Communication happens all the time. We cannot not communicate, as long as you are in the presence of other people communication will happen. We communicate not only with words, but also non-verbal cues and even silence! Communication is also imperative in satisfying most of our needs – whether it is getting work done or satisfying our basic social need of affiliation.
Communication is something on which we spend a great deal of our time, so obviously we all must be pretty good at it right? The answer surprisingly is “NO”. Often, we find ourselves in the middle of conflict and controversies many of which are a result of ineffective communication– whether it is at home or work.
Since communication is so important it then makes sense to learn the art of effective communication.
The first step towards effective communication is having a clear idea about what to communicate. The message should be well-defined in your mind. If there is any ambiguity in the message the chance miscommunication magnify. Write down the basic idea, even for oral communication, this will help you in organizing the message effectively.
The content of the message should be designed keeping in mind the target audience. We do this unconsciously while communicating with parents or older people – filtering out undesirable content and language. This filter needs to be exercised consciously in all our communication.
The next step is to choose the right medium for communication. Sending a message by e-mail to a person with no internet connectivity is a futile exercise. The medium depends on the target audience and the type of message being sent. Use written media for complicated messages and oral media for messages with just one central idea that doesn’t have too many facts.
Once you have zeroed down the message and the media, next you need to look at your language skills. On many occasions people have the right idea and chose the right medium but fail to communicate well due to lack of language skills. However, let us not give undue importance to language. Many people will tell you that without language skills you cannot communicate. I disagree.
Don’t get me wrong – I am not saying that language skills are not required for effective communication, what I’m saying is language skills are not the end of the communication skills’ spectrum. Many people with mediocre language skills are at the height of their career. This is because language, though important, is not the only ingredient for effective communication. Having good language skills does not mean throwing around jargon and complicated vocabulary – it means using language to communicate your message in a clear and concise manner.
These pointers can be a start to effective communication. Most of us know the guidelines to effective communication and we spend a great deal of time thinking about them but we fail to employ them. So it’s time to Stop Thinking and Start Communicating! Practice and you will master the art of effective communication.