Different Forms of Communication

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Different Forms of Communication

Different Forms of Communication

There are many ways to communicate, the majority of which do not involve words. According to Mele Koneya and Alton Barbour, authors of Louder than Words: Nonverbal Communication (Interpersonal Communication series. Columbus, OH: Merrill), oral communication is:

  1. 7 percent words.
  2. 38 percent intonation.
  3. 55 percent physical movements.

Because written language does not include intonation or body language, it becomes all the more important to express one's self carefully.

The following are various forms of communication and how they present themselves.

Verbal Communication

Verbal communication is the choice of words being used, whether written or oral. Verbal communication is affected by:

  1. Poor language skills.
  2. Poor writing skills.
  3. The arrangement of words.
  4. Pronunciation.

Voice Intonation

Voice intonation is a form of nonverbal communication that affects how we present our words. It includes:

  1. Speed
  2. Volume
  3. Rhythm
  4. Inflection
  5. Emphasis

The inflection is the pitch of the voice. Inflection tells a listener whether the person is making a statement or posing a question. It also communicates urgency. Notice how the inflection in the following sentences is distinctly different:

  1. "You're going to the mall?"
  2. "You're going to the mall!"

Emphasis is used to communicate the most important part of the sentence. Read the following sentences, placing the emphasis on a different word each time, and notice how the message changes:

  1. I cut my finger and it hurt!
  2. I cut my finger and it hurt!
  3. I cut my finger and it hurt!
  4. I cut my finger and it hurt!

Facial Expression

Facial expressions are the strongest form of physical nonverbal communication because listeners are usually looking at the speaker's face. Facial expressions include, but are not limited to:

  1. Eye contact.
  2. Directing the eyes up, down, or to the side.
  3. Raising and lowering eyebrows.
  4. Smiling or frowning.
  5. Shaking or nodding the head.
  6. Tipping the head up or to the side.
  7. Tensing or relaxing facial muscles.

Physical Stance and Movement

Physical stance is the position a person is in when they are talking to another person. It often communicates emotional status."

For example, when a person desires distance from the other person, he or she will:

  1. Cross arms.
  2. Cross legs.
  3. Lean backward.
  4. Stand further away from the other person.
  5. Check his or her watch often.

When a person is feeling threatened or angry, he or she is likely to:

  1. Clench fists.
  2. Raise shoulders.
  3. Put his or her hands on hips.
  4. Breathe heavily.

A person who wants more intimacy with another will:

  1. Lean forward.
  2. Touch the other person.
  3. Sit or stand close to the other person.

Culture and Physical Behavior

Cultural norms will confuse nonverbal communications. For example:

  1. People from some cultures stand closer together or father apart than in Western cultures.
  2. Physical touch is expected in some cultures, and considered taboo in others.

To the best of one's ability, one should always consider the other person's cultural background before making assumptions about their communication.


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