Good communication and interpersonal skills are vital for success in business. The ability to communicate clearly and persuasively is often seen as the key characteristic of the effective manager or administrator. High level communication skills are also essential in specialised functions, such as marketing, human resource management, public relations and secretarial. Communication is the means by which individual employees convey their wants, ideas and feelings to others,( not only managers or specialists). Process of Communication Context

Medium/Channel Message Feedback Noise Communication can be defined as the process by which, ideas, information, opinions, attitude, and feeling are conveyed from one person to another. The communicator or sender is the person who initiates the conversation by sending a message. The receiver is the person who receives the messages and completes the communication by responding to it. Most communication is two way and has to have both a sender and receiver, either face to face or by other means such as telephone, letters, e-mails etc. Body language also plays a big part in communication.

In business, difficulties with communication can cause disruption. Good business opportunities can be lost or disastrous management decisions made. A serious breakdown in communication can put the very future of a company at risk. Communication errors can never be completely eliminated. Nevertheless, we are likely to be more successful communicators if we are aware of the factors that cause communication to fail. Some obstacles stand in the way of communication and some of these can be avoided or overcome. Physical Barriers Among these barriers are poor hearing or eyesight, illness, tiredness, or stress.

Other barriers can be, distractions such as an office that is too warm or too cold, uncomfortable seating, poor telephone connection or the noise of traffic heard from outside. If a person has a medical problem this may be sorted by a visit to a doctor. If the office is too hot or too cold the thermostat may be altered and maybe closing the window would help to block out the noise. Language Barriers To convey a message correctly it should be written clearly in a language that the receiver will understand. Mistakes in spelling can harm communication.

Sometimes local jargon can disrupt good communication; it may be acceptable in a specialised trade or profession. Slang or local accents may be difficult for outsiders to understand. Nonverbal Barriers Facial expression, posture and eye movement all reveal our feelings and attitudes to the receiver. When there is conflict between a verbal and non verbal signal, it is the nonverbal signal that tends to be believed. A person may say that they are outgoing and confident but this might be contradicted by nervous body language. Poor Listening Good listening is often the most important part of communication.

Listening give us a better understanding of the other persons point of view, maintains friendships and helps business collaboration. When not listening properly, we often miss an important point in a conversation. Problems with Perception Perception is how we make sense of ourselves and the world around us. We perceive the world through the senses of sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell. We also have some physiological based perceptions such as sensation of pain, heat, cold etc. We have mental perceptions such as thoughts, daydreams and fantasies.

The brain registers these different stimuli and organises them into shapes and patterns that we can understand. Mistakes can arise if we think other people perceive things the same way that we do ourselves. Often they don’t and this is a common cause of communication failure. Attitudinal Barriers Stereotyping, prejudice and unwanted attribution are among the attitudinal barriers that can do the most damage to our ability to our ability to relate effectively to others. * Stereotyping: We stereotype other people when we assume they will behave in a certain way just because of their appearance, role or a particular social group.

We may be surprised to find that conservatively dressed people have radical views or that the big person wearing a studded jacket and driving a Harley Davidson turns out to be as gentle as a lamb. Judging by appearance gives an incomplete and often distorted picture of what a person is really like. * Prejudice: Prejudice is an attitude of hostility based on faulty generalisations, such as stereotypes. It may be directed at individuals or groups. Prejudice can be damaging to communications if a person believes that another person is inferior, subversive, threatening, not fully part of the community and so on.

If we consider another person less than ourselves, we are unlikely to value what they have to say. Prejudice is often a part of ignorance but maybe better education will improve this. * Attribution:Even when we avoid stereotyping, we still make the mistake of judging people on flimsy evidence. We should not listen to what other people say, this can sometimes be misleading. Having an accurate picture of people is vital for effective communication, but it is something that can only be built up slowly through time, insight and regular contact. The Principles of Effective Communication As a Communicator 1.

Think carefully about your objectives before communicating. What do you want to achieve? Do you want to inform, persuade, advise or consult the receiver? What kind of response do you hope to get? When you have answered questions like these then you can think about the content of the message and how you define it. 2. Put yourself in the communicator’s shoes. The receiver’s perception may not be the same as yours. They may think differently or have different opinions. You may need to communicate with tact and sensitivity. 3. Choose the right medium or combination of media. Difficulties can arise if the wrong medium is used.

If you try to describe a complicated process by speech alone the audience may not understand it. A combination of words and graphics may work better. 4. Organise your ideas and express them carefully. Take time to structure your ideas in a logical sequence. When choosing your words, take into consideration the receivers understanding and linguistic ability. Try to use words that the receiver will understand. Use language suitable to the communication taking place, informal language that may be used on the shop floor may not be suitable or appropriate for a business meeting. 5.

Consider the context, breakdowns in communication often occur because the receiver is given information at the wrong time or place. Even important messages can be forgotten if the receiver is busy or preoccupied with something else. 6. Check for feedback, make sure your message has been received and understood. When speaking face to face look for signs of puzzlement in your listeners, be prepared to explain if necessary. Although the main responsibility for communicating a message rests with the sender, the receiver also has to listen and make sure they understand and relay the message to the right person. As a Receiver 1.

Give the message your full attention. Many messages are misunderstood because the receiver is not concentrating, they are daydreaming, or there are too many distractions. 2. Interpret the message correctly. This requires effort and proper listening, if you are unsure of what is said; ask for it to be repeated. Check the meaning of unfamiliar words or references. In spoken communication listen actively and with empathy. Be alert for nuances that may subtly alter the meaning of the message. 3. Keep an open mind, you should not allow dislike of the communicator, or disagreement with their beliefs to influence your judgement.

Make an objective assessment of the message no matter what your relationship with the sender. 4. Record information you are likely to forget. You should write down any information you are likely to forget such as, telephone numbers, names, dates etc. The information should be recorded properly in a secure place, not on a scrap of paper that can get lost among other papers on a busy desk. 5. Respond appropriately to the communicator by providing feedback, following up enquiries or whatever action is necessary.