By Jayaram V
Summary: This essay is about effective communication
and how you can improve your communication skills in personal
and professional life.
Communication means transfer or exchange of information from
one point or place or person to another. Effective communication
means, the communication must serve the purpose for which it is
intended, without any loss or distortion of the original message.
Communication is usually interpersonal and involves two or more
ends or two or more people or groups. However, communication may
happen between two aspects of the same person. An example is self-talk.
This essay does not deal with this type of communication.
In todayï¿½s world, communication has become vital. The means and
methods of communication have also undergone a revolutionary change
with the advances in wireless, internet and radio technologies.
We can now communicate with manmade objects in other planets or
those traveling beyond the solar system. Effective communication
is vital to our personal and professional success and our Wellbeing.
It is necessary to express oneï¿½s thoughts and ideas, and desires
and intentions to seek what one wants, or establish fulfilling relationships.
Poor communication can disrupt our lives and relationships. How
can you make your communication effective and purposeful? Here are
a few important suggestions.
1. Pay attention
to listen and to know
Communication is not about yourself, your ideas and opinions,
or your accomplishments. Its primary purpose is not to impress others
with your knowledge and eloquence, unless it is the explicitly purpose
of the communication such as in a job interview. Inmost cases, it
is a two-way interactive, interpersonal process in which you have
an opportunity to interact with others and exchange information
with them for desired ends. Therefore, it involves not only speaking
and conveying your thoughts and words but also paying attention
to the people in it and knowing about them and their message or
intention. When you pay attention, you will not only listen to the
words but also understand the nonverbal communication and the psychology
and motivation behind them. Further, by paying attention, you can
greatly improve the quality of your communication by fine-tuning
it according to the situation.
a two-way communication
As stated before, your communication must offer ample scope to
facilitate a two-way communication rather than one-way. It means
you cannot entirely dominate the conversation and not let others
respond or reciprocate. Even if it is just an email message or an
official memo, there must be an opportunity for the recipients to
respond and express. An effective communicator is aware of this
simple but important principle of communication and strikes a fine
balance. He or she facilitates a two-way communication by recognizing
and respecting the rights and privileges of the other side. You
too can do it with simple approaches such as listening, asking questions,
engaging in complementary rather than cross transactions, avoiding
judgmental attitude, rephrasing or summarizing the conversation,
maintaining eye contact, keeping your emotions under control, etc.
right mental attitude
Certain behaviors and attitudes are conducive to effective communication.
For example, certain qualities are greatly useful to establish rapport
with the people and facilitate a two-way communication such as humility,
open-mindedness, mindfulness, positive mental attitude, cheerfulness,
patience, tolerance, objectivity, thoughtfulness, emotional intelligence,
social intelligence, knowledge, discernment, commonsense, etc. They
also help one to engage in effective and attentive listening, which
is key to good communication. An effective communicator acts according
to the situation since he is good at understanding human emotions
and psychology. He also remains focused on the process. Usually,
he aims to establish rapport and harmony, but if necessary does
not mind to speak frankly or express his opinions..
knowledge and language skills
In todayï¿½s world, communication includes not only interpersonal
communication but also communication through various means such
as emails, audios, videos, blogs, social networks, messaging, message
forums, reporting, public speaking, presentations, meetings, and
so on. Written communication requires a different approach compared
to oral communication. In both cases, right knowledge and command
over the language and choice of words play an important role. Knowledge
speaks for itself. When you have knowledge and command over the
language, you can communicate effectively in any medium. Since nowadays
a majority of people live in communities and organizations that
are marked by diversity, we need to be familiar with the cultural
and linguistic barriers that are specific to them. Command over
the language is certainly useful to convey complex ideas, without
ambiguity and confusion.
diligently at every opportunity
There is no better way to effective communication than regular
and persistent practice, and making use of every opportunity to
polish your skills. In todayï¿½s world you have many opportunities
to do it. For example, you can find certain applications on the
Internet which will instantly evaluate the quality of your communication
and give you suggestions for improvement. You can find mentors or
role models to know how you effective you are in comparison to them.
