Oral communication is the process of verbally transmitting information and ideas from one individual or group to another. It's the process in which messages or information is exchanged or communicated within sender and receiver through the word of mouth. It includes individuals conversing with each other, be it direct conversation or telephonic conversation. Speeches, presentations, discussions are all forms of oral communication. Oral communication is generally recommended when the communication matter is of temporary kind or where a direct interaction is required. Face to face communication (meetings, lectures, conferences, interviews, etc.) is significant so as to build a rapport and trust.
Formal and informal communication
Oral communication can be either formal or informal. The Formal Communication is the exchange of official information that flows along the different levels of the organizational hierarchy and conforms to the prescribed professional rules, policy, standards, processes and regulations of the organization. The formal communication follows a proper predefined channel of communication and is deliberately controlled. It is governed by the chain of command and complies with all the organizational conventional rules. (“Formal communication”, 2018)
Informal communication is the casual and unofficial form of communication wherein the information is exchanged spontaneously between two or more persons without conforming the prescribed official rules, processes, system, formalities and chain of command. The informal communications are based on the personal or informal relations such as friends, peers, family, club members, etc. and thus is free from the organizational conventional rules and other formalities. In the business context, the informal communication is called as a “grapevine” as it is difficult to define the beginning and end of the communication. (“Informal communication”, 2018)
Effective Oral communication
The main rules of proper oral communication include:
- Preparation: Before communicating orally the speaker should take preparation ( physically and mentally)
- Clear pronunciation: Clear pronunciation of message sender is the main factor of oral communication. If it is not clear, the aim of the message may not be achieved
- Unity and integration: The unity and integration of the speech is a must for successful oral communication.
- Precision: Precision is needed to make oral communication effective. The meaning of the words must be concrete.
- Natural voice: The speaker's voice must not be fluctuated at the time of oral communication. On the other hand, artificial voice must be avoided.
- Avoiding emotions: At the time of oral discussion, excessive emotions can divert a speaker from main subject. So, the speaker should be careful about emotion. The speech must be emotionless
- Efficiency: Speakers efficiency and skill is necessary for effective oral communication.
Oral Communication in business
Among desired skills and attributes, communication is often the dominant issue, both generally and in business specifically. Communication determines academic and career and organisational success. Emerging research on graduate employability which indicates communication skills are equally important in less developed regions such as India and China and within business, communication is critical for successful job performance and organisational achievement. In the UK, the recent drive for developing entrepreneurial effectiveness in new graduates acknowledges the important role of communication in ensuring graduates are able to network, negotiate, build trust and articulate ideas and information within industry. Precisely which elements of the oral communication skill set are most required by industry has been subject to considerable review impeded by ambiguities in the exact meaning of the skill components, a problem common to many targeted employability skill. (D. Jackson, 2014).
Oral communication at workplace. In the context of workplace communication, having good communication skills is the way to success and that good communication skills are seen as fundamental and an additional merit. In the perspective of employers, oral communication skills are very important for managers to possess in order to carry out tasks efficiently at the workplace. The significant role of oral communication skills in multinational companies was reported by between 71 and 80 percent of the respondents. They ranked the usage of oral communication skills in multinational companies as follows; telephone conversation, informal work related discussions, meetings, giving oral presentations, explaining and demonstrating to subordinates and other colleagues. Higher Institutions in Malaysia are seeking to generate creative managers in different fields to meet the needs of thriving resources in various situations. In fact, at present, one of the key objectives in Malaysian higher institutions is to generate large number of graduates with high ability to communicate effectively at the workplace. To achieve this goal, higher institutions are attempting to design programs with a focus on communicative skills. (M. A. Moslehifara, N. A. Ibrahim, 2012)
Examples of Oral communication
- Face-to-face conversations: Conversations between two or more people in which ideas, information, and feelings are exchanged orally.
- Telephone conversations: Conversations that take place over the phone.
- Presentations: A formal talk or lecture to an audience, typically one given by a person invited to speak at an event.
- Group discussions: A meeting of a group of people to discuss a certain topic or issue.
- Public speaking: The art of delivering a speech in front of an audience.
- Interviews: A meeting between two or more people in order to ask questions and obtain information.
- Role-playing: A technique used in training, education, and psychotherapy in which participants act out roles in order to better understand a particular situation or dynamic.
- Storytelling: The act of telling stories, typically in an entertaining way.
Advantages of Oral communication
Oral communication has numerous advantages. It is the most common and effective form of communication. It is the quickest way to communicate and get immediate feedback. It can also be used to convey information and ideas more effectively and efficiently. Some of the advantages of oral communication are:
- It is direct and personal. It allows people to communicate directly with each other, which helps to build strong relationships and trust.
- It is flexible and can be adapted to the needs of the participants. It also allows for improvisation and spontaneous responses to questions or comments.
- It is effective in conveying emotion, such as joy, excitement, or anger. It allows people to connect with each other on a deeper level.
- It improves understanding of the message by providing visual cues, tones of voice, and body language. This helps to ensure that the message is understood clearly.
- It requires less preparation time than written communication, which makes it ideal for short, informal conversations.
Limitations of Oral communication
Oral communication has its limitations, such as:
- Difficulty in conveying exact thoughts and ideas: Oral communication is highly dependent on the speaker’s tone, language, and approach. It is difficult to convey the exact same meaning from one person to another, which can lead to misunderstandings and misinterpretations.
- Lack of permanence: Oral communication is not permanent and the information shared is not documented in the form of records, making it difficult to refer back to.
- Time consuming: Oral communication requires a lot of time for both the speaker and listener to exchange their ideas, opinions and thoughts.
- Limited audience reach: It can be difficult to reach a large audience with oral communication as it is limited by distance and the size of the audience.
Oral communication is used for a variety of purposes such as to inform, persuade, motivate, debate, and exchange ideas. Other approaches to oral communication include:
- Listening: This involves actively paying attention to the speaker and understanding the message being conveyed. It is an important part of communication that helps the receiver interpret the message accurately.
- Questioning: Asking questions is a great way to ensure that the message is understood correctly and that any doubts are cleared. Questions can also be used to challenge the speaker's opinion or viewpoint.
- Paraphrasing: This involves repeating the speaker’s message using different words, allowing the listener to gain a better understanding of the message.
- Non-verbal communication: This includes body language, facial expressions, and gestures, which can be used to supplement verbal communication.
In conclusion, oral communication is an important form of communication that requires active listening, questioning, paraphrasing, and non-verbal communication to ensure that the message is understood accurately.
- Business Jargons, 2018 Formal communication
- Gray E. F., 2010, Specific Oral Communication Skills Desired in New Accountancy Graduates Business Communication Quarterly, 40
- Moslehifara M. A. , Ibrahim N. A., 2012, Language Oral Communication Needs at the WorkplaceProcedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, Vol.66
- Mojibur Rahman M., 2010 Teaching Oral Communication Skills: A Task-based Approach ESP World, Vol. 1, No. 27
- Jackson D., 2014, Graduate performance in oral communication skills and strategies for improvementThe International Journal of Management Education, Vol.12, No.1
Author: Katarzyna Górna