Elements of Effective Communication

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In large organizations with many employees, it is essential to avoid miscommunication. Therefore, the importance of finding appropriate methods to deliver specific ideas to another person cannot be underestimated. Misunderstandings can occur between departments, co-workers, or even between the employee and employer. To achieve optimal understanding between employees, one must teach them various means of communication. Teaching includes critical listening, emphatic listening, and non-verbal communication to exchange information with multicultural companies.

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Firstly, critical listening aims to evaluate and analyze the specific information that enters one’s mind. This type of sorting facts is a somewhat active skill, and it usually involves problem-solving along with decision making. Similarly to critical reading, it requires a detailed analysis of information in one’s mind aligned with one’s beliefs and available knowledge (Gülten and Zekerya 2020). Critical listening incorporates analyzing an opinion and making one’s conclusion based on this opinion. It is crucial to differentiate criticism and instant belief that the presented idea is flawed (Sims 2017). Critical listening does not mean that one should criticize information; it instead means that one must engage in what one is listening to and differentiate, which is a fundament of actual learning.

The majority of mundane decisions are formed because of the critical analysis of the existing situation. One’s ability to develop individual opinions originates from the ability to process information and critically assess the surroundings. It is also essential to have an open mind while listening critically because one cannot make an adequate critical opinion based solely on one’s existing personal ideas (Papenburg 2016). As a critical listener, one must evaluate all parts of the information and decide whether the information is valid. To have this essential skill, one must learn to differentiate general facts, assumptions, and opinions as well as be able to listen carefully instead of making assumptions.

In contradistinction to critical listening, empathic (or therapeutic) listening involves understanding and accepting one’s emotional state by sharing and understanding their thoughts. Empathic listening can be challenging because it requires a connection with another person on a more profound level. In addition, emphatic listening is not equal to a sympathetic one, because it requires more than compassion; it involves a complete understanding of a person’s situation believing the same that they think (Petersen 2020). Psychologists or counselors usually use this type of listening to understand their patients or co-workers and help them (Kourmousi et al., 2018). Moreover, this type of monitoring, unlike the critical one, does not involve making decisions and judgments based on a person’s opinion; it instead means encouraging a person to explain their emotional state.

Such skill is essential when it comes to avoiding misunderstandings in collective and resolving conflicts. When one listens empathically, one identifies with the speaker by understanding the circumstances he or she is discussing (Kourmousi et al., 2018). What is similar to critical listening, when one is listening empathically, one must be fully engaged in conversation. However, while critical listening uses this method to analyze and judge other opinions, emphatical listening involves focusing on the speaker’s emotions, not oneself’s (Papenburg 2016). It is listening and responding to the emotional state of another person instead of oneself like in the critical variant. This variation of listening skills improves mutual understanding and trust among co-workers.

To assure that there is no gap in communication, one must combine two listening methods accordingly. Firstly, one needs to understand that any spoken information needs to be evaluated from a critical perspective to form one’s opinion on the matter. Secondly, one needs to put oneself into the speaker’s position to understand their motifs and worldview. Thus, the speaker’s message would be appropriately evaluated with minimal and adequate judgment. However, some people prefer non-verbal ways of communication.

Non-verbal communication is also an essential part of human interaction, especially when it comes to co-workers and bosses. There are several types of non-verbal communication: facial expressions, gestures and body language, haptics, and paralinguistic (Segerstrale and Molnar 2018). Facial expressions can convey a considerable portion of information about a person. First of all, a smile can showcase one’s happiness and good intentions; it can be viewed as a friendly gesture towards another person (Marono et al., 2018). The expression on one’s face is often the first thing another person can observe and learn because it conveys lots of essential information. Facial expressions can be a great indicator of leadership because one cannot get a high position without a confident expression on one’s face. While gestures can showcase certain moods, the meaning of gestures differentiates between cultures, but facial expressions are universal.

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Gestures and body language can communicate the meaning of words without words. Universal gestures are pointing at something, waving as a sign of welcoming, and using fingers to indicate the number of something. Gestures can be perceived as a sign of power, for example, in the court where lawyers, attorneys, and judges tend to utilize some of them for various reasons (Marono et al., 2018). Posture and body language can also express certain information about other people. It can indicate whether a person is insecure, anxious, confident, or aggressive (Segerstrale and Molnar 2018). While different non-verbal ways of communication show emotions, body language can be less definite, because no one can control their body completely. If the human department manager tended not to miss sure signs in gesticulation and body language, the company would have more confident people in their ranks.

Another kind of non-verbal communication is haptics, which is communicating through touch. A touch can be linked to pleasant emotions, and therefore, it could be used to calm a particular employee. Physical contact can also express affection and sympathy; it can assert one’s dominance or showcase aggression. Researchers proved that people with higher status tend to assert their dominance by invading another person’s space (Marono et al., 2018). In this case, sex plays an important role as well because women tend to express care, concern, and empathy through touch. In contrast, men usually convey dominance and power through physical contact.