Further, you can learn by observing others and learning from them
and by learning from your own mistakes or othersï¿½ mistakes. You
can experiment with different methods and approaches to know what
works in a given situation. Presently, there are many avenues and
cost-effective training programs and applications to improve your
voice quality, modulation and written communication, which you can
use to your advantage.
the main components of communication
You must be aware of the key components of any communication,
because if you are careless, they can become potential obstacles
to effective communication. They may also cause the distortion of
the message, resulting in miscommunication and misunderstanding.
Therefore, if you want to ensure that your communication reaches
the recipients exactly as you intended, you must pay attention to
each of them. For example, any formal communication involves the
following key components or steps namely the motive, the message,
the medium, the transmission, the factors that influence the transmission
(such as time, distance, noise, etc.), the reception, the decoding
of the message, and the interpretation. When a message passes through
these steps, anything can go wrong and the intended purpose of the
communication or the message itself may become lost or distorted,
resulting in communication gap and other associated problems.
your nonverbal skills
In a direct or personal communication between two or more individuals
or groups, nonverbal communication plays an important role. In a
social setting, people usually wear masks. For one reason or the
other, they do not readily reveal their hidden feelings or motives
and prefer to play along whereby it becomes difficult to relate
to them or address their true concerns. By paying attention to gestures,
the time people take to speak or respond, bodily language, facial
expressions, eye movements and level of eye contact, dress and appearance,
choice of words, etc., one can learn a lot about others and their
hidden motives. The nonverbal cues also reveal the honesty and integrity
of people and how far their communication is authentic and reliable.
By paying attention to them and learning from them, one can make
the communication more effective and purpose oriented.
8. Good communication
depends upon good preparation
In informal settings when you are communicating with people whom
you personally know and trust, you can relax and be yourself. However,
when you communicate in a formal setting with people you do not
know or with whom you have an official or professional relationship,
you cannot make mistakes or take things for granted. You must adequately
prepare for the occasion and make sure that your communication reaches
the audience exactly as you intended, with little scope for distortion
or ambiguity. For that, preparation is important. You must rehearse
what you want to say or convey and bring out the best in you to
show your knowledge and expertise and accomplish the goals of your
communication. Further, you must also know your audience and their
expectations. Your communication must meet not only your own expectations
but also the recipientsï¿½ expectations. Expectations play an important
role in communication. Imagine for example you are expecting a reply
or a response from a person and you do not receive it in time, or
you do not respond to a person in time according to his or her expectations.
In both cases, it may lead to negativity.
9. Use the
Effective communication means you use right strategies to communicate
with others, according to the purpose and the recipient involved.
You cannot use the same strategy for everyone, since people widely
differ in their thinking, knowledge and behavior, and your relationship
with them also varies accordingly. For example, you can be formal
with people you know and trust, but you have to be careful when
you are communicating with strangers, superiors or competitors.
People differ in their abilities and behavior. Some are auditory.
They rely more upon words and their meaning in the communication.
Some are visual. They rely more upon images to make sense of things,
and some are kinetic, who go by feelings and emotions. You have
to be aware of these subtle differences in your perception and thinking,
and accordingly fine-tune your communication. Similarly, the communication
strategy may change according to the medium of communication. For
example, you cannot use the same strategy for writing a letter and
for communicating through a video or audio.
10. Know the
barriers to communication
There are many barriers to communication, which can seriously
impair, distort or dilute the message or its intent and purpose.
Not all barriers can effectively be removed since they may not entirely
be under the control of the communicator. Important barriers to
communication are physical barriers such as the distance between
the two sides, system barriers related to the organization or the
process, attitudinal barriers related to the people involved, linguistic
barriers related to the manner in which the message is composed,
cultural barriers related to the background of the people, gender
barriers related to the natural and psychological differences between
men and women, and so on. For effective communication, one must
pay attention to them to know what can go wrong and try to overcome
them to the extent possible.
In conclusion, we may say that effective communication depends
upon right strategy, hard work, commonsense, prior preparation,
and a good understanding of the communication process and human
psychology. Communication is a two-way process. It is not only about
you but also the recipient of it. As the initiator of the communication,
you are important, but for your communication to serve its intended
purpose, the others for whom it is meant also become important.
By knowing the intricacies of effective communication, the steps
involved in it and the barriers that work against it, and by fine-tuning
your communication according to the method and medium, you can greatly
improve your communication skills.
Copyright: Published with the permission