How you communicate can make or break your success in business
Consider this scenario. Rita and Lenore both go for the same job interview. Rita has an amazing resume perfect for the job, but she speaks quietly, looks at the floor, wrings her hands and can’t seem to answer questions with more than three words.
Lenore doesn’t have as much experience, but she makes appropriate eye contact, speaks in a clear to understand voice, and tells interesting stories about her experience. Who usually gets the job in those scenarios? Lenore. Many people feel that communication and relationship skills outweigh experience, when choosing to work with or hire someone.
Interpersonal communication is more than just the exchange of words among two or more persons. It is the exchange of both verbal and non-verbal messages, face-to-face communication that involves not only what is said but also how it is said. Along with that is body language, tone of voice and hand gestures. In fact, two people can choose not to talk at all, and still be involved in interpersonal communication.
Here are 6 elements in interpersonal communication to consider:
People: The people are the actual individuals, who are engaged in mutually sending and receiving messages. It is an interactive process, a two-way exchange.
Communication: This is the message and it has two parts: the verbal and the non-verbal content. The verbal content is the information conveyed in an understandable language both to the speaker and the receiver. The non-verbal is facial expressions, tone of voice and overall body language.
Distractions: This is anything that that has nothing to do with the intended message and which distorts it. For example, jargon, inattention, going off topic, or values differences, In this case, your message may be understood differently than you intended by the receiver.
Response: This is what the receiver returns in terms of messaging. It allows the sender to know how accurately the message has been received. The receiver may also respond to the unintentional message as well as the intentional message. Types of feedback range from direct verbal statements, for example “Say that again, I don’t understand”, to subtle facial expressions or changes in posture that might indicate that they feel uncomfortable with the message. Feedback allows the sender to regulate, adapt or repeat the message in order to improve communication.
Circumstances: This means the context or the situation where the communication takes place. It can be the physical venue of the communication. Or it can have something to do with the emotional climate, or the status of the persons interacting. In any case, context is important as it allows people to adjust or tweak their message.
Format: This is the physical means of communicating the message. With new media’s popularity, there are now several channels available, and the options are no longer limited to telephone or face-to-face conversation.
An effective communicator knows better than to focus on only one of the elements of interpersonal communication. For you to send your message the way you intend it to, you must address all these 6 elements, and pay careful attention to them.
If you need to inspire, influence or open people’s minds to new ideas, this will help. Learn your dominant style and your weakest style so you can build on your strengths and minimize your areas of challenge.