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Principles of Effective Communication We Take for Granted

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I'm a dad, husband, and Christian first. The rest are just life's add-ons: an educator, administrator, learner, & development professional.

I have not met anyone who does not communicate with others. For one, humans are social beings and interacting with another is as natural as breathing. However, there are exceptions who’d rather keep to themselves, but even they still interact with others. Moreover, with the recent advancements in technology and the global trend in communication, it’s just difficult not to get in touch with the rest of the world.

Here are some questions to prove my point:

  • How many times do you check your email?
  • How Many times do you check your phone for messages?
  • How many times do you check your social networking profile?

The dilemma that confronts everyone in this highly communicative world is not much about the means to communicate. Rather, the dilemma is how to communicate effectively. Whether in the work place or otherwise, human communication is riddled with inaccuracy and miscommunication.

How many times have you been given the wrong report because of failure of communication? Or how many times have you ended up arguing about something that’s entirely not worth arguing about? How many times have you been misquoted? The truth is, once is too much! Suffice to say, effective communication is a necessity from the significant to the mundane. Every instance of interaction with others must have a foundation of effective communication.

Every instance of interaction has its own goal. But when you strip everything else down to the bare essentials, effective communication simply boils down to providing accurate information. Surprisingly, this is a lot harder than you might think.

George Bernard Shaw, a critic, a playwright, an essayist and the Nobel Prize winner for Literature in 1925, couldn't have said it better: “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”

Corporate Communications Essentials

  1. Proper Correspondences: The Core of Corporate Communication
  2. Effective Communication in the Workplace: Poor Questions Sap the Creativity of Employees
  3. Effective Business Communication: How to Create Concise Corporate Correspondences.
  4. 3 Corporate Communication Pitfalls
  5. 5 Types of Feedback: Understanding an Essential Communication Tool

Encoding the information

Every idea or thought is expressed in a plethora of ways. Stripped down to its bare essentials, encoding is simply the way you package the information. From uttering words to using multi-media presentations, packaging the information can be simple or overly complicated. Furthermore, some are more appropriate than others. Effective communication entails using the right encoding method so that the recipient will understand it better. Children respond better to visual cues accompanied by verbal descriptions. On the other hand, some adults can do well with just verbally instructions. Regardless, it is important to package the information in the most effective and efficient way depending on the recipient.

The combination of verbal and non-verbal communication makes expression of information and ideas more meaningful. The words “I love you” for instance become empty without the emotion behind it. Words take on more meaning when you talk with your whole body. As such, speaking involves your whole being not just your words.

Decoding the message

At the other end of the spectrum is the person receiving the message. Deciphering the meaning behind the words is a crucial step in effective communication. But deciphering is more complex than merely reading symbols and words. In fact, it goes beyond merely listening skills. Experiences, preconceived ideas, and other factors tend to create a whole new meaning to information for each person. Because of this, the interpretation of the message may be entirely different from its initial intention.

Do you give feedback?

Do you give feedback?

Workplace Resources

  1. The Art of Looking Busy – Improving Corporate Culture and Performance
  2. How to Deal with Employment Setbacks
  3. How to Give Feedback to Your Boss without Getting Fired
  4. How to Become an Extraordinary Employee and Get Higher Pay
  5. How to Fight the Monday Blues
  6. Realigning Employee Goals - Employees Must Know the Corporate Goals and Direction
  7. Corporate Culture and the Prima Donna Employees - Dealing With Difficult People
  8. Top 5 Juicy Gossip Starters in the Workplace
  9. Corporate Realities That Stop Innovation, Change and Business Success

Feedback

This is where giving feedback is imperative. By clarifying the information received, one is able to zero in on the true meaning of the information. It’s just sad that most people assume they already know the information when in fact they don’t. Unfortunately, this happens more than it should. People neglect the importance of feedback for a myriad of reasons:

  • Fear of being branded as “slow to understand”
  • A huge ego that interferes with effective communication
  • Being satisfied with assumptions
  • Time constraints

Of course each has his own reasons, but the fact remains that feedback is a crucial part of effective communication.

What’s surprising is that all these encoding, decoding and feedback happens in an instant. The way people send and receive information is truly fascinating. We do this everyday and through all sorts of ways. But somewhere along the way, information gets lost, misinterpreted or even changed.

Communicating effectively is a necessity especially in a world where communication is a daily part of lives. In the end, effective communication aims to provide accurate information. With accurate information, people can be more productive and efficient. Make no mistake about it, effective communication can make this world a better place.

Quick Queries:

  • Do you think you communicate effectively?
  • How do you ensure that you provide clear information?
  • What measures to you take to ensure there is proper communication in the office?
  • Does your office have protocols on communication?

