Communication is not an easy process. It involves verbal and non-verbal attempts to assist the other person to understand what we are trying to communicate. Yet it often fails.
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Each and every individual person communicates in their own unique way. People are distinctive in their culture, beliefs, age, gender, emotional intelligence, thought patterns and social skills. Thus communication can breakdown. Interaction between people, be it verbal or non verbal, is wide, varied and constant. The manner in which people communicate differs greatly. When communication fails it often leads to feelings of frustration, anger, and embarrassment.
In conversation encoding is the way in which a message is sent, spoken or written. Decoding is to interpret and understand what has been said or written. Within a conversation between two people they are both encoding and decoding. Messages are also being sent weather they be deliberate or not. The choices of clothes and how they are worn, a hair style or tattoo are all messages sent without a word being spoken. These are signals that are saying who you are, yet can be misinterpreted. Therefore feed back is valuable in communication. “Feedback tells the speaker what effect she or he is having on listeners” (Devito, 2009, p10). People may choose to alter their physical look or style dependant on whether they receive negative or positive feedback. However, having competence in ones self and the message that they are communicating is an immense skill. In addition people not only communicate with speech or writing but also through touch. The source of communication needs to be adjusted appropriately to the selected receiver. Therefore feedforward messages assist in gaining peoples attention.
There are many barriers to effective communication.
Language and culture can be an obstacle when communicating. Simple gestures in one culture may be offensive to another. One person’s behavior could be unacceptable in one culture but completely normal in their own, unintentionally offending. In addition age can challenge productive listening; people can form an opinion or assume what is going to be said, thus misunderstanding what is being said. A person can become preoccupied and messages become distorted when your mind is not on the job and is distracted by other thoughts. According to Lewis, Tom D; Graham, Gerald (2003) “Because a listener can listen at a faster rate than most speakers talk, there is a tendency to evaluate too quickly. That tendency is perhaps the greatest barrier to effective listening” (pp23-24). Noise can be a difficult barrier when trying to communicate. The sound of traffic close by, other people talking in a public area, loud music can all interfere in the course of communication. Being mindful of background noise before you start is important. Choosing your timing and environment are invaluable. Having low self-esteem people tend to worry about what other people are thinking of them and thus the message that they are trying to communicate may get lost. As a result it may be difficult to convey their message fully and it will not be as powerful as what it could be. Audiences get distracted and assumptions can be made. The message has not clearly been listened to. In business, Dresner (2005) states of Meryl Runion, Founder and CEO of SpeakStrong “Runion warns that 86 percent of business failures are due to poor communication, she notes other dangers include gossip, alienation, mistakes, missed opportunities and false expecations” (p2). This can be particularly dangerous and catastrophic in a working environment. It results in lost time and perhaps the work required simply either not getting done or being done incorrectly. This can have a flow on effect to time limits, financial constraints and other consequences to the business and also to employees. Email is largely the major form of communicate in the...
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