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Oral Communication

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Oral communication is that channel of communication in which a message is transmitted in spoken form. The term ‘oral’ means ‘anything pertaining to the mouth’. There are two components of oral communication. 

They are words and the manner in which words are pronounced. The process of expressing information or ideas by word of mouth is called oral communication. 

In this article you will learn all about oral communication – 

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Features of oral communication – 1. Speed and feedback 2. Record 3. Body language 4. Length

Fundamentals of effective oral  communication – 1. Precision 2.  Conviction 3. Clear Pronunciation 4. Brevity 5. Avoiding Hackneyed phrases and cliches 6.  Natural voice 7. Logical sequence 8.  Finding the right register 9. Appropriate word choice

Principles of successful oral communication  – 1. Clarity of expression. 2. Clear and correct 3. Develop trust 4. Appropriate tone 5. Pleasing tone.6. Be precise 7. Overcoming barriers 8. Timely feedback 9. Correct choice of medium 10. Appropriate usage of body language.

Advantages of oral communication  – 1. Speed  2. Immediate feedback 3 Economical 4. Synergy and mutual creativity 5.  Secrecy 6. Personal touch 7.  Non-Verbal clues 8. Suitable for emergencies 9. Harmonious relations 10. Group communication

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Disadvantages of oral communication – 1. Poor retention 2. Create the negative feelings 3. Provides no record for future 4. Not always be time saving 5. Misunderstood due to unclear message

Merits of oral communication  – 1.  It is a time-saving device 2. It is the most effective tool of persuasion 3.  It provides immediate feedback 4. It is also very economical 5. Very effective in interacting with groups 6. It provides ample scope to the sender of the message 7. It builds up a healthy climate 

Demerits of oral communication  – 1. Cannot be retained for a long time 2. Do not have any legal validity 3. Greater chances of misunderstanding

Techniques of oral communication  – 1. Eye contact 2. Face to Face conversation 3. Presentation 4. Tone of the voice  5. Body language   6. Gestures and postures 7. Interview 8. Public speech 9. Group discussion 10. Meetings

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Forms of oral communication  – 1. Informal face to face talk 2. Interviews 3. Group Communication 4. Speeches and Presentations

Methods of oral communication  – 

(A) Among individuals –  (i) Face-to-Face conversations (ii) Interviews (iii) Telephone Conversations (iv) Negotiation

(B) Among groups – (i) Grapevine (ii) Meetings (iii) Presentations (iv) Conferences (v) Seminars (vi) Symposium (vii) Group Discussion (viii) Team presentation (ix) Public Speaking/Speech

How to improve oral communication  skills ? – 1. Using positive words to challenge limiting beliefs 2. telling or reading a story 3. Asking the right questions 4. Think and prepare before you speak 5. Reduce your usage of verbal pauses 6. Avoid careless language

Oral communication toolkit – 1. Eye contact  2. Body language 3. Style 4. Understanding your audience 5. Visual aids 6. Handouts 7. Practice

Oral Communication

Oral communication is that channel of communication in which a message is transmitted in spoken form. The term ‘oral’ means ‘anything pertaining to the mouth’. There are two components of oral communication. They are words and the manner in which words are pronounced.

In oral communication, the sender and the receiver exchange their ideas through speech either in face to face talk or through some mechanical or electrical device. Thus, there are two levels of verbal communication. The first and highest level of communication channel is speaking in person face to face. 

This channel rates high because besides immediately exchanging words, we can see all signs of body language.Oral communication is indispensable for every individual and organisation. 

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No individual or organisation can exist and function without oral communication. For a professional, eloquence of speech is a must which has a dramatic effect on his professional and personal life. People judge others by the way they speak.

 From the quality of one’s voice and the manner of saying things, people deduce a great deal about one’s personality and feelings at the moment of speaking in particular. Whether one is feeling confident, shy, frightened, excited, depressed, charming, aggressive or friendly—is clearly judged from the way one speaks. 

Therefore, one should try to master the skill of speaking well. By improving one’s speech one can sell one’s positive image upon others.


What is Oral Communication?

The process of expressing information or ideas by word of mouth is called oral communication. It involves individuals conversing with each other. It includes face-to-face conversations, speech, telephonic conversation, video, radio, television, voice over internet. In oral communication, communication is influenced by pitch, volume, speed and clarity of speaking.


Features of Oral Communication

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The oral communication has the following features which are to be taken into account while choosing a particular form of communication to be used in an organization: 

1. Speed and Feedback:

The message in the verbal communication can be passed very speedily to the listener and the feedback can be attained quickly. The only thing is that the listener should be very attentive and he should understand the message perfectly. It forms a very quick link between the sender and the receiver. 

