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2 Tutorials that teach The Communication Process
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The Communication Process

The Communication Process

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Author: Kelly Nordstrom
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This lesson introduces the steps of the communication process.

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Tutorial

Source: Man with pink tie, public domain, http://bit.ly/1mgqPbO; Woman w/red hair, public domain, http://bit.ly/UXeMZC

Video Transcription

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Thank you for joining me for this tutorial on the communication process. Today we'll be talking about the steps of the communication process and really breaking them down. So what are our objectives today? Well, we'll be answering a few questions.

What is the communication process? Why is a confirmation message so important? What are communication filters? How can we be aware of them? And what about methods of communication? What are the best methods to use for certain situations?

So let's get started by breaking down the communication process into some simple bite-sized steps. So you can see here I have my sender, and the sender is actually a key term today. You'll be seeing the message appear there to the right. You can pause the video at any time you see key term to take a look at that and review the definition presented.

We also have a receiver. He's right here. He's going to be receiving the sender's message.

Now, our sender will send an initial message. She's going to start the communication by sending that initial message to our receiver. The receiver, of course, is going to process this. He's going to digest the information. And he'll send off a confirmation message which, hopefully, will be received by the sender who will confirm that this is a match. Yes, we are on the same page.

Now, what happens when it doesn't go so well? We have our sender here. She sends the initial message, it is received, and now he sends back communication indicating what he has interpreted as the priority or the message. Now the sender discovers that there's been a miscommunication. Let's break this down a little bit further.

So let's take a look at a couple of examples of the full communication process. So we have our sender and our receiver. All their messages are noted in blue. Looks like our sender sent out some communication. "The delivery of all color-coded icons for the 'Be Clear' campaign are due at 8:00 AM this Thursday."

You can see that our receiver processed this. "Color-coded icons due Thursday. Got it."

Now, his confirmation message is "will send icons on Thursday." That's pretty vague. Now she's processing. You could see that bounces back. "Did he see 8:00 AM?" Was that clear? "It needs to be 8:00 AM."

So she kicks off another message. His processing is saying, oh, no. "I didn't see that. 8:00 AM is going to be tough. But I can commit to 10 AM."

So now this could be a change in the communication, and it can go on and on and on. You can see the zigzags continue on. And so this will bounce back and forth until they have established a clear set of communication and perhaps new deliverables that work for both of them and for the goal.

And, of course, not all communication follows this long zigzag approach. Sometimes communication works out really well just like this. Here he has processed "color-coded, 8:00 AM Thursday, all icons, 'Be Clear' campaign. Got it." And now he has sent a confirmation message detailing exactly what she's asked for. She's processed it. "Excellent. We are on the same page."

It's important to have clear, concise communication. What if he never sent one at all? What would happen here? She's looking for this delivery of all these icons, of course.

He has processed it, he's got it, he has no obstacles, so he's thinking, oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. I have it. There's a chance that she could process this saying, well, "if I haven't heard, there must not be an issue." I know he's going to deliver it. He always does. It's not a concern.

Well, we have a few issues here then. The sender doesn't know if he's received the message. She doesn't know that he can deliver this. There are external factors and other things that may be out of his control preventing it, even though he's a great team player who always delivers. If the receiver does not provide a confirmation message, then it's your responsibility to ask for one.

That confirmation is the interpretation of what the receiver has heard or interpreted. It may also include a reaction or a response, just as we saw earlier. He couldn't make that 8:00 AM deadline, so you can see why the confirmation message is absolutely critical in the communication process.

This is what could have happened. She needs the deliveries, he has it, no confirmation message, so here she is. She's processing now. "I need to know if he received the message and if there any obstacles in his way." So she resends an email, "please confirm you received this message."

"Apologies for the delay. Yes." And now he's very clear, he's detailed, he sent it back to her, she knows, he knows. Everyone is accountable, and there's clear communication. It's concise and clear.

Various elements may cause miscommunication. These elements are called communication filters. So let's take a look at those.

We have internal and external filters. These are things that interrupt the communication process. You can see here that the internal filters come in the form of cultural backgrounds, language differences, different contexts, even emotions and personal bias.

