The 5 differences between verbal and non-verbal communication

Communication is a process by which two or more people exchange information, and there are many ways to exercise it. Among this range of possibilities are verbal and non-verbal communication.

In this article we will see the main differences between verbal and non-verbal communicationWe will examine its characteristics and give some examples concerning the two modalities.

    What is verbal communication?

    Verbal communication is all that happens through linguistic dialogue between people; that is, it requires the exchange of words through oral and auditory means, which in itself is one of the main differences between verbal and non-verbal communication.

    It does not matter whether the conversation takes place in person or remotely, via a communication device. The indispensable characteristic of this modality of communication is that it is carried out by means of linguistic rules, therefore there must be speakers and interlocutors exchange words.

    In this type of communication there are certain rules that must be followed in order for the process to run in the best way, these rules are known as the good listener and good speaker rules. Let’s give them an opinion.

    1. Rules of the good speaker (announcer)

    This is an outline of the communication principles that the friend should follow.

    • Think carefully about what will be said.
    • Look closely at the person you are talking to.
    • Pronounce the words correctly.
    • Maintain an appropriate tone of voice.
    • Give others the opportunity to speak.
    • Be nice and polite when speaking.

    2. Rules of the good auditor (interlocutor)

    As for the rules of the receiver or the interlocutor, they are as follows.

    • Listen to the person speaking.
    • Look closely at the person you are talking to.
    • Avoid interrupting the speaker.
    • Speak after the other person has finished their idea.

    What is non-verbal communication?

    Non-verbal communication focuses on everything related to the movements we make with our muscles when expressing the thoughts and emotions of the moment.

    This type of communication can take place intentionally or unintentionally. For example, when talking to a person, we might make a gesture of surprise with the features of our face, due to the surprise that is causing us the content of the conversation.

    On the other hand, it is also possible perform movements and modulate the voice to voluntarily express ideas and emotions.

    Some of the communication rules of verbal communication also apply in this case, with the exception of gaze, which in this case must be attentive to the gestures of the sender.

    Specific differences between verbal and non-verbal communication

    In the following lines, we will see a summary of the differences between verbal and non-verbal communication.

    1. The predominance

    Under normal conditions, verbal communication is the first to be used. Since in the early stages of life we ​​communicate through sounds, it is usually a mixture of crying and sudden gestures, but the predominance is still in the sounds we make.

    2. The channels used

    As mentioned above, verbal communication requires that information be directed by words, which will be interpreted by the interlocutor, while non-verbal communication is purely bodily.

      3. The level of consciousness

      Another difference between verbal communication and non-verbal communication is that in the first, the level of awareness and attention used is much higher than in the non-verbal. The tendency is that we think more about what we are going to say than what we can do while we speak.


      In general, non-verbal language conveys emotions that the subject does not intend to express; that is, through the language of our body, emotions find a form of direct expression, which it does not always go through the higher levels of consciousness and are often beyond our control.

      5. The level of inclusion

      This point refers to the fact that verbal communication is considered more at all social levels. At present, the importance of non-verbal communication in society is not taught in schools, as it is relevant to many essential aspects of people’s daily lives.

      Some examples of contexts in which it is important to employ non-verbal communication may be; job interviews, presentation of projects to the public, etc.


      In conclusion, we can say that non-verbal communication, although not the most relevant in society, has a fundamental importance within it and should be taken more into account in the training of individuals, from the developmental stages of young people.

      Bibliographical references:

      • Berlo, DK (1960). The communication process. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.
      • Olivar Zúñiga, A. (2006). Theoretical foundations of communication.

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