The Most Important Verbal Communication Skills (With Examples)

By Kristin Kizer
Aug. 23, 2022
Skills Based Articles

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Verbal communications are so important to have in the workplace whether you are just starting out in a job or you are managing a huge team.

The stronger your skills are, the better you will be at your job. If you don’t have great verbal communication skills don’t worry, these skills can be improved at anytime.

We will go over what verbal communication skills are, what are some important ones to have in the workplace, and ways to improve them.

Key Takeaways:

  • Verbal communications skills are a soft skill so they are not easy to list on a resume, but are easy to improve and show in the workplace.

  • The best ways to show verbal communication in the workplace is to be an active listener, ask questions to show understanding, and be clear and concise with your instructions.

  • Having strong verbal communication skills can help build your confidence and help form or maintain your personal and professional relationships.

The Most Important Verbal Communication Skills (With Examples)

What are Verbal Communication Skills?

If you think verbal communication is just the ability to speak with others, then you’re partially right but missing out on quite a bit. Having effective communication skills means being able to get your point across effectively.

In some situations, being able to do it in a likable way is also important. A big part of being a good communicator is also knowing how to listen and process the information you’re hearing.

Verbal communication skills are an example of a soft skill. That means it’s not something you typically learn in school, so it’s not easy to list on a resume. But it is something that you can learn and work on.

Important Verbal Communication Skills

Your ability to communicate is a deeply integrated part of who you are. It’s something that’s going to be virtually the same no matter who you’re talking to. You’ll find that the skills you use to communicate at work are probably the same ones you use at home with your family or with your friends.

You may be more reserved at work than at home or with friends, but your communication abilities will still translate from work to home and beyond.

Some communication skills you might find in the workplace, school, and the rest of life include:

  • Advising others

  • Giving feedback in a way that’s constructive and not hurtful or offensive

  • Being able to compliment and give credit when it’s due

  • Hearing objections and processing the deeper meanings

  • Acknowledging the feelings of others and reacting appropriately

  • Remaining calm during stressful situations

  • Explaining steps and processes that others can easily understand

  • Training and teaching effectively

  • Being able to talk to people who work above and beneath you in a respectful way

  • Being able to summarize and clarify information

  • Have a way of speaking that’s easy to hear and understand

Verbal Communication Skills in the Workplace

It might seem obvious that some professions require an individual with great communication skills. A teacher is an obvious example. But most careers do require some ability to communicate effectively, even if it’s just at the job interview.

People with good verbal communication skills will more easily impress interviewers than people who aren’t good at communicating. This fact alone makes it important to work on improving the way you communicate. But how might you use communication skills in the workplace?

  • Be clear and concise. Learning to explain yourself in a manner that other people understand will go a long way toward making you easy to understand and communicate with.

  • Be an active listener. When people can tell that you’re listening to them, they believe you’re a better communicator, which you probably are.

  • Show understanding. By reflecting on what someone is saying, using verbal and non-verbal cues, people can tell if you understand what they’re saying. They’re also more likely to respond to you in a similar fashion. This will make it easier for you to determine if you’re communicating effectively.

  • Ask questions. If you don’t understand or if you want clarification, the best way to get clear is to ask questions. Not only do you get the information you need, but the person you’re speaking with feels that you’re engaged and communicating with them well.

  • Repeat key points. A great way to show that you’re on the same wavelength with someone else is to repeat back to them what they’ve said. If you didn’t understand, they would quickly see that there needs to be more clarity.

  • Try empathy. Being able to understand someone’s feelings or emotional state can help you decipher their meaning. Sometimes people say things like “I’m okay,” and they’re clearly not. If you’re good with empathy, you might be able to tell if they’d like to talk more or if it’s something that’s better left unsaid.

  • Motivation and positive feelings. Being good with verbal communication often means that you are good at using your skills to motivate the people you work with and building a positive feeling in your department.

Ways to Improve Your Verbal Communication Skills

Soft skills, like verbal communication, can be improved with practice, but it takes time. The good news is, because your communication skills are basically the same at work, home, and with friends, you can ask trusted people to be honest and help you become a better communicator.

Don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t come easily or if it feels awkward. Everyone has a different level of comfort with communication, and skills require effort and time. Eventually, it will become easier. But there are some things you can do regularly to get there faster.

  • Work on being an active listener

  • Keep an open mind when you’re listening and don’t jump to any conclusions or start planning your response

  • Try to absorb all of the information without holding onto one or two points

  • Do not assume anything about the speaker by the way they look or who they are

  • Practice explaining how to do things in a clear and concise manner

  • Ask for feedback on your presentations and verbal skills

  • Become comfortable with eye contact

  • Reinforce that you’re listening through your verbal and nonverbal actions

  • Practice nonverbal communication and expressing yourself without words

  • Learn to use questions to find out more information and to clarify statements

An Exercise to Improve Verbal Communication Skills

There are actually a lot of exercises and even games that you can do to help improve both your listening and speaking skills. The following example is a fun exercise for people to do at home or with friends, but it can also be a work exercise to help a team work together and communicate better.

This communication exercise involves drawing shapes and two-person teams. Draw a few simple shapes, like a square or a triangle, on 3×5 cards. The first person will be the individual playing the role of instructor.

They will pick a card and look at it, not showing the card to the person who will be drawing. Now without saying the shape itself, the instructor tells the other person how to draw the shape. If the game is too easy for you, trying working with more complex shapes.

An Overall View of Verbal Communication Skills

A very interesting thing about verbal communication skills is that they are based on the perceptions of others.

If you believe you’re a very good communicator, but your employees think you’re horrible at it, then are you actually a good communicator? It would appear that you’re not, and the fact that you don’t see that you’re not a good communicator might make the problem even worse.

Another thing to note when thinking about your verbal communication skills is that the way you speak and explain yourself is not separate from who you are. In fact, the way you communicate in writing and non-verbally can play heavily into your verbal communication skills.

If you are doing everything right as far as the words coming out of your mouth but your eyes are shifting everywhere all of the time, then your verbal communication skills won’t be rated very high by others, but it’s your non-verbals that caused the problem.

What does this mean to you? It means that if you’re working on your verbal communication skills, it’s going to benefit you, in the long run, to also work on non-verbal communication and written communication. It’s also a great idea to become a better listener.

How to Highlight Verbal Communication Skills

If you’re looking to get a job, you will want to show off your verbal communication skills and let the interviewer or the hiring manager know that you’re a good communicator. How do you do that?

It’s not something that people typically include on their resumes. Or do they? Actually, writing a great resume and cover letter that’s error-free is the first step in showing off your skills.

You can also slip some of those skills into your application material when you describe your skills and duties. Instead of “led a team,” you can explain your team lead job as “effectively directed a team toward a specific goal.” There are many ways you can slip in your ability to communicate without coming right out and saying it.

Of course, going beyond the application and into the interview, you should be prepared to dazzle when you finally get to meet your possible future employer in person.

The best way to do this is to do a practice interview with a friend or family member beforehand. You should also research what questions you might encounter for that particular job. Being prepared can do a lot to ease nerves, and then your real ability as a communicator can shine.

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Kristin Kizer

Kristin Kizer is an award-winning writer, television and documentary producer, and content specialist who has worked on a wide variety of written, broadcast, and electronic publications. A former writer/producer for The Discovery Channel, she is now a freelance writer and delighted to be sharing her talents and time with the wonderful Zippia audience.

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