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Verbal Communication in 2019 – How To Be Successful At It?

Natalie Ediger, October 16, 2019· Communication

Animationsbild zeigt zwei Personen mit dem Smartphone.

Examples of modern, verbal communication in 2019

A good communication concept is an important component of a company’s strategic orientation. But also in the private sector we communicate today in a completely different way than 20 years ago. But what does verbal communication look like in 2019? How does verbal communication differ between companies and our private communication and what can we learn from it or derive for the future? We will examine this topic in the following.

Verbal Communication 2019

Verbal communication means spoken or written language. Verbal communication therefore includes news in social media and e-mails as well as a telephone conversation, a direct dialogue or a video conference.  In contrast to direct conversation, audio or video recordings, purely written verbal communication is limited to a single channel for the transmission of information. Communication experts speak here of the factual level. It is also mentioned in numerous communication models, such as the four-ear model by Friedemann Schulz von Thun. In video- or audio-supported verbal communication, non-verbal signals also resonate in the information. These can be body language, gestures, facial expressions, vocal pitch or intonation.

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Trends and changes in verbal communication 2019

2019 is – if statistics, PR agencies and media scientists are to be believed – all about real-time communication. The term “real time” can be taken literally, because the broadcasts are no longer just live, but increasingly “real” in the sense of authentic and realistic.

Live streams on Facebook, Twitch, YouTube & Co. are part of everyday life today and on platforms such as Instagram and Twitter the boundaries between written language and moving images are blurring. Looking at the chat processes of social media platforms from 10 years ago, one thing becomes quite clear: there were many more pure text messages or images than there are today. They are increasingly disappearing and being replaced by videos, live broadcasts and other visual content.

The dawn of a new era of real-time communication

Despite the supposed decrease in pure text messages, verbal communication is constantly increasing. Video chats have become omnipresent, everyday stories are told in the form of small animated stories that can no longer be called up the next day. As a result, what was yesterday or even four hours ago has become increasingly unimportant. We are increasingly moving in the here and now. In real time, live and constantly.

Companies communicate with chatbots, the answer is given within a few seconds; or the support employee goes straight on air and processes customer inquiries live and on the spot – around the clock. Streaming platforms and video portals are turning private individuals into brand ambassadors, and user stories are no longer just fictitious, but increasingly coming directly from users.

The era of real-time communication is currently changing in the communications sector.

Verbal communication in everyday life

New communication channels are constantly being added as part of the digital transformation. From WhatsApp to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & Co. to Reddit, Twitch and other platforms. A few decades ago, hardly anyone could have imagined that a time would come when we would practically always be able to communicate via the Internet and always be available. Smartphones and ever faster mobile data connections have ensured that we are not only always available, but also constantly informed and ready to communicate. Push notifications inform us about news and incoming messages, when someone starts a live broadcast that we follow, we are immediately informed and our Facebook and Twitter timelines constantly feed us with new content based on our interests.

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This constant flood of information, visual content and short messages has made everything more short-lived and agile. According to Statistic Brain’s study, our attention span is constantly decreasing. On the other hand, the average user watches videos on the Internet for 2.7 minutes. According to the same study, 92% of mobile Internet users also share videos. Pure text messages or pictures, on the other hand, only appeal where they are expected. On the one hand, we communicate increasingly in real time via apps, SMS & Co., write and read e-mails, but on the other hand we are becoming less and less susceptible to unexpected text messages or advertising texts.

Every content is only a wipe away from the irrelevance of the daily flood of information.

At the same time, this development has had an important side-effect: Direct communication in the form of a personal conversation or dialogue has clearly gained in importance. Because in contrast to the purely verbal communication in the net, with which nonverbal levels of communication are hardly played, the relationship level and sociological aspects play a crucial role with the direct communication.

This also explains the greater susceptibility to emotional content in the form of moving images, explanatory videos and visual content of all kinds. All content, which can be used to transmit emotional aspects of the relationship level in addition to pure information, is booming in times of channel reduction. We feel this in our personal behaviour on the Internet as well as in the area of direct communication.


Examples of better internal verbal corporate communication

If one takes into account the trends and developments in verbal communication, a few examples of how internal corporate communication can be better adapted to developments can be highlighted. Successful communication can be a real challenge, especially in times of flexible workplaces.

  • Important content gets its own channels: The standard communication channels for verbal communication should be standard but not an exception. For example, it does not make sense to distribute important, confidential or critical information over the same channel as birthday greetings or everyday communication. It is also crucial to avoid over-digitization. It does not make sense to compulsively digitize any kind of communication. Often the personal conversation, a short meeting or a telephone conversation is simply better.

  • Communication must keep up with change: Internal communication sets the standard for communication with customers and other employees. It defines the culture in the workplace and plays a key role in promoting talent and innovation. If innovations in communication are to be established, it is therefore very important to implement effective feedback tools in order to minimise concerns and reduce doubts. Communication can thus remain meaningful, because those who still only use e-mail as an internal means of communication for different types of messages should change something as quickly as possible.

