Art of Effective Communication

Posted in Human Resources Articles, Total Reads: 737 , Published on 01 October 2015

Communication is a two way process. It consists of the exchange of thoughts and then, interpreting the meaning. Generally, perfect communication never exist but, if it had existed then, it would have occurred only when a single thought or idea was transmitted exactly the way it was and also the receiver would have perceived exactly the same mental picture as the sender had in his mind.

Functions of Communication :

Communication has four major functions in a group or an organization: Control, Motivation, Emotional Expression and Information.

1. Control: Communication acts to control member behaviour in several ways. Organizations have authority hierarchy and formal guidelines employees are required to follow and employees can communicate through this hierarchy itself.

2. Motivation: It provides motivation by helping the employees by telling them what needs to be done, how nicely they can do it and how can they improve their performance.

3. Emotional Expression: Communication provides the expression of feelings and emotions and it also fulfils the needs of the society. It is a fundamental mechanism by which members tell their emotions.

4. Information: The final function of communication is to facilitate decision making. It provides the information, helps individuals and groups in making decisions by transferring the data needed to make choices.

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The Communication Process :

In the process of communication, the most important thing is the purpose, the message to be conveyed between a sender and a receiver. The sender encodes the message and passes it through a medium to the receiver, who decodes it. The result is the transfer of meaning from one person to another.

The main units of this whole process are the sender, the encoder, the message, the channel, the decoder, the receiver, noise in the channel, and the feedback from the receiver to the sender.

The sender initiates a message by encoding an information which is to be sent to the receiver. The message is the actually a physical product which the sender has encrypted or encoded to protect the original content of the message. The channel acts as a medium through which this message travels. The sender is responsible for the selection of the channel. He determines whether the message should be sent using a formal channel or an informal channel. The receiver is the person to whom the message is directed, who must first translate the message into readable form. This is called the decryption or the decoding of the information sent. Noise is present in the communication channel as a barrier which distorts the originality of the message. Feedback is sent by the receiver to the sender to inform about how successful we are in transferring our messages as originally intended to be sent to the receiver.

Direction of Communication :

Communication can be in two dimensions, either vertical or lateral. The vertical one is divided into upward and downward directions.

• Downward Communication: Communication that goes from one level of a group or organization to another level which is a lower level is called as the downward communication. Group leaders and managers use this to communicate with their subordinates.

• Upward Communication: Upward communication flows to a higher level in the group or organization. It is used to provide feedback to higher authorities, inform them about your progress towards the goal and asking them for help to solve problems, if any.

• Lateral Communication: When the communication occurs among the candidates of any work group, these candidates can be the part of a single work group or different work groups at equal level, or they can be managers at equal level, is called as lateral communication.

Interpersonal Communication :

Interpersonal Communication is the way in which group members transfer meaning between and among each other. They essentially rely on oral, written, and nonverbal communication.

• Oral Communication: It is the most commonly used means of communication. Speeches and group discussions are all parts of oral communication. The advantages of oral communication are speed and feedback.

• Written Communication: It includes memos, letters, fax transmissions, e-mail, instant messaging, notices placed on bulletin board and any other device that transmits via written words or symbols.

• Nonverbal Communication: This includes body movements, more stress is given on the words used, the kind of facial expressions people have, and the distance between the sender and the receiver.

Organizational Communication :

This is communication in an organization which can consist of (1)Formal small-group networks, (2)The grapevine and (3) Electronic communication.

Choice of Communication Channel :

People prefer one channel of communication over the other. Channels differ in their capacity to convey information. Some are rich in that they can handle multiple cues simultaneously, facilitate rapid feedback and be very personal. Others are lean because they score low on these factors.

The choice of channel depends on whether message is routine or non routine. Routine messages are straight forward and have minimal chances of ambiguity, whereas non-routine messages are complex.

Persuasive Communication :

The features that makes communication more or less persuasive to an audience are:

• Automatic and Controlled Processing: Automatic processing takes little time and low effort, so it is used for processing messages which are persuasive, related to any topic, while controlled processing is a made up of a list evidence and all kind of information which is based on logic, facts and figures.

• Interest Level: Interest level reflect the impact a decision is going to have on your life.

• Prior Knowledge: A well informed and knowledgeable audience is much harder to persuade.

• Personality: Those who are lower in need for cognition are more likely to use automatic processing strategies, relying on intuition and emotion to guide their evaluation of persuasive messages.

• Message Characteristics: Another factor that influences whether people use an automatic or controlled processing strategy is the characteristics of the message itself.

Barriers to Effective Communication :

Effective communication faces many challenges. The following are the barriers to effective communication:

• Filtering- sender purposely manipulating information

• Selective Perception- receiver receives with prejudiced mindset

• Information Overload- exceeding the capacity of processing data

• Emotions- interpreting message according to mood

• Language- words meaning different to different people

• Silence- lack of communication

• Lying- misinterpretation of information

Conclusion :

An organization can give its best performance only when there is a coordination between the manager and the employees of that organization. To ensure this, there must be proper communication between the employer and the employees at all levels and all the barriers to effective communication must be removed.

This article has been authored by Vinshi Choudhary from IIM Kashipur


• Book: Pearson's Organizational Behaviour By Robbins, Judge and Vohra



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