As a speaker one must always try to access his performance from the listener’s point of view. At the same time the speaker must take note of the listener’s reaction to his speech. 

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2. Record:

It is the fact that oral communication has no authenticity and the voice of the speaker can be edited and the message can be distorted. So no record of proof can be ascertained from verbal communication. However, recently the court is taking some legal action while presenting the verbal speech in record form. But mostly the oral communication is not an effective form in keeping records for future reference. 

3. Body Language:

The oral communication is only effective while it is supported by the speaker’s body language. Effective body language can make oral communication more effective. It increases the intensity and accuracy of the message. The speaker can control the style of delivery, giving meaning to words and sentences by facial expressions and gestures. 

4. Length: 

An oral message is always lengthy, as in speech many things can be described in a short time. By this process the speaker can elaborately explain what he wants to speak and also can clear any doubt of the listener. By this he can make an elaborate explanation from the listener’s point of view in detail.


Characteristics of Oral Communication

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The characteristics of oral communication are given here: 

1. Oral communication is more natural; 

2. It develops the immediate effectiveness among the partners; 

3. It is a source to make informal contact and relations; 

4. It requires that both parties should be present and attentive at the same time; 

5. It may develop some communication bias for formal and informal interactions; 

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6. It requires that the persons as individual and as group to develop their contentment involve in it; 

7. It shows some personal success and achievements of an individual; 

8. In respect to get record of the message, the oral message may be taped for later references; 

9. In order to prepare the message appropriate, justified and shorter, it is needful to prepare some preliminary and closing remark in the message; 

10. The cost of this communication depends upon the size and time of message transmission moreover the presence of partners is also an important aspect in determining cost factors; 

11. It develops and allows immediate feedback. There is continuous exchange of ideas and views. The speaker can modify and clarify the message on the spot. 


Fundamentals of Effective Oral Communication 

(i) Precision: Precision can make oral communication very effective. Instead of saying ‘total these invoices as early as possible’, it is preferable to specify the time and say ‘could you kindly total these invoices and bring them back to me in half an hour’s time.’ ‘Come to the office early tomorrow’ is not as good as ‘could you reach the office tomorrow by 8 o’clock since all these letters have to be dispatched by the first mail.’ 

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(ii) Conviction: A person communicating orally must have conviction in what he says. Lack of conviction causes lack of confidence, so that he is not able to impress the receiver with the message. 

Conviction comes from sincerity of approach and careful thinking and planning. Careful analysis and objective evaluation of the message while formulating it also promotes the speaker’s conviction in it. 

(iii) Clear Pronunciation: The first important pre-requisite of effective oral communication is that words should be pronounced clearly and correctly. Oral messages are often misunderstood because the speaker does not talk distinctly. 

Inability to use the jaws freely, to speak with a limber tongue and limber lips, and to speak slowly often makes for poor oral transmission. 

If a person tries to talk as fast as he thinks, his words will run to gather and get rammed into one another, so that when he intends to ask ‘what did you have?’ He will succeed only in saying ‘wajuhave? 

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(iv) Brevity: People take pleasure in talking, so oral communication tends to suffer from over-communication. But if a speaker keeps on talking for long, his message will get lost in a sea of verbosity and distraction. It is important to keep the message as brief as possible without appearing a brunt and discourteous. 

(v) Avoiding Hackneyed Phrases and Cliches: Speakers, often when they are groping for words, make use of hackneyed phrases like ‘what I mean’, ‘do you follow’, ‘is not it’, ‘I see’, etc. 

Such words and phrases interrupt the flow of their speech and impede quick grasp of meaning. They are used unconsciously, but the speakers should take deliberate pains to exclude them from their speech. 

(vi) Natural Voice: Some speakers deliberately cultivate an affected style under the impression that it would make them look more sophisticated. Nothing is farther from truth, and nothing impresses so much as the natural way of speech. 

One of the manuals for office employees in an American firm says, ‘The most effective speech is that which is correct and at the same time natural and unaffected. Try to tone down an unusual accent and discard all affectations of speech. Try to cultivate a pleasing voice and speak clearly and distinctly.’ 

(vii) Logical Sequence: If the speaker has given a proper thought to his message, he will be able to arrange the various ideas contained in it in their logical sequence. Jumbled ideas create confusion, while logically arranged ideas make the message forceful. 

(viii) Finding the Right Register: B. Maude in his book ‘Practical Communication’ for Managers’ says that people belonging to different social, cultural and educational levels use different kinds of language. 

If educated groups need five words to understand an idea, uneducated groups may need ten. Educated people use more nouns, uneducated ones, more verbs. 

An efficient communicator senses distinctions of this type and adjusts his speech according to the needs of his listeners. This is finding the right register. 

