This unit examines the two major components of Verbal communication. They are:
- Oral (speech) communication and;
- Written communication
At the end of this unit, you should be able to:
- understand what verbal communication is and what it is not
- understand the advantages and disadvantages of written communication
- understand the advantages and disadvantages of oral communication.
3.0 MAIN CONTENT
There are basically two forms of communication- verbal and non-verbal communication. Also, there are two major components of verbal communication. They are:
- Oral (speech) communication and;
- Written communication
3.1 Oral Communication
Succintly, oral communication – means communication by word of mouth. This is the primary form of human communication. Speaking is natural and consequently, every child with no physical problem normally acquires the speech form used around him. It is the use of spoken language that gave humans a great advantage over the animals. Many civilizations thrived basically on oral communication before the advent of writing. Even today, there are still many ethnic groups and tribes whose languages have not been reduced to writing. Oral communication is the most commonly used of the various forms of communication, and it pervades all strata of every society.
Types of Oral communication
The Free Dictionary defines oral communication as follows:
- Speech communication, spoken communication, spoken language, voice communication, language, speech language, linguistic communication jointly define as a systematic means of communicating by the use of sounds or conventional symbols.
- Auditory communication – communication that relies on hearing.
- Orthoepy, pronunciation – the way a word or a language is customarily spoken; “the pronunciation of Chinese is difficult for foreigners”; “that is the correct pronunciation”.
- Conversation – the use of speech for informal exchange of views or ideas or information etc.
- Discussion – an exchange of views on some topic; “we had a good discussion”; “we had a word or two about it
- Locution, saying, expression – a word or phrase that particular people use in particular situations; “pardon the expression”.
- Non-standard speech – speech that differs from the usually accepted, easily recognizable speech of native adult members of a speech community.
- Idiolect – the language or speech of one individual at a particular period in life.
- Monologue – a long utterance by one person (especially one that prevents others from participating in the conversation).
- Magic spell, magical spell, charm, spell – a verbal formula believed to have magical force; “he whispered a spell as he moved his hands”; “inscribed around its base is a charm in Balines
- Dictation – speech intended for reproduction in writing.
- Monologue, soliloquy – speech you make to yourself
Advantages of Oral Communication
- It is a learnable and improvable human activity.
- It is a more accurate reflection of thought and attitude of the speaker.
- It creates and sustains warm, interpersonal relationships.
- It combines sight and sound, thus enabling participants to benefit from both verbal and non-verbal stimulus.
- It can satisfy man’s needs and desires (wants) more quickly than writing or gestures
- It allows for instantaneous exchange of ideas, information, opinions, feelings and attitudes
- It enables participants to seek immediate clarification whenever in doubt of the meaning being negotiated.
- It provides for instantaneous feedback, thereby making it possible for the participants to assess the success, or failure, of their communication efforts and so decide whether or not to modify their needs of communication interaction.
Disadvantages of Oral Communication
- It lacks permanence.
- It does not allow participants’ thought to crystalise, thus resulting in imprecise communication and even outright errors which could be avoided in written communication.
- There is possibility of distortion of meaning.
- It can easily be denied.
- It has little weight as contractual evidence.
- It is usually not admissible in evidence in the law court.
SELF ASSESSMENT EXERCISE 1
The engagement of mouth and tongue is very crucial to oral communication. Discuss
3.2 Written Communication
Written Communication could be simply defined as communication by means of written symbols (either printed or handwritten). Writing as a system of communication is an offshoot of speech; that is, we have the spoken language before writing. While speech is natural, writing has to be taught and learnt accordingly. Besides, there is no language that exists in written form without a spoken form.
Types of Written Communication
- Black and white, written language communication – something that is communicated by or to or between people or groups.
- Folio, leaf – a sheet of any written or printed material (especially in a manuscript or book)
- Transcription, written text – something written, especially copied from one medium to another, as a typewritten version of dictation.
- Writing – letters or symbols that are written or imprinted on a surface to represent the sounds or words of a language; “he turned the paper over so the writing wouldn’t show”; “the doctor’s writing was illegible”
- Piece of writing, written material, writing – the work of a writer; anything expressed in letters of the alphabet (especially when considered from the point of view of style and effect); “the writing in her novels is excellent”; “that editorial was a fine piece of writing”
- Writings – (usually plural) the collected work of an author; “the idea occurs with increasing frequency in Hemingway’s writings”.
- Prescription – written instructions from a physician or dentist to a druggist concerning the form and dosage of a drug to be issued to a given patient.
- Prescription – written instructions for an optician on the lenses for a given person.
- Reading material, reading – written material intended to be read; “the teacher assigned new readings”; “he bought some reading material at the airport”.
- Correspondence – communication by the exchange of letters
- Code, codification – a set of rules or principles or laws (especially written ones)
- Print – the text appearing in a book, newspaper, or other printed publication; “I want to see it in print”
Advantages of Written Communication
- It provides opportunities for record keeping
- It is amenable to conveying complex messages, information, and ideals as well as explaining difficult process.
- It can be reproduced through various reprographic processes and dispatched to widely scattered receivers.
- It provides avenues through which oral transaction can be clarified, analysed and confirmed.
- It provides a basis for contractual agreements
- It reduces the chance of distortion.
Disadvantages of Written Communication
- It may require a laborious effort to produce.
- It lacks the warmth of interpersonal relationships.
- It may be expensive especially when it requires being dispatched to scattered receivers.
- It delays feedback.
- It makes it difficult for the sender to modify his message once it is composed and dispatched.
- It multiplies errors, particularly with the advances in the technology of message dissemination through computer networks, fax, e-mail etc.
- It requires a good level of literacy on the part of the receiver.
SELF ASSESSMENT EXERCISE 2
Compare and contrast the weaknesses and strength of oral and written communication.
One major description of verbal communication is that it requires the use of words, vocabulary, numbers and symbols and is organized in sentences using language. Mastering linguistic skill is not reserved for the selected few but is a skill that each and every one should develop to improve relationships and interactions. Everyone’s brain is forever having thoughts and they are primarily with words. Words spoken, listened to or written affect your life as well as others. They have the power to create emotions and move people to take action. When verbal communication is delivered accurately and clearly, you activate the mind and encourage creativity. You create your reality with your senses, the eyes, ears and feelings and words and symbols are used to create the meanings. This is why you are encouraged to read and watch informative materials, listen to motivational audio programs and attend classes or seminars that relate to your line of work or objectives. Positive and uplifting spoken or written messages motivate and inspire.
The unit has been able to discuss in appreciable details what verbal communication is all about. It examined the major components of verbal communication which are oral and written communication, as well as underscoring their advantages and disadvantages. The following types of oral communication are listed: Speech communication, spoken communication, spoken language, voice communication, language, speech language, linguistic communication, Auditory communication, Orthoepy, Pronunciation, Conversation, Discussion, Locution, saying, expression, Non-standard speech, Idiolect, Monologue, Magic Spell, Charm, Spell, Dictation and Monologue, Soliloquy
6.0 TUTOR–MARKED ASSIGNMENT
Write a two-page essay on the concept of oral media