Communication is the complex process of interaction and exchange of information between people or social groups using language signs and non-verbal signals. It lies in the interchange of messages, as well as in the perception and understanding of one another. It is a specific form of human correlation with other human beings as members of society. Communication presupposes the realization of social relations of people. Living beings and people, in particular, are subjects of communication. In principle, communication is typical for all living beings. However, only at the level of human, the communication process becomes deliberate involving verbal and nonverbal acts. A person transmitting information is a communicator while a person receiving it is a recipient. Forms and types of communication are extremely diverse. Nowadays, it is one of the most necessary conditions for the existence of human society. The increasing importance of informal, corporate, and cross-cultural communication in the modern world requires the ability to communicate effectively. Therefore, the aim of the paper is to study the principles of effective communication, the 7C’s of communication, as well as cross-cultural and corporate communication.
People communicate with one another every day since time immemorial. However, sometimes, a situation can occur when, during the discussion of any issue, there is a feeling that another person does not show any interest in the conversation. It causes negative emotions, such as natural resentment and irritation, which hinder the perception of information. Consequently, people do not understand one another. Therefore, the ability to engage interlocutors in a conversation and interest them helps feel free everywhere – at work, at home, and among friends. “Communication skills are essential in leading, managing, working with others”. To achieve the objectives, people must learn to communicate effectively with others. The success of individuals depends on how they can attract people’s attention and convey necessary information to them. The effective communication presupposes the ability and the desire to bring communication to the alleged collaboration. Furthermore, it is the ability to listen actively and to understand what a person wants to tell the interlocutor. It is also the ability to speak assertively, confidently, convincingly, as well as in a friendly and straightforward manner. Effective communication skills are necessary for everyone. People, who know how to communicate, succeed in career and personal life. “Effective communication makes life work”. It is not just the transmission of information, but promotes mutual understanding, directs the flow of information in the right direction, and helps people overcome barriers to open discussion. Finally, it encourages the interlocutors to take action for achieving their goals.
To communicate effectively, it is important not only to speak, but also to listen, hear, and understand what the interlocutor says. It is necessary to remember that for effective communication, there should be a contact between the interlocutors. Thus, it is also recommended to talk at the same pace and in the same volume using the same pose as the interlocutor. Moreover, to communicate effectively, a person needs to listen more and talk less. The real masters of communication are always good listeners, which helps them correctly understand other people. In such a way, they can find better words.
In addition, the non-verbal signals are an extremely significant component of effective communication. Words comprise only 7% of communication, which means that 93% is the body language. In other words, communication consists of facial expressions and gestures. “The basic system for communication is the human body, not only the organs of speech and hearing but eyes and facial muscles, hands and arms, brain and in many respects the entire body”. Non-verbal communication includes gestures, facial expressions, posture, eye contact, the tone of voice, and touch. It is believed that gestures appeared much earlier than human speech, which explains the fact that the most primitive gestures are international. Gestures are crucial because even without understanding a word, people from different parts of the world perceive equally most gestures. Therefore, gestures, as well as other signals of non-verbal communication are a highly necessary tool for effective communication.
The 7 C’s of Communication
Since the time when life in society has become familiar to any person, it is necessary to communicate effectively. People’s development and recognition will depend on how effectively they communicate with others. The ability to convince people and achieve the desired aim during the dialog gives a significant advantage in life.
There are 7 principles of effective communication called the 7 C’s of communication. The first principle is completeness, which presupposes that communication should be clear and complete. During the conversation, it is not advisable to use abstract phrases as another person can interpret them improperly. After complete communication, the receiver has no additional questions. Complete communication helps make decisions because listeners receive all the desired information.
The second principle is conciseness. It means that the expression of thoughts should be exact and clear. It is the ability to refuse from the general discussion and comments which can be excessive and often incomprehensible during communication. Furthermore, it is the ability to talk briefly about experiences, opinions, feelings, and actions. One should remember that long sentences are difficult to understand while short and clear ones are perceived easier.
The next principle is consideration, which is the possibility to understand and see the world as other people do. Consideration presupposes that an interlocutor should perceive the world from the position of other people. Around the globe, people differ in education, religion, ideology, and social status. Thus, it is necessary to use technical terms, concepts, and words that will constitute the specifics of the speech of each individual to ensure that people understand one another correctly.
Clarity of communication is another crucial principle. It is necessary to make the conversation in such a way that people should understand what another person wants to convey to them. Thus, an interlocutor should stress one vital aspect rather than focus on unnecessary details, by using appropriate and exact expressions.
