What is Communication? Your Guide to Effective Communication

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What is Communication? Your Guide to Effective Communication

Excellent communication skills are essential for success in both personal and professional life. In this article, we will explore what communication is, the importance of communication, and the different elements of communication. We will also look at different types of communication, communication styles, and communication models. Stay tuned for an informative read!

Definition of Communication

Communication is the process of exchanging information, ideas, beliefs, and emotions between two or more people. It involves sending and receiving messages in a clear and concise manner. The communication process includes four key components: sender, message, channel, and receiver. The sender creates a message which is transmitted through a chosen medium or channel, such as text messaging, telephone, or email. The receiver then interprets the message and provides a response to complete the communication loop.

Importance of Communication

Communication plays an important role in our everyday lives. Good communication skills are essential for creating and maintaining healthy and strong relationships. Effective communication helps build trust and understanding between individuals and can help increase motivation, productivity, and performance at work. Clear communication is also important in order to avoid misunderstandings or conflicts.

For example, if two coworkers have different interpretations of what is expected of them, a conversation can help to clarify expectations and ensure that everyone is on the same page. Communication also helps us to understand what other people are feeling or what their opinions and perspectives are.

When we communicate with others, we are not only exchanging information but also building relationships. 

Elements of Communication

According to the University of Minnesota’s Business Communication For Success, there are eight elements of communication, including:

  1. Source
  2. Message
  3. Channel
  4. Receiver
  5. Feedback
  6. Environment
  7. Context
  8. Interference

Each of these elements is integral to the communication process and should be taken into consideration in order to ensure that what is being communicated is interpreted accurately.

Source Of Communication

The source of the message refers to who is sending it. It can be an individual, a group of people, or even an organization. Understanding the source of communication is important because it helps to provide context for what is being communicated.

Message 

The message is what the communicator intends to convey. It should be tailored to the audience and should accurately reflect what is desired to be communicated. This may involve considering language barriers, social norms, and cultural differences.

Channel Of Communication

The channel refers to what medium is used to send the message. This could be through face-to-face conversations, telephone calls, emails, text messages, or even video conferencing. Each of these options has its own strengths and weaknesses and should be chosen based on what will provide the best chance of having the message received in the way it was intended.

Receiver Of The Message

The receiver is the individual or group who will be receiving the message. It’s important to consider what their needs and understanding are so that what is being communicated can be tailored to them. Many of the barriers to communication involve the communicator not considering the needs of the receiver to accurately understand the message. This may be affected by what language they speak, what level of education they have, or what cultural background they come from.

Feedback During Communication

Another important element to consider is feedback. Feedback helps the communicator understand what impact what they are saying is having and what changes need to be made to ensure what is being communicated is understood. However, it is often ignored. Feedback is an essential aspect to effective communication, though, and should not be overlooked.

Environment Of Communication

The environment helps set the tone for what is being communicated and can shape what is said or what is not said. It’s important to consider what atmosphere will allow for the best chance of having your message heard and understood. That could involve looking at what type of setting would create a more relaxed atmosphere, what type of language should be used, or what kind of visuals should be utilized.

Context Of Communication

The context of the communication is also important to consider. This entails what is being communicated and what its purpose. This can help provide insight into why certain words are being used or what tone should be taken with the communication. It can even determine what type of medium is best for communication.

Interference In Communication

Finally, it’s important to consider what potential interference there may be that could disrupt what is being communicated. This could involve external noise, language barriers, cultural differences, or other factors that could have an impact on what is being said.

Each of these elements is essential to what communication is and should be taken into consideration in order to ensure that what is being communicated is interpreted accurately. In understanding what communication is and what elements it entails, one can better craft their message so that it is received in the way they intended. This can significantly improve interpersonal relationships, as well as business operations.

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What Are Communication Skills

While all elements of communication are key, communication skills allow us to apply those elements in a meaningful way. Communication skills involve the ability to effectively interpret what is said and respond appropriately. This includes both verbal and non-verbal cues such as body language, facial expressions, hand gestures, and tone of voice. These skills also include active listening, which helps us understand what the other person is saying and allows us to provide helpful feedback.

These are not all innate skills, though. As children, we learn how to communicate within our own household, culture, and community. As we grow older and move through different stages of life, we gain more complex communication skills like negotiation and public speaking. Communication is a lifelong process that requires dedication and practice in order to become effective.

