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What is Oral Communication?
Oral Communication Definition: In oral communication, spoken words are used. It includes face-to-face conversations, speech, telephonic conversation, video, radio, television, voice over internet.
In oral communication, communication is influenced by pitch, volume, speed and clarity of speaking. Oral communication means spoken communication or communication through speech.
Oral Communication Definition
Oral communication takes place in face-to-face conversations, group discussions, telephone calls and other circumstances in which spoken word is used to express meaning.Ricky W. Griffin
Oral communication takes place when spoken words are used to transfer information and understanding form on person to another.S. K. Kapur
Oral Communication Advantages
Oral communication advantages are mentioned below:
- Immediate Feedback: The biggest advantage of oral communication is that it provides immediate feedback to both the sender and the receiver. Each can therefore ask for clarification and elaboration on the spot.
The speaker can immediately understand the reaction of the audience or group, s/he is addressing while the hearers get a number of clues about how their behaviour is being perceived by the speaker.
- Time Saving: Oral communication is very fast. It saves the time involved in writing the message and delivering it through a channel like the postal or courier services.
- Economical: Oral communication saves the money spent on stationery and the channel of communication.
- Personal Touch: Oral communication builds up a healthy climate in the organization by bringing superiors and subordinates closer. It is also an effective tool for persuasion.
- Flexibility: Oral communication provides an opportunity to the speaker to correct himself and make himself clear by changing his voice, pitch, tone, etc. A number of other factors like context, body language, etc. can be used to reinforce and modify what is spoken through the words.
- Secrecy: Oral messages can be more easily kept confidential than written messages. All one has to do is to ensure that there is no one within the hearing or recording distance.
- Group Communication: Oral communication is extremely useful for communicating with groups in meetings, conferences, etc. No classroom teaching would be possible without oral communication.
- Effectiveness: Because oral communication involves the real or virtual presence of both the parties, therefore, the message transfer is more effective and that helps in achieving the goal of the communication more efficiently.
Oral Communication Disadvantages
Oral communication disadvantages are mentioned below:
- Poor Retention: The listener cannot retain oral messages in his memory for a long time. The speaker himself may not recall what he actually said.
- No Record: Oral communication does not provide any record for future reference. In the absence of a record, oral messages have no legal validity.
- Time Consuming: Oral communication may not always be time saving. Precisely because there is no binding medium like a page or a book, this form of communication is virtually endless. Sometimes meetings continue for a long time without arriving at any satisfactory conclusion.
- Misunderstanding: Oral communications are likely to be misunderstood due to poor expression and noise. The speaker may not be able to make himself quite clear or the listener may be inattentive. This is likely to be truer when the two individuals are not on good terms with each other.
- Lengthy Messages: Oral communication is not suitable for transmitting lengthy messages. Some parts of vital importance may not receive adequate attention.
- Lack of Responsibility: Oral messages are not recorded. Therefore, it becomes difficult to hold persons responsible for mistakes, inaccuracy or falsity in oral communication.
- Imprecise: People usually take less care when speaking than when writing. Therefore, spoken words tend to be less precise than written words. Often the exact point the speaker is trying to make is lost in a mass of words.
How to Make Oral Communication Effective?
The following steps should be taken to make oral communication effective:
- Clarity: The speaker should pronounce his words “clearly” and “correctly”. He must talk distinctly and slowly. When a person speaks fast or munches words the oral message is likely to be misunderstood.
The way a person speaks his dialogue exercises much influence on the audience. Clarity of expression is the aim at all times.
- Brevity: Oral communications often suffer from too much of talking. When a speaker keeps on talking for long, his message is lost in a sea of words and his listeners tend to become inattentive.
Therefore, the message must be kept as short as possible. However, the speaker should not appear unclear, abrupt or discourteous.
- Precision: An oral message becomes more effective when it is precise and concise.
Example: It is better to say ‘cut down costs by ` 100 instead of saying ‘reduce costs’. The message should not be vague or incomplete. Words ought to mean clearly what they are intended to say.
- Right words: The first caution is to ensure that you know the meaning of the words that you use. Some words have more than one meaning while some others carry different meanings for different persons. Be sure about what your words will convey to a trained reader.
Example: City, town and metropolis are three different words and care should be exercised before using them. You will find that the word ‘metro’ has at least three different meanings in day-today usage. Find them out for yourself.
Therefore, words should be chosen carefully and their meaning clarified in the context of usage. The speaker should not presume that the listener would mean the same thing from a word, which s/he means.
- Avoid Hackneyed Phrases and Clichés: Speakers often use hackneyed phrases and clichés like ‘you know’, ‘I see’, ‘you see’, ‘what I mean’, ‘isn’t,’ etc.
Such phrases interrupt the flow of speech and obstruct the quick grasp of meaning besides causing boredom. Speakers should ensure that they do not use these phrases unconsciously or consciously.
Most of us use them as connectives, filling up a gap when we do not have the correct word/phrase. Keeping them consciously out of your usage would mean that you will have to remain silent for those gaps. But don’t worry. Once you stop using fillers like those, appropriate words will come to you with a little effort at articulation.
- Understand the Listener: A good speaker must understand the listener before talking. People vary in terms of their education, culture, intelligence level, maturity, etc.
- Natural Voice: The speaker should use his natural way of speaking. In order to look sophisticated, some speakers use a foreign accent. This reduces the effectiveness of communication.
- Logical Sequence: Before speaking, different ideas to be conveyed should be arranged in a logical order. It helps to make the speech forceful.
- Conviction: A speaker must have conviction in what he says. Careful understanding, sincerity of speech, and intelligent planning are required to develop conviction in speech.
Importance of Oral Communication
The importance of oral communication/ presentation can be discussed in the following points:
- Importance for a scholar: The art of oral presentation is of immense significance for an academician or a student who is needed to defend his/her thesis in a seminar or a conference.
- Importance for a professional: At times, managers or executives in a company are required to prepare a report and then give an oral presentation on that report. Their performance can make or mar their career.
- Importance for business: Oral presentations are of huge significance in today’s business environment. It’s simply because nothing has more impact, or is quite as impressive, as a well-delivered oral presentation.
Properly executed and in the right context, they can inform, motivate and convince more effectively than any other single form of communication. As a result, employers place great value on presentation skills.
- As a marketing tool: Ability to deliver oral presentation is one of the most effective tools of marketing. For instance, consider these two typical situations where oral presentation skill will be needed as a marketing strategy:
Tools for Oral Communication
A verbal tool, in the parlance of business communication, is a manner of message exchange that would lead to interaction of the sender and the receiver through gestures, eyes, voice or video images.
Thus, verbal communication would essentially include tools such as:
- Product and service demonstrations
- Trade fairs
- Interviews for jobs
- Video phones
- Video conference
- Body language
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