Communication can broadly be defined as exchange of ideas, messages and information between two or more persons, through a medium, in a manner that the sender and the receiver understand the message in the common sense, that is, they develop common understanding of the message.
The word communication is derived from the Latin word ‘communicare’, which means to share, impart, participate, exchange, transmit or to make common. It emphasises on sharing common information, ideas and messages. It is not merely issuing orders and instructions.
Nature of Communication:
Communication occurs wherever life exists.
The transmission of any meaningful message is communication. It is as natural a phenomenon as existence itself. Whether we recognize it or not, we have no option but to communicate.
Then we here stands for all things living. A baby cries to convey its hunger. A dog barks to warn his master of an intruder. Corporate organizations which, after all, consist of the human element, use information- based systems like Management Information System (MIS), Decision Support System (DSS) and Strategic Information System (SIS) to run businesses successfully.
This is what communication is all about. Communication is an integral part of human existence. Communication contributes enormously to the success or failure of every human activity. Communication is essentially the ability of one person to make contact with another and to make himself understood.
Since man is a social animal, it is vital that he express his feelings and emotions, receive and exchange information. It is here that communication comes into play.
In case of organizations, it becomes even more important as people working in different departments have to achieve common objectives. The working of inter-personal relationships is possible only through communication.
Apart from binding its various components internally, communication is what links an organisation with the external world. Thus, communication is regarded as the foundation of a successful organisation. No group can exist without communication.
Communication has a significant impact on the ultimate potency of an organisation. It is only through communication that ideas, information, attitudes or emotions get conveyed from one person to another.
At the individual level also, effective communication skills are responsible for success. According to a survey of America’s most successful managers by a leading American magazine, Fortune, excellent communication skill was one of the prime determinants of success.
Process of Communication:
The process of communication involves seven major elements -sender, message, encoding, channel, receiver, decoding and feedback.
The sender is the person who transmits a message. He is the communicator. He is the one who gets the entire process of communication started. He wants to get his opinions, ideas, facts, thoughts or information across to the receiver. He is, therefore, also said to be the transmitter of a message.
A message is the actual information that has to be conveyed. Communication is unthinkable without a message. A message triggers a response from the receiver. Messages can broadly be divided into verbal and non-verbal. The message must be clear, complete, unambiguous and courteous.
The seeds of communication are sown the moment the sender thinks of transmitting a certain message. These thoughts have to be converted into suitable words, pictures, charts or symbols so that they can be delivered to the receiver.
This process of converting thoughts into suitable words, charts, symbols or any other form in which they can be understood by the receiver is called encoding. The choice of the method of communication is made here – will the message be verbal or non-verbal?
How does one communicate? This is what a channel deals with. Communication is achieved through a channel. The channel can be a letter, an email, a fax, a telephone or memos, reports, bulletins, posters and manuals.
The choice depends on the relationship between the sender and the receiver as well as on the message that has to be communicated. Other factors that tend to influence the choice of a channel include the gravity of the message, the number of receivers, the costs involved and the amount of information.
The person who receives the message, decodes it and understands it or attaches some meaning to it is the receiver.
The receiver has to perform three functions:
(i) Reception of the message:
This is the stage when a message sent by the sender is sensorial taken in by the receiver.
(ii) Decoding the message:
After receiving the message, the receiver has to attach some meaning to it.
(iii) Understanding the message:
He then has to interpret it in the same way and in the same sense as the sender meant it.
The return of communication from the receiver to the sender is known as feedback. It is the response, reaction or reply to the communication. It is always directed towards the sender. This completes the cycle of communication. Thus, in feedback, the receiver sends his reply or response to the sender, indicating that he has understood the message received. In face-to-face communication.