Removing Barriers at All These Stages

To deliver your messages effectively, you must commit to breaking down the barriers that exist in each of these stages of the communication process.

Let’s begin with the message itself. If your message is too lengthy, disorganized, or contains errors, you can expect the message to be misunderstood and misinterpreted. Use of poor verbal and body language can also confuse the message.

Barriers in context tend to stem from senders offering too much information too fast. When in doubt here, less is oftentimes more. It is best to be mindful of the demands on other people’s time, especially in today’s ultra-busy society.

Once you understand this, you need to work to understand your audience’s culture, making sure you can converse and deliver your message to people of different backgrounds and cultures within your own organization, in this country and even abroad.

Feedback of your Message

Your audience will provide you with feedback, verbal and nonverbal reactions to your communicated message. Pay close attention to this feedback as it is the only thing that will allow you to be confident that your audience has understood your message. If you find that there has been a misunderstanding, at least you have the opportunity to send the message a second time.

Receiver of your Message

Your message is delivered to individual members of your audience. No doubt, you have in mind the actions or reactions you hope your message will get from this audience. Keep in mind, though, that each of these individuals enters into the communication process with ideas and feelings that will undoubtedly influence their understanding of your message, and their response. To be a successful communicator, you should consider these before delivering your message, and act appropriately.

Decoding your Message

Just as successful encoding is a skill, so is successful decoding (involving, for example, taking the time to read a message carefully, or listen actively to it.) Just as confusion can arise from errors in encoding, it can also arise from decoding errors. This is particularly the case if the decoder doesn’t have enough knowledge to understand the message. Therefore, decoding the message is equally crucial as encoding it.

Channelizing your Message

Messages are conveyed through channels, with verbal, including face-to-face meetings, telephone and videoconferencing; and written including letters, emails, memos, and reports.

Different channels have different strengths and weaknesses. For example, it’s not particularly effective to give a long list of directions verbally, while you’ll quickly cause problems if you criticize someone strongly by email. Therefore, it is very important that you send your intended message through a proper channel.

Encoding your Message

This is the process of transferring the information you want to communicate into a form that can be sent and correctly decoded at the other end. Your success in encoding depends partly on your ability to convey information clearly and simply, but also on your ability to anticipate and eliminate sources of confusion (for example, cultural issues, mistaken assumptions, and missing information.) A key part of this is knowing your audience: Failure to understand who you are communicating with will result in delivering messages that are misunderstood.

Creating a Clear, Well-Crafted Message

When you know what you want to say, decide exactly how you’ll say it. You’re responsible for conveying a message that’s clear and concise. To achieve this, you need to consider not only what you’ll say, but also how you think the recipient will perceive it.

We often focus on the message that we want to send, and the way in which we’ll send it. But if our message is delivered without considering the other person’s perspective, it’s likely that part of that message will be lost. To communicate more effectively:

  • Understand what you truly need and want to say.
  • Anticipate the other person’s reaction to your message.
  • Choose words and body language that allow the other person to really hear what you’re saying.