If you Google the meaning of effective communication, it will tell you something along the lines of ‘getting your point across via different means’. That’s quite a broad definition.
In order to understand the true communication definition, perhaps we should think about the aims of communication instead. By doing that, you can work out whether the communication methods you’re using are hitting the spot or not.
You see, when communication is ineffective, all manner of negative things can occur. It’s very easy for misunderstandings to happen, it’s far too easy for conflict to occur, and when morale is affected by all of this, productivity within the contemporary office environment drops quite rapidly. As a result, you’ll notice employee engagement at an all-time low too.
The Aims of Effective Communication
There are many different types of communication, from nonverbal communication, written communication to verbal communication and the aims of each one will be slightly different according to who you’re communicating with and what for. However, in general, there are several aims which should be met regardless of whether you’re writing something down or speaking the words.
- Aim 1 - Conveying Your Message Clearly - The whole point of communicating with someone is to communicate a point. This doesn’t necessarily have to be instructions, it can simply be your feelings, an opinion, or even a bit of gossip, but the aim of communicating, in general, is to ensure that whatever your message is, it’s conveyed clearly to the person you intend it to reach.
- Aim 2 - Ensuring The Person Fully Understands - The person you’re speaking to has to understand the message clearly in order for communication to be successful. There are many ways to ensure that you’re understood, but being clear and succinct in your words is the best way, whilst being careful that your body language isn’t contradicting you. Of course, you can always ask the person if they understand, just to be sure.
- Aim 3 - Maintaining Confidence And Morale - Another aim is to ensure that the message you convey is done in a pleasant, clear, and polite way and that the other person doesn’t take offence unnecessarily. This can drastically affect confidence and in the workplace, it can also affect morale around the boardroom tables. In this case, productivity is going to fall.
- Aim 4 - Avoid a Misunderstanding - We’ve mentioned that you need to get your point across clearly and you need to check they understand, but you also need to ensure that you’re avoiding misunderstandings by checking your body language whilst you’re speaking. Sometimes you think you’re saying something very clearly indeed, but you have no idea that the body language you’re exuding is saying something very different indeed! Avoid misunderstandings at all costs.
- Aim 5 - Ensuring You’re Listening Properly - Communication isn’t all about speaking and writing words, it’s also about listening. Make sure that you’re actively listening to the other person by giving them your full attention and helping them to understand that fact too. If you’re talking to a customer, perhaps they’ve arrived at your reception desk to ask a question, ensuring that you’re listening properly is vital if you want to make the best impression possible.
Whether you’re brainstorming new ideas, you’re talking to a complaining customer, you’re discussing a situation with a colleague or you’re simply chatting over lunch, ensuring that communication is effective is vital.
By placing importance upon your words and your actions, rather than just flippantly saying something and expecting the other person to understand, you’re ensuring that the office environment remains high in morale, happy, and focused on the task at hand. This will also ensure that your customers remain happy and aren’t concerned about the level of service you’re providing.