A key aspect of adult life—which I learned even more after becoming a wife, mother, and work-at-home-mom—is the importance of effective communication. Wikipedia defines communication as “the activity of conveying information through the exchange of ideas, feelings, intentions, attitudes, expectations, perceptions or commands, as by speech, gestures, writings, behavior, and possibly by other means.” While communication is involved in nearly all of our daily activities, it is especially important in the workplace, and even more so if you work in a telecommuting job.
Working from home, I have learned that communication is a key part of my daily routine. There are multiple people that I need to communicate with over the course of a single project, and being straightforward, keeping everyone in the loop, and staying organized is essential. I’ve found that by keeping some of the following components of communication in mind during any interaction, I can make sure my message always comes through clearly.
The 5 Components of Communication
There are said to be 5 components of communication:
- Sending the Message – The person sending the message needs to make sure it is clear and contains enough detail for the receiver to easily understand its meaning and purpose.
- Context of the Message – The context of any communication involves non-verbal cues such as gestures, body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice, which can indicate important factors about the nature and urgency of the message. Working from home, you aren’t usually able to speak with your coworkers or clients face-to-face, but sometimes a phone call can be more effective than an email or text.
- Receiving the Message – Listening carefully and intently is key to receiving a message clearly. Make sure to ask questions for clarification when necessary.
- Delivery Method of the Message – The delivery method must suit the communication needs of both the sender and receiver. Communication methods can include verbal conversations, instant messenger, email, telephone, written documents, videos, and more.
- Content of the Message – This is the essentially the meaning and information you are trying to communicate to the receiver. While the content of a message will not change, you should adapt the contextual cues to suit the delivery method—for example, you wouldn’t communicate a point the same way via text as you would through a face-to-face conversation.
As I said in the beginning, communication is an essential part of any work-from-home job. Whether you need to have a group conversation about a meeting with a future client or you’re sending an email to a coworker about a project that needs to be finished by the end of the week, your communication needs to be clear and to-the-point. Unlike in an office setting, you won’t always have the chance to quickly and easily clear up any uncertainty or confusion right away, so it’s important to always be clear and direct, actively listen, and make sure to choose the most effective delivery method for your message.