Communication skills are an essential tool for us to interact with our social environment. Refining them would give us a serious advantage, from influencing others to our train of thought to imparting information quickly and efficiently. These skills, however, are not influenced by our words alone. At least five basic components define a person’s ability to communicate effectively.
As such, communication skills training focuses on these five basic components:
Content of Message
This is perhaps the most obvious component of communication since words and symbols generally have explicit meanings attached to them. The bulk of training then focuses on mastering the content of the message to both send and appropriately receive messages. It must be realized, however, that the content of the message is not the only factor that defines a person’s communication skills.
Method of Delivery
How a message is delivered also augments the message that it contains. Spoken words have a very different impact when you compare them to written words. The various media of communication, from face-to-face communications to telephone conversations to online seminars, all present a message quite clearly, but the effects vary along with the way these messages are presented.
Context of Situation
A message, no what it is or how it is delivered, will have a very different effect with the passage of time and space. A person has to take into consideration the environment when the message is delivered, as this environment may either improve the reaction to the message or twist it into some misunderstanding that will be very hard to clear up.
The mouth and the pen are not the only aspects considered in communication skills training. The movement of the body, from fumbling and fussing to minute muscle spasms and twitches, serves as an indicator of a person’s true intent. Few people are consciously aware of their nonverbal gestures, but these gestures will be noticed and interpreted by the recipients.
Status of participants
Respect for participants in communications skills training, or any other training for that matter, is essential. Trainees may not be able to understand what is being said, as they are not yet aware of the content of the training. This may cause the inexperienced trainer to think that they are not interested in the information being passed to them. The trainer must adjust his or her approach when dealing with a diverse range of people.
It is worth noting that these five basic components of effective communication skills are not so easily mastered. It takes a great degree of training and experience to be able to fully comprehend these five components, and the only way to truly hone one’s mastery of them all is to either communicate extensively using trial and error or acquire the services of a professional trainer. The latter is a much more time and cost-effective method of mastering these five components, and doing so will allow you to learn the ropes in a much more comprehensive and structured manner.