The Disadvantages of Verbal Communication

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Communication is the process by which individuals and businesses transfer messages between or among each other. While many communication forms exist, verbal communication is quite common because it simply requires one individual to verbalize words to convey a message. However, verbal communication does have some disadvantages, much like any other communication method. Individuals and businesses must be aware of these disadvantages or limitations so they can overcome them prior to communicating messages.


International business
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A common disadvantage to verbal communication is the cultural differences between the sender and the receiver. These differences can arise from the individuals speaking different languages, inability to understand the other person’s colloquial phrases or a difference in understanding basic terms. Businesses often face these problems when they have multiple international locations. Business owners, directors and executive managers must learn and understand various cultural differences prior to using verbal communication.


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The audience size is a disadvantage to verbal communication because individuals can only speak to a limited number of people at a given time. While the size can change through the location of the speech or amplification systems, audience size constraints still exist. While basic or individual instructions are common uses of verbal communication, attempting to send a large volume of information through a lengthy speech may only reach a few individuals.


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Verbal communication is a two-way street; when one party talks, the other needs to listen. However, listening is often a disadvantage to verbal communication. Individuals may not be active listeners. They may decide to focus on their response or not listen at all to the spoken message. When this occurs, the effectiveness of verbal communication becomes weaker. While speakers may be unable to control the listening actions or their audience, framing verbal communication through the use of certain words or phrases can help transfer the message.


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Verbal communication also has a disadvantage of having a short period of longevity. Receivers may quickly forget the message and have difficulty attempting to recall the message. Speakers may need to find a way to make their message more memorable; this may involve the use of a secondary communication method. Using a second communication can require more time to send the message and ensure that the receiving audience understands the message.