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Communication Method

Communication Method

Oral Communication

Oral communication could be said to be the most used form of communication. Whether it is to present some important data to your colleagues or lead a boardroom meeting, these skills are vital.

We are constantly using words verbally to inform our subordinates of a decision, provide information, and so on. This is done either by phone or face-to-face.

The person on the receiving end would also need to exercise much caution to ensure that he/she clearly understands what is being said.

This shows therefore that you would need to cultivate both your listening and speaking skills, as you would have to carry out both roles in the workplace, with different people.

Written Communication

Writing is used when you have to provide detailed information such as figures and facts, even while giving a presentation.

It is also generally used to send documents and other important material to stakeholders which could then be stored for later use as it can be referred to easily as it is recorded. Other important documents such as contracts, memos and minutes of meetings are also in written form for this purpose.

It can be seen in recent years, however, that verbal communication has been replaced to a great extent by a faster form of written communication and that is email.

You could also use video conferencing and multiple way phone calls with several individuals simultaneously. Apart from a few glitches that could occur, these methods of communication have helped organizations come a long way.

Body Language

Although the most common methods of communication are carried out orally or in writing, when it comes to management techniques, the power of non-verbal communication must never be underestimated.

Your smile, your gestures and several other body movements send out a message to the people around you. You need to be mindful of this while dealing with your employees and customers.

Always remember to maintain eye contact. This would show that you are serious and confident about what is being said.

Communication Tools

Communication is necessary to any business success. In this session, we will review the basic forms of communication and equipment available for your business.

  • Types of Communication
    • External
    • Internal
  • Basic Communication Tools
    • Landline telephones
    • Cell phones
    • Smartphones
    • Video and web conferencing
    • Social networking sites
    • Online chat tools
    • Fax
  • Computers
    • Desktop
    • Laptop
    • Notebooks/Netbooks
    • Tablet
    • Handheld
    • Software
    • Auxiliary Products
  • Internet
    • Communicating and creating leads
  • Technology Planning
  • Top Ten Do’s and Don’ts
  • Business Plan

Types of Communication

External and Internal Communication

Communication is key to any business success. Unless potential clients and customers are aware of your business, they will not have the information to contact you or to purchase your products. When they are aware of your business, they must be able to contact it easily.

Two types of communication are essential – external and internal.

  • External communication reaches out to the customer to make him or her aware of your product or service and to give the customer a reason to buy. This type of communication includes your brochures, various forms of advertising, contact letters, telephone calls, Web sites and anything else that makes the public aware of what you do.Image is extremely important in external communication! Your logo should represent who you are; your letterhead should be a selling tool; your telephone message should reflect your professionalism.
  • Internal communication is essential to attracting and retaining a talented staff. You must provide the direction for the company by consistently communicating that message; you must motivate your staff through various forms of communication, which can include awards, newsletters, meetings, telephone calls and formal and informal discussions. Periodic meeting with top management groups including your board of directors and advisory board should be planned for regular intervals over each upcoming year. The importance of an advisory board is covered in session two of Business Expansion.

Effective communication requires tools and planning. In this session, we will discuss those tools, as well as planning guidelines, to facilitate this key element of your business, communication. The following discussion will be grouped into:

  • Basic communication tools
  • Computers
  • The Internet

Basic Communication Tools

Specific tools that can be used for communication include landline telephones, cell phones, smartphones, iPads and fax machines. The lines between the devices are blurring. For example, an advanced cell phone (the smartphone) can contain many of the functions of a computer including Internet, email, text messaging, faxing, word processing and more. For this discussion, however, each device will be presented as a separate entity.

Even with all the modern methods of communication, regular postal mail is still one of the most powerful tools for a business. It adds a personal touch, it’s used for delivering secure documents, contracts, and shipping items. A convenient way to handle mail from your own home or office is through a account, which allows you to print postage from your own computer.

