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Communication is a process that involves exchange of information,
thoughts, ideas and emotions. Communication is a process that involves a
sender who encodes and sends the message, which is then carried via the
communication channel to the receiver where the receiver decodes the
message, processes the information and sends an appropriate reply via the
same communication channel.
TYPES OF COMMUNICATION
Communication can occur via various processes and methods and
depending on the channel used and the style of communication there can be
various types of communication.
The process of communication can be broadly classified as verbal
communication and non-verbal communication. Verbal communication
includes written and oral communication whereas the non-verbal
communication includes body language, facial expressions and visuals
diagrams or pictures used for communication.
Verbal communication is the act of saying what's on your mind with words.
We often take this form of communication for granted saying things we
regret and opening our mouths before we think about it. Words can hurt or
they can heal. So, it's very important to become aware of what words you
choose to use when communicating to others as well as to yourself.
1) Face to face contact:
This refers to direct speech between any two persons, or between two
any two persons. The purpose of such contact is to communicate— orders,
instructions, requests, information and observations.
An interview is generally for a discussion or conference. It is a two-way
exercise, in the sense that both the parties make statements about their respective
positions and ask questions. An interview may be for the purpose of recruitment or
promotion of staff members.
3) Joint consultation:
Joint consultation between representatives of the employers and the
employees is fast gaining popularity. It is a measure of importance being given to the
4) Public communication:
This method of communication may be used to announce a policy
decision to workers, or to give lectures as a part of the employee education
programmed, or to make a speech to those seeking information.
It relates to statement from the management to the staff generally, or
to certain sections of it. It also relates to public announcements and communications
addressed to the shareholders.
Non-verbal communication is the act of saying what's on your mind without speaking
words. Examples of this include facial gestures (smiling, frowning), body language (arms
crossed, giving someone the "finger", legs shaking resembling nervousness, sitting
upright giving someone their full attention), and the impression you give to others with
your appearance (dress, body image, body odor).
Many times the tone of your voice can reflect non-verbal communication as well. For
instance, if you are saying one thing, but your tone of voice is saying another, then that
reflects how you are truly feeling without speaking a word about it (yelling and crying
while saying your okay). Many times we are not aware that non-verbal communication is
a part of the definition of communication.
Proxemics takes into account body spacing and postures as involuntary
reactions to sensory fluctuations. According to Proxemics, the physical distance between
two people can be correlated to the relationship they share be it personal or social.
According to Chronemics, the timing and frequency of any action as well as the
tempo of communications within an interaction contribute to the process of non-verbal
communication. Time perceptions can be expressed through punctuality, willingness to
wait, speed of speech or even the amount of time people are willing to listen.
Kinesics studies include the study of following elements:-
- Posture: Body posture says a lot about a person’s degree of attention or involvement,
the difference in status between communicators, and also the level of fondness a person
has for the other one. Posture can be studied through various indicators like direction of
lean, body orientation, arm position, and overall body movement.
- Gestures: A thumbs up, or a simple wave of the hand says so much. Gestures form an
integral part of non-verbal communication. Gestures allow us to express a variety of
emotions and thoughts like contempt, hostility, approval, affection etc.
Haptics refers to the study of touching as a tool of nonverbal communication. The
various forms of touching that can be included in non-verbal communication include
handshakes, holding, etc. The meaning conveyed from a touch is however highly
dependent upon several other factors like the context of the situation or even the
relationship between communicators.
Oculesics is the study of the role of eyes in nonverbal communication. Eye
contact can indicate a lot of emotions ranging from interest, attention, and involvement.
A simple gaze is comprised of the actions of looking while talking, while listening, or
even while observing.
1. Make eye contact.
Whether you are speaking or being spoken to, looking into the eyes of the person you are
in conversation with can make the experience much more successful. Eye contact
conveys interest, and encourages your partner to be interested in you in return. In less
intimate settings, when giving a speech or when in front of several people, holding the
eyes of different members of your audience can personalize what you are saying and
2. Be aware of what your body is saying.
Body language can say so much more than a mouthful of words. An open stance with
arms easily to your side tells anyone you are talking to that you are approachable and
open to hearing what they have to say. Arms crossed and shoulders hunched, on the other
hand, suggest disinterest in conversation or unwillingness to communicate. Often,
communication can be stopped before it starts by body language that tells people you do
not want to talk. Good posture and an approachable stance can make even difficult
conversations flow more smoothly.
