Six Myths of Effective Communication

February 11th, 2021 by dayat No comments »

Communication Process or Effective Communication or Communication Skills are such subjects that has been properly researched and many authors have filled volumes of pages to explain all the nitty-gritty involved in communication and to explain to the world how one can and must communicate with others or group of people. A simple Google search for “Effective Communication” generates 44 million pages. Yet, I believe that the communication process as a whole is governed by certain myths and misnomer. We are preparing this write-up to touch upon some of those myths and provide clarity.

1) Language is critical for effective communication process – In India; we speak more than 18 recognized languages. Have you ever wondered how does a Kashmiri local communicate with his fellow citizen from Southern part of India or our Marathi Maanus (local from Maharastra) communicate with other country men from Eastern India? They don’t use common language to communicate with one another or to express their thoughts. Yet, they communicate effectively, if not efficiently. Your ability to read, write and speak any particular language or list of languages comprises only 10% of communication process and the balance of 90% of communication process consists of your body-language, facial expressions, message, context, complexity or simplicity of the message (words, terminologies, and jargons used in the message), listening, perceiving, interpreting and giving feedback. How efficient or inefficient you are during the 90% of the communication processes makes the overall communication process either effective or ineffective.

2) Effective communication means your ability to communicate in English Language – Do you know how does the Premier’s of world’s top three economies (President of China Hu Jintao; Prime Minister of Japan Yukio Hatoyama and President of USA Barack Obama) communicate with one another on world forum? Mr. Hu Jintao and Mr. Yukio Hatoyama have very limited understanding of English language and Mr. Barack Obama is not known for his proficiency in Chinese or Japanese language. It is an irony for our generation to use “effective communication” and “proficiency in English language” as synonym. You cannot make a defense by saying that the English is a widely used language for communication, because it is not. Chinese is the widely used [add language] for communication purposes, followed by Spanish at number two and English at number three. It is also interesting to note that the number of people that use Chinese for communication outnumbers the total number of people that uses Spanish and English combined. There are many prominent people, head of states, historians, and other celebrities who are very effective and influential in their native language, be it French, Italian, Hindi, Arabic or any other language, but they are not good with English language. Does this mean that they are not effective communicators or they have deficiency in their communication? English is not the only language used for communication but is one among many other languages used for the purpose.

3) Ability to write and speak proficiently qualifies you as an excellent communicator – If you write well in any language then you can become a writer and if you speak well in any language then you can become a good speaker or orator but that doesn’t qualify as an excellent communicator. What will you do with your ability to write flawlessly and speak fluently when whatever you write is a piece of irrelevant nonsense and whatever you speak is senseless rubbish? Communication is not just about speaking and writing. It is about understanding the message, context of the message and time of communication.

4) What you communicate is not as important as how you communicate – There is a difference between being a communicator and being a spokesperson and the key difference is related to the ownership of the message. When you communicate, you know what you are communicating, you take-up the responsibility and you also provide clarification, if required. Subject matter expertise is important. Verifying your facts and figures is important. Taking up the ownership is critical. When you are a spokesperson, you pass-on the message prepared by others and are not in a position to provide any clarification and enhancement.

5) People holding command over two different languages cannot communicate efficiently – Language is one of the modes to communicate and fortunately, it is not the only way. While communicating, your message, body-language, facial expression and confidence level, should sync to make it an effective communication. Recently, I went to a laundry shop to check the cost. I can communicate in three languages but the shop-owner didn’t know any of those three. Yet, we communicated, verified our message, gave feedback to one another and gave acknowledgement of acceptance of message. Communication across languages and cultures is possible, provided we minimize our self-constructed hurdles. If I decide to not to understand or accept the message then doesn’t matter what language or mode of communication the other person uses, I will never understand. It has a lot to do with the willingness and desire of both the parties involved in communication process.

6) “No communication” is good communication – In our personal life as well as in work-life we ignore or curtail many requests for communication. We assume that it is good to not respond to a particular message. We hold the information which is meant to be passed-on to people up or down the hierarchy. “No response” or “No communication” or “No feedback” is not considered as good communication but this in turn strangles and complicates many workplaces as well as family relations that actually require frequent exchange of messages for its very existence.

Key elements required for effective communication

1) Know what you are communicating – Knowing what you are communicating is very critical. While communicating, one must correlate his or her own thought process with that of the sensibility of an individual or group of people that they are communicating with. Communication is not a onetime process but involves many to and fro motions and rounds of clarifications, and feedback and hence subject matter expertise is crucial. If you fail to provide the required clarification then you may risk losing your credibility as a communicator.

2) Know the size and composition of people that you are communicating with – It is important to know the composition, size of group (One-to-one or One-to-many or Many-to-one) and cultural background of your audience and based on that you may be required to either level-up or level-down your communication style. If you couldn’t level-up or level-down your communication style based on the need then either you will be considered as incompetent or an idiot.

