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How important is it to communicate effectively?

What does it exactly mean by effective communication? To be able to speak properly in front of some countable folks? Or is it related to speaking fluent English? Well, effective communication is far more than this. It is being able to speak up, without the fear of being judged, yet be responsible for what one has said, and at the same time, be a good listener.

Whether it be professional workspaces or personal engagements, it is important to communicate one’s opinions and aspirations. It identifies an individual from the rest, as people know who you are by the virtue of your ideas and choices. Often people find it difficult to express their ideas, generally not considering them worthy of it. Some might also fear being judged by their peers and friends upon saying anything. At times, we become extremely self-conscious of ourselves that in the long-term it becomes an inherent practice to remain quiet on such occasions. Awkwardness is often the biggest hurdle to effective communication. Let us take a few instances from the college life itself, how many times are we able to raise real questions in an ongoing lecture, how many times are we able to contact a senior easily, how many times are we able to mail a professor regarding a career advise only, instantly? For many of us, such courageous occasions are rare. Probably, we are too shy, but why?

Effective communication is expressing opinions rationally and sharing information responsibly. Imagine a class of 30 students with a class representative planning for a small treat by one of the faculty advisors at the end of the semester. Now, apparently, the representative has a close group of friends of ten people from the class, with whom he usually hangs out. He informed the final date of the treat to the close buddies and as a misconception of informing all, forgets to inform the date to the entire class on time. This is a serious miscommunication which may result in multiple problems in professional work settings. Who is responsible, and how did the Class representative forget to inform the date to others? Such incidents occur when people, in general, do not take the task of ‘keeping everyone in the loop up-to-date’ seriously. Here is where effective communication fails. One must try to share information required by people proactively in all circumstances.

Another important and visible aspect of effective communication is to be able to speak crisply. It is often said that if you understand something well, you express it well. Often, in group discussions, we notice that people favour listening to those who explain things very clearly in short sentences. I feel speaking well comes only with practice. Such group discussions, or any such occasion which requires you to speak up, are opportunities to indulge in acquiring the ability to communicate well. We often let go of such chances because of self-doubt, and ultimately, are left thinking why didn’t we go for it.

Communication is essential in every part of our life. It helps in networking with people, good communication skills is a box of hidden opportunities. In our personal lives, our relations are built stronger on the basis of our efforts to communicate, express our joys and discomforts, and remain in contact. People who communicate well are looked-up to everywhere. Their advice is taken into account and generally receive consideration and appreciation from everyone. One’s ability to communicate well empowers one.

If you are a patient listener, you can become an avid conversation maker. Effective communication is always two-sided, therefore, one must always try to take into account everyone’s ideas, and ponder upon them rationally. It could be tough for anyone to present an opinion in an ongoing conversation, but if you are confident on the subject, then why not? Taking small steps into learning effective communication, and trying it every time shall only inculcate this skill in an individual.

Author: Arpita Kabra , Undergraduate Student at IIT Gandhinagar

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