Communication is an integral part of a modern person’s life: in a day, they meet dozens of people, make formal and informal calls, and send various text messages. The word “communication” usually evokes associations such as “conversation,” “dialog,” “exchange of words,” or perhaps “correspondence,” which belong to verbal communication. People rarely think that sometimes they interact with others without even noticing it: with the help of the color of their clothing, a smile or grimace, a wink, or a movement of the hand. Almost any meeting with the subsequent exchange of remarks includes two most important types of communication: verbal and non-verbal. These two essential concepts play an incredible role in the life of society: they join people and fill their existence with meaning; however, they are not always used on the same scale.
My Interaction as Unity of Different Types of Communication
To demonstrate the unity of verbal and non-verbal components of communication, I’d like to describe my relationship with my childhood friend. We often see each other, and our dialog consists of two parts: exchange of remarks and gestures. When we were eight years old, we created our code language after watching a movie about spies. It includes ten gestures that are understandable only to us: winking, blinking, clenching the palm into a fist, and others. Although there are a lot of different signs of utilizing non-verbal tools such as looks or smiles, this code best indicates that almost any of our interactions is the unity of different types of communication. Kendon also believes that “gestures and speech should be considered as a unified system” (qtd. in Ciuffani 2). Therefore, one type of communication cannot exist in human interaction without another.
Nonverbal Communication in Online World
Although it would be wrong to claim that one of these types is less important than the second, my experience shows that now people utilize more verbal tools. For hundreds of years, people have been interacting with each other using words, gestures, and facial expressions, but the emergence of online communication has brought some changes to these interactions. Like most humans in the 21st century, I send out dozens, if not hundreds, of messages on social networking sites every day. Obviously, messages should adhere to syntax and morphology rules and demonstrate the sender’s communication competence. However, informal texts often neglect such norms, including abbreviations and incomplete grammatical sentences. Hence, it is necessary to pay more attention to the rules of using verbal tools during correspondence to avoid misunderstanding.
It would seem that online communication completely excludes the use of non-verbal components; however, smiles, stickers, and emoticons should not be forgotten. They can express the sender’s gestures and facial expressions, although they can lie since nobody knows the real emotions hidden behind a smiling emoticon. In addition, to date, video-mediated communication is pretty popular, where “communicators attempt to compensate for the absence of physical presence and the technical constraints by smiling more and speaking louder” (Croes et al. 1230). Therefore, in the 21st century, with strengthening social network sites’ role, people still utilize both types of communication; however, non-verbal tools are less expressed.
Verbal and non-verbal tools of communication are two sides of one whole, without which people cannot imagine their life. As one of the most significant types of interaction, online communication is based primarily on the verbal component, but it can also involve several non-verbal elements. I hope that our relationship with my friend will exist for a very long time, and our code language will continue strengthening our friendship as it has done before. Perhaps in the future, our children will also utilize this cute tradition and create their code language, which will join them with a shared secret and make them true friends. Thus, even though online communication is so popular, people still communicate face-to-face, and integration of these concepts contributes to our interaction and sincere communication with many people worldwide.
Ciuffani, Bianca. “Non-verbal Communication and Leadership: The Impact of Hand Gestures Used by Leaders on Follower Job Satisfaction.” Bachelor Thesis Conference: Proceedings of the 9th IBA Bachelor Thesis Conference, Enschede, the Netherland, Web.
Croes, Emmelyn, et al. “Social Attraction in Video-Mediated Communication: The Role of Nonverbal Affiliative Behavior.” Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, vol. 36, no. 4, 2018, pp. 1212-1232. Web.