Paving the road to performance with efficient communication
Our success as a species and as a society depends on our ability to communicate. However, it is not only about communication, but about efficient one. Even as individuals, groups and family members, we need to communicate, in order to express our thoughts, feelings, dreams, pain. Crosswise, people need to develop the ability to listen, not only to hear and, therefore, to actively become aware of the emotions and beliefs of the people they interact with.
Verbal and nonverbal communication shapes the way we build both personal, and professional relations.
In order to enhance positive communication and to nurture relationships, one must recognize the importance of both verbal and nonverbal communication methods. Personal success, professional and financial well-being, physical and psychological comfort, they are all influenced by the way we talk and act. Although it may seem strange on how many levels we are influenced by this factors, and although many might argue that personal and professional welfare are subjects of experience, academic work, built relations and performance achieved in time, our mere existence depends on the interaction with people.
What is communication?
Communication is the use of encoded messages which allow us to produce meaning within various contexts. According to Merriam Webster Dictionary, it is “the act or process of using words, sounds, signs, or behaviors to express or exchange information or to express your ideas, thoughts, feelings, etc., to someone else” or to yourself, we would add.
What is verbal communication?
Verbal communication embodies all forms of transferring information, and it implies an encoding and decoding process, based on an organized system of words, signs and on the cultural background of the sender and receiver of the message.
What is nonverbal communication?
Nonverbal communication is the process of directing and perceiving wordless messages. It includes visual cues, but it is also closely related to body language, paralanguage, physical appearance and haptics (touch).
How can we improve overall communication?
We are raised and taught in a certain manner, and according to the beliefs of our parents, as well as the convictions of our classmates, friends and teachers, and we are also deeply influenced by society, educational programs, news, technology, interaction with nature and animals.
All these circumstances play an important role not only in our psychological development, but also in the way we empathize with others. And this is the vey base of how we further learn to express ourselves and to understand others. Following different patterns and discovering the importance of articulating and formulating concepts in a clear manner, always looking for others to confirm their understanding and not being scared of talking honestly, are the golden rules for communicating efficiently!
In addition, becoming aware that small gestures reveal more than we can imagine (and there are several books and articles on this topic, from which one can gain valuable information), we might want to pay closer attention to our own behaviors and, in time, become able to read other people’s minds by only analyzing their pose, wardrobe, mimic gestures.
How can we improve business communication?
Business success is heavily dependent on the way in which we communicate. A very important aspect in today’s globalized business environment is intercultural communication. As David Carnes mentions, in his article The difference between verbal & nonverbal communication, gender and cultural differences may interfere with our understanding and perception, creating misunderstandings.
In business, as well as in other aspects of our lives, it is important not to neglect the fact that when someone else communicates with us, we interpret the message based on several criteria, according to Christopher Sopko’s The pyramid of business success.
- 55% is based on their facial expressions and theirbody language;
- 37% is based on the tone of their voice;
- 8% is based on the words they say.
In addition, the 7C’s of effective business communication are key steps in improving work-related performance, as presented by George N. Root III, in the article 7 C’s of Effective Business Communication:
Effective business communication uses straightforward language, in order to avoid useless details and to encourage immediate and clear action.
It is highly recommendable to plan your information in advance and to make sure that no important data is left out, since it will take additional time and resources to return to the content.
Choose your words and tone wisely, in order to draw attention and engage in interaction; keep it conversational, listen actively and don’t get over-emotional.
Speak up and with confidence! Present your data with a clear and compelling tone, so that you add value to your content and ensure the audience about your expertise.
State exactly what you want and what you expect from people and don’t leave any aspects to the free translation of others. Future assumptions may arise, which only complicate the process of completing a task.
Given a tense situation it is best to remain calm. In this way your attitude will help others remain calm as well, and will only increase the chances of a professional and harmonious attitude.
Always check the information to be shared. Coherent speech and accurate input exclude meaningless explanations and questionable data. Also, make sure your audience has understood everything and is able to carry into effect.
As Paul Watzlawick once said, “We cannot not communicate!”. This statement was and will always be fundamental, not only to the individuals, but also to society. Showing intentions, or formulating statements, the sound of our voice, the look in our eyes, our attitude, the way we dress and pose, all these are translated into communication. Either in a conscious, or in a subliminal way!
- Carnes, D., 2015, The Difference Between Verbal & Nonverbal Communication, Livestrong.com
- George N. Root III, N/A, 7 C’s of Effective Business Communication
- Sopko, C. (2014), The pyramid of business success