Communication is a complex phenomenon. It is commonly associated with the fact that sharing a message in a full and detailed manner and being understood is a matter of incorporating several communication channels – verbal, non-verbal, and para-verbal. Verbal communication stands for the choice of words in both oral and written language. It involves only such language concerns as grammatical and syntactic structures. From this perspective, verbal communication is about what is said. Non-verbal communication is a broader category because it is connected to gestures, facial expression, eye contact, body posture, clothing, and gait. In general terms, it comes down to the external representation of the message that makes its apprehension easier. Finally, para-verbal communication channels are tone and volume of one’s voice, rhythm of their language, and some more complicated aspects such as laughter, pauses, and differing vocal expressions. Both non-verbal and para-verbal communication channels are connected to how a person communicates. What is special about these channels is that they are impossible to estimate in case of choosing a communication mechanism other than face-to-face communication. Here, videoconferencing is not implied, as it is still perceived as face-to-face communication.
In addition to estimating the specificities of individual’s non-verbal and para-verbal communication, when one or both of them are limited or unavailable, it is more complicated to understand the true message of a person, which, as a result, leads to limits of communication. This limitation is commonly connected to the fact that non-verbal and para-verbal communication channels are helpful for a deeper apprehension of one’s intentions due to estimating not only what they say but also how they do it. More than that, when some of these channels are limited, the process of sharing ideas is lengthier. At the same time, it is more complicated to relate the proposed ideas with knowledge bases or the previously expressed opinion.
Nevertheless, even though all of these limits may be easily coped with by paying specific attention to detail when sharing the message, the major concern is that, without non-verbal and para-verbal communication channel, communication becomes less creative and enjoyable. In some cases, it is connected to difficulties in remembering details because giving preference to merely verbal communication channels is tiresome and less engaging. Finally, the inability to analyze one’s non-verbal and para-verbal signs is a common cause of interpersonal communication challenges. In this case, it is more complicated to get to know a person as well as understand their motives and perception of a particular situation. All in all, these two channels of communication make it easier to become aware of an individual’s background due to the existence of traditional non-verbal and para-verbal signals that are simply lost in case of selecting a communication mechanism other than face-to-face communication.
Finally, limited or unavailable non-verbal and para-verbal communication results in difficulties in conflict resolution. It is as well associated with the fact that these two channels contribute to a better understanding of an individual and their motives and worldviews. In other words, even if a person seems to be disinterested in resolving a conflict based on what they say (verbal communication), non-verbally and para-verbally they may reveal their interest in arriving at a compromise. For instance, open posture and pleasant voice may point to their desire to build a consensus. However, it is impossible to view and estimate these signs when communication is other than face-to-face. That being said, although verbal communication is the main way to share one’s message or opinion, only the combination of all three communication channels – verbal, non-verbal, and para-verbal – is the best way to understand others and avoid or manage conflicts.