How business communication helps

how to improve business communication using technology and also how to improve business communication skills pdf
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PoojaGarg,India,Professional
Published Date:17-07-2017
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Unit-1 Business Communication 1.0 Objective Communication is neither transmission of message nor message itself. It is the mutual exchange of understanding, originating with the receiver. Communication needs to be effective in business. Communication is essence of management. The basic functions of management (Planning, Organizing, Staffing, Directing and Controlling) cannot be performed well without effective communication. Business communication involves constant flow of information. Feedback is integral part of business communication. Organizations these days are very large. It involves number of people. There are various levels of hierarchy in an organization. Greater the number of levels, the more difficult is the job of managing the organization. Communication here plays a very important role in process of directing and controlling the people in the organization. Immediate feedback can be obtained and misunderstandings if any can be avoided. There should be effective communication between superiors and subordinated in an organization, between organization and society at large (for example between management and trade unions). It is essential for success and growth of an organization. Communication gaps should not occur in any organization. Business Communication is goal oriented. The rules, regulations and policies of a company have to be communicated to people within and outside the organization. Business Communication is regulated by certain rules and norms. In early times, business communication was limited to paper-work, telephone calls etc. But now with advent of technology, we have cell phones, video conferencing, emails, satellite communication to support business communication. Effective business communication helps in building goodwill of an organization. 1.1 Introduction: Business communication skills are critical to the success of any organization despite its size, geographical location, and its mission. Business communication is interlinked with internal culture and external image of any organization. So it is the determining factor to communication inside the organization.Good Business communication practices assist the organization in achieving its goal of informing, persuading, favorable relationship, and organizational goodwill. Organizations can only survive if they accept the rapidly changing global challenges and the communication processes are structured and delivered.The present workforce is dynamic in nature so communication is a challenge when executed against the backdrop of culture, technology and competition. The success of any business to a large extent depends on efficient and effective communication. Ittakes place among business entities, in market and market places, within organizations and betweenvarious groups of employees, owners and employees, buyers and sellers, service providers andcustomers, sales persons and prospects and also between people within the organization and the press persons. All such communication impacts business. Done with care, such communication can promote business interests. Otherwise, it will portray the organization in poor light and may adversely affect the business interest. Communication is the life blood of any organization and its main purpose is to effect change to influence action. In any organization the main problem is of maintaining effective communication process. The management problem generally results in poor communication. Serious mistakes are made because orders are misunderstood. The basic problem in communication is that the meaning which is actually understood may not be what the other intended to send. It must be realised that the speaker and the listener are two separate individuals having their own limitations and number of things may happen to distort the message that pass between them. When people within the organization communicate with each other, it is internal communication. They do so to work as a team and realise the common goals. It could be official or unofficial. Modes of internal communication include face-to-face and written communication. Memos, reports, office order, circular, fax, video conferencing, meeting etc. are the examples of internal communication. When people in the organization communicate with anyone outside the organization it is called external communication. These people may be clients or customers, dealers or distributors, media, government, general public etc. are the examples of external communication. 1.2 Meaning of communication The word communication has been derived from the Latin word 'communicare' that means ‘to share’.Communication may be defined as interchange of thought or information between two or more persons to bring about mutual understanding and desired action. It is the information exchange by words or symbols. It is the exchange of facts, ideas and viewpoints which bring about commonness of interest, purpose and efforts. According to Keith Davis,‘The process of passing the information and understanding from one person to another."Communication is something so simple and difficult that we can never put it in simple words," says T.S. Mathews. But we do need a definition to understand the term. In his book Communication in Business, Peter Littledefines communication as follows: “Communication is the process by which information is transmitted between individuals and / or organizations so that an understanding response results.” Another very simple definition of 'communication' has been provided by W.H. Newman and C.F. Summer Jr: “Communication is an exchange of facts, ideas, opinions, or emotions by two or more persons.” It is essentially a bridge of meaning between the people. By using the bridge a person can safely across the river of misunderstanding’. It is the ability of mankind to communicate across barriers and beyond boundaries that has usheredthe progress of mankind. It is the ability of fostering speedy and effective communication around theworld that has shrunk the world and made ‘globalization’ a reality. Communication had a vital role toplay in ensuring that people belonging to a particular country or a culture or linguistic group interactwith and relate to people belonging to other countries or culture or linguistic group. Communicationadds meaning to human life. It helps to build relationship and fosters love and understanding. Itenriches our knowledge of the universe and makes living worthwhile. However, communication incorporates, besides commonality, the concepts of transfer, meaning and information. It implies that there must be a receiver if communication is to occur. The sender of message must consider the receiver while structuring his message from a technical standpoint as well as in delivering it. When the receiver is not considered, there is either no response or there is wrong response. Sharing of understanding would be possible only when the person, to whom the message is meant, understands it in the same sense in which the sender of the message wants him to understand. Thus, communication involves something more than mere transmission of the message or transmission and physical receipt thereof. The correct interpretation of the message is important from the point of view of organizational efficiency. As such, the greater the degree of understanding presents in the communication, the more the likelihood that human action will proceed in the direction of accomplishment of goals. 