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Oral Communication in English: Forms, Functions, and Strategies

Autor:   •  July 4, 2012  •  Essay  •  2,061 Words (9 Pages)  •  2,371 Views

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Oral Communication in English: Forms, Functions, and Strategies


Being able to communicate orally in English in a wide variety of social contexts is one of the most important skills that we may have acquired or are in the process of acquiring. We may use this way of communicating through language in several forms depending upon our communication needs in particular situations. Intrapersonal communication occurs more or less continuously within ourselves, and we use it to think, to reason, to solve problems, etc. We also need to engage in interpersonal communication, small group communication, and public communication, among others, to satisfy our communication needs in a range of other situations/contexts.


Oral communication, while primarily referring to spoken verbal communication, typically relies on both words, visual aids and non-verbal elements to support the conveyance of the meaning. Oral communication includes discussion, speeches, presentations, interpersonal communication and many other varieties. In face to face communication the body language and voice tonality plays a significant role and may have a greater impact on the listener than the intended content of the spoken words.

A great presenter must capture the attention of the audience and connect with them. For example, out of two persons telling the same joke one may greatly amuse the audience due to his body language and tone of voice while the second person, using exactly the same words, bores and irritates the audience. Visual aid can help to facilitate effective communication and is almost always used in presentations for an audience.

This is not however what the cited research shows – rather, when conveying emotion, if body language, tone of voice, and words disagree, then body language and tone of voice will be believed more than words. For example, a person saying "I'm delighted to meet you" while mumbling, hunched over, and looking away will be interpreted as insincere.

The Oral Communication Process

The term skills of oral communication refers to the entire knowledge and ability that enables one to do something well and includes the following skills: listening skills, conversational skills, giving feedback, meeting skills, presentation skills, handling customer complaints, conflict resolution skills, negotiation skills, taking customers orders, training skills, interviewing skills, persuading skills and promoting ones own strengths and abilities (Maes, 1997).

In a survey conducted by Maes (1997), oral communication skills have been identified as the most important skills in the workplace. Their study conducted in the Greater Gulf Coast area, including the coastal areas of Mississippi, Alabama and


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