Achieve Success Through
Effective Communication Skills

The success of nations and organizations hinge on how individuals communicate daily. Blueprints, policies, strategies and countless messages need to be translated into action before they can become a reality. Imagine the cost of damage or delays to projects if messages are miscommunicated. Imagine negotiations in business or between governments going awry because negotiators lacked effective communication skills.

In a day-to day business, effective communication skills is the key to business, social and personal success. The success of every interaction depends heavily upon a person’s ability to communicate clearly to others what he thinks, feels, needs and wants. Clarity of thought in verbal and written communication ensures that your intentions are understood and your instructions accurately acted upon. The practice of effective communication skills has a major impact not only on job effectiveness, but determines quality relationships and success in every endeavor.

What is the purpose of communicating?

You communicate when you wish to:

  • Express your thoughts, feelings and needs
  • Express your intentions and ideas
  • Convey instructions to be carried out

Why do you fail to communicate effectively?

When you communicate, you are not just expressing your thoughts, feelings and instructions, but you are communicating everything about you - your family upbringing, culture, religion and social background. These factors are unique and have a profound effect on how you think, feel, speak and act. They act as filters to the way you see the world. Perceptions differ from one person to another often causing a breakdown in another person’s understanding.

Barriers to effective communication

There are many factors that can cause a breakdown in communications. As effective communications implies a two-way process, sometimes, it could be the fault of the communicator of the message, or it could be the fault of the receiver, the person listening or reading your message. There are many pitfalls in the communication process and it is worthwhile to be aware of them and avoid them.

Factors involved in faulty transmission

Thinking confused. If the communicator is confused about the message he wishes to convey, he will communicate the message inaccurately.

Poor retention. If he did not remember the details of the message he heard or read, he will not communicate them to others.

Wrong assumptions. If he made wrong assumptions about the message he received, he is likely to communicate them.

Suffering line-loss. If he received the message from a long line of people, a lot of details would have been left out by the time he received it, so what he communicates will be distorted.

Marked difference in education levels of the audience. If he is unaware of this fact before he prepares to communicate, his message will not cater to the different levels of understanding of his audience.

Inadequate or inaccurate information. If he does not provide adequate information or the information is inaccurate, it will compound the miscommunication and the results will be disappointing.

Factors involved in faulty reception

Even if the communicator has kept in mind the above factors in preparing his message, he will do well to be aware that the audience may react differently each time to a message they hear or read. Audience’s can react in the following ways.

Receiver not listening. The audience could be preoccupied with other thoughts at that time.

Audience’ s emotions. Certain words used by the communicator can trigger strong negative emotions and the audience can decide to switch you off.

Conclusion made too early. The audience could jump to the wrong conclusions at the start of your message thereby reducing understanding of the intentions of the communicator.

Errors in perception. Words and meanings vary from one person to another and result in the audience having the wrong perceptions.

Prejudice and preconception. Audience’s have their own prejudices and preconceptions which often get in the way of listening objectively. Because of this, they choose what they want to hear and interpret the message according to their perceptions.

How can we communicate more effectively to achieve better results?

With so many barriers to the communication process, what can you do to ensure effective communications?

13 tips to achieve effective communications

Clarify your thinking. Before writing or speaking, think about what you have to say, what is your objective and how best you can deliver your message to achieve the results you want.

Obtain favorable attention. Especially if you are speaking, do not start until you have the full attention of the audience. In writing, your flow of thought and selection of words have to entice the reader to read on.

Make it simple and specific. Always use simple language so that everyone can understand and be specific about your objectives so that you get what you want.

Make use of feedback. If you are speaking, ask questions and encourage questions so that you can enhance understanding of your message.

Use the “U” appeal. You will not succeed in getting people to do what you want unless they are sold on how they are involved and will benefit.

Consider tone and content. In writing or speaking, your tone must be appropriate to your message. Avoid talking down to your audience. Talk to them and engage them in your message throughout.

Always plant mental images. Provide examples and vivid descriptions so that the audience can “see” what you mean.

Talk only in positive terms. Always use positive language and examples to achieve positive results.

Impress, repeat, associate, to get attention. Especially if you want the audience to take action, you need to stress certain points, repeat the important facts and associate what you say with real examples to prove your point.

Offer and earn liking and respect. From the start of any message be it written or verbal, your tone, your choice of words, your delivery style and your whole personality will either endear you to your audience or turn them against you. If they like you, they are inclined to listen, agree with you and act on what you say.l.

Effective communication skills are critical to the success of nations and organizations.

You will agree then that a lot is at stake when you communicate. Every individual engaged in the communication chain daily must take responsibility for their part in ensuring that messages are relayed accurately so that objectives are successfully achieved. Communicators are like the torch bearers in the Olympics. No one can claim success until the last torch bearer has received the torch and reaches the final destination.

Whether you are a government, corporation or individual, your success will be greatly enhanced by ensuring that your staff polish their communication skills.

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