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Why do we
Basic Principles of
The Process of
Empathic Listening
7 Cs of

Components of
Sending Verbal
Kinds of Body

Causes of Communication
Barriers of Effective
Communication Failure Can
Seven Principles of Cooperative
Seven Poor Communication

Verbally Assertive
Non-verbal Assertive
How to Manage Your Body
Key to Active
Active Listening
Benefits of Active
Bad Habits of Poor
Good Habits of Effective
Gathering Good Information with Your
To Improve Your


Effective Communication
Communication is the exchange of thoughts, messages or information, as by
speech, visuals, signals, writing or behavior. Everything we do is
communication. When we are talking, listening, watching, we are
communicating. The way we sit, stand, our facial expressions and the
gestures we make are all part of communication. The purpose of
communication is to get our message across to others clearly and
unambiguously. Doing this, involves effort from both the sender of the
message and the receiver. And its a process that can be fraught with errors,
with messages often misinterpreted by the recipient. When it isnt detected,
it can cause tremendous confusion, wasted efforts, and missed opportunity.

Why do we communicate?
Get information
Make arrangements
Give advice

Effective Communication

When the sender of the message and the receiver, understand the same
information, as a result of the communication is called effective
Effective communication leads to productive relationship. As has been
already said that effective communication ensures that your message has
been correctly understood by the recipient and appropriate action, if
necessary, has been taken. There has been no loss of time, effort or
opportunity. When the messages are conveyed in the best manner by the
sender and received in the best way by the recipient, and appropriate action
promptly taken, breeds a healthy and productive relationship.
Whatever we communicate, whenever we communicate, is based upon our
values, beliefs, self esteem, self image and our thoughts. Somebody said,
Sow a thought, reap an action:
Sow an action, reap a habit:
Sow a habit, reap a character:
Sow a character, reap a destiny.
Today we are where our thoughts have taken us.
Our values, beliefs and our thoughts determine what we say or do. The
words that we utter, and the way we utter, has certain amount of influence
on the result of our communication. Occasionally these results may effect
our beliefs and values

Basic Principles of communication

There are six basic principles

1. Everything we do is communication.
2. The way we begin our message often determines the outcome of the
There is a story of two friends, Jack and Max going to the church. Jack
wondered whether it would be all right to smoke while praying. Max
replies, Why dont you ask the Priest? So Jack goes to the Priest and
asks, Priest, may I smoke while I pray? But the Priest says, No my son,
you may not. Thats utter disrespect to our religion Jack goes to his friend
and tells him what the good Priest has told him. Max says, I am not
surprised. You asked the wrong question. Let me try And so Max goes up
to the Priest and asks, Priest, may I pray while I smoke? To which the
Priest eagerly replies, By all means, my son, by all means

3. The way the message is delivered always effect the way message is
4. The real communication is the message received, not the intended.
5. Communication is a two way streetwe have to give as well as
6. We cannot NOT communicate.

The process of communication

Whenever you communicate with someone else, you and the other person
follow the steps of communication process as shown. Here, the person who is
the source, or sender, of the communication, encodes his message, and
transmits it through a channel. The channel may be verbal, written, a
diagram or a sketch, a gesture or even through the looks. The receiver
decodes the message, and in one way or the other, feeds back
understanding or lack of understanding to the source. During this process of
communication you may encounter noises or barriers which may in turn
influence the effectiveness of communication. By understanding the steps in
this process, you may become more aware of your role in it, recognize what
you need to do to communicate effectively, anticipate problems before they
happen and improve your overall ability to communicate effectively.