Comments

Joyette Helen Fabien from Dominica on June 19, 2012:

Interesting and useful! Certainly, improved communication at all levels and in all spheres would make the world a happier place! Let me highlight one particular statement from your article, "the interpretation of the message may be entirely different from its initial intention." This is where the real problem lies, hence the importance of feedback. In the home it is the cause of fights between spouses and between parents and children; at school it is the cause of many a bright student being turned off from a particular subject or teacher; in the workplace it is the cause of long standing feuds among staff. We do need to tailor our communication to suit the target recipient(s) and we need to encourage feedback. This would reduce a lot of pain and bring about much happiness all around. Voted up and useful. Also tweeted!

(jpcmc, could you just go back on the quick series bullets a bit. There are a few typos there).

JP Carlos (author) from Quezon CIty, Phlippines on March 18, 2012:

Hi ClarissaLeary. Thanks for dropping by and commenting. I wish everyone who reads the hub becomes an advocate of proper and effective communication. :)

ClarissaLeary from Austrlaia on March 16, 2012:

Very informative, I totally agree that we do not communicate enough to make sure that we totally understand what is being said, it's just about giving feedback and asking more questions to ensure you understand what's being asked or said.

JP Carlos (author) from Quezon CIty, Phlippines on February 19, 2012:

Hello again thumi7, I used to do this activity during my trainings. It's really hilarious but full of learning concepts worth discussing. True, how we interpret what we hear differs. As such, we need to communcate properly in the words that others will understand.

JR Krishna from India on February 18, 2012:

We had this exercise in our communication classes. Five or six students were asked to stand in a line. The teacher whispered something into the ear of the first person. She is expected to whisper to the next…. And it went on.

The teacher asked the last student to tell it out loudly and a totally distorted message came out of her mouth.

Our words can have different meaning to different people. Most of the confusions and chaos in organisations are due to communication gaps and miscommunications.

You have detailed the essentials of good communication in simple language

Thanks for SHARING:)

JP Carlos (author) from Quezon CIty, Phlippines on January 17, 2012:

Hi Ian, I appreciate your comments. In fact, I encourage you to write a hub on communication. Also, I believe your introspection questions are valuable. They are simple yet integral to proper communication. Thanks you for the kind words Ian.

Ian D Hetri from Papua New Guinea on January 16, 2012:

Poor communication is a major contributor of failure in career, business or love relationships.Anyone who is in the sales industry knows the importance of how you communicate to a potential buyer. One false move, or should I say word, and you may have lost their business forever. Truth be told, however, the way you talk can affect every aspect of your business, whether you’re in sales or not.That's career. How about in business, one word or gesture can blow a major business deal if the person pursuing the deal is not careful with his words or conducts.

Even more, communication is a key factor in the survival of a love relationship. If my fiancée doesn't seem to understand every thing I say and do, what is it there for me to stay in the relationship. Similar to her if I don't understand her. I manage a plantation and the biggest challenge I face is to train my supervisors how to effectively communicate with the workers. Mastering effective communication skills does not come over night but I learnt and improved with time and I can say now that I am not the same me that walk out of college two years ago.

Some simple question I ask myself are:

Why am I communicating?

What am I communicating about?

Who am I communicating to?

I wrote a hub about how to get a job quick and one of the key things I mentioned is communication. This hub relates to that hub and I am glad to write a very long comment. Hope you don't get bored reading it.

A resourceful hub. Thanks for sharing and its a up up up vote from me

Regards

Ian

JP Carlos (author) from Quezon CIty, Phlippines on November 08, 2011:

Heloo there GmaGoldie. Thanks for reading the hub and the I appreciate the kind comments. I've seen many relationships professional and otherwise get destroyed because of poor communication.

I reently conducted a seminar of communication. I called it the Art of Communicating Effectively (ACE training). It's the first training in a series of trainings on communication.

Kelly Kline Burnett from Madison, Wisconsin on October 06, 2011:

jpcmc,

The failure of communication and not making a connection can kill a career, kill a job interview, kill a relationship. Verbal and non-verbal skills are needed by everyone.

You are absolutely correct.

Great Hub - thank you so much - more education and training is needed on this subject.

JP Carlos (author) from Quezon CIty, Phlippines on August 17, 2011:

Hi there Danette, it's just amazing how much failure of communication exists around the world. In fact, you don't even have to go far to experience this. Even in our homes and at work, we get a doze of this.

Hello Shanaya, listening is truly an integral part of communication. If only people stop and listen, what a wonderful world it would be.

Thanks for the vote up and kind words Danette and Shanaya.

shanaya from Living in my Own Dreams:) on August 14, 2011:

Hello Sir JPCMC! Yeah very TRUE you have Written in your HUB. The most basic and powerful way to connect to another person is to listen & communicate well.

VOTED UP, INTERESTING, USEFUL.

With Respect

From SHANAYA:)

Danette Watt from Illinois on August 07, 2011:

For an important skill to have, communication skills are sorely lacking in many people. Feedback is crucial and as you say, there's the fear of being thought of as "slow to get it" if you ask for clarification or expansion.

