Communication:Communication is a learned skill. One isborn with the physical capacity to talk but not everyone can talk effectivelyunless he/she develops and improves their skills of communication. Communicationskills are a set of skills that a person needs in order to express themselveseffectively using different modes of communication. We are constantlyinteracting with various people in our environment for various purposestherefore taming these skills can prove very helpful as they can help in ourpersonal and social development.
We use them while we are speaking, writing,listening and reading.Definition:The communication is a process oftransmitting ideas, thoughts, beliefs, opinions from one person to anotherusing appropriate channel of communication that is the most effective to createan understanding of shared meaning among them. The word communication comesfrom Latin word “communis” meaning “to share”. Webster defines communicationas:”A process by which information isexchanged between individuals through a common system of symbols, signs, orbehavior.”Elementsin Communication:There are essential elements in acommunication process that determines the success or effectiveness ofcommunication. The sendersends a message with a certainintention or purpose to communicate an idea he encodes the message and sends itvia a suitable channel. The receiver decodes and interprets themessage. The receiver then sends feedbackto the sender.
A loop of communication is established which is repeatedcontinuously. Listening skills are just as important in effective communicationare speaking skills.A message is considered successfullycommunicated if it is understood and interpreted the same way by the receiveras the sender intended to if that doesn’t happen there may have been abreakdown or a barrier in thecommunication process.
EffectiveCommunication:Communication is ever evolving so weneed to adapt to the changes occurring to it. No matter with what wecommunicate our communication needs to be effective. Often times there is agreat disparity between what we plan to communicate and what we actually end upsaying or sometimes our message is not decoded by the receiver the way wewanted he/she to. The sender should panout his/her message in a clear understandable way that is understood easily bythe receiver. Definition:”Effective communication is defined asverbal speech, nonverbal communication or other methods of transmittinginformation that get a point across”. Therefore any communication that is successfulin its sending and receiving of information while establishing shared meaningand understanding among them is an effective communication.Importanceof Effective Communication:One of the most valuable assets topossess is the ability to effectively communicate. It is the main element forsuccess in various institutions of life.
An effective communicator ofinformation is less likely to be challenged with misunderstanding leading toconflicts not only does it reduce conflicts but also reduces our mistakes. Weare able to convey our meanings, ideas and wishes more clearly. Poorcommunication on the other hand results in various barriers in communicationand causes problems hence hampering progress and success.Essentialskills for effective communication:The following are the essential that areintegral for effective and successful communication:1.
Flexible andEngaged Listening:Listeningis one of the trickiest concepts in effective communication. We should listentwice as much as we talk, listen with our whole body, be alert and interestedin the other person. We need to understand the information given to us in sucha way that we can form coherent and proficient feedback. Skillful communicatorsnot only listen to the spoken words but also pay attention to the implicitdetails of the message being conveyed. They pay great attention to the nuancesof conversation, read between the lines, sense the emotions they are beingcommunicated. Itgives us an idea about what subjects are sensitive to the person and whether itwould be right to address them or avoid them. This makes the person feel thathis/her presence is valuable as his opinions are being considered with greaterattention.
2. ComprehendNonverbal signs of communication:Nonverbalcommunication includes facial expressions, body language, tone of voice,posture. If we develop the ability to understand these nonverbal signs ofcommunication we might be able to get better understanding of the mindset ofour receiver and we then frame the message accordingly. It can help us in ourpersonal and professional relationship building. We can use it to emphasize themeaning of our verbal message e.
g. to hug someone while complimenting on theirsuccess. 3. Empathy:Empathyor emotional awareness is essential for an explicit transfer of information. Itis the ability to share the feelings of the other person it is an importantasset of skilled communicators.
By developing a sense of understanding thecircumstances and difficulties of the other person we can communicate ourintended message in a better way. We should be able to somewhat predict theperson’s reaction to our communicated message this is especially important ifwe are dealing with a person who is likely to get emotional.Wecan assume the emotional state of another person by the way they holdthemselves up e.g. a happy person is more likely to smile and make eye contactwhile a sad person has his/her head bowed , reluctant to smile or make eyecontact.4.
Clear andConcise Information:Thisimplies that the communicator is clear in his mind about the message that heintends to convey. The language used should be common with the receiver so thatit is understood by him/her. The message should be adequate, and complete inall respects. Less is more when it comes to speaking we should be clear,concise and articulate. Also we should avoid the use of filler words as theymake us seem incompetent.Confrontingthe listeners with a flood of information overwhelms them thus message shouldbe kept clear and precise. Effective communicators don’t stimulate their peerswith too much information.
5. Feedback:Feedbackis an important method to ensure whether communication is taking placeeffectively or not. It refers to the confirmation of the idea whether thecommunicated message has been understood by the receiver in which the senderintended to do. The simple act of confirmation of the mutual understanding ofthe message is a valuable asset for proficient communication.
People with goodcommunication skills always ask for feedback from their receivers. In doing so thereceivers feel involved, valued and heard as his opinions are being consideredfor our betterment. Receiving feedback can also be a helpful exercise to bemore open towards criticism.
Whenwe are orally talking to someone either face to face or by using phones we canget feedback by judging their tone of voice in case of phone or by looking attheir facial expression and body language in case of face to facecommunication.6. Mediumdetermination:Afterdetermining the subject matter of our message that is to be conveyed we shoulddetermine the best medium by which message can be communicated. We must assessthat which channel is the most accessible to our intended audience so that our message iseffectively received. All aspects of oral and written communication must beexamined for this purpose.Fore.
g. in remote areas where there are less availability of advancedtechnological communication facilities we estimate the medium most accessible tothem for information transfer.7. Communicationwith enthusiasm:Enthusiasmcan be a tool which can be used to communicate in a more powerful and engagingmanner.
