Effective communication

Effective communication occurs when there is a shared meaning. The same message that is sent is received. For the transmission of ideas or information to be successful there must be mutual understanding between the sender and the receiver.

Effective communication may be defined as:
 Using language that is appropriate to others’ levels of understanding.
 Making sure others receive the information or knowledge intended.
 Developing relationships with others.
 Talking with others in a way that facilitates openness, honesty and cooperation.
 Providing feedback.

Effective communication is a part and parcel of any successful organization. Any communication should be unobstructed in order to be effective. Characteristics of effective communication are:

1. Clarity of Intent: The message to be conveyed must be clear in the mind of the sender. Who is targeted and the purpose of the message should be clear.

2. Completeness: The delivered message should be complete. It should be supported by data and observations. It should be well planned and organized. No assumptions should be made by the receiver.

3. Conciseness: The message should be concise. It should not include any unnecessary details. It should be concise and complete.

4. Feedback: Whether the message sent by the sender is understood by the receiver in the same terms or not can be judged by the feedback received. Feedback should be timely and personal. It should be specific rather than general.

5. Empathy: Empathy with the audience is essential for effective verbal communication. The speaker should step into the audience’s shoes and be sensitive to their needs and emotions. This way he can understand things from their perspective and make communication more effective.

6. Change the message according to the audience: Information requirements by different people in the organization differ according to their needs. What is relevant to middle level management may not be relevant to the top level of management. The use of jargon should be minimized as it can lead to misunderstandings and misinterpretations. The message should be modified according to the needs and requirements of the target audience.

7. Multiple channels of communication: Multiple channels should be used for effective communication as it increases the likelihood of message clarity. By using different channels the message is reinforced and the message is less likely to be distorted.

8. Make effective use of the grapevine (informal means of communication): Employees and managers should not always discourage the grapevine. They should use the vine effectively. Managers can use Grapevine to deliver formal messages and identify issues important to employees. Managers can know the problems faced by the employees and work on it.

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