Concept of Communication.
Communication can be defined as the transmission of information, messages, ideas or knowledge from one person to another through a media or channel. When people are doing business, they need to pass information to one another. There must be a common language that enables people to understand each other. Communication serves this purpose.
Communication can also be defined as the exchange and flow of information and ideas from one person to another. Communication involves a sender transmitting an idea, information, feelings and a receiver. Effective communication occurs only if the receiver understands the exact information or the idea that the sender intended to transmit.
Communication always involves some kind of message. This message becomes the subject matter of communication. A business that is not able to pass clear and definitive message for its personnel is bound to falter at one stage or the other.
Normally, communication is not possible without the involvement of two persons: the sender and the receiver. Communication includes everything that may be used to convey meaning from one person to another. Thus it involves both information and understanding. Communication is not complete unless the receiver has understood the message properly and the sender comes to know about the reaction and response of the receiver.
Communication that results to poor understanding cannot be termed as effective even though it has satisfied all other criteria of a good communication. Formal communication follows the formal structure/channels in the business structure. Communication takes both downward and upward courses. It flows downwards from a superior to the subordinates. It flows upwards from subordinates to superiors. It also flows between two or more persons operating at the same level.
Importance of communication to the business
Communication plays a very important role in business. Without communication, transactions cannot run smoothly in the business. Hence the business is most likely to collapse in the future without communication. Therefore, communication is very important in business since it plays the following roles;
Types of information
There are various types of communication. The main types are:
Oral or verbal communication
This is a form of communication which uses spoken words to pass information from one person to another. People pass information through face to face communication, telephone calls, radio calls and voice mails.
(a) Face to face communication
This is the form of oral or verbal communication where the parties involved talk to each other face to face.
Advantages of face to face communication
No records for future reference.
It is not suitable for people who are far apart.
Not suitable for people with hearing or talking impairments.
Alterations in voice and pronunciations might change the meaning of the message being conveyed.
They can take a lot of time to convince one another.
The message is prone to distortion especially if it has to pass through an intermediary such as a translator where one party does not understand the language of the other party.
The respondent might be frightened or threatened, hence giving false information.
In cases of bitter or angry conversations, the conversing parties may attack each other.
Use of telephones is an advanced way of verbal communication. People are able to speak to each other even when they are very far apart. Examples of telephones include mobile phones, radio calls, office telephone and communal phones
Advantages of using telephones as a means of communication
Disadvantages of using telephones as a means of communication
It might be expensive to purchase the telephones.
There are no records kept for future reference.
There is no confidentiality or privacy since the information can be tapped by the operators.
It is not suitable for people with hearing and talking impairments.
It can be time consuming in case where the receiver is far from the telephone.
Some telephones such as mobile phones, need recharging of batteries to keep using.
This is a form of communication through written documents such as letters telegrams, telex, fax, memorandum (memo) notices, reports, circulars, agendas and minutes. Written communication provides proof or evidence that the information was exchanged.
Advantages of written communication
Disadvantages of written communication
Written communication is only suitable for those who know how to read and write.
It does not provide immediate feedback.
In case the receiver does not understand the message in the letter or memo, he or she cannot ask questions or seek clarification.
There is no personal appeal.
Communicating parties have no room to persuade and convince each other.
It might be expensive to maintain and keep the files in case the messages are required for future reference.
It is possible only to those who can read and write. This the blind are disadvantaged.
Audio —visual communication
This is a type of communication that combines both sound and pictures to relay the information from the sender to the receiver. Examples of audio-visual communication include use of, television, films, videos and sirens.
Advantages of audio-visual communication
Audio-visual communication can reach many people at once.
It is more attractive and appealing than any other form of communication.
Reinforcement of oral communication with pictures makes it more effective.
The message passed on to the receiver may last for a longer time. It might have a lasting impact.
Audio-visual communication can be used to pass messages to people who do not share the same language.
Some of them such as television can be used to pass information to the hearing impaired.
Disadvantages of audio visual communication
The cost of sending messages differ from one means to another. We have to use the cost effective means of communication.
It is always important to consider the speed with which the message is sent and received. Urgent messages require faster means of communication. Examples are e-mail and telegrams.
This refers to the certainty that the message will reach the receiver in the right form, right time and at the right place. Face to face is an example of a reliable means since there is a chance to persuade each other and get an immediate feedback.
This is the geographical distance that exists between the sender and the receiver. Mean like telegrams, emails and telephones are suitable for long distance while poster and photographs are suitable where the distance is short.
This refers to the degree of privacy carried by the message. Some messages are only intended for the receiver and should be kept as a secret. Letters are suitable to convey such confidential messages.
Some messages require to be recorded for future reference while others are not. Written communication is the most effective means to convey messages which require to be recorded for future reference.
Accuracy refers to the degree of exactness of the message conveyed. Other means may not be suitable since the messages can be distorted during transmission.
The means of communication should be available both to the sender and receiver.
(i) Type of the message
This refers to the nature and the content of the message. Some means are convenient for sending specific messages only. For instance, detailed and complex messages are sent through written communication, while short and urgent messages are sent through email, telex or telegrams.
This refers to the response given by the receiver. If the response is required immediately, then face to face and telephone means may be used. Where feedback is not required immediately, other means of communication may be used.
Barriers to effective communication
Barriers refer to hindrances or obstacles. Barriers to effective communication simply are those obstacles that may distort, destroy or hinder the message from being delivered to the recipient or preventing the feedback from reaching the sender. Some of these barriers include:
a) Noise: Noise refers to the unnecessary sound produced or heard during a conversation. Noise mainly affects verbal communication. Both the sender and receiver may not understand each other well.
(b) Language barrier: If the sender uses language that the receiver does not understand, then the intended message may not be delivered. As a result, there may be need to hire or use an interpreter who understands both languages of the sender and receiver.
(c) Choice of channel: If the sender chooses a wrong channel for communication, say a letter sent to a blind receiver, then the sender may not get a feedback in time.
(d) Emotional mood: If the sender sends a message to the recipient while in an emotional mood, the receiver may respond back, contrary to what was expected. The same may happen to the receiver when emotional.
(e) Lack of concentration: Due to lack of concentration, the feedback may be false.
(f) Time: Poor timing might not yield the intended feedback. An example is making an office call at night.
(g) Literacy: Illiterate people may not be able to understand some written messages. As a result, communication may not be effective between the two parties.