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CH 5: Verbal Messages (slide 1)
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Chapter 5: Verbal Messages
 Verbal refers to oral and written words
 Verbal messages without words (laughter,
vocalized pauses such as “um” or “erm”) are
nonverbal
CH 5: Verbal Messages (slide 2)
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Verbal Messages
Metacommunication
 “Meta” – about
 Metacommunication, metalanguage,
metamessage
 “Don’t talk to me that way.”
 “We need to talk about our fight.”
CH 5: Verbal Messages (slide 3)
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Verbal Messages (cont.)
1. Messages are packages of verbal and
nonverbal signals
2. The meaning of a message is in the people,
not the message itself; meanings are in
people, not words
CH 5: Verbal Messages (slide 4)
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Principles of Verbal Messages
3. Meanings are connotative and denotative
 Denotative – objective
 Connotative – subjective, emotional
 Snarl words, purr words – highly emotionally
charged negative or positive
4. Messages vary in abstractness
CH 5: Verbal Messages (slide 5)
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Principles of Verbal Messages
5. Messages vary in politeness
 Maintain positive face – seen positively or
respected
 Maintain negative face – stay autonomous
 Indirect language is more polite
 Cultural differences
 In-group and out-group messages
 Politeness online
CH 5: Verbal Messages (slide 6)
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Principles of Verbal Messages (cont.)
6. Meanings can deceive
 Types of lies:
 Pro-social deception to achieve good
 Self-enhancing deception to make yourself look
good
 Selfish deception to protect yourself
 Anti-social deception to harm others
 Ways people lie
 Behaviors of liars
CH 5: Verbal Messages (slide 7)
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Principles of Verbal Messages (cont.)
7. Messages can criticize and praise
Praising

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Use I-messages
Use positive facial affect (express your feelings)
Name the behavior you’re praising
Consider culture
CH 5: Verbal Messages (slide 8)
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Principles of Verbal Messages (cont.)
7. Messages can criticize and praise (cont.)
Criticizing

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Own your thoughts and feelings with I-messages
Be clear
Avoid ordering or directing
Consider the context or situation
CH 5: Verbal Messages (slide 9)
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Principles of Verbal Messages (cont.)
8. Messages vary in assertiveness
 “I win, you win” philosophy even in
confrontation
 Assertiveness varies culturally
 Steps to assertive communication
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Describe the problem
State how it affects you
Propose workable solutions
Confirm understanding
CH 5: Verbal Messages (slide 10)
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Principles of Verbal Messages (cont.)
9. Messages can confirm and disconfirm
 Disconfirmation –ignores the other person’s
presence and communication; leads to lowered
self-esteem
 Rejection – disagree or reject the person’s ideas
or behaviors but still recognize the person
 Confirmation – acknowledges and accepts the
other person; leads to increased self-esteem
CH 5: Verbal Messages (slide 11)
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Principles of Verbal Messages (cont.)
CH 5: Verbal Messages (slide 12)
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Offensive communication is disconfirming

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Language reflects and creates attitudes
Intentional or unintentional
Individual -isms
Institutional -isms
CH 5: Verbal Messages (slide 13)
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Principles of Verbal Messages (cont.)
Offensive language is disconfirming (cont.)
 Ableism – against people with disabilities
 Racism – assumption of inferiority
 Heterosexism – includes assuming that
everyone is heterosexual
CH 5: Verbal Messages (slide 14)
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Principles of Verbal Messages (cont.)
Offensive language is disconfirming (cont.)
 Ageism –toward elderly but includes other ages
 Sexism – gender-biased language includes such
as “generic he”
 Biased listening
CH 5: Verbal Messages (slide 15)
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Principles of Verbal Messages (cont.)
10. Messages vary in cultural sensitivity
Cultural identifiers – language to talk to and about
people of different groups
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Race and nationality
Affectional (sexual) orientation
Age
Sex and gender
CH 5: Verbal Messages (slide 16)
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Principles of Verbal Messages (cont.)
1. Extensionalize: avoid intensional orientation
 Intensional orientation – view labels rather than
things or people as they exist
 Extensional orientation – view people or things
as they are rather than how they are talked
about their labels
CH 5: Verbal Messages (slide 17)
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Guidelines for Using
Verbal Messages Effectively
2. See the individual: avoid allness
 Allness orientation – judge whole based on
experience with part
 Nonallness orientation – there is always more to
know and say
CH 5: Verbal Messages (slide 18)
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Guidelines (cont.)
3. Distinguish between facts and inferences:
avoid fact-inference confusion
 Factual statements – description based on things
you observed
 Inferential statements – conclusions based on
what you observed
 Fact-inference confusion
CH 5: Verbal Messages (slide 19)
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Guidelines (cont.)
4. Discriminate among: avoid discrimination
 Indiscrimination –stereotyping; focus on group
instead of each unique member within group
 Discrimination – recognize that not member in
the group is alike
CH 5: Verbal Messages (slide 20)
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Guidelines (cont.)
5. Talk about the middle: avoid polarization
 Polarization – fallacy of either/or
 Thinking in extremes makes us forget other
possibilities
CH 5: Verbal Messages (slide 21)
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Guidelines (cont.)
6. Update messages: avoid static evaluation
 Static evaluation – keep attitudes and beliefs
about someone despite inevitable changes
CH 5: Verbal Messages (slide 22)
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Guidelines (cont.)