Ambiguity in Verbal and Nonverbal Messages

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Purpose: After hearing this presentation my fellow students will understand how verbal and nonverbal communications can be ambiguous and how to avoid this ambiguity. Thesis: Verbal and nonverbal communication can both be ambiguous. Introduction:

A. If I walked up to you and told you that I had bad news, but was smiling and using an exited tone would you be confused. B. I know I would be, I mean who gives bad news with a smile. C. This is just one example of how both verbal and nonverbal communication can be ambiguous. Transition: First, we will learn what ambiguity is and what clarity is. BODY

I. What are ambiguity and clarity?
A. Ambiguity is a word or expression that can be understood in two or more possible ways. B. Clarity is the quality or state of being clear.
Transition: Next we will discuss ambiguity in verbal communication. II. There are many ways in which verbal communication can be ambiguous, but all are either avoidable or beneficial when used properly. A. Use of equivocal terms.

1. Avoid use of terms that can have more than one accepted meaning. B. Use of high level abstractions.
1. Use low level abstractions which are specific, concrete statements that refer to objects or events that can be observed. C. Use of slang.
1. Slang should not be used is a professional setting.
D. Overuse of Jargon.
1. Jargon should only be used when speaking to people who already know and understand it, or when it is explained as used to those who do not know it. 2. Although when known and understood jargon can used to save time when communicating. E. Ambiguous verbal communications can be beneficial when used properly though. 1. One function is to promote harmony.

a. If no one can agree on anything an ambiguous statement that everyone can agree on may be just the way to get everyone back on track. 2. Another...
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