Read this article to learn about What is Effective Communication, Characteristics of Effective Communication, Objectives of Effective Communication, Essentials of Effective Communication, Guidelines to Make Communication Effective and more…
What is Effective Communication?
G. T. Vardaman in his book Effective Communication of Ideas (1970). wrote, ‘effective communication is a purposive symbolic interchange, resulting in workable understanding and agreement between sender and receiver.’ An effective communication is one which is properly followed by the ‘receiver of the message and his feedback is known to the sender’ or transmitter.
Characteristics of Effective Communication
i. Clarity of Purpose –
The message to be delivered must be clear in the mind of the sender. The person to whom it is targeted and the aim of the message should be clear in the mind of the sender.
ii. Completeness –
The message delivered should not be incomplete. It should be supported by facts and observations. It should be well planned and organized. No assumptions should be made by the receiver.
iii. Conciseness –
The message should be concise. It should not include any unnecessary details. It should be short and complete.
iv. Feedback –
Whether the message sent by the sender is understood in same terms by the receiver or not can be judged by the feedback received. The feedback should be timely and personal. It should be specific rather than general.
v. Empathy –
Empathy with the listeners is essential for effective verbal communication. The speaker should step into the shoes of the listener and be sensitive to their needs and emotions. This way he can understand things from their perspective and make communication more effective.
vi. Modify the message according to the audience –
The information requirement by different people in the organization differs according to their needs. What is relevant to the middle level management might not be relevant to the top level of management. Use of jargon should be minimized because it might lead to misunderstanding and misinterpretations. The message should be modified according to the needs and requirements of the targeted audience.
vii. Multiple Channels of Communication –
For effective communication multiple channels should be used as it increases the chances of clarity of message. The message is reinforced by using different channels and there are less chances of deformation of the message.
viii. Make effective use of Grapevine (informal channel of communication) –
The employees and managers should not always discourage grapevine. They should make effective use of grapevines. The managers can use grapevine to deliver formal messages and for identification of issues which are significant for the employees. The managers can get to know the problems faced by the employees and can work upon it.
The real meaning of communication is getting the receiver and the sender tuned together for a particular message. Communication takes place when one person transfers some understandable data to another person. It also includes the exchange of thoughts, opinions, sentiments, facts, and information between two or more persons. Feedback is very important as it assures that your message should be properly conveyed to the receiver.
Objectives of Effective Communication
For making better communication the object for it are given here:
(i) To develop the trust, confidence and reliabilities among people;
(ii) To develop positively inner feeling and willingness of people for sharing with data and information within the transforming process;
(iii) To develop informal as well as personal relations among people;
(iv) To make clear, complete, precise and correct information to the concerning people;
(v) To develop proper coordination and integration in organization;
(vi) To develop congenial work environment in organization;
(vii) To make effective listeners within the communication process.
Essentials of Effective Communication
The following essential points deserve attention for making communication effective:
(1) Create Synergetic Environment
Misunderstandings are rules rather than exceptions because of an unhealthy and uncongenial organizational environment. The neutral words attempting to convey positive messages convey negative messages because people possess different perceptions.
We notice defensive behavior of employees because of lack of co-operation and trust among them in the organization. Communication cannot be effective under such circumstances.
The first and foremost requirement is to create a synergetic environment. Synergy means the whole is greater than its parts. Under a synergetic environment, cooperation breeds co-operation and trust breeds trust at an accelerating rate.
For this, top management should initiate and ensure trust and cooperation among employees at a lower level. They will respond with trust and cooperation sooner or later. When an organization is operating at a high degree of cooperation and trust among employees, communication will be automatically effective.
(2) Two way Communication
Effective communication is never one way traffic rather two way channelization. The organization should ensure two way communication, with a sound feedback system to overcome the communication gaps because of distortions, filtering, coloring etc.
(3) Strengthen Communication Flow
The organizational policy should simplify, streamline and strengthen the flow of communication—both upward and downward—through proper organizational structure, proper decentralization and delegation of authorities.
In addition to this, adequate and timely dissemination of information should be there, both through formal as well as informal networks. Frequent meetings, conferences and social gatherings should be organized from time to time to ensure easy access of information to employees.
(4) Proper Medias
Proper media of communication should be followed. Any media is not ideal for every situation. Illiterate workers should be instructed through oral and visual communication. In case of formal relations, written communication should be followed. And for negotiation, persuasion, brainstorming etc. face-to-face oral communication is the best way.
(5) Encourage open Communication
Lack of transparency and denial of information, breeds rumors in the organization and consequently harms the organizational environment. To avoid this, management should make open-door policy and Manage by Walking around (MBWA)
In open-door policy, employees are encouraged to approach immediate and higher superiors with any matter that concerns the organization and people at organization. This overcomes the organizational gap among executives and employees.
Executives should follow this policy not only in letter but also in spirit so that not only their doors are open physically but also psychologically and employees can communicate without hesitation.
Executives should not restrict their operations by sitting in their offices but walk out through the door to make contacts with a large number of employees.
(6) Appropriate Language
Appropriate words, pictures, symbols should be used to make the message simple and easily comprehensible to concerned employees. As far as possible technical and equivocal words should be avoided and messages should be supported by proper diagrams.
(7) Effective Listening
In oral communication effective listening is vital. It is not only the sender’s responsibility to make his message clear, complete and concrete; but also of the receiver to understand the message in the proper sense through effective listening.
Listening should be made effective by keeping the mind free from prejudices and presumptions, paying attention to the spoken words and feeling the emotions of the speaker.
Guidelines to Make Communication Effective
The following are some important guidelines to make communication effective:
- Try to simplify your thoughts before communicating your message.
- You must analyze the intent of each and every message.
- Consider the overall physical setting whenever you communicate.
- You must discuss with others, where appropriate, in planning communication.
- Be careful while communicating, of the overtone as well as basic content of your message.
- Take the opportunity to suggest something of help or value to the receiver.
- Follow-up your communication.
- Prepare yourself for transmitting the message in a proper way.
- Be sure your actions support your communication.
- Seek not only to be understood but understand.
Importance of Effective Communication
They have been listed below:
1. Effective Communication is goal oriented. For communication to be effective, communication needs to be goal oriented, which means that the message sent needs to have a predetermined objective.
