Oral communication

Business studies study module

This is where information is conveyed talking (word of mouth)

It is also known as verbal communication

 Means of communication

i) Face-to-face conversation

This involves two or more people talking to each other. The parties are usually near each other as much as possible to ensure effective communication.

It is suitable where subject matter of discussion require convincing persuasion and immediate feed-back.

It may be used during meetings, interviews, seminars, private discussions, classrooms e.t.c

It is the most common means of oral communication

Advantages of face-to-face communication

  • Provides for immediate feedback
  • Has personal appeal
  • Body language can be easily expressed
  • One can persuade or convince another
  • It is the simplest communication to use
  • It is direct i.e. does not pass through intermediaries
  • Convenient for confidential messages

Disadvantages of face-to-face communication

  • No record for future reference
  • Can be time consuming
  • Messages can be distracted
  • Not suitable when people are far apart
  • Unsuitable for the dumb and deaf


This form of communication is commonly used in offices and homes. It is useful in sending messages quickly over short and long distances.

It is however not suitable for sending;

  • Confidential messages
  • Long and detailed reports, charts and graphs
  • Messages that would require reference or evidence

In Kenya telephone services are mainly provided Telkom Kenya Limited. The subscriber is required to purchase the telephone equipment from the post office or other authorized dealers before installation.

Installation is done on application the subscriber (applicant).He/she pays the installation fee in addition; the subscriber is sent a monthly bill with the charges for all the calls made during the month.

The charges for calls depend on the time spent time of the day of the week and distance of the recipient from the caller e.g. it is cheaper to call at night than during the day. It is also cheap to make calls during public holidays and weekends than on weekdays.

There are also mobile phones which have no physical line connection to exchange and may be fixed to a vehicle or carried in pockets. In Kenya these services are provided safaricom, Airtel, orange and Yu mobile communications.

Advantages of Telephones

  • Relatively fast
  • Has personal appeal
  • Provides for immediate feedback
  • One can persuade or convince another
  • Suitable for long distance communication

Disadvantages of Telephone

  • Can be expensive especially over long distances
  • No record for future reference
  • Lacks confidentiality
  • Not convenient for dumb and deaf
  • Can be time consuming

Reasons why mobile phones have become popular

  • They are portable and can be conveniently carried around.
  • It is not very expensive especially when making local calls.
  • Relatively cheap to acquire.
  • Some mobile phones can record conversations / calls thereacting as evidence.
  • Can be used to send short text messages (sms)
  • Can be used anywhere since they are portable.

iii)Radio calls

This involves transmitting information use of radio waves i.e. without connecting wires between the sender and the receiver

The device used is called a radio telephone. It is commonly used in remote areas where normal telephone services are lacking or where telephone services are available but cannot be conveniently used e.g. policemen on patrol in different parts of a town

Radio transmission is a one way communication system i.e. only one person can speak at a time. It is therefore necessary for the speaker to say’over’ to signal the recipient that the communication is through so that the recipient can start talking. To end the conversation, the speaker says ‘over and out’

The radio calls are commonly used the police, game rangers, researchers, foresters, ship owners and hotels situated in remote areas. They are also used for sending urgent messages such as calling for an ambulance and fire brigade

Note; Radio calls are not confidential since they use sound frequencies that can be tapped any radio equipment that is tuned to that frequency

Advantages of Radio calls

  • Relatively fast
  • Has immediate feedback
  • Has personal appeal
  • Provide room for one to persuade and convince another
  • Suitable for remote areas
  • Convenient for long distances

Disadvantages of Radio calls

  • No record for future reference
  • Lacks confidentiality
  • Messages are sent one way at a time
  • Can be expensive
  • Cannot be used dumb and deaf
  • Can be time consuming.

iv) Paging

This is a means of communication used to locate staff or employers who are scattered in an organization or who are outside and need to be located urgently

When within the organization portable receivers, lighted signals, bells, loudspeakers etc are used

When outside the organization employees are contacted using portable receivers (pocket-size) used to send messages through sms (short message services)

The paying system can only be used within a certain radius. When using a portable receiver, the caller will contact the subscriber calling the post office which will then activate the pager.

The subscriber is then informed to contact the originator of the message.

Paging is mostly used in emerging cases


Usually messages intended for a wide audience can be transmitted through a radio more quickly and economically than using other forms of communication.;`

Radio is used for different reasons apart from advertising e.g for formal notices, and venue for activities

Advantages of oral/verbal communication

  • Very effective method of communication since the recipient can be persuaded/convinced
  • It is relatively faster method of communication
  • The sender can get immediate feedback
  • It indicates some sense of regard hence more appealing.

Disadvantages of oral/verbal communication

  • Has no records for future reference
  • Is an expensive method especially if the two parties are far apart
  • Is not good for confidential messages
  • It is not suitable for confidential messages
  • It may be time wasting especially where one needs to be convinced

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