The data-rich environment we exist in today constantly bombards us with information from all sides. Cellphones in people’s pockets are wireless yet connected to a vast network. These technological wonders have enabled information exchange with virtually anyone on the planet instantaneously. It seems reasonable that this communication superpower would ensure better understanding. However, the content and quality of conveyed information are still crucial factors that must be considered regardless of the ease and speed of transfer. Before we achieve ideal communications, we surely need to overcome some hurdles that impair clear understanding.
The practice of communication management seeks to understand and effectively use communications to support the achievement of objectives. This process analyzes the fundamentals of communication.
Successful entrepreneurs know how to be effective communicators. They have mastered the techniques on how to transfer information efficiently and effectively within and between organizations. To learn how to master these communication techniques, it is important to start examining 4 or 5 different accepted methods of communication. These include verbal, non-verbal, written, and visual with some lists including listening.
This method of communication is likely the most familiar around the world. Speaking aloud involves intelligible sounds produced from the vocal cords and mouth to transfer information. For an effective transfer to occur both the speaker and listener must agree upon the meanings of the sounds being produced. Languages are agreed-upon sets of meanings.
Speeches, lectures, conversations and phone calls are all examples, and to be effective must convey a clear understanding of the message content. When an accurate shared understanding is achieved successful communication has occurred.
Body language is an example of non-verbal communication. Posture and physical activities are combined with verbal communication to improve the understanding of the information being transferred. The statement, “he talks with his hands” is indicative of this activity.
Careful attention is required as unintentional non-verbal indicators also detract from the effective transfer of information. Physical indicators of boredom or inattention can shut down the process. Participants disengage and the flow of information stops.
This sentence is an example of written communication. As with the verbal method, successful transfer of information depends upon a shared understanding of the meaning ascribed to each symbol. The written word is a powerful method that allows for communication asynchronously over time.
Day to day written communications come in innumerable forms from emails and memos to books and reports. Writing in the context of communication management is the basis upon which most businesses are built. Business plans, strategies, and reports allow for continued operation.
Examples of this form of communication exist along the highways in the form of street signs that depict specific directions or warnings. These pictorial representations are used to overcome language limitations. Diagrams, charts and graphs are other instances of visual communication that can often more concisely and accurately convey meaning than any other method.
This method like the others relies upon a shared understanding of visual symbols and depictions of objects. Organizational charts are also examples that detail responsibilities and accountabilities to visually convey a company’s structure.
No communication takes place until another party receives and understands the message. Active listening describes a communication method that avoids misunderstanding of the verbal method. It entails an engaged and attentive recipient who restates their understanding back to the speaker and asks questions to clarify meaning.
Technology has in some ways cleared the way for effective communications. Improving the quality and clarity of content is now where the greatest gains can be made.
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