10 Ways to Improve Effective Communication
Summary: This essay is about
effective communication and how you can improve your communication
skills in personal and professional life.
Communication means transfer or exchange of information from
one point or place or person to another. Effective communication
means, the communication must serve the purpose for which it
is intended, without any loss or distortion of the original
message. Communication is usually interpersonal and involves
two or more ends or two or more people or groups. However, communication
may happen between two aspects of the same person. An example
is self-talk. This essay does not deal with this type of communication.
In todayâ€™s world, communication has become vital. The
means and methods of communication have also undergone a revolutionary
change with the advances in wireless, internet and radio technologies.
We can now communicate with manmade objects in other planets
or those traveling beyond the solar system. Effective communication
is vital to our personal and professional success and our Wellbeing.
It is necessary to express oneâ€™s thoughts and ideas, and desires
and intentions to seek what one wants, or establish fulfilling
relationships. Poor communication can disrupt our lives and
relationships. How can you make your communication effective
and purposeful? Here are a few important suggestions.
1. Pay attention to listen and to know
Communication is not about yourself, your ideas and opinions,
or your accomplishments. Its primary purpose is not to impress
others with your knowledge and eloquence, unless it is the explicitly
purpose of the communication such as in a job interview. Inmost
cases, it is a two-way interactive, interpersonal process in
which you have an opportunity to interact with others and exchange
information with them for desired ends. Therefore, it involves
not only speaking and conveying your thoughts and words but
also paying attention to the people in it and knowing about
them and their message or intention. When you pay attention,
you will not only listen to the words but also understand the
nonverbal communication and the psychology and motivation behind
them. Further, by paying attention, you can greatly improve
the quality of your communication by fine-tuning it according
to the situation.
2. Facilitate a two-way communication
As stated before, your communication must offer ample scope
to facilitate a two-way communication rather than one-way. It
means you cannot entirely dominate the conversation and not
let others respond or reciprocate. Even if it is just an email
message or an official memo, there must be an opportunity for
the recipients to respond and express. An effective communicator
is aware of this simple but important principle of communication
and strikes a fine balance. He or she facilitates a two-way
communication by recognizing and respecting the rights and privileges
of the other side. You too can do it with simple approaches
such as listening, asking questions, engaging in complementary
rather than cross transactions, avoiding judgmental attitude,
rephrasing or summarizing the conversation, maintaining eye
contact, keeping your emotions under control, etc.
3. Cultivate right mental attitude
Certain behaviors and attitudes are conducive to effective
communication. For example, certain qualities are greatly useful
to establish rapport with the people and facilitate a two-way
communication such as humility, open-mindedness, mindfulness,
positive mental attitude, cheerfulness, patience, tolerance,
objectivity, thoughtfulness, emotional intelligence, social
intelligence, knowledge, discernment, commonsense, etc. They
also help one to engage in effective and attentive listening,
which is key to good communication. An effective communicator
acts according to the situation since he is good at understanding
human emotions and psychology. He also remains focused on the
process. Usually, he aims to establish rapport and harmony,
but if necessary does not mind to speak frankly or express his
4. Improve knowledge and language skills
In todayâ€™s world, communication includes not only interpersonal
communication but also communication through various means such
as emails, audios, videos, blogs, social networks, messaging,
message forums, reporting, public speaking, presentations, meetings,
and so on. Written communication requires a different approach
compared to oral communication. In both cases, right knowledge
and command over the language and choice of words play an important
role. Knowledge speaks for itself. When you have knowledge and
command over the language, you can communicate effectively in
any medium. Since nowadays a majority of people live in communities
and organizations that are marked by diversity, we need to be
familiar with the cultural and linguistic barriers that are
specific to them. Command over the language is certainly useful
to convey complex ideas, without ambiguity and confusion.
5. Practice diligently at every opportunity
There is no better way to effective communication than regular
and persistent practice, and making use of every opportunity
to polish your skills. In todayâ€™s world you have many opportunities
to do it. For example, you can find certain applications on
the Internet which will instantly evaluate the quality of your
communication and give you suggestions for improvement. You
can find mentors or role models to know how you effective you
are in comparison to them. Further, you can learn by observing
others and learning from them and by learning from your own
mistakes or othersâ€™ mistakes. You can experiment with different
methods and approaches to know what works in a given situation.