Landline Telephones
There are many types of telephones, and only you can decide which type(s) or combinations of types are right for you. Even the standard telephone (landline) that is installed in your office has many options. You should start with at least one line that is unique to your business. This line should have the capability to take messages in case it is not answered personally. Here are some telephone tips:

  • It is important to treat the telephone as an important business tool. Record a voice mail message that indicates when you will return the call and then continually check your voice mail to return calls promptly.
  • Have a separate line for your business phone and your personal phone. Don’t have family members pick up or use the business phone. Get any required extra telephone lines installed before you start.
  • A remote (voice mail) answering system is usually more desirable than using an answering machine. Voice mail is reliable, reasonable in cost, accessible from anywhere and projects a more business-like image.
  • The need for an 800 number is becoming less important because long-distance rates are much more affordable.
  • Consider using either a wireless or corded headset for both landline phones and cell phones. It is clearer, safer and you can move about with free arms.
  • When leaving phone messages, clearly state your name and phone number at the beginning and the end of the message.
  • Be polite in cell phone use! Good business courtesy includes avoiding being interrupted by telephone calls when in a meeting or during a business lunch.

Cell Phones/Mobile Phones
The cell phone, also called a mobile phone, is used for mobile communications over a cellular network of cell sites. There are numerous plans and carriers. Many carriers have plans tailored for small businesses including options that bundle popular features and usage patterns, making them very cost effective. Be sure to ask questions about your specific needs before selecting a carrier and a plan.

When your usage or needs change, do not hesitate to request information on plans that more closely meet your new set of requirements. Most cell phone companies allow you to return the phone within 15 to 30 days after activation if you are not happy. Use this time to check if the cell phone has acceptable reception at your home and work place. Basic cell phones are offered free by many carriers for a specific length of time, usually two years. But be aware there are hefty fees for canceling early.

Growth in demand for advanced mobile devices boasting powerful memory, larger screens, and open operating systems has outpaced the rest of the mobile phone market for several years. A smartphone is a cell phone offering advanced capabilities with computer-like functionality. A smartphone incorporates advanced features like e-mail, Internet, and e-book reader capabilities and include a full keyboard or an external keyboard. In other words, a smartphone is a miniature computer that has phone capability.

Smartphones are also capable of text messaging and may include a camera and video recorder. Some models are capable of “Push to Talk” which is a feature similar to a walkie-talkie. Outside your office, a smartphone can become a valuable tool for e-mail, web browsing and the ability to review and edit documents. Several models have global positioning system (GPS) capability and many other available applications. The most popular are the iPhone, Samsung, Blackberry, Droid and Google’s Nexus. Each has different strengths you will need to factor into your business needs.

Video and Web Conferencing
Video conferencing transmits and receives images and voice in real-time. Web conferencing adds another dimension – it allows you to share documents and applications. For more details on Webinar conferencing with customers visit Session 2 in the Business Expansion course.

Telepresence takes video and web conferencing to new levels. A telepresence conference room includes ultra-high-definition video cameras, large screens displaying life-size images, and spatially discrete audio to create an “in person” experience. Facial expressions for crucial business discussions and negotiations can be discerned across the “virtual table.” Telepresence solutions can be deployed to support your business’ need from one-on-one conferencing in private offices to stadium seating for larger meetings.

All these solutions allow you to communicate as if you were face-to-face with customers anywhere in the world. Time and money that would be spent on traveling can be used to conduct meetings. You can share documents, make presentations and conduct meetings on short notice. For example, without leaving your office, you can collaborate with employees who work from home or from other company locations.

Social Networking Sites
A social network is a social structure made of individuals or organizations that are tied together by common interests, often like a community. Internet-based social networking occurs through a variety of websites that allow users to share content and interact with similar interests. It has expanded to include a company’s customers, celebrity’s fans and a politician’s constituents. This has created a great opportunity for businesses to generate interaction with present and potential customers through Web-based sites established for that purpose. To be successful requires a steady effort and participation over time. With an ongoing commitment of effort you can create a niche market through sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. A note of caution on Internet social networking: once you put something out there it’s hard to take it back, so you have to be careful.

