Communication involves conveying thoughts or ideas from one person to another. It is made up of both verbal and nonverbal components. Only about 10 percent of communication is verbal, according to the American Jewish University. While it is the smaller portion of communication, verbal components are vital. Without them, people would not be able to express the full range of human emotions.
Sound is a basic component of verbal communication. Babies start using sound to communicate as soon as they are born. One cry may send a message such as "I'm hungry" and another cry may say "I hurt." Communication progresses with babbling or urgent noises until a child is finally able to use words. Adults continue to use sounds in communication. Some noises are a confirmation of a statement as if to say, "I agree." Others are warning sounds. These types of "paraverbal" communications are sometimes classified as nonverbal but they do use the component of sound.
Speech is a more progressive component of verbal communication. It is the combination of many unique sounds in a specific order to convey meaning. The first steps toward speech may simply be "Mama" or "Dada." This small beginning can elicit a strong emotional reaction. For speech to be effective in a relationship or in a public setting, it must be given in a manner that does not offend. A person's culture and background contribute to what is acceptable in speech. If acceptable etiquette is not followed, then communication may be misunderstood and unsuccessful.
The skillful use of language is a complex component of verbal communication. Language involves expressing yourself accurately in order to be understood. Use of language to convey meaning advances well beyond basic speech. It includes figurative expressions, literal descriptions, the use of hyperbole, illustrations and examples. Language allows for an unlimited number of meaningful expressions to be formulated and conveyed. It is not confined to the present but can express information from the past and expectations for the future.
Conversation can be viewed as an art form. It is an important component of verbal communication. This component can be difficult for some to master as it involves complex patterns of language and interaction. These interactions include interjections, interruptions, trailing sentences, questions, topic changes and incomplete thoughts. All these verbal exchanges come together in a unique way to convey ideas.
- baby image by Yvonne Bogdanski from Fotolia.com