Saturday, 26 January 2013

Why are effective communication skills important to me?

Communication is the method of disseminating information, exchanging of messages and ideas via verbal and non-verbal actions. It is also a key to maintaining a healthy relationship with friends, loved ones and colleagues.What I would like to focus on is effective communication, which involves communicating with others with the right technique without being misunderstood.

Personally, effective communication skills such as being able to give clear, concise instructions are important. They ensures that everyone is on the same frequency as me, know exactly what I am talking about and how exactly things should be done. This shows that what I want to say is plan beforehand and I am confident of what I am delivering. This is something that I have learned during my job as a secondary school camp instructor. Clear and concise instructions have to be given so that safety is not compromised. I address key values like teamwork and communication which they learn from the team building activities with their experiences in school.

Different contexts require different forms of communication. For example, if I were to give an expedition briefing to secondary school students, I know exactly how it should be done. It should be delivered in a jovial way so as not to bore the participants, yet ensuring that my message still get across.  However, if I were tasked to pitch a business proposal in front of a board of directors, I would have no clue as of how I should go about doing it. This is why i choose to enroll into this module as I hope it will equip me with the necessary skills for my career in future.

All in all, from the first two lessons, I have learnt that effective communication is not just a linear model, but also a continuous cycle which consist of not just talking but active listening as well. I have picked up some useful pointers like questioning techniques and how I should structure my ideas before presenting it to others. One thing I learn as I type this blog post is that always aim to be to the point, concise and avoid lengthy sentences. Imagine something like "Jane is sitting in the corner quietly because she is starving" as compared to "The lonely girl in the corner of the room, with sadness etched across her face,silence enveloping her,felt helpless as pangs of hunger hit her". Although the latter still gets the message across but it is a mouthful to read. This is what effective communication really is about, being able to communicate with others in clear, concise sentences without having to fear of being misunderstood. I look forward to learning more from the modules together with my fellow classmates.


  1. Hi Jack! :)

    I have to say that your post highlighted a very important point in which I think we have kind of missed out on. "know your audience" This is the simplest and paramount idea in which I believe we have to adhere to, in order to effectively communicate. As words and messages mean nothing on their own. They only mean something, when the audience deciphers and decode the "texts/words" with their own personal input to the message. Thanks for reminding me about the importance of "knowing your audience" ! :)

  2. Hi Jack!

    I fully agree with you that 'different contexts require different forms of communication'. Personally, I was fortunate enough to be given the chance to teach kindergarten pupils as well as secondary school students hence I managed to understand how important it is to 'know you audience'.

    For example, when I am teaching a class of nursery students, I need to use more hand gestures to communicate effectively to them as a 4-year old's vocabulary is rather limited. Also, I entered the classroom with a pleasant smile so that the nursery kids would feel comfortable in their first year in school. When I was attached to a secondary 3 class for a month, my mentor advised me not to smile at them when I enter the class to create a 'strict' aura. Also, I elaborated lengthily on the concepts I taught for the day as the students were from the top class of the level.

    I enjoyed reading your post as it truly highlighted the importance of effective communication, nice job! (:

    1. Hi Amira! I just read your comment here after I posted! Cool! I went to relief teach for some time too! And indeed, different classes require very different communication techniques! For example, I went to a rowdier class, in order to make them listen to me, I had to be talking to them like I was their friends, then only they listened to me. This is because somehow they just like to rebel, the more I set myself apart from them, the more they don't want to listen! But I totally understand that "strict" aura you've mentioned! :)

  3. Hi Jack !

    Thanks for this clear and concise post. I agree that it is important to send messages with enough information, no more, no less. However, I also think that we can lengthen some information depending on the context. For example, the latter sentence about the hungry girl is rather poetic and can be used to emphasize her condition. This is an idea I want to discuss with you. I am also looking forward to studying this module with you and other classmates as well !

  4. Hello Jack! I am just as clueless and inexperienced as you are at communicating in a formal business context and this is exactly the same reason as you to why I am taking this module! I understand what you meant by the different approaches in which we should take when addressing different target audiences. Different contexts have varied target audience and this portrayed when we present ourselves differently to them by making use of different tones and body languages. For instance, when I was a tutor, I had to carry myself in a stern yet approachable manner so as to ensure that my student is disciplined and respectful while not being too daunted to raise questions to clarify her doubts. On the other hand, when I go for consultations with my professors, I will use a less assertive tone to show my respect for them. Hence, you have brought up a really enlightening point for me to realize that actually different roles and contexts call for different communication methods, and to communicate effectively, it is important that we know which approach is the most appropriate for the setting.

    Thank you for sharing your experiences! Let us seize this great opportunity to learn from our cool tutor, Brad! See you at class! :)

  5. Thank you, Jack, for this comprehensive discussion. I appreciate the way you focus specifically on your needs, while referencing general standards of effective communication. I also like your focus on the value of audience (in the context you are most familiar with).

    There are a few language issues here:

    a) which involve >>> ???

    b) what i wanted to say was planned beforehand >>> why past tense?

    c) I addressed >>> why past? (ask me about this in class!)

    d) One thing I learn as i was typing this blog post is that always aim to be to the point, concise and avoid lengthy sentences. >>>
    One thing I learn as I TYPE this blog post is that I should always aim to the point, being concise and avoiding lengthy sentences.

    e) able to communicate with others in clear, concise sentences without having to fear of being misunderstood. >>>
    being able to communicate with others in clear, concise sentences without having to fear being misunderstood.

    Overall though, this is an interesting post.