Online Chat Tools
Wikipedia describes chat tools best: “Online chat can refer to any kind of communication over the Internet, but is primarily meant to refer to direct one-on-one chat or text-based group chat using tools such as instant messengers.” It is commonly used in place of email when there is a need to communicate live. Chat tools can be used both for internal and external communication and can be placed on a website so customers can talk to a customer service person in real-time. Utilizing chat tools usually requires a free software download. There are many options available including GoogleTalk and Skype. Features can vary from simple one-on-one messaging to highly developed tools for group chat, file transfers, video and document collaboration.

Fax Machines
The decision must be made as to whether to buy a stand alone fax machine or an “all-in-one” model. All-in-ones function as a printer, scanner, copier and fax. (Not all models have the fax or scanner capability). If you plan on sending and receiving lots of faxes you might consider the stand-alone. For less frequent use the all-in-one can cost less. They are also compact and more energy efficient. Consideration should be given to your budget and your space constraints. Generally, the simpler the machine, the fewer problems you will have with it. If your business will rely heavily on faxing, it is important to get as much memory as possible to speed up the printing of documents.

Some phone vendors can provide you with a fax number that works with your e-mail system. Receiving a fax works just like it does when the fax is being received by another machine but you receive it as an attachment to an e-mail. This can be very handy for those who travel on a frequent basis and are not always near a fax machine. Here are tips:

  • Use a cover page that is appropriate for your company. Remember, this is an external communication that reflects your business and your image.
  • Use a separate dedicated phone line for your fax machine.


A computer is so affordable that it should be included as a key tool in your business. Computers can be purchased for a wide range of prices. For basic word processing, e-mail, accounting, and spreadsheet work, you will not require a top-of-the-line computer. While what you buy today may soon become obsolete, this does not mean that the computer you purchase will not meet your business requirements for a much longer period of time. The following discussion will focus on the growing number of options that are available:

  • Desktop
  • Laptop
  • Notebook (or netbook)
  • Tablet
  • Handheld

This is the most common type of computer: one that is set up to operate in your office. The computer system should include:

  • A basic processing unit: either a PC (Personal Computer) or a Mac (Apple). PC’s are more common in usage and are lower in cost. Most businesses work in a PC format. However, for many users and applications including graphic arts, the Mac enjoys very steadfast supporters.
  • A flat-panel monitor.
  • Internet connectivity, a CD/DVD drive and USB ports.
  • A printer. Laser printers cost more up front but are less expensive over the long run when taking printing costs into account. If you have a small space to work with, consider an all-in-one printer.
  • Some type of backup storage should also be considered, such as a USB Flash Drive, External Hard Drive or a writable CD or DVD.
  • An antivirus program is essential. You can purchase one or use a free program; however the free programs will not afford you as much security as the paid versions.

A laptop computer offers portability with many of the features offered by a desktop which make it ideal for meetings or if you travel frequently. Drawbacks for laptops include: they are higher in price than desktops, have smaller keyboards and monitors and are subject to theft. Traditional and wireless printers, keyboards and even the traditional mouse are options available for laptops. If you travel and need computing capability, it is worth the extra expense.

Notebooks and Netbooks
Since their recent appearance, netbooks have grown in size and features. At the same time, notebooks have become smaller and lighter. The result is that for practical purposes we are going to use the two words interchangeably since there is no longer a significant distinction between them. They both can be described as rapidly evolving categories of small, light and inexpensive laptop computers suited for general computing and accessing web-based applications. They are gaining in popularity especially with students, bloggers, and even some businesses.