The Source

Plan your message. Understand your objective-why do want to

communicate. Think before you speak.
Thinking Process
Is it true?
Is it helpful?
Is it inspiring?
Is it necessary?
Is it kind?
We must also understand our audience. What I am going to
communicate is it compatible to their educational background, or to

the technical background? Are they interested to know what I am going

to tell them? Is it something relevant and new?
Plan what you have to say. What words you are going to say and how
are you going to say. How you are going to send your message?
Verbally, in writing or otherwise.
Seek feedback. Its very important. It tells you how well your message
was received. Sometimes feedback is verbal and sometimes it is not.
Feedback through body language is perhaps the most important source
of clues to the effectiveness of your communication. By watching the
facial expression, gestures and postures of the person you are
communicating with, you can spot:

Confidence level
Comprehension (or lack of understanding)
Level of interest
Truthfulness (or lying/dishonesty)

Create a clear, well crafted message. You need to consider not only what you
want to say, but also how your recipient will perceive it. Choose words and
body language that allows the other person to really hear what you are
With written communication make sure that what you write will be perceived
the way you intend. Words on a page generally have no emotionsthey do
not smile or frown. When writing, take your time to think. Review your
style; avoid jargons and slangs. Check your attitude, nuance and
subtleties. Use the principle of KISS.
Another important consideration is to use pictures, charts and diagrams,
wherever possible. Because, a picture speaks thousand words.

Along with encoding the message, you need to choose the best
communication channel. You want to be efficient, and yet make the most of
your communication opportunity. Using email to send simple directions is
practical. However if you want to delegate a complex task, an email is
probably just lead to more questions, so it may be best to arrange a time to
speak in person. And if you communication has any negative emotional
content, stay well away from email. Make sure that you communicate face to
face or by phone, so that you can judge the impact of your words and adjust
them appropriately. When you are determining the best way to send
message, consider the following:

The sensitivity and the emotional contents of the subject.

How easy it is to communicate the details.
The receivers preference.
Time constraints
The need to ask and answer questions.

It can be easy to focus on speaking, however, to be a good communicator,
you also need to step back, let the other person talk, and just listen.
Listening is hard work, which is why effective listening is called Active
Listening. To listen actively, give your undivided attention to the speaker.
Look at the person, pay attention to his/her body language, because body
language reveals whether the person speaking is honest to what he is
saying. Avoid distractionbecause distraction sometimes discourages the
speaker to give out details, which might be helpful for you to understand and
analyze the message. Nod and smile encourages the speaker as they ensure
the speaker of your attentiveness.

Empathic listening
Empathic listening helps you to decode a message accurately. To understand
the message fully, you have to understand the emotions and underlying
feelings the speaker is expressing. This is where the understanding of body
language can be useful. As a speaker, understanding your listeners body
language can give you an opportunity to adjust your message and make it
more understandable, appealing and interesting. As a listener, body
language can show you more about what the other person is saying.

7 Cs of communication:
Think of how often you communicate with people during the day. You write emails, facilitate meetings, participate in conference calls, create reports, and
devise presentations, debate with your colleagues the list goes on. We can
spend our entire day in communicating. So how can we provide a huge boost
to our productivity? We can make sure that we can communicate in the
clearest, most effective way possible. This is why 7 Cs of communication are
helpful. This is applicable to both written as well as verbal.


The communication must be complete.
It should convey all the facts required by the audience. The sender of the
message must take into consideration the receivers mindset.
A complete message has the following features:
A complete communication always gives additional information whenever
required. It leaves no question in the mind of receiver.
Helps in better decision-making; as the message has all the desired and
crucial information.
It includes call for action so that your audience knows what you want them
to do. It contains all relevant contact names, dates, time and location, etc.
It persuades the audience. Its cost-saving
Develops and enhances the reputation of an organization

Means wordiness i.e., communicating what you want to convey in least
possible words without forgoing the other Cs of communication. Words like,
I mean, you see, kind of , basically should be avoided. Check, are
there unnecessary sentences. Have you repeated your view point several
times? It is both time-saving and cost-saving. They are more appealing and
comprehensible to the audience. Concise messages are non-repetitive in

Consideration implies stepping into the shoes of others. Effective
communication must take into consideration the audiences view point,
background, interest, educational qualification level, etc. Make an attempt to
envisage your audience, their requirements, emotions, as well as their
problems. Ensure that the self-respect of the audience is maintained and

their emotions are not at harm. Modify your words in message to suit
audiences needs while making your message complete.

