Good communication is the lifeblood of organizations. It takes many forms, such as speaking, writing, and listening, though its purpose is always to convey a message to its recipients. Use it to handle information and improve relationships.
Effective communication (and therefore effective business) hinges on people understanding your meaning and replying in terms that move the exchange forward – preferably in the direction you would like it to go. Communicating is a two-way process. In management, you communicate to get things done, pass on and obtain information, reach decisions, achieve joint understanding, and develop relationships.
There are at least two parties involved in any communication, each of whom may have different wants, needs, and attitudes. These wants and needs can present barriers if they conflict with those of the other party, and such barriers may stop you from conveying or receiving the right message. Any communication must overcome such barriers if it is to be successful, and the first step is to recognize that they exist.
The three rules that govern good communication are all associated with clarity:
-Be clear in your own mind about what you want to communicate;
-Deliver the message succinctly;
-Ensure that the message has been clearly and correctly understood.
Good communication means saying what you mean – and fully comprehending any feedback.
Choosing A Method
It is essential when communicating a message that you give serious thought to the medium you choose. For many, this choice is often between the spoken and the written word. If you decide that you want speed and convenience, you may well choose speech as the best form of communication. Alternatively, you may want to something more permanent and orderly – a typed document, for example – which will attract a considered reply.
Electronic media have generated even more possibilities by creating a hybrid form of speech and writing. Thus, e-mails have the speed and informality of a phone conversation, yet they are in letterform and can be filed. The purpose of the message will dictate which method to choose. Decide on your message first: then select the best method to convey it, making sure that you have mastered its technique.
Methods of communication can be grouped into five main types: the written word, the spoken (and heard) word, the symbolic gesture, the visual image, and a combination of these. Though the first four methods work well individually, it is now known that using two or more communication methods together increases interest, comprehension and retention. Methods are more potent when combined with others.
Examples of a combined approach include communicating via commercial media and electronic technology, such as multimedia and video conferencing. Multimedia allows better use of visual elements and is increasingly the medium of choice when it comes to communicating with large numbers of people, especially employees in a big organization.
- Encourage your company to improve all types of communication.
- Note that good communicators make much better managers.
- Be non-judgmental when trying to overcome other people’s barriers.
- Match your medium to your message with great care.
- Wherever possible, use visuals to communicate.