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Manner of Speech in verbal communication

The manner of speech used, when verbally communicating, directly influences the meaning given to the message by the “receiver”. This applies to both the objective and subjective messages.


Effective verbal communication relies on a shared understanding of a common language, and also a shared understanding of a common Vocabulary, or Glossary. That is, words have specific meaning within the context of aircraft, aerodrome and air traffic operations. Therefore standardised phraseologies have evolved to ensure “meaning” is conveyed without need for long explanations.

Aviation professionals are usually trained in using radios for remote verbal communication, and following instructors’ advice and by experience, they will adopt a “different” character of speech. Anyone who has used High Frequency (HF) radios to transmit position reports or gather weather reports will recognise their own adoption of an “HF voice and pattern of speech”. This, of course, is an attempt to make oneself understood by speaking slower, pronouncing more clearly, neutralising accent, modulating tone and volume, and emphasising (stressing) certain words.


Non-verbal communication, such as body language, will “add to” any verbal communication when face-to-face and this will convey a subjective message that may contradict the objective message: eg cultural differences such as nodding the head “yes” whilst saying “no”, or nodding the head and saying "yes" intending to mean "I have heard you" but not intending to mean affirmative.  This is known as incongruence.  

Subjective messages can also be transmitted during remote communication in the manner of speech; it is possible to detect unease, lack of attention or care, uncertainty, and even over-confidence in another’s voice.

Aviation English Asia Ltd courses incorporate activities to reinforce checks against miscommunication, directly built into the Learning Method.

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