Whether it is business communication or personal communication, communication is all around us.
But what is communication? Do we really know? Do we realize how important it is and how much of a factor it is in making our personal or business lives succeed or fail?
Experts tell us that many of the inmates in prisons are there because of a lack of communication skills issues. We are also told that eighty percent of the workers in our nations are unhappy in their job because of this lack of skills issues as well.
Here’s what communication is:
“the act of transmitting. A giving or exchanging of information, signals, or messages by talk, gestures, writing, etc. To make known. To give information, messages. To have a systematic and meaningful relationship. A system for sending and receiving messages as by telephone, telegraph, radio, etc… A system as of routes for moving one place to another. The art of expressing ideas, esp. in speech and writing. The science of transmitting information, esp. in symbol.” (Websters New World Dictionary).
Thus, communication is a system for sending and receiving messages.
We send and receive messages all day long, in our personal and business lives. But, we don’t know how to do it properly and we mess up enough daily to affect the outcome of society.
In business, so much of the results depends on our ability to communicate — people to people, department to department, sales to accounting, production to processes, marketing to finance, company to customers, etc.
From my observations, in most cases, the biggest need for improvement in business is found in the following three areas — in that order:
Communication cannot be implemented on top of disorganization. Training cannot be implemented on top of non-communication. And, organization cannot be implemented without the effective communication of trained people.
For years, we’ve seen seminars and training on this subject become more and more popular, yet we still want more of them. We especially want those that offer something new that will help us to improve our business communication.
But we still have problems communicating. Why? It is because of the missing link. Then what is this missing link?
The missing link is the “contextual part” of all communication.
So, to pick up from our three critical need areas listed above, “contextual” communication is the bridge that connects and sustains organization, communication and training.
What is the difference between communication and contextual communication? Communication is still communication but contextual communication is communication within the “context” as it is described here:
Context: “the parts of a sentence, paragraph, discourse, etc. immediately next to or surrounding a specified word or passage and determining its exact meaning (to quote a remark out of context). The whole situation, background, or environment relevant to a particular event, personality, creation, etc. Contextual: of, depending on, or belonging to the context. (The New World Dictionary).
The problem is that we communicate without an awareness of this “contextual” parts of our daily business communication as well as personal communication.
So put these two descriptions of “communication and context” together and you have the recipe for better and improved business communication in the three critical areas of needs in business communication: organization, communication and training.