The last aspect of non-verbal communication is paralinguistics, which is vocal communication separated from the actual existing language. Paralinguistic include intonation, pitch, the loudness of one’s voice (Papenburg 2016). This method of communication can change the whole sentence because voice tends to affect the meaning of the message. “Yes” can be interpreted differently while changing the tone; it can sound confident, rude, enthusiastic, disinterested (Papenburg 2016). Therefore, the tone is essential when delivering a certain mood or emotional state. In organizations, paralinguistic communication can create an additional level of politeness and formality among their employees. Moreover, it can change the perception of a particular person, whether it is good or bad.

Such methods of non-verbal communication are essential in the environment of cross-cultural organizations. Sometimes miscommunication across cultures can appear because certain gestures may mean different things in different cultural situations. Moreover, several people from diverse departments can have a misunderstanding because of the language gap. For example, some members of the company can speak Korean and barely understand English, while others are excellent in English and do not understand Korean. Between these co-workers, a gap in understanding is highly possible, because they have no common language. As a result, the receiver cannot understand the message as the giver intended it. Moreover, some people tend to be straightforward, while others like to read between the lines. Along with the language gap, the difference between employees can be the cause of misunderstanding and hardship later.

Sometimes the cause of miscommunication can be because of different accents of the same language, or jargon, or specific technical terms. To overcome a language barrier in the workplace, the head office must implement a few main rules. First of all, all employees have to use one simple and understandable language. Although some workers tend to use sophisticated vocabulary to sound more intelligent or all-knowing, it is not beneficial for the company. Using jargon or specific vocabulary (like technical one) creates a communication gap and leads to miscommunication.

The second way to avoid miscommunication based on the language gap is finding a qualified translator. In that way, every document could be translated into the required language, and this would have to avoid misunderstandings. Sometimes a good translator can be chosen among existing employees to ensure that there is no instruction misunderstood. Moreover, a highly professional company should be able to include specialized training programs to teach newcomers a specific technical language. This is not only a great way to show one a new jargon, but also to learn how to communicate successfully with co-workers.

Another useful tool in fixing miscommunication among employees could be a visual method of communication, like diagrams or pictures of what needs to be done. This method can help in explaining the problem better, especially to those, who have a vague understanding of common language. Another thing that can aid in this uneasy task is repetition, similarly to schools. If a person hears something several times, he or she is bound to understand and remember the main idea. It is also essential to be respectful whether there is a language barrier or not. People with a lack of language knowledge require patience and understanding. They probably need more time to communicate, and one must talk slower and more apparent with them to get the message across. Although the language barrier can be a considerable problem in communication between co-workers, there are several ways to fix it and help the person to accommodate.

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To conclude, large organizations can often suffer from miscommunication, whether it is because a particular employee does not know the language on the needed level or it is because of hard jargon. Therefore, the importance of finding appropriate ways to deliver specific information to another person cannot be underestimated. To achieve optimal understanding, one must learn to communicate non-verbally and learn to listen critically and emphatically. The tone of words is essential as well because it can showcase the true meaning of one’s words. Using a specific accent can lead to miscommunication as well; therefore, a simple common language is needed to achieve optimal and mutual understanding. However, suppose some people cannot understand simple common language at all. In that case, an organization can hire a specialized translator to express one’s thoughts and fix every communication gap.

Reference List

Gülten, E. and Zekerya, B. (2020) ‘A comparative study on critical thinking in education: from critical reading attainments to critical listening attainments’. International Journal of Education and Literacy Studies, 8(1), pp. 142-151. Web.

Kourmousi, N., Kounenou, K., Yotsidi, V., Xythali, V., Merakou, K., Barbouni, A. and Koutras, V. (2018) ‘Personal job factors associated with teachers’ active listening and active empathic listening’. Social Sciences, 7(7), p. 117. Web.

Marono, A., Clarke, D., Navarro, J. and Keatley, D. (2018) ‘A sequence analysis of nonverbal behaviour and deception’. Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology, 33. pp. 109–117. Web.

Papenburg, J. (2016) Sound as popular culture: a research companion. Cambridge: MIT Press, 432.

Petersen, A. (2020) ‘Empathic listening: empowering individuals as leaders’. The Journal of Student Leadership, 3(2), pp. 63-71. Web.

Segerstrale, U. and Molnar, P. (2018) Nonverbal communication: where nature meets culture. London: Routledge, 316.

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Sims, C. (2017) ‘Do the big-five personality traits predict empathic listening and assertive communication?’ International Journal of Listening, 31(3), pp. 163-188. Web.

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