3) Credibility, Sincerity and Trustworthiness – Do you walk your talk? Are you a reliable and serious communicator or are you an entertainer or publicity seeker? How honest are you in your communication? Are you a habitual liar? Are you authorized to communicate or are you the right person to communicate on the subject or matter that you are discussing or debating about? What’s been your background? All these affect your communication process and your credentials as a communicator.

4) Time of communication – Delay in communication or communicating the wrong message at right time is as good as receiving no communication at all. For example, you could have saved your relation or you could have retained one of your high-performer or you could have brought onboard a very talented candidate but you missed it because you mistimed your communication. There is a right time for every communication to be passed on and for every discussion but unfortunately, the right time is not when you decide it to be right. Just as depicted in one joke between a doctor and a patient.

Doctor: I have good news and a bad news to communicate to you.
Doctor: Good news is that we have been able to prolong the life of your father by one day and the bad news is that I forgot to communicate this to you yesterday.
Good communicator knows the right time to communicate.

5) Precise and simple – Complexity and Longevity of Communication Process kills the essence and effectiveness of the message. Message needs to be simple, straight and accurate. At this point, I remember one of my Department Head. When asked to provide highlights or summary of a concept, he sends across a document of 75-100 pages and of which 99% of text and data would be irrelevant.

6) Feedback – Feedback is very important as it ensures that the message has been understood and accepted in the manner it should have been and that there is no conflict of understanding between the sender and the receiver.

Things to avoid

There are few things that one must avoid to ensure effective communication.

1) Assumptions – There are further two issues that are related to assumptions.
a) Communication between sender (s) and receiver (s) should not have any space for ambiguity. Message must be clearly stated and understood by both the parties and should not be left anything on fancy assumptions. Any such assumption can be fatal for the execution or follow-up of the message.
b) In a relationship between boss and subordinates, among team-members, between employer (or representative of employer) and between any two people that share emotional proximity, mis-communication or lack of communication or misrepresentation in communication leads to assumptions, and gives space for gossip and rumors which in turn distorts the relation, trust and reliability.

2) Common Lingo – In group communication, it is critical to communicate in a language that is understood by everybody else in the group to avoid any conflict of interest, to ensure fairness and transparency. Setting-up a common lingo with one or two or a set of people within a group, which in a way eliminate others from the communication process and make them look embarrassing, not only shows you as disgraceful, disrespectful, scandalous, and despicable but also put questions on your credibility, honesty and communication skills. I was staying with one couple and to keep me out of their discussion, they used to communicate, not privately but right in front of me, in a language that they thought I cannot understand or conversant in. Least did they know that not only I could pick-up few words in that language but their tone and body-language was loud and clear enough to pass on the message. In a group situation, such things need to be avoided or else these put us in an awkward and embarrassing situation.

Conclusion

Tell us what you are going to tell us, tell us, and then tell us what you told us; that is the essence of communication process. Good communication requires clarity of thought, precision of language and empathy with your intended audience. People will interpret your message differently based on their level of education, past experience, familiarity with the topic, fluency in your language, etc. A good communicator has his audience’s best interests at heart. They concentrate on the message, not themselves.

We do not talk TO people, we talk WITH people.

We welcome your comments and feedback because that’s been very crucial for us. Feel free to contact us for any clarification or professional assistance.

Have a great day and take good care of yourself.

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Communication Effect

February 11th, 2021 by dayat No comments »

The system of sending information or message from one place to another place is communication.

Understand the meaning of communication and system of communication. Understand about the familiar developments like Mobile, Fax, Computer, E-mail, and Telecommunication.

In ancient times it used to take many days to send a message or information to distant places. But today we can send messages to any part of the world quickly due to the development in the field of communication. The message may be in the form of written piece, sound, picture or movie. Today man uses Telegraph, Radio, Television, Telephone, Fax, Mobile, Videophone, Pager etc., through telegraphy, message can be sent in the form of words. For example: If you want to send a message “Happy Birthday” to your friend. Go to a nearby post office and send the message to his address. This message reaches your friend in few hours. The most common device used for communication is Telephone. We can converse with a person anywhere in the world through a telephone. Depending upon the distance between the communication people, service of the telephone is divided into three categories. The system of sending information or message from one place to another place is known as telecommunication. Through Fax, written material and pictures can be sent. Telephone calls are grouped as local-calls, Subscribers Trunk Dialing, International Subscribes Dialing. Through internet one can access the required information from any part of the world. The modified form of postal service is e-mail.

Speaking through the telephone while driving a vehicle or even walking is not a surprise. Here the mobile phone acts as a receiver and transmitter. The radio waves are set up between the two people, who are communicating with each other. Fax is a modified version of telegraph. The written material pictures can be sent through Fax. For Ex: If you want to send a cartoon story to a news paper, feed the fax machine with your data. The cartoon story written on a paper is transferred to the fax machine at the news paper office through telephone line as it is For this you should know the Fax number of the news paper office.

