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verbal

Constitutes effective verbal communication

Each of these is just as important in our personal lives as in our professional lives. By improving your verbal communication skills you will quickly connect and build rapport, earn respect, gain influence, and become more likable and accepted.

1. Be friendly. People who communicate with a friendly tone and warm smile almost always have the edge. The reason is simple: we are subconsciously drawn to people who are friendly because they make us feel good and bring more enjoyment to our lives.

2. Think before you speak. One of my favorite English Proverbs is “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.” I find that many people say whatever goes through their minds without putting any thought into what they are saying. As a result they say things that end up reflecting poorly on themselves.

3. Be clear. Most of us don’t have the time nor do we want to spend our emotional energy to figure out what someone else is trying to say. People who are indirect in their verbal communication and who tend to hint at things without saying what’s really on their mind are seldom respected. When there is something you want to say, ask yourself, “What is the clearest way I can communicate this point?”

4. Don’t talk too much. Last week I met with a personal chef. At first I was impressed with him and considered hiring him for an upcoming event. However, the more he talked the less impressed I became. Very few people like to be around someone who talks too much and dominates the conversation.

5. Be your authentic self. Today, (more than anytime during my lifetime), people are turned off by those people who feel the need to put on a show to make their point. Instead, people are attracted to someone who speaks from the heart and is genuine, transparent, and real.

6. Practice humility. Humility is having a modest view of one’s own importance. It is one of the most attractive personality traits one can possess and is one of the most significant predictors of someone who is respected. People who speak with humility and genuine respect for others are almost always held in high regard.

7. Speak with confidence. You don’t have to sacrifice self-confidence to practice humility. Confidence is a self-assurance arising from an appreciation of one’s true abilities, whereas humility is having a modest opinion of one’s own importance. Speaking with confidence includes the words you choose, the tone of your voice, your eye contact, and body language.

8. Focus on your body language. When you are engaged in face-to-face verbal communication, your body language can play as significant of a role in the message you communicate as the words you speak. Your body language communicates respect and interest. It puts real meaning behind your words.

9 Be concise. Very few things are more irritating to me than when someone can’t get to the point of what he or she is trying to say. Plan ahead. Constantly ask yourself, “How can I say what needs to be said using the fewest number of words possible while still being courteous and respectful?”

10. Learn the art of listening. Being an attentive listener is more important in verbal communication than any words that can come out of your mouth. You must show a sincere interest in what is being said, ask good questions, listen for the message within the message, and avoid interrupting.

Effective verbal communication

Effective verbal communication is almost always more about listening because there is always an audience. Why listening? Because when addressing an audience you need to meet their needs and in order to know their needs you must listen.

When using effective verbal communication techniques there are some basic rules that you need to master. Here are, from my experience, some useful tips:

1. Know you audience. This comes back to what I just said. You need to listen. If you are talking to a small group of people in an informal discussion, listening to what other people are saying, or not saying, is your best tool. If you are addressing a large group of people you want to find out as much as possible about the people you are going to talk to. Do your homework. What are their burning questions? What is their knowledge to the subject that you are going to talk about? Do they have an opinion in any direction and is their passion?

2. Know your topic. This might sound like an obvious statement. But you would be surprised if you know how many unprepared or poor meeting performances or presentations that are held every minute. Read, Google, listen to others etc. Again, do your homework. What are your feelings about a certain issue? Why? List all the potential questions to your topic. This is probably one of the most important tip for effective verbal communication.

3. Plan your presentation. Make up a storyboard or make a mind map. Be creative and lay out all the threads to your topic that you can possible think of. What background material do you have for the topic? Is there a particular angle that you like? What material/knowledge do you lack?

Biggest reason for not having effective verbal communication is that people say to much. They have so many things that they want to get across. Your biggest challenge is now to cut down the material to a minimum. If you will do a PowerPoint presentation a good ground rule is to have one slide per 2-5 minutes. I have seen PPT presentations where there have been 60 slides in a 20 minutes presentation. Now this is not effective verbal communication. But believe me, when you start planning, that is usually where you will be. Why? Because when you are passionate about something you build up knowledge and you don’t want to miss anything important. But think about the audience and your knowledge about them. What do they want to know, what would they benefit from knowing. Are there parts of the subject that really more than they need to know, for you to get your point across?

If you are using PPT as a presentation mode (with most managers do) use as many images as possible. There are some different schools here. Some think that it is good to let the audience follow the text on the screen as you do your talking. Personally I think it is much more powerful if you do the talking and the slide supports your message.

One of my first experiences of this was when I was working at Ericsson. We had a large management conference in southern Spain and there were a number of key managers on the stand, doing their talking to their text slides. The presentation that I remember though is the one that was made by one of the few female managers. She made a presentation where she was talking from the heart (believe me she had a script, and it was well rehearsed) to 4-5 photographs. The photographs where illustrations of here key messages and they supported here script. It was very powerful and fun to listen to.

Also, you might want to consider using other mediums for your presentation as well if you want more effective verbal communication. If you have a white board or flip over pads, look at your presentation material and see if you could draw something live in your presentation. A mix of medium is always good. Show a clip from a newspaper or a book to make your point across.

