The ability to use words, pictures and shapes to share ideas is one of the things that separates humans from the animals. Good communication has an impact.
What we say can share information, stir emotions and create desires. And we can do it with sound, symbols & gestures.
Good communication is the foundation of all cooperative enterprises – people can’t work together without it. From performing simple tasks through to running global enterprises, talking & listening, reading & writing are a key part of work.
In business, communication often has to do more than share ideas. Business communication is about sharing actionable knowledge – information that helps people do something.
The process of having a thought, coding it into language of some sort, transmitting it to another person, them receiving and decoding it and sharing the senders thinking generally works remarkably well. Despite all the potential for trouble, most of the time it’s functional – people understand each other.
But we’ve also experienced communication gone bad. We sometimes don’t say what we mean to say, or we get misunderstood or only part of our idea gets to the other person. The consequences range from inconvenience to catastrophe.
Is poor communication just an unfortunate fact of life we all have to live with?
No. There are well researched ways of improving the clarity and influence when we communicate – from structuring information carefully through to word choice and typography. Crystal clear communication can’t always be guaranteed, but we can do lots to increase the likelihood of understanding and action.