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Communication Illustrated: The Speaker - 1

Posted Date: 09-Jul-2009  Last Updated:   Category: Career Guidance    
Author: Member Level: Gold    Points: 15

This is the first in a series of articles on the subject: Communication Illustrated. The idea is to illustrate what effective communication is, where things could go wrong in communication and analyse the factors that underlie effective communication.

Most of us like to claim to be "Good Communicators". This could more be the trend with the urbanites - the city dweller takes pride in his natural ability to "Communicate" fluently.

But the fact is, most of us are pretty ordinary in communication. Before we see what communication really is and why I proclaim that most of us are ordinary and not extra-ordinary in communication, let's see what communication is not.

Communication is not vocabulary; communication is not a collection of idioms and phrases tossed across to the opponent. Communication is not a flawless string of words and sentences. Communication is not Talking!

Technically, the communication process is typically illustrated this way:
Sender: Decides what message to send across
Sender: Puts the message across to the receiver
Medium: The package that the message goes in - could be orally, could be written, could be in English, could be non-verbal also
Receiver: Receives the message
Receiver: Decodes the message and makes sense
Receiver: Sends feedback to the sender
Sender: Receives the feedback and is satisfied that his message has reached the receiver in the way it was intended to reach

Sender > message > encoding > medium > decoding > message > receiver > feedback > sender

Since communication is much more complex than most of us think it is, let's deal with one topic at a time. The focus of this write-up is the "Sender", say, you.

You want to communicate something to X. Now, this is the first step - you should first feel the "need" to communicate and you should specifically want to direct your communication to X. Of course, you would have your own reasons and context to communicate to X and you decide to communicate.

Let's consider you know X; let's call her, Shalini. The message is about correcting a mistake in her behaviour - you are irritated by something that she did. What are the factors that you would consider before you go about this communication to Shalini?

Possibly, you might say, "Shalini, I need to talk to you about something important. It is about your behaviour and what I feel about it."

Before we get to Shalini's response to your statement, let's talk about your statement, and specifically, about you.

1. You are irritated
2. You feel compelled to talk to Shalini about the issue that you are irritated with
3. You have not considered what the mindset of Shalini is when you decide to take up the issue with her
4. You have not tried to clarify the issue with Shalini
5. You have not given much attention to the words that you would use to start the discussion with Shalini
6. We have not yet focussed on your tone when you spoke to Shalini

We are not discussing about the issue that got you irritated; nor are we discussing whether you were right or Shalini was wrong here. We have taken one instance as the context and we have taken a statement as an example. The idea is this: Communication starts with the "Sender" or the "Speaker" in this instance. And an effective communication depends a lot on how the communication originates, from whom it originates, what the sender's mindset is, how much the sender is in control of oneself and how much the sender is aware and conscious of the receiver, the message, the format of the message and the situation.

Well, that's just the beginning of Effective Communication. We'll discuss further about the Sender in the next article, "Communication Illustrated: The Speaker - 2".

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