Humans have maintained contact and communication with each other for thousands of years on Earth. Our methods of communications with each other have included using languages, drawings, sounds, and even sign language. Everything on this planet has its own method of communication. Whether is be animals, technology, or humans, there is an understanding on how to go about communicating with each other. Communication is a dynamic topic, because it is going to constantly evolve as time goes on. The lack of one universal method of communication leads to other methods within three main categories: verbal, nonverbal, and written. Understanding the basics and fundamentals of the three categories of human communication will help ensure the sender of the message that they are being heard and understood.
The method of verbal communication is communicating through the use of words and phrases instead of signs or pictures. This method is the most common and preferred method of communication because it allows to listener to give real time feedback or responses. One of the advantages of verbal communication is the ability to convey emotions. Different pitches and tone changes when communicating can show the listener that you really care about the topic you are speaking on. Verbal communication is also helpful because it has the ability to leave more of an impact on the listener. This method is also the fastest way of getting a message across to an audience or listener which is why it is one of the most efficient and preferred methods of communication.
The second method of human communication is through the nonverbal method. Nonverbal communication uses cues like facial expressions, body language, and eye contact instead of a voice to communicate. Body language is a sizable part of nonverbal communication. If a speaker observes a listener slouched over with crossed arms during their presentation, then they will assume that the listener is uninterested in what they have to say. Making and maintaining eye contact with the speaker gives a nonverbal cue to the speaker that displays interest, trust, and attentiveness. This will give the speaker validation that the audience or listener is into what they are talking about. Handshakes are a very common nonverbal practice in the United States used to introduce two or more people to each other. Weak handshakes can show a lack of confidence, while too firm handshakes can show an attempt to display dominance over the other person. Being aware of the nonverbal cues you are giving to someone can be a great help and factor in successful communication.
The final method in human communication that I will touch on is the written method of communication. Written communication can include emails, text messages, letters, visual aids, and various other types. This method tends to take the most time to receive from the sender, and it also tends to be the method that gets the most construed, because the sender cannot convey emotions or tone easily over ordinary text. Some advantages of the written method are editing and clarity. The sender has the option to think about what they want to say before writing and sending their message, so they can portray their message however they want. The reader also has the option to go back over the message as many times as it takes to understand it, unlike the other two methods. The written method of communication is becoming more prevalent as technology continues to evolve over time.
In my opinion, methods of human communication are going to evolve just as the human race does. Humans might think our current methods are worthwhile and successful, but as Tom Peters says, “if it ain’t broke, you just haven’t looked hard enough” (Peters, 1987). I think that quote applies to theories of human communication because we are not yet trying to evolve our methods; we are staying with the same methods hoping they continue to work. To seek a universal definition of human communication is to set yourself up for failure. Every human has a unique theory and definition of human communication, but the basic building blocks will always remain the same.
Peters, T. (1988). Thriving on Chaos. New York, NY.: Alfreda A. Knopf.