Communication Skills

The Principles of Effective Communication

Effective Communication

There follows a description of the principles of effective communication that will help you with interactions and hopefully aid you gain a job.

General Communication

There are three main points of general communication. These are cultural differences, adaptations and audience. Having good communication skills is good for any job, however the IT industry is very reliant on communicating information in a range of formats. Knowing the techniques to communicate effectively is very important.

Cultural differences is important because at the workplace there could be people there from all around the world. You must consider other peoples cultural background, such as people may have different religious beliefs that can affect what they do during the day or what they eat for example. Both the company and individuals need to understand the cultural differences. An understanding of this is important because if someone is from another cultural background then communicating with them could be slightly different such as something you say or do could be seen as disrespectful in their eyes.

Adaptations are important in general communication. Adapting your voice for example or modulating it is very effective. When verbally communicating to an audience you could modulate your voice so that you are speaking loudly and clearly so that everyone in the audience can hear you and understand what you are telling them. This is considering the needs of others, which makes it so you are communicating effectively with them.

A good principle of general communication is engaging the audience. This is good because when you are presenting information to people, they could often get bored or lose interest after a while so speaking in different tones of your voice and using good terminology can make it more exciting, prompting them to listen.

Interpersonal Communication

Interpersonal communication is a face-to-face communication. It is a way or exchanging information, feelings and meaning through verbal and non-verbal messages. Interpersonal communication is mainly about how something is said and the non-verbal messages sent through tone of voice, facial expressions, gestures and body language. It is a vital way of communicating considering that people in organisations spend over 75% of their time in an interpersonal situation.

There are different elements in interpersonal communication starting at the communicators. This is usually a two-way process where people are sending and receiving information to each other simultaneously. It isn't just about the speech used or information conveyed, but also the non-verbal messages exchanged such as tone of voice, facial expressions, gestures and body language. These behaviours can also convey additional information about the spoken subject. Noise can affect interpersonal communication also as background noise can distort the message you are trying to get across.

Written Communication

Written communication is one the most common form of business communication. Having good written communication skills is vital in most companies as there will be times when you might need to write a letter to someone rather than an email as they might have cultural differences where they do not use computers or smartphones to communicate. However emails are also classed as written communication along with postcards, internet websites, faxes, contracts etc. There are certain advantages that come from written communication, such as money saving where instead of calling someone on a mobile phone which can be expensive sometimes depending on how long the call is, you could instead send them an email with the information on it, saving money and time. However there can be some disadvantages too, such as lack of secrecy as a member of staff could important information written down on a sheet of paper that only certain people are meant to see, however it will be exposed to anyone who looks. Written communication can be used effectively when the sender wants a record of certain information for future references. However the main use of written communication is when oral communication is not possible due to people not being in the same place at the same time.

Communication Barriers

Barriers to Effective Communication

Many Barriers exist that can prevent or reduce the effectiveness of communication. This section will illustrate some of the potential barriers and show how the effect of these barriers can be reduced or even eliminated.

Barriers to General Communication

Barriers in general communication can vary from different things. Some examples of the main barriers are: cultural, physical, physiological, systematic, lack of knowledge and expectation.

Cultural barriers are one of the most common barriers to general communication. In society with there being many different kind of cultures such as religion or societal, some problems arise in the workplace. Language is a common barrier as in the workplace misunderstandings can easily happen to two people who share the same first language, therefore when there are a few people in the workplace who don't have English as their first language then it often results in small issues between colleagues. For example, if an organisation's manager asks a colleague who has an entirely different cultural background to them, to print off a leaflet for them soon, then the two colleagues could have entirely different interpretations of the word soon, resulting in a breakdown of communication. You can overcome this issue by taking the time to learn how their cultures work by researching at home or by literally asking them yourself. Eventually you will know how they interpret certain words and phrases, making work life easier for the both of you.

Behavioural barriers are known to happen in the workplace sometimes. These are generally cultural differences in body language that can cause miscommunications. An example being that in most cultures you would expect eye contact with the person you are talking to, however in some cultures eye contact can be seen as a sign of disrespect or challenge of authority. To reduce or even eliminate a barrier like this, whether its eye contact or another behaviour trait you could try to talk to people and let them know that if you ever do something accidently that might insult them, then let them know so you are informed for the future.

Barriers to Interpersonal Communication

Interpersonal communication can have a few barriers that affect people in the workplace. A common would be attitudinal barriers. These barriers are behaviours or perceptions that prevent people from communicating effectively. This can result from some members of staff in the workplace whose personality conflicts with either yours or others. An example being an IT manager who has more of an important job than others or one that pays better, treating others poorly just because of job titles. Another example of an attitudinal barrier would be someone who lacks motivation. A staff member could want the person to mark or go over some work at home, however the person lacked motivation to do this and fell behind with the work. This could be reduced by the people who are causing problems make a change with their work attitude to help others and themselves.

Emotional barriers can disrupt communication sometimes. In the workplace someone could often have a problem where either a family member has died or they are going through some personal issues that can cause them to be emotional with either anger, sadness or grief etc. This can cause problems when trying to communicate with them as they might ignore what you say or in extreme cases, try to take their anger out on you. This can be dealt with by either reporting the situation to your manager or leaving them be to deal with the situation alone as sometimes that can be easier for them.

Barriers to Written Communication

Quite often the most common barriers to written communication can be language and jargon/slang. Sometimes an office could contain a few staff who personally know each other outside of work. This can become a problem as they will be used to being informal with one another when professionalism is required. For example, two of them could need to send an email to each other where other members of staff might catch a glimpse of the email that contains slang, jokes and other unprofessional things that others may find disrespectful and rude, which could result in them being reported to the head of the department. It is absolutely vital that you remain professional in written communication whether messaging someone outside or inside the industry.

Poor spelling and grammar can affect written communication such as you needing to send an email to your boss or someone who is looking to get a job by sending an email to the head of recruitment. If the email is full of spelling errors and grammar mistakes then it will not look good on you and your chances of getting the job. You could eliminate this issue by proofreading your email and correcting your mistakes making your email look professional.