The Business Definition of Communication in the Workplace

The definition of communication is the ability to pass information whether verbal, voice inflection, written, telephonic, electronic, gestures, or body language in a way that is interrupted correctly from the originator to the receiver.

It seems so easy yet our inability to communicate has caused everything from a divorce to wars.

How is this possible?

If I’m a manager and I tell someone to do something how could they not clearly understand what I am asking them to do?

Let’s say that I’m a chef and I ask my assistant to cut up some onions. This can’t be that hard to understand right? When I come back to check on my assistant they have diced the onions; however, I wanted them sliced. Whose fault is it? Mine of course! I should have been clearer in exactly what I wanted done. We further complicate this situation by blaming the assistant for not asking questions if they didn’t understand!

The definition of communication becomes even more complicated when we start to communicate from one part of the country, or worse the world, to another part. There are so many different customs and slangs that it becomes very difficult. Someone from New York City may talk very fast and use hand gestures that will most likely irritate someone from the Mid West making it difficult to impossible to effectively communicate.

Perhaps you are trying to communicate with a co worker while at the same time you are smiling about something that had occurred earlier. The co worker may take offense to this because they may interrupt that as trying to make fun of them.

This is why the definition of communication is simple yet so complicated to carry out!

Another example might be someone from the Far East like Japan who hesitate to make eye contact because it is their custom and you interrupt that to mean they are not be truthful with you. Any conversation you have with them can then be corrupted by that huge misunderstanding.

Some of the most innocent things we do have an effect on our ability to communicate effectively. Someone comes to your office and you continue to type or read from your computer screen. Or they come into your office to share something very important with you and as soon as the telephone rings you quickly stop and answer it shifting all your attention to the person on the telephone. You have just communicated to the person that came in that they are not important.

The cell phone is another killer to effective communication! How many times have we seen people texting or emailing from their smart phones during a conversation or meeting? Then we wonder why the message from that meeting was so screwed up as it was carried out.

Don’t underestimate the definition of communication! It is definitely easier said than done!

Thank you and may God bless you!

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