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What is communication and how to communicate effectively?

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Communication is what we are trying to do through this writing. We are trying to communicate to you what communication is and how to communicate effectively. Here, we are trying to communicate through writing. If you were watching us on YouTube, we would be communicating to you through verbal and visual means of communication. If we were to communicate with you on the same topic via graphics, that would be another form of communication. So, basically communication is to convey what’s inside us through mutually understood signs, symbols, and semiotic conventions.

There are basically three sides to communication. One is source (communicator), another is receiver (audience), and third being channel (air, phone, tv, book, paper, picture, etc).

Types of Communication

There are basically three types of communication,

  1. Verbal communication: Communicating verbally (by speaking out)
  2. Non-verbal communication: Communicating through body language, facial expression, touch, gesture, etc, in a form of non-linguistic representations.
  3. Visual communication: Communicating through arts, photographs, graphics, etc.
  4. Written communication: Communicating through writings.

Purpose of Communication in humans

Purpose of communication in humans varies for a range of reasons but the ability to communicate effectively is what makes humans different from the rest of other animals.

Have you watched the movie, “Rise of The Planet of The Apes?”

What happens in the movie is that there is this one ape which has a relatively higher degree of intelligence that it can think and reason. But until that point, the ape was not still that powerful. It was still a pet. The ape then learned to communicate, and through communication, it learned to influence other apes. That discovery of communication made it possible for apes to act collectively, that led to desire for independence, self rule. The movie actually tells what made humans so powerful and superior through the story of the apes.

Only reason humans could rule the world is because it could communicate with fellow humans for a range of reasons. Think of it. It’s because of the ability to communicate, humans could tame a mammoth. “hey! look back. Okay, now it’s turning other side, so hit the other side. Hey you, you attack from back and you from front.” If we were not this good at communicating with fellow humans, we would be just like monkeys, screaming and shouting but no clear instructions or tips and tricks to fight against other species. Not only that, but we share our knowledge and understanding to other humans and new generations so that they learn from our mistakes and lessons, and thus their life and time is saved to learn further and progress further.

Here is another example,

There is this water tank at my neighbor’s house. The tank gets filled once in 15 days. Other times, it is as dry. On one of the dry days, some or other pigeon comes to nest to lay eggs but as the tap gets on, the nest gets destroyed. It feels really sad to see how she struggles to protect the eggs, but what could she do. Eggs get spoiled and she leaves the nest. Again, some other day another pigeon comes and tastes the same fate. So far three pigeons, I have witnessed, testing the same sad fate. That’s the difference between humans and other creatures. If the pigeon was human, she would spread her lesson. If any pigeon tries to repeat the mistake, she will be warned by other pigeons. The pigeons as well will pass down the story and lesson to new ones saving even them from making the mistake.

You see? What makes humans so powerful is our ability to communicate, our ability to spread lessons and knowledge and ability to accept those lessons even without experiencing it. This saves lots of our time and energy without which we would be repeating the same mistakes just like the pigeons.Same applies to human society or country. The country or society where there is a culture of effective communication, knowledge sharing, culture of documenting history, such a society or country as a whole becomes smarter, grow more rapidly as they waste less time repeating the past mistakes. The society or the country that lacks such culture are doomed to get stuck in the same loop.

Hope, you got the point of how important communication is for progress and success. Everything that we know now is the result of accumulated knowledge passed down through communication channels.

Good communication versus bad communication

Now, since we know the importance of communication, we should be aware of good communication from bad communication. We all have been in the situation where the receiver misunderstood us, we got into conflict, we didn’t get things done and many other troubles because there was a “communication gap” or “miscommunication.”

As we learned earlier, the sole purpose of communicating is to transport what’s in our mind – be it knowledge, or thoughts or ideas – into the head of the receiver as it is. When there is a difference in what we want to convey and how the receiver decodes, the miscommunication occurs. SO BAD COMMUNICATION IS NOTHING BUT FAILING TO COMMUNICATE PROPERLY.

What would happen if a hunger-gather had failed to communicate properly while hunting a mammoth? One of the members would die. What will happen if a teacher fails to communicate properly? Students will misunderstand or do not understand the subject.

So the burden always lies on who is communicating more than who is being communicated. It’s the responsibility of the source to communicate effectively. In good communication, the communicator successfully transports/transmits his/her message to the receiver as s/he wanted it to be, whereas in bad communication s/he fails to do so.