It implies being particular and clear rather than fuzzy and general. Concrete
strengthens the confidence. It is supported by facts and figures. Concrete
messages are not misinterpreted, as they are vivid and well focused.

Clarity implies emphasizing on a specific message or a goal at a time rather
than trying to achieve too much at once. Write your purpose clearly.
Complete clarity of thoughts and ideas enhance the meaning of message
It makes understanding easier
Clear message make use of exact, appropriate and concrete words
Have you used familiar words, short sentences?
Have you presented one idea in each sentence?
Have you avoided jargons and slangs?
Have you used the readers language?

Courteous message shows the senders expression as well as respect to the
receiver, as it is friendly, open and honest, and therefore boosts confidence
level. The sender of the message should be sincerely polite, judicious,
reflective and enthusiastic. Courteous message is positive and focused at the
audience. It is not at all biased. There are no hidden insults or aggressive

The message is exact, correct and well-timed. A correct message has greater
impact on the audience/reader. It checks for the precision and accuracy of
facts and figures used in the message. It makes use of appropriate and
correct language. Its a check on the appearance of the letter, whether it is
clean and well spaced.

Components of Communication
On daily basis we work with people who have different opinions, values,
beliefs, and needs other than our own. Our ability to exchange ideas with
others, understand others perspective, solve problems successfully,
depends significantly upon how effectively we are able to communicate with
The act of communication involves three components,

non-verbal and
paraverbal components.
The verbal component refers to the content of our message, the choice and
arrangement of our words. The non-verbal component refers to the message
we send through our body language. The paraverbal component refers to
how we say what we saythe tone, pacing and volume of our voice.
In order to communicate effectively we must use all three components to do:
Send clear and concise message
Hear and correctly understand message someone is sending us.

Sending Verbal Messages

Our use of language has tremendous power in type of atmosphere that is
created at the problem-solving table. Words that are critical, blaming,
judgmental or accusatory tend to create resistant and defensive mindset
that is not conducive to productive problem solving. On the other hand we
can choose words that normalize the issues and problems and reduce
resistance. Sending effective messages requires that we state our point of
view as briefly and succinctly as possible. This is your opportunity to help the
listener understand YOUR perspective and point of view.

Paraverbal messages.
Paraverbal communication refers to the messages that we transmit through
the tone, pitch, and pacing or our voice. It is how we say something, not
what we say. Professor Mehrabian in his book, The Silent Messages, states
that the paraverbal messages accounts for approximately 38% of what is
communicated to someone. A sentence conveys entirely different meanings
depending upon the emphasis on words and the tone of voice. For example
I did not SAY you were stupid
I did not say YOU were stupid
I did not say you were STUPID
When we are angry or excited, our speech tends to become rapid and higher
pitched. When we are bored or feeling down, our speech tends to slow and
take a monotone quality.

Non-verbal Communication
The power of non-verbal communication can not be under-estimated. What
we are, communicates far eloquently than anything we say or do. Professor
Albert Mehrabian, says that messages we send through our posture, gestures
and facial expressions, and spatial distance account for 55% of what is


perceived and understood by others. In fact, through our body we are always
communicating, whether we want it or not.
The difference between the words people speak and our understanding what
they are saying comes from non-verbal communication, otherwise called
body language. By developing your awareness of the signs and signals of
body language, you can more easily understand people, and more effectively
communicate with them. The way we talk, walk, sit and stand, all say
something about us, and whatever is happening on the inside can be
reflected on the outside. There are times when we send mixed messages- we
say one thing yet our body language reveals something different.
Non-verbal communication can be done through:
Facial expression
Eye movement
Head movement
Hand movement
Way of talking
Body contact

Kinds of Body Language

Para Linguistics: Refers to our vocal communication. It consists of:

Tone of our voice
Vocally produced noises
Rate of speech

Kinesics: This is our:

Facial expression
Eye movement

Related to space and distance.
Intimate distance.0 to 18 inches
Personal distance.18 inches to 4 feet
Social distance4 feet to 12 feet
Public distance..12 feet to the limit of sight

Haptics: Includes:

A pat on the shoulder
Holding hand
A pat on the back

Chronemics: How we manage and react to others management of time?

