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Characteristics of Verbal Communication

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A lot of what is communicated is communicated through nonverbal communication. But the content of what is communicated almost always comes through verbal communication. In addition to the specific words that are chosen, individuals communicate quite a bit through the tone they use and also whether or not they abide by etiquette.

Mediums

Verbal communication is either face-to-face or public. Communicating face-to-face allows communicators to exchange ideas back and forth freely, while public speaking allows the back and forth exchange of ideas only in certain circumstances, like a classroom setting or during a question and answer session. However, in order to keep information flowing smoothly and clearly between the speaker and the audience, rules have to be negotiated as to when each individual can speak. Verbal communication does not just involve speech, since written communication conveys a specific idea and is a part of verbal communication.

Sound

At birth, everyone has the ability to make sounds. Some sounds have nothing to do with language or words, such as laughing, crying and yelling. Despite that, people with different languages can understand the emotion that the individual is communicating. Emotions and attitudes can also be communicated through the tone of the words. People have a tendency to show how they feel about the subject or the audience through the tone they present. Tone can completely shift the meaning of an uttered statement. For instance, if a statement is said sarcastically, others will likely believe the opposite of what is said.

Words

At some point, children learn how to put sounds into words. Words are sounds that are produced in such a way that people can distinguish them from other sounds. Not everyone will necessarily know the meaning of each individual word, so those wishing to communicate verbally need to make sure that those they're speaking to understand the intended meaning of the word.

Language

Languages are created when meaning is assigned to words. The language that a child is exposed to is the language that the child picks up. Individuals who want to verbally communicate to others speaking another language must not only learn the language but also understand how these words are used in common speech. For instance, a person learning English might know that accelerated is a synonym for fast but needs to understand that accelerated means a specific type of fast in which an individual is performing an action faster than before.

Etiquette

In addition to understanding, different cultures have systems of etiquette that determine what is said in order to avoid offending others. For instance, speakers often address their audience as ladies and gentlemen. In face-to-face communication, individuals often refer to each other as sir and madam.

Resources

About the Author

Charles Pearson has written as a freelancer since 2009. He has a B.S. in literature from Purdue University Calumet and is currently working on his M.A. He has written the ebooks "Karate You Can Teach Your Kids," "Macadamia Growing Handout" and "The Raw Food Diet."