Levels of Verbal Communication

Alistair Berg/Digital Vision/Getty Images

The two types of communication are verbal and nonverbal. Verbal communication has more to it than just the meaning of words and sentences. The way in which words are said and the order of the words can not only change the meaning of the sentences but can also change the audience's attitude toward the words.


Sound is one level of verbal communication. People with vocal cords can produce a variety of sounds that can imitate natural sounds. For example, a person can bring to mind in others the image of a cow by trying to imitate the moo. Some sounds are involuntary, such as the sounds created when laughing. Other sounds are words that have specific meanings that can be understood by the audience, if the audience knows the meaning of the words.


To effectively communicate to another individual verbally, both the speaker and the receiver must speak the same language. Languages are made up of both standardised grammar and memorised words and idioms, or nonliteral expressions or phrases. Most languages have too many words for any one person to remember, but individuals from a particular group tend to learn most of the same words. As a result, using a certain word can cause others to place the speaker in a certain class, profession or age group, according to Reginald A. Bruce, a faculty member in the University of Louisville College of Business.

According to a University of Utah Communication Department outline, language is arbitrary, which means the language does not have a natural connection and is instead created by humans. For example, the word "dog" has no natural connection to the animal that the word represents but is only connected to this species because dogs were given this word by the speakers of the English language.

Tone and Inflection

Verbal communication can have tone. Tone is a way of speaking that others interpret as having a meaning behind it. Individuals can often communicate more than the actual words spoken through tone. For example, the phrase "thanks a lot" can mean something very different if it is said in a sarcastic tone than if it's said with a sincere or passionate tone.

Inflection plays an important role in verbal communication. Inflection includes both the pitch at which you say something and also which parts you emphasise while saying it. Raising the inflection can indicate a question, which can change the meaning of the sentence, "Go to the store." Lowering an inflection can indicate the ending of a sentence or thought. The meaning of the sentence can sometimes be changed when emphasis is placed on a different word. For example, when saying "I didn't eat the crisps," placing the stress on "I" can imply that you didn't eat the crisps but someone else did. Placing an emphasis on "potato chips" implies that you didn't eat the crisps but that you ate something else.

Written Communication

Written communication is considered a form of verbal communication because words are used.


Rhyming can play a role in helping individuals remember ideas. Slogans sometimes rely on rhymes so individuals will remember certain ideas or will come to associate a name with certain concepts. Repetition is used to help other individuals remember these slogans.

Public Speaking

Public speakers must make an extra effort to hold the attention of a large audience of individuals, since not all of the audience will be interested in what the speaker says. Humour can be a good thing in most communication, but it can be especially helpful in public speaking, since jokes and funny anecdotes can keep the audience interested, according to A Research Guide for Students, a website devoted to providing advice on researching and presenting findings. Visual aids -- such as posters and slide presentations -- are often used for audience members who are have an easier time understanding visual information.

Interpersonal Communication

Interpersonal verbal communication sometimes requires extra skills that public speaking does not require. In interpersonal speaking, etiquette is necessary to reduce the risk of offending anyone. Emotional intelligence is needed so the communicator can speak to the receiver's emotions as well as the logical side of the receiver.