Throughout your day, you interact with many people, especially at work. Now that our work has become a combination of remote and in-person, it’s essential that you have the proper verbal communication skills to be productive, help boost efficiency levels within the company, and help others succeed.
It’s not just what you say while you’re at work. It’s how you engage with those around you, too. The right words coupled with the right delivery can help you gain the trust and respect of colleagues and clients alike.
Whether you’re dealing with colleagues, clients, or your boss, do you have the verbal communication skills you need for success?
What Are Verbal Communication Skills?
When you’re using language to share information with someone, this is considered verbal communication. However, these skills span further than just how well you can speak. You’re also trying to deliver and receive messages successfully.
Some of these communication skills include:
- listening closely
- asking someone to clarify something that you don’t understand
- observing non-verbal cues
- speaking clearly
- choosing your words carefully
- staying on track with a thought or idea
- asking open-ended questions
- using humor to engage those around you
- keeping an open mind
- avoiding distractions
- offering and accepting feedback
Non-verbal communication skills also contribute to how effective we are at communicating. This can include body language, facial expressions, posture, maintaining eye contact, gestures, tone of voice, and touch.
10 Must-Have Verbal Communication Skills
Lack of communication is one of the biggest complaints people have about their jobs and is usually a significant reason why people quit. Unfortunately, being a good communicator is also one of the most in-demand soft skills employers seek from their staff.
Regardless of what industry you work in, developing your verbal communication will benefit you. Here are the ten must-have communication skills to focus on today to succeed.
1. Effective Speaking and Active Listening
People generally feel like they are either better at speaking or better at listening. However, it’s essential to have a good understanding of both these interpersonal skills.
When you’re engaged in a conversation with someone, you want to choose what you’re going to say thoughtfully. This can mean taking a second to think your response through all the way, so you have an organized and precise response. Rushing to say something just to avoid a silent pause can confuse. Most people appreciate the time that you put into what you’re going to say before you speak.
Listening to another person is just as important. Don’t feel like you have to jump into the conversation every time that person stops speaking. They may be taking time to think about what they want to say as well. As a result, the entire discussion can slow down, and more thorough communication can take place. Interrupting someone can really come across as unprofessional.
2. Making Small Talk
While engaging in small talk might seem unimportant, having small talk skills can help you develop better relationships with other people and build a rapport. Small talk can help you start a conversation, keep it going, and politely end a conversation before you part ways.
3. Presenting to Groups
Public speaking isn’t something that many people enjoy, but you must develop these communication skills. Effective public speaking skills help with the advancement of your career. Management will recognize your confidence, creativity, and leadership abilities when you are presenting to groups. This is also a great way to boost your self-confidence.
4. Communicating to Small Groups
Speaking with a small group of people is very different than speaking to a large group. When you’re presenting to a large number of people, you rarely can connect one-on-one with people.
However, a small group atmosphere can be a lot more productive. You can learn more about people personally, and they will feel as though they are an essential part of the team. Take the time to make eye contact with everyone in the room and ask questions to those you’re meeting with. Set aside time for those people in the group to ask any questions that they have.
5. Addressing Bad News
Inevitably, there will be times when bad news has to be communicated throughout a company. This can be regarding a change in benefits, an acquisition, or a period of layoffs.
Successful verbal communication skills will allow you to relay this information while still maintaining morale within the company. In addition, you will provide hope and confidence to those you are speaking with, so they don’t feel angry or worried about the future when it comes to their career.
6. Being Clear and Concise
People appreciate it when you are clear, concise, and straightforward with them. Beating around the bush or leaving a question unanswered tends to leave people feeling unsettled. They may go back to their desk or home to over-think what was said. You want to communicate facts to people in a very understandable way. This can prevent rumors and misinformation from traveling around the workplace.
7. Varying Your Vocal Tone
Your tone of voice can impact an entire conversation. It can show that you’re feeling positive, confident, happy, and motivated. A kind, calm and clear tone can convey a confident person that cares about the person they are speaking to. This is much better than having a tone that leaves someone thinking you’re disinterested, concerned, covering something up, or disregarding what was said. A very rushed tone can appear to be rude.
