Meaning and Significance of Communication

Communication is neither the transmission of a message nor the message itself. It is the mutual exchange of understanding, originating with the receiver. Communication needs to be effective in business. Communication is the essence of management. The basic functions of management (Planning, Organizing, Staffing, Directing and Controlling) cannot be performed well without effective communication.

Business communication involves constant flow of information. Feedback is integral part of business communication. Organizations these days are verly large and involve large number of people. There are various levels of hierarchy in an organization. Greater the number of levels, the more difficult is the job of managing the organization. Communication here plays a very important role in process of directing and controlling the people in the oragnization. Immediate feedback can be obtained and misunderstandings if any can be avoided. There should be effective communication between superiors and subordinated in an organization, between organization and society at large (for example between management and trade unions). It is essential for success and growth of an organization. Communication gaps should not occur in any organization.

Business Communication is goal oriented. The rules, regulations and policies of a company have to be communicated to people within and outside the organization. Business Communication is regulated by certain rules and norms. In early times, business communication was limited to paper-work, telephone calls etc. But now with advent of technology, we have cell phones, video conferencing, emails, satellite communication to support business communication. Effective business communication helps in building goodwill of an organization.

Business Communication can be of two types:

Oral Communication: An oral communication can be formal or informal. Generally business communication is a formal means of communication, like : meetings, interviews, group discussion, speeches etc. An example of Informal business communication would be – Grapevine.

Advantages of Oral Communication

  1. There is high level of understanding and transparency in oral communication as it is interpersonal.
  2. There is no element of rigidity in oral communication. There is flexibility for allowing changes in the decisions previously taken.
  3. The feedback is spontaneous in case of oral communication. Thus, decisions can be made quickly without any delay.
  4. Oral communication is not only time saving, but it also saves upon money and efforts.
  5. Oral communication is best in case of problem resolution. The conflicts, disputes and many issues/differences can be put to an end by talking them over.
  6. Oral communication is an essential for teamwork and group energy.
  7. Oral communication promotes a receptive and encouraging morale among organizational employees.
  8. Oral communication can be best used to transfer private and confidential information/matter.

Disadvantages/Limitations of Oral Communication

  1. Relying only on oral communication may not be sufficient as business communication is formal and very organized.
  2. Oral communication is less authentic than written communication as they are informal and not as organized as written communication.
  3. Oral communication is time-saving as far as daily interactions are concerned, but in case of meetings, long speeches consume lot of time and are unproductive at times.
  4. Oral communications are not easy to maintain and thus they are unsteady.
  5. There may be misunderstandings as the information is not complete and may lack essentials.
  6. It requires attentiveness and great receptivity on part of the receivers/audience.
  7. Oral communication (such as speeches) is not frequently used as legal records except in investigation work.

Written Communication: Written means of business communication includes – agenda, reports, manuals etc.

Advantages of Written Communication

  1. Written communication helps in laying down apparent principles, policies and rules for running of an organization.
  2. It is a permanent means of communication. Thus, it is useful where record maintenance is required.
  3. It assists in proper delegation of responsibilities. While in case of oral communication, it is impossible to fix and delegate responsibilities on the grounds of speech as it can be taken back by the speaker or he may refuse to acknowledge.
  4. Written communication is more precise and explicit.
  5. Effective written communication develops and enhances an organization’s image.
  6. It provides ready records and references.
  7. Legal defenses can depend upon written communication as it provides valid records.

Disadvantages of Written Communication

  1. Written communication does not save upon the costs. It costs huge in terms of stationery and the manpower employed in writing/typing and delivering letters.
  2. Also, if the receivers of the written message are separated by distance and if they need to clear their doubts, the response is not spontaneous.
  3. Written communication is time-consuming as the feedback is not immediate. The encoding and sending of message takes time.
  4. Effective written communication requires great skills and competencies in language and vocabulary use. Poor writing skills and quality have a negative impact on organization’s reputation.
  5. Too much paper work and e-mails burden is involved.

Communication is a process of exchanging verbal and non verbal messages. It is a continuous process. Pre-requisite of communication is a message. This message must be conveyed through some medium to the recipient. It is essential that this message must be understood by the recipient in same terms as intended by the sender. He must respond within a time frame. Thus, communication is a two way process and is incomplete without a feedback from the recipient to the sender on how well the message is understood by him.

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