3. Have courage to say what you think!
Communication skills begin with simple communication. Take time each day to be aware
of your opinions and feelings. When you are aware of what you believe on a certain
issue, you can better convey those thoughts to others. Individuals who are hesitant to
speak because they do not feel they have worthwhile opinions need not fear: what is
important or worthwhile to one person may not be to another and may be more so to
someone else. In a world so very big, someone is bound to agree with you, or to open
your eyes to an even deeper perspective. The courage to say what you think can afford
you the opportunity to learn more than you did before.
4. Speak loudly enough to be heard.
When you are saying what you think, have the confidence to say it so as to be heard. An
appropriate volume can inform listeners that you mean what you say, you have thought
about what you are saying, and what you are saying is worth hearing. An appropriate tone
and volume ensure your listeners hear exactly what you are saying, and decreases room
Communication skills can be practiced every day in settings that range from the more
social to the more professional. While some people feel the need to take a special college
course on communications, or to attend community lectures on giving speeches, you
might find that these simple behavior tips can open up new communication opportunities
to you. New skills take time to refine, but each time you use your communication skills
you open yourself to opportunities and future friendships.
BARRIERS OF COMMUNICATION
1. Physical barriers
Physical barriers in the workplace include:
• marked out territories, empires and fiefdoms into which strangers are not allowed
• closed office doors, barrier screens, separate areas for people of different status
• large working areas or working in one unit that is physically separate from others.
Research shows that one of the most important factors in building cohesive teams is
proximity. As long as people still have a personal space that they can call their own,
nearness to others aids communication because it helps us get to know one another.
2. Perceptual barriers
The problem with communicating with others is that we all see the world differently. If
we didn't, we would have no need to communicate: something like extrasensory
perception would take its place.
The following anecdote is a reminder of how our thoughts, assumptions and
perceptions shape our own realities:
A traveller was walking down a road when he met a man from the next town. "Excuse
me," he said. "I am hoping to stay in the next town tonight. Can you tell me what the
townspeople are like?"
"Well," said the townsman, "how did you find the people in the last town you visited?"
"Oh, they were an irascible bunch. Kept to themselves. Took me for a fool. Over-charged
me for what I got. Gave me very poor service."
"Well, then," said the townsman, "you'll find them pretty much the same here."
3. Emotional barriers
One of the chief barriers to open and free communications is the emotional barrier. It is
comprised mainly of fear, mistrust and suspicion. The roots of our emotional mistrust of
others lie in our childhood and infancy when we were taught to be careful what we said
"Mind your P's and Q's"; "Don't speak until you're spoken to"; "Children should be seen
and not heard". As a result many people hold back from communicating their thoughts
and feelings to others.
They feel vulnerable. While some caution may be wise in certain relationships, excessive
fear of what others might think of us can stunt our development as effective
communicators and our ability to form meaningful relationships.
4. Cultural barriers
When we join a group and wish to remain in it, sooner or later we need to adopt the
behaviour patterns of the group. These are the behaviours that the group accept as signs
The group rewards such behaviour through acts of recognition, approval and inclusion. In
groups which are happy to accept you, and where you are happy to conform, there is a
mutuality of interest and a high level of win-win contact.
Where, however, there are barriers to your membership of a group, a high level of game-
playing replaces good communication.
5. Language barriers
Language that describes what we want to say in our terms may present barriers to others
who are not familiar with our expressions, buzz-words and jargon. When we couch our
communication in such language, it is a way of excluding others. In a global market place
the greatest compliment we can pay another person is to talk in their language.
One of the more chilling memories of the Cold War was the threat by the Soviet leader
Nikita Khruschev saying to the Americans at the United Nations: "We will bury you!"
This was taken to mean a threat of nuclear annihilation.
However, a more accurate reading of Khruschev's words would have been: "We will
overtake you!" meaning economic superiority. It was not just the language, but the fear
and suspicion that the West had of the Soviet Union that led to the more alarmist and
6. Gender barriers
There are distinct differences between the speech patterns in a man and those in a
woman. A woman speaks between 22,000 and 25,000 words a day whereas a man speaks
between 7,000 and 10,000. In childhood, girls speak earlier than boys and at the age of
three, have a vocabulary twice that of boys.