According to him, an efficient oral communicator tunes into the listener’s wavelength by subtly, and perhaps unconsciously, adjusting his vocabulary, loudness, speed of delivery and accent. The good oral communicator is almost multilingual. 

(ix) Appropriate Word Choice: Words have different meanings for different people. So it is important to be careful in the choice of words. The speaker, while speaking something, knows what he means, so he presumes that his listener also does so, which may be a wrong presumption. 

In oral communication it is more important to use the terms familiar to the listener rather than the terms that are familiar to the speaker.


Principles of Successful Oral Communication

1. Clarity of expression. 

2. Clear and correct pronunciation of words. 

3. Develop trust by creating interest in listeners. 

4. Appropriate tone for the situation. 

5. Pleasing tone. 

6. Be precise with the message to be communicated. 

7. Avoid communication overload. 

8. Variations in sound pitch to grab the attention of the listeners. 

9. Overcoming barriers of communication (time, distance and noise). 

10. Timely feedback. 

11. Correct choice of medium. 

12. Sequence, coherence and consistency in contents. 

13. Appropriate usage of body language. 


Need of Oral Communication

1. Improve academic performance. 

2. Increase employment options. 

3. Enhance professional competence. 

4. Improve personal effectiveness. 

5. Interact effectively and productively in and on behalf of the organisation. 

6. Listen and convey the information accurately. 

7. Give instructions and explanations clearly. 

8. Engage in constructive debate and contribute to meetings and committees which are fundamental to the success of the organisation. 


Advantages of Oral Communication

Oral communication offers the following advantages: 

(1) Speed. Oral communication is a speedy medium of communication. It takes a few minutes to convey the message either through face-to-face talk or through telephonic talks. Unlike written communication, it does not require time to be spent on dictating, drafting, printing, proof-reading, revising and recopying. 

(2) Immediate Feedback. In oral communication, immediate feedback is possible. With this, the communicator can immediately clarify the message in case of any doubt by the receiver. This is not possible in written communication that takes time to prepare the written message. 

(3) Economical. Oral communication is an economical means of communication. It does not require incurring expenditure on stationery and consumption of the administrative staff’s time as is noticed in written communication. 

(4) Synergy and mutual creativity. Oral communication, if taken place in a calm and harmonious manner, promotes synergistic ideas and mutual creativity among different persons. Two brains can think in a quicker and better way. With this, they can arrive at better proposals and solutions than thought by one man alone. 

(5) Secrecy. Oral communication can ensure secrecy as written records can be ignored. With this, confidential information is transmitted that may leak through the study of written records. 

(6) Personal touch. Oral communication provides the advantage of personal touch as managers through the influence of their personality can enhance the impact of the message. Such a unique advantage is not possible in the case of written communication. 

(7) Non-Verbal clues. Oral communication also offers the advantage of enhancing the impact through body language. Sometimes words could not be understood, but the receiver can understand the message by taking clues from non-verbal aspects of the communication. 

(8) Suitable for emergencies. Oral communication is more suitable in case of emergency situations as it ensures speed and immediate clarification. Due to immediate clarification, chances of misunderstanding and misinterpretation of the message are reduced. 

(9) Harmonious Relations. Oral communication is a more effective medium of communication for creating and maintaining harmonious relations among various staff members. It has been noticed that issuing memos usually provokes resentment and retaliation among staff members. While in the situation of oral communication, managers can build a conducive environment for discussion and debate. 

(10) Group Communication. Through oral communication, group communication is possible as different persons can discuss some issues. Therefore, this form of communication is used in conferences, meetings and seminars where different people interact with one another. 


Disadvantages of Oral Communication

The disadvantages of oral communication can be summarised here: 

  1. There is poor retention, as the listener cannot retain oral message in his memory for a long time, while the speaker himself may not recall what he actually said; 
  2. The dumbest comments, wrong messages as well as using unsocial words may create the negative feelings of listens; 
  3. It provides no record for future reference and as such it has not legal validity; 
  4. Sometime it may not always be time saving as there are certain and different circumstances in the society; 
  5. Sometimes it is likely to be confused and misunderstood due to unclear message partial message, poor vocal expressions and noise and inattentiveness of the partners; 
  6. It is not suitable for transmitting lengthy messages; 
  7. In most of the cases people take less care, when speaking process have developed than the writing process; 
  8. If there is a long distance between speaker and listener, then there may arise some obstacles in it; 
  9. If these have been some unhealthy or bad relations between speaker and listener, then there will be certain obstacles or problems may arise.

Merits of Oral Communication

Some of these merits of oral communication are given below: 

(i) It is a time-saving device: While a letter, dictated and typed, entered in the diary, put in the envelope and carried to the person addressed will take a long time, oral transmission of the message makes the communication immediately effective. 

