Effective communication is the foundation of positive human interaction. It considers the emotional impact of the message along with the actual information and factual content. Good communicators seek clarity in messaging so ideas aren't misinterpreted or convoluted. Communication has both advantages and disadvantages, even when the message is delivered in an effective and clear manner.
Advantage: Good Communication Promotes Understanding
Effective communication removes the guesswork from any message. When information or ideas are effectively communicated, audiences don't question the meaning or reasoning. Think about a doctor informing a patient about a fatal disease. The doctor needs to make sure the patient understands the problem along with any possible courses of action.
When you communicate clearly, it's easier to get your message across and make sure you're on the same page with your audience. For example, if you're discussing a new project with your employees, you want to ensure they understand your instructions and expectations. Pinpoint the key aspects, summarize them at the end of the meeting and encourage employees to ask for further clarification if necessary.
Disadvantage: Negative Acknowledgement
Good communication may not always be enough to make yourself heard. Your circumstances, as well as your audience and the timing of the message, can all influence this process.
Additionally, even a clearly delivered message doesn't prevent negative acknowledgment. Think of a doctor telling his patient that he has cancer or that he needs an expensive treatment. Even though the message is clear and the patient understands what he's being told, his reaction may be negative. Plus, some patients may not understand why a particular treatment, which happens to be quite expensive, is better than another.
Advantage: Read Emotional Cues
People find themselves in stressful situations all the time. Meeting with a boss, handling an aggressive salesman or dealing with a mechanic are a few examples of daily interactions that can create stress. Paying attention to sensory cues and clearly conveying desires and needs may occur naturally, but these skills can be improved with practice and self-awareness.
Tuning in and being able to read the emotions of others gives you a big advantage in deal-making and finding solutions. At the same time, it makes it easier to adjust your message so that it fits the mood and needs of your target audience. For example, if you're making a speech and the audience seems bored or disengaged, you can use humor or make a powerful statement to draw their attention. Pay attention to their body language and tailor your speech accordingly.
Disadvantage: It Leaves You Vulnerable
Reading emotional cues may not always work in your favor. If you can read these cues, others can do it too. This can turn against you when you're not in control of your emotions. Losing your temper in any type of negotiation puts you in a disadvantageous situation.
Let's return to the previous example. If your speech promotes a service or product that you don't really believe in, your audience may acknowledge that. Sometimes, being persuasive isn't enough to make a point and entice customers to take action. Your body language, gestures and facial expressions can tell a completely different story.
Advantage: Build and Maintain Relationships
Personal relationships rely on effective communication in every way. Good communication in relationships reduces conflict, builds trust and strengthens bonds. These are all strong advantages.
Imagine the following scenario. You’re attending a networking event and find yourself surrounded by industry experts, suppliers and like-minded individuals. Some may be interested in your business and what you have to offer. However, they may never find out about your company and what makes it stand out unless you communicate with them.
Any of these people could be a potential lead or business partner. Don’t hesitate to reach out and introduce yourself. Use your communication skills to market yourself, make a good first impression and differentiate your brand from competitors. Furthermore, you need to keep an open line of communication with prospects, vendors and other business owners to maintain and grow your relationship.
Disadvantage: Not Being Heard
No matter how strong your communication skills are, you may fail to deliver your message if the other parties are not listening to what you have to say. It's possible that one party communicates effectively but is simply not being heard by the other party. If a message is not being accepted, negative consequences often result. Remember, effective communication goes both ways.
When receiving parties are not open to the messaging, even properly communicated messages fall on deaf ears. This leads to conflict that often can't be resolved without either a compromise or dissolution of the relationship. While this is certainly a disadvantage of effective communication, it remains a better option than not openly communicating feelings, desires and needs to a partner or friend.