Skills: Communication: Basic Communication Principles
communication involves both verbal and nonverbal interaction,
skillful listening, careful questioning, and well- timed
The words we use are only a small
percentage of communication. Only about 7% of all communication
is verbal (illustrated on first pie chart in gold); of
the remaining 93% (illustrated on first pie chart in
blue), 38% is vocal (illustrated on the second pie chart
in burgundy) and 55% is facial (illustrated on the second
pie chart in pink) (Mehrabian & Ferris
1967; Ekman & Friesen 1969).
behavior can communicate respect, concern, and increase
both your and your client’s comfort.
nonverbal skills include:
activity requires audio.
on the below examples
to hear how inflection can alter the way a statement
Although the words
of the two statements are the same, they differ in
inflection. The voice tone goes up at the end of
a question, but gently down at the end of a statement.
They are statements of understanding.
Why is Nonverbal Communication Important?
communication is important because:
- Nonverbal communication affects how
we understand others, and how they understand us.
there are differences or inconsistencies between verbal and
non-verbal expression, so we need to be aware of the nonverbal
communication of ourselves and of others.
- Nonverbal communication can help VSPs to
establish rapport and a good working relationship.
Improving Your Nonverbal
- Be aware of your nonverbal behavior.
what you want to say nonverbally and practice expressing it.
attention to your client’s non-verbal
that your attention is focused on the client: lean toward
the speaker slightly, use eye contact, don’t
be too close or too far from the client (usually 2-3 feet is
comfortable for most Americans).
- Encourage the client by nodding your head and other gestures.
- Try not to show frustration, boredom, annoyance
by the gestures you use.
your gestures; for example, don’t swing your
- Modulate your rate of speech so that you are
not speaking too fast or too slowly.
attention to your tone of voice so that you don’t sound
impatient, annoyed, angry, etc.
loudly enough so that you can be clearly understood, but not
so loud that you are shouting at the client. Use a calm, soothing
voice as appropriate.
- Smile when appropriate, look pleasant and genuine.