The next principle is concreteness. For concrete communication, a person should convey information clear and particular. It is necessary to be brief, not deviate from the main theme, and state the message in a logical sequence. Definite figures and facts always support a concrete message, helping a listener to understand the message correctly. Finally, a concrete message uses clear words and phrases, avoiding ambiguity and misinterpretation.
One of the most significant principles of effective communication is the courtesy. It is the ability not only to feel goodwill toward people but also to show the benevolent attitude toward them. It includes respect for personal individuals, a willingness to support others, sympathy, and the ability to accept them even without the approval of their actions. It is necessary to learn to perceive a person separate from the actions.
The last principle is the correctness, which is mainly significant in corporate communication. It means that the construction of the conversation should be realized without errors. A communicator should make necessary pauses that will help perceive information correctly. These principles of communication are essential if a person wants to be a good listener and a communicator. However, people do not receive the skills of effective communication from nature. Every person should develop them if he/she wants to be successful in life.
Culture is an essential characteristic of a person related to the ability to interpret purposefully and systematically the surrounding world. Culture is a holistic way of life of the people. A person creates an artificial world of things, characters, connections, and relations between people. Everything done by a man is a part of the culture. Most information about the surrounding world comes to a person through the linguistic channel. Thus, people live in a world of concepts created for the intellectual, spiritual, and social needs, rather than in the world of things and objects. The success of an individual in society depends on how well a person knows the word. Therefore, communication is an essential part of human life and a part of the culture. Stressing its importance, many researchers compare culture to communication. The famous American psychologist and the author of several works on intercultural communication Edward Hall argued that culture and communication are identical concepts.
Cross-cultural communication is a special form of interaction between two or more different cultures followed by an exchange of information and their cultural values. The process of cross-cultural communication is a specific form of activity not limited to knowledge of foreign languages. It also requires knowledge of material and spiritual culture of another nation, religions, values, moral principles, and philosophical views. In conjunction, it determines the pattern of behavior of communication partners. Nowadays, learning foreign languages and their use as a means of international communication are not possible without deep and comprehensive knowledge of the culture of the speakers of these languages. It is vital for an effective cross-cultural communication to know the specifics of people’s mentality, a national character, a way of life, a vision of the world, customs, and traditions. Only the combination of these two types of knowledge – language and culture – provides effective and efficient cross-cultural communication.
There are several theories of cross-cultural communication, which address various issues of cultural interaction. Edward Hall highlighted the cultural and communication patterns of different groups. “Hall was one of the first researchers to point out the difficulties encountered during the interaction between members of different cultures”. He also developed a general typology in relation to the context – information surrounding and accompanying a particular cultural event. “He categorizes cultures as being either high- or low-context, depending on the degree to which meaning comes from the setting rather than from the words being exchanged”. According to the scientist, cultures differ in their interpreting of the context – the use of hidden information that every situation encompasses. Depending on the nature of the use of space and time, Edward Hall differentiated high context and low context cultures.
According to the research, the degree of awareness of the participants determines the nature and results of the communication process. It depends on the density of social networks and the speed of information exchange between the members of this network. Accordingly, all cultures can be classified on the grounds of weak and strong contextual dependency. Nations, who use a dense information network, refer to the culture of high context – France, Spain, Italy, the Middle East, and Japan. In these countries, people only need a small amount of additional information to have a clear picture of what is happening. Due to the high density of informal information networks, they are always well informed. For representatives of high context cultures, the non-linguistic context transmits much information, such as hierarchy, status, appearance of a person, the manner of behavior, and living conditions.
Representatives of Germany, Switzerland, the USA, Scandinavia, and other Nordic countries with a freer network of connections in their social environment and with less exchange of information are among the countries with the low-context. It is a group of cultures, where there are virtually no informal information networks. These cultures are less homogeneous and interpersonal contacts are strictly separated. Representatives of these cultures do not mix personal relationships with work and other aspects of daily life. A consequence of this feature is weak awareness and a great need for more information for the understanding of representatives of other cultures while communicating.
Depending on the methods, techniques, and styles of communication, there are three main types of intercultural communication – verbal, nonverbal, and paraverbal. Verbal communication is the process of the exchange of ideas, information, and emotional experiences of interlocutors. According to the experts on the theory of communication, verbal communication can take place mainly in the form of a dialog or a monolog. Nonverbal communication is a set of non-linguistic means of symbols and signs used to transmit information and messages in the communication process. It rests on two sources – biological and social, natural and acquired in the course of the human social experience. Paraverbal communication uses paraverbal tools – a set of sounds that accompany the spoken language bringing an additional value. The meaning of the statements may vary depending on intonation, rhythm, timbre, phrasal stress, and logic used in the process of communication. Researchers distinguish the following acoustic means accompanying, supplementing, and replacing speech sounds – pace, height, volume, speed, rhythm, pauses, intonation, coughs, sighs, moans, and timbre. For effective cross-cultural communication, it is necessary to understand these three types of communication. Nowadays, in the period of economic and cultural globalization, effective cross-cultural communication is extremely significant.
