“If you just communicate, you can get by, but if you communicate skilfully, you can work miracles”
Different Effective Methods of Communication – Most of the times, when the word communication comes to the mind of the people, they think about exchanging ideas and information by means of words but such type of verbal communication is just a small component of communication. In the 21st century, businesses have access to a number of methods of communication which can be used with internal and also with external audiences. The main methods of communication which the businesses can use include the traditional business meetings as well as print to the videoconferencing and social media of the new age. Several tools can be utilized by the businesses for addressing audiences who are in locations which are both near and far. While a lot of attention is received by the methods of effective communication that are new, the value along with the relevance of the traditional methods of communication still exists. Thus, several different methods of communication exists and the determination of the method that is right for the organisation is a vital decision that needs to be taken.
Different Ways to Communicate Effectively in the Workplace
The different methods of communication that are used commonly at the workplace are –
Verbal communication involves the usage of words while the delivery of the intended message is being made. It can be one-on-one, over the phone or in group settings, etc. it is a methods of effective communication that is personal and has to be used more than only phone calls and emails whenever possible. The medium of the message in case of verbal communication is oral. Simple speaking is verbal communication. Seeing the person with whom face-to-face communication is taking place helps in gauging the response of that person by understanding their body language and also assists in active participation of the dialogue. Thus, written as well as oral communication are the two main types of verbal communication.
Storytelling is a form of verbal communication that is effective. A vital organisational function is served by it as it helps in the construction of common meanings for the individuals in the organisation. Stories assist in clarifying key values and also help in demonstrating the way thing are done in an organisation. The tone, strength and frequency of the story have a relation with higher organisational commitment. The quality of stories that are told by the entrepreneurs is related to the capability of securing capital for their organisations. Stories can help in serving to reinforce as well as perpetuate the culture of an organisation.
- Crucial Conversations
Even though the process is similar, more skill, reflection and planning is needed for high-stakes communications in comparison to daily interactions at work. Examples of communication that involves high-stakes consist of presenting the venture capitalist a business plan and asking for a raise. Apart from these, at several times in our professional lives, we have conversations that are crucial – discussions in which stakes are high, emotions run strong and opinions may differ.
Written communication cannot be avoided in the workplace. It is present everywhere and consists of traditional paper and pen documents and letters, text chats, emails, typed electronic documents, reports, SMS and anything else that might be conveyed by the use of written symbols like language which includes any documents that are a part of the day to day business life. Such methods of communication is indispensable for any formal business communication and also for the issue of legal instructions.
The methods of communication that mainly make use of written communication consist of formal business proposals, press releases, memos, contracts, brochures, handbooks and the like. How effective the written communication is will depend on the style of writing, vocabulary, grammar along with clarity. Written communication is most suitable in cases that require detailed instructions, when something has to be documented or in situations where the person is too far away to speak in person or over the phone. Some of the written methods of communication include –
Tools of the social media such as Facebook can be used in an effective way in the organisations for the purpose of communicating between locations, divisions, departments and employees. Certain tools such as Yammer are specifically designed for creating social media networks in the confines of a particular domain of business.
The email communication in organisations has become very common and is a highly essential tool for sharing of information with one, hundreds as well as thousands of employees. It is usually a significant component of the communication plan and even though it may not be a replacement for face-to-face or other methods of communication, it is easily accessible and inexpensive.
The other type of verbal communication includes the spoken word, either over the phone or face-to-face, videoconferencing, voice chat or any other medium. Different types of informal communications like the informal rumour mill or grapevine and formal communications such as conferences and lectures are the forms of effective oral communication. The use of oral communications is made in discussions as well as conversations that are informal and causal. How effective the oral communication is will depend on the speed, volume, pitch, voice modulation, clarity of speech and also the non-verbal communications like visual cues and body language.
Some of the important oral methods of communication include –
This is usually preferred methods of communication although it is not realistic all the time, especially in organisations that are based in several locations around the globe. However, tools like videoconferencing make approximate face-to-face communication possible and help even the large organisations in creating personal connections between the management and the staff.
Meetings are common in almost all the business settings and now it has become possible to augment them via use of the tools of technology which allow the participants in the remote locations to participate in the discussions, although they are not present physically on the meeting site.