While generally less expensive than laptops, manufacturers are starting to beef up notebooks, which is increasing their cost. A caution: their compact size makes them attractive for traveling but if you are considering one to save on the cost of a laptop, you probably will be getting less memory and many do not have full applications or compatibility with your other business applications.

Things to keep in mind if getting a desktop, laptop or netbook:

  • Get as much capability as you can afford. Laptops are not typically as easy to upgrade as desktop computers because of the nature of their construction.
  • Be sure you get all the features you need when you purchase.
  • If you do not normally have access to an electrical outlet, get a laptop or netbook with extended battery life.
  • Keep all documentation, software, and accessories that come with your device.

Tablet Computers
A tablet computer is equipped with a touch screen or stylus rather than a keyboard to operate the computer. The advantages include using when it is not convenient to use a keyboard and mouse, recording diagrams and symbols, and easier navigation than a keyboard and mouse or touch pad. Disadvantages include higher cost, slower input speed, and risk of damage to the tablet screen.

Handheld Devices
Handheld computers, or Personal Digital Assistants, are still popular despite the growing sales of smartphones. There are basically two versions of these units: 1) those using the Palm Pilot operating system and 2) those using the Microsoft Windows Mobile operating system. These units allow synchronizing your key organizational elements with your computer. Functions of a PDA and smartphone have become almost indistinguishable; however PDAs generally perform faster and can synchronize data to your PC. The capabilities of PDAs are not built around a cell phone whereas a smartphone is a cell phone with other capabilities built into the phone. More and more features are being built into these units, integrating them as a powerful tool in the business world.

The software you purchase is key to making your computer productive. The operating system, whether it is a PC or a Macintosh, should be preloaded onto the system. Many software packages are often bundled with the system at the time of purchase and some in the form of trial software. At the bare minimum, you should have the capability to do word processing, spreadsheets, and presentations.

Additionally, you should consider financial and accounting software that is appropriate for your business. Keep in mind that many accounting/bookkeeping software packages are not double-entry systems and care must be taken in making the entries correctly. Keep in mind that home and professional versions of accounting software may not be compatible or may not be appropriate for your operating system. Be sure to read specifications before you purchase.

Auxiliary Products
Many products can be used in conjunction with your computer to enhance the functionality and image of your business. These also require software specifically designed to facilitate its usage.

  • Digital Camera – a picture taken by this type of camera can be directly loaded onto your computer for a variety of uses. Usage ideas include pictures of properties, product catalogs, pictures accompanying résumés and many more.
    Digital cameras come in various shapes and sizes, but what really sets them apart in price is image quality.
  • Scanner – when you have a printed copy of something that you would like to include as part of a digital document, you can create a digital image by scanning the printed copy with this type of equipment.
  • Wireless Transmission – this feature allows you to communicate with other devices equipped with the same feature. Most office equipment is available in a wireless version and without all the cords. Ease of set up is appealing and has many productive implications
  • Don’t overlook the importance of making regular external backups to the individual programs used in your business. Backups are commonly stored on CD’s DVDs, USB Flash Drives and External Hard Drives. There are also services provided on the Web to facilitate this process.


The Internet an essential marketing and communication tool.

Utilizing your ability to register on search engines and crowd-source business review sites is an essential marking tool to communicate with potential customers and creating leads.

Re: Advantages of written communication are:

*One of the biggest advantages of written communication is the fact that it allows for permanent records, which is something other means of communication such as oral communication do not have.
*Written communication strengthens and clarifies a verbal message.
*Because it allows for permanent records, it is good for making references.
*Written communication can be very useful as a defense during legal issues.
*Written communication is more reliable than oral communication. A written and signed document carries more weight and validity than spoken words.
*Written communication is more precise than other means of communication.
*Written communication, because of its form can be stored for analysis to be made in order for one to get a better understanding of the message it contains.
*The last but not least advantage of written communication is the fact that it can be easily disseminated to recipients that are in different locations.

