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meaning and definition
The Communication is a two-way process wherein the message in the form of ideas, thoughts, feelings, opinions is transmitted between two or more persons with the intent of creating a shared understanding. The best defination of communication is – “communication is the process of passing information and understanding from one person to another.” In simple words it is a process of transmitting and sharing ideas, opinions, facts, values etc. from one person to another or one organization to another.
Simply, an act of conveying intended information and understanding from one person to another is called as communication. The term communication is derived from the Latin word “Communis” which means to share. Effective communication is when the message conveyed by the sender is understood by the receiver in exactly the same way as it was intended.
process of communication
t he communication is a dynamic process that begins with the conceptualizing of ideas by the sender who then transmits the message through a channel to the receiver, who in turn gives the feedback in the form of some message or signal within the given time frame. Thus, there are Seven major elements of communication process:
- Sender: The sender or the communicator is the person who initiates the conversation and has conceptualized the idea that he intends to convey it to others.
- Encoding: The sender begins with the encoding process wherein he uses certain words or non-verbal methods such as symbols, signs, body gestures, etc. to translate the information into a message. The sender’s knowledge, skills, perception, background, competencies, etc. has a great impact on the success of the message.
- Message: Once the encoding is finished, the sender gets the message that he intends to convey. The message can be written, oral, symbolic or non-verbal such as body gestures, silence, sighs, sounds, etc. or any other signal that triggers the response of a receiver.
- Communication Channel: The Sender chooses the medium through which he wants to convey his message to the recipient. It must be selected carefully in order to make the message effective and correctly interpreted by the recipient. The choice of medium depends on the interpersonal relationships between the sender and the receiver and also on the urgency of the message being sent. Oral, virtual, written, sound, gesture, etc. are some of the commonly used communication mediums.
- Receiver: The receiver is the person for whom the message is intended or targeted. He tries to comprehend it in the best possible manner such that the communication objective is attained. The degree to which the receiver decodes the message depends on his knowledge of the subject matter, experience, trust and relationship with the sender.
- Decoding: Here, the receiver interprets the sender’s message and tries to understand it in the best possible manner. An effective communication occurs only if the receiver understands the message in exactly the same way as it was intended by the sender.
- Feedback: The Feedback is the final step of the process that ensures the receiver has received the message and interpreted it correctly as it was intended by the sender. It increases the effectiveness of the communication as it permits the sender to know the efficacy of his message. The response of the receiver can be verbal or non-verbal.
functions of business communication
Inform Employees About Job Functions
One of the key functions of communication is to inform employees about job functions. When team members have a clear idea of what their role entails, and how it relates to the overall objectives of the business, they have more incentive to complete their tasks. When roles are not clearly defined, employees may be more likely to miss their targets because they don’t know what is expected of them.
Examples of communication that is informative include job descriptions, company-wide targets and performance reviews. An everyday conversation between a manager and a team member about upcoming tasks is also an example of informative communication.
Persuade Clients and Partners
In business, communication is often used to persuade prospects, clients and partners to complete a transaction. Whether that’s booking a consultation, completing a sale or signing a contract, persuasion is an important aspect of communication that businesses need to master.
Persuasive communication can be verbal, such as an elevator pitch to a new prospect over the phone, or written, such as an ad in a niche magazine for a new product. Persuasive information usually contains an emotional element, which helps the audience to relate to the business. In addition, persuasive communication needs to show the credibility of the company, and how it can help solve the problems the audience is facing.
When it comes to liaising with the media, a company’s public-relations professionals use persuasive communication to present specific angles about the organization. This kind of communication can be used to create a certain image for the company or deal with poor publicity.
Motivate Employees to Make Better Decisions
Communication is often used strategically in organizations to help employees make better decisions about their day-to-day tasks and their long-term goals as they relate to the business. For example, communication regarding performance incentives can motivate employees to work more efficiently to hit their targets on time.
Motivational communication can also take the form of an employee handbook that specifies what kind of behavior is encouraged in the workplace and what kind of actions should be avoided. While communication can be used to control employees within the workplace, it’s a good idea to enable employees to make their own decisions that not only benefit them, but also benefit the company.
Socialize to Create Bonds
The way an organization communicates is ingrained in the company’s culture. Some companies value open and honest discussions between all levels of the organization, while others prefer communication coming down the chain of command. In either case, communication plays a critical role in helping employees to build bonds.
Socializing with colleagues, managers, clients and partners presents opportunities for people to find common ground and see each other past their job descriptions. When people are able to build relationships with those they work with, they are likely to perform more effectively on the job because they feel a sense of camaraderie and team spirit. Social communication can be verbal, such as a conversation in the lunch room about what took place over the weekend. It can also be written, such as thank-you notes or invitations for events.