2. Effective Communication should have a shared code. The message needs to be codified in such a way that a corpus of shared code is established between the sender and the receiver of the message. This corpus of shared code/language helps the receiver to understand the meaning of the message, which in turn could translate into feedback from the receiver in terms of an action or an appropriate response.
3. Effective Communication should provide feedback. The impact created by the message forms an integral and important component of effective communication. This is called feedback and is very useful in creating healthy business relations and consumer friendly practices.
Stages of Effective Communication
Effective communication can be carried out in four stages which are as follows:
- Deciding what is to be communicated – Message
- Deciding how it is to be communicated – Medium
- Identifying whom to communicate – People.
- Finding out whether the communication has been understood – Feedback.
In marketing communication it is of utmost importance what the organisation wants to communicate. Without having a pre-defined objective, it is difficult to communicate. Once the company launches a service or a product, it has to let people know about it and accordingly the message is formed.
The purpose of the message is that it should tell the unique selling proposition (USP) of that product. Message, in reality, is to highlight the product in such a way that people understand what the product is all about. For instance a vacuum cleaner should highlight the cleansing aspect and convey the idea about cleaning everything and anything in the domestic item.
Once the message is determined, the next step is to decide how it is to be communicated. In this context two media can be selected viz. the Print Media and the Electronic Media. Most of the organisations use both the media but again there is a classification.
If it is the print media, then the newspapers or magazines in which the product should be put. If a particular product is to cater to the rural market then the medium should be print and that also, a vernacular newspaper. However, the electronic media should not be overlooked and radio, even today, is quite popular among the rural population, particularly in the under-developed and developing countries.
Similarly taking into account the type of people the product has been targeted, the message should be telecast. For instance, chocolate, which is aimed at children, should have more advertisements on cartoon network channels rather than a twenty-four hour news channel.
When a product is developed, the buyers are kept in mind and once the message and the medium has been decided, it becomes essential whom to identify. If the product designed for the rural people carries a message which is sophisticated then the product is likely to fail in the market, because the wrong people will get the message and the product will not reach the right people and then the product will be wiped out.
Most of the products fail in the market due to wrong feedback. Feedback becomes very important when the company wants to find out the result of the message communicated. A proper feedback can help an organisation to rectify its mistakes and improve its product and image both.
Moreover, the organisation can come to know about the competition in the market and make required changes in the product from time to time. The same stands true for the service industry. For instance when one checks into a hotel, before checking-out, he is handed a standard format which is to be filled up.
This format gives a clear idea about the opinion of the guest. More and more organisations are now giving feedback a top priority. This is obviously the step where one wants to know about itself. Feedback is helpful in improvising.
Benefits of Effective Communication
The benefits of effective communication are:
1. Team Building:
When teams effectively communicate, information flows freely from side to side and top to bottom. Team members feel empowered to act because they understand how their work impacts other efforts and how it contributes to the team’s goals.
Leaders also benefit by having a complete picture of where their employees are on a particular task and how to help them stay on track. Because leaders and teams are communicating effectively there are no surprises at weekly project updates and annual reviews.
2. Employee Morale:
When a team does not communicate well, a failure to inform can generate a feeling that team members or leaders are keeping secrets.
However, when a team communicates effectively, team members trust that they are getting the whole picture and can focus on their work. They feel comfortable that, if something comes up, they will be informed and will know who to turn to for help.
3. Increases Customer Satisfaction:
Customers do not appreciate it when they get different answers whenever they call or when Sales provides a deadline that Engineering knows nothing about. A well-communicating team, however, projects professionalism and trust.
4. Increases Productivity:
Most importantly, effective communication will provide a high return on investment across the enterprise. When team members know their roles, the roles of others and what leadership expects, they can concentrate more on work and less on the workplace.
Tips for Effective Communication
1. Clarify ideas before communicating – The message to be transmitted should be systematically thought and the position of the receiver or the affected parties should be considered.
2. Examine the purpose of communication – One must ask himself or herself- what am I really aiming to accomplish with this message? The use of language can then be really adjusted.
3. Take the entire environment – Physical or human, into consideration. Adopt the language to the environment.
4. Be careful of the overtones – and the basic content of the message – Tone and physical expression are to be considered as the listener may be affected.
5. Use crisp language and be clear – It is very important that words are well chosen. Try to use minimum words to send across the message and convey useful information.
6. Follow up on communication – One must solicit feedback in ensuring that the receiver has understood the message, if the person has not understood, tone down the language.
7. Be a good listener – Concentrate on the receiver’s response to ensure his extent of interest in your speech.
Avoid the following:
- Use of long words
- Use of new words
- Assuming they know
- Information overload
- Information filtering
- Lack of trust
Tips to Improve Communication Skills
MBA Aspirant needs to master his communication skills to perform exceptionally well in MBA from a reputed Business school and prove his mettle while studying as well as in the corporate world. He should definitely have an edge over the other candidates, if he has excellent and impressive communication skills.
Let us go through some handy tips to improve the communication skills:
a. Read a Lot:
Reading is the key to effective communication. Pick up any magazine, journal, novel or for that matter the daily newspaper and make it a habit to read it aloud. It has generally been observed that when an individual speaks, he falls short of words. The words are somewhere hidden in his brain and refuse to come out.
When you read aloud, after some time, words automatically fall into your mouth and thus improve your communication skills. If you come across any new word, do check out its meaning and try to add it in your speech the next time you speak. Reading also enhances your general knowledge and makes you aware of what is happening around you. Read anything which interests you.
b. Who says Television is an Idiot Box? One can gain a lot while watching Television:
If you are watching any talk show or interview of any great personality don’t just stare at the pictures, try to follow the way participants interact with each other, carefully observe their accent and also learn new words from them. It is okay to watch movies sometimes but not always, an MBA Aspirant must watch some educational channels to improve their general knowledge as well as communication skills.
Remember there is no end to learning. An individual can learn new things at any age. While interacting with anyone, if you come across any unknown word, do not feel shy or hesitate to find out its meaning. No one will make fun of you, instead would appreciate you for your initiative to learn more.
c. A child has to first learn alphabets to be able to make new words. In the same way, for effective communication one should be very clear with the basic concepts of communication. Learn tenses, homophones, homographs, hetero-graphs, vowels, consonants, verbs, phonetics as they are the stepping stones to an effective communication. Ignoring the above things will never let you communicate correctly and effectively. Always adopt a step by step approach.
d. Be Patient:
Don’t be in a hurry to hone your communication skills in a day or so. There is no medicine or any magic stick which can improve your communication skills in a day. You have to be patient and give yourself time. Never feel dejected if others speak better English than you, instead learn from them and seek their guidance. It is rightly said” Practice makes a man perfect”. Practice a lot.