1.3 Importance and purpose of communication Just as communication is vital for our existence in civilizes society, so also it is essential for functioning of organization. So without communication there would be no organization.Needless to say, communication is the ingredient that makes organization possible. It is the vehicle through which the basic management functions are carried out. Managers direct through communication; they coordinate through communication; and they staff, plan, and control through communication. Virtually all actions taken in an organization are preceded by communication. Purpose Of Communication For instruction: The instructive function unvarying and importantly deals with the commanding nature. It is more or less of directive nature. Under this, the communicator transmits with necessary directives and guidance to the next level, so as to enable them to accomplish his particular tasks. In this, instructions basically flow from top to the lower level. For integration: It is consolidated function under which integration of activities is endeavoured. The integration function of communication mainly involves to bring about inter-relationship among the various functions of the business organization. It helps in the unification of different management functions. For information: The purposes or function of communication in an organization is to inform the individual or group about the particular task or company policies and proceduresetc. Top management informs policies to the lower level through the middle level. In turn,the lower level informs the top level the reaction through the middle level. Information canflow vertically, horizontally and diagonally across the organization. Becoming informed orinform others is the main purpose of communication. For evaluation: Examination of activities to form an idea or judgement of the worth of task is achieved through communication. Communication is a tool to appraise the individualor team, their contribution to the organization. Evaluating one’s own inputs or other’soutputs or some ideological scheme demands an adequate and effective communicationprocess. For direction: Communication is necessary to issue directions by the top management ormanager to the lower level. Employee can perform better when he is directed by his senior.Directing others may be communicated either orally or in writing. An order may becommon order, request order or implied order. For teaching: The importance of personal safety on the job has been greatly recognized. Acomplete communication process is required to teach and educate workers about personalsafety on the jobs. This communication helps the workers to avert accidents, risk etc. andavoid cost, procedures etc. For influencing: A complete communication process is necessary in influencing others orbeing influenced. The individual having potential to influence others can easily persuadeothers. It implies the provision of feedback which tells the effect of communication. For image building: A business enterprise cannot isolate from the rest of the society. Thereis interrelationship and interdependence between the society and an enterprise operating inthe society. Goodwill and confidence are necessarily created among the public. It can bedone by the communication with the different media, which has to project the image of thefirm in the society. Through an effective external communication system, an enterprise hasto inform the society about its goals, activities, progress and social responsibility. For employees orientation: When a new employee enter into the organization at that time he or she will be unknown to the organization programs, policies, culture etc. Communication helps to make people acquainted with the co-employees, superior and withthe policies, objectives, rules and regulations of the organization. 1.4 Dimensions of Communication In an organization, communication flows in 5 main directions- 1. Downward 2. Upward 3. Horizontal /Lateral 4. Diagonal 5. Grapevine Communication 1.4.1 Downward Communication:Communication that flows from a higher level in an organization to a lower level is a downward communication. In other words, communication from superiors to subordinates in a chain of command is a downward communication. This communication flow is used by the managers to transmit work-related information to the employees at lower levels. Employees require this information for performing their jobs and for meeting the expectations of their managers. Downward communication is used by the managers for the following purposes –  Providing feedback on employees’ performance.  Giving job instructions.  Providing a complete understanding of the employees’ job as well as to communicate them how their job is related to other jobs in the organization.  Communicating the organizations mission and vision to the employees.  Highlighting the areas of attention. Organizational publications, circulars, letter to employees, group meetings etc are all examples of downward communication. In order to have effective and error-free downward communication, managers must:  Specify communication objective.  Ensure that the message is accurate, specific and unambiguous.  Utilize the best communication technique to convey the message to the receiver in right form Upward Flow of Communication: Communication that flows to a higher level in an organization is called upward communication. It provides feedback on how well the organization is functioning. The subordinates use upward communication to convey their problems and performances to their superiors. The subordinates also use upward communication to tell how well they have understood the downward communication. It can also be used by the employees to share their views and ideas and to participate in the decision-making process.Upward communication leads to a more committed and loyal workforce in an organization because the employees are given a chance to raise and speak dissatisfaction issues to the higher levels. The managers get to know about the employees’ feelings towards their jobs, peers, supervisor and organization in general. Managers can thus accordingly take actions for improving things. Grievance Redressal System, Complaint and Suggestion Box, Job Satisfaction surveys etc all help in improving upward communication. Other examples of Upward Communication are -performance reports made by low level management for reviewing by higher level management, employee attitude surveys, letters from employees, employee-manager discussions etc. 1.4.2 Lateral / Horizontal Communication: Communication that takes place at same levels of hierarchy in an organization is called lateral communication, i.e., communication between peers, between managers at same levels or between any horizontally equivalent organizational member. The advantages of horizontal communication are as follows:  It is time saving.  