The ability to communicate is the primary factor that distinguishes human beings from animals. And it is the ability to communicate well that distinguishes one individual from another. The story of human evolution is all about developing skills of language and communication. Human beings are creatures of communication and communicate with colleagues, family, society and themselves too. Communication skills are integral to human existence. Once mastered, it can catapult one to great heights.
At present effective communication has become a predominant factor in recruiting employees. As per result of many research studies managers in this knowledge era spend their 70 percent time in communicating. Hence great communication skills have become a necessary weapon in the arsenal of high productivity. All employers, irrespective of the industry look for the people who are good in communication skills. Academic organizations have already identified the need of this necessary skill and have been working on many development plans. But not much is achieved; NASSCOM study still points out that most of the graduating youth is unemployable, as they lack job oriented skills, communication skills being a big one. Good quality communication is not only necessary for a good job rather it is a pre requisite to live a good life.
In nutshell communication is ‘exchange of information and ideas’ and often takes place verbally and non-verbally. It is a set of skills which enables human beings to convey information so that it is received and understood. Many people assume that communication is all about words but that is misleading notion. In writing/reading still, the content is the king. But research points out that in speaking/listening words just constitute seven percent of effective communication. The rest is contributed by the way you communicate; here your intent is definitely the queen.
A typical communication process involves two parties: Sender and Receiver. In this process one either sends a message or receives the one. If one sends a message then it has to be easy and lucid enough so that the receiver interprets it correctly. If the message is interpreted wrongly then it is taken as sender’s failure too. Responsibility generally lies with the sender and which is why trainers and authors pay more focus on speaking or writing. But it is two way process at times we are senders but at other times we are receivers as well. And one cannot be a good communicator if he is not good enough in interpreting messages sent by others. Feedback also plays a vital role in making sure that the message is interpreted as it meant. Feedback is one of the best tools for improvement as it opens your eyes. It is a breakfast of champions but it has to be instant and constructive.
In holistic approach verbal communication can be divided into four different but interdependent skills:
· Reading: The reader plays a role of receiver. One needs to be good at interpreting message.
· Writing: The writer plays a role of sender. One needs to be good at drafting his thoughts and pour soul in the words.
· Listening: The listener plays a role of receiver. There is a Turkish proverb ‘Listen a hundred times; ponder a thousand times; speak once.’ Listening makes one a better receiver and sender too.
· Speaking: The speaker plays a role of sender. Words are of course, the most powerful drugs used by mankind. But it is the responsibility of the speaker to make them healing drugs and not the ones which hurt.
I am a sender when I write this blog and now when you are reading; of course you are a receiver. Write comments for this article and the roles will be reversed. If one is really interested in building communication skills, needs to work in holistic manner and understand all the four areas.
Remember, ‘Communication works for those who work at it’. Decide to master this art of highest importance. Stay tuned to the blog. Look forward to getting help on all the four areas on Fridays to come.