verbal.14 Deaf and hearing-impaired people use ASL’s patterns of hand and finger movements to communicate. ASL includes patterns of facial expression and body movements to express emotions and distinguish sentence types. The United States and Canada use ASL. French Canadians use a different form of signing. Country and regional differences in signing systems vary greatly.

Written communication is any form of handwriting, printed memo, report, or message sent over an electronic medium such as a computer network. The receiver’s response is more delayed in written communication than in oral communication, because the receiver must first read the message before interpreting and responding to it.

Written communications compete with each other for the time and attention of the receiver. They also compete with oral communication, a form with the advantage of at least the sender’s vocal presence. Written communication can interact with nonverbal communication. The way a sender gives a memo or report to a receiver, for example, can affect the receiver’s perception of the message when he reads it.

Written communication has some advantages over oral communication. First, it is a retrievable and almost permanent recording of a message. Second, comprehension often is greater with written than with oral communication, because the receiver can reread a written communication to be sure he understands the sender’s intended meaning. Therefore, managers commonly use memoranda to document agreements.

As modern technology develops, electronic and video communications are becoming increasingly important. Such communication includes the use of e-mail, computer networks, fax machines, computer conferencing, and videoconferencing. Those methods offer the advantages of speed, accuracy, easy dispersal to many locations, direct interaction, and quick feedback. Videoconferencing also allows people in different places to see each other while they talk. A later section discusses emerging technologies and their effects on communication in detail.

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