  • Top-down communication: Communication via hierarchical levels is still part of everyday life in many companies. But it is doomed to extinction. It merely leads to a flood of information without feedback, which employees cannot reach. Every single member of a company is equally part of the communication chain and should be treated and used as such. Mutual internal communication within the company is the keyword here. Information must flow in all directions.

  • The goals of each individual must be clear: A study by a market research company has shown that 73% of all employees imagine a goal-oriented job that is important. This can be fulfilled only if the goals and the meaning of each individual are clearly defined. Quarterly speeches with rhetorical phrases such as “now we must all tackle things correctly” make little sense if the individual does not understand his actual significance in the overall economic construct at all and he cannot make any individual contributions. Generation Z and the Millennials in particular are used to receiving immediate feedback. For example, it is highly recommended to regularly disclose what the team or company has achieved in concrete terms. Celebrating success together, fostering team spirit and conveying it via a well-functioning internal communication system are decisive criteria for meeting the demand for recognition, significance and goal orientation.

Examples of better external verbal corporate communication

Customers expect a brand – every company – to keep its promises and to communicate them openly and honestly. The time of empty advertising promises and one-sided top-down communication is over. This applies both to communication with customers and in the B2B sector. We would like to give you examples of verbal communication that illustrate how modern external corporate communication looks like and how it can be improved in addition to the use of visual content, explanatory videos and other moving image content.

  • Clear goals and a clear focus on the customer experience: If the employees are trained, well informed and fully committed to the corporate philosophy, this automatically has a positive effect on the customer encounter, which in turn leads to a stronger and more authentic brand. A study by Gartner is impressive in this context, according to which 89% of all companies believe that they can hold their own against the competition on the basis of their positive customer experiences. Almost ten years ago, this figure was still well below 40%. Therefore, healthy, authentic and open communication internally and externally is the most important cornerstone for brand development.

  • Targeted promotion of informal information flows: Within the framework of communication development in recent years, informal information flows have been steadily increasing. Word-of-mouth propaganda and industrial radio are just as much a part of this as rumours and discussions conducted within social media communities. Although informal information is flexible, contributes to a more effective transfer of information and has also led to influencer marketing, there is also the danger that information can be distorted. In addition, it is sometimes difficult to control, which can lead to misunderstandings. You can counteract this negative effect by communicating openly and transparently at all times. Misunderstandings can only be prevented if there is always open and active participation in communities, in the intranet and Internet.

  • Interest groups & personas instead of demographic criteria: Demographic data such as age, gender or place of residence have long ceased to play a role in the analysis of data. Data-driven customer orientation today is based exclusively on personas, because big data analyses show that interests are grouped into clusters that are completely independent of demographic aspects. In order to be able to communicate more specifically to the outside world, it is therefore of utmost importance to develop the communication concept and the data-supported analyses in this direction.

  • PR communicator was yesterday: the old role of PR communicator has developed into a multidimensional management function in recent years. Only if companies understand the changes in verbal communication not only as a technological change, but as a change in our interaction, can agile external communication succeed at eye level.

Negative effects of poor verbal communication

Unsatisfactory verbal communication in a company brings with it a whole range of disadvantages. We have summarised the most important negative consequences for you here. If you are familiar with individual aspects, it is high time to act.

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Negative effects due to poor internal verbal corporate communication

In a well-known Gallup study, it was confirmed that the emotional attachment of employees to the company is reduced if there is no communication on an emotional level, but rather predominantly digital and almost exclusively written communication.

The consequence of this circumstance also emerges from the aforementioned study, because it has established that today only about 20% of all employees feel emotionally connected to their company. At the same time, only 15% of the employees surveyed stated that they felt comfortable at their workplace. A further 15% have already resigned internally.

The consequence of the changed communication and/or a lacking adjustment of the enterprises to the changed communication culture has thus direct negative effects on the coworker satisfaction. As a result, employee fluctuation increases, innovative strength decreases and silo thinking quickly develops within departments or hierarchical levels. All these circumstances in the context of verbal communication in the company have a direct negative effect on the success of the company and the quality of external corporate communication.

Negative effects of poor external verbal corporate communication

As already mentioned, poor external corporate communications can fuel informal information flows, which can lead to misunderstandings and false rumours, which in turn can damage the company’s image and lead to a loss of trust.

If customer feedback is not heard, data is not evaluated efficiently and speeches are not made in a target-group-oriented manner and according to personas, the brand will lose importance in the long run. One should not underestimate at this point that this is just as true in the B2B sector as it is in the B2C sector. In the long run, the corporate brand loses relevance, authenticity and trust. We certainly do not have to explain to you what this means for the economic success of a company.