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Effective Communication

What is effective communication?

Effective communication is a key management skill. In fact, being able to communicate clearly and effectively is the skill which underpins all your relationships, in both your personal and professional lives.

Effective communication is about exchanging ideas, information and feelings with other people. This involves:
  • Making sure that you communicate clearly so that others understand your ideas, suggestions, instructions, requests etc.

  • Making sure that you understand what others are communicating to you their ideas, suggestions, instructions, requests and so on.

Effective communication skills will:

  • Ensure you get the facts so that you can:
    -understand the situation and be aware of what is really going on
    -quickly make decisions and solve problems
    -respond to situations and changing circumstances appropriately

  • Keep you-up-to date so that:
    -you know about the newest initiatives, most recent products, latest figures and so on

  • Save you time so that:
    -you will deal with every situation knowing the background, the current
    situation and the most likely future outcome

  • Enable you to improve working relationships because effective communication will help you to?
    - improve and enhance alliances and partnerships with customers and
    - discover people's expectations, motivation, needs, problems and goals
    - improve team spirit and morale

Effective communication will help you to function more smoothly, effectively and efficiently it helps to get things done the easy way.

The communication loop

Every time you communicate with another person you engage in what is often referred to as the communication loop. This is shown in Figure1 below.

Figure 1 The communication loop

As you can see from the above, communication is an ongoing loop:

  • the sender of the message speaks or writes

  • the receiver of the message listens or reads

And, because communication should be a two-way process, each person involved should have the opportunity to both send and receive messages, and provide feedback.

Feedback is the response to the message which has been sent.

In conversation, this would be a verbal reply.

In written communication, this would be a letter, memo, email etc. which replies to the original document that was sent.

When in conversation with someone, if there is no feedback it might be reasonable to assume that the other person:

  • has not heard what we have said

  • does not understand what we have said

  • does not agree with what we have said

  • has fallen asleep during the conversation

During a conversation, if you don't receive feedback from your listener, then it is a clear signal that the communication loop has broken down.

Providing the messages you send are clear and straightforward:

  • the person receiving your messages should be able to understand and make sense of what you are saying

  • they, in turn, should be able to respond with a clear and straightforward message of their own which you can understand.

In this way, the communication loop works smoothly and efficiently, with message being sent, received and " most important of all " understood.

But, if the message you send is confused, unclear or too complicated:

  • the person receiving your message will be unable to understand and make sense of what you have said (or written)

  • They, in reply, are likely to send a confused or irrelevant response.

In these circumstances the result will be that the communication loop breaks down and effective communication does not occur.

Excerpt from the University of Leicester - Diploma in Manangement programme
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