Objectives of Business Communication
- To exchange information: The main objective of business communication is to exchange information with internal and external parties. Internal communication occurs within the organization through orders, instructions, suggestions, opinions etc.
- To develop plans: Plan is the blueprint of future courses of actions. The plan must be formulated for attaining organizational goals. In order to develop a plan, management requires information. In this regard, the objective of communication is to supply required information to the concerned managers.
- To implement the plan: Once a plan is prepared, it is to be implemented. Implementation of a plan requires timely communication with the concerned parties. Thus, communication aims at transmitting a plan throughout the organization for its successful implementation.
- To facilitate policy formulation: Policies are guidelines for performing organizational activities. Policies are also termed as standing decisions to recurring problems. Every organization needs to develop a set of policies to guide its operation. Preparing policies also require information from various sources. Therefore, the objective of communication is to collect necessary information for policy formulation.
- To achieve organizational goal: Collective efforts of both managers and workers are essential for achieving organizational goals. Communication coordinates and synchronizes the efforts of employees at various levels to achieve the stated goals of the organization.
- To organize resources: Various kinds of resources are available in an organization such as human resources, material resources, financial resources and so on. In organizing these resources in an effective and efficient way is a key challenge to the managers. Communication is the vehicle to overcome this challenge.
- To coordinate: Coordination is a basic management function. It involves linking the various functional departments of large organizations. Without proper and timely coordination, an achievement of organizational goals is impossible. Therefore, the objective of communication is to coordinate the functions of various departments for the easy attainment of organizational goals.
- To direct the subordinates: The job of a manager is to get the things done by others. In order to get the things done, management needs to lead, direct and control the employees. The performance of these managerial functions depends on effective communication with subordinates.
- To motivate employees: A pre-requisite of employee motivation is the satisfaction of their financial and non-financial needs. Financial needs are fulfilled thorough monetary returns. However, in order to satisfy non-financial needs, management must communicate with employees on a regular basis both formally and informally.
- To create consciousness: Employees of an organization must be conscious regarding their duties and responsibilities. Communication supplies necessary information and makes them conscious about their duties and responsibilities.
- To increase efficiency: In order to increase employee efficiency, they should be provided with necessary information and guidelines. Communication supplies such information and guidelines for them.
- To bring dynamism: Organizations should be dynamic to cope with the internal and external changes. Bringing dynamism requires finding new and better ways of doing things. For this purpose, communication helps to seek new ideas and suggestions from the internal and external parties.
Importance of business communication
The flow of information in a firm determines the profit at the end of the financial year. Hence, companies, whether small or big, must have the right channels of communication. Here are some reasons why business communication is vital for a business to survive in the local or international market.
- Management efficiency: For a business to be successful, there has to management of operations. Therefore, when there are appropriate communication channels information flows correctly. This is from the top, middle and lower management; it increases efficiency and production of goods and services.An example is a warehouse, whereby order comes in at different times. If an order has been placed, and the buyer changes his mind the firm has to notify the employees. The information about this should be sent immediately to the processing team to stop production. This saves time and maximizes on resources.
- Resource utilization: maximization of profits and minimization of cost is the main aim of a business. Therefore when the available resources are utilized accordingly then, the firm is bound to make profits. However, this can only be achieved if the information is given to the right personnel at the right time. Through communicating the management can know the number of staff needed to work on a product.The top management ensures the employees are not over-staffed or under-staffed. For example, if information about employees being overstaffed at a particular section is relayed to the senior management on time, changes shall be made immediately. This guarantees maximum utilization of the human resource, reducing time wastage.
- Giving information: It’s the main aim of any communication that happens between the top, middle, and lower management. Once the message is channeled to the relevant authorities in the firm it is then distributed to the staff.This ensures that every personnel is on the same page regarding the mission and goals of the company. This, in turn, unites them and makes them function as one and later improves the quality of goods and services.
- Persuasion: For the company to improve its sales advertisements are needed to promote the product. The language used by the firm to lure a buyer must be polite and enticing. Hence communication is required to educate the consumer about the product and its benefits. In return, the consumer can relate to the product and buy it, which increase sales and profits.
- Warning and appreciation: Human beings like to be appreciated for the work done. Hence, employers need to appreciate their employees since this motivates them. Nonetheless, if an employee is an indiscipline, a warning should be issued. This can be done through a written document or orally.
Essentials of good communication
(1) Clarity of Information:
Commenting on the ‘communication realism’ Terry says that first essential of effective communication is to ‘inform yourself fully’. It implies that first of all the communicator must be clear in his mind with the information he wants to communicate. Communication should always be in common and easily understandable language so that it may not be misunderstood by the persons receiving it.
