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The definition of communication is shared in the Webster's Dictionary as sending, giving, or exchanging information and ideas verbally or non-verbally. Regarding this definition verbal communication refers to information being giving out with spoken word or in written form. Whereas, Non-verbal communication is the act of saying what's on your mind without speaking words. Examples of this include facial gestures (smiling, frowning), body language (arms crossed, legs shaking resembling nervousness, sitting upright giving someone their full attention), and the impression you give to others with your appearance (dress, body image, body odour). Also, the tone of your voice can be expressed non-verbally. The most important part of this definition is that the information or ideas conveyed must be understood. To see what this definition means in practice, consider giving or receiving incomplete information, with only a partial understanding, problem will occur. For communication to be complete the speaker should also get desired feedback.
Communication does sound easy; however, it can be very difficult in context to workplace. It is hard to manage effective communication in workplace as an organisation may consist of different hierarchy, multi cultural employees, and may contain with many communication barriers. But it's up to manager and their skills to understand the right atmosphere and good interpretation of words, proper body language, and gesture. One should also be aware of each other's attitude and cultural variance. Last but not least, one should also be able to distinguish between facts and opinions and give proper feedbacks or response.
There are several ways of drawing up a plan for effective communication in the workplace, however, all plans for effective communication in the workplace need to cover the following areas:
These objectives should be based upon organization's needs. Communication strategies should serve these needs, not vice versa. Think of how communication can help company achieve what it needs to achieve.
An effective communications strategy always identifies the different groups of people with whom company need to communicate. They may all need to be dealt with and approached differently.
It's important for a company to be consistent in its message so clients learn to recognize it and to trust it. An effective communications strategy will cover all the messages that a company needs to give out and how different parts of the message will be emphasized to the different target groups.
4. Tools and activities
Communications strategy should identify the tools and activities which are most appropriate for getting across a particular message. E.g. an annual report or an e-mail newsletter.
5. Resources and time-scales
Company should plan to make sure that you they have the money and resources they need to effectively deliver a message and should know when that message will be delivered as the rest of your company communication and business rests upon this communication being effective.
Communication at workplace
Based upon my experience on a company, I've come across many instances where information should really be communicated. Targets are set, and to achieve them flow of information is essential, for which communication must be effective so as to hit the target. As working in a fast food company, where time is considered as money, even a bit of misunderstanding and miscommunication may lose a lot of time, which in the end may lead to loss of money.
'Workplace communication' covers different disciplines such as marketing, public relations, management etc. All these forms of interaction are aimed at different audiences and requiring different skills. Communication with each of these groups demands different skills. Also, a company has to deal with people outside its organization, such as suppliers, retailers, customers and prospective clients. This is another skill set entirely which complicates the issue of effective relations in the workplace. Sometimes the communication will need to be on an individual basis; sometimes with groups of people - and of course, this interaction, especially with so many customers and clients, will often not be face-to-face communication.(www.keepnetflixprofiles.org)
Regarding my workplace there are some key factors that makes communication effective. My workplace deals with different parties differently and has different communication styles, which I think is very essential. Main parties my workplace communicates with is with its employees, suppliers, customers and community.
Communicating within employees
Communication within organisational staffs, which in my view is most common communication happening within the organisation. Employees communicate each other for different purposes. Managers communicate about setting up targets, plans to achieve those targets, and give feedback on results. On top of it they communicate employees regarding achieving targets, motivate employees to achieve targets and give feedback on results. Communication takes place for training, managing conflict, and recruiting.
In a place where I work, managers come up on a meeting once a month where they discuss about setting up targets. All those targets are driven out from past statistics, and in that meeting any new promotional happening within month is also been discussed and training is given out within managers to train staffs. In this meeting they also talk about hits and miss from last month and discuss about how to achieve golden standard at work. Apart from that, managers also get a weekly updates upon what's new happening every week via newsletters and also they are updated with weekly sales and labour spend every week on Monday via email. A manager's diary is placed in office so as managers can communicate about their work and any problem occurred during shifts.
After targets are set managers communicate with all staffs regarding targets, train them and motivate them to achieve those targets and give them feedback on it. Trainings are given in different ways, the most common way of giving training is talking with staff about what should be done and how. Different posters and flyers are kept showing procedures and way to do different stuffs. Different warning signs e.g. on electric equipments, hot surfaces etc, are placed where there is potential danger for employee's health and safety. Any new promotional stuffs training is also done via company's website where there is every detail of promotional products and those training are specific for employees working in different departments. Managers also do regular follow-ups, and feedbacks are given to achieve targets. Feedbacks could be different according; they could be appreciative or constructive. If targets are being achieved and employees is showing right attitude then appreciative feedbacks are given to motivate them as to work their fullest whereas, if someone is lacking and is struggling in achieving targets constructive feedbacks are been given so as they know where they are missing to achieve targets. An annual appraisal is also carried out to give feedback per employees as how they are getting on and to discuss their strength and weakness.
Staffs also communicate within themselves, if any event is happening i.e. someone's they can easily post onto company's website to invite people for drink. They can even book a day off or holiday through website. It got a forum where staffs can share their experiences with each other.
Company with customer
For every business customer are valuable as they bring revenue. The way company communicate with customer is different from communicating with employees. . Company communicate with customer through different channels as television advertisement, advertisement boards, newspapers etc. Customers are treated with great respect and hospitality. When customer are in store they are greeted with a smile and good posture which shows great communication skill of staffs. Menu boards are placed in places so as they can compare prices and get their value for money. Customer can also give feedback of service and hospitality via a survey machine, which our friendly customer care assistant hands customer while their visit. In case of any complains, our experienced managers help customers to sort out and come to a conclusion.
Company with suppliers
Company get all the supplies from contracted suppliers. It is very essential for company to communicate with suppliers because it may cause disruption on business operation due to unavailability of stocks. Managers are responsible for communication with suppliers. Managers can visit supplier's intranet and order prelisted stocks to be delivered to store on prescheduled delivery date. Different suppliers provides different links to intranet which helps managers to know how to order and where. Suppliers also send a feedback regarding delivery through email. They also accept late ordering through email. Suppliers send receipt on delivery date. Missing or damaged stocks issues can be solved by telephoning them or via email.
Company with society
As company is part of a society, company needs to communicate with society as well. Company communicate with society as a brand logo. Company has a social responsibility hence my workplace runs a litter patrol scheme. One staff goes out on street and picks every litter on street that got company's logo on it. On top of it we run a not beneficial charity for orphan and children in hospital which reflect a good company image in society and tell community that we are not only making money but also helping society. We are also provided by a wireless by police to inform them about any anti social behaviour happening.
Barriers of communication
Despite of good communication methods used, there are still barriers on communication. Workplace consists of multi cultural environment and different culture may have different attitude and values. As regarding to non verbal communication different cultures may have different meaning. Although, non verbal signals are used in similar ways in cultures, there are also differences and these can easily produce misunderstanding (Argyle 1975). The other side of multi cultural workplace is language. Not all people speak same language, even people who speak English properly may not be able to say what they desire due to lack of confidence. Several studies have shown that language fluency is a necessary condition for the adjustment of foreign students in the USA, although there is also evidence that confidence in the use of language regardless of ability is just as important ( Gullahorn and Gullahorn 1966). Not only that, workplace consists of crowd and does have a physical noise which leads to misunderstanding of words due to noise.
If these barriers are to be overcome then there might be a good working environment where communication can flow properly and create a effective communication at workplace.