By: Grace Hoffmann
Knowing how to effectively communicate is a critical skill in our academic pursuits, our personal lives, and specifically, in the workplace. Communication is more than just talking with one another; communication is delivering information between groups of people or organizations through many different mediums. Although communication may seem simple, in order to be effective, you must be aware of the many connected components of communication.
According to an article on The Balance written by Susan Heathfield, “there are five components to any communication and a sixth that is the overall environment of the workplace in which the communication takes place.” The five components include: the individual sending the message, the context for the message, the person receiving the message, the delivery method you choose, and the actual content of the message. Here is a brief breakdown of each component.
The sender: This is the person sending the message to the receiver. The sender should have a clear message that the receiver will understand. When acting as the sender, be sure to include enough details for the receiver, but do not include pointless information that will confuse the receiver.
The context for the message: Why is the message being sent? What has happened, good or bad, that caused the message to be sent? In present day, with a vast majority of communication being online, the background behind the message is important to know in order to fully understand the circumstances regarding the information and to appropriately reply. When the message is given in person, look for non verbal cues such as gestures or body language in order to gain background on the message.
The receiver: The receiver receives the message from the sender. The receiver must listen, read, or view the message fully and carefully in order to obtain the information it contains. When acting as the receiver, be sure to ask questions if you are confused. Obtain clarification on any abnormalities. According to the Balance article, “if the receiver trusts the sender, the chances for effective communication increase.”
The delivery method: When choosing the delivery method, think about how the message will be best communicated between the sender and receiver. Delivery methods could include in-person, email, text message, or written documents. All mediums are effective when used in appropriate settings. If using newer communication methods, both parties should be able to have access to it and have used in the past in order for the message to be effective and clear.
The content: What is being said? The content of the message should be clear and specific to the receiver. The content should resonate with the receiver.
Each of these components works together in order for a message to be appropriate and to be conveyed effectively. The article, “The Power of Good Communication in the Workplace,” by Mikelle Despain, lists benefits of good communication in the workplace such as: mitigating conflict, increasing employee engagement, better client relationships, and a more talented and productive workforce.
As summer approaches and we begin preparing for the start of our internship or full time job, be aware of how you are communicating and make sure to consider each of the components of communication in the workplace in order to be a more effective communicator!