Monday, February 22, 2016

Three Principles for Communication Effectiveness

Effective communication should be authentic to touch the hearts and deep enough to connect the minds.

Communication is always important, although it is the means to the end, not the end itself. The end is for problem solving and idea brainstorming. A great communicator doesn’t need to be “the everyone’s cup of tea,” but in order to communicate effectively and avoid the miscommunication symptoms such as “lost in translation,” you have to follow the right set of principles and deliver the messages persuasively and creatively.

The authentic and candid communication to harness trust and encourage problem-solving: Lack of trust is an often overlooked barrier to communication. If communication has to develop fully and authentically, it is essential that the person communicating should also be equally aware of what he/she wants to communicate, how he/she communicates and above all ensure that he/she has communicated correctly. Either heart to heart conversation with employees or touchy-feely chats with customers, either the strategic presentations at the roundtable or the tough negotiations with vendors, the reality of messages is that they have to be "real." Though being candid doesn’t mean being rude or lack of empathy; it means to point out the issues or share the insight, but also be thoughtful to apply the good communication style and business manner skillfully. Most of the organizations today are process and control driven. Emphasis is on compliance with the result people forget to think freely. It is so important to develop an atmosphere with effective and candid communication. It is also important to foster an environment where feedback and communication are based on reality and not simply what senior management wants to hear. It is equally important to discourage unprofessional communications such as gossiping or rumor-mongering, with the very goal to make communication as the media to amplify fresh POVs, not the channel to propagate negativity.

The creative and empathetic communication to convey contextual intelligence: Communication is the tool to solve problems, and languages are the tools to make communications. Languages are whereas alphabets are compound within themselves. Symbolic representation becomes dynamic because of combinations and permutations. We can't treat language just as a system of words (and grammar) being just names of things. It means speaking fluently or articulating well are still not sufficient to have effective communication skills or being a great communicator. You need to understand the whole statement or even the complete article or books- all words together in common sense, not in their particular ratio 1:1 (meaning one name, symbol = one thing), you may say the same about metaphors. It means effective communication needs to be creative and convey contextual intelligence. Although not every great communicator is multilinguistic, being a multilinguistic absolutely helps you to be a great communicator. If you take into consideration more than one language, such as translating something from one language to another, there is not always ratio 1:1. When you tried to use some internet translators or computer programs, you would know that it doesn't work in this sense of understanding. The computational approach in some cases is failed, at least not fully mature yet. Contextual intelligence is absolutely critical to avoid "lost is translation" symptom and enhance communication effectiveness.

Strike the right balance between “Over Communication and “Less is More”: Some communication gurus advise to always “over communicate,” and others suggest about “less is more!” We live in the digital era with continuous delivery (either communication and other management practices) as a new normal. So it’s all about striking the right balance to communicate effectively and achieve the end goals. Thinking before you speak is an ongoing conscious effort. If you can develop the habit of perfecting in practicing patience and remain silent and spell/spill only when you must do think, use wisdom and logic and properly confirmed. There is a time to say and there is a way to say. There are certain things which must be said, although we must say it in a proper way. If your saying can stir the debate for innovation, or stimulate the energy for constructive criticism, and it may be worth the effort if you can express in the right way at the right time to the right audience.

Still, you don’t need to be everybody’s cup of tea. Effective communication is not just for gaining popularity, but to convey wisdom. Communication is the leadership style to amplify your positive influence. Create a working atmosphere to allow free expressing the creative potentials. The emotional well-being in the workplace allows everyone to express the best of themselves, encourage authentic and creative communication, but always keep the end in mind. As Einstein wisely put, you can’t solve the problem with the same thinking you created it. Through communicating problems with words clearly to other minds, and reframe the question with the new level of thinking, the fresh mind with a cognitive difference and creative communication style can perhaps solve the big problems facing humanity seamlessly. Effective communication should be authentic to touch the hearts and deep enough to connect the minds.


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