Communication: purposes therefore taming these skills can prove

Communication:

Communication is a learned skill. One is
born with the physical capacity to talk but not everyone can talk effectively
unless he/she develops and improves their skills of communication. Communication
skills are a set of skills that a person needs in order to express themselves
effectively using different modes of communication. We are constantly
interacting with various people in our environment for various purposes
therefore taming these skills can prove very helpful as they can help in our
personal and social development. We use them while we are speaking, writing,
listening and reading.

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Definition:

The communication is a process of
transmitting ideas, thoughts, beliefs, opinions from one person to another
using appropriate channel of communication that is the most effective to create
an understanding of shared meaning among them. The word communication comes
from Latin word “communis” meaning “to share”. Webster defines communication
as:

“A process by which information is
exchanged between individuals through a common system of symbols, signs, or
behavior.”

Elements
in Communication:

There are essential elements in a
communication process that determines the success or effectiveness of
communication.

The sender
sends a message with a certain
intention or purpose to communicate an idea he encodes the message and sends it
via a suitable channel. The receiver decodes and interprets the
message. The receiver then sends feedback
to the sender. A loop of communication is established which is repeated
continuously. Listening skills are just as important in effective communication
are speaking skills.

A message is considered successfully
communicated if it is understood and interpreted the same way by the receiver
as the sender intended to if that doesn’t happen there may have been a
breakdown or a barrier in the
communication process.

Effective
Communication:

Communication is ever evolving so we
need to adapt to the changes occurring to it. No matter with what we
communicate our communication needs to be effective. Often times there is a
great disparity between what we plan to communicate and what we actually end up
saying or sometimes our message is not decoded by the receiver the way we
wanted he/she to.  The sender should pan
out his/her message in a clear understandable way that is understood easily by
the receiver.

 

Definition:

“Effective communication is defined as
verbal speech, nonverbal communication or other methods of transmitting
information that get a point across”.

 Therefore any communication that is successful
in its sending and receiving of information while establishing shared meaning
and understanding among them is an effective communication.

Importance
of Effective Communication:

One of the most valuable assets to
possess is the ability to effectively communicate. It is the main element for
success in various institutions of life. An effective communicator of
information is less likely to be challenged with misunderstanding leading to
conflicts not only does it reduce conflicts but also reduces our mistakes. We
are able to convey our meanings, ideas and wishes more clearly. Poor
communication on the other hand results in various barriers in communication
and causes problems hence hampering progress and success.

Essential
skills for effective communication:

The following are the essential that are
integral for effective and successful communication:

1.     
Flexible and
Engaged Listening:

Listening
is one of the trickiest concepts in effective communication. We should listen
twice as much as we talk, listen with our whole body, be alert and interested
in the other person. We need to understand the information given to us in such
a way that we can form coherent and proficient feedback. Skillful communicators
not only listen to the spoken words but also pay attention to the implicit
details of the message being conveyed. They pay great attention to the nuances
of conversation, read between the lines, sense the emotions they are being
communicated.

It
gives us an idea about what subjects are sensitive to the person and whether it
would be right to address them or avoid them. Thus the person feels heard and
understood which can help build a stronger and deeper connection between them.

2.     
Comprehend
Nonverbal signs of communication:

Nonverbal
communication includes body language, facial expression, body movement, eye
contact, posture, tone of voice, body movements and gestures. The ability to comprehend
nonverbal sign of communication can help us connect with others, express
ourselves more freely, navigate testing situations, and building of better
relationships professionally and personally. We can use it to emphasize the
meaning of our verbal message e.g. to hug someone while complimenting on their
success.

 

3.     
Empathy:

Empathy
or emotional awareness is essential for an explicit transfer of information. It
is the ability to share the feelings of the other person it is an important
asset of skilled communicators. By developing a sense of understanding the
circumstances and difficulties of the other person we can communicate our
intended message in a better way. We should be able to somewhat predict the
person’s reaction to our communicated message this is especially important if
we are dealing with a person who is likely to get emotional.

We
can assume the emotional state of another person by the way they hold
themselves up e.g. a happy person is more likely to smile and make eye contact
while a sad person has his/her head bowed , reluctant to smile or make eye
contact.

4.     
Clear and
Concise Information:

This
implies that the communicator is clear in his mind about the message that he
intends to convey. It should always be in easily understandable and common
language so that it is not misunderstood by the receiving person. The message
should be adequate, and complete in all 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 they make us seem incompetent.

Confronting
the listeners with a flood of information overwhelms them thus message should
be kept clear and precise. Effective communicators don’t stimulate their peers
with too much information.

5.     
Feedback:

Feedback
is an important method to ensure effective communication. It refers to the
confirmation of the idea whether the communicated message has been understood
by the receiver in which the sender intended to do. The simple act of
confirmation of the mutual understanding of the message is a valuable asset for
proficient communication. Effective communicators seek input and feedback of
their peers. Doing so allows the receivers to feel involved, valued and heard.
Receiving feedback can also be a helpful exercise to be more open towards
criticism.

In
case of face to face communication it is easier to get feedback by judging the
facial expressions and the emotions of the receiver while in case of written
communication we can devise or evolve suitable means for making communication
more effective.

6.     
Medium
determination:

After
determining the subject matter of our message that is to be conveyed we should
determine the best medium by which message can be communicated. We must assess
that which channel is the most accessible to our intended audience so that our message is
effectively received. All aspects of oral and written communication must be
examined for this purpose.

For
e.g. in remote areas where there are less availability of advanced
technological communication facilities we estimate the medium most accessible to
them for information transfer.

