Effective internal communication between the employees and the management enables business institutions to fully tap and exploit the unique insights, talents, and knowledge of its workforce. Notably, the benefits of effective internal communication span beyond a firms profitability. Open discussions lead to the establishment of stable work relationships thus allowing the employees to develop a sense of confidence; an aspect that motivates them to outperform expectations at the roles they hold (Kramer, 2001). To facilitate effective dissemination of information across the firm, methods such as written communication, face-to-face oral communication, and online communication platforms are used.
Written communication entails any form of interaction that involves the use of written words. This method is among the two main types of communication, along with oral communication, that is widely used in business today. The primary forms of written communications that are utilized by institutions internally includes the use of memos, business reports, bulletins, electronic mail, employees manuals, and job descriptions.
Advantages of Written communication
Permanent record. The written form of communication can be easily preserved for future reference. The articles or emails can be archived, and thus it becomes a permanent record of the concerned institution. A composed message can be duplicated and recirculated long after its content was first disseminated.
Legal document. Written documents can be used as admissible pieces of evidence in case of lawsuits. Therefore, it serves as a legally binding document.
Mass dissemination. Written documents can be easily duplicated and disseminated to a huge population with a few minutes (Kramer, 2001). This is achievable since the original document can be reproduced through mass photocopying or printing.
Suitable for the dissemination of long messages. Some messages that are intended for employees are lengthy and detailed thus making it difficult to disseminate using other forms of communication. As a result, written communication remains the most viable method of broadcasting lengthy information such as annual and monthly reports or even job instruction manuals.
Accountability. Written methods call for wider accountability from both the sender and the receiver. In most of these documents, the author of the document appends his/her signature at the end of the message, and in some cases, the receiver is required to confirm receipt of the information sent by appending his/her signature too after reading and understanding the message (Kramer, 2001).Facilitates firms to express goodwill and enhance image building. Written documents play a vital role in promoting goodwill and image building of institutions. A business can show its goodwill by sending invitation cards to the employees or even a written thank-you note (Kramer, 2001). Such strategies can enhance establishment of a friendly business environment which encourages productivity hence profits.
Disadvantages of Written Communication
Slow and time consuming. Before distributing a written message, the sender is required to dedicate his/her time in composing and shrewdly thinking the most suitable way of expressing the required message (Daniels et al., 2014). Notably, lengthy messages such as employees manuals and annual reports may take a long time to prepare and proofread to ensure accuracy. Moreover, the time taken to receive feedback from written communication may be delayed.
Expensive. Compared to methods such as oral communication, written communication is overly expensive, and thus it increases a firm's overhead costs. Printing and photocopying of written documents require the use of printers, printing papers, and ink tonners which are expensive. Moreover, some written documents require being specially designed further elevating the cost of communication using this method.
Lacks personal appeal and touch. It is difficult for the sender to engage the intended receivers convincingly (Daniels et al., 2014). A better personal appeal is achieved through face to face communication since one can express the message not only verbally but also use non-verbal cues of communication such as facial expression and gestures.
Filing. As the number of written documents increase, a firm may be compelled to adopt a filing system so that official documents can be reserved for future reference. Increasing files may create a storage problem due to limited space (Kramer, 2001).
Unsuitable for illiterate individuals. In most of developing and underdeveloped third world countries, a significant portion of the population is illiterate. As a result, written communication may become a hindrance to effective communication.
Despite technological advancement, face-to-face communication is the most commonly used mode of communication. Human beings are social animals, and therefore they constantly need to communicate with each other at a personal level (Kramer, 2001). In business enterprises, this type of communication mainly occurs in avenues such as meetings, interviews, and learning conferences. The method falls under the umbrella of oral communication, and it involves individuals directly conversing with each other. Notably, the method plays a significant role in building a rapport and establishing a sense of trust among employees.
Merits of Face-to-Face Communication
There is a high level of transparency and understanding between the speakers since the communication is conducted at a personal level.
Face to face communication eliminates rigidity in communication. As a result, the conversing individuals have the flexibility of changing the decision or a stand they had previously taken.
