Communication Competence


By

Dr. Devendra Singh Raghav
M.A. (Eco.), M.Com, M.Phil., Ph.D.
Reader, Dept. Of Economics
N.M.S.N Dass (P.G.) College
Budaun-243 601

Deepa Gupta
Asst. Professor
Department of Management Studies
G.L. Bajaj Institute of Technology & Management
Plot No. 2, Knowledge Park-III, Greater Noida

Mukul Gupta
Asst. Professor
Department of Management Studies
G.L. Bajaj Institute of Technology & Management
Plot No. 2, Knowledge Park-III, Greater Noida
 


Communication competence involves both knowledge and performance. A competent communicator has acquired (and continues to acquire) appropriate knowledge of the principles (norms or rules) of human communication relevant to his or her experience of communicating in various cultural settings. In addition, a competent communicator has (and continues to develop) the ability to perform appropriately in these settings, taking a wide range of factors into account. You might be competent in some areas of communication but not in others. You may know certain rules of communication-effectiveness but be unable to perform in accordance with these rules in real life; you cannot demonstrate communication competence in that situation. For example, you might know the principles of public speaking but not be able to deliver an effective speech, possibly because you lack practice. Note that academic and applied interest in communication competence is a Western attitude that may not be shared by people from other cultures. Communication competence itself is a Western concept. Given the priority placed on demonstrating high-level communication skills in many workplaces, you should continue to develop communication competence throughout your life. You can do this by accepting communication challenges, being willing to reflect on your communication performances and asking others for feedback on your communication abilities.

Western values of relating credibility to perceptions of individual expertise, trustworthiness and dynamism. In some communication contexts, credibility may not be demonstrated by behaving as an individual with energy and dynamism, but rather by being quiet, reserved and respectful and by fitting in with the protocol of a group. A preliminary study carried out in New Zealand, for instance, indicated that in Maori communities a credible and competent communicator is one who is able to connect with others as a member of a wider group, knows and uses correct behaviours and procedures for the context, uses rich and poetic language including proverbs, tells stories, and attends to the comfort of communicators. For communication contexts in which you are involved, you are the one who will decide how to respond to feedback from others and even whether you will pay attention to some of the wide variety of communication cues present in any situation. Educators who conduct training for job-selection interviews help their clients to 'be themselves' and also to monitor verbal and non-verbal cues in the interview. Training (often with video replay) includes practicing alternative ways of responding so that job seekers gain confidence in representing their knowledge, skills and experience appropriately in what is often a very stressful communication context. This would be an example of a context in which self-monitoring of appearance and behaviour can indicate communication competence.

Improving communication competence

You can use the following checklist of specific aspects of interpersonal communication to review your communication competence.

Checklist of interpersonal communication skills

Personal presentation

* Dress appropriately.
* Monitor personal grooming.
* Use presentation aids: tools, computer and audiovisual technology.
* Monitor punctuality.

Listening skills

* Concentrate on what the other person is saying rather than your solution.
* Demonstrate listening by attentive body posture.
* Express empathy for the other person's thoughts and feelings.

Questioning skills

* Ask open and closed questions to explore and focus.
* Ask enough questions to clarify and check your understanding of the other person's meaning.

Oral-presentation skills

* Prepare what you want to say.
* Focus on key information.
* Be sensitive to the cultural context and protocol of the situation.
* State your point of view politely and tactfully.
* Speak clearly with variety and emphasis.
* Monitor feedback and adapt as appropriate.

Customer-service skills

* Be accessible and listen to the customer with empathy.
* Create a helping climate and build rapport.
* Acknowledge the customer's point of view.
* Have a good knowledge of products, services and contracts.
* Admit mistakes, as appropriate, and offer solutions.

Skills for working in teams

* Contribute information.
* Monitor progress and keep team members informed of developments.
* Clarify objectives.
* Support each other.
* Seek feedback on the team's efforts.
* Give feedback to people who might be supporting the team (for example administrative staff, colleagues, relatives).
 


Dr. Devendra Singh Raghav
M.A. (Eco.), M.Com, M.Phil., Ph.D.
Reader, Dept. Of Economics
N.M.S.N Dass (P.G.) College
Budaun-243 601

Deepa Gupta
Asst. Professor
Department of Management Studies
G.L. Bajaj Institute of Technology & Management
Plot No. 2, Knowledge Park-III, Greater Noida

Mukul Gupta
Asst. Professor
Department of Management Studies
G.L. Bajaj Institute of Technology & Management
Plot No. 2, Knowledge Park-III, Greater Noida
 

Source: E-mail November 17, 2006

     

Back to Articles 1-99 / Back to Articles 100-199 / 200 onwards / Faculty Column Main Page

 

Important Note :
Site Best Viewed in Internet
Explorer in 1024x768 pixels
Browser text size: Medium