What is Verbal Reasoning? Definition, Examples and Importance
The ability to think with words - This is a unique skill set that is highly important in the workplace. Read the post to understand everything about verbal reasoning and how to test for these skills at the workplace.
The GRE (Graduate Records Examination) has a complete section attributed to verbal reasoning. The LSATs, which the infamous Mike Ross in Suits always cheats on, has a 3-part verbal reasoning section: Reading Comprehension, Analytical Reasoning, and Logical Reasoning. Last but not least, each of our high school tests involved an annoying English test that we all struggled to conquer.
From determining your acceptance into Graduate or Law school to determining your fate in high school, verbal reasoning is tested everywhere. You can see the importance of verbal reasoning and the fact that it is a must-have in most academically oriented settings.
So what is verbal reasoning, and why is it given such high importance? Let’s explore this in detail.
What is Verbal Reasoning?
Verbal Reasoning is defined as (according to Wikipedia) the process of understanding and reasoning using concepts framed in words through creative thinking rather than simple vocabulary recognition. That sounds a bit complex, doesn't it?
Basically, verbal reasoning is an individual's ability to think with words.
For example, a person who can break down complex topics within 250 characters and put them up as a tweet has a pretty good verbal reasoning ability. Well, that's just one of the skills of people with high verbal reasoning ability.
The key verbal reasoning skills are:
- Identifying patterns in letter sequences
- Problem-solving through words
- Decoding codes of letters and numbers
- Following textual instructions to form a solution
Individuals with high verbal reasoning ability are capable of not only thinking in logical patterns but also conveying their thought in a clear and lucid manner. This also makes them great communicators.
Examples of Verbal Reasoning
Let’s consider an example in which we use verbal reasoning to determine whether a statement is valid based on a given piece of information:
The cost of manufacturing phones in China is twenty percent lesser than the cost of manufacturing phones in Vietnam. Even after adding shipping fees and import taxes, it is cheaper to import phones from China to Vietnam than to manufacture phones in Vietnam.
True or False: Importing phones in Vietnam will cut 20% of the manufacturing jobs in Vietnam.
Answer: False – The text contains no information regarding the manufacturing jobs in Vietnam. Even if that were true, i.e., say, importing phones resulted in lesser manufacturing jobs in the country, there is no evidence that exactly 20% of the jobs will be cut.
This thought process, in which you read or listen to words to gain an understanding and make logical conclusions off of it, involves verbal reasoning.
So far we have seen that major academic institutions value a verbal reasoning ability. But why is it given such importance? More specifically, why is verbal reasoning important in the workplace? We explore this in the next section.
Importance of Verbal Reasoning
David Perell, the founder of Write of Passage - an online course on writing effectively, has this to say in his tweet about how leaders in top businesses feel about writing.
As you can see, positions that are highly competitive and valued are filled in by people who can write and communicate effectively. However, this is not restricted to top management and strategic leadership positions.
Consider a customer service rep responsible for resolving customer issues with a product. Say that they have a low verbal reasoning ability and thus find it difficult to understand the problems faced by the customers. How will they communicate it effectively to the rest of the team so that the issue can be resolved without affecting the performance of the business? When the individuals themselves cannot understand the problem, they definitely cannot make someone else understand it.
You want employees who are capable of understanding instructions, communicating effectively, and also have the ability to solve problems. Verbal reasoning encompasses all of this.
Customer-facing roles, sales associates, marketing roles, and content writing roles are all jobs wherein verbal reasoning is a crucial ability to possess. These roles involve tasks that depend on the employee’s ability to comprehend and communicate detailed information.
- Communicating the problems faced by the business in a clear and effective manner to help resolve them at an efficient pace.
- Pinpointing issues in business reports, documents, and company manuals and developing a logical pathway to resolving these issues.
- Ability to communicate effectively and solve problems together as a part of a team.
- Ability to understand through reading and listening.
All of these tasks mentioned above are key in the workplace. They help you and your organization indulge in clearer communication, more efficient problem solving as well as a positive work culture.
Testing for Verbal Reasoning
Testing for skills early on in your hiring process helps you eliminate a lot of candidates who are unfit for the role. You can then have your pick of the litter from the good ones who remain behind.
Most verbal reasoning tests consist of questions in which the candidate goes through a piece of information and makes inferences. While there are only world problems in verbal reasoning assessments, it tests multiple aspects, such as:
- Read and comprehend written information
- Understand the relationships between words
- Draw logical conclusions from the given information
- Solve problems using verbal reasoning skills
For example, the Verbal Reasoning Test evaluates your problem-solving skills, attention to detail, and ability to think critically. The test evaluates a candidate’s ability to go through extensive textual information and make logical conclusions off of it in a time-constrained environment.
A candidate that can clearly understand such information should also be capable of communicating it effectively. Thus using the right tests prior to the final rounds of your hiring process can help eliminate candidates that are unfit for the role.
On a Final Note
Every job role encompasses a unique set of skills that are valued. However, verbal reasoning plays a key part in each of these roles. From being able to communicate clearly to clearly understand what is being communicated, verbal reasoning is involved everywhere.
Thus, ensure that you test for verbal reasoning ability at your workplace, especially in jobs involving communication, problem-solving, and vocabulary recognition. This can save significant time otherwise spent interviewing the wrong candidates and help you hire the right employees for every role.