The Art of Communicating – Verbally Speaking
Proper understanding comes with careful communication. We see it every day of our lives. Too many times, when we communicate with each other, the ideas and information we are trying to get across don’t quite make the divide. The art of communicating is a complicated endeavor, having multiple components, one of which is speaking.
If you’re worried about not communicating effectively, or you merely want to improve your current skill level, here are a few tips on how to master the art of communication – verbally speaking.
What is Verbal Communication?
For most people, when you say verbal communication, the image they get is someone speaking out loud, either to another person or a room of people. It’s all about the words. Well, not exactly. Verbal communication defines the use of words to convey an idea to another person, people, or even an object. There is nothing in the definition that says it has to be oral. It could be written, or as in the case of sign language, visual. But regardless of what form it takes, the basics are the same. There is an idea you want to get across, and hopefully, someone on the other end to receive it.
The Art and Skill of Communication
If we focus on verbal communication, and the idea of conveying an idea, then several skills can be developed to accomplish that goal. The first skill is choosing the right words for your information. Terms can be considered symbols. When you say the word “cat,” everyone who speaks the English language will have a basic idea of what you mean – some feline creature – because that is what we have accepted that word or symbol to mean.
The devil, of course, is in the details. You want people to know that you are speaking about a particular cat, so you add more information. Perhaps it’s a black and white stray cat that likes to hide in your back yard. By adding those few additional words, the idea of that particular cat, one that is two-toned, a bit skittish, and loves your back yard starts to take shape.
It’s Not All About The Words
Your tonal inflection, how fast or slow you speak, and the overall emotions that you convey while you talk are also vital to effective communication. Let’s take the example of the black and white cat mentioned earlier.
Let’s say you said the following: “I have a stray black and white cat that comes into my yard, but when I go outside to see it, it runs and hides.”
On the surface, it’s a pretty simple idea that your conveying. You routinely see a cat in your backyard, but when you go outside to take a closer look, it runs and hides.
The underlying meaning can be changed by the tone or inflection of your voice. If you have a slight quake in your voice as you speak, you might give the impression that you are afraid of the cat, or that you are disappointed that it runs and hides. If you have a more airy, light tone, it may give the impression that you find the whole situation rather humorous.
But depending on the speed in which the words are spoken, you can invoke a very different sensation. Try saying that same phrase rapidly, with the words close together, almost tumbling over each other. There is a sense of urgency, of almost panic attached to those words, or of excitement, and possibly disappointment. Now say that sentence slowly, deliberately, with each word separate and distinct. What type of feeling can you convey then? Perhaps a sense of wonderment, or even dread about the presence of the cat in your yard. Now say only the first part fast, and the other part slow. What sensation or emotion do you feel then?
Communicating is A Complex Process
It’s important to remember that communicating is a complex process that involves both verbal and non-verbal parts. To express your idea successfully, you need to take into consideration not only the words you choose, but how you present the words, and how the person you’re talking with may receive and interpret the information. But understanding the verbal component of what you want to communicate is a significant first step.