Presently, there are many avenues and cost-effective training
programs and applications to improve your voice quality, modulation
and written communication, which you can use to your advantage.
6. Understand the main components of communication
You must be aware of the key components of any communication,
because if you are careless, they can become potential obstacles
to effective communication. They may also cause the distortion
of the message, resulting in miscommunication and misunderstanding.
Therefore, if you want to ensure that your communication reaches
the recipients exactly as you intended, you must pay attention
to each of them. For example, any formal communication involves
the following key components or steps namely the motive, the
message, the medium, the transmission, the factors that influence
the transmission (such as time, distance, noise, etc.), the
reception, the decoding of the message, and the interpretation.
When a message passes through these steps, anything can go wrong
and the intended purpose of the communication or the message
itself may become lost or distorted, resulting in communication
gap and other associated problems.
7. Improve your nonverbal skills
In a direct or personal communication between two or more
individuals or groups, nonverbal communication plays an important
role. In a social setting, people usually wear masks. For one
reason or the other, they do not readily reveal their hidden
feelings or motives and prefer to play along whereby it becomes
difficult to relate to them or address their true concerns.
By paying attention to gestures, the time people take to speak
or respond, bodily language, facial expressions, eye movements
and level of eye contact, dress and appearance, choice of words,
etc., one can learn a lot about others and their hidden motives.
The nonverbal cues also reveal the honesty and integrity of
people and how far their communication is authentic and reliable.
By paying attention to them and learning from them, one can
make the communication more effective and purpose oriented.
8. Good communication depends upon good preparation
In informal settings when you are communicating with people
whom you personally know and trust, you can relax and be yourself.
However, when you communicate in a formal setting with people
you do not know or with whom you have an official or professional
relationship, you cannot make mistakes or take things for granted.
You must adequately prepare for the occasion and make sure that
your communication reaches the audience exactly as you intended,
with little scope for distortion or ambiguity. For that, preparation
is important. You must rehearse what you want to say or convey
and bring out the best in you to show your knowledge and expertise
and accomplish the goals of your communication. Further, you
must also know your audience and their expectations. Your communication
must meet not only your own expectations but also the recipientsâ€™
expectations. Expectations play an important role in communication.
Imagine for example you are expecting a reply or a response
from a person and you do not receive it in time, or you do not
respond to a person in time according to his or her expectations.
In both cases, it may lead to negativity.
9. Use the right strategies
Effective communication means you use right strategies to
communicate with others, according to the purpose and the recipient
involved. You cannot use the same strategy for everyone, since
people widely differ in their thinking, knowledge and behavior,
and your relationship with them also varies accordingly. For
example, you can be formal with people you know and trust, but
you have to be careful when you are communicating with strangers,
superiors or competitors. People differ in their abilities and
behavior. Some are auditory. They rely more upon words and their
meaning in the communication. Some are visual. They rely more
upon images to make sense of things, and some are kinetic, who
go by feelings and emotions. You have to be aware of these subtle
differences in your perception and thinking, and accordingly
fine-tune your communication. Similarly, the communication strategy
may change according to the medium of communication. For example,
you cannot use the same strategy for writing a letter and for
communicating through a video or audio.
10. Know the barriers to communication
There are many barriers to communication, which can seriously
impair, distort or dilute the message or its intent and purpose.
Not all barriers can effectively be removed since they may not
entirely be under the control of the communicator. Important
barriers to communication are physical barriers such as the
distance between the two sides, system barriers related to the
organization or the process, attitudinal barriers related to
the people involved, linguistic barriers related to the manner
in which the message is composed, cultural barriers related
to the background of the people, gender barriers related to
the natural and psychological differences between men and women,
and so on. For effective communication, one must pay attention
to them to know what can go wrong and try to overcome them to
the extent possible.
In conclusion, we may say that effective communication depends
upon right strategy, hard work, commonsense, prior preparation,
and a good understanding of the communication process and human
psychology. Communication is a two-way process. It is not only
about you but also the recipient of it. As the initiator of
the communication, you are important, but for your communication
to serve its intended purpose, the others for whom it is meant
also become important. By knowing the intricacies of effective
communication, the steps involved in it and the barriers that
work against it, and by fine-tuning your communication according
to the method and medium, you can greatly improve your communication
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