VSCommunication creates relationships and it also destroys relationships. It therefore has both negative and positive potential. Therefore, it follows that its use will do one or the other of both: bind people or throw them into disarray. The Bible says: The words of his mouth were sweeter than butter, having war in his heart: his words sweeter than oil and yet they are swords. Here is brought out that part of human nature, that is, the elements of hypocrisy in communication; what is said does not represent what is true and considered most inner feelings. In Anthony & Cleopatra, William Shakespeare wrote, “I don’t much like the question, but the manner of his speech.” Essentially therefore because the way we communicate leads to acceptance of what is expressed, verbally or in writing, or can inspire outright rejection. It’s about the right things in the right way.
In the local political theater lately, we’ve been subjected to some very unsavory language. Politicians of all shades and colors are using unacceptable language to persuade the multitude that they are not governed as well as they should be. It is a period of accusations galore, in which the choice of words is put at the lowest and lowest level of the standards of communication. In the context of communication and politics, I again remember the words of Winston Churchill, which I have sorted and garnished a little: “He is one of those orators of whom it was well said, ‘before they don’t get up, they don’t know what they’re going to say; when they speak, they do not know what they are saying; and when they sat down, they did not know what they said”. When the word is used to turn vice into a virtue, it is a dangerous use of freedom of communication. In such an event, it is no longer a demonstration of public speaking, but rather the gruesome fascination of a public execution. It’s miscommunication. Few are the speakers who have the quality of discretion to observe the silence which must always remain present while speaking. The late visionary king Shah Faisal, who in 1945 as crown prince witnessed the establishment of the UN, was asked why he did not speak; he replied “Public speaking is like the winds of the desert: it blows constantly without doing anything good”. There is so much to learn from this response, especially from our politicians, whose mouth is an uncontrollable weapon, firing indiscriminately, doing no good to anyone. Silence, as an option in the communication methodology toolkit, should be used often and regularly.
Speakers must have complete knowledge on how to use voice modulation to their advantage. Voice modulation involves fine tuning the pitch or tone of the voice that will enable the audience to hear, understand and pick up on the accent points in a verbal communication – this can be a speech or a presentation in the council room. In addition to tuning the pitch of their voice, communicating for effectiveness requires appropriate use of facial expression, including hand gestures. The face should not be dull and boring, but the content of the speech/presentation should be delivered with an enlightened face, representing faith, trust and sincerity. In verbal communication, the speaker should make graceful gestures to light up the faces of the audience; to do this, the articulation must appeal to feelings and emotions. There’s an English adage: “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it”. And saying it right requires deep thought and meditation.
Both the pen and the word are formidable weapons in the manager’s arsenal: any misguided use of either will render them old and useless. Bad communication corrupts good manners. It is by implication that good communication will correct bad manners.
Communication must create value and meaning for people. The emotions of sincerity and the attitude of humility, if used in communications, will be heard and have an impact. The action should reflect what is said. Any communication format, whether it’s a memo, calls or emails, should be clear and provide confidence in what is being communicated.
Communication is not a battle to be won, it is and must remain a vector of progress. The bond of any company is in conversation, in other words, communication. A proverb from the sub-continent is: The silence in the eyes of animals is more touching than the speech of men, but the silence in the speech of men is more agonizing than the eyes of animals. Indiscretions in communications should be completely avoided.
Communication should consist of complete facts, dates, critical points, etc. Politeness in conversation lies in clarity. If the communication lacks full details but is rather hazy, it’s akin to a Russian proverb, you can’t write in the fireplace with charcoal.
Communication includes public speaking, both prepared and extemporaneous. It is very important to know that the improvised part must be for the audience, not for the speaker – the speaker must fully prepare his perceived “improvised” speech. Preparation ensures that the message will reach the audience in the way it is intended.
Communication should help motivate the workforce. He can only do this if he has in him the necessary sincerity which will incite colleagues to act positively. False claims, no matter how elaborated and articulated, will yield no positive results if there is no underlying sincerity.
Written communication is also likely to be misjudged, if not done carefully. Sarcasm or innuendo cannot be part of a good communication strategy or policy. By writing inter-office memos/notes, the manager must bring to the table all his experience, his observations and his imagination.
In everyday life at work, we witness the three popular formats of communication in play, with or without acknowledgment and acknowledgment. Unbeknownst to us, we remain in constant communication with our habitat. The communication between the supervisor and the supervisee will be remarkably tilted in favor of the supervisor, where they will be submissive to the supervisor/manager.
An angry, agitated and anxious field supervisor will resort to aggressive communication, both written and verbal. Such supervisors create turmoil in the shop. They are virulent both orally and in writing, do not hesitate to use swear words excessively. Recipients, if they do not react and verify the supervisor (for whatever reason…) will be subject to more abusive/aggressive communication coming their way.
Assertive communication is very different from aggressive communication and submissive communication. Managers who are energetic, confident and sure of themselves will not be submissive or aggressive; on the contrary, they would be firm but polite, malleable but resolute and will demonstrate a trait for having two-way communication.
If the business plan is not well communicated, it will obviously hit the iceberg. Communication is with a plethora of counterparts, ranging from staff to suppliers, from supervisors to regulators, from internal to external customers; for this purpose, it is always a good idea to appoint a spokesperson for the organization. Communication to the board and president should normally stay with the CEO.
The communications policy of any institution should include rules of engagement, from sender to recipient; the content of the message, the means of transmission, its evaluation of the effect, the need and mode of feedback, within the general framework of relevance.
Leaders/managers must be extremely skilled in communication. This ability must be the best. It is important to consider that communication is not simply the transmission of a message, but includes the exchange of ideas, thoughts and individual analyses, points of view and observations.
Finally, in communication, it is best to remember, the proverb learned in school, speech is silver, but silence is golden.
The author is a senior banker and independent contributor