Communication is one of the most talked about yet least understood areas of human behavior. Yet, we have been communicating with each other since the very dawn of our history. Our ability to communicate in a variety of ways is unique on earth to us humans.
However, effective communication is rarely taught and even more rarely learned. When we are young, we are taught the well known “3 R’s” – Reading (W)riting and (A)rithmetic and then progress to other areas and subjects – but what about the art of effective communication?
How do you make sure that you are passing on the message you intend, to ensure that what you mean is being correctly understood, how do you use means other than words to express yourself, accentuate meaning and in turn how to comprehend and interpret correctly what others are communicating to you.
Communication skills are more important than any other for, if we cannot express ourselves adequately, how can we impart and absorb information and knowledge? Superior communication skills are unquestionably important to living a life by design and vital to success in the business world.
Even people who do not possess the ability to speak can be wonderful communicators - the loss of one or two senses can impair particular dimensions of communications, but it certainly does not stop communication altogether.
Interpersonal communication is the exchange of any information between people. Being social beings, we communicate with each other whenever we get together whether it involves passing on important data or letting others know what we think and feel. All of us have an inherent need to communicate and we do so even when we have nothing or little to say.
When we are with our family, friends or colleagues we spend most if not all our time communicating with each other. Even when we are with strangers we will communicate with them if we are brought together by circumstances such as on a train journey, waiting in a long queue or at a public gathering.
This kind of interpersonal communication also occurs constantly at any workplace and is an integral part of any business. The way colleagues communicate with each other directly impacts on any business. Your approach and feelings towards your business, towards your colleagues and your job itself, are made evident through communications.
Thus, while communications may not specifically be a part of a business plan, interpersonal communication always has a direct and major effect on its success or failure. Business environments where anger, heated words and irritation with others is common, people are never going to be effective or productive. On the other hand, if constant joking, and having a riotous good time is commonplace, the effect will be the same.
Both these are extremes and both will adversely affect performance, cause chaos and ultimately failure. A balance between these two extremes is what is best; performance levels are optimized when people have high comfort levels when interacting with their colleagues, knowing that messages sent and received are being correctly and objectively interpreted.