As human beings (social animals), we feel the need to communicate, although the intensity felt, may depend on our individual personality type, or the nature of various other factors in play. You need to communicate daily for personal and professional reasons, to keep up with your social life, to maintain different types of relationships, to feel better and more.
The Oxford Dictionaries defines communication as ‘The imparting or exchanging of information by speaking, writing, or using some other medium’, while Business Jargons states that ‘An Effective Communication is a communication between two or more persons wherein the intended message is successfully delivered, received and understood’.
I believe that while we’re all used to communicating, at times it happens that by mistake or neglect, we may experience deterioration of matters, important relationships, misunderstandings and more.
Through this blog post, I’ll use a simple story, to show you why effective communication is important. Then I’ll explain simply, how we could avoid, or at least minimize the impact of misunderstandings and unclear messages.
Story to illustrate
Lisa calls her boyfriend Justin after their dinner date on a Friday night, to inform him of something quite urgent… She calls and he answers on the second ring.
Justin: “Hey Lis, are you missing me already? So am I, and was about to call!”
Lisa: “Are you? Well, I actually called for something else…”
Justin: “Oh! You mean you aren’t even missing me? Ha ha!”
Lisa: “Sure, I am. But I have to tell you something…”
Justin: “Of course you’re missing me! By the way, I liked the chilled beer I had tonight. I was thinking of going back to the resto tomorrow, with my mates…”
Lisa: “Sure, that’s a great idea! Sorry to interrupt you, but I need to tell you something…”
Justin: “It would be great to watch tomorrow’s football match on the giant screen there!”
Lisa was by now a bit irritated.
Lisa: “Look, that’s a great plan that you have. However I called to tell you that…”
Her mobile phone battery was dead, and the call was unfortunately cut. Justin dialed her number several times, but couldn’t get through! Feeling worried, he quickly left home to find her. Only that, he wasn’t exactly sure where to find her…
The illustration below shows how the communication process works, in a concise way:
Some helpful ideas for you:
- Effective communication is a two-way process.
- You need to understand through careful listening.
- Ask for feedback through questions, to clarify misunderstandings.
- Be empathetic.
- Rephrase what the other has said.
- There may be barriers to communication. Some examples are language spoken, loud music or other noise, even filtering of information received by the brain. Try to eliminate or minimize these.
- Distortion is sometimes caused to the message sent. For example, this could be because of poor phone network connection, or maybe a person is trying to convey a message that has not been well understood, in the first place. Be aware of identifying any of these, and removing them.
- In order for effective communication to take place, you need to be receptive. If you disagree, treat the matter in a mature way, and consider what is being suggested.
- When there is a conflict of opinion, you should keep calm and listen. Then express yourself respectfully. Be open-minded.
- Last but not least, the topic is a vast and complex one, but basically, in the first place, we all need to have the will to work towards effective communication.
In case you’re wondering what happened next in our story. Was Justin able to meet Lisa? Well let me tell you that… I still don’t know myself! However, If you’d like to share your ideas and experience about communicating effectively, please do so. Thank you!
Photo & illustration image courtesy: Canva.com