Verbal Communication Skills

Almost every job requires workers to use verbal communication skills.  That’s why verbal skills are highly ranked on the candidate evaluation checklists used by many job interviewers.

The stronger your communication skills, the better your chances of getting hired regardless of the job for which you’re applying. You’ll do better during the interview, as well as on the job.

What Are Verbal Communication Skills?

Effective verbal communication skills include more than just talking. Verbal communication encompasses both how you deliver messages and how you receive them. Communication is a soft skill, and it’s one that is important to every employer.

Workers who can convey information clearly and effectively are highly valued by employers.  Employees who can interpret messages and act appropriately on the information that they receive have a better chance of excelling on the job.

Verbal Communication Skills in the Workplace

What constitutes effective verbal communication on the job depends on the relationships between communication partners and the work context.
Verbal communication in a work setting takes place between many different individuals and groups such as co-workers, bosses and subordinates, employees, customers, clients, teachers and students, and speakers and their audiences.
Verbal communication occurs in many different contexts including training sessions, presentations, group meetings, performance appraisals, one-on-one discussions, interviews, disciplinary sessions, sales pitches and consulting engagements.

Examples of Verbal Communication Skills

Review examples of effective workplace verbal communication skills.

A – F

  • Advising others regarding an appropriate course of action
  • Annunciating clearly
  • Anticipating the concerns of others
  • Asking for clarification
  • Asking open-ended questions to stimulate dialogue
  • Assertiveness
  • Calming an agitated customer by recognizing and responding to their complaints
  • Conveying feedback in a constructive manner emphasizing specific, changeable behaviors
  • Conveying messages concisely
  • Disciplining employees in a direct and respectful manner
  • Emphasizing benefits of a product, service or proposal to persuade an individual or group
  • Encouraging reluctant group members to share input
  • Explaining a difficult situation without getting angry
  • Explaining that you need assistance

G – R

  • Giving credit to others
  • Introducing the focus of a topic at the beginning of a presentation or interaction
  • Noticing non-verbal cues and responding verbally to verify confusion, defuse anger, etc.
  • Paraphrasing to show understanding
  • Planning communications prior to delivery
  • Posing probing questions to elicit more detail about specific issues
  • Projecting your voice to fill the room
  • Providing concrete examples to illustrate points
  • Receiving criticism without defensiveness
  • Recognizing and countering objections
  • Refraining from speaking too often or interrupting others
  • Requesting feedback
  • Restating important points towards the end of a talk

S – Z

  • Selecting language appropriate to the audience
  • Showing an interest in others, asking about and recognizing their feelings
  • Speaking calmly even when you’re stressed
  • Speaking at a moderate pace, not too fast or too slowly
  • Speaking confidently but with modesty
  • Stating your needs, wants or feelings without criticizing or blaming
  • Summarizing key points made by other speakers
  • Supporting statements with facts and evidence
  • Tailoring messages to different audiences
  • Telling stories to capture an audience
  • Terminating staff
  • Training others to carry out a task or role
  • Using affirmative sounds and words like uh-huh, got you, I understand, for sure, I see, and yes to demonstrate understanding
  • Using humor to engage an audience
  • Utilizing self-disclosure to encourage sharing