Making sure the message is received in any communication is vital. To insure the message is received, use of the three V’s of communication is often emphasized by experts. The 3 V’s are supported in a study of presentations by Albert Mehrabian, in which it was found that 55% of communicated information taken-in by the intended audience is visual, 7% is the verbal or text portion, and 38% is from the vocal speech of the presenter. These means that a lot of planning needs to go into a communication to insure the message intended is what is received. Below are some ideas on using the standard 3 V’s of communication, plus another to indicate the value that the receiver should get from the communication.
- VERBAL – When it comes to what to say, the often used phrase of “keep it simple” is highly relevant for the speaker or writer. Words said or written in a communication must be limited, concise, and easily understood by the audience. Use of jargon or special terms should not occur unless the audience is specialized and familiar with the terms. Terms should then be defined to make sure everyone who hears or reads the message knows the meaning. Plan the topic, outline the message, be precise as possible, then consider the audience and make revisions to text as necessary.
- VOCAL – Ever hear a parent say “it’s not what you said; it’s how you said it?” This statement is true in that it refers to the vocal message sent by the tone, volume, and speed of the spoken word. Tone is the pitch used in speech, the emotions generated or the words emphasized. Volume has to do with loudness or intensity of voice. What is emphasized, where are pauses, are whispers used to indicate confidentially? Fast speed can indicate excitement whereas slow can lead to audience boredom. Vocal changes in speech are easy. How can vocal elements be accomplished in written text? Tone and volume can be mimicked by using all capital letters to imply shouting, bold or underline is used for emphasis, and of course there is the exclamation point for excitement and enthusiasm. Pauses in speed may be indicated with ellipsis (…) or a dash (-).
- VISUAL – The old quote “a picture is worth a thousand words” may not be totally accurate, but it does present a valid point. People remember more of what they see than what they hear. Spoken communications should involve this sense by use of body language, facial expressions, gestures, and words that paint a picture in the audience’s mind. Written documents, handout, or slide presentation can do this more visually utilizing graphic images, photographs, and charts.
- VALUE – Belief in the message by using WIIFM statements are a big key in any communication. People want to know “what’s in it for me?” All communications should explain what the effect on the audience will be, as well as why and when they should care about what is being communicated.
Make sure the vital message in a communication is received by using the three V’s of communication plus the value V. Remember to put some planning into the communication in order to utilize visuals that will enhance the vocal and verbal portions of the communication.