(2) Adequacy of Message:
The message to be communicated should be adequate and complete in all respects since incomplete information turns out to be dangerous from the viewpoint of business. The adequacy of information being transmitted depends upon the intellectual capabilities of parties concerned.
(3) Consistency of Message:
The message to be communicated should not be mutually conflicting rather it should be in line with the overall objectives, policies, programmes and procedures of the organisation. Self-contradictory messages always create chaos and confusion in the organisation which is highly detrimental to the efficient running of the enterprise. If the message is amended from the previous one, the fact should be clearly stated so that the chances of confusion can be reduced.
Feedback is an important method of ensuring effective communication. It refers to the confirmation of the idea communicated whether the message has been understood by the receiver in the same sense in which the sender makes or whether the recipient is agreed or disagreed to the proposal of the communicator, makes it essential on the part of the sender to confirm it from the receiver.
In case of face to face communication, it is easier to get feedback information observing the emotions and expressions on the face of the receiver. But, for written communication, the management should devise or evolve suitable means and ways for making communication more effective.
(5) Understanding the Receiver:
Understanding is the main aim of communication. The communication must create proper understanding in the mind of the receiver. Killian advised, “communicate with an awareness of the total physical and human setting in which the information will be received.
Picture the place of work; determine the receptivity and understanding levels of the receivers; be aware of social climate and customs, question the information’s timeliness. Ask what, when and in which manner you would like to be communicated with if you were in a similar environment and position.”
It is generally desirable to consult others in planning communication. This will provide additional insight and objectivity to the message. An important advantage of consultation will be that those who have been taken into confidence while planning communication will lend active support.
(7) Determine Medium:
After having decided the subject matter it should be determined as to how best this message is to be communicated. All aspects of oral or written communication must be carefully examined.
(8) Tone and Content:
The communicator must be careful about the language he uses while speaking or writing. His tone, expression and emotion will have a definite impact on the effectiveness or otherwise of what he is trying to communicate.
(9) Timing and Timeliness:
Proper attention should be given to the timing and timeliness of the communication. The same message will be received or responded differently by different individuals and groups at one time and differently by the same individuals and groups at different times.
Even in an emergency one dare not overlook the situational, psychological and technical aspect of timing. Moreover, it is also necessary that information should be given in time as out-of-date information is as bad as or worse than none at all.
(10) Support with Action:
It is highly necessary that the actions of the communicator should support his communication. This is because action speaks louder than words. The most persuasive communication, it should be noted, is not what one says but what one does.
A very important aspect of effective communication is that executives and supervisors should be good listeners. It is dangerous to be inattentive or indifferent when others are attempting to communicate. The ten commandments of American Management Association state: “Listening is one of the most important, most difficult and most neglected Skills M communications.
It demands that we concentrate not only on the explicit meanings another person is expressing, but on the implicit meanings, unspoken words, and undertones that may be far more significant. Thus, we must learn to listen with the inner ear if we are to know the inner man. ”
(12) Environment of Trust and Confidence:
F.E. Fischer has pointed out that ‘communication grows best in a climate of trust and confidence’. Every effort should, therefore, be made to win confidence by reporting facts honestly. Employees need to be convinced and feel that the company is truthful and sincere in its contacts.
Types of communication
Verbal communication is the use of language to transfer information through speaking or sign language. It is one of the most common types, often used during presentations, video conferences and phone calls, meetings and one-on-one conversations. Verbal communication is important because it is efficient. It can be helpful to support verbal communication with both nonverbal and written communication
Nonverbal communication is the use of body language, gestures and facial expressions to convey information to others. It can be used both intentionally and unintentionally. For example, you might smile unintentionally when you hear a pleasing or enjoyable idea or piece of information. Nonverbal communication is helpful when trying to understand others’ thoughts and feelings.
If they are displaying “closed” body language such as crossed arms or legs, or hunched shoulders, they might be feeling anxious, angry or nervous. If they are displaying “open” body language with both feet on the floor and arms by their side or on the table, they are likely feeling positive and open to information.
Written communication is the act of writing, typing or printing symbols like letters and numbers to convey information. It is helpful because it provides a record of information for reference. Writing is commonly used to share information through books, pamphlets, blogs, letters, memos and more. Emails and chats are a common form of written communication in the workplace.
Visual communication is the act of using photographs, art, drawings, sketches, charts and graphs to convey information. Visuals are often used as an aid during presentations to provide helpful context alongside written and/or verbal communication. Because people have different learning styles, visual communication might be more helpful for some to consume ideas and information.
