Students get one minute to walk around the room to fill the questionnaire given below, finding at least one person who fits each description. This activity initiates brief pair conversations. The first person to complete the list wins.
Definition of Communication
The above activity is an example of how the basic skills of verbal communication- listening, speaking, reading and writing come into play in simple daily activities. It also serves to break the ice in communication between strangers in an organizational setting.
Communication theorist, Chester Barnard (1930) highlighted communication is a dynamic force in shaping organizational behavior. He considered it as one of the three important elements of an organization.
Importance of Communication
- To begin an action: Be it a small act of initiating a conversation or launching a multi-million business project, communication plays a key role in determining the end result. For example, a smile and a firm handshake while introducing oneself can set a good base for communication. Similarly, an effective use of language in marketing can make or break products.
- To manage tasks: To sustain an activity or keep a process going, we need to give instructions or guidance. Teachers have to mentor students, managers have to ensure team members give their best, adults need to run a home etc. All these activities can happen smoothly only when there is coordination and cooperation between individuals. To achieve that, how we communicate becomes important.
- To influence people: The most influential people in the world (leaders, writers, thinkers) are good communicators who know when, where and how to say things. The ability to talk or write persuasively comes with practice. To disagree without offending, to be assertive without being aggressive, and to engage with people without being insincere requires a mastery of communication.
- To be empathetic and lend support: Language has the power to heal people. Being able to articulate our emotions and offering consoling words or spreading positivity through encouraging words are part of effective communication strategies.
- To realise complete self-potential: The most crucial aspect of communication is to help us bring out our maximum potential. Our latent talents and creativity can be expressed through our words, both written and spoken. We also feel happy when we can express ourselves without any barriers.
We have seen the power of communication. Although the ultimate goal of communication is the sender is able to convey the information to the receiver, it is also important to avoid language errors. Errors of spelling, punctuation, grammar will give a poor impression about the person. It can also give rise to misunderstandings. Therefore, it becomes pertinent that irrespective of the century you were born in, use a language appropriately giving due respect to the rules of the language while communicating.
Importance of communication to an individual
Individuals also need to acquire and hone (Sharpen) their communication skills. The success of an individual at familial levels in the neighbourhood and at his job depends on his ability to communicate. Who would like to have a sour faced neighbour either at home or office? Communication is a primary responsibility in many careers such as customer relations, labour relations, marketing, personnel and public relations, sales and teaching. Career advancement is easy for a person with good communication skills. The importance of communication skill to managerial and accounting positions is well recognized now. The ability to communicate is essential for promotions and advancement.
Tips for Effective Communication
- Clarity – Be clear and concise when giving instructions. Clarify doubts to avoid miscommunication. It is better to be careful than contrite later.
- Consistency – Be constantly in touch with the people you are working with. Regular updates given and received leads to lesser chances of miscommunication.
- Economy – Be precise in the process of communication. Choose the most effective media of communication (either written, oral, face-to-face or otherwise) for sharing information.
- Feedback – Be open to taking feedback. Communication is a two-way process and feedback enables us to evaluate the effectiveness of the message. Feedback also ensures open inter-personal communication.
- Networking – Keep open and unrestricted channels of communication. Communication also includes networking, which has a significant impact on productivity, employee satisfaction, and the revenue of the organization.