That is why many skilful managers cut down on paperwork and save time by calling up their juniors or walking up to their superiors. 

(ii) It is the most effective tool of persuasion: as it lends a personal touch to the whole business. Resolving a conflict will not be possible in the absence of oral communication. Unless a manager/supervisor ‘talks’ to the workers in a persuasive tone, the conflict will remain there. No exchange of letters can achieve what a meeting can. 

(iii) The greatest advantage of oral communication is that it provides immediate feedback and clarification. People listening to the speaker can ask questions, make comments, and add to the information provided and so on.

Both — the speaker and the listener/listeners — by turn can enter into a kind of short dialogue and make the whole communication event purposeful. 

(iv) It is also very economical, both in terms of money and time: It saves the money spent on stationery in organisations in which the managers insist on every instruction, and every message in writing. 

(v) In continuation of the previous point wise one can see that oral communication is very effective in interacting with groups. The speaker can immediately understand the group’s reaction and arrive at a satisfactory conclusion by putting his views across and exchanging points. 

(vi) It provides ample scope to the sender of the message to make himself clear by suitably changing his words, voice, tone, pitch, etc. On the other hand, the words once written cannot be changed. 

In other words, the message once transmitted in written form cannot be retracted/withdrawn. Oral communication on the other hand, has the advantages of on-the-spot adaptation/withdrawal/improvement. 

(vii) It builds up a healthy climate in the organisation by bringing the superior and the subordinate together. This gives the subordinate a feeling of importance and the superior a better understanding of his mind. Informal or planned meetings can sufficiently contribute to the understanding of problems/issues in which they become partners.


Demerits of Oral Communication

(i) Oral messages cannot be retained for a long time. In about a month’s time, not more than 20 per cent of the original message may have been retained. Since these messages are nowhere to be found in the record books, we cannot refer back to them in figure. 

(ii) Lengthy messages are not suitable for oral transmission, for there is every likelihood of something of vital importance being missed. 

(iii) Oral communication is not possible if the communicator and the receiver are far removed from each other and no mechanical devices are available to connect them. 

(iv) Oral messages do not have any legal validity unless they are typed and made a part of permanent record. 

(v) Although oral messages offer a greater opportunity for clarification, there are also inherent greater chances of misunderstanding. The speaker often gives the message without having properly organised it earlier. 

So it is quite possible that he may not be able to make himself quite clear. Or the receiver may miss the message on account of his inattentiveness. 


Techniques of Oral Communication

There are certain methods or techniques for oral communication. These techniques have been useful for both the parties for channelising the message from one person to the others. 

These techniques are stated here: 

1. Eye Contact – The eye contact among some persons or from one person to the others is also a part of oral communication. This contact can develop or add some signifying status of transmitting the words. It is a part of face to face presence and expressions of partners. 

2. Face to Face Conversation – The face to face conversation is the best and practical aspect in oral communication. It denotes personal identification & develops immediate and direct flow of communication and makes a close presence of the living personality. 

3. Presentation – A presentation is a well-prepared talk, written presentation or a speech to known and unknown persons. Mostly, a presentation is always followed by the questions from the audience. 

4. Tone of the Voice – The oral message can get a technical status through a tone of the voice which occurs by sender. The tone of voice like pleasant, unpleasant, fast speed, pitch variation, volumes and pause etc. develop the channel of oral message. 

5. Body Language – This communication can be supported and developed by the speaker’s body language. Generally, the body movements of a person are guided by his thoughts, feelings and behaviour. The different movements of part of our body like head, eye, face, gestures, body shape and postures can provide some oral communication to others. 

6. Gestures and Postures – Gestures and postures refer to the movement of our arms, legs and hands which can develop positive or negative impressions among the other persons. 

7. Interview – An interview is a formal or informal meeting in which a person or a group of persons discuss a matter with another person. It is characterised by a question and answer type of oral communication. 

8. Public Speech – A public speech is given to a large audience. Basically it has a face to face conversation and it aims to develop transmission of messages from speaker to listeners or audience. 

9. Group Discussion – It is a formal or an informal meeting consisting of about eight to ten persons discussing a given topic. It is a very stimulating and better platform for channelising the oral message to other partners. 

10. Meetings – Meetings also have a part of the channels of oral communication. A meeting usually involves many persons and it is directed or guided by a person, who has the leading capacity to manage the communication process properly. 


Forms of Oral Communication

Oral communication usually takes place in any of the following forms: 

(1) Informal face to face talk. 

