Communication skills represent one of the worst areas of the Dunning-Kruger effect. The people who think they are the best at it cause the most problems by being the worst at it.
This is because the importance of communication comes both in the delivery and its reception. A person so convinced of their ability to send often lacks the ability to receive.
We’ve all had that boss or coworker utterly convinced they explained how something is to be done. Someone who refuses to answer follow-up questions and shows offense at the very idea of clarity. No wonder that communication tops the list of most in-demand soft skills.
To learn more about the key elements of communication and how they are applied, read on.
Importance of Communication
Humans are a social species. We outperform the rest of the animals on the planet by being able to work together at a higher cognitive level and with greater correlation.
This is achieved through two strategies listed here.
Information Flow: A Two Way Street
The information doesn’t simply manifest and transmit itself. It takes two to have a conversation or disagreement.
The importance of communication is to keep the conversation part effective and limit the disagreements.
For this, the speaker and the listener need to both act in good faith towards a common goal. Mindful communication seeks to help both sides reverse their roles to achieve goals with ease.
When either side closes off the loop, refuses feedback, and acts as if everyone else will fall in line, communication fails.
Communication also allows people of different lines of responsibility to have a meeting of the minds and convey key information. Especially when some information is need-to-know, trust in a hierarchy makes communication work.
To establish trust, the hierarchy itself needs to communicate the reasons behind its tiers and codify feedback channels.
Purpose of Communication
With the importance understood and the structure defined, the purpose of communication is to facilitate the continuing transmission of information.
Sound confusing? That’s because that sentence lacked a fundamental clarity.
Clarity allows a complex set of ideas to be transmitted without error. Mostly, clarity is achieved when the speaker and the listener are using a shared language.
To convey an idea effectively, all parties need to agree on what words mean and how these terms will be applied to action.
Clarity requires fewer minute adjustments to achieve larger goals. When everyone is on the same page, the work gets done and the morale stays high.
The goal of communication is to get many hands to light work. Collaboration isn’t one person giving orders and others following. It is a group of people mutually deciding to support each other in achieving a goal.
Giving motivation along with reasons is a driving force for working together.
Nothing gets done if nobody knows what to do, how to do it, or why to do it. This is the importance of communication to facilitate all three of these needs.
Sharpening your communication skills and mindfulness makes you, and the people around you, more effective and more content.