It facilitates co-ordination of the task.  It facilitates co-operation among team members.  It provides emotional and social assistance to the organizational members.  It helps in solving various organizational problems.  It is a means of information sharing.  It can also be used for resolving conflicts of a department with other department or conflicts within a department. 1.4.3 Diagonal Communication or crosswise communication: Communication that takes place between a manager and employees of other workgroups is called diagonal communication. It generally does not appear on organizational chart. For instance - To design a training module a training manager interacts with an Operations personnel to enquire about the way they perform their task. The Accounts people of an organization visiting different employees in various departments for their IT calculation, bonus for workers etc. fall under diagonal communication. 1.5 Channels of communication A breakdown in the communication channel leads to an inefficient flow of information. Employees are unaware of what the company expects of them. They are uninformed of what is going on in the company. This will cause them to become suspicious of motives and any changes in the company. Also without effective communication, employees become department minded rather than company minded, and this affects their decision making and productivity in the workplace. Eventually, this harms the overall organizational objectives as well. Hence, in order for an organization to be run effectively, a good manager should be able to communicate to his/her employees what is expected of them, make sure they are fully aware of company policies and any upcoming changes. Therefore, an effective communication channel should be implemented by managers to optimize worker productivity to ensure the smooth running of the organization. 1.5.1 Formal Channels of Communication The messages which are circulating on regulated, preset channels, of an organization are creating the formal communication. The content of the communication is related to the organization’s activity, to the work and to anything which is related to those. The formal communication can consist in verbal messages, nonverbal messages, written, under the shape of letters, telephone messages, radio messages, printed, internal notes. Even some gestures can consist in formal communication. The messages are transmitted by the authorized ones: on official channels, these arrive to the ones who need to react, to people or machines which need to know the content of these messages. Usually, all formal communications are recorded and kept in the organization’s evidence. Are retained copies of these by the transmitter, by the receiver, by all of the desks from the organization which need to know and keep the information. Examples of formal communications are given by work commands, reports and financial evidence, reports over sells / inventory, statements referring to the company’s policies, post descriptions, etc. The formal communication network is formed out of formal channels, created by setting a formal system of responsibilities according to the hierarchical structure of the organization. The perfect network is the one which contains communication channel from bottom up, downwards and horizontally. Often the direction of horizontal communication is missing or it is inefficient and in this way the accuracy of the information decreases. The situation is appearing because of the lack of permanent circulation of the information between departments, although this is vital for the organization in conditions of existent competition, or the lack of specialists in organizational communication. The number of communication channels available to a manager has increased over the last 20 odd years. Video conferencing, mobile technology, electronic bulletin boards and fax machines are some of the new possibilities.As organizations grow in size, managers cannot rely on face-to-face communication alone to get their message across. A challenge the managers face today is to determine what type of communication channel should they opt for in order to carryout effective communication. In order to make a manager's task easier, the types of communication channels are grouped into three main groups: formal, informal and unofficial.  A formal communication channel transmits information such as the goals, policies and procedures of an organization. Messages in this type of communication channel follow a chain of command. This means information flows from a manager to his subordinates and they in turn pass on the information to the next level of staff.  An example of a formal communication channel is a company's newsletter, which gives employees as well as the clients a clear idea of a company's goals and vision. It also includes the transfer of information with regard to memoranda, reports, directions, and scheduled meetings in the chain of command.  A business plan, customer satisfaction survey, annual reports, employer's manual, review meetings are all formal communication channels. 1.5.2 Informal Channels of Communication Informal communication arises out of all those channels that fall outside the formal channels and it is also known as grapevine. It is established around the societal affiliation of members of the organization. Informal communication does not follow authority lines as in the case of formal communication. Informal communication takes place due to the individual needs of the members of an organization and subsists in every organization. Normally, such communication is oral and may be expressed even by simple glance, sign or silence. Informal communication, is implicit, spontaneous multidimensional and diverse. It often works in group of people, i.e. when one person has some information of interest; he passes it on to his informal group and so on. An organization can make efficient use of informal channels to fortify the formal channels of communication. It acts as a valuable purpose in expressing certain information that cannot be channeled via the official channels. It satisfies the people desires to identify what is happening in the organization and offers an opportunity to express dreads, worries and complaints. Informal communication also facilitates to ameliorate managerial decisions as more people are involved in the process of decision-making. Inspite on many advantages, informal communication has certain disadvantages. Informal communication contains facts, deceptions, rumors and unclear data. The informal channels of communication may transmit completely imprecise information that may harm rather than help an organization. In addition, it is impossible to fix the responsibility for its origin or flow of information. However, for the efficient working of any organization both formal and informal communications are required. An example of an informal communication channel is lunchtime at the organization's cafeteria/canteen. Here, in a relaxed atmosphere, discussions among employees are encouraged. Also managers walking around, adopting a hands-on approach to handling employee queries is an example of an informal communication channel. Quality circles, team work, different training programs are outside of the chain of command and so, fall under the category of informal communication channels. 