Depending on who you’re talking to and what you’re trying to accomplish, you may need to vary your vocal tone. Firmness isn’t always a bad thing if you’re trying to meet a deadline, emphasize important points, or are dealing with someone who is difficult.
8. Controlling Your Volume
On that same note, the volume at which you speak matters, too. Your volume should feel comfortable to you and match your surroundings. For example, yelling or raising your voice isn’t something you should be doing at work. You want to speak loudly enough that others can hear you, but you don’t want to be so loud that you’re coming across in an intimidating manner.
9. Considering Your Message
You want to get your point across when you’re communicating with people.
You’ve likely gone into a presentation or conversation with an end goal in mind. Stating the facts, clearly presenting the information, and answering any existing questions can help you convey your message effectively.
10. Recognizing Your Audience
Effective verbal communication skills take into account the audience that you’re speaking to. If you have the opportunity, research your audience ahead of time to connect with them better. You can also better prepare for your conversation if you know your audience. You can often anticipate any questions that will pop up or any issues that will need to be addressed.
Tips for Improving Your Verbal Communication Skills
Improving your verbal communication can be accomplished by encouraging words (with gestures) to reinforce the conversation. Being able to build closeness with the person that you’re talking to is ideal. This will enable them to partake in the discussion and make them feel like their opinion matters to you. You can also alleviate any fears someone has by showing that you have a caring demeanor that will transfer to your work.
Making a positive first impression is an important interpersonal communication skill, as it often sets the tone for the relationship. Using a series of questions is an excellent way to start a conversation, keep a conversation going, learn more and show interest.
Questioning is a crucial part of verbal communication, and it comes in two different forms. First, closed questions usually require the other party to give a one or two-word response, which keeps one person in control of the communication.
On the other hand, asking open questions will help the other person feel comfortable and like they matter because there is an opportunity for elaboration. It’s also important to reflect on what someone has said and then clarify and summarize it back to them. This is a good way of letting someone know that you’re actively listening to them. It’s also a great way to confirm that you have been paying attention and adequately understand the message.
However, the best way to improve your ability to communicate effectively is to practice!
How to Demonstrate Your Verbal Communication Skills During Your Job Search
It’s pretty easy to demonstrate your spoken communication and listening skills when you meet face-to-face or over video chat with someone (in a job interview, for example).
Including these skills on your resume, however, isn’t as straightforward. For example, simply stating that you have “strong verbal communication skills” doesn’t tell a hiring manager anything. Instead, you need to provide examples and accomplishment statements that focus on how you’ve applied these skills on the job.
The best way to do so is to look at the job description and identify the verbal skills the position requires. Then, include the skills that you have in your resume’s Experience section as a bullet point where you can.
- Responded to telephone, email, and in-person inquiries and provided information to managers and external agencies while adhering to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act to ensure confidentiality
- Coordinated student development by working collaboratively with 65 at-risk students, faculty, and staff to establish meaningful advising relationships, initiate outreach activities, and act as a liaison to connect students with appropriate support systems.
- Implemented monthly training sessions for department leaders, increasing productivity by 15% and employee retention by 23% over three years.
If you’re stuck, several places offer free resume help so that you can be sure your skills are highlighted on your resume in the best way possible.
Verbal communication skills are critical for professionals to develop ongoing relationships with people within their organization and industry. This can lead to a better work environment, improved staff morale, increased clients, positive interactions within a company, and much more.
When you develop your communication skills, this can set you apart from your competition whether you’re hard at work on a project, looking to advance your position, or trying to negotiate a deal.
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This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.
Amanda Kay, an Employment Specialist and founder of My Life, I Guess, strives to keep the "person" in personal finance by writing about money, mistakes, and making a living. She focuses on what it’s like being in debt, living paycheck to paycheck, and surviving unemployment while also offering advice and support for others in similar situations - including a FREE library of career & job search resources.