There are various reasons why bad communication happens, some of which are:

  1. Lack of clarity – not being precise and concise in what is trying to be conveyed; lack of clarity in voice or presentation.
  2. Ambiguity of words/phrases – Words sounding the same but having different meanings can convey a different meaning altogether. Hence the communicator must ensure that the receiver receives the same meaning.
  3. Cultural differences – where one being said being understood differently due to cultural interpretation. For example, calling someone a monkey may mean ugly in one culture whereas it may mean smart in another culture.
  4. Intellectual differences – Use of jargons, being too technical or academic, that the receiver doesn’t get. It’s easy to say “society evolves over time” for someone who knows what is evolution but if the receiver does not know what is evolution in the first place, the whole sentence may be understood per his/her own level of understanding and interpretation.
  5. Attitude/psychology – Certain attitudes can also make communication difficult. For instance, presenting with ab angry or intimidating tone or style can affect how the receiver decodes the message.

Thus, good communication is the type of communication where the aforementioned things are absent. In good communication, there is clarity and precision on what is trying to be conveyed, in tone and style and pattern and level that the receiver can grasp without feeling intimidated and all that being done considering the cultural background of the receiver.

How To Communicate Effectively

Since you now know the difference between good communication and bad communication and what causes them, effective communication is to consider components needed for good communication and frame your communication accordingly.

So to communicate effectively, there are fundamentally three things to consider:

Message – What are you really trying to convey?

The sole purpose of communicating is to convey something – it could be knowledge, or thoughts or ideas or opinions. Whatever it is, the first thing to consider and be very clear about is what we really are trying to convey to the receiver. As said above, it is the responsibility of the communicator to frame and present in the way the receiver can decode. Most people fail to communicate effectively because they think “it’s the responsibility of the other side to understand what I am trying to say.”

Audience – Who are you communicating with?

Have you ever wondered why you speak like a child while talking to a child? Why do we speak in a professional tone and language in the professional world but same thing when we have to speak in a casual setup or with friends in a cafe, we speak differently? Why do we speak purely in our mother tongue when speaking with grandparents or someone who does not understand English, but while speaking with people who seem to understand English, we speak a mix of English and mother tongue? That’s because we speak according to our audience. So to have effective communication, we should always know who our audience is and communicate accordingly.

Aesthetic – how are you communicating?

Okay so now you know what you are trying to convey, and you know your audience and putting yourself at the par to speak accordingly. All good, but let’s say, you presented yourself in a very unpleasant way. In that case, you will still be failing to communicate effectively. Many of us have stopped watching YouTube videos just within 15 secs because we didn’t like the way the host was talking. Or we stopped reading because the first few paragraphs turned us off. There are many instances where we didn’t give a serious listen to our teacher or elder because we didn’t like how they started or presented themselves while delivering their speech or lecture. Thus, in effective communication, another important thing to consider is the aesthetic side of the presentation. If it is verbal communication, ears get to decide if it is pleasing enough or not. In visual communication, eyes get to decide, and in written communication, our brain, while processing the first few lines and paragraphs and scanning the overall presentation, decides if it is pleasing or not.

This writing itself is an example for you of what effective communication looks like. If we have succeeded to make you read till the end, and you have understood as we wanted you to understand, and we succeeded to write it in a way you could understand, then we have effectively communicated with you through this writing.

With that, thank you so much for reading. If you have any questions to ask or points to add, please feel free to write to us ([email protected]).

NOTE: This article is created for our participants of Online Writing Workshop, and thus only necessary details and information are included as per the need and the objectives of the training.

Knowledge & Infos

What’s Special Today: November 10

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Chhath:

Historically native to the Indian states of Bihar, eastern Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand and the southern part of Nepal, Chhath is one of those festivals that transcends the caste system that exists in the society. According to the Hindu calendar, it is celebrated on the sixth day of the lunar month of Kartik. The Chhath Puja is a 4-day long ritual specially offered to the solar deity, Surya, to show thankfulness for good health, good life and to request the granting of some certain wishes.

Day 1: On the first day, the devotees after bathing clean their house and eat the food that is offered to the god to protect the mind from the vengeful tendency.

Day 2: On the second day, the devotees are not allowed to drink even a single drop of water but, in the evening, they eat kheer made up of jaggery, fruits.

Day 3: The evening of the third day which is also known as sandhya ‘arghya’ day where a bamboo basket is decorated with various puja materials, fruits, thekuwa, and laddus which are offered as an ‘argya’ to the Sun. Also, the Chhathi Maiya is worshipped.

Day 4: On the last day of Chhath puja again an arghya is offered to the Sun God but this time in the morning. The devotees go to the riverbank to offer arghya to the rising sun and break their fast and conclude their four-day long worship.

