Verbal Communication

What Is Verbal Communication?

Verbal communication is the use of various wordsOpens in new window combinations to create and convey meaning. This involves the content and the organization of speech.

Verbal communication is any communication that uses language to convey meaning. It can include oral communication, such as speaking to another person over the telephone, face-to-face discussions, interviews, debates, presentations and so on. It can also include written communication, such as letters and emails.

We communicate verbally with symbols that stand for something else (i.e., words). The words used in verbal communication enable us to:

  • define and classify
  • express our beliefs, attitudes, thoughts, and feelings
  • organize our perceptions
  • talk about hypothetical events, events that occurred in the past, and events that may occur in the future.

Most of us think of spoken words when the subject of verbal communication is brought up. The key, however, is not that the words are spoken but that words (language) are used to convey meaning. Thus, when we talk about verbal communication, we mean both oral and written communication.

Oral Communication

In oral communication the information is given directly either face to face or on phone. The channelsOpens in new window of oral communication include face-to-face discussions, conferences, presentations, lectures, etc.

Oral communicationOpens in new window is more effective because there is a personal touch. The communication can be understood clearly and the doubts can be clarified on the spot. The important points can be highlighted through action.

Notwithstanding the positive sides of oral communication, there are certain limitations too: if there is poor vocal expression, chances of misunderstanding are more. Sometimes it is not taken seriously by the receiver. Likewise, if the attention of the listener deviates, there is no recourse to catch up on what was missed out.

Written Communication

Written communication involves any type of messageOpens in new window that makes use of the written word. When messages are presented in writing format—letters, memos, e-mail, and the likes—the tendency for misunderstanding the words of the sender are reduced.

The advantages of written communication are that messages can be revised, stored and made available whenever it is needed. More so, messages in written format can be disseminated in identical copies so the same message is received by all, and the receiver has more time to analyze the message.

The disadvantages of written communication are that there are no provisions for feedback; the sender may not be certain if the message was received, read, and/or understood; and the message may be longer to contain enough information to answer unanticipated questions.

Good verbal skills are important to help you communicate with clients and coworkers in interpersonal encounters. Good communication can lead to more sales and to increased customer satisfaction. Failure to transmit clear messages can lead to errors and customer dissatisfaction.