How to Develop Effective Verbal Communication Skills

Verbal Communication

Continuous interaction is a fact of life in the workplace. Some is verbal, some visual, and some digital. How you use these communication channels determines how you advance your career, build your clientele, and influence your colleagues.

 

As it turns out, verbal communication is one of the essential soft skills companies pay attention to when evaluating job candidates. Verbal communication involves using words to share information, thoughts, and ideas. So, it could be written or oral.

Even if you’re on remote duty, you still have to communicate verbally. Improving how you talk with people can significantly affect how colleagues, clients, or potential employers relate to you.

Your verbal communication skills could make you a team player or lone wolf. This article offers various tips and techniques to help you develop these skills.

But first, let’s unpack the meaning of verbal communication and everything that comes with it.

What Are Verbal and Non-Verbal Communication Skills?

Verbal Communication Skills

As we mentioned earlier, verbal communication involves conveying information, ideas, and thoughts using words and language. Verbal communication skills measure a person’s speaking, listening, and writing capabilities. They demonstrate how you receive and deliver thoughts and information in written and speaking exchanges.

Essentially, your skills focus on what you say, how you say it, and how you listen and process information.

Non-verbal Communication Skills

Non-verbal communication skills work hand-in-hand with the verbal ones. They include facial expressions, eye contact, body language, and tone. They help you and your audience understand each other during face-to-face conversations. Non-verbal communication skills like body language, facial expressions, and tone can affect how your audience perceives and accepts messages you deliver verbally.

Types of Verbal Communication

The different types of verbal communication are:

  • Written Communication: Includes letters, postcards, email, and chats.
  • Oral Communication: Conversations carried out via word of mouth
  • Mediated Communication: Interactions carried out with the help of technology or other media that isn’t face-to-face.

Examples of Verbal Communication Skills for Resumes, Cover Letters, and Interviews

Verbal communication skills are among the top-ranked evaluation criteria for most companies. To an extent, they’re a window into an employee’s collaboration skills. As a result, your chances of landing a job will improve if you are proficient in different verbal communication methods.

You must outline these communication skills in your resume and cover letter, and showcase them during interviews.

Let’s go over the skills you need at different stages of your recruitment.

  • Writing
  • Speaking
  • Listening
  • Team building
  • Negotiating
  • Motivation
  • Organizing
  • Giving and accepting constructive feedback
  • Asking questions

4 Examples of Verbal Communication

Verbal communication can be handled in different settings through different means. They include:

Interpersonal Communication

Usually refers to one-on-one conversations and can be either spoken or written (think Slack DMs). Interpersonal communication can happen during status updates to coworkers or project managers, private meetings with supervisors, human resources, external auditors, and meetings with customers, whether new, potential, or old.

Group Communication

Your group communication skills should shine when you have to converse with two or more people, but not a large audience. This kind of communication occurs in situations like team meetings for project progress, friendly workplace chats between colleagues, department updates and announcements, and brainstorming sessions on how to create or move a project forward.

Public Communication

This involves communicating with a larger audience. It shows how well you can address and organize a large assembly with words. It requires stage confidence and presence, articulation, and assertiveness. Adding it to your resume and cover letter will draw attention.

Virtual Communication

Teleconferencing and other means of virtual communication are on the rise. But, addressing people face-to-face and over a computer screen are two different things. So, you have to master the new way of communicating, whether you’re conversing with clients or colleagues.

How to Improve Your Verbal Communication Skills

While preparing for an interview or recruitment process, evaluate your communication skills and understand where you are. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Am I confident in my verbal communication skills?
  • How well have I communicated in the past?
  • Have I received negative feedback on my communication skills?
  • What does input about my communication skills suggest?
  • Am I comfortable with my current communication skills?

You can ask your colleagues or people close to you what they think about how you communicate. You should also look at the verbal communication examples above and confirm whether you have those qualities. This way, you’re thoroughly assessing your verbal communication skills and understanding how recruiters may view you.

If you’re lacking in any department, you can take steps to furnish and improve your skills.

Here are some tips:

Verbal Communication Skills

Think Before You Speak

Many times, people regret speaking too early. You may think you already have your response before the other party stops talking. However, their last words may contain new information that you need to process. 

So, take time to reflect on what they’ve said and go over their statements again. This way, you can organize your thoughts, pick bits and pieces you may have missed, and respond appropriately.

Indeed, people may feel uncomfortable with silence. That said, your interviewers and audience will interpret your composure as confidence and authority. 

Moreover, it would be a good idea to allow your counterparty to finish speaking before you jump in. It’s not polite to cut people off while they talk. Sometimes, they may also pause to collect their thoughts or recollect specific details.

Understand Your Audience

Make sure you read the room the best way you can before speaking in any situation. Whether it’s an interview, meeting, or workshop, learn to tailor your words to the audience.

Not everyone has the same experiences, background, and knowledge as you. And interviewers shouldn’t find it difficult to understand your thought process.

