1.1. Definition of communication.
Communication is an act of any natural or artificial means of conveying information or giving instruction. It’s the process of passing information and understanding from one person to the other.
According to Newman and summer
Communication is an exchange of facts, ideas, opinions or emotions by two or more persons.
According to Peter Little
Communication is process by which information is transmitted between individuals/organization so that understanding response results. Its giving, receiving or exchange of information, opinions, or ideas by writing speech or visual means or any combination of the three so that the material communicated is completely understood by everyone concerned.
Administrative communication – Administrative communication is a process involving the transmission and accurate replication of ideas ensured by feedback for purpose of eliciting actions which will accomplish organizational goals.
This definition has emphasized the following points;-
- It involves the communication of ideas.
- Ideas should be accurately replicated. The receiver should get exactly the same ideas as were transmitted.
- Transmitter is assured of accurate replication of ideas by feedback.
- Purpose of communication is to elicit action.
This definition can be expanded to include emotions. The purpose of communication is not always to elicit action it may also include communication to seek information or to persuade other person to a certain point of view.
Main aspect of communication
- Communication must have a source (sender)
- Communication must have content (message)
- Communication must have a media
- Communication must have a destination: i.e. recipient
- Communication must have a feedback.
Importance of communication
Communication can be described as the life blood of the business
No business can develop in the absence of effective external and internal communication.
Communication is a vital tool of management.
One of the major functions of an office is communication. This involves receiving, recording, processing of information and communicating the information two various functions of the organizations.
Importance of communication can be discussed under two points of view.
- Internal communication
- External communication.
1. Importance of internal communication
Internal communication refers to exchange of information or message between persons of same organization, e.g. between employer and employee.
- Better understanding between employer and employees. – If complaints of employees are forwarded to employer on time and in
the right way it will minimize the chances of misunderstanding.
- Greater efficiency.
The sound communication system enables the management to instruct the supervisions and subordinates on changes of policy – this results to the increase in efficiency of workers.
- Effective co-ordination:
Effective communication leads to effective co-ordination of employees e.g if demand increase the marketing department will inform the production department to increase its production.
- Proper communication avoids losses:
If there is a machine breakdown or shortage the management can be informed quickly to take timely action to avoid any possible losses.
2. External communication.
This refers to exchange of information between an organization and other organization or persons outside the organization.
The following facts indicate the importance of external communication.
1. Good reputation
Effective communication with customers and either business enables company establish good reputation this increases prestige of that company.
2. Improvement in public relations:
When a company communicates with general public to keep them informed of its activities more people become interested to deal with that company.
3. Better business prospects –
Due to good communication the company can abstract more customers.
4. Choice of customers –
A company can get information about the liking and disliking of customers. This information will help company produce goods according to the choice of customers.
5. Government department –
The business will deal with licensing authorities, foreign trade offices, custom authorities, banks and other financial institutions. All these institutions require good communication when negotiating.
6. Job requirements –
Most jobs require communication skills such as personnel public relations, marketing, editing, research, advocates, etc.
Executives are expected to make speeches they are expected to give interviews to media.
All these require communication skill.
1.2. OBJECTIVES OF COMMUNICATION
1. To inform –
One of most important objectives of communication is passing and receiving information about of particular fact of circumstance.
An organization can inform consumers about its products, availability of credit, availability of raw materials, or about government rules and regulations. It can also communicate to inform staff about the latest development in the field of science and technology.
Within the organization you can inform employees about job assignments, or inform them of general information on policies and activities of organization.
2. To advice
Information is factual and objective, advice on the other hand involve personal opinions. It is subjective and neutral.
When advice is given to person he /she may use it or decide not to use it. An advice is aimed at influencing the opinion or behaviour of another person. Advice flows downwards or horizontally, e.g. from a doctor to patient and not vice versa.
3. To order
An order is an authoritative communication; it is a directive to somebody (subordinate) to do something to modify or not to do something. Orders flow from top to bottom.
4. To suggested (make suggestion)
A suggestion is different from other forms of communication. In other forms it flows from superiors to subordinates but, a Suggestion may flow from subordinate to superior. A suggestion is mild or subtle and it moves in all directions.
5. To persuade
This is communication aimed at influencing the attitudes, feelings or beliefs of others.
6. To Educate
Education is a conscious process of communication. It involves teaching and learning, its main purpose is to widen knowledge and improve skills.
7. To warn someone
If employees don’t abide by the rules of the organization they will be warned.
8. Raise the morale.
Morale-stands for mental health.
It’s a powerful factor representing the sum of many qualities such as courage, fortitude, resolution and confidence.
9. TO motivate
Motivation is very close to rising of miracle. It means to energize and activate a person and challenge his or her behaviour towards the attainment of desired goals.