1.5.3 Grapevine Communication (Informal Communication) Grapevine is an informal channel of business communication. It is called so because it stretches throughout the organization in all directions irrespective of the authority levels. Man as we know is a social animal. Despite existence of formal channels in an organization, the informal channels tend to develop when he interacts with other people in organization. It exists more at lower levels of organization. Grapevine generally develops due to various reasons. One of them is that when an organization is facing recession, the employees sense uncertainty. Also, at times employees do not have self-confidence due to which they form unions. Sometimes the managers show preferential treatment and favour some employees giving a segregated feeling to other employees. Thus, when employees sense a need to exchange their views ,they go for grapevine network as they cannot use the formal channel of communication in that case. Generally during breaks in cafeteria, the subordinates talk about their superior’s attitude and behaviour and exchange views with their peers. They discuss rumours about promotion and transfer of other employees. Thus, grapevine spreads like fire and it is not easy to trace the cause of such communication at times. Example of Grapevine Network of Communication 1. Suppose the profit amount of a company is known. Rumour is spread that this much profit is there and on that basis bonus is declared. 2. CEO may be in relation to the Production Manager. They may have friendly relations with each other. Advantages of Grapevine Communication 1. Grapevine channels carry information rapidly. As soon as an employee gets to know some confidential information, he becomes inquisitive and passes the details then to his closest friend who in turn passes it to other. Thus, it spreads hastily. 2. The managers get to know the reactions of their subordinates on their policies. Thus, the feedback obtained is quick compared to formal channel of communication. 3. The grapevine creates a sense of unity among the employees who share and discuss their views with each other. Thus, grapevine helps in developing group cohesiveness. 4. The grapevine serves as an emotional supportive value. 5. The grapevine is a supplement in those cases where formal communication does not work. Disadvantages of Grapevine Communication 1. The grapevine carries partial information at times as it is more based on rumours. Thus, it does not clearly depicts the complete state of affairs. 2. The grapevine is not trustworthy always as it does not follows official path of communication and is spread more by gossips and unconfirmed report. 3. The productivity of employees may be hampered as they spend more time talking rather than working. 4. The grapevine leads to making hostility against the executives. 5. The grapevine may hamper the goodwill of the organization as it may carry false negative information about the high level people of the organization. A smart manager should take care of all the disadvantages of the grapevine and try to minimize them. At the same time, he should make best possible use of advantages of grapevine. 1.6 Functions of communication The most basic functions of communication in an organization are to inform, control, motivate and emotional expression. 1.6.1. Information An organization needs a vast amount of information to function and operate a business. The top management would require timely and accurate information for the various departments to make effective decisions. Information is dispersed throughout an organization through written or verbal communication. A human resources representative or business owner may send out a memo explaining a change in the company's health plan. A business meeting may be used as a way to communicate a new office procedure. A webinar allows a company to conduct a meeting over the Internet with employees or customers who cannot attend in person. The idea of informing within an organization is to provide data and information so that employees can effectively complete their job. Information ensures that an employee is aware of the rules and procedures of an organization. It also eliminates job uncertainty for workers when they are fully informed. 1.6.2 Control The management of any organization will always have plans with long, medium or long termobjectives for the months and years ahead. To achieve these objectives, the daily & monthly activities must proceed as planned in order to achieve the objectives for the period.Communication acts to control member behavior in several ways. Organizations have authority hierarchies and formal guidelines that employees are required to follow. When employees, for instance for instances are required to first communicate any job related grievance to their immediate boss, to follow their job description, or to comply with company policies, communication is performing a control function. But informal communication also controls behavior. When work groups tease or harass a member who produces too much (and makes the rest of the group look bad) they are informally communicating with, and controlling the member’s behavior. A company uses communication as a way to maintain control over employees and their work environment. Written human resources policies and procedures dictate how employees are permitted to act in the workplace. Job descriptions outline the parameters of an employee's job functions. Performance reviews control whether an employee receives a raise or attains a promotion. 1.6.3 Motivation Managers use communication to motivate workers to achieve peak performance. By clarifying the expectations of employees and providing incentives for meeting or exceeding expectations, communication can help companies reach specific objectives. For example, by communicating to salespeople that they'll receive a 10 percent bonus if they reach their annual sales goal, it helps the company reach its overall sales goals. Communication fosters motivation by clarifying to employees what is to be done, how well they are doing and what can be done to improve performance if it’s subpar. We saw his operating in our review of goal-setting and reinforcement theories. The formation of specific goals, feedback on progress toward the goals, and reinforcement of desired behavior all stimulate motivation and require communication. 