Communication as an academic discipline, relates to all the ways we communicate, so it embraces a large body of study and knowledge.
The communication discipline includes both verbal and non-verbal messages. A body of scholarship all about communication is presented and explained in textbooks, e-books, articles and academic journals.
Communication happens at many levels and in many different ways, and for most beings, as well as certain machines. Several, if not all, fields of study dedicate a portion of attention to communication.
When speaking about communication, it is important to be sure about what aspects of communication one is speaking about. Definitions of communication range widely, some recognizing that animals can communicate with each other as well as human beings, and some are narrower, only including human beings within the different parameters of human symbolic interaction.
Communication is one of the most basic functions of management. In fact, a manager is always communicating while he is getting the jobs done.
No communication would mean any management. It forms a basis for management by objectives, long range strategic goal setting, strategic planning, organizational development, organizational effectiveness, decision-making and other allied managerial activities.
In the organizational context, communication function is the means by which the administrative activities are unified.
If an organisation to operate as an integrated unit, it is important that the top management should keep the lower level supervisors and employees well informed about the ultimate objectives of the organisation.
The various contexts in which communication can be used in business are enumerated as follows:
(i) Communication of information is a basic necessity for management. It is a tool for policy formulation, direction, action monitoring and supervision;
(ii) The leaders in the organizational context are managers and executives and they would be able to perform only if they were having the abilities to communicate ideas and information clearly to their juniors;
(iii) Effective communication is important in relationships between an employer and his employees.
It may cement an organisation or disrupt it. It is a mechanism through which the administration produces an output.
Although communication is not visible, yet its impact and spirit are visible indirectly when the organisation acquires a reputation on account of good communication abilities;
(iv) Communication seeks to unify, coordinate and combine all the participants in the corporate context;
(v) When a manager manages his people, his only tool is the transfer of information and his effectiveness depends upon his ability to communicate. He needs skills for informing the people. He also needs the ability for finding out what other people are after;
(vi) The effectiveness of an organisation depends upon the effectiveness of its communication patterns. An organisation may be viewed as an elaborate system of gathering, evaluating, recombining and disseminating information;
(vii) Good communication is the foundation of sound administration. Through a well-defined system of communication, management succeeds in establishing links between different management functions like planning, organizing, staffing, directing and controlling;
(viii) Effective and speedy communication would ensure that there are no delays, bottlenecks, confusion and misunderstandings in relation to work reports, marketing reports, suggestions, grievances, dissemination of departmental goals;
(ix) Good communication in upwards, sideways and downwards directions in an organization is essential at all the administrative levels for the interpretation and adoption of policies, knowledge-sharing and morale-building.
The process of communication could involve one department, many departments, many divisions of a firm, vendors, customers and the market at large;
(x) Another objective of a business or an organisation is the generation of maximum production at the lowest cost by maintaining good relationships in the company.
An administrator should encourage suggestions and should implement them whenever it is feasible. The communication must therefore be precise, clear, complete and relevant to the subject for optimum performance; and
(xi) Efficient communication means an efficiently-run organisation. It never fails to create a good image in the eyes of markets, vendors, shareholders and the public at large.
Business these days is developed on the basis of good rapport with the clients and the market image of the businessman. The products, the technologies and the markets are same everywhere because they could be acquired by anybody.
The machines, techniques and procedures for developing them are also the same everywhere. They could be acquired at reasonable costs around the globe.
But organizational success belongs to only those few who have good relationships with their markets. For this purpose, effective communication gives us an edge over our competitors.
Communication often faces many barriers like different language or insufficient language skill. It is necessary to remove these barriers so that communication is complete, effective and useful. The major ways to remove communication barriers are as follows:
(i) Identify the possible barriers that could hinder effective communication and try to remove them;
(ii) Top management must remember that effective communication means good human relationship and good human relations mean good organizational operations and output;
(iii) There should be policy guidelines for communication in every business so that ambiguity is minimized;
(iv) We should encourage responses, questions and feedbacks so that confusion is removed; (v) The communication should be in line with the goals of the organisation;
(vi) Remove distance barriers by using mobile phone landline, telex, Internet, fax or courier and cut down distances;
(vii) It should be remembered that communication is a continuous process. It should be made a never-ending process of listening; reading and understanding;
(viii) The sender of the message should know his audience and must design a message befitting their needs and feelings. Understanding the viewpoint of other person is known as empathy. Empathy wins friends and orders and develops a good image;
(ix) Optimum timing is important in communication. Messages are most likely to be considered when they arrive at the right time;
(x) It makes the communication process effective and the chances of transfer of wrong information are minimized;
(xi) Repetition of messages is useful. Sometime second or a third message may bring the desired result in case the first one has failed to do so; and
(xii) Timings of the message is extremely important. The messages should be sent when they are needed.
Communication is the lifeline of any organisation. Healthy and result-oriented communication is the key to success for the smooth functioning of social and administrative organisations of our country.