Academic journal article IUP Journal of Soft Skills

Organizational Models of Effective Communication

Academic journal article IUP Journal of Soft Skills

Organizational Models of Effective Communication

Article excerpt

It's about communication. It's about honesty. It's about treating people in the organization as deserving to know the facts. You don't try to give them half the story. You don't try to hide the story. You treat them as-as true equals, and you communicate and you communicate and communicate.

- Louis V Gerstner, Jr.

The Communication Model

Out of a number of models of communication that exist, David Berlo's SMCR model (Hartley and Bruckmann, 2001) is the most common and most referred to model that seems to help most other models expand their horizons on what good communication means. So it is but natural that we use the same model to expand our understanding and finalize our checklist for good communication.

David Berlo's SMCR model stands for Sender-Message-Channel-Receiver (Figure 1) wherein the sender is one who sends the message, the receiver receives the message, which is transmitted through the channel where disturbances might occur. Taking this as our basis of differentiating an effective and non-effective communication, we can look at every good communication having five specific components.

To quote George Bernard Shaw (Hartley and Bruckmann, 2001), "The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place". Many times that illusion is that all these five parameters have been taken care of, whilst in reality one or more of them is left ambiguous. When these are handled properly, communication happens well. If any of these are mishandled, then communication goes for a toss.

Parameter 1 - The Message

The message is the actual content of communication, the information that is passed on between the speaker and the listener. For effective communication to happen, one needs to get the message across right which means one needs to be clear on what to convey. As James Thurbe (Jethwaney, 2010) puts it, "Precision of communication is important, more important than ever, in our era of hair trigger balances, when a false or misunderstood word may create as much disaster as a sudden thoughtless act." Clarity helps communication with no misunderstandings. Here are two simple ways to do that:

1. THINK Before You Speak

Though it sounds clichéd, THINK before you speak (Figure 2) is one of the fundamental rules that helps us get our message across. For most people, however, it just means, pause and think for a while and speak. The challenge however is what to think? This is where most get stumped. So, here is an easy formula to follow so that one knows what to think.

a. Is It True? Before speaking, ask yourself whether what you are conveying is a fact; is it data; are you being honest; did you research for this knowledge; are you sure this is accurate? As Mark Twain (Fulk and Boyd, 1991) once said, "The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug", so is the difference between conveying something accurate and non-accurate.

b. Is It Helpful? Many times, especially in difficult situations, we speak a lot of things that do not really help the situation rather they deteriorate it more. We shout, we scream, and bring in topics that are not really relevant to that particular situation which make it more difficult to resolve. This question helps one to only say what will help resolve the situation rather than deteriorate it further.

c. Is It Inspiring? Anything we say can either motivate the other person or demotivate them. It can either inspire the other person to believe in themselves, change, and do things better the next time or it can depress them in such a way that they lose faith and may go even lower in their productivity. Everything we say triggers either a positive or a negative emotion in the other person-it is better to say things that trigger the positive emotion and inspire the other person.

d. Is It Necessary? "Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something", said Plato (Mumby, 2012). …

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