It is the study of role of eyes in non-verbal communication. This includes the
study of eye gaze and pupil dilation. People can typically tell individuals who
are angry from those who are nervous, from those who are confident, by
what they do with their eyes. Furrowed brows or rolling of the eyes typically
constitute impatience, anger or defiance. Looking down or batting the eyes
typifies the nervousness, while continuing to look at someone shows
Body posturethe way you carry yourselfis one of the first visual cues
people get about who you are. People, who slouch, keep their heads bowed
and eyes downcast are less likely to be taken seriously than those who suck
in their guts, stand straight and hold up their heads.
Appearance is an often disregarded part of communication and presentation
skills. When you are speaking in public it is still you in the front line. It is you
the other person, group or audience sees and before you have time to open
your mouth and give and account of yourself, certain assumptions, both
consciously and subconsciously, have been made. First impressions are very
important they can be about attitude as well as dress. It is important to be
suitably dressed within expected limits. Nobody expects you to be packaged
into something you are not, but your appearance is a reflection of your own
self-esteem and you should aim to present yourself to your best possible

Facial expressions:
You have eighty muscles in the face that can create more than 7000 facial
expressions. These muscles produce the varying facial expressions that
convey information about emotion, mood and ideas. There are six basic
facial expressions as given below:
Happiness: Whoever is happy will make others happy
Sadness: Sadness dulls the heart more than the grossest since

Disgust: A disgusting expression on the face is considered negative and

should be avoided in the formal gathering.
Anger: Anger is one letter short of dangerous
Surprise: The eye-brows and eyes are most affected in an expression of
Fear: There is nothing to fear, but fear itself

Openness and confidence:
Open hands
Eye contact
Leaning forward
Standing straight
Legs crossed
Shaking one foot
Glancing at exit

Eye Contact:
It is said that eyes are the windows to the mind. Eye alone tell you lot about
how a person is feeling. When someone is excited, his pupils dilate to four
times the normal size. An angry or negative mood causes the pupils to
contract. Good eye contact helps the audience develop the interest in the
speaker. It helps regulate the flow of communication and reflects interest in
others. Direct eye-contact conveys interest, warmth, credibility, and concern.
Shifty eyes suggest dishonesty and downward gaze shows submissiveness
and inferiority.

In all of our communication we must try to send consistent verbal, non-verbal
and para-verbal message. Consistency means our words, our gestures, facial
expression and our posture should convey the same message to the listener.
When a person sends a message with conflicting verbal, non-verbal and
para-verbal information, the non-verbal information tends to be believed.
Consider an example of someone, through a clenched jaw, hard eyes, and
steely voice, telling you he is not mad. Which are you likely to believe? What
you see or what you hear?

Causes of communication difficulties:

1. Lack of information or knowledge
2. Not explaining priorities or goals properly


Not listening
Not understanding fully and fail to ask questions
Mind made up, preconceived ideas
Not understanding others needs
Not thinking clearly, jumping to conclusions
Bad mood
Failure to explore alternatives

Barriers to effective communication:




Pre-conceived notion/expectations
Physical hearing problems
Speed of thought
Not listening actively

Communication failures can cause.

1. Mistakes, inefficiencies
2. Lowered productivity
3. Poor coordination and cooperation
4. Damaged personal or company image
5. Frustration, hostility
6. Loss of business
7. Dissatisfaction with others
8. Lowered morale
9. Loss of team spirit
High employment turnover
Conflicts and arguments
Drop in self esteem and confidence
Loss of friendship

Seven principles of cooperative communication:

1. Soften the yous or change them into I to avoid sounding pushy
Instead of you will have to say, Could you or, Would you be able to
2. Focus on the solution, not the problem.

