Sunday, September 16, 2012
When Communication Really Works
It’s called communication because it is a two-way street – even when only one person is doing the talking, there is someone or more than one person at the other end who is receiving the message. And for communication to really work, it’s not just enough to send out a clear message, you also have to ensure that the correct meaning of the message has been understood by the recipient(s).
Good communication skills are hard to find, and before you think that you’re a good communicator, let me remind you that it’s not enough just to be linguistically strong and/or have a good voice.
To be an effective communicator, you must:
· Know your subject: If you don’t know what you’re supposed to talk or write about, you’re never going to be able to convey the message clearly. It may be the simple act of giving someone instructions – if you don’t know how to do it yourself, no amount of instructing will do the trick. So before you start to communicate, ensure that you know the subject to be communicated well enough to deliver the message. The level of your knowledge depends on how thorough or deep your communication should be.
· Know your audience: It’s not enough to just be knowledgeable about the subject, you also need to know the level of receptiveness of your audience. Some people understand when things are put very simply while others expect you to use a certain standard of language in order to be perceived as an expert. Before you begin to communicate, you must know who you’re going to communicate with in order for the communication to be efficient.
· Know how to tone up/down your subject according to your audience: And once you know both your subject and your audience, if you know how to tone your subject and choose your words according to your audience, you’re well on the way to being the king of communication. For example, you would explain certain things in one way to children and in a completely different way to adults. Even among adults, you would choose your words based on how well you think your audience is likely to understand them. This personalization and customization for a particular audience is what makes communication really effective.
These are the very basic skills of a good communicator – when you know what your message is supposed to be, when you know who the intended recipient is, and when you’re able to adjust the message according to the person who is supposed to receive it, you know you’ve mastered the fine art of communication.