In a professional environment, some of the most important communication skills to develop include:

  • Active listening
  • Assertiveness
  • Conflict resolution
  • Negotiation
  • Clarity and conciseness
  • Organization of thought

Think of a time when someone did not have well-developed communication skills. How did it make you feel? Were you able to understand what they wanted or what their message was? Respect and trust are built through effective communication, as well as an understanding of the other person’s feelings.

That is why it’s so important to communicate effectively both in our personal and professional lives. With even the smallest improvement in any of these skills, you can increase your success and satisfaction in the workplace and even at home.

Types Of Communication

Communication comes in many forms (or types). The most common types of communication include verbal, nonverbal, written, and visual.

Verbal Communication

Verbal communication is what we typically think of when someone mentions the word “communication”. It includes face-to-face conversations, phone calls, speeches, and presentations. This is often the first type of communication we think of when responding to the question, “what is communication?” However, be sure to think also about the other types of communication.

Nonverbal Communication

Nonverbal communication is anything that doesn’t involve words – body language and movement, eye contact, facial expressions, and gestures. It is often used to supplement or convey what’s being said verbally.

This type of communication is also an important source of feedback on communication. It can be helpful to pay attention to what’s being said nonverbally in order to get a better understanding of what is being communicated.

Written Communication

Written communication involves the transmission of ideas through written words. This includes emails, text messages, business proposals, and other documents. Often, we don’t think about text messages as being communication, especially in a professional setting.

However, it is an important type of communication that should be taken as seriously as any other. Whether it’s texting, instant messaging, or social media comments and posts – all communication is a way that people (and bosses) learn about you.

Visual Communication

Visual communication is the transmission of ideas and information through visual images. This includes illustrations, photographs, videos, and other visuals. Visual communication can be used to convey complex messages in a short amount of time or to make an impact on viewers.

It is also an effective tool for conveying emotion which can help people connect with what is being said. Visuals can also be used to spark creativity and give people a better understanding of what’s being communicated.

No matter what type of communication you are engaging in, it is important to consider each of the elements of communication and take each type as seriously as any other.

What Are Communication Styles

Communication styles refer to how we communicate with others. There are three main communication styles:

  1. Assertive
  2. Passive
  3. Aggressive

Each of us has our own preference for a given style, but we may switch between styles in different situations.

Assertive Communication Style

Assertive communication entails expressing opinions and feelings in a direct yet respectful way. It is an assertive style of communication that allows for compromise and constructive conflict resolution.

For example, an assertive communicator may say something like, “I understand what you’re saying, but I disagree and think we should try this instead.” This communication style often does not use filler words or phrases, and it is direct without being aggressive.

Passive Communication Style

The passive communication style is the opposite of the assertive style. It involves avoiding conflict or not expressing opinions or feelings directly. This can be helpful in some situations, but it can also lead to misunderstandings or resentments if not used carefully.

Passive communicators tend to use many filler words or soft tones of voice. They may agree with what others say even if they don’t fully understand it, often in order to avoid confrontation or conflict. This can be useful when trying to de-escalate a situation but not as useful in a leadership position.

Aggressive Communication Style

The aggressive communication style involves expressing opinions and feelings too forcefully or harshly. This can be intimidating to those on the receiving end of this type of communication, leading to a breakdown in understanding or relationships.

Aggressive communicators tend to speak loudly and abruptly, often making accusations or criticisms without taking into account what the other person may be thinking or feeling. This can create an environment of distrust and hostility, which is not conducive to effective communication.

Aggressive communication is hardly ever necessary, but there are some situations where it is useful. For example, if a child runs out in front of a car, the parent may use an aggressive communication style to stop them from getting hurt.

what-is-communication-in-business

What Is Communication In Business?

Now that we have a fundamental understanding of what communication is, it is important to consider what it means in a business context. Communication in the workplace is essential for success. Companies use communication to ensure their employees understand what their roles are and what needs to be done on a day-to-day basis. It also increases efficiency, as it allows quick decisions to be made without needing multiple meetings or discussions. Effective communication skills can also help to keep morale and motivation high, as well as foster a better team environment.

Communication in business goes beyond what is said in the workplace; it is also used to establish relationships with external stakeholders, such as clients or suppliers. It helps build trust and understanding, which is essential for any successful collaboration. Communication in business is also used to deliver information about the company, such as its mission and objectives, to potential customers or investors.

No matter what industry you work in – from technology to sales – you will need to communicate to succeed. A solid understanding of what communication is and how to effectively use it will set you on the path to success.

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