Importance of Oral and Non-Verbal Communication Skills: Seven Points on How to Improve It

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Studies have proven that when we communicate feelings and attitudes, only a small portion come from the words that we use. As we communicate, we are using our senses. It is a very detailed processes that happens naturally. We received more information from body language, and tone than from the actual words that we use. According to a article published in workplace strategies for mental health. “55% of our message comes from body language (especially from movements of the small muscles around the eye which can convey shock, disbelief, doubt or disgust) – 38% of our message comes from tone of voice – Only 7% of our message is conveyed by the words we use (Mehrabian, 2007).

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Often our verbal and non-verbal messages are consistent, but they can sometimes be inconsistent. When someone is talking, and their tone is not matching their actions, we might not feel trustworthy of that person. It is very difficult to figure out what a person wants you to understand when they say that they are just fine, but their arms are crossed, and their face is tense. They are not very convincing that they are “just fine”.

The connection between oral and written skills are essential to learning and acquiring knowledge. “The development of spoken language plays a key role in the development of written language. For the children that are starting school it is easier for the children show already have a certain language skill—skills that are interrelated and start to develop at an early age. Some of these language skills include making sense of language, building a varied vocabulary, perceiving and reproducing language sounds, understanding the relationship between sounds and letters, having a precise knowledge of verbal grammar, varying sentence structure, and processing information, organizing ideas, and transmitting messages in a coherent manner.” (Sylvie Thivierge)

As I read this article, I understood that if a child obtains good oral communication skills before they start school, school tends to be easier for them. Their vocabulary is larger, they understand the relationship between sounds and letters and they have the knowledge of verbal grammar. When this knowledge is obtained it makes it easier for the student to become an effective writer. If these skills are not learned young, they can still be obtained at an older age, if the individual wishes to learn the needed skills top become an effective writer.

Oral and non-verbal communication skills are vital to business communication. Oral and non-verbal skills are used in business from the time that you apply for the job or open up your own business to the time that you retire. If you cannot communicate effectively in business, there will be problems. You can lose your job, or your business will fail. If you are opening your own business and you try to obtain customers with a frown on your face, or your arms crossed when someone is asking a question, you will not gain them as customers. If you send out a letter to customers and the tone of your letter is demeaning or does not stay on topic, you will lose that customer. Customers require a certain level of communication and when it is not delivered effectively, it is easy for the customer to become frustrated or lose complete interest. Communication is key to any success.

In business, there is a lot of talking going on. When you have business meetings, there is Verbal and Non-verbal communications happening. When you walk into the meeting and meet someone new, you should be saying hello, introducing yourself and extending a hand to shake. There should be a smile on your face letting them know that you are happy to see them. You are speaking volumes to the person that you are meeting with just the way that you carry yourself, the grip of the handshake and the tone of your words. You never get a second chance at a first impression. During the meeting, the way that you sit in your chair, the way that your hands are placed, your facial expressions. All these things are communications that everyone around you can understand, and you do not have to speak a word. The most common oral communication in business depends on what type of business you are dealing with. It can be a greeting, meetings to talk about budgets, planning meetings etc. However, no matter what business it is, there should always be communication.

With communication, there is a great responsibility. Oral and non-verbal communication comes with greater responsibility than written communication. There is a saying that I would hear as I was growing up. My parents and grandparents would say, “Actions speak louder than words.” When I was younger, I thought that they wanted me to do something physical. Just not, say I would do the laundry, but do it. As I have gotten older, I can see that this goes way beyond the laundry. My small action of rolling my eyes, folding my arms when being talked to, looking down when I was not engaged. All of these are actions. They are the non-verbal communication that I was sending to people around me. We have a great responsibility to engage correctly with people around us.

We need to make sure that when we speak, that we are using the correct tone and the correct grammar. We need to make eye contact, stand up straight, engage in the conversation. When we engage in the conversation, make sure that we are really listening and understanding what the other person is saying. We also need to make sure that they understand us. It is easy to write a letter and send it off, but if we do not know our audience and we do have the correct tone in our letter it can be very difficult for the reader to comprehend what we are wanting or needing. With written communication, you cannot see the person. They are not standing in front of you. You cannot see if they are smiling or if they are angry. They have no clues as to your non-verbal communication. They only have what you have written down. You must be able to convey your thoughts clearly in your writing. Sometimes we convey the wrong non-verbal message due to our stress level, our well being and distractions. It is important to learn to put some things aside and really concentrate on what is in front of you at that moment.

It is important to be serious about communication as a student. The skills that you can obtain during school will help you with the rest your life. There are seven points to think about to help you become a better at communicating.

  1. Thik before you speak – Organize your thoughts in advance, it will eliminate awkward pauses that happen when we speak. It will also help you relay your information more concisely.
  2. Be clear and concise – The most effective way to get your point across is to make it in a clear and concise manner. State your argument in direct language. Before speaking, ask yourself, “What is the clearest way I can make my point?”
  3. Speak with confidence – Speaking in a confident manner will help you build trust and command the respect of your audience. Some of the ways in which you can speak confidently, including your command of the subject matter, your word choice, the tone of your voice, your body language, and your ability to make direct eye contact with your audience.
  4. Vary your vocal tone – Speaking in a monotone voice is a surefire way to bore your audience. Add emphasis to the points that are important. Change the pitch of your voice to express the emotion that you want to convey. When you do these things, it will help keep your audience engaged in what you are saying.
  5. Be a good listener – When you can become a good listener you will build trust and rapport with the person that is talking. It will also improve the quality of your verbal interactions. It will show people that you are speaking with that you really care about their ideas and that you understand them.
  6. Be aware of your non-verbal communication cues – Your body language significantly impacts the way others interpret what you say. You need to make sure that your body language is the same as the message that you want to convey. Any conflicts between the two will cause confusion.
  7. Think about the perspective of your audience – When you are speaking to the audience, you need to remember that not everyone has the same knowledge as you. They don’t think like you do. You need to be able to speak on their level so that they will stay actively engaged in the conversation.

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