Sunday, August 23, 2009

why is effective communication important to me?

I am sure that many of us has played the "broken telephone" game which involves the passing down of a piece of information (usually a really long and confusing message) from one person to another by whispering into one another's ear. Usually done in a single line, the message has to be passed and by the end of the line, the person will have to repeat the message to see how accurate or distorted the message has become. The objective of the game is to preserve the message as accurate as possible.

We connect with one another everyday through communication. As we know, communication involves the transmission of information from the sender to the receiver, via an appropriate channel, with the intended message preserved. Without proper communication, just like the "broken telephone" game, messages can be misinterpreted and distorted, an important piece of information could be disseminated in many different versions and misunderstandings may arise in the event. So, effective communication is very important to help us deal with one another socially in the corporate world, in school or even at home.

Very often, we associate stable relationships with good communication. For example, effective communication between two friends allows them to understand the way they each think and behave. They will get to know each other better, learning the other person's character, personal likes and dislikes, the nature of their habits and even their thoughts and ideas. By frequently exchanging ideas and expressing emotions, communication takes place. Communication can help to build trust which is very much essential for a long lasting relationship.

What about communication at home? A simple example that illustrates the importance of communication between a mother and a child, let's say Mom always fetches Child from school each day from Monday to Friday. On one of these days, Child partakes in a competition which is held in a different venue outside school. Two things can happen here. If Child did not inform Mom of the change in venue, Mom could have driven all the way to school just to find that Child is waiting somewhere else. In another situation, Child mentions it to Mom in the morning of the event and Mom, because of her busy nature, forgot to fetch Child from the new venue.

On the contrary, if Child informs Mom of the activity beforehand and reminds Mom on the morning of the event, it is more likely that Mom will fetch Child on time and at the correct location. A lot of inconveniences can be avoided if Child communicates with Mom effectively. Of course there are things to consider about the transmission of information. Did Mom give Child her fullest attention during the transmission of information, or was she too preoccupied that she could have easily forgotten it? Maybe Child was not clear enough on telling Mom about the venue, or that Mom had misinterpreted the situation. But still, situations 1 and 2 can be avoided through the use of technology, or more precisely, handphones especially with  the ever-so-handy SMS. Sending an SMS to Mom, Child can remind her about the time and venue of pick-up so a communication breakdown do not take place.

In the workplace, good communication skills are required especially if you hold a high ranking position. Why is this so? Imagine having to conduct meetings and presentations to your subordinates and colleagues or even to big bosses, without using proper techniques. Instead of trying to convey important information in an appropriate and professional manner, you may end up offending your audiences. What could be worse, your audience leaves the meeting or presentations without any clue whatsoever. How about when giving assignments or setting tasks to your employees? Here, there is a need to express good communication skills so that the instructions given will be clear and your employees will be able to carry out their duties efficiently and accurately. If not, a lot of time and effort will be wasted if the employee has to keep redoing it just because he was unclear about the instructions and guidelines given.

As a student, not only is good communication key to making friends and building relationships, it is also important in conveying ideas on paper, in terms of report writing and essay writing. Ideas have to be transmitted clearly and precisely so that the readers will understand the message being conveyed. Through the proper use of tone and language, this can be achieved.

There are other situations in life where communication is essential. For instance, during a game of soccer, players communicate to each other by shouting for the ball or waving their hands. This way, each player knows where to pass the ball without hesitation and eventually make a good play out of it. What about daily activities that involve communication? As obvious as it gets, we communicate with the cashier at MacDonalds when we purchase an extra value meal. We request for an order, the cashier receives it, confirms it and informs us of the price.

There are many instances of effective communication and why it is so important. For me, effective communication is necessary to help us in our daily activities. Without it, a lot of  knowledge and ideas will not be shared. There will be no understanding between people and misunderstandings will just keep taking place. There are aids of effective communication such as technology like email, SMS, telephone, Internet that allow us to disseminate our information accurately and successfully. But how personal will it be if technology is used for communication? Food for thought...


  1. Hey interesting entry with many good examples! I like how you include the game of "broken telephone" to start off your point on effective communication.

    Indeed, it requires a skill to maintain messages accurately. Particularly the example on Mother and child where you show how inconveniences of miscommunication can be avoided with technology. Though lengthy, I realised how much technology is important in our lives!

  2. That was a lengthy blog post, but I like the examples. They really helped to illustrate your points.

    Technology does aid in our communication, though I'm not sure if it aids in effective communication. Most of the time, it is very hard to judge what someone means merely by the words he/she types. If only such methods of communication could convey tone and body language as well!