According to the Oxford Dictionary (2013) the term communication refers to ‘the imparting or exchanging of information by speaking, writing or using some other medium’. In order to let others understand the nature and objective of the information we are trying to get through we exchange our thoughts, opinions and feelings to the other person through forms of communication. Though communication sounds simple it is much more complex than we think. Basic communication would be one person exchanging a thought while the other person listens. However this is not the only method of communication.
There are two main forms of communication that is verbal communication and non-verbal communication. These two forms of communication play a crucial role within the hospitality and tourism industry. Communication through language in the form or written or spoken is known as verbal communication whereas communication through the form of body language, sign language, facial expression or gestures is known as non-verbal communication. Both verbal and non-verbal communication is vital to every organisation as it is a skill needed to interact with customers in order to achieve customer satisfaction and meet service standards. Tesone (2008) explains that organisations exist through individuals communicating with each other and can be dysfunctional if the communication channels are not working well. However, the combination of verbal and non-verbal communication and interpersonal skills such as active listening, assertiveness or understanding of opinions can benefit how you interact with others; this then results in a good working relationship within the organisation.
Many think that non-verbal communication is not as important as verbal communication. However that is not the case as non-verbal communications is what we all overlook but is the first thing we notice. Larson and Kleiner (2004) state that ‘non-verbal communication comprises a large area of human behaviour consisting of numerous distinctive elements’. Basic human behaviour such as gestures, facial expression or postures are examples of non-verbal communication. Organisations within the industry need to ensure that non-verbal communication is interpreted to customers at a standard. When dealing with customers non-verbal communication is a highly important aspect as it is the facial expression and body gesture that is being observed first before the actual verbal communication begins. The first impression of the employee reflects what the customer thinks of the organisation thus being a good communicator is essential. Umbriet (1992, p. 74) as cited by Jameson (2007) states that employee understanding of quality standards and performance expectations are keys to the achievement of customer satisfaction and service goals. Therefore the combination of non-verbal communication and verbal communication should be emphasized within the organisation to enhance communicating skills that are needed to deal with customers and colleagues.
To have good communicating skills it is essential to understand the importance of verbal communication. Verbal communication is the use of language to communicate through either written or spoken form. Verbal communication is very important within the organisation as it is a very direct form of communication. The combination of non-verbal communication skills and choice of wording is needed to be thought out considerably to avoid misinterpretations. This must be considered through all types of communication such as telephone conversations, interviews, face-to-face or email. This is an important factor as it ensures that the message/information being sent is interpreted the correct way.
Fisher 1999 and Wood’s 2003 study (cited in Jorfi 2011) state that an effective communicator…