THE MYSTERIES BEHIND EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATIONS.
WRITTEN BY: OJEME ISIOMA
The mysteries behind effective communications cannot be over emphasized. Communication has numerous definitions based on the different perceptions of humans. Communication asides from being the exchange of information between individuals is also the ability to understand the emotions and intentions behind these information. Science has made us to understand that without sound waves, human beings would not be able to communicate verbally. Scientists say that our vocal chords generate sound waves that are transmitted through the air of listeners. Indeed, one can easily tell that communication itself is a mystery. Some of these mysteries are about to be revealed in just a moment.
Similarly, one of the major mysteries behind effective communications is listening. Most times, when we hear the words “communication skills”, the first thing that comes to our mind is the ability to speak well or a good verbal/oratory skill. Well, I must say that it is actually a major aspect of communication skills but not everything about it. In fact, a good oratory skill cannot exist without a better listening skill. Listening is the ability to pay close attention to the things heard, read meaning to them and give a corresponding feedback. Listening is a discipline in communication that is learned through consistency and intentionality. Listening is a discipline because the fact remains that no one listens all the time for numerous reasons, but that is where the place of consistency and intentionality comes in, which helps us to become better listeners every day. One of the mysteries behind listening lies in the fact that it seems to be one of the easiest communication skills to exhibit, but taking a closer look, it is the most difficult as there are various types of listeners (the fraudulent, the passive and the active listeners). Another mystery in listening as a communication skill is in the effect of what is received and how a message is interpreted in the cause of listening.
Little wonder Lily Walters said; “the success of your presentation (communication) will be judged not by the knowledge you send, but by what the listener(s) receive(s). And in public speaking, there is what we call “The Psychology of Audiences (auditory perception)” It states that; for every speech you make, there are two messages contained in it; the one sent by the speaker and the one received by the listener. Having established this, we can now understand the reason why miscommunication occurs in communication. And why the bid to help someone sometimes, comes off as an insult or some negative intention to the recipient, thereby resulting in misunderstandings and arguments, and this is often caused by poor listening or reception. As a good communicator, it is necessary for you to truly listen to others when they speak with or to you. And this although sometimes difficult, will be made evident when you ask related questions, make paraphrases of what the speaker has said and show that you were more eager to listen than to speak, when giving your feedback. Mark Twain said; “if we were meant to talk more than we listen, wewould have two mouths and one ear”. Now, you might want to believe and agree with me when I say that the ability to speak well is a good communication skill, but more important and crucial is the ability to listen well.
Notwithstanding, another great mystery behind effective communication is speaking. Speaking is the ability to communicate ones thoughts and messages through speech. Speaking itself has great mysteries around it and one of them has been revealed in the introductory paragraph. That is the one of verbal communication made possible through sound waves. Still on that note; another mystery in speaking is what is called Psycholinguistics or The Psychology of Language. Psycholinguistics has to do with the study of how language is acquired and produced by humans, in relation to speech making. It explains the mental aspects of language and speech and how the brain works together with the knowledge of a language in the process of speaking. This clearly explains that a whole lot goes on in our brain even as we speak. It reveals the process of speech making which starts with the mind, thinking a thing and then processing those thoughts or information to the brain and then releasing it through the mouth in form of a speech. And all these amazingly happens within the split of seconds! But unfortunately, some communicators or humans generally sometimes do not allow our brains to take us through this process. What I mean by this is that, in the bid to think too fast and speak quickly, we end up verbally communicating ineffectively. In other words, we miss out the place of thinking before speaking.
More so, another mystery in speaking, lies in the ability to communicate fluently and sincerely with others. The mystery lies in the communicator’s ability to connect and identify with his or her audience or listener. Speaking with sincerity is all that matters when communicating with others. This can be said to be why a great man called John Ford said; “You can speak well if your tongue can deliver the message of your heart”. This is really all that matters in communication; the ability to give words to your thoughts and express yourself in speech, just the way you feel in your heart. Be mindful and aware of your emotional state and the level of your comfort before speaking as this will have effect on your desire and ability to communicate effectively. Preaching what you speak, speaking respectfully, being yourself (losing the attitudes) and minding your non-verbal communications are secrets to having effective communications with others. “Speech is power: speech is the ability to persuade, to convert and to compel” – Ralph Waldo Emerson.
In addition, another mystery behind effective communications is the ability and potential to connect with yourself, your message and your audience or listener(s) during communication. Alexander Gregg said; “There are three things to aim for in Public Speaking (communication): first, to get into your subject, then to get your subject into yourself and lastly, to get your subject into the heart of your audience or listener(s)”.Steve Job calls this Mirroring and Matching, Public speaking calls it Audience analysis and Communication calls it Empathy. An empathetic communication is one that communicates WITH an audience or listener. That is understanding the reasonbehind a communicated message, and responding to it putting yourself in the shoes of the person you are communicating with. Reason being why Carl W. Buechner said; “They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel”.
Equally and undoubtedly important, are the mysteries that are found in Non-verbal communications. One mystery is that in communication, sometimes, your reaction or non-verbal expressions may be more communicative and important to the recipient than your verbal expressions. In other words, your reactions sometimes plays a more crucial role than your responses in communication. Another mystery is that your non-verbal expressions compliments your verbal communications, so when a positive message is passed across but accompanied by a negative non-verbal expression, it takes effect on the whole message and presents it as a negative message to the recipient. Asides exhibiting a poor listening skill by the recipient, this is another factor that results in miscommunications and misinterpretations of the messages that are passed across, which comes from the sender. This clearly explains the need to be careful, mindful and watchful of one’s non-verbal expressions when communicating verbally or even non-verbally with others.
Nevertheless, the summary of these mysteries behind effective communications points towards becoming a better communicator every day. A good communicator is receptive (a good listener), friendly, open minded, confident to speak, knows the best medium to be used in passing across various messages or information, watches his or her non-verbal communications, respectful, sincere and consistent in communication, critically analyses a situation before he or she draws a conclusion and the last but not the least, relays appropriate feedbacks to the sender. A great and young communicator by the name Ojeme Isioma once said; “A great and true leadership communicates. If you can communicate well, then you can lead well because a good communicator is a great leader”. One of the greatest mysteries behind communication is the effect it has on one’s leadership quality and this has been established in the preceding brilliant quote. A good communicator does not blame others for his or her failure, rather, he or she takes responsibility for whatever happens and this is one of the qualities of a great leader.
In conclusion, the maxim of communication states that; “You cannot not communicate”. This means that one may decide not to speak or talk but you cannot not communicate because even your silence communicates a message of maybe sadness, observance or a conscious effort to stay silent. This has automatically communicated a message to your recipient(s). The President of my Department (Communication and Performing Arts), Ayoola Victor will always say; “Touching your hair is communication”, “Your smiling is communication”, “Your sitting down and staring is communication” and so on. But as regards the discovery of science in communication, take some minutes to imagine a world where verbal communication was not possible and all we had was sign languages and non-verbal expressions. What would it feel like to you? Well, to me it would be a boring and very ineffective way of communicating, I really feel for those who are deaf and dumb now. Indeed, I must say that effective communications in the beauty of its mysteries, is the basis of a good and happy life! Rob Brown said; “If you can speak, you can influence. If you can influence, you can change lives”. Communication is Life!
BY OJEME ISIOMA
I am a transformational writer, a public speaker and a poet who has a great passion for creating a better humanity.
Phone Number: 09067925911
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