Happy Chhath to everyone! Don’t forget to enjoy some thekuwas!!

World Keratoconus Day:

Every year on November 10, World Keratoconus Day is celebrated to focus global attention on keratoconus and ectatic corneal disorders. The day was first celebrated by National Keratoconus Foundation.

Keratoconus is a disease that causes the cornea to become weak, leading to the thinning and stretching of the cornea, which may result in the loss of vision. Keratoconus is degeneration of the structure of the cornea. The shape of the cornea slowly changes from the normal round shape to a cone shape which affects the vision. The keratoconus mainly develops in teenagers and young adults and the disease keeps on growing, if not diagnosed in time.  

The disease has no prevention and no treatment. With early diagnosis, the disease can be managed and further damage can be protected. In Nepal, the prevalence of Keratoconus is 1 in 2000 according to the recent journal. So, this world keratoconus day, make a commitment to visit an eye doctor once a year for the early diagnosis of keratoconus as well as other eye diseases.

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Knowledge & Infos

Best and Worst Bank in Nepal as per our survey

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We had conducted an online survey to find out how banking services in Nepal are being used and perceived by their users. This article is entirely based on those responses. Thank you Muktinath Bikash Bank for supporting us in conducting this survey.  

Over the years, Banks have become an integral part of our daily life and economy. With the shift to digitalization and modernization of the economy, banks have definitely made life easier for people to manage their cash and transactions. With these shifts and increasing dependency on banks more than ever, the use of banking services and users’ banking experience is one of the topics with the minimal amount of research done. Out of curiosity, we conducted an online survey to find out how people have been feeling about the banking services provided by the respective banks.

About Respondents

Respondents were mostly urban educated youth with access to the internet, in the age bracket of 18-40, mostly being from 22-26 age group. The data was collected through social media users, primarily from page followers of KMAG. In total, we got 219 responses out of which 160 were males and 59 were females. 

In the list of questionnaires, one of the questions was “which is your favorite bank from Nepal as per your own experience,” and another being “which bank do you think is the worst.” Among 219, 27 respondents were undecided and 192 casted their votes for “best” and the “worst.” To build the conclusion on more strong foundation, we wanted to make sure respondents voice their opinion per their experience for which we had also asked them to reveal their primary bank.

Out of the total participants, a majority of 89.6% have multiple bank accounts though 19.5% of them just use one of those accounts. The remaining 10.4% claimed to have an only bank account. Out of all those banks, Nabil Bank is the primary bank for 36 participants (which was the highest no. of primary account holders in a particular bank). After Nabil, most of them were primary users of NIC Asia, Global IME, and Siddhartha Bank.

Nabil is voted as “Favorite Bank”

Nabil Bank seems to be the most favorite and popular among the respondents. With a total of 45 votes, it was voted the “most liked” bank. Among them, 29 were the primary account holders of the bank. Under “least liked,” it only got 4 votes.

To briefly talk about Nabil Bank, Nabil Bank is an ‘A’ class commercial bank which was founded in 1984 A.D. (2041 B.S.). It was established as Nepal’s first private sector bank incepted by multinational investors with the objective of providing modern, international-standard financial services. It was first established as Nepal Arab Bank Limited. In 1995, Dubai-government owned the majority of shares was bought by Binod Chaudhary.

NIC Asia is “least favourite”

With 76 votes for “worst bank,” NIC Asia seems like the “least liked” bank from Nepal as per the responses. Interestingly though, it has also been voted as “favorite bank” by 17 respondents.

After NIC Asia, Nepal Investment Bank seems like the second “least favorite” bank from Nepal with 23 votes against the bank.

On being asked the reason for disliking the bank, most of the participants seem to agree on the same point and that is “terrible” customer service of the bank. Similarly, other reasons were bad internet/mobile banking facilities, fraud-like business practices, and lack of important banking services/products being provided by the. Not to forget few were unhappy about the lack of branch/ATM services.

The detailed data are presented in the table below:

BanksPrimary AccountLikedDisliked
Nabil Bank36454
Global IME Bank251710
NIC Asia Bank291776
Siddhartha Bank16147
Sanima Bank13112
Laxmi Bank12101
Mega Bank10102
Standard Chartered Bank982
NMB Bank677
Bank of Kathmandu561
Machhapuchchhre Bank765
Himalayan Bank759
Sunrise Bank752
Muktinath Bikash Bank442
Century Commercial Bank330
Civil Bank433
Everest bank2310
Kamana Sewa Bikas Bank 131
Prabhu Bank Limited838
Rastriya Banijya Bank339
Agriculture Development Bank222
Citizens Bank 521
Kumari Bank321
Nepal Bangladesh Bank222
Nepal Bank325
Nepal Investment Bank15223
Garima Bikash Bank210
Nepal SBI Bank 2111
NCC Bank112
Prime Commercial Bank712
Manakamana Development Bank001
Shangri-la Development Bank100

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Knowledge & Infos

How to design a survey questionnaire

This article was originally designed for KMAG Online Writing Workshop and made available to public for knowledge-sharing purpose.

