Verbal Communication

Verbal communication is a type of verbal communication in which messages are transmitted through spoken words. Here the sender gives words for his feelings, thoughts, ideas and opinions and expresses them in the form of speeches, discussions, presentations, and conversations.

The effectiveness of verbal communication depends on the tone of the speaker, clarity of speech, volume, speed, body language and the quality of words used in conversation. In the case of verbal communication, the feedback is immediate because there is a simultaneous sending and receiving of messages by the sender and receiver.

The success of verbal communication depends not only on an individual’s speaking ability but also on his listening skills. How effectively someone listens to the subject matter determines the effectiveness of communication. Verbal communication applies both in formal and informal situations.

Open Communication

In many interpersonal meetings, the first few minutes are very important because first impressions have a significant impact on the success of further communication.

Everyone has expectations and norms about how the initial meeting should proceed and people tend to behave according to expectations. If these expectations do not match, communication will not be effective or run smoothly, and some form of negotiation will be needed if the relationship will continue.

At the first meeting, appropriate formalities and greetings are usually expected: Such formalities can include a handshake, self-introduction, eye contact and discussions around neutral subjects such as the weather or your trip might be useful. Friendly dispositions and smiling faces are far more likely to encourage communication than blank faces, lack of attention or uninterested acceptance.

examples of verbal communication


The use of encouraging words in addition to non-verbal movements such as head nods, warm facial expressions and maintaining eye contact, are more likely to strengthen openness in others.

The use of encouragement and positive reinforcement can:

  • Invite others to participate in discussions (especially in group work)
  • Show interest in what other people say
  • Paving the way for the development and / or maintenance of relationships
  • Overcome fear and provide guarantees
  • Show warmth and openness.
  • Reduce shyness or nervousness about ourselves and others.

Listen effectively

Active listening is an important skill, but as a communicator, people tend to spend more energy remembering what they are going to say than listening to what others are trying to say.

The following points are very important for active and effective listening:

  • Create a comfortable and conducive atmosphere for communication purposes, for example a warm room and
  • Be prepared to listen.
  • Keep an open mind and concentrate on the main direction of the speaker’s message.
  • Avoid distractions if possible.
  • Postpone the assessment until you have heard everything.
  • Be objective.
  • Don’t try to think about your next question while someone else is giving information.
  • Don’t think about one or two points at the expense of the others.
  • The speaker must not be stereotyped. Try not to let the prejudices associated with, for example, gender, ethnicity, social class, appearance or clothing interfere with what is said. (See Personal Appearance)

Effective questioning is an important skill. Questions can be used to:

  1. Get information.
  2. Start a conversation.
  3. Test your understanding.
  4. Attract someone into the conversation.
  5. Showing interest in someone.
  6. Seek support or approval.

Closed Questions

Closed questions tend to only seek one or two word answers (often only ‘yes’ or ‘no’) and, as such, limit the scope of the response. Two examples of closed questions are “Are you traveling by car today?” and “Did you see the soccer match yesterday?” These types of questions mean the control of communication is maintained by the questioner, but this is often not the desired result when trying to encourage verbal communication. However, closed questions can be useful for focusing the discussion and getting clear and concise answers when needed.

Open Questions

Open questions broaden the scope of responses because they demand further discussion and elaboration. For example, “What kind of traffic is this morning?” or “What do you think you want to get from this discussion?” Open questions will take longer to answer, but they give others far more room for self-expression and encourage engagement in conversation.

Reflection and clarification

Reflection is the process of giving feedback to others for your understanding of what has been said. Although reflecting is a specific skill used in counseling, it can also be applied to various communication contexts and is a useful skill to learn.

Reflection often involves paraphrasing the message communicated to you by the speaker in your own words, capturing the essence of the facts and feelings expressed, and communicating your understanding back to the speaker. This is a useful skill because:

  • You can check whether you understand the message clearly.
  • The speaker gets feedback about how the message was received.
  • It shows interest in, and respect for, what others have said.
  • You show that you consider other people’s point of view

Sum up

A summary is an overview of the main points or issues raised. Summarizing can also serve the same purpose by ‘reflecting’. However, summarizing allows the two parties to review and approve the communication exchanged between them until then. When used effectively, a summary can also serve as a guide for the next steps forward.

Closing Communication

The way the communication is closed or ended will, at least in part, determine how the conversation is remembered.

A series of subtle, or sometimes not so subtle, signals is used to end the interaction. For example, some people might avoid eye contact, stand up, look away, or use behaviors such as looking at a watch or closing a notebook or book. All of these nonverbal actions show others that the initiator wants to end communication.

Closing the interaction too suddenly may not allow the other person to ‘end’ what he is saying so you have to make sure there is time for closure. Closing the interaction is a good time to make arrangements in the future. Last but not least, this time will no doubt be accompanied by a number of socially acceptable parting movements.


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