Communication Skills (Pt.3)

Last time I spoke about the refined elements of communication, let’s recap:

  1. The sender
  2. Encoding
  3. The message
  4. Decoding
  5. The receiver
  6. Feedback
  7. Noise
  8. Personal filter areas

And then we spoke about non-verbal communication and Albert Mehrabian; who is a behavioral science researcher who is well known for his publications on the importance of verbal and nonverbal communication. According to Prof. Mehrabian, communication is comprised of words (7%), tone of voice (38%), and body language (55%).

Now we should have a very basic understanding of communication, but there are a few obstacles that may need to be overcome in certain situations.

  1. Different personal filter areas
    1. It’s very important for the sender and the receiver to share as much in common as possible, this increases the likely hood of effective communications. Different frames of mind or references will most likely end up in confused communications.
  2. Credibility of the sender
    1. The receiver will places a value judgement on what the sender is trying to communicate based or previous interactions with the sender.
  3. Jargon
    1. Every industry, hobby, sport, etc… has their own terms that are really only known to the folks in those specific areas. So when some hears, for example “Code Blue” they may or may not know what that means. Don’t assume that people will know. Use simple clear words.
  4. Semantic differences
    1. It’s important to choose your words carefully. Different people will use different words in different ways.
  5. Proximity of the persons communicating
    1. It’s important to communicate at a comfortable distance, there are four zones.
      1. Public zone (the rock star): 3.65m or more
      2. Social zone (the networker): 1.2m – 3.64m
      3. Personal zone (the dreaded friend zone): 0.45m – 1.19m
      4. Intimate zone (the Barry White zone): 0.44m – physical contact
    2. Cultural background is also a factor, some cultures may be okay with certain distances that some folks would feel that it’s too close. Or if there is too much distance that the person is cold, distant, and unapproachable.
  6. Information overload
    1. Communication is the transfer of information and comprehension. Also make sure that the receiver is still ‘with you’ as you explain or try to communicate something complex, or many things at once.
  7. Time constraints
    1. The proper amount of time needs to be put into communication in order for it to be effective.
  8. Poor location
    1. If you’re having a conversation in a construction site, active train station, or war zone… you’re going to have some problems communicating.

Join me next time for some simple techniques for improving communication.