Modern communication is undoubtedly a complex process involving human beings as well as instruments and gadgets.
Process of communication are also influenced by several other factors, which both the sender and the receiver of the communication should take cognizance of Important factors that affect the process of communication are described in the following paragraphs.
1. Conceptual Clarity:
The starting point of every communication, as we have seen already, is the existence of an idea or a concept. It is this concept that gets translated into a message and gets transmitted to the receiver. Conceptual clarity is thus a very important factor affecting communication.
Whatever be the method adopted, the communication must be clear about what the sender wants to convey. They have to give proper shape to their thoughts and should develop the idea meaningfully.
If one is not clear about one’s thoughts and ideas, the message formulation also gets affected. Communication is all about transmission of information and ideas that seek to translate thoughts into action. Improperly conceived ideas translate into poor messages.
Well-conceived and well-organized thoughts make for a good beginning of the communication process. This also explains why conceptual skills are given much importance in modern day business?
The process of communication is both oral and written. People, however, speak and understand different languages. For both oral and written communication, language becomes the vehicle of thought.
Therefore, the sender should ensure that the message reaches the receiver in a language that he/she can understand. As long as the sender and the receiver of the communication speak, write, read and understand the same language, there is direct communication.
If not, the communicator will have to resort to translation through an intermediary. The intermediary may be an interpreter or a translator. If the translation or the interpretation is not done properly, the message received would be different from what the communicator intended.
In written communication, the literacy level of the recipient assumes significance. In verbal communication too, the depth of understanding of the spoken language makes a difference.
If there are vast differences between the sender and the receiver in terms of mastery over the language and if the sender does not take cognizance of them while sending the message, communication gets affected.
Every language has its own vocabulary and the quality of communication is influenced by the word power of both the parties. When the knowledge and level of understanding of the speaker/communicator and the listener/receiver varies significantly, it results in difference in the wavelength.
This leads to overhead transmission, i.e., the message goes beyond the comprehension level of the receiver. An example of this is the usage of technical jargon and specialized words or phrases in addressing people who are not familiar with the subject.
3. Moods and Receptivity:
Communication becomes purposeful when the communicator shows enthusiasm and the Receiver shows receptivity. Both of them are influenced by the moods. The mood of the communicator and the mood of the listener thus affect the process of communication.
The mood of the person refers to the person’s state of mind or the inclination and willingness to send or receive the communication. If any one of the parties is disinclined, the purpose of communication will not be achieved.
These factors are particularly relevant when the message to be communicated is something important, somewhat complex and not of a routine nature. Moods apart, the level of fatigue has also to be reckoned with.
A tired speaker, an overworked writer and a bored listener cannot do justice to the process of communication, however good their intentions may be. Smooth communicators make efforts to ensure that the conditions are right.
Most messages have a time value. Action can follow only if the communication reaches in time. This is pertinent to individuals as well as to business. For example, an invitation card received after the event is of no use.
Similarly, an intimation or notice received after the meeting is over does not serve any purpose and also shows the sender in poor light. Timeliness, therefore, is an important factor affecting communication.
Proper choice of the mode of communication—courier, telex, fax, telephone and e-mail assumes importance as it helps in achieving timeliness in communication.
As seen in the earlier chapter, a host of physical, psychological, cultural and mechanical factors affect communication. They can be either facilitators or barriers to communication.
These include power of expression, clarity, coherence, attentiveness, distance, voice or sound levels, relationship and hierarchy, type and quality of the modes of communication and the skill involved in using them.
In an organizational context, the prevailing organizational climate and the communication policy are also important factors affecting communication. Especially when it comes to communicating with the media, several organizations and institutions specifically designate spokespersons and others are discouraged from speaking to the press or media.
Any policy that encourages confidentiality, withholding of information, suppression of facts and other such controls would naturally hinder the free flow of communication.