What are the four methods of verbal communication?

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 23,051
    Communications expert Sean McArdle discusses the importance of becoming an effective listener including an overview of the four methods of verbal communication.

    Host: What are the four methods of verbal communication?

    Sean McArdle: Well, when we go out to communicate with people we usually have one of the four things in mind. The first would be to inform people. Let us say you had to walk into a meeting and inform people how a project you are working on is going. You would sit down and give them a report, here is where we are, here is what we have done, here is how far we have come, here is how far we have to go and here is our plan for doing so. So, that s, that s information. Same situation with children, we are going to leave the house at 4 o clock for football practice, you have to be ready at five minutes to four, because we can not afford to be late, you might not make the team if you are not on time.

    We might be trying to inform somebody we love that we are going to be late for work or late coming home from work. So, we say, Hey listen, I am going to be late coming home from work. We are trying to give them information. The second method of communication is actually, to make a request. So, let us say we go to a meeting and we need to request for the help of people there. Well, then we have a different job, our job is to actually ask for help. Oddly enough, most of those don t like to ask for help, even though its one of the most effective ways to get help. I don t know why this is but even the hardhearted receptionist cools down when somebody walks and then say, Hey, I need your help. All of a sudden they go from being defensive of their time and protective of their circumstance to saying, What help do you need? Why is that? Well, we all have what we call natural empathy for those in need.

    So, basically, when we are making a request, we need to ask for people s help, we need to state our request clearly and then we need to make sure that people understand it and hopefully, get them to commit to whatever it is we are requesting. The third form of communication is Influence. This is something that politicians do very well. When they walk into a debate, say for instance, they pay very particular attention to how they dress, the words they use, the order of the words they use or their syntax and they pay attention to how they are influencing the audience. They pay attention to whether they get applause or not, whether people smile or not. In fact, I will tell you how important influence is, today, during the debates, these campaigns actually pay to have the biorhythms of a listening audience measured while a person talks on different topics just so the politician can go back and determine whether they were talking about was important or not to the listening audience.

    So, when we set out to influence somebody, we want to remember that we are communicating in far more than just verbal terms. How we dress, how we look, how we are groomed, whether we smile or not, all our things that influence the people that we would like to listen to us. The fourth and final method of communication is to Entertain. The comedian walks in and he says something funny almost immediately. It s very interesting to watch somebody who is trying to entertain because they are what we call people who are measuring all the time or calibrating an audience to see what makes them smile and what does not.

    I remember Bob Hope had over 10,000 jokes written and he could change files in his mind very quickly. If one file wasn t working he would try another one. So, he might start with family humor, then he might move to political humor, then he might move to work humor so that he could figure out whether he was entertaining you or not.