4. Own the room. If possible it is always good to see the room where your presentation will take place. There are a number of things that can disturb you in the first couple of minutes of your presentation. How big is the room, how is the chairs placed, is there a stage, do you need a microphone, where will that be placed, who will flip the slides in your presentation, can you do that yourself, if so, how? If you need special equipment, where will they be placed? Will there be spotlights? And so on. Find out as much as you can before hand, so you have control.

If you are a part of a larger program, it is very good to sit in on other presentations. This will be beneficial to you for to main reasons. A. You will get a better feeling for the audience. Are they open, serious, emotional etc. B. You will get a better feeling for the room.

Nine practical ways to improve verbal communication

Verbal communication skills are essential skills in today’s business environment.

Most of us will have participated in formal communication skills training such as ‘Presentation Skills’ or ‘Business Development Skills’ courses.Many courses cover the formal, planned and group situations we often face. But they rarely cover our regular, informal ones, such as discussions, meetings, workshops, telephone calls and conversations.

The following tips are a starting point to help you think about how you can improve your verbal communications skills, whether in planned or unplanned situations:

1. Read more – Simply increasing what you read (business texts, novels, newspapers etc) can improve your vocabulary, help you express ideas clearly and eliminate weaknesses in your language skills.

2. Think about the words – Too many words will bore your listener, take up too much time and result in you losing credibility. There is no need to waffle! Remember not to use words that people don’t understand (they may not even tell you that they don’t understand what you are saying), as you may appear intimidating and make them feel inferior.

3. Prepare (if you can) – You would spend time planning what you would say if you were writing. You would also think about how to make it accessible to as many readers as possible. If you know of an approaching situation, take time out to think about the questions you may be asked and what answers you may need to give. If you are delivering a presentation, you should be prepared for awkward questions and situations where you may need to explain something in a different way.

4. Listen and be interested – Listening more and talking less means you will understand and bring your listener into the conversation. This helps them to trust you and make them feel that you really understand their needs. When they talk, be interested and show your interest. This will improve the rapport you are trying to build. Using note-taking skills like Mind Mappingcan help you to take more effective and memorable notes.

5. Be aware of non-verbal communication traps – The impact of the words you say is only a small element of the communication you are giving. You should make sure that your words, their tone, the gestures you make, facial expressions and body language you use, are all relevant to your conversation.

6. Honesty is the best policy – Promising something that is not possible will break down any trust that you have developed. Telling someone that you “don’t know – but can find out” is more positive than just trying to give an answer you hope is effective.

7. Show and seek some understanding – Look for understanding from your audience. It’s easier to back track at certain points in your conversation than revisit the whole conversation again – or you risk getting the wrong results because your audience did not understand! You can use this when delivering or receiving a message. Occasional summaries and confirmation questions can be extremely useful.

8. Think about perspectives – Think about what you are saying from the other person’s perspective. Just because you understand what you mean, it doesn’t mean that they will.

9 Develop your skills – There are a number of techniques you can learn to help improve your verbal communication skills.

Evaluate your verbal communication

While words only account for approximately 7% of the meaning people ascribe to your communication, tone of voice accounts for 38% of the meaning. So, it’s obvious that to be a successful communicator, you need to be aware of your verbal cues and clues (e.g., everything from words to sighs, moans, grunts).

Inflection refers to ups and downs in talking. Inflection helps you signal to your partner what’s important and may even indicate your emotional state (especially combined with volume and pitch).
Volume indicates the degree of loudness to your voice. Again, volume can indicate your energetic involvement with a topic and gives your spouse clues about your temperament and mood.
Pacing deals with your rate of speech or the speed of your talking. Matching your rate of speech and your intensity to that of your partner creates rapport and connection.
Word choice of course means what words you use to convey your message. Though words may have specific definitions, our lifetime of experience with a word means that our meaning for the word and someone else’s meaning might be quite different.
Silence refers to those gaps in our conversations. (Though silence is “non-verbal” it’s the absence of verbal communication, that’s why I’ve included it in this list.) Allow room for your partner to absorb what you’ve said and give yourself the space to take in what he/she is communicating to you.
As you engage in the next conversation with you partner, bring these aspects of verbal communication into your awareness.

Types of Verbal Communication

Verbal communication refers to the use of sounds and language to relay a message. It serves as a vehicle for expressing desires, ideas and concepts and is vital to the processes of learning and teaching. In combination with nonverbal forms of communication, verbal communication acts as the primary tool for expression between two or more people.

Types

Interpersonal communication and public speaking are the two basic types of verbal communication. Whereas public speaking involves one or more people delivering a message to a group, interpersonal communication generally refers to a two-way exchange that involves both talking and listening.

Words act as symbols, and signs are secondary products of the underlying message and include things like tone of voice, blushing and facial expressions.

Purpose

Verbal communication has many purposes, but its main function is relaying a message to one or more recipients. It encompasses everything from simple one-syllable sounds to complex discussions and relies on both language and emotion to produce the desired effect. Verbal communication can be used to inform, inquire, argue and discuss topics of all kinds. It is vital to teaching and learning, as well as forming bonds and building relationships with other people.

Although all species communicate, language itself is a purely human phenomenon that allows for more precision than the communication methods of other beings.