CALIBRATING YOUR COMMUNICATIVE COMPETENCY

Abstract:

The way we understand the world is constantly under change. The manner in which its inhabitants are communicating in turn reflects these changes. Communication has been constantly revamped and is evolving to newer shapes suiting the needs of the users

Main Article:

These changes are not loud, clear and vibrant, nobody frames it with the new rules and puts them down as thumb rules. The shifts are subtle, understated, low-noted and soft. Though the tenets are not clear-cut, when an inappropriate mistake is committed heads turn, fingers inadvertently point and disapproving looks are exchanged. How do we escape such cringing moments? How does one keep up with the times and learn these intricacies which are rarely taught inside classrooms?

This article is not about the importance of fluent communication or expert advice on managerial skills but attempts to identify and highlight the grey areas within the humongous task of human communication. These grey areas include what is unsaid but implied, what is connotative, not just denotative, what we usually do when we ‘read between the lines.’ At this juncture, say for example, when we slide into our seat gloriously in our cabin and sigh in great content of clearing rounds of interviews, outperforming other competitors, a new unknown fear creeps in, a fear of blurting out anything inappropriate or ambiguous in the new frontier. Every workplace has its own code of communication, the sooner you crack it, the faster you blend in.

In an age when a person is gauged even by the ringtone s/he uses, it is increasingly becoming difficult to sense what is best in a given place at a given time. Subtler gestures are being noticed and taken into consideration for branding a person. From a macro level of fluency and effectiveness, the micro level of words and the so far not-so-significant ah’s and mm’s. It has therefore become absolutely essential for us to keep a constant check on the choice of words we use, rather than the language we use.

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Apologies like, “It wasn’t intended that way,” “You know I did not mean that,” or “Definitely there has been a miscommunication” – find their way in our day-to-day conversations in an organisational set up. Sometimes such casualties can cost a job and even create unnecessary glitches in a hopefully great career.

Graduates are finetuning there employability and marketability talents but lose out on certain pertinent competencies that are required to sustain the job. It needs to be persistently drummed into our heads that the ability to thrive stems from the capability to adapt and learn the in-things. So, it is not enough to be determined but to be charismatic in our communication and our great leaders have displayed mastery over these essential and game-changing skills. Though there has been a surge in training sessions and self-help books, a deliberate study and familiarity of the layered meaning-making process coupled with a professional showmanship can be handy in the long run. The language used in an organisational hierarchy operates in the most complex of structures in a labyrinthine fashion which is unseen to the human eye. So words need to be wielded with utmost care while getting messages across. This approach of communication forms part of the 4C’s 21st century skillsets, the other three being collaboration, creativity and critical thinking. All the four go hand in hand and one directly impacts the other. At an organisational and managerial level, the discourse structure is more nuanced and knowing the most appropriate behaviour in a given situation is as important as knowing the right thing to say.

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Words have the authority to provide you with a personal branding that can either be constructive or devastating. ‘Yes we can’, ‘I have a dream’, and ‘Never give up’ are simple phrases which have become magical by the persuasiveness and conviction of the speaker. The higher we go in life our contact with machines diminishes and we inter-relate with human beings in highly sensitised circumstances demanding a genre of interaction of the next level. Just as every version evolves into something enhanced than the previous one, the communicative competency of today is calibrated to suit the 21st century needs.

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A few do’s and don’ts

  1. Do not take strong stands even in an informal discussion. Be open-minded and welcome new ideas. There is no absolute white or black. Acknowledge the shades in between. Even friendly discussions with opposing views at workplaces can at times lead to unfavourable rapport and fall out within hierarchies.
  2. Never assume anything. Learn the pros and cons for a given situation before you utter anything conspicuously wrong.
  3. Increase the range of your vocabulary. There is a plethora of words available that can convey the hue of the emotion you want to code.
  4. Prior to using a new word you recently learnt, check for its connotations and other implications.
  5. Gender and cultural individualisms are sensitive concerns in any workplace. Never get touchy in these areas.
  6. Complimenting often the same person, in front of others can make them feel peeved.
  7. Avoid a laidback attitude when someone comes to you seeking empathy.

As mentioned at the beginning, for someone straddling between formal and informal communication in everyday life ranging from face-to-face to virtual communication, the 21st century netizen has to be extra-careful to be understood in the desired sense. With the right calibration and high-precision word choice, climbing the corporate ladder can be easy.

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These lessons when mastered are for a life time and the more you learn, the more cautious and conscious you will be, making you the perfect choice for heading groups, overseas representation and the face of public relations of any organisation as beheld by your higher authorities. Persuasive and influential communication are re-emerging areas within the corporate domain which are gaining momentum among leaders. The ability to speak cohesively with illustrations and anecdotes, enunciating every word you utter with the right amount of force and flavour can give you a cutting edge in a group. Sprinkle innovative phrases of thought even in your daily verbal transactions that can make you interesting and wanted when any discussion comes up.

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With the right mixture of effort, earnestness and elegance you can make it to the elite group of communicators, creating an identity for yourself. So go ahead and build your image of the new age communicator!

BUDDING MANAGERS
JULY 2014 ISSUE


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Author:  buddingmanagers
Posted On:  Tuesday, 29 July, 2014 - 14:26

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