Communication is essential to success in both career and relationships. It’s also vital to a productive workplace. Recognized as a soft skill, communication is the act of exchanging ideas and information. It connects people and binds organisations into a cohesive whole.
We use communication to impart what we feel, what we know, and what we wish to happen. It's the very foundation of civilisation itself.
In this article, you’ll know more about the importance of communication. You’ll also learn the 4 types of communication and how best to develop them.
We communicate every single day, in different scenarios and environments. We convey messages, whether at home or in the workplace. Whether it's verbal or visual, communication is key to successful relationships and businesses.
There are many communication styles or types that you can use. It depends on the reason, situation, and people involved. Here, you will learn about visual, written, verbal, and non-verbal communication. Each has its own advantages andpurpose.Understanding these is the first crucial step in developing good communication skills.
When you convey your message through language, including sign language, you perform verbal communication. This type of communication is used during conversations, meetings, conferences, phone calls, and other online or face-to-face interactions.
A one-on-one conversation that happens between two individuals.
A silent conversation with ourselves or an internal dialogue that takes place inside our brain.
A discussion or interaction with more than two people involved.
Takes place when someone speaks to a large audience or crowd.
The imparting of information with a large audience, using a channel or medium of communication like TV.
Using words to communicate is often the most direct way to convey your intended message to another person. Words have assigned meanings, which leaves little room for misinterpretation, especially when they are used properly. They also allow you to express something clearly, whether spoken or written.
However, some pieces of information cannot be completely captured by words. These are often things or events that involve complex feelings. For instance, saying a football game was exciting or simply narrating the events. It's not enough to capture the actual emotions felt during the viewing of the recorded video or live event.
To be a good communicator, you must learn to listen well. “Effective communication is about two things, imparting your message in a way that gets you what you want and listening in a way that you truly ‘hear' what the other person is saying,” says executive coach Shane Warren, who offers expert tips for being an effective communicator.
Your number one goal as a communicator is to be understood. So, you need to speak in a clear voice without being too loud. If you speak too strongly or too loudly, you may come off differently to some people. Worse, this can turn some audiences off. The key is to be balanced – mixing clarity and assertiveness with calmness, making sure you lower your volume when speaking about delicate or intimate matters, and speaking up when the occasion calls for it.
Your tone, or the way you speak, can often be as important as your message. Speaking in a lively and energetic tone can help you be persuasive, especially when making presentations or pitching ideas. When dealing with a difficult situation, it may be more advisable to speak in a hushed or sombre tone so you can sound empathetic to the listener.
Sometimes, our body language can speak louder than our words. Nonverbal communication is one of the most compelling forms of communication. It is the way we move, act, and look at people that signals a message not expressed through words.
Nonverbal communication is one of the most important social skills, according to ASEAN Tourism Master YS Chan. “Hence, the importance of communicating face-to-face on important matters as it is difficult to cover up visual clues all the time,” he says. “Those who have mastered the art of reading body language would know that everyone is communicating, often unknowingly, even when not speaking.”
Examples are gesturing with your hands; arms crossed across the chest; tilting your head to one side; crossing your legs; standing up right; looking at the floor; placing your hand on your mouth or cheek; standing with your hands on your hips.
Dr. Paul Ekman's research tells us that the 7 universal facial expressions we use, regardless of country or culture, are anger, contempt, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness, and surprise.
Researchers say that eye contact could be the most significant form of nonverbal communication. Eye contact can reveal a range of emotions. It can signal many attention, interest, hostility, affection, or attraction.
any form of physical contact that signals an emotion, such as a high-five, fist bump, tap on the shoulder, or a handshake.
Expressing yourself through movements can sometimes have a more profound effect than words. A smile, for example, can express kindness or pleasure more strongly than merely saying, “I'm glad.” A tap on the shoulder is also a more powerful way of expressing your approval.
Of course, nonverbal communication can only be done in person. While most of it can be done through video calls in some cases, it is still more effectively done in a face-to-face setting. Another disadvantage here is the fact that nonverbal communication is a less concrete and less formal way of interacting, which could raise concerns depending on the context.
Nonverbal communication is often the most telling or revealing. Words can lie, but our bodies cannot. So, if you're approaching someone in a relaxed frame of mind, it will easily show. You'll appear welcoming and confident, which will only help you get your message across more effectively.