Whatever language you want to master, try to interact in the same language with your friends and family for the perfect flow of words. Never feel embarrassed if you are wrong, learn from your mistakes. Stand in front of the mirror and speak to yourself. Ask yourself questions and answer them. Be your own critic. It works.
e. One has to be Very Confident and must Adopt the Right Attitude:
Nothing is possible if you don’t have the right approach and attitude. Motivate yourself to communicate effectively. Whenever you learn a new word, treat yourself with a chocolate.
f. Your Thoughts ought to be very Clear for an Effective Communication:
Haphazard and unorganized thoughts lead to ineffective communication. Be very clear what you intend to communicate. Don’t just speak for the sake of speaking. Carefully select sensible and relevant words to put your thoughts into content to be shared with others. Don’t keep half of your words in mouth, speak properly and clearly. You yourself have to be very clear with your thoughts for others to understand it well. Design your content by keeping the audiences in mind and don’t make it complicated. Keep it simple.
g. Be a Patient Listener:
An individual cannot be a good communicator, unless and until he is a good listener. Never interrupt any speaker in between the other individual might not be as learned as you, but you should always respect his opinions. Even if the other person is wrong, don’t criticize him; instead wait for your turn to speak. Always listen to the other side of the story and then only give your expert comments.
h. An MBA student throughout his two years of academics has to do exceptionally well in presentations and seminars. You just can’t escape them. One has to be a very good speaker to fare well in presentations and stand apart from the crowd. Never ever panic and do create a friendly ambience while delivering a presentation. One has to understand the importance of non-verbal communication as well.
Keep a control on your hands and emotions while speaking. Don’t play with your pen or handkerchief and never smile unnecessarily. Don’t start sweating in between presentations. The audience will never bite you, so please make eye contact with them. Do not forget to greet them well with a warm smile. MBA doesn’t only mean learning the four P s of marketing or cramming Philip Kotler.
It’s much more than that. One needs to be an extrovert and must know how to brand yourself. You must know how to position yourself in the market place and impress others. Be very careful about your pitch and tone. Never murmur while speaking. Don’t speak too slowly or never be in a hurry to speak. Speak loudly and clearly so that you are audible to one and all. No one will notice you if your tone and pitch is not clear and you will be lost in the crowd.
Tips to Improve Communication Skills for Professionals
One can be an extremely hard working and intelligent worker, but to taste success in the fierce competitive world, one has to be a good and impressive communicator. Incorporates you will not get too many chances to win the confidence of your boss and fellow workers, you have to create a positive impression at the first go itself.
Doing your work is important but what is more important is presenting your work well. One has to be very careful about his communication skills to perform well at his workplace and have an edge over his fellow workers.
Here are some tips to improve communication skills for professionals:
a. Understand the Second Party Well:
Know more about their thought process, cultural background and educational background for effective communication. The content must be designed keeping the audience in mind. For instance, if you need to address the front line staff, it is always advisable to keep your speech simple for them to understand well. For interacting with top shots don’t adopt a casual approach.
Use professional jargons and corporate terminologies in your speech for the “Bang on” effect. Always be yourself very clear what you want to communicate. If you yourself are confused, you will also confuse others. Whatever thought you want to share with others, carefully put it into sensible and relevant words for others to understand clearly.
Careful selection of words is very important for effective communication. If you want to address your team in the conference room near the cafeteria, please do mention the location very clearly. Don’t keep half of your thoughts in mind and expect the others to understand it on their own.
b. The Pitch and the Tone must also be Taken Care of:
During presentations, seminars or business meetings, your tone must be audible to each and every participant to create the desired impact and for others to look up to you. Make sure that the individual sitting on the last bench is also able to hear you properly for him to give his best.
Don’t speak too low or shout. Never rush. Speak slowly and clearly what you expect your fellow workers to do. Make your speech interesting. Don’t make long presentations or unnecessarily drag the meeting. During long meetings, monotony creeps in and individuals tend to lose interest. Do include a tea or a snack break.
c. At work places never interact at noisy places, cafeteria, employee’s workstations as noise acts as a hindrance to an effective communication. Prefer a conference room, a board room or a noise free zone for meetings and presentations.
The speaker must use whiteboards, markers, pen and paper to highlight the important points. The listeners must also carry a notepad and a pen to jot down the important points as well as their queries. The queries must be asked at the end of the presentation.
Jumping in between leads to confusions and misunderstandings and disrespect for the speaker. The question answer round must be kept at the end of presentations, seminars and meetings.
The speaker must invite questions from the audience in the end and the listeners must also solve all their queries before leaving for a better understanding. Don’t feel shy to ask your queries.
d. While sharing any important information, do verify with the recipients whether they have understood or not. While sharing any important contact number, always crosscheck with the recipient to ensure that they have noted it correctly. Don’t dictate your email id in one go.
Always break it into words which must be further broken into alphabets. For better clarity alphabets must be related with the word they stand for.
For example a as in alpha, b as in beta, t as in tango, c as in Charlie as so on. Share your business cards then verbally dictating your details as chances of errors get reduced.
e. Don’t Always Depend on Verbal Communication:
After any meeting, make it a habit to send the minutes of the meeting through mail marking a cc to all the participants for everyone to recall what happened in the meeting. Learn the art of writing business mails. Never use stylish fonts or loud colors in business communication. The agenda of the meeting must also be sent well in advance so that the participants come prepared and do not give blank expressions during the meetings.
f. There should be transparency among all the team members and the subordinates must have easy access to their superiors. The hierarchy should be simple for easy flow of information among the team members.
The employee must know whom to contact in case of a query to avoid dilution of the information. Never call any client or any employee when he is about to leave for the day as he would never bother to listen carefully. Also avoid discussing important matters during lunch time as the employee is altogether in a different mood.
g. Also Take Care of your Dressing at Workplace:
Never be shabby and keep your nails clean. Do not wear loud colors to the office. Casual dressing is a strict no at work places. Make sure to carry a planner or an organizer to note down your work against the deadline to avoid forgetting important assignments. In offices, always keep your mobiles in the silent mode as loud ringtones act as a disturbing element and employees find it hard to concentrate at work.
h. The Most Important of all be Yourself and be Very Confident:
Give your best every day at work and adopt a positive approach. Nervousness and over excitement lead to stammering and ineffective communication. Learn to keep a control on your emotions and be very careful about what you say and how you say? Communicate effectively at work to be successful.
