What is Communication?

There are five essential questions to ask about our communication:

1. Why am I communicating? What purpose?

2. Who will receive my message? What do I know about them?

3. Where will they be when they get my message? When?

4. What do I want to say? What do they need to know?

5. How shall I communicate? Write; phone; personally?

For effective communication there are six Cs:

 Clear

 Concise

 Courteous

 Constructive

 Correct

 Complete

The principles of good communication

The basic purpose of communication is always one or more of the following four functions:

 Instruction

 Information

 Entertainment

 The influencing of attitudes

Planning communications

The planning sequence is the same as for any other activity, consisting of the three elements:

 Objectives

The effect required for successful reception of the message. This may be the learning of a fact, or to take some action, or to accept an idea.

 Actions

 The message that is intended to be received by the audience

 The medium through which the message will be communicated - the spoken word, the written word, a picture, etc.

 The style in terms of the language, the tone, the use of humour, etc.

 The aids - examples, illustrations, gestures, etc. to aid comprehension

 Control

 The feedback which will ensure that the message is getting across and that the objective will be achieved.

 The communicator will need to decide how he will obtain this feedback, and what will indicate satisfactory acceptance.

 The communicator should understand the types and channels of communication available.

Type of communication

 Aural

 Verbal

 Written

 Visual

 Non-verbal (body language)

 Aromatic

 Flavoured

 Tactile

To receive each type of communication you need to be able to:

 Listen

 Feel

 Smell

 See

 Taste

Channels of communication

 Telephone: aural/oral

 Meeting: visual

 Newspapers: written

 TV: verbal, visual

 Aftershave/perfume: smell

 Art gallery: visual

 Art gallery tactile

Channels of communication can become blocked and barriers to communication occur.

Some barriers are:

 Physical - e.g. telephone broken, strike, deafness

 Emotional - e.g. anger, fear, anxiety, feeling of threat


Barriers to good communication

Unfortunately it is rare that the audience does receive the message correctly due to many barriers and influences which spoil the message ''in flight''.

This is illustrated in below and represents almost any type of communication, but is best looked at as the analogy of radio.

In human terms, the information source is the speaker, who codes the message in language and terminology that he understands and communicates it by speaking, showing, feeling, smell and taste.

The signal is then distributed and disguised in transmission by influences of distractions, noise, interruptions and then decoded by the receiver.

The receiver is distracted by lack of concentration and interest, passed through the filters of background, beliefs and prejudice, and decodes the message according to his own interpretation of the language and terminology. It is therefore difficult for the original message to get through intact.

The second problem, to use the same analogy, is that the audience must first have the inclination to switch the radio on and adjust the wavelength of the receiver to that of the speaker. Thus, the audience must be motivated:

 To want to listen

 To stay listening

 To concentrate on the message

 To make the effort to interpret it

The third problem of communication is that even when the message has been received, correctly or incorrectly, the audience is not at all good at retaining the information. People can retain around 30 per cent of what they hear, 75 per cent of what they see, 90 per cent of what they do (but only if motivated to do so).

Furthermore, time rapidly erodes retention of information so that in a short time practically all is forgotten unless steps are taken to ensure that it is not lost.

The Barriers to Communication

 Information source

 Transmitter

 Signal

 Receiver

 Destination of message

 Distorting influences

 Signal strength coding

 Selectivity sensitivity filters decoding

A Check-list for Good Communication

 Plan all communications.

 Make sure that you have your message clear in your own mind before you try to pass it on to others.

 Phrase it in language they understand.

 Be yourself - be natural - be relaxed.

 Keep to the point - don't ramble.

 Be positive.

 Put yourself in the recipient's shoes - what are their needs, interests, motivations?

 Keep asking yourself ''Are they interested in what I am saying?''

 Illustrate the points - use examples, anecdotes, visual aids.

 Don't be patronising.

 Avoid mannerisms.

 Use paper for facts, but word of mouth for reasons.

 Get the official story out first and ''beat the grapevine''.

 Ask plenty of questions (what, why, who, how, when, where?).

 Be a good listener.

 Judge the content, not the delivery.

 Don't over-react.

 Listen for ideas.

 Be flexible.

 Work at listening.

 Resist distractions.

 Exercise the mind.

 Keep an open mind.

 Use the spare thinking time.

Word Count: 881

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