Effective nonverbal communication takes practise and a lot of correction. You should be able to unlearn mannerisms that may give off a negative vibe, especially to people who you have just met. Leaning back with your arms folded can be a sign of arrogance to some. Resting your head on your hand may be viewed as a sign of boredom.
Bad body language can easily be corrected just by being more self-aware while talking to someone. Practise how to be more relaxed in your overall posture to give off a more welcoming and positive vibe.
Your actions and facial expressions will appear more natural when you're in a comfortable state. In a meeting or interview, sit in a comfortable chair so you can feel more relaxed. If you are giving a presentation standing up, make sure you are wearing comfortable shoes, so that you can maintain your energy throughout
Images are a powerful way to communicate ideas. Visual communication makes use of imagery to deliver a message. Like nonverbal communication, it also relies on the sense of sight but is not limited to body movements, and instead has a wider canvas of expression.
Creative images that are composed digitally, from logos, to illustrations, to web design, and animation.
Still images captured by a camera, whether analogue or digital.
Moving images either shot via camera or rendered via animation; i.e. video posts, vlogs, TV programs, films, or documentaries.
Graphic art that effectively illustrates pieces of information, mostly statistics that are presented visually.
While visual communication may not be as personal or intimate as verbal or nonverbal communication, it is often more sophisticated and can be more impactful when done effectively.
Images are powerful communication tools, especially when used on people who primarily think visually. They stimulate the imagination, which enhances your message and makes it more potent in people's minds.
When it comes to images, oftentimes, less is more. A single image is more powerful than several objects crammed in a single frame. The former optimises an audience's focus, while the latter could only distract one image from another, resulting in a diluted overall effect. Make sure you present images cleanly as well so that there are little to no distractions to your main image.
Attention is becoming an increasingly limited resource these days, especially in the realm of social media. This is why your images should pop out of the screen.Composeartwork, pictures, or videos that can make someone stop scrolling. Use shocking images (without being offensive), outrageous, funny, and relatable to people.
It is now easier than ever to use visuals in communication. Explore the many tools you can use to present images to people – laptops, LED TVs, tablets, animation apps, photo editing apps, and other new hardware or software that can help you create compelling images. You can also take a short course in editing, digital art, or content creation to further improve on your visual communication skills.
Written communication refers to writing, typing, and printing messages and information. They can include letters, numbers, and symbols. Written materials can be in the form of letters, memos, email, text messages, chats, books, newspapers, and magazines.
Writing is done in a transactional or industrial capacity, which is formal; examples are memos, business proposals, and procedures.
Any form of inventive writing that expresses an emotion or idea, whether reflecting an individual or a brand; examples are blogs, articles, poetry, slogans, taglines, poetry, fiction.
Writing done for research, which is formal; examples are thesis, research papers, critical essays.
Written communication has the unique advantage of being simultaneously clear, comprehensive, and carefully crafted. Unlike verbal communication, it can be composed and edited before being delivered. This can help avoid or minimise mistakes.
Of course, the trade-off is that it lacks the intimacy and directness of verbal communication, as well as the emotional impact of visual and nonverbal communication.
Make sure to express your thoughts as briefly as possible. Only mention the necessary information and avoid adding redundant statements. Unnecessary details can only make your message longer than it's supposed to be. This can risk losing your reader's interest.
Take it easy on the thesaurus, my friend! Using simple, easy-to-understand words is usually enough. Trying to impress other people with your deep vocabulary can be counterproductive, as it can lead to confusion and misunderstanding.
Impress your reader with the content of your message. Focus on the meat and essence of what you're trying to say. Think of the most compelling part of your main message or idea. Then make sure to emphasise that. Use examples if you must, to enhance your message.
Different situations, people, and teams call for different types of communication when working together toward a common goal. Understanding the differences between these forms of communication is important in knowing which is most effective for your cause.
Verbal communication is best when you want to convey a message in the most direct way. Nonverbal communication, on the other hand, teaches you how to read exchanges without speaking.
While visual communication may not be as intimate as other types, it can be more impactful if done effectively. Meanwhile, written communication can be advantageous if you need your message to be simultaneously clear, comprehensive, and carefully crafted.
Of course, you need to consider several factors about your audience: distance or proximity, educational background, age, size, and other demographic information. Use the most appropriate mode of communication for your particular situation and your message will get its desired result.
Whether it's verbal, non-verbal, visual, or written communication, each is instrumental for the success of the workplace. These do not only help with your targets but allow for a more efficient and productive work environment.
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