7Cs of Effective Communication
All seven Cs apply to both oral and written communication. They are applicable to all forms of communication from mere utterances and sentences to complete documents or presentations. They are based on a common concern for the audience.
A message is complete when it contains all the facts the reader or listener needs for the desired reaction. Message receivers, either listeners or readers, require complete information to their questions.
Guidelines for complete messages:
a) Provide all necessary information: Answer all the 5 Ws — Who, What, Where, When and Why for thorough and accurate understanding.
b) Answer all questions asked: Look for questions buried within paragraphs. Locate them and answer them precisely.
c) Give something extra when desirable: Use your judgement in offering additional material if the sender’s message was incomplete.
A complete communication has following features:
a. Complete communication develops and enhances the reputation of an organization.
b. Moreover, they are cost saving as no crucial information is missing and no additional cost is incurred in conveying extra messages if the communication is complete.
c. A complete communication always gives additional information wherever required. It leaves no questions in the mind of the receiver.
d. Complete communication helps in better decision-making by the audience/readers/receivers of message as they get all desired and crucial information.
e. It persuades the audience.
Conciseness is saying what you have to say in the fewest possible words without sacrificing the other C qualities. This saves time and expense for both sender and receiver and shows respect for recipients.
Guidelines for concise messages
Eliminate wordy expressions
a) Use single word substitutes instead of phrases whenever possible without changing meanings.
b) Omit trite, unnecessary expressions.
c) Replace wordy, conventional statements with concise versions.
d) Avoid overusing empty phrases.
e) Omit “which” and “that” clauses whenever possible.
f) Eliminate unnecessary prepositional phrases.
g) Limit use of the passive voice.
Include only relevant material
a) Stick to the purpose of the message
b) Delete irrelevant words and rambling sentences
c) Omit information obvious to the receivers; do not repeat at length what the person has already told you.
d) Avoid long introductions, unnecessary explanations, excessive adjectives and prepositions, pompous words and gushy politeness.
e) Get to the important point tactfully and concisely.
Avoid unnecessary repetitions
a) Use the shorter name after having used the longer one once.
b) Use pronouns or initials rather than repeating long names.
c) Avoid all needless repetition of phrases and sentences.
Concise communication has following features:
a. It is both time-saving as well as cost-saving.
b. It underlines and highlights the main message as it avoids using excessive and needless words.
c. Concise communication provides short and essential message in limited words to the audience.
d. Concise message is more appealing and comprehensible to the audience.
e. Concise message is non-repetitive in nature.
Consideration means preparing every message with the message receivers in mind, try to put yourself in their place. Do not lose your temper, do not accuse, and do not charge them without facts.
Guidelines to show consideration are:
a) Focus on “you” instead of “I” and “we”: Using “you” does help project a you-attitude, but overuse can lead to a negative reaction.
b) Show audience benefit or interest in the receiver: Readers may react positively when benefits are shown to them.
c) Emphasize positive, pleasant facts: Due to past connections with words, readers will react positively or negatively to certain words.
Features of considerate communication are as follows:
a. Emphasize on the “you” approach.
b. Empathize with the audience and exhibit interest in the audience. This will stimulate a positive reaction from the audience.
c. Show optimism towards your audience. Emphasize on “what is possible” rather than “what is impossible”. Lay stress on positive words such as jovial, committed, thanks, warm, healthy, help, etc.
Communicating concretely means being specific, definite and vivid rather than vague and general. Often it means using denotative rather than connotative words.
It often evokes a sensory response in people. Analogies can often make an idea more vivid, but at times can confuse the reader or listener or reader.
Guidelines for concrete messages:
a) Use specific facts and figures: It is desirable to be precise in oral business communication.
b) Use the active voice.
c) Put action in verbs and not in nouns or infinitives.
d) Choose vivid, image-building words: Business writing uses less figurative language than does the world of fiction.
e) Use figures of speech with caution.
Concrete message has following features:
a. It is supported with specific facts and figures.
b. It makes use of words that are clear and that build the reputation.
c. Concrete messages are not misinterpreted.
Clarity means giving the correct meaning to the readers.
Guidelines for clarity of messages are:
a) Choose precise, concrete and familiar words: When in doubt use more familiar words that the audience can easily understand.
b) Construct effective sentences and paragraphs: Try for an average sentence length between 17 and 20 words.
c) There should be a single main idea in a sentence and other ideas in the sentence must be closely related to it.
d) The words in the sentence should be coherent or correctly arranged.
Clarity in communication has following features:
a. It makes understanding easier.
b. Complete clarity of thoughts and ideas enhances the meaning of the message.
c. Clear message makes use of exact, appropriate and concrete words.
Courtesy is awareness, not only of others’ perspective, but also their feelings. Knowing your audience allows you to address it in terms familiar to them.
Guidelines for a courteous tone:
a) Be sincere, tactful, thoughtful and appreciative.
b) Use expressions that show respect, omit irritating expressions and questionable humour.
c) Choose non-discriminatory expressions; do not use sexist terms or singular pronouns.
Courteous message has following features:
a. Courtesy implies taking into consideration both viewpoints as well as feelings of the receiver of the message.
b. Courteous message is positive and focused on the audience.
c. It makes use of terms showing respect for the receiver of the message.
d. It is not at all biased.
Correctness comprises proper grammar, punctuation and spelling.
Guidelines for the correctness of a message:
a) Use the right level of language.
b) Check accuracy of figures, facts and words.
c) Have another person check the validity of your data.
d) Double check any figures.
e) Verify statistical data.
f) Avoid guessing at laws.
g) Determine whether a fact has changed over time.
h) Maintain acceptable writing mechanisms.
Thus knowing the seven Cs and using them helps become a good communicator and helps in daily as well as business communication.
Correct communication has following features:
a. The message is exact, correct and well-timed.
b. If the communication is correct, it boosts up the confidence level.
c. Correct message has a greater impact on the audience/ readers.
d. It checks for the precision and accurateness of facts and figures used in the message.
e. It makes use of appropriate and correct language in the message.
Learning Aspects for Improving Effective Communication
Communication is a vital and dynamic part of the organization. It provides interaction and thoughts which aim at making optimum and integrated relations with the persons. The success of every human venture is based on the ability to communicate effectively.
