By Dr Rabindra Karna
Scientific achievement, economic advancement, social progress and political changes etc experienced all around the world today, hugely depend on communication system.
The important word “communication” is derived from Latin word “Communis” meaning common; therefore, communication is also acknowledged as “sharing ideas in common.” Communication, in fact, is the exchange and flow of thoughts, feelings, messages and information through writing, visuals, signals, behavior or symbols among more than one person where mainly the sender, receiver and means of transition are directly engaged. The essence of communication is the sharing of ideas between different parties. The communication process completes once the receiver has understood the message of sender in the right spirit (same as that of the sender). Thus, we can say that the guides to successful communication are – Process, Sharing, Meaning and Understanding. These four keys of communication are incorporated with eight essential components that are – Basis, Conduit, Connotation, Atmosphere, Perspective, Intrusion, Beneficiary and Response. All these components are integral in the overall communication process.
The world is continually witnessing revolutionary changes in the communication system. The contribution of communication can never be down at any stage of life because it plays a vital role for success at workplace, in relationship and/or ourselves, as responsible citizen of the nation we belong to. Thus, there is no room for the limitation of the role of communication in any sphere of life today. Scientific achievement, economic advancement, social progress and political changes etc experienced all around the world hugely depend on communication system. The importance of communication in any institution assumes priority in hierarchy to ensure effective achievement.
Communication that produces results desired by a communicator is effective communication. It is meant mainly to create awareness and understanding amongst the target audience and accelerate action around business destinations. Effective communication does not allow any message distortion during the process - a key for zero conflict in any business environment. It is widely appreciated also for success in changing the behavior of human resources at all levels in business organizations. Management scientists are unanimous around its greater impact on leadership enhancement and the bottom line achievement through improved productivity with sustained quality. Hence, we can also say that the success of any business depends on its communication mechanism.
In addition, communication passes through three phases – thought (concept, idea, feeling etc), encoding (delivery process), and decoding (understanding of receiver) wherein success or quality of communication depends on – Clarity, Accuracy, Relevance and Action. For all these four pillars of communication, the level of audience, their acceptance level, relevance to their need and, most importantly, the serving objectives are important to focus during the process. However, despite all precautions and care, there are a number of barriers to obstruct and disturb the process, flow and understanding. These are mainly of three categories known as personal barrier, physical barrier and semantic barrier that affects the entire communication resulting in a complete different scenario than expected. While elaborating these three categories of barriers, management experts have listed huge number of barriers out of which few are as below:-
a. Culture and bias – the past plays a vital role in changing the meaning of message.
b. Ambiguity of words – use of language or jargon and the status of person delivering.
c. Resistance to change – because of current comfort zone, opposition comes for changes.
d. Environment – Noise, bright light and unusual sights etc cause potential distraction.
e. Stress – psychological reference influences communication.
f. Structural – faulty design of an organization structure blocks opportunities and channels of communication resulting in deficiency.
g. Screening/Filtering – deliberately, only favorable communication is carried in view of hiding shortcomings. This is mostly occasional in nature and hence also called smothering process.
h. Individual linguistic ability – poorly explained or misunderstood because of the usage of difficult or inappropriate words.
A large number of problems any business faces are connected with the quality of people they have and the communication efficiency. Researchers say that people utilize only 50 per cent of their capability which can improve through motivation where effective communication works as an important key. Management experts are unanimous on one fact that communication is not an inborn skill or ability, it is rather developed and enhanced with experience and practices. All communication, whether intentional or unintentional, has an effect on effectiveness and productivity. Sometimes, a communicator uses manipulative communication to achieve the desired result (both intentional and unintentional) where the communication style becomes demanding, attacking, rude and full of criticism etc. Though the end result may not necessarily always be in favor of the communicator but as long as the purpose of generating action, maintaining effect and increasing impact is achieved, it is considered effective. Hence, communication that produces expected result and serves the purpose, is designed for effective communication.
An individual with exceptional communication skills is an asset to every organization. Thriving communication depends mainly on a communicator. Context, environment, audiences etc will keep changing but the central idea of being ethical and prepared remains unchanged. Hence, it is suggested that communicators consider the following in view of the desired success –
a. Sensitive: Communicator needs to be cautious about the audience and giving due importance tactfully to the team taking it forward shall be useful in achieving desired result.
b. Practical: It is important to have trust instilled in communicator and that necessitates clarity about expectations. It needs to be practical and actionable. Unless communicator remains practical around understanding and expectations, communication can never be efficient.
c. Delegation: Delegation of accountability towards achievement also plays a vital role around success. An accepted fact is that success without freedom cannot even be dreamt because freedom is a key motivator around the performance on assignment.
d. Awareness: Awareness of expectations/desired achievement is extremely important for a communicator. Management scientists have recommended awareness around loyalty, accountability, performance indices and expectations to make communication efficient.
Hence, it would be wise to realize the key aspect of business development and establish a stable communication mechanism for continuous improvement without compromising current positive impact, efficiency and effectiveness. It is also crucial to analyze characteristics of the company personnel while dealing with customers. These are the resources that contribute to business success. Thus, requiring high efficiency and positive approach around communication is mandatory.
There must be a unified theme across all disciplines of business that guides communication and maintains uniformity at all levels. It is a window to the path of progress supporting to reach desired level of excellence. It is also a key capability that cultivates the potential of human resources on a journey. To conclude, let us agree that communication is a process and an attempt to create common understanding. This attempt or process expects intrapersonal, interpersonal, listening, observing, questioning, analyzing, guiding and verbalizing skills as mandatory. Usage of communication is as important in all areas of life as it is into business success. Without any doubt, opposition or contradiction, most importantly, it is communication which ensures collaboration and cooperation. Thus, in consideration of spirited advantage for the business lying in eminence and competent communication; the enhancement of people’s efficiency and their ability to communicate in fitting corporate customs must, therefore, be of important priority for the business.
Dr Karna is the Executive Chairperson of MARK Business Solutions Pvt Ltd. The article is based on various research reports and his practical experiences as management practitioner.