1.6.4. Emotional Expression and Interdependence Emotional appeal is when emotions or arguments are used to persuade others instead of facts or logic. Organizations can use emotional appeals when delivering bad news. Last year, the CEO spoke to the entire company at an emergency meeting. He explained how devastated he was over the need to have a corporate downsizing. He used emotion to explain that it was better for the overall security of the company to eliminate some positions. For many employees, their work group is a primary source for social interaction. The communication that takes place within the group is a fundamental mechanism by which members show their frustration and feelings of satisfaction. Communication therefore provides release for the emotional expression of feelings and for fulfillment of social needs. 1.7 Technology and Business Communication Technology has changed business in many ways, but its effect on communication is arguably the most significant. The use of technology in daily business operations is constantly evolving, and one such example is the use of technology in business communication. Being in touch is very important to businesses, that is why it is no wonder why a lot of resources is spent in improving the communication procedures of various businesses. The revolution of the Internet has allowed businesses to have more options as far as business communication was concerned. It made the technologies of software, hardware, and network converge into one cohesive and solid system, which made the optimization of various business procedures faster. Indeed, the employees and the organizations as a whole greatly benefit from the use of technology in business. With a feasible business plan, organizations can save a lot of money and raise the level of productivity of the staff if the use of technology were well-planned and executed. Even medium-scale companies now have a chance to participate in the fierce competition among larger businesses. This is just one proof that technology in business communication is capable of increasing worker productivity. If you come to think about, the advantages do not need an employee to undergo a radical adjustment. On the contrary, tasks are made simpler and more convenient for the user. Communication Is Faster Whether you need to speak with an employee who is traveling in another state or country or you need to communicate with your supplier half way around the world, technology allows you to do so instantaneously. In fact, thanks to email and text messages, you can now send messages to people in other time zones before you forget without worrying that you will wake them up. In fact, the Internet has allowed business people to communicate easily regardless of time zone and language issues. Expanded Communication Opportunities Technology allows individuals to communicate and carry on a business relationship without ever meeting face to face, so people in all parts of the world now have the chance to interact with a company in a rural part of India. For example, technology allowed for the emergence of the virtual assistant, a worker who completes tasks for her client online without having ever met him, in the 20th century. Cost-Cutting Procedures In addition to migrating to a digital means of communicating, a business can save a lot with technological advances in business communication. Business software products that combine voice and data no longer have the need for multiple lines that can add a bulky amount to communication expenses. In addition, minimal technical support is needed since most of the installation, operations, and maintenance procedures can be done with little or no supervision at all. Network Convenience The use of modern technology in business communication eradicates the complexity that is involved in monitoring network traffic. This is because all the communication data travels at the same stream. Therefore, there is only one network that needs to be monitored, and this lessens the work of network administrators, giving them more time to work on other tasks. The benefits of technology in business communication are almost immeasurable, since its advantages are long term and ell-encompassing. Businesses can use this to their advantage to increase productivity, to raise revenues, to build better relationships with customers, and to survive longer in the business arena. 1.8 The Role of the Manager in effective business communication Business communication is no longer about how to write a letter, email or use effective writing skills. It has also extended to other areas in the business, for example, excellent relationships within the business. A manager should not only concentrate on successful communication with its external clients, customers and stakeholders. The employees of the business actually are internal clients and should also be treated with care. Many scholars refer to this as internal marketing, a very important feature of good business communication. Employees’ well-being and work satisfaction play a large role in their productivity and how loyal they will be towards the business. The role of the manager is to ensure good relationships with and among employees. A healthy working environment is equally important. Previous research has indicated that employees also have other career aspirations than only a salary. Unhappy employees as a result of poor communication processes in the business can negatively affect the corporate image of the business and make the business less successful. The manager of the business should also keep track with changes in society, especially the ever changing business environment. Communication processes in the business should reflect these changes. Anyone involved in management – whether it’s for a large or small company – knows well the relational complexities involved. Sometimes you have to give criticisms on an employee’s performance, other times you get the privilege of praising another employee’s performance. You’re often tasked with overseeing projects both large and small, while directing a diverse group of individuals and personalities in the process. Needless to say, communication skills are essential for any management position. While communication in management is not always easy, you may find yourself having to work with difficult people, or with unmotivated people. But if you come to the table with the right tools to do the job, you will have an effective team of individuals proud of the work they do for you, and you can feel your own sense of pride in developing these key business relationships in the workplace. Key Areas of Communication in Management  Relationship Building Relationship building is a key discipline to master. It helps you establish trust and friendship with your employees. They will come to you with problems, and when the time comes that you must give negative feedback they will actually be able to hear you out. On the flip side of that coin, when it comes time to give positive feedback, your employees will take it to heart and it will motivate them to do better work. In any work environment, as a manager is important to build these relationships early on.  