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The Integration of Oral Communication Skills in Work and Daily Life

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Oral Communication often referred to as “speaking”, is the process of verbally conveying information amongst individuals. Speaking allows one to effectively communicate and express their ideas while subconsciously analyzing the information. To dive deeper in current topic some statements of Yun Zhang about oral communication are analysed for this essay. 

The author thinks that the practice of oral communication is key to becoming a successful speaker. Zhang focuses on the importance of integrating speaking into reading, writing and listening activities to improve student’s overall oral communication abilities. Often, this allows for additional verbal interaction with other speakers of the same language. Interestingly, the English vocabulary remains one of the most difficult language skills to grasp. Zhang argues that students remain unable to effectively verbally express themselves in English, even after consistent practice through studies in school. Zhang’s main purpose is to modify the way students learn to speak within the classroom, which often provides students little chances to do so.

Linguistic experts commonly refer Reading, writing, listening and speaking as the four principle macro-skills. In contrast, micro-skills are specific aspects employed for more precise forms of communication. For example, this may include grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation and spelling. Zhang explains that speaking and mastering micro-skills is a challenge for English learners, especially “the pronunciation of unfamiliar pho¬nemes, the correct placement of stress and intonation, and the appropriate use of formal and informal expres¬sions”. Such micro-skills can assist in developing an English learner’s speaking abilities. In turn, this will allow for clearer oral communication. Students who do not have the opportunity to practice these skills may find it difficult to express their thoughts, thus creating a language barrier between the listener and the speaker. With the mispronunciation of phonemes or the inappropriate use of expressions, numerous ideas the speaker is trying to convey may be misinterpreted.

Formal expression is often adopted when crafting business letters, documents or books. On the other hand, Informal expression is featured in everyday life communication activities, such as conversations or texting. While Zhang explains how new English learners frequently struggle with grasping micro-skills, I personally find myself inappropriately injecting informal expression into communication mediums that require formal expression. For example, I tend to incorporate slang or conjunctions into my essay’s. On the contrary, English learners may struggle with informal language tones as they struggle to apply certain words depending on the setting.

In the traditional English classroom, an overemphasis is placed on studying grammar and vocabulary rules. This can be extremely helpful when writing to prevent miscommunication among readers and to ensure proper pronunciation. However, Zhang explains how schools are focusing too much on the grammar, stating “Even speaking classes do not pro¬vide chances for oral interaction, as most of the teachers talk on and on throughout the lesson without giving students any opportunity to speak, thus turning the class into a listening exercise”. This illustrates the fact that student do not spend enough time practicing oral communication, which is the most applicable to the real world. Rather than grammar, Zhang believes that the education systems language curriculum should focus on integrating speaking opportunities for students.

Speaking is a major component of oral communication that is extremely useful to form connections, express opinions and convey messages. Zhang created a unique approach to improve oral skills by integrating speaking into all forms of language, whether it be listening, reading, or writing. Speaking can be improved through reflecting. Reflecting is a key concept discussed in class which can lead to better conversation and improved speaking abilities. When you reflect on yourself, you are able to identify strengths and correct any weaknesses. To harness a given language, it is important to practice all the micro-skills characteristic of speaking. In turn, this may improve fluency and one’s ability to professional communicate.

A skill suggests something that is specific, whereas competency refers to collective set of skills, ability and knowledge that help to perform a certain task. Oral communication is a competency because besides being a skill, it is important to have a strong ability to communicate clearly. Competent speakers understand how to communicate non-verbally through gesticulation. Oral communication does not entail simply speaking, but rather it is the ability to speak in a correct manner. Zhang explains how college graduates are not able to effectively communicate when he says, “college graduates in China are often incapable of effectively commu¬nicating with foreigners in English, a phenomenon known as mute English”. The students may have theoretical knowledge of the language, but not practical oral communication competency.

Zhang introducing an oral language component to his intensive reading class relates back to the title of the article “Reading to Speak”. Zhang integrates speaking into his teachings by allowing students to discuss unique topics, build opinions, and opportunities. By doing so students are able to express themselves and test their language abilities. Zhang breaks the boundaries between the courses and teaches the students that speaking can be incorporated into almost every aspect of learning.