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A survey is a list of questions aimed at extracting specific data from a particular group of people so that the surveyor can gain knowledge and insights into various topics of interest and then mostly generalize the result. How to design a survey questionnaire completely depends upon the purpose behind the survey. Depending on the purpose, questions are framed.

Let’s understand this way, surveyor seeks to know anything based on either of the following grounds:

  1. They don’t know anything, they are curious to find out, and they seek for answers. Example: I don’t know many people smoke and I want to find out by asking everyone out there.
  2. They think they know but they are not sure and they want to find out if what they think they know is actually true or false. Example: I think 50% of Nepalese do smoke but I am not sure yet and I want to validate my assumption by surveying.
  3. They strongly believe that what they know is the facts and now they want to interpret the world based on the “facts” they live by. Example: I strongly believe that smoking is bad and raising tax and making it expensive is the way to discourage people to smoke. I want to survey to find out how many Nepalese believe the same and agree with raising taxes and making it expensive would discouarge people to smoke.

Whatever grounds you are holding, you must frame your questionnaire according to that. So before working on the questionnaire ask yourself if you are trying to know the unknown or are you trying to validate or crosscheck what you think you know or you are trying to pass judgment or views based on your preset theory/hypothesis that your understanding is based upon.

This is how it goes:

You already have a theory and you want to analyze people based on the theory.

Let’s take for example “Job satisfaction Survey.” In this case, as per your theory/hypothesis, to be called “satisfied” one must be displaying so and so traits and views; if not, the person is not satisfied in his/her job. Based on that, you will be designing a questionnaire and see how many people meet the criteria to pass your judgment. If your theory says, highly satisfied people have flexible working hours, one of your questions will be something like “Can you come to your office at whatever time you want and can leave per your own wish as long as you are doing what you are paid for? Yes/No/Depends.” Likewise, there will be other questions set in a fashion to funnel your judgment regarding what percentage of people are satisfied with their job and work.

You have a theory or hypothesis that you want to validate or crosscheck

In this case, you have an assumption but you are not sure of and you want to crosscheck or validate by testing it on people. For example let’s say you think “Most arranged marriage people are unhappy,” and you want to validate your claim or crosscheck the truth in it by surveying among arranged marriage couples. Your questions will be something like “If you have to rate your marriage in terms of joy and happiness in it, how much will you rate on a 1 to 10 scale?” followed by questions like “if you have a time machine, would you go back right before the marriage and take your time to find out someone to have a love marriage? Yes/No/Maybe”

You don’t have any theory or hypothesis and you are only to find out unseen/unknown reality

In this case, you don’t have any preconceived thoughts or assumptions and you are plainly trying to learn or find out in an open-minded fashion.  Like for example, You don’t know how many educated youth from Nepal actually do smoke, nor you know why they smoke despite its negative effect and you are set out to find out the answer by surveying. In such surveys, your questions will be like “do you smoke? Yes/No. “If you smoke, how many cigarettes do you smoke per day?” “despite its negative effect, why do you still smoke?”etc.

Sometimes, you can have a mixed approach, wherein the topic of your interest that you are surveying on, part of it is something you strongly believe being fact, part of it is something you are unsure about, and part of it is something you don’t know a thing about and you are willing to learn.  Like for example, you strongly believe happy couples display so and so traits, and you think couples from love marriages are happier but you are not sure of, and you don’t know at all if personal happiness is valued more in marriage or responsibilities and social factors in the context of Nepal. So part of your questionnaires will be driven by your theory that you consider as being fact, part of it will be intended to cross-verify your assumption, and part of it will be purely seeking truth as it is without any deliberate attempt to frame your assumption.

Bottom line, you should know your ground, the purpose of surveying, what you intend to do afterward, based on which you should be working on your questionnaires.  Your questionnaires will be designed according to your intention, so there is no hard and fast rule but make sure, in the end, you gather all the relevant information so put together to build a conclusion and for that, you need to think about what all needs to be asked to fill up the blocks and connect the dots.

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