The Definition of Verbal Communication: What It Means and How It Works

  • Billy Cobb
  • Jul 29, 2023
The Definition of Verbal Communication: What It Means and How It Works

The Importance of Verbal Communication

Verbal communication is an essential part of our everyday lives. It is the most common way we interact with others in our personal and professional relationships. People use verbal communication to express themselves, share ideas and thoughts, give instructions, and even to build relationships.

One of the most significant advantages of verbal communication is that it allows for real-time feedback. When we speak to someone in person or over the phone, we can immediately receive a response, which enables us to adjust our message if necessary. This immediate feedback helps in reducing misunderstandings and enables us to clarify our message to ensure that it is received correctly.

Verbal communication also allows for personal connection and human interaction. It allows us to express ourselves emotionally and connect with others in a way that written communication just cannot replicate. It is often easier to find common ground when we can hear the tone and inflection of someone’s voice.

In the professional world, verbal communication serves a critical role in a variety of industries, from customer service to management. It allows for effective leadership, teamwork, and collaboration. When we communicate effectively with our colleagues, we can achieve better results and work towards a shared goal.

However, verbal communication can also have its dark side. If we are not careful about our choice of words, tone, or body language, we can alienate or hurt the people we are communicating with. Non-verbal cues, such as eye contact, facial expressions, and body language, also play a significant role in communication. Suppose we are not mindful of these cues and use them inappropriately. In that case, we may convey a message that is different from our intended meaning.

In conclusion, verbal communication is essential in our personal and professional relationships. It allows us to express ourselves and connect with others in a way that written communication cannot. It also enables real-time feedback and better collaboration, which leads to better results. However, we must be mindful of our delivery and non-verbal cues to avoid any misunderstandings or hurt feelings.

Types of Verbal Communication

Verbal communication is the use of words to convey messages from one person to another. It is an essential part of our everyday lives and can take many forms. In this section, we will go over the different types of verbal communication in the English language.

Face-to-Face Communication

Face-to-face communication is the most common type of verbal communication. It is the act of speaking to someone in-person, whether it be in a one-on-one setting or in a group. This type of communication allows for direct interaction and feedback and is an effective way to build relationships and share information.

In face-to-face communication, non-verbal cues also play a significant role in conveying meaning. Gestures, facial expressions, and body language can provide additional context to the words being spoken and can help to clarify or reinforce the message.

Telephone Communication

Telephone communication involves speaking to someone over the phone. It is a convenient way to communicate with people who are not physically present and can be useful for conducting business or staying in touch with loved ones who are far away.

However, telephone communication lacks the non-verbal cues that are present in face-to-face communication. This can make it more difficult to understand the tone or intent of the person on the other end of the line. It is important to pay close attention to the words being spoken and try to discern any hidden meaning or emotion that may be conveyed through tone of voice.

Recorded Messages

Recorded messages are pre-recorded audio messages that are played back for the listener. They are commonly used in voicemail greetings, automated customer service systems, and public announcements.

Recorded messages can be an efficient way to communicate information to a large number of people at once. However, they lack the direct interaction and feedback that is present in face-to-face and telephone communication. It is important to ensure that the message being conveyed is clear and concise to avoid confusion.


Verbal communication is an integral part of our everyday lives and can take many different forms. Whether it be face-to-face communication, telephone communication, or recorded messages, each type has its own unique benefits and challenges. By understanding these different types of verbal communication, we can better navigate our interactions with others and effectively convey our messages.

Features of Verbal Communication

Verbal communication is the process of exchanging ideas, thoughts, and information through spoken words. It is a crucial aspect of human interaction and plays a vital role in building relationships, sharing knowledge, and expressing emotions. Here are some key features of verbal communication:

1. Speech Sounds and Words

The sounds and words used in verbal communication vary from language to language and from person to person. Every language has a set of distinct sounds that make up its words. Understanding these sounds is essential in mastering verbal communication. Proper pronunciation and effective use of words enhance the clarity and understanding of the message. A well-delivered message can capture the attention of listeners and convey a specific purpose.

