Communication is the most used skill during our life since our birth day. Only the method of communication differs based on the context. I will cover communication skill as an important virtue for every professional. Although the focus of the blog upon IT consultants, the concepts discussed in this series are applicable in many areas of professional life and even in personal life. The series of posts will start with this one as an introduction to communication skill, then this will evolve to cover specific and common situations in professional life.
Importance of Communication – a person with a good communication skill can achieve a lot. One word can resolve a conflict, a funny comment can smooth an argument, and a proper timely phrase can make you win a negotiation. On the other hand any misuse of words, gestures, or body language can convey bad impressions, conflicts, misunderstanding and misconceptions.
Communication as a Process – Communication can be seen as a process with different elements. Those elements can be summarized, as in many literature as, sender (originator), receiver (recipient), message, encoding, decoding, context, and a channel.
- Sender (originator) is the source of the communication – this could be a colleague, a subordinate, your manager, customer, a group of people, or an organization,
- Receiver (recipient) is the individual or a group of people who hear, read, see, or sense the message sent by the sender,
- Message is the idea, thought, or feeling that sender wants to send to receiver. The message is converted (or encoded) into symbols (gestures, words, writings, etc.) that have high likelihood to be understood by receiver,
- Encoding is the action of coding a message into symbols of communication that is suitable to channel of communication and receiver skill for decoding. Moreover, encoding method depends upon the context where communication happens,
- Channel is the medium where message is carried from sender to receiver. The channel could utilize any human sense in order to build realization at receiver side,
- Decoding is the action of deciphering the message to understand and perceive its contents and intentions. The challenge here is that, there are indefinite number of ways to interpret the incoming message with many combinations of message symbol interpretations. It depends on message language and symbols to narrow down the possibilities of interpretations,
- Context is described by the surroundings of both sender and receiver during the time of interchanging a message through a specific channel. This could be physical surroundings, emotional feelings, noise level, or overall mood at the time of communication,
Facts about Communication
Communication is a continuous process that cannot be stopped. There is usually a misconception of communication through linking it to talking. Even when you are silent, non-verbal communication is continuously conveying messages.
Another important fact, communication cannot be undone (no CTRL-Z in computer savvy jargon). You need to be very conscious about messages you sent to others. Regret cannot reverse impact of wrong communication!
Communication is a creative process. Many parameters and choices are available in order to make any communication. You decide when to speak, what to say, when to be silent, how to express your thoughts, the language or encoding method of your messages, etc. Techniques and methods of communication are unlimited.
In future posts, I will discuss with more focus upon specific situations that require special attention to communication, e.g., during negotiation, presenting ideas, resolving a conflict, creating healthy communication for managing business relationships, leaders communication, interview and workshops communication.