External filters are elements introduced by the environment or the method of communication, such as noise, audio distortion, penmanship, or on-the-go communication. Just being aware of these elements help elevate your level of communication. Let's take a look at an example where there's some filters that get in the way and interrupt the flow of communication.

So here we have our two people here. This time she has sent it from her iPhone. Any time that there are external factors that you're experiencing but yet there's an urgent situation that needs to be handled, make sure that you say, listen, I'm on the bus right now, I'm on my iPhone, I'm sending this message, so then the receiver knows what type of external filters you're experiencing.

You can see here that once again she's inquiring about the delivery of the color-coded icons. "On, that note, however," she adds, "the colors need high-level scans to evaluate the logos. Our client approved. Did you ever round back with Jeff to get budget confirmed for this?"

Now, we all know that iPhones can auto correct. Evaluate should be ensure. "On that note, the colors need high-level scans to ensure the logos are client-approved."

You can imagine now, he's not sure if we're evaluating the logos, and he's also wondering, "are the colors due for client approval on Thursday at 8:00 AM as well? There are budgets for icons and color scans." They're two different budgets. "Which one does she need confirmed?" This is very confusing.

So you can see how one method of communication from this sender's iPhone can interrupt the flow of the communication process. Let's take a look at a few more communication methods. So here we have a table of virtual, face-to-face, and written. Communication can come in a hybrid of many ways, but today we're going to go over these three.

So we have the virtual meetings. This is the conference calls, GoToMeetings, Skype, Google Hangout, and any other virtual method that allows people to meet when they're not in the same geography. Of course, the pros here is that it's convenient.

It's a rapid brainstorm. You can go back and forth with some ideas. There's a sense of in-person exchange where there's this possibility of collaboration. And, of course, there's an ability to whiteboard or share what you're working on and perhaps screencast and bounce back and forth some ideas.

And the cons? There is a threat of technical interruption. The meeting is cut short if Skype goes down or if the internet is interrupted in some way. And there's a lot to be said about nonverbal communication, unseen body language. You can't see if someone rolls their eyes or sighs, or maybe they Mute you out and they're having a different conversation while you're communicating something else.

Generally, when something is tech-based, there may be a delay in communication. There may be an overlap when people are talking or an awkward pause because people are afraid to overlap. The virtual method is used best when geography is a challenge, when meetings repeat or you have repeating check-ins, when you're presenting information, or when you're needing a group discussion and you need some rapid fire brainstorm.

And next there's face-to-face. Unlike virtual, now we do have the non-verbal communication. We can see if someone's uncomfortable with some information. There's clear audio, of course, and easy visuals. You can walk to someone's desk and present it.

The cons, of course, is geography and location. You're only limited to the people in your office or in your city or in your area. This method is best used when collaborating, designing, discussing sensitive topics or personal topics, or sharing complex information.

Next, we have written communication. The pros here are that you have documentation; you can see a history of exchange; it allows people to process the information on their own time; you can include attachments, links, and any other information; you have decreased interruption because you can digest that email or that written communication when it's best for you; and you have the time to be cohesive and organized.

The cons are that the collaboration speed is decreased. You need to wait for the response. There's increased misunderstanding and misinterpretations of tone. The written method is used best when recapping processes or plans, when you need clarification, or when the communication is simple and straightforward.

So let's take a look at our objectives. Did we meet them? What is the communication process? Well, we talked about the sender, the receiver, the initial message, the confirmation message.

Why is a confirmation message so important? We saw a few examples where the goal was threatened because there wasn't a confirmation sent, or the confirmation did not match the sender's intention.

What are communication filters? We talked about internal and external filters and how they can interrupt the communication process. And what about methods of communication? We just talked about virtual, face-to-face, and written communications.

So this concludes our tutorial for today. Thank you for joining me, and I hope to see you again soon.

TERMS TO KNOW
  • Sender

    The person moving information from him/herself to another person.

  • Receiver

    The person receiving information from the sender.

  • Initial Message

    Informatin shared by the sender that begins the communication process.

  • Confirmation Message

    The receiver's explanation of his or her understanding of the initial message.

  • External Filter

    External elements that interfere with the communication process.

  • Internal Filter

    Internal elements that interfere with the communication process.