Communication, which is an essential tool in information dissemination, is not just for social environment but borders on all spheres of human existence ranging from the social and political aspects of our lives, to the economic, religious and even cultural. For businesses, communication is very essential and it will signify the extent to which we win the heart of our customers and retain their loyalty. Communication consists of all the processes by which information is transmitted and received.
Communication is a cycle that revolves from the source, through the selected channel, to the receiver and then back to the sender. It follows then, that communication is complete when the sender receives feedback from the receiver. Although the feedback can be either positive or negative based on the information the sender relays to the receiver.
The importance of effective business communication cannot be downgraded as it gives the business direction, brings about customer loyalty, team spirit and is used in conflict management. This cannot be argued because we all know it all comes down to communicating with tact to pass information across effectively.
The selected channel used in communication is also important because there is a proper channel for different forms of communication. However, there is a general rule that applies to all forms of communication using whatever channel or means you have selected, and that is simplicity. For easy assimilation by the receiver, the sender should make the information being passed across, whether verbal or non-verbal, to obey the ‘KISS’ principle; K – Keep, I – It , S – Simple and S – Short.
Communicating with tact becomes more important, to the sales person who is trying to close a deal or to the officer who is trying to present a slide. The mannerism, the voice, diction, facial expressions, gestures, postures and body movements, which are all non-verbal, combine with the actual speech, which is usually thirty percent of the message compared to the seventy percent non verbal features, to get his information across to the receiver.
Most organizations have a one way internal communication flow. Some have information going upward from their junior staff like the sales person or the questionnaire administrator, but they never sit to actually discuss with them to know what is happening on the field. When reports, surveys, communique etc are submitted, all the ‘big boss’ does is to go through them and send down instructions based on what the report says. Such communication flow cannot amount into business growth. In organizations, the type of communication that should be encouraged is a horizontal form of communication where the ‘big boss’ after getting the report relates with the sales person or questioner administrator to hear directly from them why they got that particular result or know the challenges they encountered and what can be done to enhance their results.
Reports are not enough; they sometimes express what is expected but not what is reflected. To get both what is expected and what is reflected there must be a horizontal communication style between the ‘big boss’ and the junior staff.
People will arguably say that their nature portrays a communication style that is aggressive, some passive while others are assertive. Both aggressive and passive styles of communication are wrong styles of communication, but the assertive style of communication is the best because it is a win-win style of communication.
Some of the barriers to effective communication are the assumptions by receivers while sender is still speaking, fear, misplaced values and wrong attitudes, information under or overload lack of trust and honesty, physical barrier, amongst others.
Communication is like handling a rose, no wonder Abraham Lincoln said ‘the fragrance of the rose lingers on the hands that cast it’.
Organizations and Corporate individuals should work to enhance their communication skills, because communication is the core that connects business growth and its success.
By Benneth NJOKU