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Differences between efficient and effective communication

By goldenmwenda Mar 10, 2014 1818 Words







Communication is essentially a dialogue between the sender and the receiver of a message. It may involve ‘giving’ or information ‘passing.’ It is defined by other scholars as the transference of information from one mind to another. Communication forms the basis of all human endeavors and all interactions occurring in nature, it is a tool with which people express themselves clearly. For instance Kanyama (2011:16) calls it the power of assertiveness with which young people express their desires, expectations and feelings sparkling an interest to other parties to know who they are and what they stand for. Communication is a continuous process involving exchange of ideas. Jain(2009) puts it this way, ‘we communicate our thoughts and feelings to our family members, friends and colleagues every hour of our life. To be human is to communicate, communication is composed of interactions among many other elements and it is an ongoing process.’ Elements of communication comprise of the source of communication being the person who speaks or communicates by way of writing or encodes the message. The message is then sent through the message carrier which is the instrument used in communication then the message is received by the receiver who decodes the message. What follows is the response or feedback given by the receiver. These elements of communication have a great impact on individual behaviour in managing organisational behaviour, because if any of these elements are not clear or vague the communication process will be interrupted. The elements of communication play a vital role for effective and efficient communication and for the sole purpose of this assignment, the pages that follow discuss the ‘DIFFERENCE BETWEEN EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION AND EFFICIENT COMMUNICATION.’


differences between effective and efficient communication

Efficient communication is brief, straight to the point and time limited while Effective communication is not really limited by time as it includes a lot of verification and validation , Northridge( 2010 ). Communication between animals is very simple, birds sing to attract a mate, Dogs bark to scare off an intruder, cats purr to show pleasure. The messages are basic and there is little room for miscommunication. The messages are understood and they are accepted or not. Human Speech has evolved to 2700 languages across the world and the Oxford English Dictionary lists 500 000 English words, Still humans have trouble communicating. The question of the difference between effective communication and efficient communication has become a common topic in sales and business communication were both time and impact are money. Analysis has been made on how to best integrate the two conceptual fruits which are frequently at odds. 3


All human interactions are a form of communication. In the business world nothing can be achieved without effectively communicating with employers, employees, clients, suppliers and customers. Mc pheat ( 2012 ). Effective communication occurs when a desired effect is the result of intentional or unintentional information sharing , which is interpreted between multiple entities and acted on in a desired way. This effect also ensures the messages are not distorted during the communication process. Effective communication should generate the desired effect and maintain the effect with the potential to increase the effect of the message. Therefore effective communication serves the purpose for which it was planned or designed for . Possible purpose might be to elicit change , generate action, create understanding , inform or communicate a certain idea or point of view. ‘words are but pictures of our thoughts’ Dryden (1631-1700). Our brains do not think in words, they think in symbols. Because of this a person can be fluent in multiple languages and they do not think in one language and translate into another. They actually think symbolically and conceive the symbolic thoughts into the appropriate language. Therefore effective communication is accurately transmitting the symbolic concepts in your brain to the brain of another person, In addition communication is not effective if it only transmit your ideas. In order to have effective communication the other person(s) must receive and interpret the message as it was intended. Rusell Hoban puts it this way, ‘after all, when you come right down to it, how many speak the same language even when they speak the same language?’’ Here we can deduce that communicating efficiently is not the same as communicating efficiently, the distinction lies in the delivery of the message and the benefit of understanding. This can be narrowed down to mode of delivery and the ease with which the message can be understood and how both parties benefit, as we learn in the following quote; ‘effective communication is really all anyone ever gets paid for ultimately..and if you cannot effectively will pay and not get paid’ ( David Firebaugh )



