Two of the primary vehicles for communication are verbal and non-verbal.
Oral communication describes the verbal exchange of information, emotions, thoughts, and perceptions. It includes speeches, presentations, conversations, and discussions. Body language and tone of voice play a significant role in how oral communication is perceived. Since verbal communication almost always involves the simultaneous transmission and receipt of a message, feedback from the audience is immediate.
Social psychologist Michael Argyle said that while spoken language is usually used to communicate information about external events that impact the speakers, non-verbal codes establish and maintain interpersonal relationships. Argyle concluded there are five primary functions of non-verbal bodily behavior in human communication:
- Express emotions
- Express interpersonal attitudes
- Work with speech to manage the cues of interaction between speakers and listeners.
- Present one’s personality
- Conduct rituals (greetings)
Humans communicate interpersonal closeness through a series of non-verbal actions known as immediacy behaviors. Examples of immediacy behaviors are smiling, touching, open body positions, and eye contact. Cultures that display these immediacy behaviors are considered high-contact cultures.
MCAT Official Prep (AAMC)
Sample Test P/S Section Question 27
• Types of communication include verbal and nonverbal.
• Verbal communication provides immediate feedback, and so it is best for conveying emotions and maintaining interpersonal relationships; it can involve storytelling and crucial conversations.
• Non-verbal communication is the process of sending and receiving wordless (mostly visual) cues.
nonverbal: a form other than written or spoken words, like gestures, facial expressions, or body language
verbal communication: the use of sounds and words to express yourself
Michael Argyle: developed theories on social communication