Organizations function using a chain of command. In order for the chain of command to be functional, they depend on communication within the workplace. For any organization to function effectively there needs to be an effective workplace communication. Effective workplace communication boosts productivity within the organization (Ng et al., 234) Lateral communication improves on cooperation among the employees. On top of this, communication between superiors and their juniors helps to reduce misunderstanding. Effective communication also improves the workers job satisfaction. Workers feel more motivated and satisfied when they have upward communication. Workplace communication also improves the turnout rates of the workers. Workplace communication is the best way to deal with absenteeism as the employees are able to communicate to their superiors regarding their life emergencies.
The process of communication takes place in stages. The first stage is the ideology. The person wishing to communicate develops the idea he/she wishes to communicate to the other person. The second stage is conversion. Also known as encoding, this stage involves the person wishing to communicate converting the information into a form that can be understood by the other party. The sender then develops the message into either speech, words or sentences or any other form that they wish to put their message into. The sender then selects the medium of communication. Whether its going to be speech, writing, gestures or signals. The sender then proceeds to send the message. In the sixth stage, the message is received, before being interpreted. The receiver then gives their feedback.
There are some factors that hinder workplace communication. Such as clarity. Lack of clarity from the sender hinders the interpretation of the message resulting in skewed communication. The non-verbal cues such as body language. When communicating it is important for workers to ensure their body language communicate a message of friendliness. Other non-verbal cues such as eye contact are also to be observed as they contribute to effective communication. Inconsistency is also a barrier because it results in some employees falling off the radar as they feel neglected. It is important to keep communication with all your group members regularly. Language difference can be a major hindrance in a workplace. Although most workplaces have an official language, they still fall victim to language barriers because of their diversity (Chaney, 340).
For any worker in a workplace, they could overcome these barriers by having clear thoughts before communicating so as to ensure clarity in their communication. Understanding the needs of their fellow employees gives a better understanding of what they need. Making use of the body language so as to give the message more clearly. Care should also be taken to ensure the message communicated by the body language is the same as that communicated other mediums such as speech. The sender should also avoid squeezing too much information within a short message. This could overwhelm the receiver. The chain of communication should also be reduced hence reducing the chances of the message being skewed.
Some examples of workplace communication include presentations which call on the workers to use both speech and written communication in order to express themselves. Speeches and discussions are also another forms of oral communications that are present in the workplace. Most of the discussions make use of lateral communication, i.e., communication within the workers at the same level. Reports, research papers, and memos are some of the written communications that are present in the workplace. These forms of communication are used to communicating with a large number of recipients. They are also crucial in a workplace because they could be used for future reference.
Every form of communication in a workplace does carry its own advantages and disadvantages. Some advantages of written communication are that its a permanent record. It also has a relatively easy verification process. Its most important advantage is that the possibility of distortion of data is reduced making it more reliable for longer chains of communication. Among the disadvantages include time-consuming. Compared to speech, writing down information requires more effort and time. It is also an expensive mode of communication because of the paper. Also leaves a high cost in record keeping.
Among the advantages of oral communication is that its efficient for informal communication within the workplace. Informal communication is the most common communication that takes place in a workplace. Oral communication also has more flexibility in that the oral instructions can easily be changed. The main disadvantage of this form of communication is the distortion of words hence making them more inaccurate. It also has reduced legal validity making them less reliable. Oral communication cant be used in matters of confidentiality because they lack secrecy. There is also difficulty in recording the oral communication making their preservation a difficult task.
When it comes to giving instructions to subordinates, the supervisors body language will determine how the instruction will be received and how it will be put into effect. A confident instructor is more likely to have their instructions taken seriously, and this is determined by their body language (Burgoon, 89). Therefore it affects workplace performance. Workplace relationships are also dependent on the non-verbal communication. Positive non-verbal cues encourage positive relationships within the workplace while negative cues result into negativity. They also act as reinforcement to other forms of communication. Therefore any form of communication should be backed up by non-verbal cues. They are communication enhancers.
With feedback present, there is continuous learning taking place because the sender of the message gets the impact of their communication message. It also improves performance through creating room for the second opinion more so through lateral communication. Feedback is also a sign that the message was not only received but it was also understood. Therefore feedback is a sign of effective listening within the organization. The more feedback there is within an organization, the more listening that is taking place within the organization.
As stated earlier oral communication is the most frequently used form of communication in any organization (Whittaker, et al., 245).It is, therefore, no surprise that it is also my most preferred mode of communication in my workplace. The reason is that it is time saving compared to a written form of communication. I only use written communication as a formality. For example when the verbal instructions need to be backed up in writing. I also use oral communication because the majority of the communication comes in the form of oral communication. There are however areas regarding workplace communication that I have failed to take into consideration while communicating at my workplace. The first one being the non-verbal cues. The only non-verbal cues that I have taken into account so far are those that involve my dress code, and that is because of the company policy.
I have never paid attention to my body language especially when addressing my juniors and seniors. This has resulted in some inefficiencies. A good example is coming out as informal when in fact addressing a matter formally. It has also resulted into some misunderstanding within the workplace especially with the seniors. While giving briefs my strengths lay in the preciseness of my briefs. I always make a point of keeping my briefs short and to the point hence giving them clarity. The weakness in my briefs is that a lot of information is omitted. Because of their brief nature, it makes it impossible to cover all the areas in one brief. This forces me to omit some crucial information that I would have wanted to communicate.
After having understood the communication process, there are some areas in my briefs that I could try and improve. For starters, I could try and make my briefs longer. As much as being precise is good, its only as good as its communicative ability. There is no point in briefing people if I dont get to communicate the whole message. Preparation of these briefs is good so that I can align the main points first (Nakatani, 158). This will reduce my chances of omitting certain information.
Also in order to improve the communication ability of my briefs I should pay more attention to my body language. Having a short brief and an unsure body language gives my subordinates the wrong impression regarding my message and abilities. Other than the dress code I should pay more attention to the body posture. Habits such as leaning on one side while giving a brief communicate the wrong message. Also pocketing while addressing my seniors communicates a negative message to my seniors hence creating negativity within my organization.
Overall I have noticed I cannot rely on one form of communication. In order to have a fully functional workplace, an organization will need its workers to use all the forms of communications there is. Reasons being every form of communication has its weaknesses and strengths. On top of this, we are all suited differently to different communication mediums. It is therefore upon us to tailor the communication mediums that we are most compatible with while improving on those we are poor at.
Whittaker, Steve, David Frohlich, and Owen Daly-Jones. "Informal workplace communication: What is it like and how might we support it?." Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on Human factors in computing systems. ACM, 1994.
Nakatani, Yasuo. "Developing an oral communication strategy inventory." The Modern Language Journal 90.2 (2006): 151-168.
Chaney, Lillian, and Jeanette Martin. Intercultural business communication. Pearson Higher Ed, 2013.
Burgoon, Judee K., Laura K. Guerrero, and Kory Floyd. Nonverbal communication. Routledge, 2016.
Ng, Sik Hung, and James J. Bradac. Power in language: Verbal communication and social influence. Sage Publications, Inc, 1993.
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