Instead of We are out of paper say, I will pop down the shop for
some paper
3. Turn cants into cans
Instead of We cant do that until next week say, We will be able to do
that next week
4. Take responsibility--- dont lay blame
Instead of, its only my fault say, Heres what I can do to fix it
. Say what you want, not what you dont want
Instead of Dont drive too fast say, Drive carefully
6. Focus on future, not the past.
Instead of I have told you before not to. say, From now on.
7. Share information, rather than argue or accuse
Instead of No, you are wrong say, I see it like this.

There are three com Contacting when you need something

Not following up, or closing loop
Not returning telephone calls, emails, etc.
Foregoing basic courtesy
Not listening
Telling lies
Spewing chronic negativity

Communication styles.
Passive and

Overpowers others, dominative

Stand up for ones right in a way that violates the rights of others
Hostile in tone and appearance; accuses, blames and threatens
Demanding hurts others to avoid hurting self
Accomplishes goals at expense of the others instead of negotiating


Avoid conflict, avoid dealing with problems

Avoid giving opinion
Afraid to make decision or say the wrong thing wrong
Often apologetic
Cares for others more than self, can agree regardless of own feeling


Clear, confident and in control

Clearly states wants and needs
Understand others needs
Standup for ones rights without denying rights for othersvalues self
equal to other

Verbally assertive people:

Make statements that are honest, clear, brief, and to the point
Use I statement: I would like, I appreciate, I think, etc
Distinguish between facts and opinion
Ask, dont tell
Offer improvement suggestions, not advice and commands

Non-verbally assertive people:

Make appropriate eye contact

Sit or stand firmly and comfortably erect
Gesture openly to support their comments
Speak in clear, steady, firm tone of voice
Maintain open, steady, relaxed facial expression: smiling when pleased,
frowning when angry
Speak a steady, even pace, emphasizing key words, with few awkward

How to manage your body language:

Sit or stand at right angles and on the same level, and respect peoples
space zones
Use open gestures and body language
Centre your attention exclusively on the other person
Lean slightly forward to show interest, a bit further forward to apply
pressure, slightly back to reduce pressure
Manage appropriate eye contact while listening to encourage the
speaker: increase eye contact to apply pressure; reduce it to lower it
Respond appropriately by basing your responses on what the other
person has just said
Be relaxed and balanced to make relaxed and open communication

The key to receiving messages effectively is listening. Listening requires
more than hearing words. Listening is combination of hearing what the
person says and psychological involvement with him also. It requires a desire
to understand another human being, and attitude of respect and acceptance,
and willingness to open ones mind to try and see things from anothers point

of view. People dont care how much you know, but they know how much
care----by the way you listen.
Listening requires a high level of concentration and energy. It demands that
we set aside our own thoughts and agendas, put ourselves in anothers
persons eyes. True listening requires that we suspend judgment, evaluation
and approval in an attempt to understand in his frame of reference,
emotions, and attitude. Listening to understand is indeed a difficult task.
Some people worry that if they listen attentively and patiently to another
person who is saying something they disagree with, they are inadvertently
sending a message of agreement.
When we listen effectively we gain information that is valuable to understand
the problem as the person sees it. When we have a deeper understanding of
anothers perception, we agree with it or not, we hold the key to
understanding the persons motivation, attitude and behavior.
Learning to be effective listener is difficult task for many people. However
the specific skills for effective listening behavior can be learned.

Key listening skills.

