Communication is a process by which information is exchanged between individuals through a common system of symbols, signs, or behavior (Merriam-Webster). There are usually five elements involved in a communication process which are sender, message, medium, receiver, and feedback. The sender is the one who sends the message and the message is the information, news, or other communication content that is sent. The receiver is the one for whom the message is intended and the medium is the channel selected by the sender to send the message. Examples of medium include face-to-face communication, email, telephone, and memo. The feedback is the confirmation from the receiver that the message has been received (The Times).
Like any other process, the communication process also involves several stages. In the first stage, the message is created. The way the message is created also depends upon the medium selected. For example, a written message may be created if email is chosen as the medium. In the second stage, the message is transmitted through the medium. The third stage involves the message being received by the receiver which is followed by the fourth stage of the message being translated by the receiver. The translation may be done by reading the message or listening to the message and may also involve the receiver reorganizing the message to make it easier to understand it. The final stage is the response stage which is also understood as feedback stage by some. At this stage, the receiver may confirm the message has been received or craft a response because communication also involves request for information or opinion (Schreiner).
There are four main types of communication which are verbal communication, non-verbal communication, written communication, and visual communication. Verbal communication involves sounds, words, and language. Non-verbal communication involves voice tone, touch, body motion, and gestures. Written communication involves email, reports, articles, and memos etc. and visual communication involves visual display of information such as graphs, charts, signs, symbols, and pictures etc. (Buzzle).
Communication is important in an organization because it helps build trust among employees and between the management and the employees as well. Communication helps reduce misunderstandings and uncertainty and improves employee morale. Similarly, communication also makes sure everyone is on the same page regarding organizational objectives and there is minimum duplication and waste of organizational scarce resources (Smith).
Communication also helps enhance innovation and creativity within an organization. Communication encourages collaboration among employees and improves the organization’s overall productivity. Communication also makes it possible to identify problems in a timely manner and tackle them before they become too big (Smith). Since communication builds an environment of trust, it is especially helpful during uncertain times and makes it easier for management to win employees’ support.
Communication will continue to increase in importance between workplaces are becoming more diverse in a global scale and misunderstandings can arise easily among employees with different cultural and ethnic backgrounds. Thus, management should take steps to train employees on both communication and cross-cultural skills because communication styles vary across cultures.
Buzzle. (n.d.). Four Types of Communication. Retrieved May 8, 2013, from http://www.buzzle.com/articles/four-types-of-communication.html
Merriam-Webster. (n.d.). Communication. Retrieved May 8, 2013, from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/communication
Schreiner, E. (n.d.). 5 Steps to the Communication Process in the Workplace. Retrieved May 8, 2013, from http://smallbusiness.chron.com/5-steps-communication-process-workplace-16735.html
Smith, E. (n.d.). The Importance of Communication in the Organizational Structure. Retrieved May 8, 2013, from http://smallbusiness.chron.com/importance-communication-organizational-structure-24390.html
The Times. (n.d.). The Importance of Effective Communication. Retrieved May 8, 2013, from http://businesscasestudies.co.uk/building-societies-association/the-importance-of-effective-communication/the-communication-process.html#axzz2SjaZlzck