“Saying nothing sometimes says the most.” – Emily Dickinson
Sometimes we choose to keep calm and not comment or react to certain situations. But we fail to do so. Because even when we are not talking, our actions do the talking. Your silence can mean many things, it may show you are not interested, or too busy, or feel shy to respond, or may even be angry or sulking. Such assumptions often lead to misconceptions in interpersonal communication, which may affect relationships at the workplace and in life.
You must have understood by now that no communication is not an option. It also emphasizes the importance of understanding barriers of communication in order to have straightforward, trustworthy, and fruitful conversations and avoid misunderstandings and incorrect nonverbal communication.
Let’s understand the principles of verbal communication to help you better communicate at the workplace to avoid conflicts and confusion.
● Communication is complex
No form of communication, whether it’s non-verbal or exchanging words, is simple. Why verbal communication is difficult, you ask? Well, the outcomes of every form of communication depend on various aspects involved such as the purpose of the communication, language or a medium, situation, and distraction. Moreover, individuals or audiences involved in communication have different effects by the way messages have been sent, received, and interpreted.
● Communication is contextual
One of the reasons why communication is complex is the context associated with it. You must have experienced this when saying something with a certain context, meaning, and purpose in your words. However, your audience takes it in a different context that often leads to confusion and misunderstanding.
And this may happen during coffee break conversations or even board room meetings. Every conversation has its purpose, be it letting off steam, brainstorming, problem-solving, or decision-making.
So, how can you avoid misunderstandings and future conflicts? Simply ensure that everyone involved in the conversation including you understands the purpose of the communication and in what context it is taking place. Make sure that everyone is on the same page before, during, and after the conversation.
For example, before starting team and annual meetings explaining why the conversation is happening sheds much-needed light about the situation and clears half of the doubts and fears of participants’ right at the start.
● Communication is essential
Once the bullet leaves the gun or when words come out of your mouth, you can’t take them back. No matter how much you regret it or apologize later, they have done the damage, sometimes temporary, sometimes beyond repair.
It works like a ripple effect in such scenarios. You behave and communicate with a person based on the outcomes of your previous communication. These are also preconceptions that most of us carry into conversations.
Preconceptions based on your experiences, gender, regional, and cultural norms, and stereotypes. As a result, you might presume the other person is likely to behave in a certain way. And keeping these preconceptions in mind most of us communicate in a way we think is most appropriate for the person we are communicating with.
● Once out, it’s out
Unfortunately, these preconceptions that we hold in our heads stand incorrect most of the time. As a result, we ruin the conversation and relations at the workplace and in life. Isn’t there a way to host fruitful communication without preconceptions?
There is, as the purpose of every communication is to understand, start every interpersonal communication with an open mind. Listen to the other person rather than hearing what you want to hear.
This will help you assume less and understand more, and strengthen relations, seek opportunities, and gain much-needed direction for your career and life ahead.
As they say, it’s all depends on how you communicate!