Informal communication is used between people who know each other well, for example friends and family. Friends and family may use jargon between one another that others would not understand, therefore wouldn’t be suitable to use with other people, such as slang words only used locally, which someone from another part of the country may not understand. Very informal language would be inappropriate to use in many health and social care settings, such as in a doctor’s surgery, as this would create communication barriers between yourself and the patient, and you may come across as impolite.
For example, it would be acceptable when a patient enters a doctor’s office for the doctor to greet them formally, address them as Mr or Mrs, and shake their hand in a respectable tone at a volume that is not too quiet for the patient to hear, but not too loud that you are shouting at them.
If, when the patient entered the room, the doctor said “Alright mate how’s it going? ” It would not be surprising if the patient was taken aback, and offended at the doctor’s speech.
In addition to the use of informal language possibly being seen as impolite, using slang/jargon with someone from another country, who may not speak English as their first language, could also create language barriers between the two of you.
The person may feel uncomfortable as they do not understand what you are saying and there could be misunderstandings and misinterpretations of what is being said.
Formal communication is used in many health and social care situations, as it is understood by the majority of people and usually doesn’t create communication barriers in the ways which other forms of communication, such as informal language, might do. Formal communication shows respect to the people you are communicating with. When someone enters a reception desk, for example in a day care facility, we expect to be greeted politely. If we were greeting with something like “what do you want then” it would cause offense and would be seen as very rude.
However, the degree of how formal the language is differs between the situation in which it is being used in, and the care worker must adjust the way they are speaking depending on which situation they are in. If someone speaks too formally they may put the person they are talking to on edge and make them feel uncomfortable, but if someone is being spoken to too informally, then they may feel as if they are not being taken seriously or being respected.