Oral Communication: Definitions, Importance, Methods, Advantages and Disadvantages

What is Oral Communication?

Oral communication implies communication through the 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 a temporary kind or where a direct interaction is required. Face-to-face communication (meetings, lectures, conferences, interviews, etc.) is significant so as to build rapport and trust.

In other words, Oral communication is the process of expressing information or ideas by talking. It is predominantly referred to as speech communication.


Definitions of Oral Communication

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 expresses ideas through the spoken word. Bovee
Oral communication takes place when spoken words are used to transfer information and understanding from one person to another. S. K. Kapur

Importance of Oral Communication

The following are the importance of oral communication:

  1. Clear Pronunciation
  2. Brevity
  3. Precision
  4. Conviction
  5. Logical Sequence
  6. Appropriate Word Choice
  7. Use natural voice
  8. Communicate With Right Person
  9. Do Not Get Guided by Assumptions
  10. Look for Feedback
  11. Allow to Ask Questions

Clear Pronunciation

The message should be pronounced clearly, otherwise, the receiver may not understand the words of the sender.

Brevity

A brief message is considered the most effective factor since the receiver’s retention capacity is limited in oral communication. The sender should be as brief as possible.

Precision

The sender should ensure the exactness of the message. The only relevant issue should be included in the message and that too with accuracy.

Conviction

The sender should believe in the facts that are being communicated to others. The oral presentation should evince the confidence of the sender.

Logical Sequence

The sender should present the message logically. The points to be spoken first and what should follow to convey the meaning and motives of the sender effectively to the receiver need to be looked into.

Appropriate Word Choice

Words are symbols. They have no fixed or universal meanings. The meanings of words at that moment are in the mind of the sender. Therefore, the sender should select the words which are suitable and understandable to the other party and those which convey exactly the same meanings as the sender wanted.

Use natural voice

Natural voice conveys integrity and conviction. It is advised to use a natural voice in oral communication.

Communicate With Right Person

It is essential to know with whom to communicate. If you communicate the right message to the wrong person, it may lead to a lot of problems. Be sure in recognizing the right person to communicate with.

Do Not Get Guided by Assumptions

Never assume that your listener has knowledge already on the subject matter. You may be wrong many times in such assumptions. You can be good only when you are confident in your message without any omission.

Look for Feedback

When communicating, if you are smart enough in collecting feedback verbally or non-verbally, you can quickly alter the message, if necessary.

Allow to Ask Questions

It is important to give freedom to the receiver to rise questions whenever he feels ambiguity or confusion. In a way, the communicator should encourage the receiver to ask questions. Such questions are opportunities to clarify doubts.


Methods to Improve Oral Communication Skills

These are some methods to improve oral communication skills:

  1. Speak in a Clear, Confident Strong Voice
  2. Be Coherent
  3. Avoid Using Filler Words
  4. Be an Active Listener

Speak in a Clear, Confident Strong Voice

one should speak in a confident, clear and strong voice so that it is audible to everyone in the audience. Keep the pace of your speaking average, not very slow not very fast. While speaking, face the audience.

Be Coherent

One should speak coherently with a concentration on your subject only. Try not to be distracted from your subject, try to prevent other thoughts at that time.

Avoid Using Filler Words

It is better to pause for a second rather than using filler words, such as “Yeah”, “So”, “Um”, “Like” frequent use of filler words disturb coherence and distract the audience.

Be an Active Listener

Verbal communication is a two-way process; you should, therefore, be an active listener too. Try to understand a question/query quickly, because it looks odd to ask to repeat the question.


Advantages and Disadvantages of Oral Communication

These are the following advantages and disadvantages of oral communication:

  1. Advantages of Oral Communication
  2. Disadvantages of Oral Communication

Advantages of Oral Communication

  1. communication as it is interpersonal.

  2. There is no element of rigidity in oral communication. There is flexibility for allowing changes in the decisions previously taken.

  3. The feedback is spontaneous in case of oral communication. Thus, decisions can be made quickly without any delay.

  4. Oral communication is not only time saving, but it also saves upon money and effort.

  5. Oral communication is best in case of problem resolution. The conflicts, disputes and many issues/differences can be put to an end by talking them over.

  6. Oral communication is an essential for teamwork and group energy.

  7. Oral communication promotes a receptive and encouraging morale among organizational employees.

  8. Oral communication can be best used to transfer private and confidential information/matter.

Disadvantages of Oral Communication

  1. Relying only on oral communication may not be sufficient as business communication is formal and very organized.

  2. Oral communication is less authentic than written communication as they are informal and not as organized as written communication.

  3. Oral communication is time-saving as far as daily interactions are concerned, but in case of meetings, long speeches consume lot of time and are unproductive at times.

  4. Oral communications are not easy to maintain and thus they are unsteady.

  5. There may be misunderstandings as the information is not complete and may lack essentials.

  6. It requires attentiveness and great receptivity on part of the receivers/audience.

  7. Oral communication (such as speeches) is not frequently used as legal records except in investigation work.

Oral Mode is Used Where

These are the following points of where we used oral mode:

  1. Personal adthentication is needed. e.g., between an officer and her petsonal secretary; a journalist and her source (“I heard it from a reliable source”)
  2. Social or gregarious needs must be met. e.g.,’speaking with a visiting delegation
  3. Warmth and personal qualities are called for. e.g., group or team interaction
  4. Exaclitude and precision are not vitally important. e.g., brainrstorming for ideas I
  5. Situations demand maximum understanding. e.g., sorting out problems or differences between individuals, or between two groups such as administration and students.
  6. An atmosphere of openness is desired. e.g., talks between management and . workers
  7. Added impact is needed to get receiver focus. e.g., a chairperson of an organization addressing the staff; a presidential or royal address to a nation
  8. Decisions or information have to be communicated quickly. e.g., officers issuing oiders during natural disasters such as floods or an earthquake
  9. Confidential matters are to be discussed. e.g., exchange of positive or negative information about an organization or an individual. In the process of appointments, or promotion or selection of individuals, a period of open discussion may precede the final decision that is recorded in writing.

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