Every individual needs to be well equipped with the tools to communicate effectively, whether it is on the personal front, or at work. In fact, according to the management gurus, being a good communicator is half the battle won. After all, if one speaks and listens well, then there is little or no scope for misunderstanding. Thus, keeping this fact in mind, the primary reasons for misunderstanding is due to inability to speak well, or listen effectively.

Communication is a process of exchanging verbal and non verbal messages. It is a continuous process. Pre-requisite of communication is a message. This message must be conveyed through some medium to the recipient. It is essential that this message must be understood by the recipient in same terms as intended by the sender. He must respond within a time frame. Thus, communication is a process and is incomplete without a feedback from the recipient to the sender on how well the message is understood by him.

There are a lot of communication barriers faced these days by all. The message intended by the sender is not understood by the receiver in the same terms and sense and thus communication breakdown occurs. It is essential to deal and cope up with these communication barriers so as to ensure smooth and effective communication.

It is of utmost importance not only to communicate but also effectively communicate. Please throw some light on the first instance where Lisa was not suitably promoted. She did give her presentation, she did communicate, then why was she denied her promotion? She did not effectively communicate. The trick is not only to communicate but effectively communicate. And if you can effectively communicate, the world is all yours.

Communication process is a simple process where a message is being transferred from a sender to the receiver. The receiver after receiving the message understands the message in the desired form and then acts accordingly. Not every individual is born with good communication skills; it is inherited in due course of time as the individual passes through the various stages of life. Communication skill is an art which has to be mastered to make one’s presence feel, stand apart from the crowd and emerge as a strong leader in all facets of life.

Don’t always depend on verbal communication at work place. After any verbal communication with the fellow workers, make it a habit to send the minutes of the meeting or the important points through e-mail marking a cc to all the participants. Always depend on planners, organizers and jot down the important points against the date set as the deadline to complete a particular task. During presentations, the addressee must use whiteboards, papers and the participants also must carry a notepad to avoid forgetting any point.

Intra-personal communication skills: This implies individual reflection, contemplation and meditation. One example of this is transcendental mediation. According to the experts this type of communication encompasses communicating with the divine and with spirits in the form of prayers and rites and rituals.

Interpersonal communication skills: This is direct, face-to-face communication that occurs between two persons. It is essentially a dialogue or a conversation between two or more people. It is personal, direct, as well as intimate and permits maximum interaction through words and gestures. Interpersonal communications maybe:

Focused Interactions: This primarily results from an actual encounter between two persons. This implies that the two persons involved are completely aware of the communication happening between them.

Unfocused interactions: This occurs when one simply observes or listens to persons with whom one is not conversing. This usually occurs at stations and bus stops, as well as on the street, at restaurants, etc.

Non verbal communication skills: This includes aspects such as body language, gestures, facial expressions, eye contact, etc., which also become a part of the communicating process; as well as the written and typed modes of communications.

communication like group discussion. Remember you are not the only one speaking in the group discussion; there are other participants as well who are vying for the limelight. You might get only a single chance, and you just can’t afford to miss the opportunity to create that first impression, and as they say first impression is the last impression. An individual might have complete knowledge about the topic assigned to his group, might be well aware of what is happening around him, but if he can’t effectively communicate his ideas to others, he will fail to create his mark. The way an individual communicates his ideas has to be very impressive for him to live up to the expectations of the deciding authorities.

Teddy appeared for an interview with a reputed media house. He had been eyeing for this company for quite a long time. He fared extremely well in the face to face rounds and was looking forward to getting selected in the organization. Unfortunately something else was in store for him. He could not get through the GD Round. He was exceptionally good in academics, had a healthy professional background and even expressed his ideas in his best possible way in the group discussion. The problem was in his communication level. He did try his level best but failed to impress the interviewer and thus lost out on his dream job.

Converting your thoughts into words is an art and one has to master it to win over the trust and confidence of the assessor. One has to very sensibly and carefully choose the right words to share his thoughts with the other participants and make his points clear. Never use slangs, instead go for some corporate jargons or professional terminologies for the desired edge. Also avoid cracking jokes in between as it is considered highly unprofessional. An individual must not stammer in between or chew half of his words. Speak clearly and your voice must never be shaky. There is no one who will beat you there, so why to get afraid of a group discussion?

No one will ever deduct your marks if you greet your fellow participants well. Use warm greetings and never forget the handshake on meeting. These gestures actually help in breaking the ice and create a bond among the participants. Someone has to begin the discussion, so why not you? Take the initiative and start the discussion. Introduce yourself and your team members well. Never believe in personal favors. If any participant is unwilling to speak, do not force him unnecessarily. If someone has spoken well do not hesitate to give him a pat on his back. Such non verbal communications sometimes go a long way in boosting the morale of the participants. Be very confident to win over the trust of the interviewer as well as the other participants.

