Communication Methods: Verbal, Written and Nonverbal


Communication refers to the process of transmitting, sharing, and exchanging information using sounds, signs, and behaviors (Chandler & Munday, 2011). Communication enables people to express themselves, share ideas and thoughts, resolve differences, and express respect. Through communication, people exchange messages with the aim of achieving desired results. Communication takes different forms depending on the intended outcome. For example, it can take linguistic or non-linguistic form, and modern or traditional form (Chandler & Munday, 2011).

Communication involves three steps that include thinking, encoding, and decoding. Information starts as thoughts in the mind in form of ideas or feelings. The thoughts are then encoded and transformed into words and symbols that represent a message (Chandler & Munday, 2011). Finally, they are decoded into forms that can be understood. The three methods of communication include verbal, written, and non-verbal communication. Many people use different methods of communication concurrently. For example, gestures and body language are usually incorporated into verbal communication.

Verbal communication

This type of communication involves passage of messages through the mouth (Butterfield, 2012). Aspects of verbal communication include language, words, speech, expressions, and movements. Different methods of verbal communication possess different characteristics. However, they have common attributes. For instance, body language is an important aspect of verbal communication even though it is a form of nonverbal communication. A speaker needs to use appropriate body language in order to develop a good relationship with an audience. Verbal communication incorporates certain aspects of nonverbal communication like gestures, eye contact, smile, posture, and voice tone (Butterfield, 2012).

It is important to synchronize voice tone and body movements to ensure that a message reaches the receiver in the desired way. Aspects of nonverbal communication such as eye contact and positive gestures facilitate the development of good rapport between a sender and a receiver (Butterfield, 2012).

Certain methods of verbal communication exclude the need for using nonverbal cues such as posture and body language. Phone conversations are types of verbal communication that do not involve physical interactions. The most effective method of verbal communication is face-to-face communication (Butterfield, 2012). It is effective because it applies different expressions, movements, and facial expressions to improve comprehension of conveyed message. Common methods of verbal communication include speeches, dialogues, discussions, presentations, and phone conversations (Butterfield, 2012). Verbal communication methods such as speeches and presentations incorporate written words in order to improve comprehension of message.

Written communication

Written communication refers to passage of messages through written words. Methods of written communication include letters, text messages, magazines, journals, memorandums, notices, posters, reports, and notes (Andersen, 2007). Messages can be passed through electronic or print media. Electronic media includes tools like e-mails and text messages which are the most common methods of written communication synonymous with technological gadgets like mobile phones and computers. Technological advancement heralded the beginning of a new era in written communication. On the other hand, letters, memos, essays, reports, and notices comprise communication methods that use print media (Andersen, 2007).

For instance, memos and notices are used to convey messages in organizations and companies. Essays are common in institutions of learning while Journals are used to publish findings of research studies. In companies, managers communicate important messages to employees through memos and notices. Companies communicate to shareholders through annual reports that present financial performances ad future projections of revenue. Unlike verbal communication, written communication through print media is slow due to lack of efficient means to covey feedback. In order to give feedback, a receiver responds to a memo or notice in through a written response that could take time to reach the sender. In contrast, electronic communication is fast because it involves fast transmission of information.

Nonverbal communication

Nonverbal communication refers to passage of information through gestures, facial expressions, and other forms of non-worded messages (Stewart, 2004). Main forms of nonverbal communication include body language, gestures, facial expressions, eye contact, and posture (Stewart, 2004). In addition, it includes object communication through hairstyles, symbols, dress codes, and infographics. Nonverbal communication includes other forms like touch, voice tone, appearance, and patterns of fixation (Stewart, 2004).

In order to improve comprehension of messages, many people incorporate nonverbal communication into verbal communication. Many elements of nonverbal communication are used in written communication. For instance, handwriting style, word font, and page layout can be used to convey certain messages (Stewart, 2004). Nonverbal communication involves two mental processes namely encoding and decoding. Encoding refers to the process of generating nonverbal cues like facial expressions and gestures (Stewart, 2004). On the other hand, decoding refers to the process of interpreting nonverbal cues and transforming them into forms that are easy to comprehend (Stewart, 2004).

people learn nonverbal communication through social and emotional interactions. Different body postures and facial expressions convey different messages. Examples of postures used in nonverbal communication include spread legs, crossed arms and crossed legs. Different cultures ascribe different meanings to body postures. The use of clothing as a tool of nonverbal communication is synonymous with cultures and religions. Examples of messages conveyed through clothing include personality, sexual orientation, culture, religious affiliation, and financial status (Stewart, 2004).

For instance, white robes are synonymous with Muslims. Gestures are usually made using hands and the body. In addition, they are made through movements of eyes and the head. Facial expressions convey feelings such as anger, shame, fear, sadness, and happiness (Stewart, 2004). Three forms of gestures include adapters, symbolic gestures, and conversational gestures. Other methods of nonverbal communication include haptics, kinesics, and proxemics. Haptics refers to the use of touching in communication while kinesics is the use of posture and gestures (Stewart, 2004). Proxemics refers to the use of distance as a tool for nonverbal communication. Nonverbal communication is an efficient method of communication that is commonly used synonymously with verbal communication.


Communication refers to the process of conveying messages or information from a sender to a receiver. The three methods of communication include verbal, nonverbal, and written communication. Verbal communication involves passage of messages through the mouth. Nonverbal communication involves the use of non-worded messages to convey information. Forms of nonverbal communication include facial expressions, posture, gestures, proxemics, body language, haptics, clothing, and eye gaze. Written communication involves passage of messages through written words. Forms of written communication include letters, text messages, memorandums, notices, reports, and essays.

Written communication involves two methods namely print media and electronic media. Examples of print media include letters, magazine, and newspapers. On the other hand, examples of electronic media include e-mails and text messages. Communication through electronic media is fast and reliable. In order to improve comprehension of messages, many people incorporate various aspects of different communication methods in their communication. For example, verbal communication contains various aspects of verbal communication such as gestures, and facial expressions. Nonverbal communication varies depending on culture. Different cultures use varied gestures, body movements, and facial expressions to convey messages.


Andersen, P. (2007). Nonverbal Communication: Forms and Functions. New York: Waveland Press. Web.

Butterfield, J. (2012). Verbal Communication: Illustrated Course Guides. New York: Cengage Learning. Web.

Chandler, D., & Munday, R. (2011). A Dictionary of Media and Communication. London: Oxford University Press. Web.

Stewart, G. (2004). Written Communications. New York: Blackbirch Press Inc. Web.