The changing environment and increasing complexity of the 21st century work place essentially necessitates learning of communication skills all the more important, the autocratic management model of past generation in increasingly being replaced by participatory management in which effective communication is the key to built trust, promote understanding and empower and motivate others.
With a view to learn to communicate effectively, it is helpful to understand something about the basic forms of communication. These basic forms are also known as methods, channels or medium of communication.
When exchange of opinions is in written form, rather than by spoken words, it is known as written communication. Written communication includes reports, letters, circulars, memos, notices, telegrams, minutes etc. The choice of words should be made carefully in written communication and words should be such, as to convey a specific meaning and not confuse the reader with multiple meanings. As far as possible, messages should not in short sentences so that the receiver has no difficulty in finding the true meaning of the message.
VERBAL (ORAL) COMMUNICATION
In this process of communication, conveying a message in spoken form is known as verbal or oral communication. Exchange of opinions is carries on with the help of spoken words. The receiver as well as the sender of the message faces each other in this mode of communication. Oral communication takes place in different ways such as personal talks, interviews, speeches and talking on telephone etc. The receiver of a message, in this process of communication, also comes to know the body language of the sender. Thus, the receiver gets the message in right perspective because if something is not understood properly, the receiver can ask the same to the sender and can remove his doubts. There is an immediate feedback, which makes clarifications possible. Since many exchanges of communications are possible, the matter in hand can be finally settled without delay. Besides, a face-to-face situation offers a richer communication experience owing to the presence of a living personality whose voice, tone, expressions and movements add significance to the words.
NON VERBAL COMMUNICATION
Man does not communicate through words alone, or only through writing, speaking and listening. There is another aspect of communication that is, the non-verbal aspect. Non-verbal communication is the process of communication without words. That involves body movements, space, time, voice tone/pitch, general characteristics of the environment colour and layout/design, and any other kinds of visual and/or audio signals that the communicator may devise. Since bodily movements, gestures etc. are so important for communication, they are being systematically studied as a sub area of non-verbal communication. Let us see some of the non verbal communication kinesics.
It is important to point out that all bodily movements, postures, gestures etc. are guided by our thought processes, emotions etc. by nodding our head, blinking our eyes, waving our hands, shrugging our shoulders and various other ways we send out signals and messages that often speak louder than words. That is why this area of enquiry has been called ‘body language’.
Your face is the primary site of expressing your emotions. It conveys emotions with remarkable accuracy and intensity of your feeling. We convey such a lot without speaking a word. For example, the facial expressions generally associated with happiness, surprise, fear, anger, sadness, amazement and also kinds of smile, corners of lips, the position of the eyebrows, the jaw, nose or nostrils and the chin.
Eve contact is simple non-verbal communicative device. But it is the most effective device for securing the attention of your audience and for communicating the message effectively. The eyes along with eyebrows, eyelids, and the size of pupils convey our innermost feelings like fear, surprise, and excitement. Eye contact reveals the speaker’s personality and helps overcome his self consciousness and nervousness. As a speaker, you want your eyes to convey confidence, sincerity and conviction.
A gesture is an expression of any part of your body, for example, your head, hands, face, shoulders, which illustrates or reinforces your idea while you speak. They play an important role in conveying meaning without using words. For example, pounding fist on a table shows ‘anger’, a fore finger and thumb touching to form a circle stands for ‘OK’.
Head, Body Shape and Posture
In face-to-face communication or meeting or interview the way we hold our head is very important. “Hold your head high” this age old saying is a sign of honour and self respect, confidence, integrity and interest in the person or persons before us. A head bent low, depending upon the situation, would show modesty, politeness.
Appearance includes clothing, hair, jewellery, cosmetics etc. All these may seem unrelated to body language. But on having a closer look it is found that they are very meaningfully related to our face, eyes, gestures, posture etc.
We does not communicate through words, sings and signal alone, we communicate through silence also. ‘Silence is more eloquent than words’ is not a meaningless adage. It is not unusual to come across a situation in which nothing can express one’s response as effectively as silence. The manager enters the room and the employees who have earlier been talking suddenly become silent; it show respect, or may be fear.