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What is Effective Communication?

Updated on November 10, 2016

Skills of Effective Communicaton

Communication to be effective requires an individual to be attentive, to listen carefully, attempt to see the other person’s point of view, respond appropriately, and sometimes admit they are wrong. These are just a few of the important skills. Good communication skills can be learned.

Webster’s Dictionary definition of communication:

  1. “An act or instance of transmitting
  2. Information transmitted or conveyed
  3. A verbal or written message
  4. A process by which information is exchanged between individuals through a common system of symbols, signs or communication; also the exchange of information.”

These definitions are fine, but they don’t tell us very much about effective communication. It is worth our time to learn how to communicate more effectively and perhaps more importantly, learn how to be an active listener. Epicetetus stated “We have two ears and one mouth, so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.”

Healthy Communication


What is Business Communication?

Communicating effectively is essential in business. Business communication skills can make the difference between being successful and being a failure. Poor communication in business has been proven to reduce or weaken productivity, which may lead to anger or lack of trust of the company, manager or employee.

Good communication in business means being able to initiate relationships, build and maintain strong relationships. Having a basic understanding of human behavior and learning to listen carefully are also essential components to building strong business relationships.

Sometimes it is the little things that are so important. Using proper speech, leaving slang terms at home make a better impression. Listening attentively and not interrupting is sometimes difficult, but also very important. Sometimes, you must bite you tongue and when you may not agree with your boss or with a client. Be diplomatic and success will be your reward.

How Much do You Remember?

In “Communication Basics” Kathy Walker stated that we only hear half is what is said to us and we only understand one half of that. In addition, we only believe half of that and remember only half of that. If that is true, people spend a lot of time talking to another person who will only remember a very small percentage of what was said.

Skills of Communication

For personal relationships to be healthy and grow, good communication is essential. Several components are very important, which include trust; active listening and being open minded, which means giving the other person a chance to explain without quickly becoming angry or defensive.Stay involved in the relationship,

Direct, honest communication is the key to any healthy relationship. Have those difficult conversations to resolve problems when the need arises. Ignoring problems is like the elephant in the living room, while the couple pretends everything is normal. Stuffing emotions is unhealthy, and sometimes a mouse becomes a mountain, due to dwelling but not resolving a problem. Trust is the basis in every good relationship with a lover or a good friend.

Maintain friendships with other people as well. One person cannot fulfill all of your needs and friendships fill in those gaps where your interest in something may be different from that of your mates.

Helpful Book on Relationships

Why Can't You Read My Mind? Overcoming the 9 Toxic Thought Patterns that Get in the Way of a Loving Relationship
Why Can't You Read My Mind? Overcoming the 9 Toxic Thought Patterns that Get in the Way of a Loving Relationship

Most people think that poor communication is the reason why so many relationships end, but it's actually the way we learn to think about our partners and our problems that kills trust, erodes intimacy, and cripples communication.


Tips to Improve Communication

There are different types of communication such as verbal, written, and body language and each one is important.

  • Maintain eye contact throughout the conversation, which matches the advice in the preceding paragraph. Eye contact is absolutely one of the most important components because it lets the other person know you are involved and listening.
  • Be aware of your body language. Sit in a relaxed fashion without your arms crossed in front of you. The look on your face should match your words. Building rapport is easier if you also mirror the other person’s body language.
  • Ask questions if you have any doubt as to what the other person is trying to convey. Don’t make assumptions. If you are clear on what is being conveyed to you, then you can respond appropriately.
  • Own your words. Use words like “I”, “me” and also own up to mistakes. The way to build trust is to be completely honest, and if you’ve made a mistake own up to it and apologize.
  • Respond, but don’t react. If you react with anger the other person will immediately put up their defenses. The chances of resolving any problem diminish dramatically when one person gets angry. Often this shuts down communication completely. Remember once something is said you can’t un-ring the bell. The damage is done, despite any apology.

The Undisputed Truth "Smiling Faces Sometimes" (1971)

In Conclusion

Effective communication is not that difficult if you use intellect over emotion. Practice the tips listed above and you will be surprised how they can improve a relationship. Often we fall into patterns of expecting the worst and reacting before we even know the whole story. Trust is something that is earned, so honesty is essential in any communication. Talking to each other will strengthen your relationship, so it is certainly worthwhile to make the effort.


Do you think your communication with your partner is effective and healthy?

See results

© 2012 Pamela Oglesby


Submit a Comment

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 5 years ago from United States

    RNMSN, That is so true and the downfall of many relationships. Thanks for your comments.