(2) Interviews 

(3) Group Communication 

• Debates or Group Discussions 

• Meetings 

• Conferences 

• Committees 

(4) Speeches and Presentations 

(1) Informal face to face talks 

Informal face-to-face talk takes place outside the formally prescribed and planned organisational network. It occurs spontaneously and beyond organisational hierarchy. There are no set rules and no particular direction. It is multidirectional and strengthens the social relations among organisational members. Sometimes it assumes the form of false and baseless rumours. 

(2) Interviews 

Interview is a planned and structured conversation between two parties in which at least one person has a specific and serious purpose. Face to face conversation is more informal, casual and spontaneous. But the interview is more formal, serious and structured. 

(3) Group Communication 

Oral communication also assumes the form of group communication. Group is a gathering of two or more persons interacting and influencing each other through the process of communication. 

These groups may be formal groups—explicitly designed as part of the organisational structure— such as committees, task forces, quality circles, etc. they may also be informal groups which emerge spontaneously without deliberate design in the organisational hierarchy. 

The group communication takes place in the following forms: 

(a) Debate or Group Discussion. In debate and group discussion where various members contribute to the theme with arguments in favour and against. 

(b) Meetings. A meeting is any focused conversation of members that has a specific purpose which is mentioned in its agenda. The meetings require proper and timely notice along with agenda, quorum (minimum attendance) chairman and formal record of the proceedings (minutes). 

(c) Conferences. A conference is people’s gathering of people for consulting, discussing certain matters and exchanging views. This is usually focused on a particular theme. 

(d) Committees. Committee is a group of people, either appointed or elected, commuted with a certain task(s) or matter(s). 

(4) Speeches and Presentations 

Speeches and presentations involve the oral communication by one speaker to the large number of audience members. They involve the same principles of oral communication and provide the advantage of influencing people with enthusiasm and confidence. 

Speeches are more formal and are delivered on formal occasions whereas presentations are usually short and less formal and are delivered with demonstrations of audio-visual aids followed by answers to questions from the audience. 


Methods of Oral Communication

Oral communication can be to individuals or to groups of people according to the situation or as may be desired. 

The common methods of verbal communication among individuals or groups are as follows: 

(A) Among Individuals: 

(i) Face-to-Face Conversations:

Oral communication is best when it is face-to-face. A face-to-face is possible between two individuals or a small group of persons at an interview, or in a small meeting and communication can flow both ways in these situations. There is immediate feedback, which makes clarification possible. 

(ii) Interviews: 

Interview is a classic example of communication that takes place through the process by which meanings are exchanged between people through the use of a common set of symbols. It is a purposeful interpersonal communication between two individuals. In terms of structure and format, an interview is a more formal form of verbal communication. 

(iii) Telephone Conversations: 

Telephonic conversation is made between two people for a definite purpose. It is one of the commonest and fastest ways of contacting persons. It is simple to handle and economical to pocket. An answering machine can be attached to the telephone to take a message if you cannot answer it. 

Caller identity devices attached to the telephone can show the number from which the incoming call is being made. Therefore it has been termed as a ‘priceless means of communication.

(iv) Negotiation: 

Negotiation is a process by which two parties interact to resolve a conflict jointly”. According to J.L.Grahm, negotiation is a “face-to-face decision making process between parties concerning a specific product”. According to J .A. Wall, “negotiation is a process in which two or more parties exchange goods or services and attempt to agree on the exchange rate for them.” 

(B) Among Groups:

(i) Grapevine: 

Grapevine is a structureless network of informal communication. Generally grapevine carries two types of information. One is work-related and the other is person-related. When this information is not kept informed through formal channels, they seek information from the grapevine. 

This informal channel carries unofficial information about the management’s policies and plans, about the activities of individual managers, work programs, the company’s performance, and such matters related to the companies. 

(ii) Meetings:

A meeting usually involves many people. It is a highly structured event. There is a fixed agenda and the persons attending the meeting are informed about the agenda well advanced. The meeting is perhaps the most commonly used form of discussion in a professional organization. Every meeting is result oriented and therefore the discussion is directed towards a specific end. 

(iii) Presentations:

Presenting the subjects effectively is extremely crucial for success in most positions in a formal working environment. It is a formal talk delivered to one or more people, which presents ideas or information in a clear and structured way. 

(iv) Conferences:

A conference is a type of group meeting. The participant and subject matter spectrums are wider than those of a seminar or symposium. In a conference a wide range of activities are undertaken under one roof. The purpose of the conference is to confer with persons having similar interests and also to pool their experiences and opinions. Thus a conference is a closed group discussion. 

(v) Seminars:

A seminar refers to the discussion in a small grouping where the result of original research or advanced study is presented through oral or written reports. Generally, one person presents a lead paper incorporating his findings and there is an in depth discussion on the material presented. The main purpose of a seminar is to share knowledge and to get the viewpoints of equally well-informed persons. 