The reason for this lies in the wiring of a man's and woman's brains. When a man talks,
his speech is located in the left side of the brain but in no specific area. When a woman
talks, the speech is located in both hemispheres and in two specific locations.
This means that a man talks in a linear, logical and compartmentalised way, features of
left-brain thinking; whereas a woman talks more freely mixing logic and emotion,
features of both sides of the brain. It also explains why women talk for much longer than
men each day.
7 Interpersonal barriers
There are six levels at which people can distance themselves from one another:
1. Withdrawal is an absence of interpersonal contact. It is both refusal to be in
touch and time alone.
2. Rituals are meaningless, repetitive routines devoid of real contact.
3. Pastimes fill up time with others in social but superficial activities.
4. Working activities are those tasks which follow the rules and procedures of
contact but no more.
5. Games are subtle, manipulative interactions which are about winning and losing.
They include "rackets" and "stamps".
6. Closeness is the aim of interpersonal contact where there is a high level of
honesty and acceptance of yourself and others.
Working on improving your communications is a broad-brush activity. You have to
change your thoughts, your feelings, and your physical connections.
That way, you can break down the barriers that get in your way and start building
relationships that really work.
Overcoming Communication Barriers
When people are under stress, they are more apt to inject communication
barriers into their conversation. These barriers can exist on a daily basis as
we may work with people who have different opinions, values, beliefs, and
needs than our own. Our ability to exchange ideas with others, understand
other’s perspectives, solve problems and successfully utilise the steps and
processes presented in this article will depend significantly on how
effectively we are able to communicate with others.
The act of communicating involves verbal, nonverbal, and paraverbal
components. The verbal component refers to the content of our message
‚ the choice and arrangement of our words. The nonverbal component refers
to the message we send through our body language. The paraverbal
component refers to how we say what we say - the tone, pacing and volume
of our voices.
In order to communicate effectively, we must use all three components to do
1. Send clear, concise messages.
2. Hear and correctly understand messages someone is sending to us.
You cannot dream yourself into a character; you must hammer and forge yourself
Be your character what it will, it will be known, and nobody will take it upon your
Reputation is what men and women think of us; character is what God and angels
know of us.
Nothing of character is really permanent but virtue and personal worth.
A fair reputation is a plant, delicate in its nature, and by no means rapid in its
growth. It will not shoot up in a night like the gourd of the prophet; but, like that
gourd, it may perish in a night.
Sow an act, and you reap a habit; sow a habit, and you reap a character; sow a
character, and you reap a destiny.
Talents are best nurtured in solitude. Character is best formed in the stormy
billows of the world.
Reputation is for time; character is for eternity.
Character and personal force are the only investments that are worth anything.
Let us not say, every man is the architect of his own fortune; but let us say, every
man is the architect of his own character.
COMMUNICATION IN JOB
Communication is the life blood of any job. Nothing can develop in the absence
of effective internal and external communication. Besides, communication skills of the
employees are given high weightage at the time of their appointment as well as
Large business houses have a number of branches within the country and even
abroad. For its healthy and even growth, it is extremely important that the central
organization maintains a thorough and up-to-date knowledge of the various activities at
the branch office. This calls for an effective and efficient network of communication.
Effective communication promotes a spirit of understanding and cooperation.
Story: The Wings of Burden
An old legend relates that long ago God had a great many burdens which He wished to
have carried from one place to another on earth, so He asked the animals to lend a hand.
But all of them began to make excuses for not helping: the elephant was too dignified; the
lion, too proud; and so on. Finally the birds came to God and said, "If you will tie the
burdens into small bundles, we'll be glad to carry them for you. We are small but we
would like to help."
So God fastened upon the back of each one a small bundle, and they all set out walking
across the plain to their destination. They sang as they went, and did not seem to feel the
weight of their burdens at all. Every day the burdens seemed lighter and lighter, until the
loads seems to be lifting the birds, instead of the birds carrying the burdens.
When they arrived at their destination, they discovered that when they removed their
loads, there were wings in their place, wings which enabled them to fly to the sky and the
They had learned how to carry their burdens, and their loads had become wings to carry
them nearer to God.
Burdens we carry for others may become wings of the spirit, to lift us into
happiness such as we have never known.
Possessing communication skill is an important qualification at
the time of both appointment and promotion.