Constitutes effective verbal communication

Each of these is just as important in our personal lives as in our professional lives. By improving your verbal communication skills you will quickly connect and build rapport, earn respect, gain influence, and become more likable and accepted.

1. Be friendly. People who communicate with a friendly tone and warm smile almost always have the edge. The reason is simple: we are subconsciously drawn to people who are friendly because they make us feel good and bring more enjoyment to our lives.

2. Think before you speak. One of my favorite English Proverbs is “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.” I find that many people say whatever goes through their minds without putting any thought into what they are saying. As a result they say things that end up reflecting poorly on themselves.

3. Be clear. Most of us don’t have the time nor do we want to spend our emotional energy to figure out what someone else is trying to say. People who are indirect in their verbal communication and who tend to hint at things without saying what’s really on their mind are seldom respected. When there is something you want to say, ask yourself, “What is the clearest way I can communicate this point?”

4. Don’t talk too much. Last week I met with a personal chef. At first I was impressed with him and considered hiring him for an upcoming event. However, the more he talked the less impressed I became. Very few people like to be around someone who talks too much and dominates the conversation.

5. Be your authentic self. Today, (more than anytime during my lifetime), people are turned off by those people who feel the need to put on a show to make their point. Instead, people are attracted to someone who speaks from the heart and is genuine, transparent, and real.

6. Practice humility. Humility is having a modest view of one’s own importance. It is one of the most attractive personality traits one can possess and is one of the most significant predictors of someone who is respected. People who speak with humility and genuine respect for others are almost always held in high regard.

7. Speak with confidence. You don’t have to sacrifice self-confidence to practice humility. Confidence is a self-assurance arising from an appreciation of one’s true abilities, whereas humility is having a modest opinion of one’s own importance. Speaking with confidence includes the words you choose, the tone of your voice, your eye contact, and body language.

8. Focus on your body language. When you are engaged in face-to-face verbal communication, your body language can play as significant of a role in the message you communicate as the words you speak. Your body language communicates respect and interest. It puts real meaning behind your words.

9 Be concise. Very few things are more irritating to me than when someone can’t get to the point of what he or she is trying to say. Plan ahead. Constantly ask yourself, “How can I say what needs to be said using the fewest number of words possible while still being courteous and respectful?”

10. Learn the art of listening. Being an attentive listener is more important in verbal communication than any words that can come out of your mouth. You must show a sincere interest in what is being said, ask good questions, listen for the message within the message, and avoid interrupting.

sing Effective Communication Techniques

Have you sometimes been talking to someone and wondered what on earth they are talking about? It’s something that has happened to all of us. Either we don’t listen, we don’t understand, the message isn’t clear or something interrupts the transmission of the message. However, having effective communication skills is a key component of successful relationships both at work and at home.

You don’t need to be a communications expert to look at the different ways you communicate and see if how you can improve your communication skills by applying effective communication techniques. You want to know that the messages and information you want to convey to other people are heard and understood. If you don’t use effective communication techniques, at best can irritate people and at worst can lead to a break down in relationships.

So what effective communication techniques should you be using?

1. Speak clearly: Don’t try and convey several messages at once. People often ask two questions at once and then wonder why they haven’t been understood.

2. Use language appropriate to the level of the ‘audience’. Whoever you’re communicating with it’s important to do it at the right level. Don’t use complex words for the sake of it. It is not patronising to use simpler words.

3. Open your mouth wide enough. If you don’t open your mouth widely enough there is a danger that you will be mumbling.

4. Be aware of your pitch, tone and speed. Our voices can have a significant impact on how our messages our received and heard. Speaking too loudly or too quietly, too quickly or too slowly, too high pitched will all act as barriers to effective communication.

5. Remember to pause for breath. If you don’t breathe properly you can easily run out of breath and your voice can peter away. This doesn’t just occur in meetings or when people are presenting. If often happens when people are just holding a 1 to 1 conversation.