  • RNMSN profile image

    Barbara Bethard 5 years ago from Tucson, Az

    what an excellent article Pamela!! after 30yrs hubby and I now are able to communicate :) love goes a long way but in the end you have to learn to listen!

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 5 years ago from United States

    I agree. I think this is an interesting and important topic. Thanks.

  • djeff37 profile image

    Daryl j. 5 years ago from Converse, TX

    It is interesting that I just noticed your hub after completing one on "What Is Communication" it is interesting to know that other people think like I do :)

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 5 years ago from United States

    djeff, You make a very valid point. It is important to get confirmation from the other person that they understand what you have communicated. Thanks for your comments.

  • djeff37 profile image

    Daryl j. 5 years ago from Converse, TX

    This is a very good article, but thing should be added in the definition of communication is that which is conveyed must not only be received but it also must be understood. If a person does not understand what is being conveyed, no matter how attentive that person maybe, communication either does not exist or there is a miscommunication. Other than that it is a wonderful article thanks for sharing.

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 5 years ago from United States

    I fully agree that good relationships absolutely need good communication. Thank you for your comments.

  • toknowinfo profile image

    toknowinfo 5 years ago

    Excellent hub! Your article is informative and exemplifies how well you communicate with the written word too. Communication is essential to every good relationship.

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 5 years ago from United States

    drbj, It is a shame that such problems are so common as communication is so important in every facet of life. Thanks for your comments as always.

  • drbj profile image

    drbj and sherry 5 years ago from south Florida

    Hi, Pamela. It may seem strange to some, but one of the most common skills (problems) I was asked to 'enhance' for senior managers as an executive coach, was 'communication skills.' Thank you for this excellent review of the subject. Voted Up naturally.

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 5 years ago from United States

    always exploring, I think that statement sums up the most important aspect of good communication skills. I appreciate your comments.

  • always exploring profile image

    Ruby Jean Fuller 5 years ago from Southern Illinois

    Vert useful hub. Good advice. I liked that about having two ears, one mouth. Listening is the key. Thank you for sharing...

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 5 years ago from United States

    Anginwu, I have to remind myself also. Thanks so much for your comments.

  • anglnwu profile image

    anglnwu 5 years ago

    You're right, body language can say a lot. If we're not listening attentively, it shows. Maybe, it's just picking at our nails or a faraway shows. I've to constantly remind myself that I've to be genuinely interested in what a person is saying. Good tips.

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 5 years ago from United States

    The Frog Prince, I think that is so true. Thank you for your comments.

  • The Frog Prince profile image

    The Frog Prince 5 years ago from Arlington, TX

    Great Hub Pamela. Seems many people are more intent on thinking about what they are going to say next rather than to listen to the messenger. Listening is an art that some need to learn.


  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 5 years ago from United States

    BPOP, I have seen the same problem in couples. I was just telling my daughter-in-law to tell my son exactly what she needs him to do to help around the house. Women want men to see what needs to be cleaned up, but they don't see it ever in my experience. Ask!

    It is sad to hear the phrase "you never told me". Thanks so much for your comments.

  • breakfastpop profile image

    breakfastpop 5 years ago

    Effective communication is the key ingredient in making any relationship work, whether it be business or personal. Over and over again I see couples who simply do not communicate. Women expect men to know, instinctively, what's on their mind. Would it not be simpler to forget the guessing game and talk? I can name so many relationships that ended with at least one of the parties saying, "but you never told me". That is the saddest thing of all. Up useful and awesome.

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 5 years ago from United States

    Cardessa, I know of many situations like you described which is what gave me the idea to write about this topic. Thank you for your comments.

    Snurre, I agree that there are a number of reasons for communication difficulties. I appreciate your comments.

  • Snurre profile image

    Snurre 5 years ago

    Very interesting and useful hub. Too many people are having trouble understanding each other for a number of reasons. This hub explains how to improve things.

  • Cardisa profile image

    Carolee Samuda 5 years ago from Jamaica

    Hi Pamela, very good article on effective communication. I must say I know many people in relationships that do not communicate or communicate effectively. There are many employees who walked out of jobs because of communication issues too. Thanks for sharing such and insightful hub.

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 5 years ago from United States

    suzzettenaples, I like that saying also and I think it is spot on. Thank you for your comments.

  • suzettenaples profile image

    Suzette Walker 5 years ago from Taos, NM

    This is a very insightful hub. You give very good advice and tips on effective communication. This is sometimes difficult for even adults to learn and follow, but you have done a great job in passing along the information

    I love the quote by Epicetetus; I used to tell my 8th graders that all the time, but I never knew the source of the saying. It always made them laught and think!