What are the 3 types of communication

Despite it often being taken for granted, communication is one of the key Leadership skills to master.

There are commonly three types of communication methods.

  • Verbal Communication
  • Non-Verbal Communication
  • Visual Communication

In today’s article, we’ll look to cover these in some detail, provide some examples of each and give you some tips about how you can improve your communication skills.

In this post, we’ll cover


Verbal communication, using the spoken word, is fundamental in most exchanges that we have with others. It is perhaps the key communication method, and it is utilized daily (if not by the minute) for most of us.

We use it in a variety of situations i.e

  • Conversations with family
  • Telephone calls with colleagues
  • In meetings or presentations
  • When transacting with others

Verbal Communication utilizes language to impart information.

Verbal communication can be paired with other methods of communication (i.e., nonverbal). Pairing it with other methods can provide further signals or relevance to the dialogue that we provide.

Verbal communication has several benefits, including its efficiency.  

While we all use the spoken word, there are several methods we can use to improve your verbal communication skills.

1/ Speed – speak at a pace that is appropriate for the situation and the audience. Just because you understand the concept, do not attempt to race through words, which may require a level of comprehension for your audience.

2/ Pronunciation – take care to focus on your pronunciation. Focus on being clear in order for your audience to have the best chance of understanding what you are saying.

3/ Confidence – be confident in your speech, avoid mumbling and inappropriate pauses, and speak confidently, showing that you have a clear grasp of your communication.

4/ Punctuation – remember that you should include appropriate pauses in what you articulate. You should not just have a fast incoherent ramble. Punctuation provides structure and context to your speech.

5/ Content – avoid filler words, focus on providing the information in a clear and concise way

Examples of verbal communication:

  • “Steve, it looks like rain today, can you please bring your umbrella.”
  • “Jane, I really enjoyed the presentation that you gave this morning.”
  • “Sue, the sales numbers for this month look bad.”

Nonverbal Communication

Nonverbal communication is the use of nonverbal cues to impart information. Examples include: 

  • Body Language
  • Facial Expressions
  • Gestures

It can be a vital tool in understanding ascertaining someone’s mood and feelings.

There are two key forms on non-verbal communication closed and open:

  • Closed body language such as:
    • Crossed arms/legs
    • Avoiding eye to eye contact, 
    • Looking downwards
  • Open Body language such as
    • Open arms
    • Eye to eye contact
    • Smiling

Nonverbal communication can be very effective at sharing infrormation.

It’s use can be intentional or unintentional (i.e. an automatic response to a situation).

For example, you might utilize closed body language when feeling threatened, this might be unintentional (a natural reaction to the situation).  

In contrast, at a job interview, you might utilize nonverbal communication skills to promote a good impression (i.e., open body posture, smiling, attentive, making good eye contact).

Here are four steps to improve your verbal communication skills

1 – Be aware of your emotions and how that might affect your posture

2 – Be mindful of how others use nonverbal communications to impart information to you

3 – Copy nonverbal cues from others that you find effective

4 – Make your nonverbal communication intentional; do not leave it to chance.

Here are some examples of nonverbal communication

  • Avoiding eye contact when being spoken too
  • Slouching on your chair when in a meeting
  • Making an angry face when speaking with a colleague

Visual Communication

Visual communication is the utilization of visual aids to exchange information; this might include

  • Art
  • Maps
  • Charts
  • Photographs
  • Signs

Visual communications are often utilized alongside verbal communication to provide further meaning.

Visual communication is very commonplace, for several reasons:

  • It is a very rapid communication method.
  • You can pass on complex information in a simple way
  • You can utilize universal standards
  • it is a single clear and concise method that can be utilized across a group or team

Here are some examples of visual communications

  • Utilizing a graph to show sales numbers
  • Utilizing a map to show the intended route on a journey
  • Utilizing a no walkway sign to show a potential hazard area on the shop floor

Why is it important to master the three types of communication

As human beings, we spend our lives communicating, whether it’s with family members, colleagues, or in social situations. 

If you study carefully, you’ll observe that we are continually interacting, providing, or receiving information.

If you are effective at communicating, then you are more likely to achieve your goals.

While it may take time and practice, by grasping the three types described above, then you can enhance your prospects and make yourself more valuable.

Which communication method should you use?

Most of us will find that we utilize a mix of the three methods based on 

  • The intended audience
  • The context
  • The complexity of the content
  • The time available

In most cases, there is not a right or wrong answer. You utilize what makes sense to you (and most likely, what has been effective previously).

In reality, you’re most likely to use a combination (verbal + nonverbal for example) as this provides the best opportunity for you to convey information that is likely to be understood by the recipient.

What is important, though, is that you seek regular feedback, find out what works and what doesn’t then practice practice practice.


Now that you can understand the three types of communication, we hope you take some time out to assess how you use them and what tactics you can utilize to improve.

Communication can be vital, so if you have some tips about the three methods we described above, we’d love to hear it. You message us on twitter or use the feedback section below.

This article is part of our Management & Leadership Guide.