Employee Engagement One aspect of the manager-employee relationship has to do with including employees in on project management and development - allowing them to give their input. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to accept every idea that comes across your desk, but the fact that you are sincerely listening to concerns positions you as a respected and trusted leader within the company. In short, if employees truly feel like they are a part of the process, they will connect to projects in a more meaningful way, and do high-quality work.  Employee Recognition Every manager should learn how to properly recognize employees in the workplace. However, it’s not enough to simply recognize and praise an employee in your office, you must make every effort to make recognition a very public event. Recognizing an employee for their hard work shows that you value their contributions to the organization. Again, this is another communication strategy that will motivate employees to do better.  Employee Coaching Finally, there is the discipline of employee coaching. Unfortunately, not every employee candidate is going to walk into the office with a flawless performance record. They may fall down and make a mess a few times before really grasping the tools needed to succeed in the workplace. You, as a manager, are an instrumental part of that success. Successful managers should be having in-depth conversations with employees about performance about once every quarter at least. It’s important that you keep these conversations as informal as possible, so you can actually connect with the employee you’re trying to coach.  Communication is Motivating Communication is a life force. If employees know where they stand in the work place, and they feel comfortable in that environment, they will be motivated to do good work. Solid communication skills are not just good for the life of the company, but they help you understand how everything is going within the company. It gives you some real-world “data,” so to speak. 1.8.1. Effectiveness in Managerial Communication It is essential for employees to communicate effectively with each other for better understanding as well as increased productivity at workplace. Employees doing everything on their own are generally overburdened and eventually fail to deliver their best. Effective managerial communication enables the flow of information and knowledge among employees in its desired form. Managers need to interact with their team members to extract the best out of them. Problems remain unsolved if employees do not communicate with each other. Discussions go a long way in reducing confusions and also improve the relations among employees. There are some tips for effective managerial communication at workplace:  Remember a manager’s task is not only to sit in closed cabins and shout at subordinates. He needs to interact with his team members on a regular basis. Speak to your colleagues more often. Find out what they are upto? Treat all your team members as one. There is absolutely no harm in taking lunch with your team members. This way you tend to discuss lot many things apart from routine work.  Promote the concept of morning meetings at workplace. Morning meetings help you interact with your team members on an open platform where everyone has the liberty to express his/her views. Communicate with your team members and help them plan their day. Let them come out with their problems. Walk up to their workstations once or twice in a day.  Increase your listening skills. A good listener is always a good communicator. It is really important to listen to the other person carefully before speaking. Interrupting a conversation breaks the momentum and the message loses its impact.  Working in a team leads to effective managerial communication. Employees working in isolation hardly interact with their fellow workers and superiors. Make sure your team members discuss things amongst themselves and work together. Instruct them to keep you in the loop as well. The employees must mark a cc to their immediate reporting managers to keep them updated of the latest developments at the workplace.  Master the art of writing emails. Also train your team members how to write an official mail. There is a huge difference between a personal and official mail. The subject line needs to be relevant for people to open the mail.  Do not call your team embers one by one for any kind of communication. Address them together.  Think before you speak. Make sure whatever you communicate is relevant. Avoid using complicated words and terminologies in your speech. The message has to be clear and precise for effective managerial communication. Be straightforward and communicate clearly as to what you expect out of your team members.  No communication is complete unless the message is understood clearly by the recipients. There should be absolutely no room for confusion in effective communication. Once you are through with your speech, give some time to your team members for them to ask whatever they have not understood. 1.9Barriers in Business Communication For any kind of communication to be successful, it is essential that the receiver attributes the same meaning to the message as intended by the sender of the message. But all acts of communication are not perfect or successful. At times, some meaning is lost as the message encounters various barriers along its passage between the sender and the receiver. Such barriers may arise at any of the stages through which a message passes during the process of communication. This is also called miscommunication. Some of the common problems that lead to the failure of communication are: noise, cultural differences, complexity of subject matter, personal biases, semantic problems, socio-psychological barriers, filtering, information overload, poor retention, poor listening, goal conflicts, slanting, inferring, etc. Types of barriers Barriers to communication can be classified into the following broad categories: 1) Physical or environmental barriers, 2) Physiological or biological barriers, 3) Semantic or language barriers, 4) Personal barriers, 5) Emotional or perceptional barriers, 6) Socio-psychological barriers, 7) Cultural barriers, and 8) Organizational barriers. Physical or Environmental Barriers Physical barriers are those barriers which are caused due to some technical defects in the media used for communication and/or due to certain disturbances in the surrounding environment. Often, the term ‘noise’ is used as a blanket term to refer to the physical barriers in general. But noise, in its literal sense, is also one of the factors that give rise to the physical barriers during the process of communication. Besides noise, wrong selection of medium, lack of acoustics, poor lighting, frequent movements of hands, fiddling with a pen, or even serving of tea during an important conversation- all of these are also responsible for creating physical barriers in the communication process. Noise Noise is the first major barrier to communication. Communication is distorted by noise that crops up at the transmission level. The meaning attributed to the word ‘noise’ in the field