While using verbal communication, the person needs to be aware of his tone of voice, inflection as well as speed. Use of sarcasm and angry tones should be avoided otherwise the person with whom you are communicating will go on the defensive. While speaking to your team or to a group of people, you should ensure that you speak loudly as well as clearly so that everyone is able to understand what you are saying. Use of the microphone should be made if a group in is being addressed in a large room. Verbal communication is best used when something has to be discussed in detail or when someone has to be complimented or reprimanded. Verbal communication makes the conveying of thoughts faster and easier and is the most successful methods of communication. However, it makes up just 7% of all the human communication.
Nonverbal methods of Communication
“The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said”
Communication by sending as well as receiving wordless messages is a part of nonverbal communication. Such messages are a vital part of any communication and generally provide reinforcement to verbal communication. However, they can also convey their own feelings and thoughts.
Physical Nonverbal Communication
A major role is played by the nonverbal communication in the way you communicate with other people. It cannot be relied as a sole means of communication except in cases where the person makes use of sign language. Physical Nonverbal Communication or the body language consists of body posture, facial expressions, eye contact, gestures like a pointed finger, wave and the like, touch, tone of voice, overall movements of the body and others.
You need to be aware of the nonverbal communication. Your movements, eye contact and gestures, the way you sit and stand all help in conveying a message to the person with whom you are communicating. Gestures should be used appropriately or the hands should be left at your sides. You should avoid fidgeting as it is distracting and the arms should not be crossed as it sends a signal of being closed off or angry. You should always look in the eyes of the person to whom you are speaking and never stare or roll your eyes when they are talking.
The most common among all the nonverbal communication are the facial expressions. For example, a frown or a smile conveys emotions that are distinct and are difficult to express by means of verbal communication. Research has shown that nonverbal cues or body language along with facial expressions, tone of voice and body stance account for almost 55% of all the communication that takes place. As per the research, only 7% of the message’s comprehension by the receiver is based on the actual words of the sender, 38% is on the basis of para language (the volume, tone and pace of speech) while 55% is on the basis of nonverbal cues (body language).
Research has also revealed that nonverbal cues may also have an effect on whether you are successful in getting a job offer. Judges who examine the videotapes of the applicants were able to make assessments of their social skills even when the sound was off. They had a look at the gesturing rate, time that was spent on talking and the dress formality for determining the candidates who would be most successful for the job socially. Thus, it is essential to consider the way one appears in the business and also what one says. Our emotions are conveyed by our facial muscles. A silent message can be sent without uttering a word. A change in our emotional state is visible in the change of our facial expression.
For example, if we focus on being confident prior to an interview, the confidence will be conveyed to the interviewer by our face. Putting up a smile even when feeling stressed can reduce the stress levels of the body.
A significant component of nonverbal communication is the way something is said, instead of what is said actually. This consists of style of speaking, tone, emotion, stress, pitch, intonation and voice quality. It helps in the communication of interest, approval or the absence of it. According to research, 38% of all communications are accounted for by the tone of the voice.
The other nonverbal communication forms generally communicate the personality of a person. These consist of –
- Aesthetic communication or creative expressions like painting, dancing, etc.
- Appearanceor the style of grooming and dressing that communicates the personality of a person.
- Space languagelike landscapes and paintings communicate taste as well as social status.
- Symbols like ego-building, status and religious symbols.
For being effective communicators, it is important to align our tone, appearance and body language with the word that are being conveyed by us. Research has indicated that when individuals lie, they blink more often, shrug and shift their weight. Tone is another element of communication that is nonverbal. A tone that is different can alter the message’s perceived meaning. The emphasis on a particular word illustrates the way a tone can convey a lot of information.
Visual communication is the third methods of communication which takes place through the help of visual aids like colour, illustration, graphic design, drawing, typography, signs and other electronic resources.
Visual communication comprising charts and graphs generally reinforces written methods of communication and in majority of the situations replaces written communication completely. “A picture is worth a thousand words” is an adage which shows that verbal communication can on several occasions be more powerful than verbal as well as nonverbal communication. The developments in technology have made expression of visual communication easier than what it was before.
There is no one correct way of communicating but you need to have awareness about what is appropriate and in which situation. The chosen methods of communication depends on the situation. Put yourself in the shoes of the employees. If there is a need to communicate a certain message to you, then you should first think of the way you are going to receive it. By using your good judgment regarding the situation and being considerate of your employees will make you an effective communicator. A better understanding of the various methods of communication along with the different communication styles will help in knowing as well as dealing with people in a better way, clear any misconceptions or misunderstandings that may exist and thus contribute to the organisation’s success.