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Subject: communication

Communicate and understand


Communication encompasses all human abilities to communicate with others and to understand others. It is the means to exchange messages, wishes, expectations and feelings.

The ability to communicate is a part of social intelligence - that part of our personality that enables us to get along well with people, to make ourselves understandable and to successfully implement our interests. Knowledge of its facets and functionality is essential for successful communication. In a team meeting, for example, communication takes place differently than in a customer meeting.

Each situation has its own rules. In professional life, communication skills play a decisive role on three levels. Regular, trusting exchanges between colleagues are essential for productive cooperation. The flow of information between supervisors and employees is just as important. This is because complete implementation of the objectives can only be guaranteed if key information is passed on in an understandable manner. Last but not least, the right communication model in dealing with customers and partners is essential for any business success.

Most people have internalized these unspoken rules of communication. Automatically - often unconsciously - the entire relationship level is taken into account within the conversation. Nevertheless, there are people who act differently skillfully in different situations. For example, many employees do not master the rules of negotiation. In general, the more rules you are familiar with, the easier it is to convey your own point of view clearly and without conflict in each individual situation. If you want to convincingly present your own views or ideas, the appropriate communication rules help to control the course of the conversation and to achieve a result that is accepted by both partners.

Clear and conflict-free communication is the master key for successful interaction with and between people. This ability can be learned. On the one hand, certain conversation techniques help to convey one's own statements as understandably and convincingly as possible. This includes proper verbal articulation as well as the conscious sending of non-verbal signals. On the other hand, it is possible to practice listening closely. Active listening also includes interpreting non-verbal signals from the other person.

Communication science has been researching these issues for decades. They should explain what communication is and how it works. Different approaches for a successful exchange can be found in the different communication models. Since there is still no uniform theory, we are presenting a few models here that illustrate the principles and processes during communication.

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Communication models
How information flows

Communication always takes place simultaneously on the factual-rational and the emotional level. The factual-rational level transports information that is expressed in words. The emotional level is harder to pin down because it is about the information hidden behind the words. The intonation, the body language, the choice of words and the relationship between the interlocutors play important roles.

Communication research has developed numerous models that make it clear what exactly happens when messages are exchanged between people. Communication models basically deal with two questions:

How do people communicate with each other? and What is happening there?

Communication models also explain how misunderstandings or conflict situations arise and give advice on how to avoid disruptions in communication.