Effective communication - Overview

This module focuses on the interpersonal aspect of communication. The concepts contained in this module apply whether you are communicating face-to-face or communicating via a voice/video call.

Communication fundamentals

In the communication process there is a sender and receiver. A message is sent (or encoded) by one person and received (or decoded) by another.

The primary aim of this process is to transfer information and ensure that all parties reach a shared understanding of what's been communicated.

We'll explore these concepts in more detail in the following two topics, but for now let's start with the fundamentals.

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The importance of simplicity

The primary aim of the communication process is to ensure that everyone involved reaches a shared understanding of what has been communicated.

In order to help do that, we need to communicate in a way that is simple and easy for others to understand.

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Listening and ensuring understanding

Communicating a message in a simple way will give your message the best chance of being understood, but it doesn't guarantee that everyone will actually understand what has been communicated.

Information can easily be misinterpreted for a variety of reasons, including language difficulties, different views, perspectives and biases, too much information (information overload), or simply through a lack of focus or attention

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Adapting to the person

In the workplace we are required to communicate, build relationships and influence people from all walks of life.

In order to do this successfully, we need to understand individual differences and use this to guide how we communicate with others.

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Adapting to the situation

In a work environment, there are a range of different situations that you may find yourself communicating in - sometimes within a single day.

You could go from a casual chat with colleagues, to a management meeting, to a performance management discussion with a team member, to a conversation with a customer - and all of these situations require a slightly different approach to be optimally effective.

You may even find yourself communicating with the same person in different situations, requiring different approaches.

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Planning the conversation

For most people the anxiety associated with having a difficult conversation is enough for them to avoid it altogether. And who could blame them? It’s not a pleasant experience.

What if the person gets angry? What if they get upset? What if it changes their opinion of you? These are all very real possibilities.

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Handling negative responses

Difficult conversations can provoke emotional responses from people and when emotions run high, it can become difficult to make any forward progress if you don't manage the situation correctly.

Instead of a constructive conversation focused on problem solving, it can quickly descend into blaming and personal attacks - and that is not a good place to be.

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Additional resources

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