Effective communication constitutes well timed doses of enthusiasm toemphasize the meaning of our message. People are more likely to respondpositively to enthusiastic speakers, generally people want to be around thosewho lift them up instead of bringing them down by sighing, rolling their eyes,by seeming impatient or bored. Ifwe indicate with our tone of voice and body language that we have slightlyhigher energy level the people around us will also feel more energized andpositive.8. Stressmanagement:Communicationcan be a very stressful process especially if our skills are not up to the par.Problems can arise when we are unable to mitigate this stress and it interferesnegatively with our ability to deliver coherent information.
Only in a relaxedand a clam state we’ll be able to know whether a situation requires a responseor whether it would be better to remain silent.Insituations such as business presentation, high pressure meeting, job interviewit is important that we regulate our emotions effectively think on our feet sothat we are able to exercise successful and proficient communication.9.
Understandingthe Receiver:Understandingthe receiver to get our point across most effectively is the goal ofcommunication. We must communicate with the receiver while being aware of thephysical and the human setting in which the information will be received. We shouldbe able to judge the mental capacity, cultural background of the receiver so wemake sure not to involve elements that can offend him/her in any way. For moreimprovement we should analyze the behavior of the receiver and look for ways bywhich we can convey our message most proficiently.10. Understanding the Context:Effectivecommunication skills require adaption to the changing world, to the individualsocial and cultural differences. It is always important to take our surroundinginto consideration before starting the communication process.
Fore.g. in some Asian countries we might notice that the inhabitants feeluncomfortable talking to us it is probably because they consider itdisrespectful to stare into their eyes so understanding the context of thesituation we should avoid activities that can lead to hampering of a successfuleffective communication.Barriers toeffective communication:Thereare several factors which can distort and terminate or become hindrance in theway of effective communication. Myriad of problems can pop up at variousinstances along the communication process some of them are given below:1. Status within anorganization:Thesender of the message and its receiver might possess the same status within thehierarchy of the organization e.g.
managers in an organization or they maypossess different positions e.g. manager/employee, business owner/client orstudent/teacher. This difference in status creates a somewhat uncomfortable environment;a level of formality has to be maintained while the communication is takingplace. This difference in status sometimes negatively impacts the effectivenessof communication process.2.
Culturaldifferences:Thenorms of social interaction have great variations across different cultures.People sometimes make negative stereotypical assumptions about others based ontheir cultural background. So cultural differences either within or outside anorganization can hinder the process of communication. 3. Inappropriatechannel:Selectingan appropriate channel for communication is important as the use of wrongchannel can hinder the communication process. In varying situations one mediummight be better suited than the other. Simple messages can be transferredorally while some complex ones can be sent as orally and in writing. We shouldkeep in mind whether which channel would be the most suitable for a particularmessage and a specific type of audience.
Sending out message via wrong channelcan send out wrong signals and may end up causing confusion for others.4. Use of DifferentLanguage:Languagedifference is one of the greatest barriers in effective communication. Evenpeople speaking the same language can have difficulty understanding each otherif they are from different regions and have different accents. Slang,professional jargon and regional colloquialism can even have negative impactson communication process. Similarly the language must be chosen carefully sothat it doesn’t become an obstacle in the communication process.5.
Disabilities:Disabilitiessuch as dyslexia, impaired sight, and poor mental health can also act asbarriers to effective communication and should be taken into consideration whenestimating the effectiveness of communication process. We may need hearingaids, magnifying systems or sign language to mitigate problems caused bydisabilities.6.
IndividualPerceptions:Foreffective communication we need to take into account the receivers personality traits,age and preferred style. The elderly, children and young adults have differentneeds and preferences when socially interacting with each other. We must tryour best to see the world from the eyes of the receiver so we can understandtheir point of view however usually due to different perspectives of everyindividual about world around us cannot make people reach to a commonunderstanding hence it can become a barrier in effective communication.7.
Noise:Noisecan be any form of interference that hampers the communication process. It cantake any form e.g. distractions due to pictures on a wall or objects in a roomor interruptions by other people, external noise such as traffic outside abuilding, ringing telephone or people having conversation close by. Atmosphericnoise can usually put strain on oral communication as both sender and receiverhave to put in extra effort to get the message across and ensure that it isunderstood correctly.
8. Poor ListeningHabits:Becomingan active listener not only helps us to understand the information we receivebut also improves our problem solving skills. Listening skills can have a largeimpact on the effectiveness of communication. Barriers to communication hereinclude not paying attention due to lack of interest, daydreaming orirrelevance to the receiver all of which causes the message to get lost in thecommunication process.9. Poor timing:Thisis when poor timing can cause problems in the transferring and receiving ofmessage.
For e.g. when we are running late for work, when we are too exhaustedfrom work or it’s too early in the morning and we haven’t fully woken up yet itcauses barriers in effective communication process.Conclusion:Effectivecommunication skills are one of the most valuable skills to have it not onlyhelps in our personal growth as we learn to communicate with others moreproficiently it also plays a major role in our professional growth. A teacherneeds to have good communication skills in order to deliver a good lecture; abusiness manager needs to have good communication skills for the expansion andsuccess of his business. Despite the presence of various barriers in effectivecommunication we devise a way around them leading to shared understanding ofmeaning, ideas and beliefs among various people.