Communication is the transferring of a message from the sender to the receiver, who understands the message.
Internal communication is between two members of the same organisations. Example: communication between departments, notices and circulars to workers, signboards and labels inside factories and offices etc.
External communication is between the organisation and other organisations or individuals. Example: orders of goods to suppliers, advertising of products, sending customers messages about delivery, offers etc.
Effective communication involves:
- A transmitter/sender of the message
- A medium of communication eg: letter, telephone conversation, text message
- A receiver of the message
- A feedback/response from the receiver to confirm that the message has benn received and acknowledged.
One-way communication involves a message which does not require a feedback. Example: signs saying ‘no smoking’ or an instruction saying ‘deliver these goods to a customer’
Two-way communication is when the receiver gives a response to the message received. Example: a letter from one manager to another about an important matter that needs to be discussed. A two-way communication ensures that the person receiving the message understands it and has acted up on it. It also makes the receiver feel more a part of the process- could be a way of motivating employees.
Downward communication: messages from managers to subordinates i.e. from top to bottom of an organization structure.
Upward communication: messages/feedback from subordinates to managers i.e. from bottom to top of an organization structure
Horizontal communication occurs between people on the same level of an organization structure.
Verbal methods (eg: telephone conversation, face-to-face conversation, video conferencing, meetings)
- Quick and efficient
- There is an opportunity for immediate feedback
- Speaker can reinforce the message- change his tone, body language etc. to influence the listeners.
- Can take long if there is feedback and therefore, discussions
- In a meeting, it cannot be guaranteed that everybody is listening or has understood the message
- No written record of the message can be kept for later reference.
Written methods (eg: letters, memos, text-messages, reports, e-mail, social media, faxes, notices, signboards)
- There is evidence of the message for later reference.
- Can include details
- Can be copied and sent to many people, especially with e-mail
- E-mail and fax is quick and cheap
- Direct feedback may not always be possible
- Cannot ensure that message has been received and/or acknowledged
- Language could be difficult to understand.
- Long messages may cause disinterest in receivers
- No opportunity for body language to be used to reinforce messages
Visual Methods (eg: diagrams, charts, videos, presentations, photographs, cartoons, posters)
- Can present information in an appealing and attractive way
- Can be used along with written material (eg: reports with diagrams and charts)
- No feedback
- May not be understood/ interpreted properly.
Factors that affect the choice of an appropriate communication method:
- Speed: if the receiver has to get the information quickly, then a telephone call or text message has to be sent. If speed isn’t important, a letter or e-mail will be more appropriate.
- Cost: if the company wishes to keep costs down, it may choose to use letters or face-to-face meetings as a medium of communication. Otherwise, telephone, posters etc. will be used.
- Message details: if the message is very detailed, then written and visual methods will be used.
- Leadership style: a democratic style would use two-way communication methods such as verbal mediums. An autocratic one would use notices and announcements.
- The receiver: if there is only receiver, then a personal face-to-face or telephone call will be more apt. If all the staff is to be sent a message, a notice or e-mail will be sent.
- Importance of a written record: if the message is one that needs to have a written record like a legal document or receipts of new customer orders, then written methods will be used.
- Importance of feedback: if feedback is important, like for a quick query, then a direct verbal or written method will have to be used.
Formal communication is when messages are sent through established channels using professional language. Eg: reports, emails, memos, official meetings.
Informal communication is when information is sent and received casually with the use of everyday language. Eg: staff briefings. Managers can sometimes use the ‘grapevine’ (informal communication among employees- usually where rumours and gossips spread!) to test out the reactions to new ideas (for example, a new shift system at a factory) before officially deciding whether or not to make it official.
Communication barriers are factors that stop effective communication of messages.
Notes submitted by Lintha
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