In these digital and information technology age, communication is paramount. Its significance is crucial not just in professional fields but in the personal spheres as well. Communication skills are tickets to success in both respects. These skills are very much required in order for an individual to overcome challenges and further pursue his goals.
Communication is a two way street, hence, improving one’s communication requires both skillful methods of sending and receiving messages. The communication skills still redound to the basic components of listening, writing and reading. In between these skills lie the more sophisticated skills of relating well with others, so to speak. To simplify, in order to listen well, one has to be receptive and must emphatize with the one sending the message. In writing well, one must be articuand must have a good command of the language system. In reading, one needs a more extensive vocabulary and reading skils as well as the visual imagery and language competence.
In the process of sending and receiving messages, communication plays a significant role in uniting people. Likewise, it is also a powerful tool which divides people and individuals. In the same manner, communication bridges one’s thoughts and ideasso that tasks and functions are accomplished in the professional spheres and work places. Aside from communication, one’s style of interacting and his unique sets of skills used in expressing his personal ideas, thoughts and beliefs form individual and group relationships.
This paper asserts the primary importance of effective communication. It also asserts that effective communication requires basic skills (reading, writing and listening skills) as well as the proper and competent use of language, interpersonal skills, and receptiveness.
Identifying the Skill Sets: Basic Communication Skills, Language Competence, Interpersonal Communication Skills, Receptiveness, and Skills.
The skill set which this paper identifies as important in enhancing communication and interaction styles and skills are the following - basic skills (reading, writing and listening skills), the proper and competent use of language, interpersonal skills, and receptiveness. This skill set has been considered by the author as the commonly used communication skills, interaction style, and group interaction skill sets which are often under developed in the work place context.
According to Matin, et. al. (2010), communication skills are very significant in the field of work, the same way they are of great importance in the other areas of life. In the workplace context, this communication skill set is needed in order for an individual to succeed. For instance, reading and understanding information is crucial in the professional world. (Frymier & Houser, 2000) Listening and writing skills are also very important in communication because it involves empathy and receptiveness. (Van de Hooff & de Ridder, 2004) The difference between these three distinct and basic communication skills is critical in terms of its level of workplace applications. This involves understanding the content, applying the grammar rules and “metacognition.” (Frymier & Houser, 2000) It also entails being able to express one’s self most effectively and comprehending others correctly. (Matin, et. al., 2010)
In terms of communication efficacy, the competence in language, interpersonal skills, receptiveness are very important. Language competence is a vital part of the communicative competence. It is highly important because it emphasizes how the message is going to be perceived or interpreted according to the messenger’s literal instruments and specific utterance. (Myers-Scotton, 2006) Interpersonal communication skills refers to the ability of the individuals to effectively respond to the need of the situation while promoting a positive work environment wherein there is an opportunity to develop one’s personal skills and to delegate responsibilities. (Matin, et. al., 2010) It consists of various knowledge and skills in communication, including self assessment. Excellent interpersonal communication skills such as self-disclosure, support, etc. are very important in the communications in the workplace. Lastly, receptiveness involves conceiving the message through contextual clues, body and tactile messages and signs, among others. (Myers-Scotton, 2006)
Transmission of communication message through the encoding and decoding of the message is not the finality of communication. Communication must be two way and there must be a chance for the receiver to take action on the message he/she received. (Matin, et. al., 2010) Generally, the success of communication also relies on other factors but these skills are more important. (Myers-Scotton, 2006)
Plan to Implement Change 688
Effective communication is a major basic and interpersonal skill and by knowing how to improve it accrues many benefits. The best way to develop the communication skills is by a basic approach which becomes more sophisticated as the basic skills are enhanced. First is to identify the communication skills that will be developed in specific communication contexts. (Matin, et. al., 2010) The development of communication skills should also acknowledge the communication barriers and other challenges obstructing the improvement of the identified communication skills.
Most of the working professionals have joined formal communication skills training i.e. “Presentation Skills,” “Business Development Skills,” etc. These development courses focus on the formal, planned and group situations professionals usually face. However, the identified skill set also involves the regular, informal communication settings such as discussions, meetings, workshops, telephone communications, and daily work conversations.
The identified techniques to be learned in developing these skills include the following:
Making planned and impromptu responses.
Techniques required for more effective basic and interpersonal communications and language competency.
Honing receptiveness and empathy during communications.
Mind Mapping to facilitate better communications.
Communicate effectively to non-technical people and use more effective language
Make/deliver public speeches, discussions and presentations.
