Oral Communication

What is Oral Communication?

Oral communication is concerned with the use of spoken word as a medium for the exchange of information. It is a type of verbal communicationOpens in new window.

Oral communication can take place by face-to-face conversation and through electronic devices. Both methods can be used in organizations for downward Opens in new window, upward Opens in new window and horizontal communication Opens in new window.

Face-to-face conversation

Oral communication consists in face-to-face situation when the sender and the receiver of the message are in close physical proximity to each other. Face-to-face discussions, formal presentations, and meetings are the most important kinds of face-to-face communication.

A face-to-face communicative encounter has the potential advantages of being vivid, stimulating and commanding attention. In most organizational situations, it is difficult for receivers, the listeners to ignore the words spoken or the person speaking to them.

Furthermore, face-to-face communication gives the sender immediate feedback from the receiver and the opportunity to adjust the emotional tone of the message and tailor content accordingly.

Electronic devices

Oral communication can also take place through the use of mechanical and electronic devices such as landline telephones, cellphones, e-mail, instant messaging, voice mail, video and web conferencing, web logs (blogs), wikis, etc.

Electronic means of communicating enhances interactive exchange of messages— text, voice, graphics or video—between senders and receivers, even when they are separated by physical distance and busy schedules. Communicating electronically can reduce time and expenses devoted to traveling, photocopying and mailing.

Advantages of Oral Communication

Oral communication is exceptionally flexible for both the sender and receiver. While you are speaking, you may try to make a point a certain way but along the way change your words in order for the listener to understand you.

Because oral communication is generally interactive, it can be quite responsive and adaptive to circumstances. Other advantages of oral communication include:

  • Oral communication is more speedy.
  • In oral communication there is more scope for expression in the form of questions and answers.
  • There is direct communication between sender and receiver.
  • Oral communication is the most effective way of communications.
  • Any doubt or misconception can be cleared immediately.

Notwithstanding the above advantages, oral communication has the major disadvantages of being transitory and subject to considerable misinterpretation.

Even when individuals use the same language, the subtle nuances of the spoken word may be missed or incorrect meaning attached to them.

Oral communication between those whose first languages differ, as in many management situations today, simply multiplies the chances of intended meaning going away.