Factors Affecting Effective Communication

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There is more to communicating effectively than simply saying the right words at the right time. It's difficult to adequately convey your thoughts or feelings to another person efficiently and successfully. Many things affect effective communication, no matter what the situation, from work-related memos and text messages to presentations and casual conversation. Knowing the factors that can prohibit effective communication lets you achieve your meaning simply and articulately.

Nonverbal Communication

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Not all communication is spoken. Self Growth states that about 90 percent of communication is nonverbal, meaning that people's bodies don't always say the same thing their mouths say. Be aware of how close you stand to people while speaking. Getting too close or too far away can make people feel uncomfortable. Avoid distracting gestures like tapping your foot, shaking your leg or looking around when speaking or listening. Make sure your body matches up with your words to communicate effectively.


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Your level of preparation for any communication dictates how effectively you'll get your message across. Even for things as simple as text messages or casual conversations, think about what you want to say and how you want to say it beforehand. If you have time to prepare for a lecture, presentation or business meeting, make notes and ready yourself to answer questions and take advice.

Knowing Your Audience

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Even if a speaker has good ideas, he won't effectively communicate his message to an audience he doesn't cater to. Use appropriate language and body language depending on whom you're talking to. If you're speaking to experts in your field, you don't have to explain basics; however, if you're talking to high school students, you can't take specific knowledge for granted. Adapt to your audience so you both get the most out of the exchange.

Effective Listening

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To communicate effectively, you have to speak precisely and persuasively, but you also have to listen. Maintain eye contact and listen to everything the other person says so you can respond directly to her rather than simply saying what you were going to say anyway. When people listen to and learn from each other, they communicate more efficiently and honestly.


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Environment greatly affects communication. If you have a meeting in a boardroom or a busy restaurant, the environment can cause distractions, discomfort or monotony. Communicate in an environment that is spacious, comfortable and relevant to what you'll talk about.