We shall never understand one another until we reduce the language to seven words Gibran ( 1883-1931 ). Efficient communication must be time limited, straight to the point. This type of communication conveys the desired message in the shortest time possible and this brevity may be insufficient for understanding keeping in mind that efficient communication may or may not be effective communication. Efficient communication is most likely to be effective if there is pre-established mutual understanding between the message maker and the receiver without which efficient communication and effective communication lie on opposite ends of the same spectrum. Efficient communication involves direct communication with the concerned party and is conducted in a way that swiftly carries immediate impact. Quoting Alain de Botton, ‘I passionately believe that it’s not just what you say that counts, it’s also how you say it. That the success of your argument critically depends on your manner of presenting it.’ Efficient communication deals with facts. For instance when a candidate is attending job interviews, he need only say what is important. Adler ( 2013 ) the real skill in the question of the credibility of the job candidate is associated with fact finding. After obtaining a complete word picture of the candidate’s major accomplishments, they are compared to the performance requirement of the job to determine if the candidate is fit or not. Communicating efficiently means wasting no time, it implies being sure that you are using the most appropriate communication format. For instance a supervisor of a department could spend too much time sharing instructions with fellow workers by typing emails on a computer or mobile device when it could be more efficient to walk around the office and communicate his expectations quickly. Furtther efficient communication takes advantage of the opportunity window and quickly give the message, Smith (2013 ) throw information at prospects hoping to sell a product or service before the buyer could hang up the phone or slam the door.


Not limited by time
Limited by time

Seeks to explain and ensure the message is understood

Ensures message delivery
Guaranteed delivery of communication to everyone concerned

Provides only the information that is needed to stakeholders who need it Makes use of alternative channels to make sure the message is understood

Focuses on the most appropriate communication channel
Facts are explained to ensure understanding by everyone

Direct communication of facts to achieve immediate impact
Communicates many messages using available resources
Communicates single message using available resources

Involves being smooth and gentle to win the attension of your audience

Calls for brevity, sincerity, fairness and truth
Effective communication puts into consideration every detail, Important or less important Efficient communication focuses on facts and communicates what is very important



The best forms of communication are those that achieve interactivity, encourage feedback and maintain a two way flow so that the message is influenced and informed by the views of the recipient , thus allowing a dialogue to replace a monologue. The essence of dialogue is that there are two targets, and it’s important that each target listen to the other, this makes communication efficient ( Josiah, 2001 ). On the other hand too many conflicts and failed projects can be traced back to lack of effective communication which seeks to unite every detail to have complete information. I would like to end my discussion with the ‘PARADOX OF THE ORANGE.’ In the ‘paradox of the orange,’ two children are in the kitchen; each wants an orange, but there is only one left. A parent is near the kitchen and hears the discussion regarding the orange and decides to let the children solve the problem. The discussion becomes very heated, and fearing that one child might injure the other , the parent rushes in and solves the problem by cutting the orange in half. The first child takes one half, peels the fruit from the rind, and eats the fruit. The second child takes the other, peels the fruit from the rind , throws away the fruit and eats the rind. The point of the paradox is that if both parties had listened to what the other party was saying, they both could have had twice as much of what they wanted, but they failed because they could not make use of effective and efficient communication. If they had communicated effectively they would not have argued and made so much noise that it alarmed the mother and if they had communicated efficiently, one would have eaten a full orange and the other a full rind.


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3. Jacquelyn Smith (2013), How to craft an effective sales pitch Article Forbes magazine
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5. Alan Barker (2013), Creativity at work, 1st Edition

6. Georgios P. Piperopoulos, (2013), Fundamentals of communication PR and Leadership 1st Edition 7. Karen Davies (2013), Mastering the power of Assertive Dialogue 1st Edition

8. Lou Adler (2013), The seven Habits of highly effective people, Article, Linkedin Network
9. Barbara Thou (2013), Why google’s Retail push is a sign of times Article, Forbes Magazine
10. Karen Davies(2013) Creating Authentic Assertive part iii, Assertive development Trilogy
11. Eric Garner (2012), Facilitation Skills, empowering groups to grow 1st Edition
12. Eric Garner (2012), The art of communication 1st Edition

13. Eric Garner, (2012), Assertiveness: Re-claim your assertive birthright 1st Edition

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19. Sean Mcpheat,(2010), Influencing and persuasion skills 1st Edition

20. Kathleen Northridge,(2010) Effective vs Efficient Communication, Livestrong Magazine

21. Abhisek Jain,(2009), The importance of effective and efficient communication Article, Yahoo Contributer network.

22. UNESCO,(1998), Environment and development in coastal regions and small Island CSI Report, paris

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