(vi) Symposium:

A symposium is a small group of experts or well informed persons, who discuss different aspects of a problem for the benefit of an audience. Each speaker is allotted a certain amount of time for his presentation. It is meant for a programme containing large gatherings. 

(vii) Group Discussion:

A group discussion is a discussion among participants to have an agreed topic. It allows the participants to exchange information and ideas. Each participant can stimulate the ideas of the other people present, and through a process of discussion, a collective view can be derived as a matter of consensus. 

(viii) Team Presentation:

A team presentation is a coordinated effort by its members who plan, organize and deliver a unified message aimed at achieving a common purpose. Team presentations present tremendous opportunities to create something much more than a single individual can do. 

The most important aspect about a team presentation is that it should look as a united effort, not a loosely connected part. The entire team must understand and agree on the overall aim of presentation of the theme. 

(ix) Public Speaking/Speech:

The most difficult part of oral communication is public speaking. Most of us feel uncomfortable in a large gathering, but with constant efforts one can communicate effectively with the public. 

Developing public speaking skills require specific attention on topic selection, organizing the speech, developing confidence and analyzing the audience. Generally a speech is delivered on a social occasion. Its purpose is to give a light and cheerful talk. Delivering an effective speech is an asset for everyone’s success. 


Tips for Effective Oral Communication

The various tips to improve oral communication are as follows: 

1. Speak only when what you’re about to say is more interesting than silence. 

2. Use concrete and clear language that allows only one interpretation. This prevents confusion and misunderstandings. 

3. Talk loud and clear. Control your breathing, articulate well and smile to sound confident and relaxed. 

4. Don’t be afraid to insert silences. They help you to pick your words, create positive tension and keep the listener alert. 

5. Use predominantly visual words and phrases. People think in images. 

6. Vary your speech melody and rhythm. It’s the tone that makes the music. 

7. Avoid thinking out loud. It can be risky to reveal your thought process. 

8. Activate the other person if he or she is not actively listening to you. Keep silent, make a compliment or ask an open question. 

9. Use positive words and phrases. They create a positive atmosphere and get people in a good mood. 

10. Avoid the word ‘not’ (can’t, won’t, don’t,…). Why say ‘not bad’ if you mean it’s good? 

11. Banish these words from your vocabulary, as they either sound negative or express doubt- could, would, should, think, maybe, possibly, cost, price, expensive,…

12. Use the present tense as much as possible to boost persuasiveness. 

13. Every now and then use jargon or specialist terms, but immediately explain them in daily speech. It’s a great way to show your expertise and build trust. 

14. Adjust your speech to the listener. Mirroring the other person makes them feel relaxed and encourages them to open up. 

15. Regularly paraphrase your own words and those from your conversational partner to avoid miscommunication. 

16. Use alternative questions to quickly get an opinion, action or decision. People don’t like too many options. 

17. First, tell yourself what you want to hear from the other person. People are inclined to mirror others. 

18. Watch your intonation, pitch and volume. Don’t talk too loud, too soft, too fast or too slow. 

19. Break up long, combined questions into separate single ones. 

20. Leave a short pause after every important message. This gives the other person the time to process and fully understand what you’re saying. 

21. Talk slower than the other person thinks. Think faster than the other person talks.


How to make Oral Communication Effective

The precautions as given here may be taken to make oral communication more effective: 

1. The speaker should use his natural way of speech. He may cultivate a pleasing voice, easy words with some natural styles. 

2. A good speaker must understand the listener before talking. He should put himself in place of the listener, prepare and adjust his message according to the needs, abilities and situations of listeners. 

3. The speaker should not use irrelevant, baseless things and messages. Here, he must evaluate, find out the situation and requirements of the audience. 

4. The speaker should pronounce his words clearly and correctly. He tries to speak distinctly, properly and slowly. The clarity of expression must be the basic aim of oral conversation. 

5. The speaker should monitor his speed of speaking. It is so important to learn and imbibe the appropriate speed of dialogue delivery. 

6. The message should not overload and it must avoid the appearance of abrupt and discourteous. Moreover, it should not be vague or incomplete in all respects. 

7. There is a need to prepare a logical sequence of different ideas, viewpoints and information as being involved in a message. The part or components of the message should be arranged in a logical order. 

8. To provide some chance or to allow your listeners to clear their doubts as well as to solve the queries etc.


Oral Communication Toolkit

As a speaker there are several elements of oral communication that one needs to be aware of in order to learn how to use them to one’s advantage. 

Some of these are listed below: 

1. Eye Contact:  

Maintaining eye contact with your audience is the simplest thing you can do to establish a relationship. Eye contact serves many purposes. 

