Difference Between Verbal and Nonverbal Communication

Main Difference – Verbal vs Nonverbal Communication

Communication is the act of transferring information between two or more people. It can take place by speech, sign, signal or behavior. There are various categories of communication. Verbal communication and nonverbal communication are the main categories out of them. Verbal communication is the communication that uses speech (sound and words) to express oneself. Nonverbal communication is the communication that uses facial expressions, gestures, behaviors, etc. to express oneself. These two types of categories can sometimes occur at the same time. The main difference between verbal and nonverbal communication is that verbal communication uses words and sounds whereas nonverbal communication uses gestures, behaviors and expressions.

What is Verbal Communication

Verbal communication is the exchange of information that happens through words. The term verbal refers to words. Therefore, verbal communication can be divided into oral communication and written communication.

Oral communication can include face-to-face communication, lectures, phone calls, interviews, etc. For example, two people who are talking to each other are engaged in oral communication. Here, the speaker sends words, and the listener transmits the message; since there are two people in this scenario, the roles of the speaker and listener get exchanged throughout the conversation. Written communication can include instances like letters, postcards, memos, reports, notes, emails, etc.

Verbal communication is the most effective form of communication and leads to prompt interchange of ideas and information. As the communicator is using words, there is less chance of misunderstanding. Verbal communication can be also categorized as formal and informal. Formal communication is the exchange of information that takes place through a pre-defined channel whereas informal communication is the exchange of information that takes place outside a predefined channel.Main Difference - Verbal vs Nonverbal Communication

What is Nonverbal Communication

Nonverbal communication is the exchange of information through wordless cues. Nonverbal communication uses gestures, postures, facial expressions, eye contact, physical proximity, touching, etc. There are specific terms that should be understood when studying nonverbal communication. Given below are some of these terms and their meanings.

Kinesics – refers to the body language of a person. This includes gestures, postures, and facial expressions.

Oculesics – refers to eye movements. This includes eye contact, the frequency of glances, blink rate, etc.

Haptics – refers to the sense of touch.

Vocalics – refers to the tone, pitch, volume of voice. This is also known as paralanguage.

Proxemics – refers to the distance maintained by a person while communicating with others.

Artifacts – refers to the personality of a person as seen by the appearance. This includes the style of dressing, jewelry, clothing, etc.Difference Between Verbal and Nonverbal Communication

Difference Between Verbal and Nonverbal Communication


Verbal Communication is the exchange of information by words.

Nonverbal Communication is the exchange of information by wordless cues.

Chances of Misunderstanding

Verbal Communication has less chance of confusion and misunderstanding the message.

Nonverbal Communication has more chance of confusion and misunderstanding the message.


Verbal Communication leads to a prompt interchange of information.

Nonverbal Communication can take more time.


Verbal Communication doesn’t essentially require the presence of both the parties at the same place.

Nonverbal Communication requires the presence of both the parties at the same place.Difference Between Verbal and Nonverbal Communication - infographic

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