The principles of effective communication



The principles of effective communication
The principles of effective
General communication skills
 Audience – your audience will determine what kind of
language you use and how you deliver the message.
You need to be selective in your choice of terminology to
ensure everyone understands your message.
There may be language and cultural differences within
your audience.
You may decide to present your message in a different
format for different audiences, i.e. children v
General communication skills
 Your message: fact v opinions – Having adapted the
content and style to meet the expectations of the
audience, you should next try to focus on the message
you are trying to convey.
Fact – can be proved, they are either true or false. Data
can be tested and checked
Opinions - more complex – they vary from one source to
another. Opinions can be strong or weak and can be
influenced by knowledge or lack of it.
General communication skills
 Techniques for engaging audience interest – imagine listening to
a speaker whose voice never varied in tone… when delivering your
message, written or verbally, make sure you vary your tone.
Verbally you can create interest by pausing.
Face to face you may use multimedia, hold up objects, play music or
Written can include pictures, diagrams, change of font
REMEMBER – too much activity can detract from your message
Interpersonal Skills
Communicating interpersonally – for
communication to happen, two or more
people are involved. One person
expresses a message through words
(spoken or written), signs, signals, facial
and bodily expressions or even silence.
The other person uses his/her senses
(mostly sight and hearing) to gather
aspects of the message
Someone who is deaf cannot hear your
words and may rely on lip reading a body
language, whereas, someone who is
unsighted or at the end of a telephone line,
relies on the tone in the voice.
Change of tone is often used to express
emotion, i.e. anger or joy.
Interpersonal Skills
 Barriers to communication – to communicate
effectively you should aim to prevent or reduce
the effect of barriers as much as possible.
Some examples:
Distractions – i.e. someone walking in late,
mobile phones, tea trolley, leaving early.
Background noise – i.e. humming of the air
conditioner, music.
Body language - i.e. negative, closed,
aggressive, bored.
Interpersonal skills
Types of questions – communication is
not just two people speaking in turn, there
needs to be a link between the people.
Questions can help create a link.
Open questions can be an invitation to
pick up the conversation and take control.
E.g. “What do you think about this?” – it
invites a response.
Closed questions are expressed in such away
that the options for a reply are limited, usually
only yes or no, e.g. “Would you like a cup of
tea?” or even less specific “Would you like
something to drink?”. This could result in a yes
or no answer and would need another question
to find out what they wanted to drink.
Probing questions can be used to delve
deeper into the answers given to obtain more
Communicating in writing
Writing something can seem very easy,
but effective written communication is
another matter.
When communicating in writing it is
important to be aware of the following:
Communicating in writing
 Key messages – for example the subject of an
email or an inclusion of a heading immediately
after the salutation in a letter.
 Grammar and spelling – what ever the subject
or type of communication it is important to have
the correct grammar and spelling. Mistakes
convey an unprofessional image to the reader
and can also create confusion if they do not
understand what you have written.
 Structure – ensure the content is logical and
well presented.
Communicating in writing
Relevant information – ensure important
information is easy to find. Do not loose it
within a mass of other details. Use, bold,
underline or italics to ensure important
facts are not missed
Reviewing and proofreading own
written work – do this in addition to spell
checker and grammar checks. Very
important when reusing previous material.
Communicating in writing
 Conveying alternative viewpoints – it is
important to show where one view starts and
ends. You may include an introduction to
explain the purpose and a summary to go over
the main points covered.
 Reviewing and editing documents created by
others – e.g. other team members or quotations
from outside suppliers. When editing the track
changes tool can be used.
Communicating in writing
Note taking – involves summarising a
communication and may involve
- Handwriting key points on a new sheet of
- Adding to the main message, i.e. writing in
the margin, underlining or using a
highlighter pen for important facts
- Inserting comments into electronic