The sender’s message must be understood or interpreted. Words and other symbols have multiple meanings. There is no assurance that the intended meanings of the sender are the same as the receiver or decoder. The more experiences the sender and receiver have in common, the more likely it is that the intended message will be understood. In order for people with different experience fields to communicate, at least one must learn to speak the language of the other. Managers who want to communicate with their employees must learn how their employees think and feel. With this knowledge, a person can usually predict with accuracy how a message will be decoded.

Non-Verbal Communication

Most of what a person communicates is transmitted non-verbally. Any gesture which serves as a word substitute may be classified as sign language. Examples are hand movements for yes and no. A wave of the hand may mean both hello and goodbye.

Action language is physical movement which conveys a message but is not specifically used as a substitute for words. The way people work, sit or laugh tells something about them.

Object language can be an intentional or unintentional display of material things which communicate certain messages to other people. A person’s clothes or automobile often communicate a message.

Personality Factors & Communication

People differ in their ability to communicate. The differences are the result of skills in writing, grammar, and even spelling. Other personality characteristics are important in communicating.

Empathy is the awareness of the needs and motives of others. A person can improve their sensitivity by consciously trying to understand how other people think and feel.

Usually, quiet people are poor communicators. Likewise, a good communicator motivates people to talk freely.

Assertiveness is shown by people who are persistent and forceful in stating a point of view. A person who gives a good presentation and is convincing in their speech is usually very persuasive.

Character is trust in a person. The ability to express oneself means little if trust is low. When trust is high, people will accept a message and expect honorable motives from the sender. Maturity in the treatment of information is very important. Employees who believe supervisors can be trusted will usually confide in them. Trust develops only over a long period of time. People’s behavior, not their words, builds trust. Simply stated, “actions speak louder than words.”

Security personnel who have children can relate to the problems associated with effective communication. In the early stages of communication, making assumptions that the person you are communicating with understands exactly what you want can lead to unintended results. Once a pattern of experience and communication develops between two people, communications can improve without having to issue every single, detailed instruction. The development happens between a supervisor and employee. Once they know what to expect from one another, communication should improve.