5. formal communication
Formal Communication refers to the communication taking place through official channels in an organisation. Such type of communication takes place between managers or employees of same cadre or between superior and subordinate and vice versa. It may be oral or written but complete record of such communication is maintained in an organisation
6. informal communication
Informal communication takes place in an organisation without following the formal lines of communication. Such type of communication usually takes place among the workers to exchange their views and to satisfy their social needs. For example, workers talking about the behaviour of their superiors, discussing about some rumours etc. are some of the examples of informal communication.
Barriers of communication
There are many reasons why interpersonal communications may fail. In many communications, the message may not be received exactly the way the sender intended and hence it is important that the communicator seeks feedback to check that their message is clearly understood. The skills of Active Listening, Clarification and Reflection, which we will discuss shortly, may help but the skilled communicator also needs to be aware of the barriers to effective communication. There exist many barriers to communication and these may occur at any stage in the communication process. Barriers may lead to your message becoming distorted and you therefore risk wasting both time and/or money by causing confusion and misunderstanding.
Some common barriers to effective communication include:
- The use of jargon. Over-complicated or unfamiliar terms.
- Emotional barriers and taboos.
- Lack of attention, interest, distractions, or irrelevance to the receiver.
- Differences in perception and viewpoint.
- Physical disabilities such as hearing problems or speech difficulties.
- Physical barriers to non-verbal communication.
- Language differences and the difficulty in understanding unfamiliar accents.
- Expectations and prejudices which may lead to false assumptions or stereotyping. People often hear what they expect to hear rather than what is actually said and jump to incorrect conclusions.
- Cultural differences. The norms of social interaction vary greatly in different cultures, as do the way in which emotions are expressed. For example, the concept of personal space varies between cultures and between different social settings.
Barriers to Communication by Category
- Language Barriers Clearly, language and linguistic ability may act as a barrier to communication. However, even when communicating in the same language, the terminology used in a message may act as a barrier if it is not fully understood by the receiver(s). For example, a message that includes a lot of specialist jargon and abbreviations will not be understood by a receiver who is not familiar with the terminology used. As nurses, we are especially prone to making this mistake. We must remember to use language that can be understood by the receiver.
- Psychological Barriers The psychological state of the receiver will influence how the message is received. For example, if someone has personal worries and is stressed, they may be preoccupied by personal concerns and not as receptive to the message as if they were not stressed. Stress management is an important personal skill that affects our interpersonal relationships. Anger is another example of a psychological barrier to communication. When we are angry it is easy to say things that we may later regret and also to misinterpret what others are saying. More generally, people with low self-esteem may be less assertive and therefore may not feel comfortable communicating – they may feel shy about saying how they really feel, or read negative sub-texts into messages they hear.
- Physiological Barriers Physiological barriers may result from the receiver’s physical state. For example, a receiver with reduced hearing may not grasp the entirety of a spoken conversation, especially if there is significant background noise.
- Physical Barriers An example of a physical barrier to communication is geographic distance between the sender and receiver(s). Communication is generally easier over shorter distances as more communication channels are available and less technology is required. Although modern technology often serves to reduce the impact of physical barriers, the advantages and disadvantages of each communication channel should be understood so that an appropriate channel can be used to overcome the physical barriers.
- Attitudinal Barriers Attitudinal barriers are behaviors or perceptions that prevent people from communicating effectively. Attitudinal barriers to communication may result from personality conflicts, poor management, resistance to change, or a lack of motivation. Effective receivers of messages should attempt to overcome their own attitudinal barriers to facilitate effective communication.
7 c’s of Communication
- Clear: The message should be clear and easily understandable to the recipient. The purpose of the communication should be clear to sender then only the receiver will be sure about it. The message should emphasize on a single goal at a time and shall not cover several ideas in a single sentence.
- Correct: The message should be correct, i.e. a correct language should be used, and the sender must ensure that there is no grammatical and spelling mistakes. Also, the message should be exact and well-timed. The correct messages have a greater impact on the receiver and at the same time, the morale of the sender increases with the accurate message.
- Complete: The message should be complete, i.e. it must include all the relevant information as required by the intended audience. The complete information gives answers to all the questions of the receivers and helps in better decision-making by the recipient.
- Concrete: The communication should be concrete, which means the message should be clear and particularly such that no room for misinterpretation is left. All the facts and figures should be clearly mentioned in a message so as to substantiate to whatever the sender is saying.
- Concise: The message should be precise and to the point. The sender should avoid the lengthy sentences and try to convey the subject matter in the least possible words. The short and brief message is more comprehensive and helps in retaining the receiver’s attention.
- Consideration: The sender must take into consideration the receiver’s opinions, knowledge, mindset, background, etc. in order to have an effective communication. In order to communicate, the sender must relate to the target recipient and be involved.
- Courteous: It implies that the sender must take into consideration both the feelings and viewpoints of the receiver such that the message is positive and focused at the audience. The message should not be biased and must include the terms that show respect for the recipient.