Welsh-born poet George Herbert once said, “Good words are worth much and cost little.” This is especially relevant in all facets of our personal and professional lives, as communication is the key to success. The main takeaway in communication comes from its efficiency and effectiveness, and ensuring that both work together cohesively.
The difference between the two lies in the definitions. Communication efficiency means that you can quickly communicate your message in the shortest amount of time, while ensuring the recipient understands the message the way you intended. Communication effectiveness means the recipient understood your message perfectly without any need for further explanation. When delivered correctly, the two can be achieved together.
To ensure your message will not get skewed or lost in translation, consider the following:
Be an Active Listener
Even if you are the one delivering the message, take the initiative to practice active listening. This valuable skill involves providing appropriate verbal and non-verbal feedback to the person delivering the message, such as eye contact, responding when asked a question, and so on. Whether you are the one delivering the information or receiving it, by giving your full attention, there will be less of a chance the message will be misinterpreted.
Make Sure Your Message Is Succint
Time-sensitive information should be passed on to the appropriate recipient in the shortest time possible—but sometimes brevity is the enemy of effectiveness. As a result, we unintentionally omit key details of information for the sake of time, which may then leave a trail of confusion in its wake. The same can happen when too much information is given. To be effective with your message, stick with the facts. Provide the history only if it is absolutely relevant to the task, and allow the recipient time to interpret and move forward with the information as you intended.
Tools for Effective Communication
Communication has long since evolved from pen and paper. Today, technology plays a huge role in delivering news, from emails to text messaging applications. The caveat with technology is context can get muddled along the way. Delivering your message over the phone or in-person can be more effective, as it allows the recipient to actively listen and ask questions—and while it’s not necessarily the most productive method as you may have to track down the person you’re looking to speak to, it’s the most effective means to get your point across.
Feedback is a natural result that comes from communication, whether it’s in the form of verbal or non-verbal cues, expressing concerns or asking questions. At the end of the day, the goal for communication effectiveness and efficiency is that the message is understood across the board the way you intended.
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