Having knowledge is important, but having ability and skill is by far more useful. Competent communicators are able to skillfully connect with others and acknowledge their own unique style of communication. In addition, they are able to further develop their style, challenge the way society speaks and listen. As discussed in class, successful competent communicators always ask questions and want to improve themselves this is what makes them more useful.

The gap between “what you want to say” and “what you can say” typically exists in students learning English as a second language. According to Zhang, “students notice the gap between what they said and what they wanted to mean, thus mak¬ing them move from focusing their attention on meaning to focusing their attention on form”. These students may not struggle with thinking of an idea but are challenged to convert their thoughts into the proper words. Since English is my first language, I am typically always able to communicate exactly what I am thinking. However, at times there may be barriers affecting my ability to articulate. This may include, a lack of attention, distractions around me or my emotions overpowering me.

Zhang developed three learning activities to provide students with the opportunity to practice speaking English in the classroom. These include, “Read to Act”, “Read to Debate” and “Read to Interview”. In the first activity “Read to Act”, students act out a story through dialogues. The students are allowed to add or make any changes to their role and rehearse, allowing them the opportunity to acknowledge any mistakes or flaws in their performance. In the second activity “Read to Debate”, students engage in a debate

and discuss a controversial issue. This activity builds relationships through communication with partnership. The debate also helps create a deeper understanding of the issue and teaches students how to express with one another. The final activity “Read to Interview” is a flexible activity that focuses on the understanding of topics and expressing the meaning. The students form pairs and ask questions to each other and the goal is to explain the story as best as possible. This activity also pushes students to ask questions and learn about several different issues.

Reading is a key factor in becoming a successful communicator. Overall reading helps to become more confident in the English language by enhancing vocabulary and sentence structure. Reading also does wonders to improve cognition, such as reduce stress, improve memory and help with mental stimulation. These benefits can lead to clear and concise communication. Reading also allows one to think deeply, ask questions and verbally discuss.

Good communication between Nurses and patients is essential for successful patient outcome. Everyday nurses are required to communicate with their patient, the family and co-workers. As a nurse it is important to become a competent communicator to be able to make your patient and others feel as comfortable as possible. For example, before a surgery a patient is feeling nervous and questioning the procedure. To put them at ease it is important that you are able to clearly explain the process to the patient and put yourself in their shoes. You must be knowledgeable on the topic and be sympathetic when communicating with them. Nurses must be competent communicators because it helps create a professional image and a positive experience for the patient.

Competent people are those who are knowledgeable and skillful and who practice excellent performance. Competent workers know how to communicate well, they create positive relationships, they are great leaders, they are motivated and always reliable. A Competent person is a reliable resource person because they are able to combine all their skills, knowledge and ability into one and apply it into their work. A competent resource person is usually someone you can rely on for information, they are critical thinkers and they are professional. Being a competent person makes you more desirable employee.

Informational listening allows us to demonstrate our understanding of a given topic. Informational listening is considered to be a form of passive listening because you are only focused on the information of what is being spoke rather than, the emotions or the deeper meaning. Good listeners are able to make sense of what is being spoken and they are considered to be intelligent. Informational listening is a key to success in oral communication because information listening can help build you vocabulary, help refrain from judgement and allows for questions to build knowledge. These listeners are able to communicate their information in s more professional and concentrated way that makes sense to others. A broad vocabulary also allows for some successful conversations.

The 3C’s of credibility are compassion, competence and confidence this means many things as a communicator. A good communicator is able to include their emotions in speaking and use compassion to create a positive impression and relationship with another. A competent communicator is a reliable communicator who brings concrete resourceful material to the conversation and is a good conversation leader. Finally, a confidant communicator is one who is able to communicate well using body language, eye contact and speaks directly from their heart. These 3C’s are the main components that lead us to being successful as a communicator.

Work Cited 

  • Zhang, Y. (2009). Reading to Speak: Integrating Oral Communication Skills (pp. 32-34).

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