Verbal Messages: Definition, Concepts & Principles

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  • 0:03 Lost in Translation
  • 0:23 Verbal Communication
  • 1:30 Concepts Behind the Words
  • 2:49 Intention and Meaning
  • 4:00 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jennifer Carnevale

Jennifer has a dual master's in English literature/teaching and is currently a high school English teacher. She teaches college classes on the side.

What does it take to communicate? Is it just about the words or the presentation itself? In this lesson, we will learn about the definition, concepts, and principles of verbal messages.

Lost in Translation

Do you ever stop and think about what it takes to relay a message? Not only do we have to process our feelings and thoughts into words, but we need to relay those words to another person. Then that person needs to interpret those words into their own for understanding. This is the journey of verbal messages.

Verbal Communication

When we communicate, we are attempting to take how we feel or think and relay that message and its meaning to another person. So, when we send verbal messages, we are transferring the words within us to someone else. Verbal messages consist of using words and sounds to communicate with another person. This contrasts nonverbal messages, such as body language or facial expressions.

For example, say Benjamin asks Monique if she wants a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. If Monique responds by saying 'yes' or 'no,' she is giving Benjamin a verbal message. However, if Monique sticks out her tongue and closes her eyes or nods her head up and down, she is still communicating with Benjamin, but it's through nonverbal messages.

Verbal messages consist of any type of speech or media that uses words and/or sounds to transfer a message. For example, verbal messages could take place in person, on the phone, or through the TV, computer, radio, or podcast.

Let's take a look at the concepts and principles surrounding verbal messages.

Concepts Behind the Words

When we communicate with each other, we have to think about the goal - getting the message across to the other person with the idea of the other understanding that message. There are different steps we unconsciously take to get our message across.

Here is a breakdown of what a verbal message looks like:

  1. Thoughts and Feelings:
    First, we have to decide what to say and who to say it to. The person will create meaning and intention through their words.
  2. Interaction and Relaying:
    Next, we have to find a medium to relay the message and communicate those words and feelings to the other. This could be in person, through the phone, online, etc. We also have to consider how we are presenting our messages in connection to word choice and tone.
  3. Message Meaning and Interpretation:
    Once the person relays the message, it's the other person's job to interpret for meaning.
  4. Understanding:
    Lastly, both parties can offer feedback and ask for clarification to support understanding and intention.

As we can see, saying something to another person isn't black and white. There are numerous steps that are consciously and unconsciously taken to ensure our message is relayed and understood. But what if there is a misunderstanding? Let's take a look at the flaws of verbal messages.

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