Good communication is like tennis. The reason why communication has been likened to a game of tennis is because communication involves both sending and receiving information just like a tennis ball. Effective communication is an essential skill that is used daily and is related to success in all facets of life, not only business.
Communication is central to your business, yet because it is a complicated exchange of energy, there is sometimes a gap between the ideas communicated and the ideas perceived. At any time during the communication process, misunderstandings and conflicts can occur. The consequences of failure in communication can be detrimental to a personal or business relationship. Good communication will lead to good working relationships and support your business.
The communication process has the following seven elements:
- The sender who is disseminating the message.
- The message is the information which is in the mind of the sender, which they intend to disseminate.
- Encoding: the process of putting the message into a form (using words or symbols) that is understandable by the receiver.
- The channel-mode used to transmit message – written or verbal
- Decoding: the receiver translates the words or symbols into a message that they understand.
- The receiver who is the person processing and reacting to the message.
- Feedback – the receiver responds to the sender showing understanding
Effective communication occurs only if the receiver understands the exact message the sender intended to transmit. The ultimate goal of communication is to convey information and understanding of information from one sender or group to another receiver or group. Mis-communication can occur at any stage in the communication process.
Main Forms of Communication
There are three main forms of communication and they are:
- Oral Communication – this form of communication involves verbally disseminating information to the intended audience.
- Written Communication – this communication may be in the form of letters, memos and emails.
- Body Language – this form of communication involves the use of body postures, body gestures and eye contact.
When a sender conveys mixed messages, researchers observed that the receiver relies on the following cues to determine true meaning:
- 55% by body language
- 38% by voice communication
- 7% by the content or the words spoken
Closing the Gap on Mis-communication
In order to close the gap, it pays to consider all the verbal, facial and bodily expressions, indirect and direct elements of the communication process. Now we see why communication is considered complicated. There are so many elements that could be causing the misinterpretation of the communication.
Pointers for the Sender to Improve Communication
- Act like the receiver is the most interesting person in the whole world.
- Make eye contact.
- Be sensitive to the receiver’s wants, needs and issues.
- Communicate a clear message.
- Be aware that the receiver makes judgments based on what they feel, not on what they think.
- Be aware of your tone of voice and match it to your message.
- Don’t talk too much, make it a dialogue
- Be aware that the more you get the receiver to talk, the more successful the communication
- Be aware of your facial and body language and that it is congruent with your message.
- Listen to the receiver after giving your message.
- Ask questions in an easy, conversational style that lets the receiver know they’re being listened to.
Pointers for the Receiver to Improve Communication
- Communication involves respect for the sender and giving them the opportunity to say what they want even though this may be contrary to your beliefs and ideologies.
- Make eye contact.
- Be sensitive to the sender’s wants, needs and issues.
- Be attentive to what the sender is saying by really listening.
- Don’t interrupt or fidget.
- Be aware that your facial and body language is in a receptive state.
- Don’t prepare a response while the sender is talking.
- Rephrase or paraphrase what you just heard.
- Pay attention to non-verbal clues or hints.
- Ask questions in an easy, conversational style that lets the sender know they’re being listened to.
I’m sure there are many more pointers to ensure a great communication experience for both the sender and the receiver, but the above will be a great place to start.
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Until next time,