Writing for Business Success/Delivering your message/Principles of Verbal Communication

From WikiEducator
Jump to: navigation, search
Bill Gates speaking at DFID (5093072151).jpg
The need to communicate effectively with your customers will come up again and again.

—Bill Gates

When people think about 'communication', many often think only of spoken or oral communication. We've already seen that communication is much broader than that, and also includes written communication and visual communication (for example, with the use of images, icons, emoji and so on).

Communication can also be divided into verbal communication and non-verbal communication. Verbal communication is about language or how we use words, both spoken and written, while non-verbal communication is about communication that occurs through other means, including gestures, body language, and silence[1]. In this learning pathway, we focus on verbal communication.

Icon reading line.svg

Read Section 2.3: Principles of verbal communication, in Saylor Academy (Ed.) 2012. Business Communication for Success. (See page(s) 47 - 55 in PDF version.).

We already know that language shapes our experience of reality and our worldviews, or personal frames of reference. This section of the course text looks at the rules of syntax, semantics, and context. Try not to worry too much about the names of these things; it's more important that you understand and can think about the examples that are given. Syntax, semantics and context all affect language use, and can impact on how language changes across situational, social, and cultural contexts.

The text also considers how different denotative and connotative word meanings can make communicating effectively in the same language a challenge. If we think of the word 'dog', for example, the dictionary definition (the denotative meaning) is probably something like 'a four-legged mammal'. The social and/or emotional meaning (the connotative meaning) of that word, though, might be closer to pet, protector, or loyal friend.

Across languages, cultures, and generations, challenges can multiply. Expanding our frames of reference or viewpoints is difficult, but thinking about other people's worldviews helps us to be able to communicate effectively with audiences who have different experiences than our own. This reading advises us to use

  • concrete language terms,
  • descriptive examples, and
  • critical reflection

to increase communication effectiveness.



Share some of your thoughts in the WENotes feed.

Note: Your comment will be displayed in the course feed.