10 Verbal Communication Skills to Master

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Verbal communication skills are essential for your success.

In today’s world of constant emails, video calls and phone calls, communicating effectively is necessary for success. Whether in business, relationships, personal life, and more, communication skills are crucial.

These 9 tips will help you improve your verbal communication skills. Whether in person, on a zoom call, the phone or over email, these skills will open up doors so that your audience will value and appreciate what you have to say. Here are 10 verbal communication skills that you should master:

1. Think before you speak

Whenever possible, organize your thoughts in advance. Aim to communicate in a simple manner. This helps you to avoid mix-ups, pauses, and poor word choice. When possible, take time to think through your thoughts. Write them out before you deliver your thoughts. When this is not possible, take the time available to you to get a roadmap of your thoughts. Organize them, and be conscious of how the other person may perceive what you say.

2. Be clear and concise

Even the smartest of readers respond best when writing is no higher than 6th or 7th grade. Speaking is no different. If they cannot understand what you say or write, chances are your audience will lose focus. Speaking simply is the new smart.

Use simple words, not complicated ones. Trying to come across as smart will in most cases turn the other person off. Avoid confusing sentences, words, and phrases. Use as few words as possible to illustrate your point, without leaving room for misinterpretation.

3. Speak with confidence- not arrogance

Confidence is the difference between rejection and acceptance. Speaking with confidence is rarely the words you use, it is how you say them. Having confidence in your speech and manners will build trust and gain the respect of your audience.

Key things to be aware of to speak confidently are:

  • your knowledge of the subject matter.
  • your word choice (words such as “I will get you that proposal” is more confident than “I will try and get you the proposal”. Just make sure you can back up what you say.)
  • Tone of your voice.
  • Your body language.
  • Making eye contact with your audience.
 
4. Master your tonality

If you want your audience to fall asleep, speak in a monotone voice. Don’t be engaging or animated. Don’t ask interesting questions. If you want someone to be engaged, what tonality would you want to hear from someone else? Use that voice, and your tonality will improve.

Instead of sounding timid, here are some key points to improve your tonality:

  • Use voice inflection to add emphasis to important points, as well as to gloss over things when needed.
  • Vary the pitch of your voice to express emotion, statement, a question, or more. If you ask a question, in English we make the last syllable in a sentence higher pitched. In a statement, our pitch will decrease on the last syllable.
  • Record your self speaking, and play it back. While it may be tough to listen to at first, awareness is the first step to improvement. If you do this in a business setting, consider tools such as call monitoring and call recording to help you in this process.
 
5. Listen with intent

Everybody loves a good listener. In fact, people pay freelancers on sites like Fiverr.com just to listen!

Arguably more important than speaking well, is listening to others. It WILL improve your verbal interactions. People who listen more are perceived as being smarter.

There are 5 stages to active listening:

  • Receiving
  • Understanding
  • Remembering
  • Evaluating
  • Responding
 

Listening demonstrates you genuinely care about others’ thoughts, inputs and feelings. A simple question such as “Do you want me to try and solve this, or listen?” Can help you listen more intently and build trust with that person.

After listening, show them you were listening by summarizing what you heard. Ask them clarifying questions if needed. This will help you to build trust and rapport, a key component of becoming a master of communicating.

6. Be aware of non-verbal communication cues

Your body language has a bigger impact on how people perceive your attitude than even your words. Be aware of your gestures and facial expressions. Small things such as tapping your feet or crossing your arms can send a negative message. Make sure your body language is sending the message you want to share.

In addition to being conscious of your own non-verbal communication, it is helpful to understand what others’ non-verbal cues are conveying.

7. Consider your audience’s perspective

Being an expert on a topic is great. Knowing what level of understanding your audience has is necessary. Just because you know a topic doesn’t mean the people you are speaking to do too.

Effectively Communicate

Consider what someone with no knowledge of the subject would need to hear. If you are pitching a product to a potential client, remember they may have never heard of your product before. As a general rule, speaking so the least-knowledgable person can understand what you say won’t steer you wrong.

8. Avoid jargon and confusing phrases

Using jargon someone does not know is a surefire way to cause them to lose interest. Nobody likes to feel out of the know. Avoid jargon, and if you do need to use it, clarify what it means so everybody you are speaking to can follow along.

I remember my first few days as a marketer. Everyone was using words such as “b2b”, “CTA” and “CRM” and expected me to keep up. I felt lost, confused, and hopeless. Don’t let your audience be in the dark, and you will be looked upon as a great communicator.

9. Relate to your audience

If people cannot connect with what you are saying, they will stop listening. You need to associate with others’ interests.

Do they enjoy watching a certain sport or activity? Do they live a certain lifestyle? Meet those you are speaking with where they are, or you will come across as disconnected and un-relatable.

10. Tell a compelling story

Humans love stories. In fact, our brains are wired to LOVE storytelling.

Do you want to make people laugh? Tell them your funny story from that trip you went on.

Why do drama movies and books work so well? People are connected with the story and characters, they grasp onto every word.

When you can tell a good story, it does more than just keep people’s attention. They will remember the story. They will remember how they felt as a result of you sharing it.

Looking for ways to improve your verbal communication?

Convirza offers industry leading call recording and reports so you can communicate better over the phone. Listen to your call anytime, as many times as you want. Transcripts of your calls are made. Convirza’s Conversation Analytics Will analyze your conversation and give you unique insights.

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Tanner, Royal, Caden, Jonah, & Syd 4.5.24

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