1.3. ELEMENTS OF COMMUNICATION
This is the basic urge beneath the communication. It is the wider reason why communication takes place. e.g. in a company the urge to communication is to ensure that this year’s profits are higher than last years.
- The aim
This is the more particular reason why communication has been under taken. The aim of communication can be: to inform to warn or to initiate a particular action
is the material from which communication would be constructed. The actual content to put across to the listener or reader. An information doesn’t need to be factual it can be an opinion, an idea or combination of ideas and opinions
- The sender
This is the person responsible for sending the communication it can be an individual or a group such as a company, a department, a government ministry etc.
- The message: after defining the information to be conveyed, the sender puts this into the best form in a process called encoding. When information has been encoded it is referred to as a message. A message takes the form of a letter, a memo, telephone call, or a shrug of shoulders.
- The media
This is a larger group of ways of communication within which particular ways of communication can be classified. There are three main media.
Written communication e.g. letters, memo, books, posters
Oral communication: this is communication using word of mouth e.g meetings, lectures, telephones or discussions.
Visual communication: it takes the form of photographs, blackboards etc. In addition to these three media we also have non-verbal communication that is combination of gestures, expressions, tone of voice, position, posture, etc.
- The channel:
This the physical means by which message is conveyed for written communication channel may be notice board, postal office.
For oral communication. It may be personal interview, committee meeting, or public telephone call. For visual communication the channel may be computer printer, fax system or printing press.
- The receiver:
Is the person or body which receives the message.
It can be an individual or an organization.
- The noise:
Noise is used to refer to any factors which prevent proper exchange of information apart from that from the sender or receiver. Noise can be physical e.g. typewriters or the telephone bells which interrupt meetings, or it can be some other form of interference such as bad telephone connections, poor handwriting in letter, conflicting messages, e.g in oral communication the visual expression conveys a difference message from that being given orally.
Takes place at the encoding or decoding stage. During encoding the sender may encode the message in such away that it conveys a different meaning from that he or she intended to give. During decoding the receiver may interpret the message in a different
way from that intended by the sender. This may lead to distortion of the message.
This is the name given to the message which the sender receives from the receiver to show the acceptance or disapproval of message, such a smile.
1.4. COMMUNICATION CYCLE
Stage 1: information definition
Sender defines information to be sent by thinking about the aim of the communication and the content to be conveyed.
Encoding stage the information is put into a form which is most suitable for the receiver and the aim of the communication. This involves putting the information into worlds, ideas into picture, gesture/facial expression.
The actual transfer of the message or sending stage. This is done using the message, medium and channel.
Stage 4 –
(Receiving stage) the receiver takes the message by reading a letter, Listening to a speech, looking at an educational television program etc.
Stage 5 –
(Decoding stage) the receive interprets the message he has been given in order to obtain his idea of information it conveys. Its possibly for distortion to occur at this stage due to poor handwriting, medium used by sender or even the receivers attitude towards the sender.
Stage 6 –
(Feed back) this is the reaction of receiver to the senders message. The feedback informs the sender that the message has been received. Feedback may take the form of nodding, smiling or even listening.
Stage 7 –
It is a complete repetition of the cycle
1.5. QUALITIES OF COMMUNICATION
THE SIX C’s OF COMMUNICATION
This is divided into
- Clarity of thought
- Clarity of expression
Clarity of thought.
This is important when the idea is being generated in the mind of the sender
At this stage, three points should be checked upon
- what is the objective of the communication?
Example:- to warn, educate, congratulate
- What is to be communicated?
Example:- A song, play, poem etc
- Which medium is appropriate for the purpose of communication?
Example:- Letters, photographic, interviews. Etc.
Clarity of Expression
The following tips should be considered
- Avoid jargon
Jargon is a special language of trade, certain profession or field of study e.g. medicine, business and only understood and used by people from such fields. It therefore creates a scenario of difficult understanding to those who are not from that field.
Example: in law, the phrase “Jurisdiction of the court of appeal”. This could only be understood by those in the field of law a doctor may not understand such a term.
- Avoid ambiguity
An ambiguous message is one that contains words that have more than one meanings. This may encourage misinterpretation of the words.
Example:- The word dispense could mean both To prepare medicine, To dismiss someone
- Use short sentences
Short sentences are easier to comprehend for they are not complex and do not demand greater concentration as is the case for long ones.
- Use of simple words
Simple words tend to be more effective for they are easily understood and are interpreted correctly.
Example: Use of the word before instead of, prior to
- Use of concrete expression
Concrete expressions create visual images that are easy to register and remember. This can be achieved by avoiding being too general or vague in your expressions.
Example: you can say, ‘that dress is expensive for it costs shs.150, 000/ ‘instead of plainly saying ‘that dress is expensive’.
It is important for your message to be straight to the point by not loading the message with irrelevant and unnecessary details.
Be as brief as possible but not at the expense of clarity, correctness or courtesy.