Good hub, voted up and useful

JP Carlos (author) from Quezon CIty, Phlippines on July 28, 2011:

Yes, actions speak louder than words, unfortunately, they too are open for misinterpretations.

Edward Y. Laurencio II on July 28, 2011:

It is such a great inconvenience when being misunderstood and misinterpreted. But one's action or inaction may also be one of the reasons, not only because of ineffective communication. hahaha As they also say, action speaks louder than words. hahaha peace!

JP Carlos (author) from Quezon CIty, Phlippines on July 27, 2011:

Nice to see you again Alladream74. True, with the various means of communication available to all of us, one would think that information is communicated properly. It is human nature to make assumptions to fill up gaps in the information that one receives. But what is lacking is the active attempt to clarify and confirm information. Thanks for sharing.

JP Carlos (author) from Quezon CIty, Phlippines on July 27, 2011:

That's true raeye carlos, having your communication channels will improve communication. Unfortunately, hasty judgement, negative attitudes and irritation happens more than it should. Because of these, instead of reaching an understanding, there is failure of communication - and to a greater extent a collapse in productive relationships.

JP Carlos (author) from Quezon CIty, Phlippines on July 27, 2011:

Hi Ms. Mercado,

You have raised a wonderful point regarding effective communication. Personally, i believe that to categorically say that a communicator becomes effective only when his/her desired response is achieved has its problems. We can never truly dictate how the receiver will respond. The uniqueness alone of people creates a myriad of possible responses - some positive and some negative. The most that we can do is to provide the most accurate information as we can. Using the 5W and 1H in your memos is a very practical way of addressing this.

Thank you for sharing your insights.

Victor Mavedzenge from Oakland, California on July 26, 2011:

Good write up. It is interesting to note the modes of communication we use today from text to email and chats,so much information is not communicated, we run mostly on assumption-a mark of the times

Mary Grace on July 25, 2011:

There is always the possibility of having problems in encoding, decoding, and feedback. Part of communicating effectively is always keeping the channels open for clarification & trying to lessen negative attitudes such as defensiveness, hasty judgment, or irritation when misunderstood or when one doesn't understand.

Ma. Carmen M. Mercado on July 25, 2011:

I don't know yet but what I am sure of is I always make it appoint that memo or instruction I released answers the questions 5 W's and 1 H. But sometimes you see, even those points were answered, those become more complicated that when the receiver/s perceive them differently or there are still questions left to be answered. Or sometimes some people complicate the matter more than it should be. Does a communicator becomes effective when only the desired response from the receiver is achieved?Well right. But I think even if we used the same method of communicating but utilize it to a different audience may also affect direct response. We may either achieve positive or negative response. So probably, in some cases, a communicator becomes relatively effective.

JP Carlos (author) from Quezon CIty, Phlippines on July 25, 2011:

Hello Cardisa, I'm glad you agree with me on this. But what's disturbing is that misinterpretation and miscommunication happens more than it should.

JP Carlos (author) from Quezon CIty, Phlippines on July 25, 2011:

Hi avorodisa, some where there's always someone misinterpreting our message. The uniqueness of a person contributes to this misiterpretation.

It's truly hard to come up with a full proof plan on how to be completely understood. I agree with you that understanding is illogical and irrational. All we can do is to influence those that are in our locus of control and hope for the best.

Thanks for dropping by. :)

JP Carlos (author) from Quezon CIty, Phlippines on July 25, 2011:

Hello Susan, my baby Yna is doing well, thanks for asking. I know what you mean about being misintepreted. More than just the words, the intonation, the gestures and most importantly the emotions behind the words help convey the message as accurately as possible. But still, it's not a full proof tactic.

I did an effective communication seminar a few weeks back and I'm doing it again today. I hope it turns out great like the first one.

Carolee Samuda from Jamaica on July 25, 2011:

Jpcmc, you are right, misinterpretation often lead to miscommunication. Very well written article.

Anna Sidorova from Russia on July 25, 2011:

The basic idea of communication is passing information and it is important that this information is correctly understood. So no, in the deep, I don't think I communicate effectively, as the biggest part of what I try to communicate is misunderstood, distorted, or interpreted in a wrong way.

Anna Sidorova from Russia on July 25, 2011:

Actually, the more I live, the more I understand that mutual misunderstanding is rather a communication norm, except for the brief socially programmed situations. There is understanding beyond words, though. Understanding the other person's soul through looking into his eyes, for example. Actually, understanding is not at all about words and logic. It is illogical, irrational and speechless.

Susan Zutautas from Ontario, Canada on July 25, 2011:

Interpretation of the message may be entirely different from its initial intention is one of the things that I find to be sometimes difficult when I am speaking. I have been told that I can come off as being sarcastic when in fact I am not being sarcastic at all. So I try to pay attention to how I say something before I say it.

Communicating through emails or on social sites: The written word can be misinterpreted and I see happening quite often between friends and family.

Very interesting article.

How is the new baby doing?