There are different learning aspects to make the contents easy and appropriate. These aspects can provide some language profile like dictionary uses, organizing sentences, vocabulary, punctuation, writing techniques and motivational aspects for making better, fair, reasonable and easy matters in the communication process.
Why to follow Learning Aspects?
We need to follow different learning aspects which necessitate achieving this skill:
- To make language easy and comprehensible.
- To make clear, correct, complete and appropriate subject matter.
- To remove the grammatical mistakes and errors.
- To develop the writer’s own views, thoughts and concepts of the writer.
- To use the punctuation properly for making appropriate and worthwhile content.
- To avoid negative and narrow thoughts and ideas in communication.
- To develop consistency, informality and adequacy in the contents.
Different Learning Aspects:
The different learning aspects, for making communication better, are in brief given here:
1. Dictionary Usage:
For learning and teaching work expression, the use of a dictionary is very important. It is used to learn how to read and it is one of the most often bought books in a dynamic way. Dictionaries are printed in almost all languages of the world.
It is written almost in the language of the world. It is written by language professionals to use words and phrases with ease and accuracy.
Objectives of Dictionary Use:
The objectives of dictionary use are as follows:
(i) To manage and develop the usage and meaning of words.
(ii) To manage the phrases, pronunciation and expressing the words.
(iii) To find out the meaning of words and phrases into one language or the other.
(iv) To direct for some special usage of the words.
(v) It develops some devices to use the phrases and words.
A dictionary provides some worthwhile information about the words, as given here:
(i) It is helpful to make a process to use the pronunciation of words.
(ii) It provides a system as to how a part of speech can be used.
(iii) It provides a significant role to develop the meanings of prefixes and suffixes.
(iv) It gives the direction as how to break the work with different phrases or into syllables.
(v) It gives special usage of the word.
(vi) It provides a way for some extra and special usage of the words.
Vocabulary is also an important part to use the right word in the right context in an appropriate manner. Vocabulary aspects and its process can develop a learning procedure that cannot be stopped.
Learning Aspects within Vocabulary:
Some of the basic learning aspects for vocabulary are given here:
(i) Frequently Confused Words – There are some words which are so similar to each other and create confusion. It is required to make a distinction between them, as their meanings are very different from each other.
(ii) Synonyms – Synonyms are single words, which can be substituted for the original word. They have the same meaning as the original word itself. Remember, synonyms are not the meaning of the words.
(iii) Antonyms – Antonyms are single words that are opposite in meaning to the original words. For an exhaustive list, you can use/consult a thesaurus. We can avoid repeated words within a sentence and avoid beginning successive sentences with identical words.
(iv) Suffixes – Suffixes are also the parts of a word that are added after a word.
3. Organising Sentence:
The forming as well as organising sentences is also some important aspect to develop learning stream in communication. A sentence is a group of concerning words that express meaningful views and thoughts. It always contains a subject and a predicate also.
The objective based subject has some useful message and that must be clear, precise, complete as well as simple for effective communication. It is necessary to learn about sentence construction, to help us to frame appropriate communication.
The essential parts for construction of the sentences are as follows:
(i) Subject – It is a part of a sentence that can be developed by its objectives and decisional part of the messages. The subject must be clear, complete, and simple within the process of conjunction.
(ii) Verbs – It denotes the work which asserts something or it serves to express some actions. The messages must have to express the verbs.
(iii) Active and Passive Voice – Generally the verb has two voices – active and passive. Both the voices have the same feeling and thoughts. Sentences written in the active voice normally communicate more clearly, concisely than those written in passive voice. The passive voice is used when action done is considered than the dues of the action.
(iv) The Predicate – It is a component or a part of a sentence that expresses something about the complete sentence. It may be simple, compound or complex sentences.
(v) Use of Tense – There are three tenses like present, past and future. They must be considered while making sentences.
(vi) Phrases – These are the group of related words that contributed to a part of speech. These are used on the basis of verb, noun and objective but they do not contain the subject as a whole.
A summary is a shortened version of a matter. It denotes the brief description of a series of events, a task, a process or a play. While summarising subject matter is writing an essay, an article or a book, we should not include our own views and thoughts on the matter but describe the essay objectively as far as possible.
Since the summary eliminates those details that are not needed to include in the subject matter. So in order to avoid repetition of words, duplication in matter, in appropriate prepositions, neglected information and problems of synonyms and antonyms, there is a need for making the entire or a long matter in shortened form or summarising it.
How to write a Summary?
Summary is the precise form to make a brief content of any subject matter. For making a summarised form.
The steps are given below as:
- Try to understand the theme of the matter as well as the title of the subject;
- The entire matter should be gone through time and again;
- The important matter may be underlined and passages may be divided into sections or stages of different thoughts;
- At every stage or point or paragraph, write a sentence in your own language for summarising the matter;
- Check the summary content keeping in view the original passage and matter whatever modifications are necessary for accuracy and completeness;
- Revise the summary matter to ensure its appropriateness;
With the help of summarization, the perfection of communication may be developed to make clear, justified and reasonable words and sentences.
Punctuation is also very important in communication or in the use of languages. While speaking or writing, we punctuate our speech or written matter with some appropriate stops. To punctuate means to mark with points, to mark with the usual stops, to put marks of interrogation and the like.
Without punctuation marks, it is possible some confusions and misunderstandings may arise. Here, we may need a number of punctuation marks which are commonly used for making communication effective.
(i) Full stop (.):
Full stop or full point to give a period between two sentences.
(ii) Ellipsis (….):
When more than one full point is used, the basic idea is to leave something unsaid or say something and leave the meaning to be inferred by the other person. It is called Ellipsis.
(iii) The question mark (?):
The question mark may be used at the end of the question. Such questions may be in the form of a word, a phrase or a complete sentence.
(iv) The mark of exclamation (!):
The mark of exclamation is used to indicate a feeling of suddenness, a vehement utterance or an interjection etc.
(v) Comma (,):
It is a punctuation point which marks the smallest division of a sentence. It shows the smallest interval, break or discontinuity which is deliberately used for effective communication.
(vi) The Semicolon (;):
It is a punctuation mark which makes a division greater than the comma. It is often used when a number of separate or independent clauses are to be separated and a conjunction is not used.