The pitch and tone must also be taken good care of. You are speaking not for yourself, but for others to listen and respond. Always ensure that you are audible to one and all. Every participant must be able to hear you clearly and understand what you intend to convey. An individual must also learn the art of voice modulation. Don’t keep the same pitch always; learn to play with your tone as per the importance of the word or the sentence. If you want to raise a question to your fellow participants, it must also reflect in your voice. Avoid shouting or being too loud in group discussions. You are here to voice your opinion, not for fighting. Keep your voice polite, soft but convincing. Never sound unintelligent or foolish, as the interviewer has a constant eye on you. Do take care of your punctuation marks and the flow of words. It is no harm to take pauses or breaths in between sentences. Never repeat sentences as it will lead to monotony and others will tend to ignore you. Don’t just speak for the sake of speaking.

Always remember there are other individuals also who are participating in the group discussion. They may not be from the same background as you are, might have an altogether different thought process, but you have no right to make fun of their views. Always respect their opinion. If a participant is speaking, never criticize or oppose him in between. You will get your time to speak, and please wait for your turn. An individual has to be very patient, calm, dignified, sophisticated and above all professional in his approach. The individual who passes the information to others for sharing his thoughts and ideas with them is called the sender. (First Party) The individual who receives the information from the sender and responds accordingly to give him the feedback is called the receiver. (Second Party). In the process of communication the information must reach the receiver in exactly the same form the speaker intends to. If the recipients fail to provide feedback to the speaker, communication is considered to be ineffective and incomplete.

Communication is neither transmission of message nor message itself. It is the mutual exchange of understanding, originating with the receiver. Communication needs to be effective in business.

Communication is essence of management. The basic functions of management (Planning, Organizing, Staffing, Directing and Controlling) cannot be performed well without effective communication. Business communication involves constant flow of information. Feedback is integral part of business communication. Organizations these days are very large. It involves number of people. There are various levels of hierarchy in an organization. Greater the number of levels, the more difficult is the job of managing the organization. Communication here plays a very important role in process of directing and controlling the people in the organization. Immediate feedback can be obtained and misunderstandings if any can be avoided. There should be effective communication between superiors and subordinated in an organization, between organization and society at large (for example between management and trade unions). It is essential for success and growth of an organization.
Communication gaps should not occur in any organization. Business Communication is goal oriented. The rules, regulations and policies of a company have to be communicated to people within and outside the organization. Business Communication is regulated by certain rules and norms. In early times, business communication was limited to paper-work, telephone calls etc. But now with advent of technology, we have cell phones, video conferencing, emails, and satellite communication to support business communication. Effective business communication helps in building goodwill of an organization.

Business Communication can be of two types:
• Oral Communication
• Written Communication

Oral Communication – An oral communication can be formal or informal. Generally business communication is a formal means of communication, like: meetings, interviews, group discussion, speeches etc. An example of Informal business communication would be – Grapevine. Oral communication implies communication through mouth. It includes individuals conversing with each other, be it direct conversation or telephonic conversation. Speeches, presentations, discussions are all forms of oral communication. Oral communication is generally recommended when the communication matter is of temporary kind or where a direct interaction is required. Face to face communication (meetings, lectures, conferences,
interviews, etc.) is significant so as to build a rapport and trust.

Written Communication – Written means of business communication includes – agenda, reports, manuals etc. Written communication has great significance in today’s business world. It is an innovative activity of the mind. Effective written communication is essential for preparing worthy promotional materials for business development. Speech came before writing. But writing is more unique and formal than speech. Effective writing involves careful choice of words, their organization in correct order in sentences formation as well as cohesive composition of sentences. Also, writing is more valid and reliable than speech. But while speech is spontaneous, writing causes delay and takes time as feedback is not immediate.
Advantages of Written Communication

Written communication helps in laying down apparent principles, policies and rules for running of an organization.

It is a permanent means of communication. Thus, it is useful where record maintenance is required.

It assists in proper delegation of responsibilities. While in case of oral communication, it is impossible to fix and delegate responsibilities on the grounds of speech as it can be taken back by the speaker or he may refuse to acknowledge.

Written communication is more precise and explicit.

Effective written communication develops and enhances an organization’s image.

It provides ready records and references.

Legal defenses
An effective and efficient communication system requires managerial proficiency in delivering and receiving messages. A manager must discover various barriers to communication, analyze the reasons for their occurrence and take preventive steps to avoid those barriers. Thus, the primary responsibility of a manager is to develop and maintain an effective communication system in the organization.

Remember effective communication is a necessity in today’s challenging scena