Nowadays, corporate communication permeates all spheres of public life. Competence in the field of corporate communication is directly related to the success or failure in any business – science, art, industry, and trade. For managers, entrepreneurs, organizers of production, and people engaged in the management, the communicative competence is a vital part of their professional identity. According to Dolphin and Reed, “Corporate communication may be thought to have emerged from the field of public relations”. It is the process of interconnection and interaction supported by the exchange of activities, information, and experience. The purpose of corporate communication is the arrangement of specific goals and objectives, which distinguishes it from communication in the broadest sense. The main specificity of this form of communication is its regulation – the subordination to the established rules and regulations. The main functions of corporate communication are the organization of joint activities, formation, development of interpersonal relationships, and cognition of other people.
Corporate communication can be divided into direct, which presupposes direct contact, and indirect, when there is the space-time distance between partners. Direct corporate communication has greater efficiency, the force of an emotional impact, and suggestion than indirect. Depending on the various features, corporate communication is also divided into oral and written, dialog and monolog, interpersonal and public. All these factors form characteristics of business communication.
There are three basic styles of corporate communication. The first style is ritual, the main task of which is the maintenance of the connection with society. In ritual communication, partners are a necessary attribute and their individual characteristics are insignificant, unlike the role – social, professional, and personal. The next style is manipulative, in which the partner is treated as a means of achieving external goals. Manipulative communication involves a huge number of professional tasks. In fact, any training, persuasion, and management always include manipulative communication. The third is the humanistic style aimed at the joint change in perceptions of both partners. It involves the satisfaction of such human needs as the need for understanding, sympathy, and empathy. Humanistic communication is determined not only from the outside – the purpose, conditions, situations, and stereotypes, but from the inside – personality, mood, and attitude toward the partner. This style of communication greatly depends on the individual characteristics, personality traits, life experiences, and attitudes toward people.
Forms of corporate communication include business conversation, negotiations, meeting, debate, discussion, controversy, public speaking, telephone calls, and business correspondence. The business conversation is the transfer or exchange of information and views on specific issues or problems. It performs a number of functions, including two-way communication of employees from one business scope, joint search, nomination, operational development of working ideas and plans, control and coordination of already started business activities, and the stimulation of business activities. The business conversation may precede the negotiations or be part of the negotiation process. Business negotiations are the main means of the coherent decision-making process of communication with stakeholders. They always have a specific purpose and aim at the conclusion of agreements, transactions, and contracts. The dispute is the clash of opinions and differences on any issue. It is the struggle, in which each of the parties defends a concrete point of view. The dispute is realized in the form of debates, controversies, and discussions. The business meeting is a way of an open discussion of the problem with a team of specialists. Public speech is the transfer of information to the general audience with the rules and principles of construction of speech and oratory. Business correspondence is a generic name of various documents allocated in connection with a particular mode of transmission of the text.
In corporate communication, especially between managers and subordinates, there are numerous methods of the influence, mainly encouragement, criticism, and punishment. Encouragement should be deserved and proportional to quality and efficiency of work. Criticism is the most common form of expressing dissatisfaction with the activities of subordinates or colleagues, including negative acts, inept or unfair work. It should be objective and constructive. The aim of criticism is to instill confidence of the employees in their abilities and mobilize for the best work. Punishment can be implemented in the form of a reprimand, a fine, demotion, and dismissal. The main ethical requirement for punishment is the inevitability for systematic and deliberately allowed shortcomings. All varieties of forms and methods of management of the interaction of people are called management of corporate communication.
Corporate communication is the most important factor of not only the formation and self-improvement of the employees but also their spiritual and physical health. In addition, communication is a universal way of knowing other people and their inner world. Due to corporate communication, the employee obtains the unique set of personal and professional qualities.
Communication as a specific form of human interaction with other people plays an important role in society. Without it, there are no processes of education, formation, personal development, and interpersonal contacts. Without effective communication, there is no efficacious management, maintenance, research work, and other activities in all areas where it is necessary to transfer, learn, and share information. Communication also contributes to a person’s mastery of cultural and human values, as well as the public experience. In the process of communication, there is a mutual exchange of views, ideas, interests, sentiments, and attitudes. There are various principles of effective communication that help a person become a good communicator and listener. Effective communication is especially necessary for corporate and cross-cultural communication.