(vii) Apostrophe (‘):
It is a mark of punctuation showing the omission of a letter or letters in a word. It is basically used to mark the dropping of a letter or a word.
(viii) Quotation Marks (““ ) or (‘‘):
These marks are used to denote the beginning and the end of a quotation. Here, the single words, phrases, sentences or paragraphs may be used. It emphasises the importance of quoted matter.
(ix) Brackets ([ ]):
It is used generally in the printing of enclosed words or any symbols. The words, marks, symbols or phrases may explain certain contents.
(x) Dash (-):
It shows a break or interval in a sentence or elsewhere. It also denotes a sudden change in thought or any change in the sequence.
(xi) Hyphen (-):
It is a short stroke for joining two words. It is used to separate two words or to show a word which is made up of two or more words. It is used to denote the separate letters and in writing the numerical numbers also.
6. Writing Techniques:
Within the purview of overall communication, we must write as we talk and it is essential to use conversational style at every stage of interaction. Pretend that your reader is sitting opposite to you and you are talking to him or her. Write to express, not to impress.
Basic Guidelines for Good Writing:
(i) The contents, subject and verbs always have to be appropriate and agreeable;
(ii) The familiar words are more advisable than unfamiliar ones;
(iii) Don’t write run-on sentence and not to use sentence fragments as they are not easy for readers;
(iv) We should avoid mixed metaphors and negative forces because they are the pains in the neck and should be removed;
(v) Try to use proper punctuations wherever required in to the contents;
(vi) To avoid unnecessary and incorrect foreign words, when adequate words and phrases are available;
(vii) Don’t use hyperbole unless you are the one person amongst in a million who can use it effectively;
(viii) Don’t appreciate unless it is needed;
(ix) Develop positive thoughts and perspective approaches in the language;
(x) There is a need for proofreading carefully to avoid mistakes.
It provides some process and system that has to occur and provide future ready references. It provides information to collect all evidence or reference material. It shows some written detail or information about some messages or subjects.
Documents denote some ready reference. Copy of the contents of the informative subject. It must be clear, written, specific, within factual manners may or may not be in standardised format and templates.
8. Motivational Aspects:
Communication is the tool which helps one to achieve the purpose and goal of an organisation. It is a necessary part to join the learning process for emerging and developing the role of different words.
Here it is needed to make a simple and easy content of the subject matter. The overall communication system and process are helpful to develop some motivational aspects in the society.
For it, the considerable aspects may be summarised here:
(i) To maintain the contents as brief as we can keep to the point and end positively;
(ii) To make a plenty of opportunities to prepare the matter most appropriate and nearby to objectives;
(iii) To make proper interaction between individual and group in an organisation on the basis of our subject matter;
(iv) To avoid grammatical mistakes and to use simple and easy language;
(v) It is intended to influence action in order to promote the common welfare of a group or an organisation;
(vi) The perspective moving forces are based on suggestive viewpoints which are needed to develop motivation;
(vii) The matter should be persuaded or convinced towards better concepts and overall betterment for society at large.
What are the Barriers to Effective Communication
Barriers act as circuit breakers in the process of communication and have to be overcome as they may act as hindrances and must, at all costs, be avoided for an effective communication process.
Broadly, barriers to effective communication are classified as:
- Physical barriers
- Mechanical barriers (Channel noise)
- Psychological barriers
- Linguistic barriers (Semantic noise)
To reduce these communication barriers we must ensure the following steps during the communication process.
- Adopt the ‘you’ viewpoint: Give primary importance to the receiver.
- Analyze the receiver: Communicate according to his understanding.
- Choose words carefully: Use correct and apt words to avoid ambiguity by keeping in mind the following:
a) Connotative and denotative meaning of words.
c) Implications and inferences
- Avoid grammar and spelling mistakes
Strategies for Enhancing the Quality of Communication
There are several strategies that are applicable to enhance the quality of communication in organizations.
The principle of Clarity implies both clarity of thought and expression. Clarity of thought means that the communicator must be fully clear in his mind about what he wants to communicate.
In order to ensure clarity in communication the following steps are required:
a) Use Simple and familiar words.
b) Use Verbal and non-verbal symbols accurately.
c) Avoid Technical jargon that is understood by a limited group.
Communication must not be inadequate and create misunderstanding. In order to ensure completeness of the message we should check for the “five W” questions-What, Why, When, Where and Who.
Brevity is important during communication. It saves time on the part of the sender and the receiver. The sender of the message should avoid irrelevant words and repetition. Messages should be organized well only with relevant details. Hence an effective message has to be concise.
4. Empathizing with the Receiver
In order to communicate effectively, the sender should place himself in the position of the receiver and understand his emotions. He should understand the needs of the receiver. The Socio-psychological background of the receiver must be understood so that communication can be effective.
5. Encouraging Open Feedback
Organizations should encourage feedback to exchange accurate information which serves as a prime source of information. Superiors should allow and encourage subordinates to give feedback without fear of repercussions.
Several successful techniques for opening feedback channels such as 360-degree feedback, suggestion schemes and corporate hotlines can be used by organizations to elicit feedback.
6. Accurate Use of Body Language
Body Language should be used to reinforce verbal communication. The various components such as posture, eye contact, facial expressions, tone, gestures etc. should be used carefully to make communication effective.
7. Attentive Listening
Effective communication involves more than just presenting messages clearly. It also involves doing a good job of comprehending messages sent by others. Attentive Listening does not refer to the passive act of just taking in information but involves being non-judgemental, acknowledging speakers and attempting to advance the speaker’s ideas to the next step.
The communicator should be impartial while sending a message. The sender of the message should not allow his message to be distorted by subjectivity. One should not allow emotions and prejudices to distort understanding and interpretation of information received from others. Objectivity is essential for effective communication.
9. Using Grapevine Strategically
Grapevine refers to informal channels of communication. These should be used judiciously to supplement the formal channels. Information or any form of communication should be sent through the informal channels when formal channels are slow and insufficient.
10. Avoiding Information Overload
When people are confronted with more information than they can process, it leads to information overload and failure of communication. This happens when communication channels are overloaded. Information has to be attended to in an orderly pattern so as to avoid overload.
11. Elimination of Noise
Noise is the greatest harrier in communication. Every possible effort must be made to eliminate noise caused by machines, equipment, communication devices, disturbance in the transmission lines etc.
