Saturday, March 30, 2019

Verbal Communication Skills

Verbal communication skills are essential to express yourself in an effective and positive manner. Most often, it is not what you know but how well you can express what you know is what matters in presentations, extempore speech, group discussions and interviews. So, how do you enhance your verbal communication skills to speak more effectively to create a positive impact on your listener(s)? In this article, we shall cover some basic techniques like structuring, sound scripting, tonal modulation and pace control along with the use of communication enhancers such as emphatic expressions, phrasing and action oriented words to enhance your verbal communication.  


Techniques for effective verbal communication enhancement:

STRUCTURING 

Structuring your sentences is important to express clarity of thought and ideas, and convey what you want to say in a meaningful, easy to understand manner. Structuring involves breaking your script (what you want to say) into separate, logical parts, then combining them to make a progressive, meaningful sequence, with one idea leading to the next in a smooth flow. There are basically two ways in which you can structure your communication. The first is called the Down-Flow Sequence and the second is called the Reverse-Flow Sequence method:

 

1. Down-Flow Sequence:

This is used when youre going to speak on some topic. Youll be able to perform better if you frame your thoughts and ideas in logically structured sequence such as:

A-Opening statement or Greeting
B-Theme or topic introduction                                            
C-Giving/ your views regarding the topic (depends on the topic youre covering)
D-Elaborating on the Pros and Cons of the issue
E-Discussing existing & prospective solutions to resolve the issue
F-Summarizing the topic
G-Giving a concluding comment
    

2. Reverse-Flow Sequence:

This method is ideally suited for giving a self-presentation/or self introduction. It involves structuring your personal information in a reverse progression – from the most relevant to the least relevant, as per the following sequence:
  
A-Your name
B-Your career objective or goal                                              
C-Your areas of knowledge and skills
D-Your practical training or work experience
E-Your Achievements
F-Your special or extra-curricular activities & hobbies
G-Your personal details like family background and place of origin.
F-Concluding sentence

SOUND SCRIPTING

Sound Scripting makes use of intonation and pauses to make your communication more effective and positive. It uses a method of bolding” or underlining key content words to stress upon (word stress), giving Slash (/) key for defining pauses during your speech, and CAPITALIZING the most important words for the best emotional impact (tonal modulation). 

   
1. Word Stress: Emphasis on key words in a sentence. 
  
English is essentially a language in which we give stress to certain words (or parts of a word) while other words are quickly spoken or swallowed. Pronouncing every word correctly and precisely leads to stilted communication! Good communication comes from stressing the right words. Using word stress helps in proper pronunciation of words and enhancing your English communication skills.

2. Voice Modulation: to highlight relevant phrases/words.
   
Voice modulation is extremely important if you want to  keep your audience interested in what you speak. You can modulate your tone and pace to emphasize on certain phrases & words to create a better impact on the listeners. If you speak in a flat evenly toned voice, youll more likely to bore your audience or put them to sleep.
    
3. Punctuation: Giving brief pauses before words & phrases to highlight them. All good communicators or public speakers use the technique of ‘pausing’ to invoke audience interest in what theyre going to say next. The pauses need to incorporated into your speech at carefully selected times to create the maximum impact.

COMMUNICATION ENHANCERS:

Communication Enhancers are those words, phrases or figure of speech which make your communication more interesting and stylish, like adding garnishing to your food. They can be categorized into the following types:
   
A-Word Partnerships: After all, Lets face it, In fact, In the long run
  
B-Idiomatic phrases: Ahead of the pack, Calling the shots, Babe in the woods
  
C-Phrasal Verbs: Abide by, Agree with, Break up, Come across, Ease off
  
D-Emphatic Expressions (Intensifier + Verb Collocations): Categorically deny, Deeply regret, Readily endorse, Positively encourage, strongly recommend
  
E-Action Verbs, Quotes & Proverbs: List of idioms, proverbs, quotations, action words and phrasal verbs are easily available on the web on various websites. Otherwise you can find them in any good English language textbook or a book on quotations, idioms and proverbs. They can be used in your presentation to convey meaning to your words in a more compelling manner instead of than using simple sentences.

CONTROLLING YOUR PACE
Keep a steady pace to enable sound scripting techniques. A slower pace helps you in correct pronunciation, gives you time to think of appropriate words to use, as well as time to structure your sentences. It also allows you to organize your content.
   
What's the benchmark?
Even though the human ear and brain can compile and decode about 400 spoken words per minute, for better perception and comprehensibility a slower pace should be used. Good communicators have a pace is between 140-160 words per minute. A pace of 200+ words is fast and below 120 is slow. You should practice keeping your verbal pace between the acceptable ranges.

This article briefly touches upon the various verbal communication enhancers one can use to deliver a powerful and impressive speech or presentation. In the subsequent articles on verbal communication skills, well cover detailed aspects of each verbal communication enhancement technique mentioned here along with several examples to facilitate a clearer understanding on how to practically use these techniques.

10 comments:

  1. thnx for inputs on verbal communication looking forward to your next post on this topic - harsh sharma (harsh.tt.shr@gmail.com)

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  2. Thnx. Will use these tips in my next presentation.

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  3. These tips worked - my presentation was really appreciated. Thnx.

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  4. Great tips...thanks for posting

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  5. thanks for the scripting - very practical

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  6. great tips - for improving verbal communication

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  7. would welcome more info on verbal skills - especially on voice modulation

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  8. I've practiced this and I think my communicating has improved

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