Message-based Approaches for Overcoming Communication Barriers
Whether it is a face-to-face conversation or a transmission over the phone, communicationOpens in new window is a complex process that craves careful attention. SendersOpens in new window, therefore, must ensure that message-based approaches are adopted to ensure there is compatibility between the nature of the message and the selected channel of communication so that the intended messages are sent and received without any interference.
It is true that telephones, faxes, teleconferences, the Internet, virtual workplace, and other technological advancements have helped in overcoming physical communication barriers such as time and distance, and enabled us to communicate with virtually anyone, anywhere. However, it is important to ensure that proper message-based approaches—compatibility between the nature of the message and the channel of communication—are adopted so that no further communication barrier occurs.
1. Oral communication
Oral communication—speaking to communicate—is suitable in different settings such as the formal and informal networks in which peers exchange information face-to-face.
Whether to use oral communication or not should depend on the nature of the message. The speaker must be able to identify the situations in which oral communication is the most appropriate one to use.
2. Written communication
Written materials often bear greater burden than spoken words especially when one is communicating new ideas and procedures. Effective writing is the product of long hours of preparation, revision and organization.
The entire philosophy of effective written communication is ‘vigorous writing is concise’. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a sketch should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts.
In fact, a clear, vigorous writing is a product of clear, vigorous thinking. Whether to use written communication or not should again depend on the kind of message to be delivered. The sender must be able to identify the situations in which written communication is the most appropriate one to use.
3. Visual communication
Visual communication—showing to communicate—complements the written message with photographs, diagrams, charts, drawings and graphic symbols.
There is an old saying that ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’. This is because most people understand things better when they see how they work.
Visual aids, when used imaginatively and appropriately, help your audience remember more. Research shows that people remember only 10 percent of what they read but 40 percent of what they hear and see.
Visual communication complements the written message with photographs, diagrams, charts, drawings and graphic symbols. It is the sender’s discretion to decide whether to complement written communication with visual aids or not.
The sender must be able to identify the situations in which written communication needs to be supplemented with visuals.