12. Creating Synergistic Environment
A Congenial environment has to be created before conveying messages. In daily conversation, people have to transcend defensive and legalistic communication. For this both the parties should try to create a synergistic environment of mutual trust and cooperation. Communication will be automatically effective in a healthy and congenial environment.
How to make Communication Effective
Communication is a two-way process that starts with the sender. The sender should communicate information necessary for accomplishment of the mission. The sender must be proactive in making the receiver understand the message. Too often what is said is not always what is heard.
Therefore proper steps have to be taken to make it effective. In today’s knowledge based society effective communication skills can only give success to the organization. Most of us think that, if we can be here and if we can talk, we are able to communicate. That is not necessarily true.
So many factors are responsible for the incomplete process of communications. Different tips and recommendations are applicable for different forms of communication process.
However, in general some tips are mentioned below:
- Be attentive to other person when the communication process is continuing so that a genuine interest of listener can be felt
- One should eliminate distraction when other persons speak
- One should not interrupt while other person speaks
- One should try to maintain eye contact with the speaker
- Leaning towards the speaker is a good idea
- One should open his posture and to be comfortable in listening
- One should show positive response towards the speaker while listening the
- Any doubts, ambiguities must be clarified
- While speaking the speaker should be directly stick to the point
- The speaker should state his intention of his speech
- A feedback is a must as it is a two-way process
- Emotional aspect should be controlled in the communication process
- The language of communication must be simple and use of jargon is to be avoided
- One should cultivate good English writing skills.
How to Develop Your Communication Skills?
So where do you start if you want to improve your communication skills?
Here are our top 5 areas to start developing your communication skills:
1. Become a Really Good Listener:
Do you listen more than you talk? Do you use your intuition to hear everything that is being communicated?
Improving your listening is undoubtedly the best place to start when considering how to improve communication skills.
One of the biggest barriers to effective communication is that people often listen for themselves i.e. they listen with an agenda rather than being completely open and curious about what is being said.
The benefits of learning to become a good listener are that it enables other people to feel understood, connected and acknowledged. This generally makes them feel happy so as a leader it can be really useful.
Great listening involves more than your ears. Start developing your listening skills by consciously giving the people around you your full attention. Notice their body language. Observe your own thoughts and feelings as you listen.
2. Get your Message Across:
As an entrepreneur you need to be able to get your message and ideas across to those who work for you.
There are lots of traits that could get in the way of you doing this including rambling, lecturing, using jargon or technical language, being vague and not being aware of how others are responding.
If your team starts to glaze over or look confused, then you need to stop and try a different approach. Good communicators need to be aware of how they’re affecting others and flexible enough to change.
Self-awareness is an important step in how to improve communications skills. What are your weaknesses as a communicator?
3. Speak the Truth:
Do you believe it’s important to always speak truthfully? Some people justify not telling the truth with excuses like “it would hurt their feelings”. However, speaking the truth does not necessarily imply hurting others; some people are able to be direct, in a way that doesn’t hurt others.
This is the ultimate goal. It is critical in business to make sure you set a good example and enable everyone to speak honestly. If an employee knew you were doing something wrong wouldn’t you rather they tell you?
4. Clarify and Question:
Another typical communication problem is making assumptions about what other people are saying and missing the point. Good communicators always make sure they really understand what others are saying and if not, they ask questions to clarify what is meant.
5. Be Non-Judgmental:
Judgements create invisible barriers to effective communication. This is probably the biggest factor that truly affects the way you communicate – if you perceive the person/people you’re speaking to as anything other than equal human beings it will prevent you from speaking from the heart.
You might be able to string together some clever articulate words that sound nice but you’ll fail to really connect.
This sounds simple but in reality most people are unaware of the judgements that they carry around with them. If you see employees as being a problem in some way, that will create a barrier. It’s not just about obvious judgements to do with skin colour or socio-demographics.
Causes of Miscommunication
All Forms of communication are subject to misunderstandings. Business Communication is particularly difficult as the material is often complex which occurs on account of the sender, receiver and the situation.
Miscommunication takes place when the message received is not the same as the message sent on account of shortcomings of the encoder-decoder element of human communication.
Some significant causes for miscommunication are discussed below:
a) Difference in Status
When people belonging to different hierarchical positions communicate with each other, there is a possibility of miscommunication. Generally, employees at the lower levels of the hierarchy are overly cautious while sending messages to superiors. Similarly people of higher status may distort messages by refusing to discuss anything that would tend to undermine their authority in the organization. This tendency is neither beneficial for the employees nor the organization.
b) Lack of Trust
Lack of trust between the sender and the receiver is a major impediment for effective communication. Establishing Credibility or building trust among subordinates is a difficult task. Without trust, free and open communication is blocked threatening the Organization’s stability. People should trust each other to accept or to freely discuss what is being communicated.
c) Selective Perception
It means receivers selectively hear depending upon their needs, background, motivation, experience and other personal characteristics. While decoding messages, most of the receivers protect their own interests and expectations into the process of communication leading to a particular kind of feedback that maybe a communication problem
d) Closed Communication Climate
An Organization’s communication climate is influenced by it’s management style. A directive, authoritarian style blocks free and open exchange of information that characterizes good communication. Management must respond constructively to employees and encourage them to offer suggestions and participate in decisions to make communication effective.
e) Information Overload
When people are exposed to too much information, they are likely to make errors. They may also delay processing or responding to information leading to delay in communication. This happens when communication channels are overloaded. Information has to be attended to in an orderly pattern so as to avoid overload.
f) Message Complexity
There are two significant reasons for any message to become complex in a business setting. One is the dry and difficult nature of the message and the other is the difficulty in understanding it. For eg: Subject matter of technical nature. It can be overcome by keeping the messages clear and easily understandable. Communication has to be concrete, specific and feedback is essential for clarifying a message.
g) Physical Distractions
Communication barriers are often physical- poor acoustics, bad telephone connection, illegible copy, noise, poor lighting etc. These may distract the sender and the receiver. These distractions reduce the concentration of the receiver or the sender blocking effective communication. The focus should be on the message and not on the distractions.
h) Poor Listening
Poor listening may lead to serious communication problems. Due to lack of patience, people are not interested in the message. Everyone knows the importance of listening but few actually practice active and empathic listening. Poor listening accounts for incomplete information and poor retention.
i) Cultural Barriers
This is due to globalized and international operations of organizations. Phrases, symbols, body language, actions mean different things to people of different countries or different cultural backgrounds. This affects interpretation of messages between the sender and the receiver leading to miscommunication and misunderstandings.
