What is Effective Communication?
Someone has rightly said, ” what we say may be important, but how we say it is much more important”.
Effective communication is one that is capable of producing the desired outcome in the form of a response/action of the recipient of the message. It is an indicator that the message is interpreted correctly and acted upon.
Effectiveness of Communication relies upon both effective speaking as well as effective listening. Hence, for successful communication, the words of the speaker need to be well articulated, and the message should be well delivered and well received.
Must Read: Barriers to Effective Listening
Effective Communication is necessary for organizations, survival, growth, and expansion. Therefore, business executives must be pro at effective communication, as it helps in building goodwill. It has a positive impact on the stakeholders as well.
Table of Contents
Essentials of Effective Communication
- Positive and Pleasant Attitude
- Appropriate tone, pitch, quality, and intensity of voice.
- The clarity in the objective of communication.
- The clarity in thought and expression
- Objective and Realistic Approach
- The right selection and use of media
- ‘You’ attitude
Must Read: Written Communication
Advantages of Effective Communication
- Greater awareness of organization goals and teamwork: If open communication exists in an organization, it leads to the smooth flow of information concerning the goals. Thus, coordination can be seen between various departments for working together so as to attain the ultimate goal.
- Improved employer-employee relationship: When an organization shows empathy towards the employee’s complaints and issues. Also, it gives them the freedom to express their opinions in the absence of any fear that senior officials will suppress their voices. In this way, the company creates an open environment for communication. Hence, a better work relationship exists. Employees fearlessly approach the management and discuss any matter which requires their attention.
- Problem Solving: One of the greatest advantages of effective communication is that it helps in resolving conflicts between colleagues and co-workers related to work or performance.
- Improvement in performance: At the time of performance appraisal of the employees, effective communication helps in highlighting the key areas for improvement. Managers provide a constructive review of the performance. It covers providing positive feedback and counselling employees to improve their performance level and efficiency.
Communication has to be simple, direct, easy to understand, and free from any ornamentation. For this, the communicator has to understand the reader’s understanding level, perception, outlook, and mood of course at the of receiving the message. Due to the dearth of time, everyone wants a simply framed message as compared to a complex one. Even tabulations, charts, and graphs can be used to simplify the message to the maximum possible manner.
When there is face-to-face communication between the parties, the receiver can give instant feedback to the sender of the message. Therefore, it saves time waiting for the response. So, for effective communication, use face-to-face communication to get instant results.
A communicator must prepare himself for feedback. It is the only way through which the sender will get to know about the reaction of the target audience. Suppose a new product is launched; the enterprise can undertake a survey so as to know how people take it as.
Listening along with understanding
As a listener, you have the responsibility to stay attentive and concentrate on what the speaker is speaking. In order to grasp the complete message, you must remain open-minded and receive it wholeheartedly, without looking for any negative points in order to disapprove it. That is to say; you should listen to it fully. Effective listening needs patience. When the listening is devoted and sympathetic, it brings the best out of the speaker. Hence, we could say effective listening is an art.
For effective communication, the development of a trustworthy environment is necessary. Trust is developed only when the speaker shows sincere interest in the receiver. Whoever is managing the environment must prevent it from any noise, i.e. barriers to communication. If there is any noise, proper actions should be taken to remove it.
The message spoken must be in line with the gestures, postures, hand movements, and facial expressions. One must skill themselves in expressing through body language. The attitude of the speaker must stay positive while delivering the message. By the use of the right body language, the speaker can be confident that the receiver will respond as intended.
Awareness of audience bias
The communicator must have an idea of the opinions and perceptions of the audience in the first place. He should be careful and try to avoid generalizing or stereotyping individuals or groups while in a gathering.
Overcoming language differences
We all know that a single word has various meanings in different languages. And the audience may come from different linguistic backgrounds. Further, pronunciation also differs in different languages and cultures. The audience must grasp the text and context of the message accurately. The speaker should avoid unconventional words and jargon.
Must Read: Group Discussion
Commandments of Effective Communication
There are ten commandments of effective communication, which the American Management Association or AMA lays down. These are:
- Clarify the idea prior to communication
- Purpose of understanding communication
- Learning the human and physical environment of communication
- Consulting others while planning communication
- Drafting the contents and overtones of communication
- Making the receiver understand the value of communication
- Follow up action
- Understanding the significance and criticality of communication
- Action in accordance with the communication
- Effective Listening
Barriers to Effective Communication
- Differing Perceptions: We all have different needs, motivations, experiences, background, and personal characteristics, which defines and shapes our perceptions to see and understand anything.
- Language Differences: There is a diverse range of languages present in the world. Also, there are different meanings of each word to different people, and it happens due to differences in their cultural background, age, education and generation as well. This takes place due to the use of jargon or technical language.
- Emotions: Emotions such as anger, fear, nervousness, anxiety, jealousy, etc, affects the way the receiver interprets a message while receiving the same. In fact, extreme emotions are a big barrier to effective communication when people are unable to keep control of them. This is because such emotions often make the recipient ignore his rational judgment and thinking process and replace it with emotional ones.
- Inconsistent Verbal and Non-Verbal Communication: During communication, verbal and non-verbal communication must align. This is because our actions speak louder than our words. And so, it is pertinent to keep our gestures, postures, appearance, expressions, etc. as per the words we speak.
- Distrust: Do you know that the credibility and reliability of the message, to a great extent, rely on the credibility and reliability of the sender in the mind of the recipient?
- Filtration: It is a process wherein the sender modifies the message in a manner in which he perceives, will be positively received by the recipient. In an organization, the subordinates often synthesize the message at the time of conveying it to their senior executives. And so, the personal interest and perceptions of the subordinates get mixed.
Tips for Effective Communication
- Take into account the objective of communication.
- Consider the interest level of the audience
- Be sincere
- Use simple, easy-to-understand language and familiar words
- Be specific and precise
- Provide complete and relevant information with facts
- Assume nothing
- Be humble and polite in terms of tone and use of words.
- Avoid insulting and hurting words and phrases.
- Add information that interests and pleases the recipient.
- Give time to respond.
- Judge the content and not the messenger or delivery
- Be a good listener
- Have mutual respect for each other
- A discussion needs to be based on the information needed
- Use concrete words and not abstract ones
- Empathize your listeners
- Logically organize your thoughts
Above all, with effective communication, we get instant solutions to problems and issues, which leads to faster and better decision-making. Also, it increases productivity and smoothens workflow. Moreover, it also facilitates building of fruitful business relationships, which improves the professional image of the enterprise.