2. Tone, Pitch, and Volume

The tone, pitch, and volume of the voice play a significant function in verbal communication. Tone is the emotional quality of the voice and determines the feelings behind the words. Pitch refers to the range and inflection of the voice while volume determines the loudness or softness. The effective use of tone, pitch, and volume can convey various emotions such as excitement, sadness, aggression, or authority, and can keep the listener interested in the message.

3. Speed

The speed of speaking also impacts verbal communication. Talking too quickly can make it difficult for the listener to understand and process the message effectively. On the other hand, speaking too slowly can cause boredom and cause the listener to lose interest. Effective verbal communication requires that the speaker uses an appropriate pace that matches the listener’s understanding for optimal impact.

In conclusion, verbal communication is an essential part of our daily lives and effective communication skills are vital in today’s world. It is a complex process that involves various elements such as sounds, words, tone, pitch, volume, and speed. By understanding these features and effectively utilizing them, we can convey our messages more clearly and achieve better results in personal and professional life.

Advantages of Verbal Communication

Verbal communication is a fundamental human skill that we use to express our thoughts, feelings, and ideas with others. It can take on many different forms, including face-to-face conversations, phone calls, and video conferencing. While it may seem like technology has made verbal communication less important in the 21st century, it remains a critical tool for building and maintaining relationships in both personal and professional settings.

Here are some of the key advantages of verbal communication:

1. Immediate Feedback

One of the most significant advantages of verbal communication is the ability to receive immediate feedback. When we speak with someone, we can gauge their reactions to our words based on their facial expressions, tone of voice, and body language. This means we can quickly adjust our communication style or message if we sense that we’re not getting our point across effectively. In contrast, written communication, such as emails or texts, can be misinterpreted, and we may not realize there’s a problem until it’s too late.

2. Builds Stronger Connections

Verbal communication also helps build stronger connections between people. When we speak to someone, we’re not just conveying information; we’re also engaging with them on a personal level. This can help build trust and rapport, which can be particularly useful in professional settings. For example, a salesperson who can connect with their potential customer on a personal level is more likely to win their business. Stronger connections based on verbal communication can also lead to more meaningful relationships, whether they be with friends, family, or colleagues.

3. Allows for Clarification

Verbal communication allows for immediate clarification. When speaking, one can ask questions, give examples, and use analogies to help ensure that the message is being properly received. This is particularly important when communicating complex ideas or instructions. If someone doesn’t fully understand a written message, there is often no opportunity to ask for clarification, which can lead to confusion and misunderstandings.

4. More Persuasive

Verbal communication has an inherent persuasive power. When using verbal communication, individuals have a greater ability to convince, influence, and negotiate. This is why so many important business and political meetings are conducted in person or over the phone, rather than through written communication. A persuasive individual can use verbal communication skills to build solid business relationships, negotiate deals, and even close sales.

In conclusion, verbal communication is a critical tool in today’s world. It allows people to build stronger connections, receive immediate feedback, clarify misunderstandings, and persuade others effectively. This is why it is important to sharpen your verbal communication skills to communicate confidently in both personal and professional settings.

Disadvantages of Verbal Communication

Verbal communication is the most commonly used type of communication, and it is simply the exchange of information between two or more individuals through the use of spoken words. However, there are a number of inherent disadvantages of verbal communication that can pose challenges for those who rely on this mode of communication.

Lacks Permanence

One of the key disadvantages of verbal communication is that it often lacks permanence. Unlike written communication, which can be saved for future reference or dissemination, spoken words can be forgotten or misinterpreted over time. In situations where accurate records of communication are necessary, such as in legal proceedings or professional settings, verbal communication may not be sufficient or reliable.

Emotional Influences

Another disadvantage of verbal communication is that emotions can significantly influence the exchange of information. When individuals are communicating face-to-face or over the phone, tone of voice and body language can convey a wide range of emotions, such as anger, frustration, or fear. These emotional cues can impact the meaning and intent of the words being spoken, which can lead to misunderstandings and miscommunication.

Physical Barriers

Physical barriers can also pose significant challenges to verbal communication. For example, individuals who are hearing impaired or have speech impediments may struggle to effectively communicate through spoken words alone. Additionally, environmental factors such as noise or distance can make it difficult to communicate effectively, even for those with no physical impediments to speech.