j) Goal Conflicts
Goal conflicts of various units and subunits of an organization lead to communication breakdowns. Communication should serve as a conflict resolution mechanism. However different units internalize their own goals that lead to bifurcation of interests leading to communication failure.
k) Semantic Barriers
Semantics is the systematic study of meanings of words and their interpretation. Problems arising from transmission of meanings in communication are called semantic problems. The process of encoding and decoding is very crucial to avoid semantic problems. For communication to be effective, it has to be clear, simple and brief so that the receiver gets the intended message.
l) Socio-Psychological Barriers
Attitudes, Opinions, Societal position, Status consciousness, Hierarchical position in the Organization influences communication, both as a sender and receiver. These Socio-Psychological barriers restrict participation of the less powerful in decision making.
m) Organizational Structure
All organizations, irrespective of their size, have their own communication techniques and each nurtures it’s own communication climate. In large organizations where flow of information is downward, feedback is not guaranteed. Organizations with a flat structure tend to have an intricate communication network.
Tall organizations have too many vertical links; as a result messages become distorted as they move through the various organizational levels. The structure and complexity of communication protocol of organizations give rise to communication barriers.
n) Incorrect Choice of Medium
Choosing an inappropriate communication medium can distort the message and block the intended meaning. One should select a medium that suits the nature of the message and the intended recipient. Media richness refers to the value of a medium in a given communication situation.
Face to Face communication is the richest medium as it is personal and provides immediate feedback. Telephones and other interactive electronic media are not effective. Written media can provide personalized communication. Certain mediums lack the ability of transmitting nonverbal cues making communication ineffective.
o) Lack of Planning
Messages that are to be transmitted have to be carefully planned by the sender. For e.g.: People who give ill planned long winding lectures may not be as effective as an individual who gives a short presentation with graphs which is clearly understood by receivers. In the same way, some individuals do not choose the right time and place that are very necessary for effective communication.
Improving your Communication Skills in Workplace
i. Having effective communication in the workplace is the cornerstone of establishing trust within teams and making productivity improvement gains in their performance. Sometimes you only find this out the hard way!
ii. Effective business communication techniques are important for the simple fact that they establish trust and rapport amongst employees and team members.
iii. By staying informed, individuals are naturally more trusting of their colleagues and more sure that any dependent work is being done. Rapid communications can also mean that issues and risks/opportunities are being quickly raised and can be acted upon by the appropriate management level.
iv. The opposite (poor communication) leads to disgruntled team members, inefficient use of business computer services, missed deadlines and the potential of increasing employee attrition rates.
v. However there can be a number of barriers to establishing these levels of trust:
vi. Incorrect project assumptions not established.
vii. Team members located in different offices/buildings/locations/countries.
Improving Communication in the Workplace:
a. Set a Shared Vision:
All teams need to have a clearly defined goal, objective or vision defined by their managers. The goal should be communicated to all team members and referred back to over the duration of projects to ensure the team are all working towards the same objective. These objectives may relate back to the company’s own innovation strategy or specific product lines so are crucial to the overall success of the company’s output.
b. Align Team Expectations to Goals:
Discussions need to be had with team members as a group or individually to align expectations with regard to what needs to be done on the project, how it will be done, by whom and by when. These discussions help reduce the chances of wrong assumptions being established, especially early on. Discussions should be performed as part of your project change management procedure to make sure everyone has a clear understanding of what tasks and activities are expected of them when changes to plans occur.
c. Communicate Clearly, Regularly and Equally:
These are fundamental communication skills in the workplace no matter what communication channel is used. All messages need to be clear in order to ensure there is no ambiguity or lack of understanding. Regular communications (by phone, e-mail, reports, etc.) ensures that constant progress updates are be maintained and that issues/risks are rapidly being raised.
Effective communication in the workplace is made more difficult with remote teams as global team members will gain more information. For remote team members to feel that they are a strong part of the team, they should be communicated with as equally as local team members. Be sensitive to understanding what is communication in workplace environments like when team members are not in the same office.
d. Use Synchronous/Asynchronous Mediums Appropriately:
Synchronous communication methods (e.g. telephone, video conferences/audio conferences, real time chat) provide rapid feedback and two-way discussions that are ideal for reducing ambiguity, debating subjects and establishing assumptions and goals. Asynchronous communications (e.g., e-mail, voice-mail or collaborative team rooms) are ideal for informative messages such as updates, reports, etc., but not ideal when time is pressing since you may not receive a response straightaway. You really need to become aware of what communication techniques are important and applicable for the type of message you’re sending (e.g. e-mails are not suited to debates on issues—this requires a phone call or IM chat).
Tools for Improving Communication in the Workplace:
The most successful tools to use are those which allow face-to-face workplace communication skills to be actually seen (e.g. video-conferencing/video-messaging). These ensure that any non-verbal cues and facial expressions can be read along with audio/text.
a. Skype – Provides voice and video calls as well as text messages and instant messaging facilities.
b. Instant messengers – There are several applications to pick from (Google Chat, MSN Messenger, etc.) which allow you to have a synchronous conversation with team colleagues, just so long as they are online at the same time.
c. MS Live Meeting – Commercial tool for having group meetings in several locations.
d. Lotus same time – Facilitates a collaborative workspace environment for users across multiple teams. Can prove to be very useful for 24/7 support teams in multiple time zones.
Inter-Cultural Communication in the Workplace:
There are basic cultural differences which can cause communication issues across multicultural teams whether they are all located in the one spot or working differently from old locations. The importance of communication in the workplace becomes even more critical in these circumstances as you need to carefully consider how culture should affect communications and team processes.
Here are some tips for getting to grips with multicultural teams:
a. Discuss with team members, or subgroups of teams, possible cultural differences. These can relate back to basic cultural differences.
b. Establish how these cultural differences may affect interactions amongst the team and performance. Factor these into any team processes that may be affected (e.g. around time zones, holidays, availability of technology, decision-making process, work hours, etc.).
c. Discuss how these differences may potentially affect team norms, the exchange of information, decision-making and communications.
Effective communication in the workplace really boils down to setting clear goals for teams and making sure management is keeping all team members informed on a regular basis through clear messages. Communication channels within the team will naturally form as individuals collaborate so you should try to nurture this through regular meetings and conference calls to establish team identity, trust and open communications.