The Art of Effective Communication has been noted as a critical success factor in far too many endeavors to list. In fact, few things may influence your success and your career more than communication – that is to say, your ability to clearly and succinctly articulate your message to your intended audience. As an entrepreneur, employee or parent, you may need to convey important information or persuade a listener to take some action (e.g. “buy my product or service!” or “clean your room!”)
The importance of ‘proper’ communications is often overlooked due to its assumed simplicity. We all believe that we know how to communicate – we’ve been doing it our entire lives. However, if you frequently find yourself party to misunderstandings, disputes, unintended outcomes, or just want to improve your communication skills, this article is for you.
Categories of Communication:
As illustrated in the previous section, the number of media we may choose to convey our message is both broad and diverse, each having its own set of pros and cons. Recognizing that the communication process generally starts with the sender’s desire to convey some piece of information, it is important to select the most appropriate media for the specific message. Key considerations when selecting the most appropriate media might include the importance, sensitivity and/or complexity of the message itself, the receiver(s) preference, the intended / desired result, etc. Thankfully, our selection can be simplified (to an extent) by identifying three main categories of media at our disposal: Push Communications, Pull Communications, and Interactive Communications.
1. Push Communications
In push communications, it can be confirmed that the message was sent, but not that it was received or understood. This is used when the recipients need information but no immediate response is required (e.g. the message is neither urgent nor sensitive.)
2. Pull Communications
In Pull Communications, the message is made available by the sender. However, the key difference is that the receiver must make a conscious effort to receive it. (e.g. website, bulletin board, this blog, etc.)
Pull communications are ideal when the message to be transmitted is purely informational, does not affect the project, and is neither urgent nor sensitive.
3. Interactive (“2-Way”) Communications
In Interactive Communications (also called “2-Way Communications”), the sender and the receiver are engaged in a dynamic 2-way conversation. (e.g. 1-on-1 discussions, meetings, phone calls, video conferences, etc.)
Interactive communication is the most effective option to ensure the message is received and understood. Interactive communication should be used when an immediate response is required and/or when the communication is sensitive, very important and/or likely to be misinterpreted.
Always keep in mind that communication is not complete until the sender confirms that the listener has received and accurately understood the intended message