Guidelines for Using Verbal Messages in Communication

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  • 0:01 Intensional vs.…
  • 1:37 Allness
  • 2:24 Facts vs. Inferences
  • 3:15 Avoid Extremes
  • 3:55 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jessica Whittemore

Jessica has taught junior high history and college seminar courses. She has a master's degree in education.

Verbal communication can be difficult to navigate, so this lesson offers some tips to make it easier. It discusses extensional orientation, avoiding allness, extremes, and confusing inferences with facts.

Intensional vs. Extensional Orientation

We've all had a conversation go awry. Whether someone misinterpreted what we had to say, or we felt like we weren't being listened to, we all know what it feels like to walk away from a verbal interaction feeling frustrated. In order to help us keep our conversational frustration to a minimum, today's lesson will provide some strategies for navigating our verbal messages during communication.

Our first tip for having pleasant verbal exchanges is to avoid falling into the trap of intensional orientation. Although a pretty abstract term, saying someone is oriented intensionally means they make judgments based on preconceived notions or stereotypes. For example, let's say a worker has to go and talk to the president of his company, he's never officially met her, but everyone tells him she is harsh and demanding. If this worker chooses an intensional approach to their conversation, he'll probably end up interpreting her words in a negative manner. His preconceived notions may make even her simplest questions sound like allegations to him.

To have a better chance at a positive interaction, our worker guy should employ an extensional orientation to their talk. Opposite of the intensional approach, a person with an extensional orientation bases opinions and reactions on what is personally observed and experienced. Employing this tactic will give our worker, and all of us, a much greater shot at a positive verbal exchange.

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