Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Secrets to Successful Verbal and Non-Verbal Communication

Spoken language is the medium that allows us to express ourselves and obtain information with other people. Those who can communicate well are likely to find additional success that others are unlikely to realize. A paper by Binod Mishra (2009) helps to define how both verbal and non-verbal components of language interact to create higher levels of communicative skill. 

He argues that social media interferes with our ability to communicate while writing reports and papers improve upon this ability. Social media such as texting might be more like “ttyl” or “brb”. The medium of cell phones limits full expression without significant effort and cost to the user in terms of contracts. Report writing, as seen in college, helps to encourage higher levels of expression. However, nothing compares to the verbal skills and non-verbal we use when communicating with others. 

Verbal Skills:

Verbal skills are the vocal messages we send to others. They can be figurative or literal. How loud we speak, the type of voice, pitch and pronunciation say something about us as a person as well as the message we are sharing. Most of us consciously focus on the verbal words but subconsciously pick up the non-verbal cues. 

Voice: This is the way in which we utilize our voice to give hints about our nature and attitude. 

Volume: People should be knowledgeable enough to lower or raise one’s voice based upon the audience and room acoustics. 

Pitch: Average rate of words between 120 and 175 words per minute. 

Pronunciation: The ability and skill to say the words correctly. 

Non-Verbal Cues:

Sigmund Freud once said, “He who has eyes to see and ears to hear can convince that no mortal can keep a secret. If his lips are silent, he chats with his finger tips, betrayal oozes out of him at every pore.”  The way in which we use our body impacts the other true meanings of our messages. When we align our body with our messages we make a more trustworthy communication style. 

Facial Expression: The face creates honest language based within our biological development. Feelings like pain, annoyance, and joy are common. The face also shows confusion, mischief, and many other thought processes. 

Eyes: The eyes are the “windows of our soul” and expresses truthfulness, intimacy, concern naughtiness, joy, surprise, curiosity, affection and love. Make eye contact with the target of your conversation. 

Body Movements: Gestures and postures also contribute to communication even when the speaker doesn’t know it. 

Silence and Pauses: Using pauses and silence can emphasis meanings and interest. 

In my experience, I have learned that it is more important to watch the person than it is to listen to what is literally being said. Each person comes with needs, desires, wants, and goals. Understanding them puts the message within a broader context and this could impact how you respond to such methods. If you watch closely enough and do it long enough you will learn things about people they haven’t yet recognized in themselves. 

Mishra, B. (2009). Role of paralanguage in effective English communication. The Icfai University Press; India

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