Such as: 

(a) It establishes that the parties are listening. 

(b) It indicates receptiveness from the listener. 

(c) It is a basic expressive form as a speaker can learn a lot from the audience just by reading what their eyes are saying. 

2. Body Language: 

As a speaker, the messages you send through your body language affects how your audience perceives you. Whether you are interacting one on one or with an auditorium of 200 people, the effectiveness of your message is affected by how you carry yourself. For example, when speaking to a large audience, crossing arms is seen as bad body language. 

It shows that as the speaker you are closed off from the audience, which reflects negatively on your attitude towards the audience and your topic. Body language is the most easily visible aspect of communication. It therefore helps the receiver of the message in decoding the message. Body language completes verbal communication. 

It helps in establishing cordial rapport. A resourceful manager can make very effective use of it. The most demerit part of body language is it cannot be wholly relied on. There is every possibility of miss-interpretation. In the case of large participants gathering, it cannot be effective. 

3. Style:

The tone and pace of speech affect how your audience responds to you. The speaker has to match his tone to that of his audience. A speaker should not be too arrogant or ignorant. Rather he should be confident at a basic level so that he will not lose credibility before his audience. The pace of speech is very important. The speaker should give more time to his audience to understand the speech. 

4. Understanding Your Audience:

It is vital on the part of a speaker to understand his audience well as understanding the audience is a part of effective communication. The tone of the speaker also should be used according to the type of audience he has to face. 

5. Visual Aids: 

As a presenter, it is his responsibility to reach out to as much of the audience as possible to address the variety of learning styles they may have. For this a presenter may take help of different visual aids to make it big, simple, and clear. 

6. Handouts:

Using handouts as a supplement to the discussion may be helpful on the part of a presenter. But the audience should not be distracted by the handouts. It is better; the presenter should note some important points and figures for the audience. 

7. Practice: 

A successful presenter should practice several times before presenting before a mirror to increase his confidence in his speech. As all know, practice makes a man perfect, by continuous practice the speaker feels comfortable in his presentation. In this way he can overcome stage fright. The best way to overcome stage fright is preparation. 


Limitations of Oral Communication

Oral communication suffers from following limitations: 

(1) Lack of evidence. In oral communication, there is no documentary record. Consequently, it cannot become legal evidence in the eyes of law. Moreover, matters discussed through mutual discussions cannot be used for future references. 

(2) Lengthy message. If the message is too lengthy, it defeats the purpose of communication as human memory cannot retain things for a long time. Moreover, lengthy messages are likely to create misunderstanding of the message. 

(3) Costly. Usually oral communication proves costly and time-consuming when the persons interacting deviate from the purpose of the conversation and indulge in useless and directionless talks. 

(4) Misunderstandings. In oral communication, misunderstandings and misinterpretations usually occur when the receiver distorts the message. With this, the purpose of communication gets defeated. 

(5) Noise. Oral communication is prone to noise resulting from loud talks, disturbances in telephone lines, etc. As a result, the effectiveness of the communication gets reduced. 

(6) Speaker’s ineffectiveness. Effectiveness of oral communication largely depends upon the speaker’s ability to convey the message in a clear and complete way. If the speaker is unable and ineffective to do so, the listener’s interest cannot be retained. This communication process is adversely affected. 

(7) Geographical distances. When the sender and receiver are sitting at different places, face-to-face oral communication is impossible. Use of telephone and teleconferencing means incurring heavy costs. In such situations, written communication, especially email, is the most cost effective and speedy means of communication. 

(8) Attitudinal problems. When the sender and receiver have personal biases and prejudices against each other, oral communication is likely to generate more heat than light. Argumentation and discussion will tend to be more destructive than constructive. Such a situation should be avoided. 


Utility of Oral Communication

Oral communication is useful in the following directions:

(i) When the information has to be kept a secret.

(ii) When it is not possible to give a written form to the information.

(iii) When some message is to be given to a large group of people.

(iv) When the receiver is illiterate.


How to Improve Oral Communication Skill?

Oral  communication requires the use of words, vocabulary, numbers and symbols and is organized in sentences using language. Mastering linguistic skill is not reserved for the selected few but is a skill that each and every one should develop to improve relationships and interactions. 

Here are some tips to improve oral communication skills: 

1. Using Positive Words to Challenge Limiting Beliefs:

Verbal communication includes phrasing the words clearly and positively. This will create confidence in the mind of the listeners. 

2. Telling or Reading a Story: 

One of the ways to let others understand the message is by telling a story, reading a quote or telling a joke. Verbal communication through stories carries power to induce the person to relate to what you are saying or suggesting. A joke usually helps people relax more and is open to listen to you. The way the story is delivered can affect the thinking, emotions and behaviour of the listeners. 

