Communication. We practice it every day in our lives, but are we doing it effectively?
Communication can take many forms and doesn’t necessarily have to be verbal. It could be in the form of an advertisement, email, TV/radio news delivery, a newspaper article, a simple chit chat or even a blog post like this one.
Depending on what kind of message needs to get across, the effectiveness of its delivery is determined on how it’s communicated — whether
in great length vs briefly;
emphasized vs understated;
with clarity vs vaguely.
Oh, and communication is not only important in communications. It’s a key tool to success whether you’re running a business or merely giving an instruction to go to the post office.
As I come from a background of news reading/news reporting, I take communication very seriously. Poor communication easily gets me irritated.
Based on experience and opinion, here’s what I think makes GOOD and effective communication:
1. Choosing the right words/sentences
Especially if done in written/print form, a message can easily be misinterpreted. Therefore, it’s important to choose the right words. Sometimes, the trick is to use simple vocabulary. 🙂
It’s equally important to choose the right words when communicating verbally, too.
2. Not putting up a fake accent
Perhaps in some parts of the world, a country’s mother tongue is communicated in an accent which is hard to listen/make out to, creating a spillover effect when using the universal language of English. This is unavoidable. But on the flipside, a native accent can make English sound cool or sophisticated (as long as it’s not fake!).
Whereas not only is a fake accent detectable and laughing stock material, but it can hinder people from understanding what you’re trying to say. Stick to your own accent that you’ve been brought up with and it shouldn’t run far from the accepted norm.
3. Explain, explain, explain.
Don’t be lazy to explain! Whether you’re giving an instruction, explaining your product or telling a story — don’t leave out vital details. If it requires you to go from A and all the way to Z, you do that! If it requires you to draw diagrams and charts, you do that! If it requires you to sit down over coffee, you do that!
Ever complained of someone talking meleret-leret (draggy)? Perhaps it was the necessary thing to do. This, as opposed to being long-winded and repeating the same things over and over again (unless repetition is the only way of getting someone’s attention)…
4. Choosing not to be silent
Simple as that.
5. Knowing what to highlight
This is important when it comes to advertisements for instance. If you have a one-page ad, what would you make in big fonts? What would you make in striking colour? All this plays a role in enabling readers to receive the right message and to react the way intended.
As for the delivery of the news whether on TV or the radio, there is only a limited bracket of time. What is chosen to be the headline and its contents will definitely affect what the audience absorbs and how it’s registered.
That’s why [undesired] media spins cause the wrong idea and inevitably the wrong reaction. When you have a misleading headline with the pertinent points missing in the contents, trouble is on the way. Media spins are usually deliberate and is actually ‘good’ communication if the intention was to create ruckus. This deserves a different post altogether.
Good communication also depends on timing. It should be done
at the right time;
at the right place;
fast and quickly if required;
in delay if thought necessary so.
This is a problem I’ve observed happening in Malaysia. While it doesn’t obstruct communication per se, it can cause glitches. I’m guilty of this too. It’s so ingrained in our culture that everyone does it. It’s a trademark.
We tend to mix up the different languages there are in Malaysia, coupled with different dialects and…rojak is made. Rojak is delicious but too much of it can cause tummy aches. Get it?
My advice — keep your Manglish for your kopitiam chit chats and stick to proper English when it comes to getting a job done. 🙂
8. Enunciate with the right volume
Pronounce your words clearly! (Talk clearly, too!) Yes, a message can still be delivered with mispronounced words but will otherwise cause confusion.
Talking softly or whispering can definitely hinder communication. Turn up the volume of your voice if you have to. Unless of course, you’re a comminicating a secret or if you’re in the library. Haha.
My conclusive message —> Let’s communicate better, people!