Communication is defined as the act of imparting or exchanging of information from one entity or group to another through the use of mutually understood signs, symbols, and semiotic rules.
With the above definition in mind, effective communication centres around the “exchange of information from one entity to another.“
Until there is an exchange of information, communication has not taken place. For an exchange of any sort to take place, there must be a giver and receiver.
The giver must have something to give and the receiver must be open to receiving what the giver is giving.
For the process of communication to be effective, the ‘giver’ must have a clearly defined worthwhile information to impart and the ‘receiver’ must be open to receiving the information the ‘giver’ is trying to impart.
When this process has taken place, then we have an effective communication. So, to communicate effectively essentially means the ability to impart a clearly defined idea or picture to a willing listener.
The ability to impart an idea in the mind of another person is simply the ability to construct or paint an image in the mind of the listener.
Communication Is Construction
You read that right: Communication is construction, but it is a construction of an idea in the mind of the listener.
From the listener perspective, you’re constructing or painting an idea in his or her mind but from your perspective, you’re reconstructing an idea or image which already exist in your mind, in the mind of the listener.
When you have an idea you have to share, you must see this idea as a completed building that already exists in your mind.
For this idea to be communicated to your listener effectively, you will have to reconstruct the idea or image in the mind of your listener.
In the same manner that a house is constructed step by step, in the same similar you must reconstruct your idea in the mind of your listener step by step.
When constructing a house, the builder always builds the house foundation first and he makes sure the foundation is strong and safe before he starts laying bricks.
A competent builder will never put the roof of the house where the foundation or bricks are meant to be because that will defeat his goal of constructing a strong and safe house that is conducive for human habitation.
In the same manner, a house builder follows a well-defined pattern and steps when building a house, so likewise you also must have a well-defined pattern and steps when it comes to you reconstructing your idea in the mind of your listener.
The fact is that if you’re trying to communicate something, you already have an idea or image in your mind, your next steps should be:
(1) Define your idea as clear as possible.
(2) Break it down into various sections.
(3) Identify the base or foundation of your idea.
(4) Plan where to put each section of your idea if you are to communicate it to another person, starting with the foundation.
If you can do all the four things listed here, you’re ready to communicate effectively but there are more things you can do to become a better communicator.
Things To Do To Become A Better Communicator
There are several things you can do to become a better communicator but here are the most important ones:
(I) Improve Your Vocabulary: The larger your vocabulary, the better you can assimilate information and communicate with people.
People with small vocabulary can easily get lost during a conversation, especially when they are conversing with highly educated people.
(II) Prepare: Prepare your brain and mind before you engage your mouth.
Have you ever said something which you regretted a few seconds later? If your answer is yes that’s because you didn’t prepare your brain before you engage your mouth.
(III) Show An Interest: People will disclose a lot more information about them if you have genuinely shown an interest in them.
Showing fake interest in people’s lives is really repulsive and will only attract hate towards you, so make sure your interest is from the heart. If you can’t show genuine interest, don’t show any at all.
When you listen and observe people, you will notice things they don’t even notice about themselves. This will only improve your communication skills.
(V) Communicate in Terms of Their Knowledge and Interest: Don’t discuss topics which your listener have no interest in.
Example: Don’t discuss politics with someone who has no interest in politics. You will only make them avoid you next time.
Everyone has at least one interest, concentrate your talk around their interest.
(VI) Avoid Dangerous Generalisation: Be specific about your idea.
To communicate effectively simply means the ability to reconstruct an idea or image in the mind of a listener without confusion.
The quote at the beginning of this article is by George Bernard Shaw and it says: “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”
Until you have been successful in reconstructing an idea that previously only existed in your mind, in the mind of your listener, then communication has not taken place.
So, whenever you are about to communicate an idea, see yourself as a builder and ask yourself this question: “How can I successfully reconstruct this idea in the mind of my listener?”
Your answer to this question will help you communicate effectively each time.
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Have a wonderful day.