What is Communication
Communication has become an integral part of our everyday life in the competitive modern age. Activities, from basic things like cooking and giving exams to more complex ones like running an organisation and formulating laws and regulations all depend on communication. However, poor communication can lead to inefficiency and disruption of activities. Thus, mere communication does not serve any purpose. It needs to be effective and clear.
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Effective communication refers to the process of sharing information between two or more entities which leads to the desired outcome. The information shared is conveyed and received efficiently without the intended meaning being distorted or changed. It includes skills like non-verbal communication, attentive listening, ability to understand and to control one’s own emotions and managing stress. These skills need to be developed and honed.
Style of Communication and Skills
1.Nonverbal communication includes the effective use of body language to express a desired meaning or message. It includes facial expressions, movement of body parts like hand and legs, eye contact, posture and tone of voice. For example, while interacting with colleagues, a cross-handed posture implies that the person is defensive and unwilling to accommodate other people’s opinions.
2.Attentive listening not only includes understanding what the other person says, but also understanding the meaning and the messages implied along with it as well. It leads to better and effective understanding among the entities and clarity in sharing information. It also negates any kind of negative emotions so as to create a safe and healthy environment for communication. For example, paying attention during meetings helps in understanding the content and the implied message.
3.Understanding and controlling emotions help in nonverbal communication. It leads to understanding among the entities as to how they perceive others and how others perceive them. Effective communication becomes ineffective if the entities are too emotional or out of touch with others emotions. Thus, it helps in minimising differences and misunderstandings. For example, if a colleague disagrees with a certain plan or strategy, understanding his emotional state can help in convincing him otherwise.
4.Stress management helps in controlling emotions and behaviour. It includes not just activities like meditation, reading or exercise, but also emotional control and quick response to stress. For example, a person may get rid of stress by using his senses. If he or she likes music then listening to a particular type of music can help in relieving stress.
Effective communication is a necessary and integral part of management. Activities can be carried out efficiently only if the communication flow is smooth and unhindered. Attitudes and work environment have a huge impact on effective communication. Take, for example, exit polls. Field investigators go to the polling stations to interview the voters. This is managed by a team leader who manages a few polling stations together. The data is sent to the main office, which is usually located at a distance from the polling stations. The data is sent at regular intervals via a medium like telephone which is entered into the computer system in a given format by the people in the office. This data is sent for analysis to a programmer who interprets it and sends it back to the office as the final report. This entire process depends on effective communication. The data has to be sent unadulterated from the polling station to the office and then to the programmer. If there are mistakes while sending the data, then there will be errors in the entire report.
Thus, effective communication relies on a plethora of skills. These skills often need to be learned and applied in everyday situations to have the desired outcome. Changes, propositions, strategies etc. all require effective communication for them to be executed smoothly. While the means of communication may change due to evolving technology, effective communication still remains as the foundation for executing work.