Give full physical attention to the speaker. Avoid interruptions. Avoid
seemingly judgmental. In order to communicate effectively, you dont have
to like them or agree with their ideas, values or opinions. However you do
need to set aside your judgment and withhold blame and criticism in order to
fully understand a person. Show your interest in what is being said. Nod
occasionally, smile at the person, and make sure your posture in open and
Pay attention to words and feelings that are being expressed. Fully attending
says to the speaker, What you are saying is very important. I am totally
present and intend on understanding you. Use reflecting listening tools,
such as paraphrasing, reflecting, summarizing and questioning, to increase
understanding of the message that helps the speaker tell his story.
Look at the person speaking to you, engage him with
good eye contact.
Use open question; why, who, whom, what, when, where.
Your understanding of what the other person is
saying. Say Let me summarize what you have been saying.
Take notes:
Either chalking down one or two key words or build
up a mind map.
Smile, nod, use signs to encourage the person.
Stay objective. The person may not be very good at
delivery, but think about the contents that he is putting across.

5 Active listening skills


1. Postures and gestures: Our body posture can create a feeling of warm
openness or cold rejection. For example, when somebody faces us,
sitting quietly with hands loosely folded in the lap, a feeling of
anticipation and interest is created. A posture of arms crossed on the
chest portrays a feeling of inflexibility. The action gathering up ones
belonging signals a desire to end the conversation.
2. Giving full attention to the Speaker: Effective attending is a careful
balance of alertness and relaxation that includes appropriate body
movement, eye contact, and posture of involvement.
3. Beware of speakers non-verbal message. When we pay attention to
speakers body language, we gain insight into how that person is
feeling as well as the intensity of the feeling. Through careful attention
to the body language and paraverbal messages, we are able to
develop hunches about what the speaker (or listener) is
communicating. We can, then through our reflective listening skills,
check the accuracy of those hunches by expressing in our own words,
our impression of what is being communicated.
4. Pay attention to words and feelings: In order to understand the total
meaning of the message we must be able to gain understanding about
both the feeling and content of the message. Use reflecting listening
tools, such as paraphrasing, summarizing, and questioning, to increase
understanding the message that helps the speaker tell his story.
5. Paraphrasing: This is a concise statement of the contents of the
speakers message. A paraphrasing should be brief, succinct and focus
on the facts or ideas of the message rather than the feelings. The
paraphrase should be in listeners own words rather than parroting
back using speakers words.
Benefits of active listening
1. It focus people to listen attentively to others
2. It avoids misunderstanding, so people have to confirm that they do
really understand what another person has said
3. It tends to open people up, to get them to say more

habits of poor listeners

Jumping to conclusions
Finishing others sentences for them
Frequently (and often abruptly) changing the subject
Inattentive body language
Not responding to what others have said
Failing to ask question and give feedback

Good habits of effective listeners

Look at the speaker in order to observe body language

Ask questions
Giving speaker time to articulate their thoughts
Letting people finish what they are saying before giving their opinion
Remaining poised, calm, and emotionally controlled
Looking alert and interested
Responding with nods and uh-uhms

Gather good information with your ears

E : explore by asking questions
A : affirm to show you are listening
R : reflect your understanding
S : silence, listen some more


Look at the person---good eye contact

Inquire. Why, who, whom, what, when, etc
Take notes
Encourage. Smile, nod, etc
Neutralize. Stay objective, think about
contents of message.


Develop your voice
Know what you want to say
Believe in your message
Speak slowly
Watch your tone, animate your voice
Pronounce your words correctly
Eliminate audible pauses
Define acronyms
Reduce jargons
Repeat major points

Be prepared to listen
Focus on speaker
Screen out distractions
Concentrate on the message
Accept accents

Ask questions

Write a purpose statement
Keep simple
Be concise
Support statement with details
Watch semantics
Quote authorities

Intend to improve
Be flexible
Be likeable, use good manners
Dress appropriately
Smile Shake hands properly
Eliminate negative feelings
Be receptive to new ideas
Respect others point of view
Handle disagreement with tact

Make eye contact
Use gestures
Use humour
Anecdotes and short stories
Ask for feedback