Cultural and Language Differences

Verbal communication can also be challenging across different cultures and languages. Different dialects, accents, and vocabulary can make it difficult for individuals to understand one another, even if they are both speaking the same language. Furthermore, cultural differences can make it difficult to accurately interpret the intended meaning of words or phrases, leading to misunderstandings and miscommunication.

Limited Feedback

Finally, verbal communication can provide limited feedback to the speaker. Unlike written communication, which allows the writer to review and revise their message before submitting it, spoken communication is more spontaneous and may not provide ample time for the speaker to consider their message. As a result, listeners may not provide immediate or effective feedback, which can limit the speaker’s ability to adjust their message for maximum impact and understanding.

Overall, verbal communication has many inherent disadvantages that can pose challenges in various settings. By understanding these challenges, individuals can take steps to improve their communication skills and ensure that their message is accurately conveyed and understood.

Verbal Communication and Technology

Verbal communication refers to the use of spoken or written words to convey a message from one person to another. Over the years, technology has significantly changed how humans communicate with each other. Gone are the days when people had to rely solely on face-to-face conversations or handwritten letters to convey their thoughts and ideas.

Advancements in technology have opened up new avenues for verbal communication. One of these is video conferencing, which allows people in different locations to communicate in real-time, using audio and visual communication. Video conferencing has become especially relevant in recent times, with the COVID-19 pandemic, which has made physical meetings and interactions difficult, if not impossible.

Another technological development that has transformed verbal communication is the introduction of voice assistants. Voice assistants like Siri, Google Assistant, and Alexa have become increasingly popular over the years, and they allow users to interact with their devices using voice commands. Voice assistants have not only made communication easier, but they have also made it possible for people to multitask while communicating. For instance, one can use voice assistants to make phone calls, send messages, and even set reminders without having to touch their device.

Technology has also made it possible for people to communicate verbally in various languages. Translation software and apps make it easy for individuals to communicate with others who speak different languages. This is especially relevant in today’s globalized world, where people from different countries work and interact with each other regularly.

In conclusion, technology has brought about significant changes in how people communicate verbally. Video conferencing, voice assistants, and translation software are examples of technological developments that have transformed verbal communication. These advancements have made communication easier, more efficient, and more convenient for people.

Effective Verbal Communication

Verbal communication is the use of spoken words to convey a message. It is a crucial aspect of human interaction, and effective verbal communication skills are essential in any social, personal, or professional setting. Effective verbal communication requires a combination of clear articulation, active listening, and appropriate nonverbal cues.

Clear Articulation

Clear articulation involves carefully pronouncing each word, with understandable pronunciation and enunciation. This means that you need to speak clearly, conveying your message precisely, and using concise and straightforward language. Speaking too quickly, too softly, or too loudly can make it challenging for listeners to understand you.

When you articulate your words properly, you put your listeners at ease, and they can comprehend your ideas and opinions better. Be conscious of your audience and adjust your language and delivery to suit their level of understanding and interest. Using technical terms may confuse people who are not familiar with your field, so use simple language when communicating with people who may not have similar knowledge.

Active Listening

Effective verbal communication is a two-way process. Apart from speaking clearly, you also need to listen actively to the other person. Active listening means focusing entirely on your conversation partner and truly trying to understand what they are saying. Maintain eye contact, ask questions, and avoid interrupting them. Refrain from multi-tasking when someone is speaking to you as that may indicate that you are not fully interested in what they are saying. Good listeners help to form stronger relationships by being reliable and attentive to their conversation partners.

Nonverbal Cues

Nonverbal cues add meaning and context to your spoken words. They include facial expressions, body language, and tone of voice. Be mindful of your facial expressions because they can reveal your emotions, giving the other party an idea of how you feel about a particular topic. Your posture and gestures can convey confidence, openness, and interest in a conversation. Your tone of voice can indicate how you feel – whether you are excited, sad, happy, or angry. These nonverbal cues should match your spoken words to avoid confusion or mixed signals.

Effective verbal communication is a valuable skill that can help you build closer relationships and achieve more significant professional success. With clear articulation, active listening, and appropriate nonverbal cues, you can communicate your ideas and opinions more effectively and relate better with people from different backgrounds.

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