3. Asking the Right Questions:

Questioning yourself or others with precise words allow for answers. It makes a difference if you were to ask a “why” or a “how” question. The former gives you a lot of reasons, understandings and explanations, while the latter sets your brain thinking for a solution, useful information and strategy. 

By asking questions and by wording them specifically, you will invite a positive debate and interaction that will benefit all involved. You become a better listener and entice others to do the same. Unnecessary arguments are reduced when you are able to express yourself with great command of your language skills. 

4. Think and Prepare before You Speak:

Whether you are going to speak in public, talk to your boss, spouse or children, you have to think before speaking anything. Verbal abuse happens when you express yourself without thinking and instead allow your emotions to take over. You have to project your thoughts first in your mind or in writing before speaking them out. 

Doing this will enable you to prepare yourself with any objections that may arise. Thinking, preparing and imagining the most desirable outcome in your mind allows you to practice your presentation and get them right. 

5. Reduce Your Usage of Verbal Pauses:

Too much use of words like “ah”, “um” or “well” will irritate your listeners or is perceived as uneasiness or uncertainty in what you are saying. In order to reduce the unnecessary verbal cues, listen to you and become aware of it. Then when you realize it is coming, condition yourself to just a silent pause. 

6. Avoid Careless Language: 

Use your phrases with care. Talk and write in your experience, thoughts or ideas. Don’t expect people to assume and guess what you are trying to say. Speak with specificity by avoiding words like always, never, every, or all.


Listening as a Part of Oral Communication

Listening is the receiver’s activity in oral communication. Of all skills of communication, listening is the most important of all. A manager has to spend more time listening to others than speaking. It is no doubt that most people are not good listeners, but the skill of listening can be improved by understanding the steps involved in the process of listening. 

Listening is the accurate perception of what is being communicated. It is the art of hearing and understanding what someone is saying. It involves four major operations. 

These are hearing, understanding, retaining and recalling. It is a mental activity and it is a two-way exchange in which both parties involved must always be receptive to the thoughts, ideas and emotions of the other. Poor listening may defeat the very purpose of oral communication. 

To improve the ability to listen the following 10 points can be used effectively:

  1. One must stop talking before one can listen. This is because unfortunately most of us want to talk only to listen. 
  2. The speaker must feel comfortable while speaking; otherwise the listener cannot get better output from the speaker. 
  3. The speaker should get a scope that the listener is attentive and has interest in his speech. The listener should give the impression that he is listening to the speech rather than opposing. One should remove distractions while listening. 
  4. One should be patient while listening to the speech. 
  5. Any doubt, questions can only be asked after the end of the speech. However, it is true that asking the question shows an open mind and proves that listening activity is continuing. 
  6. Anger is the worst enemy of communication as it builds a wall among the participants in the communication process. Therefore one should hold his temper during the communication. 
  7. Be friendly towards the speaker. 
  8. Observe the nonverbal signals i.e. the body movement, the facial expression and gestures to get the total message. 
  9. The listener should look at the eyes of the speaker. 
  10. Accept criticism while listening. 

Difference between oral and written communication

Oral Communication 

  1. Oral Communication takes place through the media such as face to face, Teleconferencing, Telephone, voice mail
  2.  Feedback is faster in case of oral communication.
  3. In oral communication, the communication can immediately clarify the message sent immediately.
  4.  Oral Communication is suitable for conveying emergency messages.
  5. In oral communication wide access is not possible.

Written  Communication 

  1. Written messages are transmitted through fax, e-mail, courier, telex, telegrams, etc.
  2. Feedback is slower in written communication.
  3. In written communications it is not possible to clarify any doubts about the message if the receiver has any doubt.
  4. Written communication takes time in drafting and producing the matter. Written communication works better in formal ways of Communication when permanent records are to be maintained.
  5. Written communication has wide access.

Conclusion

From the above discussion, it gives a clear picture on oral communication i.e. oral communication as a part of communication process provides ample opportunities among the people in the organization to express their views, feelings, thoughts in an informal way. 

But this informal communication provides a lot of information on the workings of the organization and this is very much helpful for superior managers of the organization to get the real feedback of the activities of the organization. In other ways, oral communication, in the form of formal communication, creates an environment for closer discussion amongst members of the organization on a particular subject for the development of the organization in total. 

The various forms of verbal communication make the process more effective. Listening as a part of oral communication has its own significance. Considering its advantages, oral communication plays a vital role in the everyday operation of the organization. 

Within a very short time a message can be transferred to the receiver’s point and simultaneously feedback can be derived. Therefore, it is rightly said- that oral communication is the lifeblood of each and every organization.

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