6. Use the appropriate non-verbal cues. If you have to convey a happy message, then make sure you smile. If you’re trying to convey a message and your body language doesn’t match people will immediately be suspicious that you’re not being sincere. If you want to convey interest then make sure that you nod.

7. Use active listening skills. People sometimes forget that communication is a two way thing. You need to be able to listen to what people say and be able to check for understanding.

8. Make eye contact. In some cultures making eye contact can be problematic, but if it’s expected then it can help you to convey your message.

If we want to communicate effectively, we should see our communication skills as a skills that can always be improved and built on. I hope you found these tips for using effective communication techniques useful. If you have anything else you would add, I’d be interested to hear your comments.

Effective verbal communication

Effective verbal communication is almost always more about listening because there is always an audience. Why listening? Because when addressing an audience you need to meet their needs and in order to know their needs you must listen.

When using effective verbal communication techniques there are some basic rules that you need to master. Here are, from my experience, some useful tips:

1. Know you audience. This comes back to what I just said. You need to listen. If you are talking to a small group of people in an informal discussion, listening to what other people are saying, or not saying, is your best tool. If you are addressing a large group of people you want to find out as much as possible about the people you are going to talk to. Do your homework. What are their burning questions? What is their knowledge to the subject that you are going to talk about? Do they have an opinion in any direction and is their passion?

2. Know your topic. This might sound like an obvious statement. But you would be surprised if you know how many unprepared or poor meeting performances or presentations that are held every minute. Read, Google, listen to others etc. Again, do your homework. What are your feelings about a certain issue? Why? List all the potential questions to your topic. This is probably one of the most important tip for effective verbal communication.

3. Plan your presentation. Make up a storyboard or make a mind map. Be creative and lay out all the threads to your topic that you can possible think of. What background material do you have for the topic? Is there a particular angle that you like? What material/knowledge do you lack?

Biggest reason for not having effective verbal communication is that people say to much. They have so many things that they want to get across. Your biggest challenge is now to cut down the material to a minimum. If you will do a PowerPoint presentation a good ground rule is to have one slide per 2-5 minutes. I have seen PPT presentations where there have been 60 slides in a 20 minutes presentation. Now this is not effective verbal communication. But believe me, when you start planning, that is usually where you will be. Why? Because when you are passionate about something you build up knowledge and you don’t want to miss anything important. But think about the audience and your knowledge about them. What do they want to know, what would they benefit from knowing. Are there parts of the subject that really more than they need to know, for you to get your point across?

If you are using PPT as a presentation mode (with most managers do) use as many images as possible. There are some different schools here. Some think that it is good to let the audience follow the text on the screen as you do your talking. Personally I think it is much more powerful if you do the talking and the slide supports your message.

One of my first experiences of this was when I was working at Ericsson. We had a large management conference in southern Spain and there were a number of key managers on the stand, doing their talking to their text slides. The presentation that I remember though is the one that was made by one of the few female managers. She made a presentation where she was talking from the heart (believe me she had a script, and it was well rehearsed) to 4-5 photographs. The photographs where illustrations of here key messages and they supported here script. It was very powerful and fun to listen to.

Also, you might want to consider using other mediums for your presentation as well if you want more effective verbal communication. If you have a white board or flip over pads, look at your presentation material and see if you could draw something live in your presentation. A mix of medium is always good. Show a clip from a newspaper or a book to make your point across.

4. Own the room. If possible it is always good to see the room where your presentation will take place. There are a number of things that can disturb you in the first couple of minutes of your presentation. How big is the room, how is the chairs placed, is there a stage, do you need a microphone, where will that be placed, who will flip the slides in your presentation, can you do that yourself, if so, how? If you need special equipment, where will they be placed? Will there be spotlights? And so on. Find out as much as you can before hand, so you have control.

If you are a part of a larger program, it is very good to sit in on other presentations. This will be beneficial to you for to main reasons. A. You will get a better feeling for the audience. Are they open, serious, emotional etc. B. You will get a better feeling for the room.

