There are mainly three primary methods of communication in an organization, which are written, oral, and non-verbal. These methods of communication are often combined. Considerations that affect the choice of method include the audience whether it is physically present, the nature of the message, and the lost of transmission.

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Typically organizations produce a great deal of written communication of many kinds. A letter is a formal means of communication with an individual, generally someone outside the organization. Probably the most common form of written communication in organizations is the office memorandum, or a memo. Memos usually are addressed to a person or group inside the organization. They tend to deal with a single topic and are more impersonal, but less formal than letters. Other common forms of written communication include reports, manuals and forms. Reports generally summarize the progress or results of a project and often provide information to be used in decision-making. Manuals have various functions in organizations. Instruction manuals tell employees how to operate machines; policy and procedure manuals inform them of organizational rules; operations manual describe how to perform tasks and respond to work-related problems. As such, they represent attempts to make communication more efficient and information more accessible. A performance appraisal form is an example.

 

ORAL COMMUNICATION

Oral communication, also known as face-to-face communication is the most prevalent form of organizational communication. It may be in the form of direct talk and conversation between the speakers and listeners when they are physically present at one place or through telephone or intercom system conversation. Where one-way communication is required, then oral communication may include public address system. Informal rumour mill or grapevine is also a popular form of oral communication. It is most effective for leaders to address the followers via public address system or audio-visual media. Oral communication is particularly powerful because the receiver not only hears the content of the message, but also observes the physical gestures associated with it as well as the changes in tone, pitch, speed and volume of the spoken word. The human voice can impart the message much more forcefully and effectively than the written words and is an effective way of changing attitudes, beliefs and feelings, since faith, trust and sincerity can be much better judged in a face-to-face conversation rather than in written words.

 

Advantages

Some of the advantages of oral communication are:

  • It is direct, simple, time saving and least expensive form of communication.
  • It allows for feedback and spontaneous thinking, so that if the receiver js unsure of the message, rapid feedback allows for early detection by the sender so that corrections can be immediately made, if necessary.
  • Because the message is conveyed instantaneously, it helps in avoiding delays, red tape and other formalities.
  • It conveys personal warmth and friendliness and it develops a sense of belonging because of these personalized contacts.

 

Disadvantages

  • There is no formal record of communication so that any misunderstood message cannot be referred back to what was actually said.
  • If the verbal message is passed on,the long hierarchical chain of command, then some distortions can occur during the process. The more people the message is to pass through, the greater is the potential distortion.
  • Lengthy and distant communication cannot be conveyed verbally in an efficient way.
  • The receiver may receive the message in his own perception and thus misunderstand the intent of the message.
  • Spontaneous responses may not be carefully thought about.
  • The spirit of authority cannot be transmitted effectively in verbal transactions.
  • Organizational Communications
  • More or less or a different meaning might be conveyed by manner of speaking, tone of voice and facial expressions.

 

WRITTEN COMMUNICATION

A written communication is put in writing and is generally in the form of instructions, letters, memos, formal reports, rules and regulations, policy manuals, information bulletins and so on. These areas have to be covered in writing for efficient functioning of the organization. It is most effective when it is required to communicate information that requires action in the future arid also in situations where communication is that of general informational nature. It also ensures that everyone has the same information.

 

Advantages

  • It serves as an evidence of events and proceedings.
  • It provides a permanency of record for future references. The message can be stored for an indefinite period of time.
  • It reduces the likelihood of misunderstanding and misinterpretation. The written communications are more likely to be well considered, logical and clear. The message can be checked for accuracy before it is transmitted.
  • It can save time when many persons must be contacted at the same time.
  • It is more reliable for transmitting lengthy statistical data.
  • It appears formal and authoritative for action.

 

Disadvantages

  • It can be very time-consuming, specially for lengthy reports.
  • There is no immediate feedback opportunity to be sure that the receiver has understood the message.
  • Confidential written material may leak out before time, causing disruption in its effectiveness.
  • It leads to excessive formality in personal relations.

 

NON-VERBAL COMMUNICATION

Some of the meaningful communication is conveyed through non-verbal ways. Even some of the verbal messages are strengthened or diluted by non-verbal expressions. These non-verbal expressions include facial expressions and physical movement. In addition, some of the environmental elements such as building and office space can convey a message about the authority of the person. According to Tipkins and Mc-Carter, facial expressions can be categorized as:

  • Interest-excitement
  • Enjoyment-joy
  • Surprise-startle
  • Distress-anguish
  • Fear-terror
  • Shame-humiliation
  • Contempt-disgust
  • Anger-rage

Physical movements or body language is known as “kinesics”. A handshake is probably the most common form of body language and tells a lot about a person’s disposition. Other examples of body language are tilting of head, folding of arms or sitting position in a chair.

Our facial expressions can show anger, frustration, arrogance, shyness, fear and other characteristics that can never be adequately communicated through written word or through oral communication itself. Some of the other body language symptoms are shrugging our shoulders for indifference, wink an eye for mischief or intimacy, tap our fingers on the table for impatience and we slap our forehead for forgetfulness. As far as environmental elements are concerned, a large office with luxurious carpeting and expensive furniture conveys a message of status, power and prestige such as that of a chief operating officer. On the other hand, a small metal desk on a corner communicates the status of a low ranking officer in the organizational setting. Accordingly non-verbal actions have considerable impact on the quality of communication.

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