The communication challenge

It is common knowledge that around 70 percent of a manager’s time is spent either on spoken or written communication.  That being the case, it is critical that these skills are identified and nurtured right through school and college. Education in the past encouraged reading and writing. Library hours and drama classes helped students speak confidently and with clarity. Grammar was compulsory when it came to English lessons as well. Somewhere in the race for professional courses the emphasis shifted and English or rather the business of communicating seemed to take a back seat.

With the advent of the IT, this tide turned. Today communication skills have become imperative for managers, not just in IT but across industries as well. Good communication matters as organisations are made up of people. Robert Kent, former dean of Harvard Business School said, “In business, communication is everything.” Communication that is not effective can prove to be very expensive as companies need to invest heavily on training. Good communicators move up the corporate ladder far more quickly than those with deficient skills in either writing or speech.

In this day and age of complex business processes, communication is the key to success – both at an individual level as well as on organisational level.  People from diverse backgrounds fill most organisations. This means that communication has to be clear and that which builds trust, promotes understanding while empowering and motivating others.

Today we have a global economy. Hence understanding of international business and cultural code of conduct have become appreciably important to most managers.  Products can do well only if the understanding of the cultural and geographic boundaries are mapped and the communication is geared to fit the environment. Haven’t we all heard of products which have failed miserably only because the name or the communication was not correct?

So then how do we make sure that our communication is right?

Some simple, easy to follow tips –
•    Always have your objectives in mind when you need to communicate. What is it that you want your readers or those listening to you to remember? Speak or write so that it meets your objectives.
•    Take note of your audience. Will they prefer a direct approach or should you put your communication into a form which will be receptive to them?
•    Check your credibility with your audience. Look at it in terms of the organisational environment – is it thick, flat, centralised or decentralised? Each one needs to be addressed differently.
•    If your communication needs to motivate others then make sure that what you say in the beginning gets their attention. A good way to do this is to put the benefits of what you want to talk about upfront.
•    Think about what kind of medium you would want to use to send out your communication. If you need to keep a record of it, then a mail would be the right choice.
In case the matter is sensitive then a face to face dialogue would be better.
In case you think that your written or spoken skills are not up to the mark then look for communication workshops which will build confidence and enhance your skills as well.


- Gita Nair (views expressed in the article are that of the author)





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