The Art of Communication (Anniversary Edition)

This is from the “Accounting Makes Cents” podcast episode #27 released on Monday, 28 November 2022.


As mentioned, today’s episode will cover the art of communication in a business setting. Communication is of course a key element in any business, actually, in any relationship. We know that businesses are in fact a relationship-based environment. You don’t need to be a customer-service business nor one that has a massive workforce to consider your company as a relationship-based business. The fact is, every business is. As long as you have to deal with another individual, most likely a customer, it is all about relationship management.

Jump to show notes.

The benefit of effective and regular communication is that it ensures coordination happens between the various relevant parts of the company and that if there are any problems, they are quickly identified and dealt with.

Types

There are many types of communication that we perform in a business. Some are oral communication like face-to-face meetings and telephone discussions. Some are written communication using tools such as e-mails and reports. And then we have some others, which are non-verbal communication like body language and facial expressions.

Communication may also be classified between formal and informal. Formal communication in a business setting generally follows a hierarchy-type of approach. Individuals get their instructions from their superiors so that they know what is expected of them and how they have actually performed. In contrast, informal communication does not follow the lines of authority.  This entails individuals going outside of these lines of authority to reach out to someone else and they generally use tools or methods to communicate, such as e-mails, telephone messages, face-to-face conversation.

The process

As much as communication seems to be a natural process that happens in any relationship-based environment, it isn’t really as natural as people think. There are specific stages that the process goes through to ensure that the message is clear and effective. The six stages are Sending, Encoding, Channel, Receiving, Decoding and Feedback.

Sending

The process starts with a sender who has a need to send or convey messages to a particular receiver.

Encoding

The sender encodes what he wants to communicate using words, numbers, symbols, etc. and puts it all in the message. The message is then transmitted.

Channel

The message then goes through a medium, what is referred to as the channel. Choosing the correct channel is important to ensure that the communication process is not blocked or hampered. An example of using an incorrect channel is if you have an urgent message requiring immediate attention, and you then use email instead of a phone call to relay this message. A phone call would be a faster option since you can get an answer as soon as possible, whereas an email could be unread for a couple of hours, or even days, if the receiver is not someone who frequently checks their email inbox.

Receiving

The receiver is the person that the message was intended for, so this is the fourth step, somebody receiving the message. This particular person will be responsible for listening to the message carefully, confirming that he understood what the message was, and providing feedback where necessary.

Decoding

Decoding is the act of translating the message and generating its meaning. There could be errors in decoding the message so it should be remembered that the receiver needs to confirm that he did not misread the meaning of the message.

Feedback

The last stage is feedback, wherein the receiver responds to the message. The feedback gives the sender the acknowledgement that the message has been received as intended.

Noise

The thing is, while the process as explained though, seems simple enough. Why do we still have miscommunication or misunderstanding when we deliver messages to each other? This is all because of noise. Noise can be described as sounds which can hamper the communication process. It generally afflicts encoding and decoding abilities of the sender and receiver.

Some types of noises are: environmental or physical noise, physiological noise, semantic noise and psychological noise. 

Environmental or physical noise disrupts the communication process and prevents the receiver from hearing or seeing the message clearly. This includes things like background music or startling noises. 

Physiological noise refers to actual physical barriers within the sender or receiver that causes trouble in getting the message through. This includes things such as hearing loss, headache, or fatigue.

Semantic noise occurs when the sender and receiver have a different interpretation of words. This generally happens when slangs, jargons or complex words are used. For example, the word “dough” could be used to mean food or it could be mistaken for money.

Lastly, we have psychological noise which pertains to distractions or attitudes of the sender and receiver making communication difficult between the two. An example of this is perhaps daydreaming or having your thoughts elsewhere whilst someone is speaking to you. You are obviously distracted and not listening, or not paying attention properly to understand the full meaning of the message being transmitted.

At the end of the day, it is important to understand the communication process to effectively fix if there are issues with the process itself or if you are having issues with the different types of noises affecting the process.


Show notes simplified

Join MJ the tutor as she celebrates the podcast’s first anniversary today. This is the 27th episode of the podcast. In this episode, MJ also discusses the art of communication in a business setting.

Credits:
“Ding Ding Small Bell” (https://freesound.org/s/173932/) by JohnsonBrandEditing (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1RImxnsbfngagfXd_GWCDQ) licensed under CC0 Licence.

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