Nine practical ways to improve verbal communication

Verbal communication skills are essential skills in today’s business environment.

Most of us will have participated in formal communication skills training such as ‘Presentation Skills’ or ‘Business Development Skills’ courses.Many courses cover the formal, planned and group situations we often face. But they rarely cover our regular, informal ones, such as discussions, meetings, workshops, telephone calls and conversations.

The following tips are a starting point to help you think about how you can improve your verbal communications skills, whether in planned or unplanned situations:

1. Read more – Simply increasing what you read (business texts, novels, newspapers etc) can improve your vocabulary, help you express ideas clearly and eliminate weaknesses in your language skills.

2. Think about the words – Too many words will bore your listener, take up too much time and result in you losing credibility. There is no need to waffle! Remember not to use words that people don’t understand (they may not even tell you that they don’t understand what you are saying), as you may appear intimidating and make them feel inferior.

3. Prepare (if you can) – You would spend time planning what you would say if you were writing. You would also think about how to make it accessible to as many readers as possible. If you know of an approaching situation, take time out to think about the questions you may be asked and what answers you may need to give. If you are delivering a presentation, you should be prepared for awkward questions and situations where you may need to explain something in a different way.

4. Listen and be interested – Listening more and talking less means you will understand and bring your listener into the conversation. This helps them to trust you and make them feel that you really understand their needs. When they talk, be interested and show your interest. This will improve the rapport you are trying to build. Using note-taking skills like Mind Mappingcan help you to take more effective and memorable notes.

5. Be aware of non-verbal communication traps – The impact of the words you say is only a small element of the communication you are giving. You should make sure that your words, their tone, the gestures you make, facial expressions and body language you use, are all relevant to your conversation.

6. Honesty is the best policy – Promising something that is not possible will break down any trust that you have developed. Telling someone that you “don’t know – but can find out” is more positive than just trying to give an answer you hope is effective.

7. Show and seek some understanding – Look for understanding from your audience. It’s easier to back track at certain points in your conversation than revisit the whole conversation again – or you risk getting the wrong results because your audience did not understand! You can use this when delivering or receiving a message. Occasional summaries and confirmation questions can be extremely useful.

8. Think about perspectives – Think about what you are saying from the other person’s perspective. Just because you understand what you mean, it doesn’t mean that they will.

9 Develop your skills – There are a number of techniques you can learn to help improve your verbal communication skills.

Evaluate your verbal communication

While words only account for approximately 7% of the meaning people ascribe to your communication, tone of voice accounts for 38% of the meaning. So, it’s obvious that to be a successful communicator, you need to be aware of your verbal cues and clues (e.g., everything from words to sighs, moans, grunts).

Inflection refers to ups and downs in talking. Inflection helps you signal to your partner what’s important and may even indicate your emotional state (especially combined with volume and pitch).
Volume indicates the degree of loudness to your voice. Again, volume can indicate your energetic involvement with a topic and gives your spouse clues about your temperament and mood.
Pacing deals with your rate of speech or the speed of your talking. Matching your rate of speech and your intensity to that of your partner creates rapport and connection.
Word choice of course means what words you use to convey your message. Though words may have specific definitions, our lifetime of experience with a word means that our meaning for the word and someone else’s meaning might be quite different.
Silence refers to those gaps in our conversations. (Though silence is “non-verbal” it’s the absence of verbal communication, that’s why I’ve included it in this list.) Allow room for your partner to absorb what you’ve said and give yourself the space to take in what he/she is communicating to you.
As you engage in the next conversation with you partner, bring these aspects of verbal communication into your awareness.

