Skill Development: Communication Skill

Last week under the Skill Development feature, I did a post about Employability Skills

Today, the focus of Skill Development is on Communication Skill.

– What are the Components of Effective Communication?
– How do you improve the quality of information exchanged?

We all communicate in one way or the other. In simple terms, Communication is the art of exchanging information.  Notice the word “exchanging”. If you see communication as an exchange, there is an obvious implication that other people are involved – audience and there is a transfer of something “information”.

The quality of information exchanged is therefore affected by the quality of your communication skill. You may have the knowledge of a subject but if you lack the ability to pass information across effectively (through communication), you will experience a fall in the quality of that information.

What are the Components of Effective Communication?
Communication is Effective when the information you exchange is  received and understood by someone in the way it was intended.

You may have heard of the much talked about “7 C’s of Effective Communication”. If you haven’t well here it is.

 

 

1. Completeness
The communication must be complete. It should convey all facts required by the audience. The sender of the message must take into consideration the receiver’s mind set and convey the message accordingly. A complete communication has following features:
-They are cost saving as no crucial information is missing and no additional cost is incurred in conveying extra message if the communication is complete.
-A complete communication always gives additional information wherever required. It leaves no questions in the mind of receiver.
-Complete communication helps in better decision-making by the audience/ readers/ receivers of message as they get all desired and crucial information.
                       -It persuades the audience.
2. Conciseness
Conciseness means wordiness, i.e, communicating what you want to convey in least possible words without forgoing the other C’s of communication. Conciseness is a necessity for effective communication. Concise communication has following features:
-It is both time-saving as well as cost-saving.
-It underlines and highlights the main message as it avoids using excessive and needless words.
-Concise communication provides short and essential message in limited words to the audience.
-Concise message is more appealing and comprehensible to the audience.
-Concise message is non-repetitive in nature.
3. Consideration
Consideration implies “stepping into the shoes of others”. Effective communication must take the audience into consideration, i.e, the audience’s view points, background, mind-set, education level, etc. Make an attempt to envisage your audience, their requirements, emotions as well as problems. Ensure that the self-respect of the audience is maintained and their emotions are not at harm. Modify your words in message to suit the audience’s needs while making your message complete. Features of considerate communication are as follows:
-Emphasize on “you” approach.
-Empathize with the audience and exhibit interest in the audience. This will stimulate a positive reaction from the audience.
-Show optimism towards your audience. Emphasize on “what is possible” rather than “what is impossible”. Lay stress on positive words such as jovial, committed, thanks, warm, healthy, help, etc.
4. Clarity
Clarity implies emphasizing on a specific message or goal at a time, rather than trying to achieve too much at once. Clarity in communication has following features:
-It makes understanding easier.
-Complete clarity of thoughts and ideas enhances the meaning of message.
-Clear message makes use of exact, appropriate and concrete words.
5. Concreteness
Concrete communication implies being particular and clear rather than fuzzy and general. Concreteness strengthens the confidence. Concrete message has following features:
-It is supported with specific facts and figures.
-It makes use of words that are clear and that build the reputation.
-Concrete messages are not misinterpreted.
6. Courtesy
Courtesy in message implies the message should show the sender’s expression as well as should respect the receiver. The sender of the message should be sincerely polite, judicious, reflective and enthusiastic. Courteous message has following features:
-Courtesy implies taking into consideration both viewpoints as well as feelings of the receiver of the message.
-Courteous message is positive and focused at the audience.
-It makes use of terms showing respect for the receiver of message.
-It is not at all biased.
7. Correctness
Correctness in communication implies that there are no grammatical errors in communication. Correct communication has following features:
-The message is exact, correct and well-timed.
-If the communication is correct, it boosts up the confidence level.
-Correct message has greater impact on the audience/ readers.
-It checks for the precision and accurateness of facts and figures used in the message.
-It makes use of appropriate and correct language in the message.

Curled from Management Study Guide

I advise you search on “7 C’s of Effective Communication” to learn about the Seven C’s of effective communication. There are a lot of write ups on it out there.

How do you improve the quality of information exchanged?

Design. Yes, design. Take the time to design your communication to resonate with your intended audience. When you design a thing, you are taking the time to ensure that the output comes out beautifully. Why not design your communication!

I ran into an article on Communication Nation where the writer talked about “The Seven C’s of Communication Design”.

 

1. Contex

What’s going on? Do you understand the situation? Is there a dead elephant in the middle of the room that you’re not aware of? Ask good questions. You’ll need a clear goal before you begin to design any communication. Ask: who are you talking to and what do you want them to do?

2. Content
Based on your goal, define a single question that your communication is designed to answer. This is the best possible measure of communication effectiveness. What do you want your audience to walk away with and remember? Once you have defined your prime question, set out to answer it. What information is required? Do you have the answer already, or do you need to search it out?

3. Components
Before you build anything, break down your content into basic “building blocks” of content. Formulate the information into clusters and groups. What patterns emerge? How can you make the information more modular? Given your goal, what is the most fundamental unit of information? You can use index cards to break down information into modules.

4. Cuts
This is one of the hardest parts of the process and most often neglected. People’s attention will quickly drift — they expect you to get to the point. Learn to edit. Kill your little darlings.

5. Composition
Now it’s time to design the way you will tell your story. Think in terms of both written and visual composition. When writing; who are your main characters? How will you set up the scene? What are the goals and conflicts that will develop? How will the story reach resolution? In visual terms; where will the reader begin? How will you lead the eye around the page? In all your compositional thinking; how will you engage your audience? How will you keep them engaged? Writing it down forces you to think it through.

6. Contrast
What are the differences that matter? Use contrast to highlight them: Big vs. little; rough vs. smooth; black vs. white. When making any point, ask, “in comparison with what?” Contrast is a trigger to the brain that says “pay attention!”

7. Consistency
Unless you’re highlighting differences, keep things like color, fonts, spacing and type sizes consistent to avoid distracting people. Research shows that any extraneous information will detract from people’s ability to assimilate and learn

I advise you take the time out and read through his blog properly. Also Google and learn how to design your communication.

The Skill Development feature will be continued with posts on each of the skills highlighted under my Employability Skills post after which focus will be thrown on Core Skills for various profession.

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