So, ensure you share information in a simple manner that your audience can understand.

For example, an interview panel may consist of technical experts and HR managers who are less knowledgeable. In this case, answer questions in a manner that shows you can break down the technicalities. This way, your interviewers understand how much you grasp each topic.

Understanding your audience also applies to how you write your cover letter. Since you’re convincing a recruiter to consider you for the job, ensure you effectively communicate without confusing words and thought patterns.

Be Concise

Using crisp and concise language is the best way to deliver a message. Try to use the fewest words possible to convey your thoughts and ideas. This way, it’s easy for your audience to understand you, and you appear more approachable. 

Refrain from repeating information you already passed across. Also, remember that it’s fine to stop speaking after sharing your information. You don’t have to bore your audience with fillers and unnecessary words to prolong the conversation.

You should also exhibit concise messaging in your cover letter. It exposes your recruiters to that aspect of your communication skills.

Listen

Active listening is an exceptional communication skill that you must master to excel in any interview. It demonstrates your attention to detail and shows you’re interested in what the speaker is saying. It also guarantees that you grasp every detail and meaning of the speaker’s words, especially if you’re being asked a question during an interview.

Listening doesn’t mean you have to sit quietly and let the other party speak. Instead, you must pay attention to what they’re saying to understand the message they want to pass across. This way, you’re able to provide the proper response. 

Here are some tips that will help you listen actively:

  • Don’t start processing your response when the speaker is still talking. Instead, focus on what they’re saying from start to finish.
  • Replay everything they’ve said before responding.
  • Once they’re done, ask questions to clarify any confusion.
  • Take your mind off any potential distraction.

Mind Your Tone

Your tone is as important as what you say and affects how your audience sees, perceives, and engages you. For example, a simple phrase can be taken and understood differently depending on how you say it.

You can convey a positive impression by mixing a warm and friendly tone with a smile. On the other hand, using a flat tone or speaking in a monotone manner could make you seem aloof and uninterested. This action can put off your audience.

You should also use your tone to drive home your point. Let your audience see the importance of a subject and how much it means to you through your tone.

The verbal modeling method is another helpful skill to use to your advantage. Try to match your tone with that of the other speaker. For example, try to sound excited when they’re excited about a topic and use a softer tone when they speak softly. This technique allows you to increase engagement as people are drawn to energies that match theirs.

However, you should do that with great skill, so they don’t notice you’re mimicking them.

Use Correct Body Language

Body language is one of those non-verbal communication methods that directly affect how you deliver a message.

You can convey a positive impression, a sense of authority and confidence with a relaxed body posture. Staying relaxed involves not stiffening your body or crossing your arms. You should also:

  • Lean in a bit
  • Avoid crossing your legs but beep them apart a little
  • Wear a gentle smile and use appropriate nods
  • Use moderate hand gestures when speaking
  • Try to mirror the other speaker’s body language but don’t make it too obvious
  • Align your body with the other party

Striking the correct body language is vital in interviews as recruiters also want to assess your confidence level and other personal qualities.

Be Yourself

Using the tips and techniques in this article and other sources doesn’t mean you should create a fake personality. Everything should blend into your original self. Your interviewers and recruiters can sense if you’re genuine. So, you don’t want to throw them off by acting.

Recruiters often use interviews to analyze one’s personality and determine their work ethic, authenticity, and competence.

You’ll build healthy work relationships right from the interview room by being your authentic self. Also, you’ll be able to ease into the work life by being yourself, as faking your personality could put you in a difficult position.

When you write a cover letter and build your resume, ensure you talk about yourself truthfully. This way, the interviewers get to see the person they’re expecting.

Never Sound Condescending

Sometimes, you may come across as condescending without knowing it. This often happens when you explain ideas that your audience knows nothing about. 

So, don’t ask obscure rhetorical questions that they may not know. Instead, stick to conveying your message and explaining what you should.

Practice Your Skills

Knowing and understanding the tips in this article is the first step. The next step is practice. 

You can’t just memorize the techniques in theory and expect to excel during the interview. You need to practice to master the art of verbal communication.

So, use your current colleagues or family and friends to conduct mock interviews, conversations, meetings, and brainstorming sessions. It’s the best way to prepare for what’s to come.

You can also practice alone in front of a mirror and using a recording device. This way, you can see and understand your body language and tone. Recording yourself allows you to hear your voice and practice how you sound.

Collect Feedback

What’s more, ensure you collect feedback from whoever participates in your mock sessions. They can give their two cents on your mannerisms, tone, and responses. 

You can also collect feedback from real-world scenarios. For example, consult your colleagues and ask what they think after a presentation or meeting session. You could also do this in other social settings like volunteer groups.

Continue Learning

As time goes on, you’ll continue to learn how to say things better, listen, and convey information more effectively. Make sure you take note of those teachable moments and let the lessons stick.