Communication: if we look up the definition in the Longman Dictionary of Cotemporary English, the first and third meanings state what it seems so obvious: “The process by which people exchange information or express their thoughts and feelings” and “The way people express themselves so that other people will understand”. It is not randomly that I emphasize the two phrases since both express the basis of the purpose of communication.
The second phrase expresses the reason why we should communicate: So OTHER PEOPLE will understand. The key here is that we already know it, but what about the rest?
Inside a company, the communication is so essential in this sense because it is the only mean (until we evolve and mind reading becomes a common practice) to know what our peers, colleagues and/or other areas are doing ( or maybe just thinking of doing) and work together towards a common goal.
Ok, I understand. No further reading needed. I will start sending more e-mails and chatting even more. WAIT!!! We are just scratching the surface here!!!!
Check the first meaning again and focus on the word “exchange”. It implies not only the need to send information, but it also highlights the other end. For example, we can send an e-mail; the mail servers will make sure the targeted audience will receive it. Still, what if they just press “mark as read”. In this case, the message, the really important thing, didn’t actually reach the recipient.
The top four categories of communication that first come to my mind right now are:
- Spoken or Verbal Communication: face-to-face, telephone, radio or television and other media.
- Non-Verbal Communication: body language, gestures, how we dress or act – even our scent.
- Written Communication: letters, e-mails, books, magazines, the Internet or via other media.
- Visualizations: graphs and charts, maps, logos and other visualizations can communicate messages.
OK, so far so good with the communication word, and what about EFFECTIVELY?
Here lays the difference: One thing is to send a message, and another thing is that it is received, understood and it is useful to the receiver. Great communicators not only know what they need to communicate, but the way we convey the message is also important, and that my friends, it depends on who the receptor is. WE as the communicators need to adapt the message to others.
We need to think of the destination (to whom the message is addressed) and pick the correct way. And maybe, the same message has to be sent in different channels combining the categories mentioned above when the audience is comprised of different “kind” of receptors: with some face-to-face to those we appreciate human interaction, email to the one that wants to read carefully later-on, summaries and charts to visual persons, etc. There is no limit to imagination.
Finally, if I am lucky, you are reaching the end of the post, and maybe you are thinking, Ok all this because of what? The reason is simple:
“Better Informed People Make Better Decisions”