Photo Source: Mariano Kamp
As social creatures, humans are born with the instinct to coexist and thrive within social groups. We do this by communicating with one another everyday throughout our entire lives. It is no wonder that communication is the lifeline that holds our social and professional relationships intact.
Communication comes from the Latin word “communis” which means to “share”. Although it is an important component in all industries today, communication has been around since the dawn of mankind with the prehistoric cave drawing. It was only in the later part of the 20th century that the process of communication was studied as a discipline on its own.
It doesn’t necessarily have to be spoken or deliberate in nature – it may even involve non-conventional modes such as body language to convey messages. For it to be effective, we should also take into consideration the emotion behind the information itself.
Communication begins when information is transmitted towards the intended receiver. It is only considered complete when the receiver has fully understood the message. How accurately the information is understood or processed ultimately depends upon how well the message was delivered and received.
By combining skills that include body language, listening, stress management and the ability to identify emotions and intentions behind the information, communication can become a powerful tool to help build relationships, inspire crowds of people and even diffuse problematic situations.
It even provides a framework for handling negative or difficult situations without causing conflict or damaging trust. Think of how a hostage negotiator would manage a hostile situation and you can quickly appreciate the power of communication. Miscommunication happens all the time. Just watch this interesting video of an typical sales vs engineer issue which you may appreciate.
While communication skills can be learnt, like a performance, it needs to be executed spontaneously. Basically it should come across as natural and as transparent as possible.
As many of these skills need to be internalised, it takes time to develop them. But like most disciplines, practise makes perfect. The result is you will project a calm personality during the process and will be in control of the situation.
When it comes down to communication, it is absolutely necessary to present the facts as clearly as possible so there is no room for doubt. This is especially important at the workplace where miscommunications can waste companies’ precious time and money. To avoid that keep in mind the Seven ‘C’s of Communication.
The Seven ‘C’s of Communication
In essence, the information presented should be delivered clearly and precisely. It should not raise any doubts.
The message should be concise and short. It should only contain words that convey the information without “fillers” such as “I think” or “perhaps”.
The message should be concrete, meaning it should contain enough information and details for the audience to understand the whole picture.
Your message should also be correct in terms of fact, grammar and the terms used to address the audience.
Your information should also be coherent, and should not cause confusion or misunderstanding.
It needs to be complete, with all relevant information included – contact names, dates, venues, and more. It ideally should also have a “call to action” statement that clearly informs your audience what you like them to do.
Lastly but not least, your message should be courteous to not offend the receiver.
When we communicate things that we care about, we do so by mainly using nonverbal signals.
This form of communication involves other cues that will eventually compound to the overall meaning of the message. Elements such as facial expressions, body movement and gestures, eye contact, posture, the tone of your voice, and even your muscle tension and breathing tell people a lot about your state of mind, your intention and your attitude.
Sometimes what your body tells about you can be quite revealing to others. By understanding non-verbal communication and ways to use it can make you more acceptable to others, to express your views more accurately, to tackle challenging situations, and to forge better personal and work relationships.
Communication is one of the most versatile subjects that can be used in different fields and disciplines. It is now essential in every segment of the industry and is in fact a vital component in most corporate structures.
It opens a vast array of career paths to choose from and has become a popular course chosen by many in their tertiary education. Its flexible nature allows graduates to easily assume positions as university professors, marketing researchers, media editors and designers.
They can strike out as journalists, advertising executives, actors, human resources managers, corporate trainers, public relations practitioners, media managers and consultants. The possibilities are endless.
Communications studies usually combine social sciences and humanities. As a social science, it often incorporates sociology, psychology, anthropology, biology, political science, economics, and public policy, among others. From a humanities viewpoint, communication focuses on rhetoric and persuasion.
Communications can also be applied to outside disciplines which include engineering, architecture, mathematics, and information science.
Basically, communication deals with how we interact with others – it helps us connect with others and improves the way we handle certain people or situations. And that is what makes us human.