What Effective Communication looks like?
Everyone communicates but not all communication is exactly effective. Effective communication happens when the receiver clearly understands what is being said; including the emotions and intention behind the message.
Effective communication is important because it builds trust, prevents and resolves problems, aids clarity and direction, improves relationship with people and also improves productivity.
Before you know what effective communication looks like, you need to know the four (4) types of communication.
1. Verbal Communication
This is the communication that involves talking or speaking to someone. This could be face-to face conversations, telephone conversations and some internet communication like WhatsApp calls, Zoom and so on. It can be formal (at work) or informal (like talking to a family member or a friend). With verbal communication, the feedback is immediate.
2. Non-verbal communication
This is basically how we behave when we talk or are being spoken to that basically tells us what we are thinking or feeling. These come in the form of facial expressions, body language, posture, eye contact and so on. Most times, non-verbal cues tell us more than spoken words say because most times, they cannot be faked.
3. Written Communication
These are simply written words. This could be in the form of a text, instant message like WhatsApp, Email, memo and so on. Written communication can be a bit tricky because you're making your inference from solely words and it can be misinterpreted. There could also be ambiguity and, some people tend to write poorly (poorly constructed sentence and errors), so you can miss some things.
Written communication is mostly used in a formal setting and even though there are some disadvantages, there are also advantages. One of which is the fact that people can always refer to what’s written in case they miss something. Also, it can be kept for future references.
4. Visual Communication
This is simply communication through visuals like images, memes, stickers and even emojis. You simply know what is being said by looking at it.
So what does clear communication look like?
A clear communication should be
i. Complete – it should contain the complete and relevant information that contain answers to question asked
ii. Clear – The message should be clear and easy to understand by the recipient
iii. Concise – The message should go straight to the point, except you're building up to get to something.
iv. Correct – It should be well timed and free from errors to prevent misinterpretation
v. Considerate – how you say things matter a lot and you must consider people while giving a message. This includes their opinions, knowledge, mindset and background.
vi. Respectful – you should respect and be mindful of people’s feelings while giving a message. How would they receive this thing you're about to say?
To become an effective communicator, you need to be able to have or do the following:
· Observe people and this includes non-verbal cues
· Listen actively to people. Listening is very important in communication.
· Be emotionally intelligent. It is the ability to understand, use, and manage your own emotions in positive ways to relieve stress, communicate effectively, empathize with others, overcome challenges and defuse conflict. When you're emotionally intelligent, you’re aware of your emotions and behavior and that can help you manage them better when communicating with people.
· Be open-minded. Being open-minded makes you try to understand where someone is coming from. If you’re not open-minded about a conversation, It can make you not empathize with someone. Being open-minded does not necessarily mean that you have to agree with everything the person says.
· Be respectful
· You should know when to bring up an issue and the right way and medium to do so (is it face-to-face, a call etc.).
It is important to become an effective communicator. It simply makes life easier.