Any communication that involves usage of language to communicate and share information with other people is known as verbal communication. Nowadays, most communication experts consider written as well as spoken communication to be a part of the overall verbal communication process. Depending upon the context, choice of words, and their interpretation, it can be formal communication or casual communication.
There are several components of effective verbal communication such as ability to speak clearly, listening skills and ability to analyse and explain.
According to the Mehrabian model of communication devised by Professor Mehrabian, one needs to integrate several non-verbal communication elements such as body language, tonality, facial expressions etc in the process of verbal communication. There are some basic attributes such as clarity of speech, remaining calm, polite and focused which are integral to the process of verbal communication.
Let’s take a look at some of the best ways to improve verbal communication skills that will help you in your professional journey:
Assess what you are going to say: Silence in a conversation is awkward, but taking strategic pauses before responding to a question will usually lead to a better and more cohesive answer. By pausing and reflecting on what you want to say allows you to organize the thoughts and avoid making any random statements or poorly worded responses which could go against you.
Be Concise in your response: Whether you are writing a response or making a verbal reply, carefully articulate yourself succinctly and clearly. This makes the audience grasp the message better and faster. Beating around the bush or going on elaborating where it is not required makes you come across as a poor communicator. The ability to communicate in lesser number of words without compromising the meaning of the communication is a great skill to help especially when your role requires issuing instructions.
Maintain the right tone: Tonality of the communication is of great essence whether you are speaking the words or writing a written message on chat or email. A friendly, warm and no-nonsense tone is ideal for professional world. At the same time, if you don’ t intonate properly and speak in a flat tone, it can come across as you being disinterested and boring.
Maintain the right body language: Body language is a crucial accessory for all communication. A relaxed body language such as not crossing the arms or standing in a stiff manner instils a sense of confidence and control and it will make people want to pay attention to you. A relaxed posture also comes across as welcoming and comfortable to others. Maintaining eye contact, a smile and reducing hand gestures are also good examples of a positive body language.
Active Listening: Often adequate attention is not paid to listening, but it is a core component of formal communication. Active listening skills allow you to give complete attention to others and enable you to hear their words and message correctly. This would also ensure that you make the right reply or further relay the communication correctly.
Confidence: Having a confident tone implies that you have full belief in what you say. At the same time, a wavering or disinterested tone would make you come across as someone who is unsure and less reliable.
Be who you are: Improving your communication skills, changing the way you speak and maintaining the right body language are important attributes. However, you must always come across as a genuine and transparent person in your communication. By that we don’t mean that you crack jokes in the middle of a strategic discussion or come to office wearing casual clothes. However, what it means is that your real persona, thoughts and work style should reflect in your communication.
Practice more: The tips and techniques to improve verbal communication as mentioned above are going to help you only if you constantly practice these. We all have strong habits of communication which can be changed only with persistent effort and practice.
Get feedback: Feedback and evaluation are critical for any improvement and learning processes. When you are focusing on improving your verbal communication skills, you can practice by talking to your friends and family members and asking them to provide honest feedback of areas where you need improvement and things that you are doing right. You can even seek the review of your trusted colleagues at work on presentations and group discussions etc.
Verbal communication is a crucial skill that can be improved with time. Now that you know the tips, go ahead, practice and become better each day!