of Communication is derived from the realm of Physics. In Physics, noise refers to “a disturbance, especially a random and persistent disturbance, which obscures or reduces the clarity of a signal”. The modern-day connotation of the word ‘noise’ is “irrelevant or meaningless data” as is apparent from its usage in the field of Computer Science. For example, the noise of the traffic around a school obstructs the smooth flow of information between the teacher and the students. It makes oral communication difficult. Similarly, poor signal or static while talking over the cell phone or while using the public address system or while watching TV also distorts the sound signals and disrupts communication. Bad weather conditions may also sometimes interfere with the transmission of signals and may lead to breakdown of the communication channels. As discussed above, noise is not only the disruption of sound signals, but it also includes all the barriers that may arise at any of the various stages of communication. In a broad sense, it denotes semantic barriers, perceptional barriers as well as psychological barriers. Time and Distance Time and distance may also obstruct the smooth flow of information. Today, because of technological advancements, we have faster means of communication available to us and this in turn has made the world a smaller place. But at times, these means of communication may not be easily accessible because of unavailability or due to technical/technological problems. This may lead not only to a physical but also a communication gap between the transmitter and the receiver. Time differences between people living in two different countries may affect communication between them. Even people working in different shifts in the same organization may also face problems in communicating effectively. Improper seating arrangement in a classroom or in a conference hall may also act as a barrier to effective communication as it is difficult to maintain eye contact with one’s audience. Wrong Choice of Medium This can also create a barrier to effective communication. For example, if an expert uses charts or graphs or PowerPoint presentations to orient the illiterate workers or volunteers to a new method of working, they are bound to be ill-equipped to infer any information or instructions from such sophisticated presentations. Surroundings Adverse weather conditions affect not only the means of communication, but also have an impact on the sender and the receiver of the message. When two people have to communicate with each other under extreme weather conditions, whether too hot or too cold, their surroundings does have a direct repercussion on the effectiveness of the exchange that takes place between them. Thus, environmental factors determine people’s mood and also influence their mental agility and thereby their capacity to communicate effectively. Extreme heat and humidity make people either hyper or listless and thus cause immense stress which in turn affects clear thinking and the attitude of the communicator; whereas, extreme cold weather induces laziness and also impedes the ability to think clearly and respond sharply, thereby causing communication failure. Physiological Barriers Physiological barriers are related to a person’s health and fitness. These may arise due to disabilities that may affect the physical capability of the sender or the receiver. For example, poor eyesight, deafness, uncontrolled body movements, etc. Physical defects in one’s body may also disrupt communication. While communicating, a person uses– his vocal (speech) organs to produce sound/speech his hand and fingers to write his ears to take in the spoken words his eyes to absorb the written words Flawless functioning of these body organs is inevitable for effective communication to take place. In case of any defect in any of these organs, the successful completion of communication will be difficult to accomplish. Speaking can be adversely affected by stammering, fumbling, utterance of improper sounds due to defective vocal organ/s, etc. Semantic or Language Barriers Semantics is the systematic study of the meaning of words. Thus, the semantic barriers are barriers related to language. Such barriers are problems that arise during the process of encoding and/or decoding the message into words and ideas respectively. Both the oral and the written communication are based on words/symbols which are ambiguous in nature. Words/symbols may be used in several ways and may have several meanings. Unless the receiver knows the context, he may interpret the words/symbols according to his own level of understanding and may thus misinterpret the message. The most common semantic barriers are listed as under: a. Misinterpretation of Words Semantic problems often arise because of the gap between the meaning as intended by the sender and that as understood by the receiver. This happens when the receiver does not assign the same meaning to the word/symbol as the transmitter had intended. Words are capable of expressing a variety of meanings depending upon their usage, i.e. in the context in which they are used. The association between the word/symbol and the meaning assigned to it is of arbitrary nature. For example, the word 'yellow' when used as an adjective can have multiple connotations depending upon its usage. Words have two levels of meaning- literal (descriptive) and metaphorical (qualitative). ‘Yellow’, besides being a primary colour, also stands for ‘freshness’, ‘beauty’, ‘sickness’, ‘decay’, etc. Hence, the receiver is free to interpret it in any of these ways based on his own imagination and experience. But for communication to be perfect, it is essential that the receiver must assign to it the same meaning which the sender had in his mind while encoding the message. Therefore, there is always a possibility of misinterpretation of the messages. Mostly, such problems arise when the sender does not use simple and clear words that can convey the exact meaning to the receiver. b. Use of Technical Language Technical or specialized language which is used by people or professionals who work in the same field is known as jargon. Such technical language can be a barrier to communication if the receiver of the message is not familiar with it. For example, in the computer jargon, 'to burn a CD' means 'to copy the data on a CD'. To a layman, the word 'burn' may have a very different connotation. c. Ambiguity Ambiguity arises when the sender and the receiver of the message attribute different meanings to the same words or use different words to convey the same meaning. Sometimes, wrong and speculative assumptions also lead to ambiguity. A sender often assumes that his audience would perceive the situation as he does or have the same opinion about an issue or understand the message as he understands it, and so on. All such assumptions may turn out to be wrong and cause communication failure. Personal Barriers Communication is interpersonal in nature. Thus, there are certain barriers that are directly linked to the persons involved in the communication process, i.e. the sender and