You may assume that the definition of verbal communication is simply spoken words between one or more people. Yet, this classification of communication takes on more than one form. For instance, sounds that aren't considered words also make up verbal communication. The term also encompasses the different forms of written communication that we employ in our day-to-day interactions with others.
When people speak face-to-face, via the phone or by webcam, it's considered verbal communication. A seminar conducted by an individual, dialogues by actors or speeches of political figures, the host of a radio show or the individual taking your order at the fast-food drive-through are all classified as examples of verbal communication. As long as words are being spoken and a message is being communicated, face to face or not, speaking qualifies as verbal communication.
A person doesn't have to speak words for a communication to be considered verbal. A groan can qualify. In fact, any noises or utterances a person makes are included in this classification. For instance, grunts of exasperation, screams of pain or delight, cries of sorrow, whimpers or utterances of joy can all be lumped under the same umbrella. Even a baby who babbles unintelligibly is verbally communicating.
American Sign Language, a system of hand and finger gestures that deaf and hearing-impaired individuals use, also is considered a form of verbal communication.
Believe it or not, writing is considered a form of verbal communication because words are involved. The writing also can be in electronic form. Newspaper or magazine articles, notice board postings, e-mails, books, written announcements, faxes, memos, notes, traffic signs, street signs, billboards, advertisements and any other item that contains a written message is considered verbal communication.
What It's Not
Verbal communication is not something that is conveyed through a gesture, such as a wave, pat on the back or stomping. It's also not conveyed through facial expressions, such as a frown, smile or blank stare. Posture, such as a slumped or straight-backed position, also has nothing to do with verbal communication. These are forms of nonverbal communication. None of these actions are considered a language, written or spoken.