Face-to-face communication allows for a spontaneous response since the participants can argue over concepts and after that agree. This aspect allows business institutions to make an informed decision on time.
Face-to-face communication is time-saving, efficient, and a cheap method of disseminating information (Daniels et al., 2014). Through a meeting, information can be passed to heads of departments simply and conveniently. These leaders are then charged with the responsibility of passing the message to their subordinates.
Finally, due to the personal touch, such as the use of facial expressions and gestures, associated with face-to-face communication, this method acts as a basic team building tool. Essentially, the method promotes morale and collaboration among employees.
Demerits of Face-to-Face Communication
The method is difficult to practice in large institutions. Large organizations mostly have a huge population of employees who primarily work in different departments and sub-departments. As a result, it is overly difficult to communicate one on one to this individuals especially when various departments are located in different geographic locations. Moreover, face-to-face communication cannot be used as an admissible piece of evidence in a court of law since it is difficult to prove the exact words used by the speakers.
Ineffective in large gatherings. Disseminating oral information to a large gathering of employees is difficult. Although the speaker may be addressing individuals face to face, some people may be inattentive thus making this form of communication to lose its personal touch (Kramer, 2001). In the absence of follow up and satisfactory feedback, the communication may lapse into a monologue.
Dependent on listeners attentiveness and concentration span. The accuracy of the message received by the listener is dependent on his/her communication skills and attentiveness (Daniels et al., 2014). This may result in the dissemination of inaccurate information that may lead to conflict with the business organization. Remarkably, the speakers can deny the information passed for their interests in case the communication was not recorded in Cassettes or CDs.
Technological advancement has changed the manner in which individuals conduct business and communicate with each other within an institution. In businesses, online communication has created a niche for itself and is being leveraged by business institutions due to its fast, inexpensive, and simple ways of disseminating information to a wide group of employees with a span of few seconds.
Advantages of Online Communication
It is Fast and inexpensive. Online communication platforms such as emails, WhatsApp communication groups, Google Hangouts, among others are a cheap and fast way of broadcasting information. For instance, one email can be addressed to more than 100 respondents just by entering their email addresses. Notably, documents can be attached to this emails should it be required by the client. The messages can be delivered to any part of the world within a few seconds.
Online communication has facilitated the creation of millions of jobs. Careers such as system analysts, computer programmers, software developers, and web designers emerged due to advancement in information communication technologies and the advent of extensive online communication.
Online communication has played a vital role in reducing and eliminating the cultural gap. Business enterprises which have branches in various parts of the globe have greatly benefited from online communication. Individuals from diverse backgrounds and with different schools of thoughts can easily communicate with each other thus promoting cohesion.
Online communication facilitates an immediate response since the message is delivered to the desired recipients in a timely manner. This facilitates timely decision making. Some online communication platforms such as Skype facilitate face to face communication thus adding a personal touch to the communication. Moreover, most of this conversations can be easily recorded and used as a reference at a later date. Notably, the information passed electronically can be easily stored using the cloud technology and can be easily retrieved should the data be required.
Disadvantages of Online Communication
Unemployment. Due to improved technological advancement, the internet, which is the major tool that facilitates online communication has resulted in the unemployment of millions of employees through business activities such as outsourcing, redundancies, and downsizing. Remarkably, the role of office messengers has been overturned by the advent of modern online communication platforms which are fast and inexpensive.
Privacy. The issue of privacy of messages disseminated through online platforms has been depicted as the greatest drawback facing online communication. Privacy is compromised through malicious acts such a mail hacking and interception of phone signals. This may result in the leaking of sensitive business information thus jeopardizing business profitability and development strategy.
Unintended recipients. A typo in the email address or the recipients number may result in the dissemination of unwanted or sensitive information to unknown respondents. Such individuals can easily publicize or sell the data and information they received from rival institutions thus negatively affecting a business enterprise.
Daniels, D., Hunter, A., McGhie, V., Horn, J. M., Van, J. M., & Van, V. T. (2014). Business communication.
Kramer, M. G. (2001). Business communication in context: principles and practice. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
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