The Need for Effective Communication

No organization or institution can exist without effective communication. The success and the life of every meaningful venture rest on effective communication. So many experiences fail today because of failure in communication or what is generally described as a communication breakdown.

Industrial unrests, social disharmony, protests, and business collapse have a lot to do with miscommunication. 

A study in America found that most malpractice lawsuits against medical doctors are due to poor communication and not medical errors (USA Today, 1997). This indicates that ineffective communication is costly in terms of money and time. 

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To eliminate waste, therefore, you need to understand how to communicate effectively throughout your period of study; and in your chosen career, business, or regular relationship with others. I stumbled on this example of divorce miscommunication, which illustrates the place of effective communication:

A judge was interviewing a woman regarding her pending divorce, and asked, What are the grounds for your divorce?

She replied, About four acres and a nice little home in the middle of the property with a stream running by.

― No, he said, ―I mean what is the foundation of this case?

― It is made of concrete, brick, and mortar, she responded.

― I mean, he continued, What are your relations like?

― I have an aunt and uncle living here in town, and so do my husband‘s parents.

He said, ―Do you have a real grudge?

― No, she replied, ―We have a two-car carport and have never really needed one.

― Please, he tried again, ―is there any infidelity in your marriage?

― Yes, both my son and daughter have stereo sets. We don‘t necessarily like the music, but the answer to your questions is yes.

― Ma‘am, does your husband ever beat you up?

― Yes, she responded, ―about twice a week he gets up earlier than I do.

Finally, in frustration, the judge asked, ―Lady, why do you want a divorce?

― Oh, I don‘t want a divorce, she replied.

― I‘ve never wanted a divorce.

This is the result of ineffective communication. From this example, you can see the role of the sender, receiver, and message in creating miscommunication. If the sender understood the value of effective communication, he would have presented his messages differently. 

Likewise, if the receiver listened well or sought clarification, effective communication would have resulted. In the sharing of information, you must remove ambiguity. 

This example illustrates the importance of effective communication. Ineffective communication causes frustration and dysfunctional personal relationships. 

This can also affect academic performance, family life, and professional development and promotions (NPTEL, 2019: 16). Ineffective communication breeds ineffective action.

Organizations and institutions consider effective communication an asset. Alsop (2006: np) found that 85 business schools ranked communication and interpersonal skills as the most important skills for recruitment. 

In the present dynamic society, so many people erroneously believe and accept that the Internet, social media, video conferencing, and the like have replaced the need for effective communication. 

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This is far from the truth. The influx of these new forms of information storage, retrieval, and dissemination in every sphere of life makes effective communication indispensable. The question is:

Are there pointers that describe or characterize effective communication? Every effective communication should be:

  1. Clear: every effective communication must present the message clearly so that the meaning cannot be given a double interpretation. Messages should be simple and clear. Sentences should be short, simple, and devoid of ambiguity. Several messages should not be stated in one.
  2. Concise: Summarize your essential points. Long, lengthy messages are often dull and lead to loss of the critical points. Presenting your points concisely is a bloodline of effective communication.
  3. Coherent: to facilitate understanding and create meaning your message should be logical, starting from the beginning to the end. In simple terms, you need to be coherent. You do not tell a story from the middle or the end; you start from the beginning. 
  4. Someone said: you need to understand what goes where and what comes when. The key to a coherent message is a well-planned, logical, and sequential presentation of information. Incoherent messages lead to miscommunications.
  5. Courteous: every effective communication should have some flavor and comfort that makes the message easy to receive. The receiver will welcome the message better if it is dotted with respect, politeness, and a measure of honesty. 

An inconsiderate, insolent, and rude sender will find it difficult to sustain the audience even when the message is perfectly adequate and important. Toppr (2017) says that effective communication should involve clarity of thought, a calm demeanor, and an assertive but polite approach. 

You should be able to put forth your point of view without offending others.

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