Effective and ineffective business communication
Feedback from others can tell us if our communication is effective.
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Effective communication is important in both personal and business aspects of our lives, particularly as ineffective communication can create short- and long-term hostilities as well as decreased work productivity. We often don’t think about the process of communicating while we are doing it, but paying closer attention to how you both send and receive information can eliminate problems and improve relationships.
We are taught to communicate from birth, without thinking of it as a process. If you initiate the communication, you are the sender, attempting to convey messages to a receiver. You encode your information in terms you think the receiver will understand, such as words, laughter and facial expressions. How you communicate is called the transmission, which can be verbal, written, or even silence. The receiver has to decode or decipher the information you send, and then he offers feedback, which gives you an indication of whether he understood your intent.
Communication is effective if everything in the communication process goes as planned: the receiver understands the message in the way you intended. Professionally, this allows proper procedures to be executed correctly and on time, increasing productivity and saving money. Personally, it prevents misunderstandings and can enrich relationships. Understanding strategies for effective communication such as listening, focusing on the others in the process, and asking questions for clarification all improve your chances for effective communication.
Related Reading: Effective Communication in a Business
Any disruption or failure in the process can create ineffective communication. Language is an obvious example; if you as a sender speak in a language the receiver doesn’t understand, the communication fails. Writing a message to a person who has difficulties reading is also ineffective communication. These are called barriers, and they are not all so obvious. For example, if you have an idea but lack confidence to speak up, that is a barrier. Body language, such as slouching in a chair so that it looks like you are bored, is also a barrier.
Removing barriers will increase your odds of communicating effectively. Both senders and receivers should pay attention to others in the process, making eye contact, listening intently and avoiding distractions. By being empathetic, you are imagining what it is like to be in the other person’s situation, which helps the communication process. Stereotypes, generalizations and inaccurate perceptions are also barriers, and are harder to remove since you must be aware of them. Watching and listening to others can help you gauge your stereotypes and perceptions in relation to others and help you improve your communication.
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