Communication: Verbal Communication

As a species, in all our interactions we depend upon our ability to communicate, both verbally and non-verbally. Understanding the different aspects of verbal and non-verbal communication and the important role it plays in our interactions with others will enable us to communicate positively and nurture our relationships.
Verbal Communication involves words, both spoken and written. We communicate to inform others of our needs, thoughts or to impart knowledge. But often, we do not articulate ourselves clearly, or our words / actions are misconstrued. A key component is Clarification. Learning to be good at Verbal communication will help you provide information and avoid misunderstandings.
Things to note when communicating: Spoken and Written
• Organise your thoughts and ideas before speaking or writing.
• Use simple language; as far as possible avoid technical terms (jargon) and abbreviations. This is simplest way to avoid making errors.
• Use the active voice, which is more direct than the passive voice
• Be direct. This one particular aspect is very important and must always be adhered to.
• Be brief but clear when explaining things
Communication is the imparting or exchanging of information by speaking, writing, or using some other medium. And Communication is complete only when the sender gets a feedback that corroborates what has been said.
Speaking Effectively:
Often we feel frustrated. We feel others aren’t understanding us. To avoid being an ineffective communicator we must overcome the barriers of communication (Please read the related blog).
Speaking well is a gift that few possess. But it is a skill that can be developed.
• Start with writing down and practicing speaking short pieces about things you are interested in. Record and listen to yourself, correct and repeat the process. Doing this will help you correct yourself, improve your vocabulary, the tone, pitch and speed of speech.
• Listening to good orators is another way to pick up styles and imitating them is a good way to start. Very soon you’ll find your own style and flow.
To ensure effective verbal communication when speaking, be conscious of all the points mentioned above and follow the pointers given below.
• Speak clearly
• Vary your pitch, tone and volume to emphasise key words or sentences. It helps to remove monotony and keeps the audience engaged.
• Adjust the volume of your voice to suit your audience and the space. For example, speak softly when you are talking one-on-one; speak louder when you are talking to a larger group or across a room.
• Prepare well to avoid pauses. Be conscious of how you speak, avoid filler words like, um, uh, ah, like, well, etc.
• It’s important to make eye contact with the person or people you are speaking to. Eye contact signals interest in the audience and exhibits confidence.
• Use “I” statements (e.g. “I think”, “I need”, or “I feel”), as opposed to “You” statements (e.g. “You should”, “You are”, or “You did not”), to clarify feelings and assumptions that may surround problems.
• Use adverbs and adjectives (not too many) to help give more meaning and information about what you are talking about
• Pause or stress to emphasise an important point
• Allow the ‘audience’ some time to reflect
• Listen well to others and Respond to queries clearly and briefly & calmly
Writing Effectively:
Written communication must be effective as it is an important aspect of business and personal communication. The purpose is to convey a message with the intention of the receiver understanding it and responding appropriately. For example, if a supervisor needs to get a profit-and-loss statement to his manager, he may print it out or email it with the required information in writing. But if the report is garbled, has spelling/grammar errors it may cause the manager to consider the supervisor to be ineffective, unorganized & inefficient.
Unlike speaking, written communication is more challenging. Because it is flat. It lacks the elements of a tone of voice, body language and gestures to convey intent. A poorly written report or mail can be confusing, offensive and ineffective. But it’s a skill that can be learnt.
Try these tips to compose better documents:
• Know your audience – Choose the most suitable style and format by first identifying the recipient of your message.
Do you need to send an informal email, write a detailed report, or write a formal letter? Defining your “writing voice” and how formal or relaxed the tone should be will depend on whether you are writing to a friend or a client.
• Create an outline – This is especially helpful if you’re writing a document like a report, presentation, or speech.
They help you to structure and order what you want to say and break the task up into manageable pieces of information.
• Pitch – Pitch your message in a way that engages your audience, and presents information rationally and coherently
• Identify your main theme – For this think of how you could explain your position in 15 seconds. This is likely to be the gist of your article/not.
• Use simple, direct language
• Structure – Use headings, subheadings, bullet points, and numbering whenever possible to break up the text and make the document reader friendly. Chances are a document that can be scanned easily will be read.
• Title and Headers – should grab attention.
• Add graphs and charts where required. These visual aids keep the reader’s eye engaged and communicate important information quicker than text.
• Proof read and Edit – This is very important. Written documents must be edited and proof read to avoid errors and checked for clarity of ideas and flow of ideas.
People don’t have the time or the patience to figure out what you are trying to say. If you want to create a good impression and want the recipient to read your document, do a spell check and proof read. Avoid common grammatical errors.
Your email/report stands for you. Make it clear and smart. Being aware of what to say and how to say it is the first step to successful communication. It’s an ability we improve and hone the more we practise. Good luck!

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