Verbal communication is any form of communication that uses words to express its message. Nonverbal communication deals with what is not said. Verbal communication is essential to developing a business and forging relationships. Verbal communication happens all day, every day, whether it’s in the form of listening to a radio talk show host, talking with your boss at work or listening to a teacher in school.
Verbal and nonverbal communication should always agree. When they disagree there is confusion, lack of direction and misunderstandings that take place. For example, if you communicated to a new boss that you’re ready to start working but fall asleep at your desk the first day of work, your actions will speak louder than your words. Verbal and nonverbal communication are intended to work together, not contradict each other.
Verbal communication takes on many forms but the most common form is interpersonal. This is when you verbally communicate with one other person. Interpersonal communication can take place between you and your spouse, the employee at the coffee shop or a customer service representative on the phone.
Verbal communication also plays an important role in group communication. Group communication is any oral communication that is communicated to a group of two people or more. This type of verbal communication is seen in presentations, lectures and public addresses. Group verbal communication needs to be clear, concise and politically correct due to the variety of listeners. Group communication has the power to influence many people in a short amount of time. For example, the president’s televised addresses are seen by millions of people at one time.
Verbal communication skills can be improved by practicing. Not everyone is born with a natural ability to express herself with the spoken word. Practice your verbal communication skills by asking a friend to listen to you and critique your ability to communicate effectively. Take her feedback and work on the areas where you need improvement.
Verbal communication comes with a personal responsibility. What you say, you are responsible for. The listener has a responsibility to actively engage in the conversation but as the communicator you have the responsibility of making your message clear and understandable. Knowing your listener is essential in communicating appropriately. For example, if your audience is composed of children, you will use different verbal communication then if you were addressing a meeting at work.