How do you communicate? Why do you communicate that way? How would you define communication? In our world, more so our business world where prospective introductions are made, deals, proposals and negotiations are conducted, and networks are fostered and even expanded, communication matters.
Conversely, in our world where words and actions can be misinterpreted, leading to an exchange of insults; as well as generating feelings of disappointment fear, anxiety and disgust, we must always remain steadfast vigilant against poor communication. Therefore, what we say, when we say it, and indeed, how we say it matters a whole lot.
But before we can even begin to discuss effective communication strategies, we should of course know how to define communication. Communication is in essence, the way by which a purpose or message is sent and received. Therefore, all forms of communication must have: (i) a general purpose or intention; (ii) a specific message behind that purpose or intention; (iii) at least one sender; and (iv) at least one receiver.
Personally, I believe that there is also a fifth component, namely, whether that message was received and subsequently acted upon by the sender, in the manner in which the receiver had hoped. In any event, that is the essence of what is communication.
Next, we have to understand the various forms of communication. There is of course, the spoken word- our words and how we use those words. We can say much using our voices, based on our pitch (fast or slow), voice range (high or low), speed, use of language (complex or simple words), tone or timbre (loud or soft), pronunciation of words, intonation of words (meaning which particular word or words we emphasize when we speak), whether we speak in a firm tone or a casual tone, a calm or erractic tone, et cetera. We can even say much by not saying anything at all, or remaining silent.
Likewise, there is the unspoken word, which can be divided into two sub-categories: (i) our overall body language, which comprises gestures we might make with our face, arms, legs, standing or seated posture, and our entire body; and (ii) sign language- which is a specific form of communication used by persons who are deaf to communicate with each other, as well as with their relatives and allies, and vice versa.
Then we have the written form of communication. This very traditional form of communication is based on what is 'said' with the hands, whether it is in the form of handwritten correspondence such as a scribbled letter or note, as well as published/typed correspondence; and, in our social media era, text or email messages as well as social media posts.
Braille is also a form of written communication, that is generally used by persons who are blind to communicate with each other, as well as their relatives and allies, and vice versa, in addition to them using the spoken word. We even have graphical communication, which comprises the use of pictures, symbols, colours, and other imagery to convey a particular message.
In part II of this blog, we'll highlight why it is important that we communicate effectively with each other, more so, in a business setting or work environment. Like medicine or food, communication can sustain, it can cure, and it can even destroy. What are you communicating?
LinkedIn Local Caribbean, business, communication, unspoken, spoken