Here are two gentleman composing 2 similar sentences to communicate one simple idea:
- John says Smith is a fool.
- “John,” says Smith, “is a fool.”
The above two sentences may seem like a simple case of punctuation mistake. But they are something else at a deeper level- they fail to clearly communicate the attribute of their subjects (i.e. John and Smith).
Writing such sentences is often worse than speaking them because, in speaking, you may get a second chance to clarify yourself with your body language. In writing such a sentence, your chances of correctly and effectively communicating a piece of information are virtually non-existent.
Clarity is of central significance to all communication. Being clear conveys our thoughts and understanding our listeners' thoughts without ambiguity. Thus, a successful speech, story, or article should first be clear- both in choice of words and overall message before anything else.
Literary proof and significance
We found an important insight in this research paper. It was done by three students of BITS Pilani’s Dubai-based campus in 2014. It highlights that the biggest hurdle to effective communication is a set of assumptions.
As speakers and listeners, we often fall into the trap of approaching a verbal or written interaction with some preconceived notions.
We are driven by our philosophies that are backed by our experiences and reactions to a certain stimulus. This means that we may not always derive the correct information properly, and this may make our communication less clear.
We recommend opting for an open and stronger body language for all in-person interactions.
Good communication is the bridge between confusion and clarity
We live in an under-communicated society when it comes to the written form of communication. We often rely on instant messaging to get our job done.
Since we are usually on the go (or believe that we are), are we comfortable with ‘cn u snd the mail 2dy’ or ‘cn u close dis asap?’ Such abbreviated sentences, though rampant, may often fail to communicate the message clearly.
Verbal communication fares no better either. We often overreach the limits by describing our thoughts in far more detail than is required. We do this for two reasons: we want to explain ourselves perfectly or that we love to talk too much.
These practices may work in situations requiring greater attention to detail, but in most circumstances we can do away with them.At the very least we can do is not to contribute to the nonsense.
What is meant by clarity?
Communication is about delivering a piece of the message in a clear and easy-to-understand form. It should also be transmitted or sent in a way that the intended receiver is comfortable accepting. If it is not, the listener may even tune himself out of such meaningless and unnecessary conversations.
This is why we advise writing short and meaningful sentences. They should stand on their own and provide a logical conclusion for the one preceding it. One should have a good understanding of a subject and the audience before saying something, this will help both parties connect the dots better.
Done repeatedly in any article or speech, it would also help convey the meaning without ambiguity or confusion. English is not our first language, and this often makes it difficult for us to speak our minds. This underscores the importance of communicating in clear and precise terms.
Clarity is supported by six allied attributes in both written and verbal communication. They are Correctness, Conciseness, Courtesy, Concreteness, Consideration, and Completeness.
They come together to help both the communicating parties derive the following benefits:
- Provide guidance
- Exchange of information
- Improve the flow
- Encourage action
- Reduce ambiguity
- Repeat the cycle
Roadblocks: Speaking and/or writing in English
Have you heard of this saying, “It’s so simple to be happy but it is too difficult to be simple?” It makes sense for all working professionals, even if they do not aspire to become writers or speakers. We mostly use English as the preferred mode of communication. Fluency in English often takes a lot of time, but you may save some time by starting early.
Clarity rules the top of the charts in both verbal and written forms of communication. A clear thought process helps a writer or a speaker to stay relevant among his audience. It is best to know what you need to say or write before doing so.
Most professionals in India are not particularly good at delivering business presentations, drafting emails, or creating other official documents in the English language. This puts them in a bad light.
They are often looked down upon by their co-workers and superiors. Worse, their lack of communication skills often hurts their chances for growth.
You might have even seen it happening with you. No matter how good you may be at work, you might be side-lined for promotions because you do not have “good communication skills.” You might even see people who are less qualified rise above you. Therefore, it is advisable to rise above this weakness with some smart work before it hurts your self-belief.
Expert tips for communicating more clearly
Thinking correctly and being knowledgeable are prerequisites to being an effective speaker or writer. The good thing is that you can always improve your skills and emerge as a professional everybody in your workplace can look up to. But it will take some time and effort.So, we are mentioning some proven ways to help you do that.
We advise that you follow these steps while delivering a business presentation or sending a business proposal.
These tips are equally effective, no matter what stage of your professional career you are at.
- Understand your message
- Organize your thought-process - Break it down into Who, Why, When, What, and How
- Know your audience and make them feel comfortable
- Create the right environment (Right time, Right place, Right tone and pitch, Remove distractions, Stay calm)
- Come across as genuine and friendly
- Set the listener at ease by offering him respect
- Be assertive and crystal clear
- Stay on course, don’t beat around the bush
- Be equally attentive to any feedback or queries
- Use pauses and tone to your advantage (nobody likes a monotonous speech)
- Use positive body language (for verbal communication)
- Thank the other party after putting your message across
However, a central part of this endeavour is to remember that communication is a two-way street. We should thus be open to feedback and to listen to others. The worst barrier to any speech or story is a closed mind. The speaker who makes a conscious effort to appreciate his listener’s positive gesture does both parties a world of good.
Caution: Sometimes, people are angrier with themselves than they are with you. In such situations, it is best to stay quiet and give them some time so they may get a hold of themselves. You may top it by saying that you would wait for them when they are okay to talk with you.
Attention: Working Professionals! Wouldn’t you want to speak and write better?
It may not always be possible for a professional to get going with many theoretical procedures. Being short of time or too experienced could make it worse. You might also be worried about what your peers will think of it if they find you attending an English class. That will hurt.
So here’s a smarter way out sign up for our LIVE, one-to-one, online sessions with a qualified professional. You may avail of these interactive sessions at a time you’d want, and you may tune in from the comfort of your living room. It means you can learn at your own pace and emerge a better professional over time, never mind your busy schedule.
We welcome you to sign up for our Business English & Communication. It will take you through the basics of English Grammar, Essential Vocabulary, and the best way to draft emails and deliver presentations.
You can use this course to rise above your weaknesses and learn in complete privacy, at a time and place of your choice.
Your peers will never know how you leaped over them in next to no time!
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