This article throws light upon the four important skills required by sender and receiver of information to make communication effective. The skills are: 1. Verbal Skills 2. Non-Verbal Skills 3. Listening Skills 4. Feedback Skills.
1. Verbal Skills:
These skills relate to a person’s (sender’s or receiver’s) knowledge of vocabulary, fluency in speaking, reading and writing. When a message is sent in writing or orally, the sender must ensure that receiver has verbal skills to understand the message.
The sender may be holding a degree of doctorate in literature while the receiver may be a simple graduate. The sender should use language that receiver can understand and interpret.
2. Non-Verbal Skills:
These skills relate to understanding of the message through facial expressions. A sender who can encode messages by understanding receiver’s facial expressions and receiver who can decode the message by understanding facial expressions of the sender can better act on the message than those who do not possess these skills.
3. Listening Skills:
Listening is different from hearing. Listening is more specific. We normally do not listen to everything we hear. Almost 75% of what we hear goes without listening. Listening refers to proper decoding of the message by the receiver so that sender and receiver have same perception about the message communicated. Judith R. Gordon defines active listening as “the process in which a listener actively participates in attempting to grasp the facts and the feelings being expressed by the speaker.”
(a) Attending to the message:
The receiver should be physically and mentally alert and pay attention to the message transmitted by the sender.
(b) Following the message:
The listener should interpret the message without asking unnecessary questions so that sender is encouraged to communicate with the receiver.
(c) Reflecting back the message:
The receiver should respond to the sender to check accuracy of the message transmitted to him and sender can also verify that his message has been rightly interpreted by the receiver. Reflecting depicts the confidence that sender and receiver have understood the message in its right meaning.
4. Feedback Skills:
Both sender and receiver should receive feedback from each other on the message transmitted. Sender should give feedback to the receiver regarding how well the receiver is implementing the directions. He should also receive feedback from the receiver as to how good the sender is transmitting the message.
If the sender reacts positively to the feedback, he will receive both positive and negative feedback from the receiver, otherwise he will receive only positive feedback. The feedback skills increase efficiency of the message.