– recognise the basic elements of communication;
– understand what can influence effective communication;
– be able to improve communication with purpose
What is the expected response one would like the audience to provide?
If you are unaware of what you are trying to accomplish before you start a conversation, it could end up going sideways.
It can be helpful to ask yourself before you speak: “what do I want to create?”
It’s critical to know your intent and to communicate it clearly. Leading a conversation with intent can make a 100% difference in the outcome.
Here are 4 intents commonly used when communicating: inform, inspire, motivate and engage.
Inspire: the hope while communicating is to provide additional food for thought to the audience. The piece of information that is shared is meant to make them think, dream or fantasise.
Motivate: the objective of the communication is to make people do something, act upon the piece of information which is given to them; to fire them up and bring them to take some action, however small.
Engage: the objective of the communication is for the audience to take action in the long run, to commit to a cause/movement.
The intents can be any of these, others and/or a combination of these four.
When we talk, we tend to put up barriers that hinder our ability to communicate. Here are the 7 main barriers to effective communication:
– Physical: time, environment, comfort, needs, physical medium;
– Perceptual: viewing what is said from your own mindset;
– Emotional: personal feelings at that moment;
– Cultural: ethnic, religious, and social differences;
– Language: different languages or vocabulary, accents;
– Gender: distinct differences between the speech patterns of a man and woman;
– Interpersonal: Rituals, pastimes, working.
It’s important to remember that there are differences between talking and communicating. When you communicate, you are successful in getting your point across to the person you’re talking to.
The following “Ladder of Inference” was initially developed by Chris Argyris, and subsequently presented in Peter Senge’s “The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organisation.”
What the diagram implies is that we begin with Real Data & Experience, the kind that would be captured by a movie camera that didn’t lie. We then choose a set of Selected Data & Experience that we pay attention to. To this Selected Data & Experience we Affix Meaning, develop Assumptions, come to Conclusions, and finally develop Beliefs. Beliefs then form the basis of our Actions which create additional Real Data & Experience.
The circular nature of this description becomes evident when the diagram is redrawn with an added influence.
This diagram indicates the reinforcing nature of this structure, as each action builds on the one before it. Yet there is an apparent difficulty with this structure.
It is our Beliefs which influence the Selected Data & Experience we pay attention to.
“The reason why we have two ears and only one mouth is that we may listen more and talk less.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Listening is the “receiving” part of communication. Making meaning from sound is an active process that includes:
1. Receiving information
3. Evaluating the message
4. Giving feedback to the sender
When executed effectively, listening:
– improves relationships between people;
– results in making others good listeners as well;
– improves problem solving skills;
– increases job satisfaction;
– improves communication, trust, respect among team members;
– builds teamwork.
Effective Feedback is one of the best tools you have for motivating people, improving work efficiency, developing others, creating a proper work environment, creating synergy and connection in your team. In the right hands and with the proper perception, this tool can do wonders. But, like any skill, giving and receiving feedback is something that has to be learned, practised and improved; it is a skill you develop with time.
Feedback should be:
– Constructive: it should be set to direct receiver towards and/or to help determining where and how to take corrective action in order to improve.
– Positive: it should help increase followers’ confidence, encourage continued high performance and leverage what they’re already doing effectively.
In a world full of information, every message has to work extremely hard to get noticed. At work, every report you write, presentation you deliver or email you send is competing for your audience’s attention.
One can use the AIDA model, a marketing communication tool, when writing a piece of text that has the ultimate objective of getting others to take action.
With your opening, grab people’s attention. Use powerful words or a picture that will catch the reader’s eye and make them stop and read what you have to say next.
Then help your readers to pick out the messages that are relevant to them quickly.
As you’re building the reader’s interest, you also need to help them understand how what you’re offering can help them in a real way. The best way of doing this is by appealing to their personal needs and wants.
Finally, be very clear about what action you want your readers to take rather than just leaving people to work out what to do for themselves.
Here is a list of topics we are going to address in this Communication sub-module:
– Presentation Skills
– Active Listening
– Emotional Intelligence
– Conflict Management
– Feedback Management