Effective communication reduces confusion, misunderstanding and dissatisfactions to a large extent. In our society, various businesses and even
Although, the content of corporate communication has remained fairly constant, in the last few years, modes and methods of communication have been largely improved. Credit for this completely goes to technological advancements that have made employees communicate with each other and with their superiors through mediums beyond emails and presentations.
Several methods/forms of business communication are:
- Web-based communication
- video conferencing wherein people in different locations hold interactive meetings;
- Telephonic conversations
- Forum, boards & presentations
- Reports – important in documenting the activities of any department;
- Face-to- face meetings etc.
Two important types of communication for any business are: top-down communication and bottom up communication. In other words, in any business not only the policies, procedures, code of conduct should be clearly communicated to the employees but at the same time issues face by the employees and their suggestions should also be heard and acted upon to the overall benefit of the organization.
In this age of information overload, too much information can be just as challenging as not enough communication. That includes not holding meeting in wee hours or reserving e-mails to document essential communications only. A communication breakdown between two departments makes the business appear incompetent.
- The way an organization converses with its customers isn’t necessarily the way to communicate internally with the employees too. Employees might take complex decisions during conversations involving co-workers and customers, but that requires a lot of trust and confidence in the work force. Ineffective interdepartmental communication affects both customers & employees.
- Advertising is a typical form of communication to mass. This helps attract new clientele to the business. While communicating with the public a business must be very careful and ensure that the proper message is being understood. Public communication must be simple to understand and should not have hidden messages or confuse a part of the public.
All the choices and decisions a business makes are sending a non-verbal message to its employees, customers and general public at large. Any action or inaction might send a nonverbal message that can be easily used against any business.
The informal grapevine between and amongst the top management, middle management, line management, and employees has always been, and no doubt always will be, part of the process of doing business.
Roadblocks to effective communication
An organization faces various problems during both internal and external communication. Enclosed below are a few of them:
#1. Expectations and perceptions
A few managers sometimes perceive/ assume that employees do not value add to the company operations other than their absolute labor. This thinking separates “management” from “employees” as such organizations have only one way of communication: top to bottom. Employees, operating at such places, usually see little place for themselves in the company where they are not directly involved. This creates a lot of dis-satisfaction.
Many people, during a conversation, filter what they actually want to retain. This happens because of factors like: respect for the speaker, topic being discussed and how it relates to the concerned employee.
Employees tend to listen with cent percent attentions to an admired supervisor who does not mind shutting down the production for a while to remove the bad parts/ products before they are installed so a poor quality is not produced at all.
Constantly ringing phones, un-planned meetings, and incomplete reports etc., all contribute to the problem of abrupt and sometimes mistaken communications. Careful listening and understanding creates dedication. Management must put aside time for communication.
In any organization communication should be a continuous and systematic process through which all departments within the organization receive what they need (want) to know. Diluting entire information to all personnel in general is not appropriate but at the same time, an organization should encourage open and transparent communications within and across all levels and departments.
Communication in an organization should be easy, understandable & meaningful. Tough management terms, jargon or fancy language may not be understood by the employees or might create an impression of disparity in management treatment, or they may simply lose interest.
Feedback to Communication is Important
It is very important to take periodical feedback in communication so as to know whether the recipient has understood the message in the same terms as intended by the sender and whether he agrees to that message or not. Receivers should not be considered as just passive absorbers of messages. That is, only a proper encoding and decoding of messages results in effective communication. Receiver’s response to sender’s message is called feedback. Feedback could be non-verbal like: smiles, sighs or else it is oral. It can also be written like replying to an e-mail, etc.
Feedback also helps in evaluating the effectiveness of the entire process of communication. It makes communication meaningful. Giving the recipients a chance to provide feedback is crucial for maintaining an open communication and thus a transparent organization. Managers must create an environment that encourages feedback.
An organization takes feedback from its employees in various forms such as: employee surveys, memos, emails, company news-letter etc. Taking feedback is also an art as many employees might not be willing to provide feedback. The managers should encourage feedback by asking specific questions, allowing their employees to express general views, etc.
If you have any suggestions for effective communication please share in the comments below.
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