the receiver, which influence the accurate transfer of the message. These are called personal barriers. Personal barriers have to do with the age, education, interests and needs or intentions that differ from person to person. In any business organization, the attitude of the superiors and the subordinates play a vital role in determining the success of communication. If the superiors have a hostile attitude, then there are chances that they may filter the information or manipulate the message, sometimes intentionally, in order to achieve certain selfish motives.Many superiors are not open to suggestions and feedback as they presume that their subordinates are not capable of advising them. Also, they often tend to keep too busy with work and do not pay much attention to communication. Due to this, the downward flow of information within the organization is badly affected and this in turn leads to poor performance. Emotional or Perceptional Barriers Emotional or perceptional barriers are closely associated with personal barriers. Personal barriers arise from motives and attitudes whereas emotional or perceptional barriers have an added dimension that includes sentiments and emotions as well. If the receiver does not evaluate the information with an open mind, i.e. objectively, his judgment/evaluation would be colored with his biases and/or his emotions, thus inducing him to read too much into a message. This would interfere with the exact transfer of information and cause misinterpretation. Such a barrier may also emerge at the time of encoding the message. Over enthusiasm on the part of the sender may lead him to invest his message with meaning/s which he may actually not have intended to. Indolence, apathy, or the tendency to procrastinate, either on the part of the sender or the receiver, also lead to withholding of important information thus creating a barrier. Extreme emotions like euphoria, excitement, anger, stress, depression, etc. also get in the way of effective communication. All these factors may create biases in the mind of the sender or the receiver. Socio-Psychological Barriers Socio-psychological barriers can also be considered as one of the offshoots of the personal barriers, akin to the perceptional barriers. We need to study it as a subcategory of personal barriers because a person’s attitude is shaped not only by his instincts and emotions, but also by his approach towards and his interaction with the people around him, and hence the need for this fine distinction between the personal, the perceptional and the socio-psychological barriers. b. Difference in Perception Moreover, in a communication situation, the communicators have to deal with two aspects of the reality- the one as they see it and the other as they perceive it. The mind filters the message i.e. the words/symbols/ signs and attributes meaning to them, according to individual perception. Each individual has his own distinctive filter, formed by his/her experiences, emotional makeup, knowledge, and mindset which s/he has attained over a period of time. Because of this difference in perceptions, different individuals respond to the same word/symbol/sign based on their own understanding of the situation and ascribe meaning to it on the basis of their unique filter. At times, this difference in perception causes communication gap, i.e. distortion, in the message. In face-to-face communication, this gap can be easily eliminated as there is immediate feedback. But in written communication, the semantic gap between the intended meaning and the interpreted meaning remains unidentified, as the feedback is delayed or sometimes there is no feedback at all. c. Prejudices Besides, a person with deeply ingrained prejudices is very difficult to communicate with. He is not responsive to discussion or to new ideas, information, viewpoints and opinions. He has a closed mind and tends to react antagonistically, thus ruling out all possibilities of communication. An unreceptive mind can, hence, be a great barrier in communication. To overcome this barrier, people should be receptive of new ideas and must learn to listen considerately with an open mind. e. Information Overload Furthermore, information overload leads to poor retention and causes information loss. So, whenever there is some important information to be conveyed, the communicators must use the written channel of communication.On the basis of the above discussion, we may thus conclude that the socio-psychological factors do have a profound impact on the effectiveness of communication. Cultural Barriers Cultural differences give rise to a great deal of complexity in the encoding and the decoding of messages not only because of the difference in languages, but also because of plenty of culture-specific assumptions at work in the mind of the sender as well as the receiver.People belonging to different cultures may attach different meanings to words, symbols, gestures, and behaviour or they may perceive each others’ social values, body language, attitude to space distancing and time, social behaviour and manners, etc., i.e. the entire culture in general, very differently depending upon their own standards, attitudes, customs, prejudices, opinions, behavioral norms, etc., i.e. their own distinct culture. Thus, cultural barriers arise when people belonging to different cultures insist on preserving their cultural identities and at times, judge the other cultures as inferior to their own. Organizational Barriers Organizational structure greatly influences the flow of information within an organization. Some major organizational barriers are as follows: a. Goal Conflicts There may be goal conflicts within the organization between the superiors and the subordinates, among people working in the different departments, among the colleagues, etc. This may create a hostile atmosphere within the organization and can lead to serious communication breakdown. b. Organizational Policies These are also to a great extent responsible for determining the kind of rapport that people working in the same organization share with each other. If the organizational policy is such that it restricts the free flow of information in all directions then communication would not be successful. In some organizations, there may be rules to restrict the flow of certain messages and this may deter employees from conveying those messages, however important they may be. If an organization favours the open door policy, the subordinates would not feel shy or reluctant to approach their superiors directly. But in the organizations where the formal channels of communication have to be strictly adhered to, the superiors and the subordinates share an awkward relationship. They experience a lot of discomfiture while interacting with each other. Because of this, the objective of communication may never be accomplished. c. Organizational Hierarchy The hierarchical structure of the organization may also impede the flow of information and this can cause delay in taking decisions. When the message passes along the chain of

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