Through authentic communication tasks under a simulated real-world context, participants will be able to improve on the set of identified skills. This will be made through media-rich case studies, role playing and video/computer-based tasks wherein the participants will be immersed throughout the improvement course. As the plan progresses, more complicated work place communication scenarios where real decisions are to be required. This will make participants be familiar with communication scenarios that affect real life outcomes. This development plan is presented in a safe, positive environment wherein the enhanced communication skills are enhanced and further developed and more effective communication techniques are learned.
The gist of this improvement plan is to develop the use of communication skills to explain or clarify thoughts and concepts. It also consists of asking peers and managers to provide feedback and constructive criticisms and responses. Last is the personal reflection report wherein the individual participant will recommend suggestions for further improvement of the intended skills. Other creative suggestions will also be considered. All the knowledge and information gathered by the participants will be shared with others using appropriate communication tools.
The major objective of the improvement plan also includes achieving clarity by learning how to structure one’s idea/s through understanding how to effectively communicate. It also intends to simplify complex information for better comprehension. The plan also intends to help participants be more specific and condense the ideas into a powerful message. (Matin, et. al., 2010)
At this point, it is also best to acknowledge and identify the various communication barriers occurring at different stage/s of the communication procedures. This is an important exercise because these barriers may distort or reduce the message, which may lead to further confusion and miscommunications. As generalized, effective communication must overcome these barriers and convey a clear and succinct message. The specified communication barriers often include the following:
The use of very complicated or technical terms and jargon;
Taboos and emotional barriers;
Lack of focus, distractions and less interest on the part of the receiver;
Differing perception and point/s of view;
Personal barriers such as the messenger or the receiver’s speech difficulty or hearing problems;
Physical barriers to non-verbal communication such as body language, etc.:
Differing language and the hurdles of overcoming unfamiliar accents.
False expectations and personal prejudices leading to misunderstanding and communication gaps;
Cultural differences, different norms and social contexts.
These must be addressed because good communicators should be aware of these barriers and attempt to lessen impact by constantly assessing the level of understanding and by providing appropriate feedback. (Frymier & Houser, 2000)
Effective communication skills are principally important to any individual in pursuing success in various aspects of life. Many work require strong communication skills and social adeptness. Learning how to improve one’s communication skills provide various advantages. It is also a major requirement for high performance executives. It is a fundamental management skill that covers the major skills professionals should have. An effective communication encompasses other areas such as leadership, human resource development, work productivity, organizational planning and control, quality, among others. Good communication is always at the heart of these management functions.
Basic and interpersonal communication skills, along with receptiveness and language competency all make a big difference in being a good communicator in the workplace and elsewhere. Verbal and non verbal communications are important as well. It is not just about what is being said. It also entails the language used, how the message was delivered and the non verbal communication that goes with it. To conclude, the significance of effective communication in the workplace, in different levels of organizations, has been a major focus in the present world’s dynamic, quick changing, multicultural and diversified work settings. Effective communication skills are crucial to the well being of the organization and to each individual employee.
The pace of the digital age also compounds the challenges in communication. The sophisticated lifestyles also means that more and more people are actually sending and receiving more and complicated messages, tasks and communications more than ever. In workplace contexts, this means that people are under continuous pressure to comprehend and implement new methods of digesting information and knowledge. Communication standards and expectations are also evolving and becoming more complicated. Work team structures have also evovled and it also entails greater need for communication skills and language competency, including more interpersonal skills and and receptiveness. Another challenge is the multicultural and diverse workplace nowadays. This also requires better and more enhanced communication and interaction skills. Workers presently range with various ethnic and cultural backgrounds, mixed age categories, etc. These demand prioritizing enhanced communication skills.
Frymier, Ann Bainbridge & Marian L. Houser. (2000). The Teacher-Student Relationship as an Interpersonal Relationship. Communication Education, 49: 207- 219.
Matin, H. Z., Jandaghi, G., Karimi, F. H., & Hamidizadeh, A. (2010). Relationship between Interpersonal Communication Skills and Organizational Commitment (Case Study: Jahad Keshavarzi and University of Qom, Iran). European Journal of Social Sciences – Volume 13, Number 3.
Myers-Scotton, Carol. (2006). Multiple Voices : an introduction to bilingualism . Australia: Blackwell Publishing.
Van de Hooff, B. & de Ridder, J.A. (2004). Knowledge sharing in context :the influence of organizational commitment, communication climate and CMC use on knowledge sharing. Journal of Knowledge Management, 8 (6), p .117- 130.