7.     
Uniformity of
the Message:

The
information to be communicated should not be mutually conflicting rather be in
line with the overall policies, programmes, objectives and procedures of the
organization. Self-contradictory messages always create unintentional chaos and
confusion regarding the delivered information which can be highly detrimental
to effective communication. The point of the message should be clear and free
of any confusing elements.

 

8.     
Communication
with enthusiasm:

Enthusiasm
can be a tool which can be used to communicate in a more powerful and engaging
manner. Effective communication constitutes well timed doses of enthusiasm to
emphasize the meaning of our message. People are more likely to respond
positively to enthusiastic speakers, generally people want to be around those
who lift them up instead of bringing them down by sighing, rolling their eyes,
by seeming impatient or bored.

If
we indicate with our tone of voice and body language that we have slightly
higher energy level the people around us will also feel more energized and
positive.

9.     
Stress
management:

Communication
can 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 interferes
negatively with our ability to deliver coherent information. Only in a relaxed
and a clam state we’ll be able to know whether a situation requires a response
or whether it would be better to remain silent.

In
situations such as business presentation, high pressure meeting, job interview
it is important that we regulate our emotions effectively think on our feet so
that we are able to exercise successful and proficient communication.

10.  Understanding the Receiver:

Understanding
is the main aim of the communication process. We must communicate with the
receiver while being aware of the physical and the human setting in which the
information will be received. We should determine the receptivity and
understanding level of the receivers, be aware of social climate and cultural
background, and question the information’s timeliness.

For
more improvement we should ask ourselves what, when and in which manner would
we like to be communicated with if present in an environment similar as the
receiver.

11.  Understanding the Context:

Effective
communication skills require adaption to the changing world, to the individual
social and cultural differences. It is always important to take our surrounding
into consideration before starting the communication process.

For
e.g. in some Asian countries we might notice that the inhabitants feel
uncomfortable talking to us it is probably because they consider it
disrespectful to stare into their eyes so understanding the context of the
situation we should avoid activities that can lead to hampering of a successful
effective communication.

Barriers to
effective communication:

There
are several factors which can distort and terminate or become hindrance in the
way of effective communication. Myriad of problems can pop up at various
instances along the communication process some of them are given below:

1.     
Status within an
organization:

The
sender of the message and its receiver might possess the same status within the
hierarchy of the organization e.g. managers in an organization or they may
possess different positions e.g. manager/employee, business owner/client or
student/teacher. This difference in status creates a somewhat uncomfortable environment;
a level of formality has to be maintained while the communication is taking
place. This difference in status sometimes negatively impacts the effectiveness
of communication process.

2.     
Cultural
differences:

The
norms of social interaction have great variations across different cultures.
People sometimes make negative stereotypical assumptions about others based on
their cultural background. So cultural differences either within or outside an
organization can hinder the process of communication.

For
e.g. the concept of personal space varies within different cultures and
different social settings.

3.     
Inappropriate
channel:

Selecting
an appropriate channel for communication is important as the use of wrong
channel can hinder the communication process. In varying situations one medium
might be better suited than the other. Simple messages can be transferred
orally while some complex ones can be sent as orally and in writing. We should
keep in mind whether which channel would be the most suitable for a particular
message and a specific type of audience. Sending out message via wrong channel
can send out wrong signals and may end up causing confusion for others.

4.     
Use of Different
Language:

Language
difference is one of the greatest barriers in effective communication. Even
people speaking the same language can have difficulty understanding each other
if they are from different regions and have different accents. Slang,
professional jargon and regional colloquialism can even have negative impacts
on communication process. Similarly the language must be chosen carefully so
that it doesn’t become an obstacle in the communication process.

5.     
Disabilities:

Disabilities
such as dyslexia, impaired sight, and poor mental health can also act as
barriers to effective communication and should be taken into consideration when
estimating the effectiveness of communication process. We may need hearing
aids, magnifying systems or sign language to mitigate problems caused by
disabilities.

6.     
Individual
Perceptions:

For
effective communication we need to take into account the receivers personality traits,
age and preferred style. The elderly, children and young adults have different
needs and preferences when socially interacting with each other. We must try
our best to see the world from the eyes of the receiver so we can understand
their point of view however usually due to different perspectives of every
individual about world around us cannot make people reach to a common
understanding hence it can become a barrier in effective communication.

7.     
Noise:

Noise
can be any form of interference that hampers the communication process. It can
take any form e.g. distractions due to pictures on a wall or objects in a room
or interruptions by other people, external noise such as traffic outside a
building, ringing telephone or people having conversation close by. Atmospheric
noise can usually put strain on oral communication as both sender and receiver
have to put in extra effort to get the message across and ensure that it is
understood correctly.

8.     
Poor Listening
Habits:

Becoming
an active listener not only helps us to understand the information we receive
but also improves our problem solving skills. Listening skills can have a large
impact on the effectiveness of communication. Barriers to communication here
include not paying attention due to lack of interest, daydreaming or
irrelevance to the receiver all of which causes the message to get lost in the
communication process.

9.     
Poor timing:

This
is when poor timing can cause problems in the transferring and receiving of
message. For e.g. when we are running late for work, when we are too exhausted
from work or it’s too early in the morning and we haven’t fully woken up yet it
causes barriers in effective communication process.

Conclusion:

Effective
communication skills are one of the most valuable skills to have it not only
helps in our personal growth as we learn to communicate with others more
proficiently it also plays a major role in our professional growth. A teacher
needs to have good communication skills in order to deliver a good lecture; a
business manager needs to have good communication skills for the expansion and
success of his business. Despite the presence of various barriers in effective
communication we devise a way around them leading to shared understanding of
meaning, ideas and beliefs among various people.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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