Who says I don’t like Tony Abbott? Goodness, I like him so much that I’ve decided to teach him a few basic communication skills. There’s an election later this year and if he learns to do a bit of thinking then he might just be able to come up with something better than 3-word slogans, “No”, or dashing away from a question.
This post is from the archives, some of which I mentioned would be revisited over the holiday break.
Now to Tony’s lesson.
Communication is the transactional process of sending and receiving verbal and nonverbal messages. The messages are interpreted and meaning is assigned.
Each communication exchange can be categorised into two settings. Symmetrical where the participants acknowledge an equal status, or complimentary where there exists an unequal status as superior or inferior roles are conducted. A person’s attitude and understandings often pre-determines the setting. Think about it, Tony.
Further to being a transaction process, communication exchange consists of the following components:
- Source – the person who generates the communication.
- Channel – how the communication is transmitted.
- Message – the content of the communication.
- Receiver – the person/s who receive the message.
Within the above components various functions are performed such as encoding or decoding messages, and promoting or providing feedback (responses). Good communicators are aware that competence in these functions will enhance successful communication. Primarily these include knowing what is to be communicated; keeping the message clear; emphasising with the listener (ie transmitting in a way that is convenient for the listener); and looking for feedback. Think about it, Tony.
Knowing what is to be communicated appears straightforward, yet many messages are distorted by not choosing accurate words. A message is more likely to have a meaning and encourage a response if the key components are addressed. The planning principle is to know what you are going to say before you say it. Think about it, Tony.
Keeping the message clear is summarised as expressiveness: the ability to communicate ideas and feelings effectively. This suggests that ability and effective communication are two separate identities. The ability is to enter into communication without pre-conceived perceptions and without distorting the picture of the self. What a person thinks of themself will be the image they portray. Think about it, Tony.
Empathising is a clear indication that the communicator knows his or her audience. Empathetic responses identify a person’s right to their beliefs and opinions (or any other differences) and good communicators literally place themselves in the shoes of the listener. This enhances communication in that messages can be transmitted that are convenient for the receiver. Think about it, Tony.
Fundamental to enhancing all the above communication skills is one underlying factor; communicate ethically. Simply, speak to a person in a manner similar to how you would wish to be spoken to. Think about it, Tony.
Complex factors which can impede successful communication are cultural differences and communication barriers. Australians interact in a multi-cultural society, yet most have difficulty in exchanging conversation or appreciating the cultural differences. The popular world wide use of our spoken language – English – contributes to this lack of understanding as locally Australians have had little need to explore new languages or partake in cultural exchange. This ethnocentrism – judging other cultures based on one’s own cultural values – whether it be intentional or not, creates difficulty in cross cultural communication. Think about it, Tony.
Communication barriers are responses whose impact on communication is frequently negative. These barriers appear up to 90 percent of the time during conversation, and of their many forms I have selected two: diverting and advising, as these are frequently employed. Diversion is an obstruction to impede communication by those who lack the necessary listening skills, or by those who feel uncomfortable with the topic under discussion. Such instances can result in topic diversion. Think about it, Tony.
Advising is an innocent roadblock that one gives or receives on countless occasions. Exchanges that are intended to provide simple advice rarely ever reach the core of the problem. From my own experiences I would agree with the suggestion that to engage in worthless advice negates competent communication. More often than not the adviser is not an authority and this is recognised by the listener, and the listening ‘stops.’ Think about it, Tony.
Do you have any other tips for Tony?
A photo of Tony Abbott thinking (I think)