Types of Nonverbal Communication

According to experts, a substantial portion of our communication is nonverbal. Every day, we respond to thousands on nonverbal cues and behaviors including postures, facial expression, eye gaze, gestures, and tone of voice. From our handshakes to our hairstyles, nonverbal details reveal who we are and impact how we relate to other people.
In many cases, we communicate information in nonverbal ways using groups of behaviors. For example, we might combine a frown with crossed arms and unblinking eye gaze to indicate disapproval.

1. Facial Expression

Facial expressions are responsible for a huge proportion of nonverbal communication. Consider how much information can be conveyed with a smile or a frown. While nonverbal communication and behavior can vary dramatically between cultures, the facial expressions for happiness, sadness, anger and fear are similar throughout the world.

2. Gestures

Deliberate movements and signals are an important way to communicate meaning without words. Common gestures include waving, pointing, and using fingers to indicate numeric amounts. Other gestures are arbitrary and related to culture.

3. Paralinguistics

Paralinguistics refers to vocal communication that is separate from actual language. This includes factors such as tone of voice, loudness, inflection and pitch. Consider the powerful effect that tone of voice can have on the meaning of a sentence. When said in a strong tone of voice, listeners might interpret approval and enthusiasm. The same words said in a hesitant tone of voice might convey disapproval and a lack of interest.

4. Body Language and Posture

Posture and movement can also convey a great deal on information. Research on body language has grown significantly since the 1970’s, but popular media have focused on the over-interpretation of defensive postures, arm-crossing, and leg-crossing, especially after the publication of Julius Fast’s book Body Language. While these nonverbal behaviors can indicate feelings and attitudes, research suggests that body language is far more subtle and less definitive that previously believed.

5. Proxemics

People often refer to their need for “personal space,” which is also an important type of nonverbal communication. The amount of distance we need and the amount of space we perceive as belonging to us is influenced by a number of factors including social norms, situational factors, personality characteristics and level of familiarity. For example, the amount of personal space needed when having a casual conversation with another person usually varies between 18 inches to four feet. On the other hand, the personal distance needed when speaking to a crowd of people is around 10 to 12 feet.

6. Eye Gaze

Looking, staring and blinking can also be important nonverbal behaviors. When people encounter people or things that they like, the rate of blinking increases and pupils dilate. Looking at another person can indicate a range of emotions, including hostility, interest and attraction.

7. Haptics

Communicating through touch is another important nonverbal behavior. There has been a substantial amount of research on the importance of touch in infancy and early childhood.Harry Harlow’s classic monkey study demonstrated how the deprivation of touch and contact impedes development. Baby monkeys raised by wire mothers experienced permanent deficits in behavior and social interaction. Touch can be used to communicate affection, familiarity, sympathy and other emotions.

8. Appearance

Our choice of color, clothing, hairstyles and other factors affecting appearance are also considered a means of nonverbal communication. Research on color psychology has demonstrated that different colors can evoke different moods. Appearance can also alter physiological reactions, judgments and interpretations. Just think of all the subtle judgements you quickly make about someone based on his or her appearance. These first impressions are important, which is why experts suggest that job seekers dress appropriately for interviews with potential employers.

Factors that Affect Communication

No one communication method presents a perfect solution but rather communication must match the specific needs of the survivor.

Factors include but are not limited to:

Individual characteristics – Each survivor must be approached as an individual with unique needs. People with the same disability do not necessarily experience similar functional limitations or may not approach their disability in the same way.

Cultural dynamics – An awareness of cultural norms is crucial for successful communication.

Functional limitations – According to the newest This link will open a new browser window. developed by the World Health Organization, disability is not something that a person has but, instead, something that occurs outside of the person; disability occurs in the interaction between a person, his or her functional ability, and the environment. If the proper communication modifications are addressed, the less limited the survivor will feel and the more likely successul communication will be achieved.

Differences in learning – Learning styles vary among all people; survivors with disabilities and who are Deaf are no exception.

Environmental conditions





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– Awareness of the surrounding environment and how it may effect communication can decrease the degree to which survivors experience disabilities.