During the lockdown, many of us have stayed in touch with our friends and family through phone calls and messages. Coffee conversations, casual catch-ups, and lunch table debates are all restricted to audio and video phone calls. Everyone has been wondering: How do we deploy our communication skills in this age of social distancing?
Typically, in face-to-face conversations, we rely on the obvious markers of emotional expression to gauge how a person is feeling. Now, these markers of happiness, anger, or disappointment are not so obvious—conversation can come to feel disembodied and stilted. Therefore, we have had to increasingly rely on visual and tonal cues in this sort of remote communication.
Verbal communication has been a critical component of our daily lives. In these unprecedented times, it has assumed even greater significance. During the lockdown, however, many of us have learned that there are different levels of communication. Here, we write about five: verbal, emotional, physical, energetic, and auditory.
What are the levels of communication?
Let’s understand the levels of communication to make our interactions more fruitful.
Verbal Level of Communication:
Among the five different levels of communication, this is perhaps the most obvious—we spend a lifetime trying to master the verbal level of communication skills.
Nothing beats the effect of hearing the right words at the right time. Different words mean different things to each person—they can bring back memories, allude to associations, and conjure up images.
But how do you choose the ‘right’ words? How can you make communication more effective? One foolproof way is by being a good listener. Harappa Education’s Listening Actively course focuses on developing better listening skills using various tools like the EAR of Listening and the HARP framework. Empathy, Authenticity, and Respect are the three qualities in the EAR of Listening framework. Without them, you cannot become an active and engaged listener.
Physical Level of Communication:
The Indian film industry might be a behemoth now, but do you know which is considered to be the first film to come out of it? Dadasaheb Phalke’s Raja Harishchandra, released in 1913, was a silent movie. Therefore, the audience would have to engage with it by connecting with the expressions and body language of the on-screen actors.
The physical level of communication involves eye contact, gestures, posture, and facial expressions. These visual cues are a tool to persuade your listeners and make them interested in what you have to say.
But how can we practice the physical level of communication in day-to-day life? Well, you can mindfully practice ‘matching and mirroring’ people’s gestures and posture. This will ensure you are mindful of your stance and movement.
Auditory Level of Communication:
Auditory communication is focused on the tone, volume, and speed of speech and sound. For instance, in addition to the content, the tone and pace of your conversation can have a conscious or subconscious impact on your listeners.
If you tend to talk fast, you need to be mindful of slowing down when speaking to introverts or thoughtful individuals. If you don’t, you may risk being unheard even though it may look like the other person is listening to what you are saying.
Emotional Level of Communication:
Your emotional state affects the way you communicate. Often, when we are angry or disturbed, we say things we don’t mean. Communication is affected by both the speaker’s and the listener’s emotional state. You may have noticed that we like to surround ourselves with positive and life-affirming individuals.
Therefore, be conscious of your emotional state when you communicate. Try to release negative emotions such as anger and pride before communicating with someone.
Energetic Level of Communication:
Practicing mindfulness and being aware of the other person’s thoughts and feelings will make your communication more effective.
Of the five, this is the highest level of communication, and quite challenging to master. It comes more naturally to those who are compassionate and empathetic towards others. To try and develop this level of communication, actively think about the well-being of the person you are communicating with and consciously avoid any one-upping.
Bringing five levels of communication together
Your style of verbal communication represents your thoughts and the message you want to convey. Reflect on the physical, auditory, emotional and energetic levels to analyze how you put forth your thoughts.
Various levels of communication influence each other. For instance, your emotional state impacts your body language.
Be aware of your gestures and posture, the words you choose, the tone and the cadence of your conversation. Understand what the levels of communication are. Join the Speaking Effectively course at Harappa Education and work on improving various levels of communication.
Explore blogs on topics such as the communication cycle, the elements of communication, the 7 C’s of communication, grapevine communication, and the types of communication channels in our Harappa Diaries section and learn how to deliver information effectively.
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