Verbal and Non-Verbal Skills


Verbal Communication

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Elements of verbal language

Syntax - the arrangement of words in sentences

Semantics - allocates meaning to the word sign through structure

Competence - understanding that enables the person to speak the language

Performance - speaks the words.

Lexical Choice - the words that are chosen to convey the message. How we structure our sentences, the different types of sentences depends on who we are talking to. Would you as a health professional when talking to a patient choose to use the word heart or cardiac?

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Denotative and Connotative Language

Denotative - an objective definition, something you would find in the dictionary.

Connotative - a subjective definition, emotional meaning and person association to a word.

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Verbal Strategies that effect Communication

Cultural terms/dialects -phases with a double meaning.

Slang - informal non-standard language.

Euphemism - a polite word or phrase to substitute for a taboo or offensive term.

Sub languages- varies from general language and is used by a particular group.

Technical language - medical jargon used by health professionals.

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Types of Communication used when Talking to Patien

Advising and Evaluating - offers an opinion/advise which are based on the nurses own opinions and have an evaluative base.

Analysing and Interpreting - reaches a deeper level of meaning the nurse knows what the patient is really feeling and thinking without verbalising on it, cannot build relationships.

Reassuring and Supporting - need to be realistic, reassurance and support, need to take care because it can appear patronizing, don't use cliches as if fails to acknowledges the patients concern.

Questioning and Probing - use to gather information and explore situations further in order to understand the client through various methods.

Paraphrasing and Understanding - rephrase what the patient has said allows for conformation and validation of what has been said.

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Non-verbal Behaviours

  • Facial movements - moste expressive physical aspect, expresses emothon.  The face not only discloses specefic emotions it telegraphs what really matters to a person.
  • Gaze and Eye contact - the eyes convey important information about how your relationship with another person is fairing.  Can be strongly influenced by cultural expectations.
  • Body Posture and Movement (Kinesics) - body posture reflects the situation and feelings being experienced.  There are times when we try and contol the expression of emotion that is communicatied through our non-verbals.
  • Touch (Haptics) - basic human need be dictated by cultrual practices.
  • Space (Proxemics) - how you use space can manipulate, identify and control communication
  • Use of time (Chronemics) - who waits for who
  • Appearance and Dress - social status, occupation, finances, group affilitation and attrativeness.
  • Paralanguage - tone of voice, pitch, pauses, volume, rate of speaking, position of emphasis, use of silence.
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Non - Verbal Communication

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