If a reader feels that he/she is wasting his/her time on your message e.g.
letter, he may opt to disregard it.
How to achieve conciseness
- Avoid repetition
Example: Me, i am thanking you……………..”
- Include only relevant facts and details
- Organize your message well i.e. the introduction, the body of the message and the conclusion.
- The message should be coherent, i.e. it should hold together.
- Avoid wordy expressions, figures of speech and ambiguous words.
In your message, you should always show consideration for the reader or listener. This can be done in the following ways.
- Impact integrity to your message
Ethical principles of sincerity and fair treatment should be observed.
- Emphasize positive and pleasant statement
In case where one has to send a message of regret, use positive and pleasant words.
Example of negative expression – “We are sorry to inform you that you have not been admitted to this school”
Positive expression – “Thank you for your application for a course in
Micro- finance; you are however advised that the commencement date is July next year….
- Adopt the “You” attitude
Avoid ‘I’ and ‘we’ in you message. The “you” attitude is highly recommend for it shows greater respect and consideration for the recipient.
Example of ‘I’ attitude: “I am happy that you considered my application”
Example of ‘You’ attitude: “Thank you for your quick response to my letter”
This calls for a considerate and friendly attitude towards the other the receiver. The following points may assist in promoting courtesy:
- Answer the letters promptly or respond to the message promptly
- Omit negative expressions such as “we regret” instead use friendly statements such as “we shall see to it that…”
- Apologize sincerely for an omission and thank generously for any favour done.
Example of an apology: – We sincerely apologize for not dispatching your goods on time”.
Complete presentation of facts and details is necessary in any business communication
Incomplete communication leads to ineffectiveness of the action to be taken, irrelevancy, misinterpretation and misunderstanding of the message. This is because it leaves a number of questions unanswered.
Example: When replying to an enquiry from a customer wishing to buy a car, one must include all relevant facts about the car such as the model, colour, price mode of payment and other specifications.
The message should be well organized in such a way that the reader/listener is not in doubt about the details contained in it. Tips for communication completeness
- While answering a letter, include all relevant details and answer all questions if any.
- Check on the “5w’s questions to why? What? Where? Who? When?
This simply means:
- Giving correct facts/statements/arguments etc.
- Sending the message at the correct time
- Send the message in the correct style/medium/channel.
1. 6. BARRIERS TO COMMUNICATION
Communication will be effective if it flows speedily and smoothly in an uninterrupted flow.
Some common barriers are:
1. wrong choice of medium:
Unsuitable media may act as a barrier to effective communication example an apology will be effective if communicated face to face rather than in writing.
2. Physical barriers
These may due to inadequate staff, faulty procedures, in accuracy in processing and delivery of communication.
Physical barriers include:
Example passing traffic may disrupt a session; poor handwriting may affect the understanding of a letter.
time and distance
People in different shifts may not communicate because of time. Distance may affect face to face communication when a lecturer is addressing a large group of students.
3. Semantic barrier
Semantic refers to the meaning of language. The same word may be interpreted differently by different people because of mental attitude and understanding.
Semantic barriers include:
- Interpretation of words.
The receiver of the message may not assign the same meaning to that purported by the sender. This may be a barrier to communication example;” what is he value of this ring?” This can be interpreted as the monetary value, the importance or the implication.
- Bypassed instructions
This will happen if the sender and receiver of the message attribute different meanings to the same word use different words for the same meaning. Example a manager said to anew office assistant” go and burn this. The manager simply wanted another copy of the letter, the office assistant went on to burn the letter, to the dismay of the manager.
- Denotation and connotation
Words have connotative and denotative meaning. Denotative meaning is the literal meaning of the word such as book, chair etc.
Connotative meanings arouse qualitative judgments and personal reactions. Words like honesty, noble, competent and sincere.
Some words may have favourable connotation and unfavourable connotation such as the word cheap it may mean low in price or low in quality. To avoid problems of bypassed instructions the following points should be kept in mind.
- Use words which are familiar to the receiver.
- Clarify new words or words used in a different context.
- Choose words that have a positive connotation rather than those with negative connotation.
4. Different comprehension of reality.
These barriers include;
This is the process of focusing attention on some details and omitting others. This is a barrier because a detail that may appear important to one person may be taken as being trivial by the reader.
It means giving a particular bias or slant to a reality. Slanting is similar to allness, in allness we only know a part and are ignorant of the rest but we think that we the whole.
- Inferring Inferences are drawn from observations and assumptions. If we drop a letter at the post office we assume that will be delivered on time. Inferences are not facts Wrong inference is a barrier to communication.
5. Socio-psychological barriers
This may be due to some social or psychological problems.
- Attitudes and opinions
If information agrees with our opinions and attitudes we tend to receive it favourably if we disagree with it we to tend react unfavourably to it.
Emotional state of mind plays an important role in the act of communication. If the sender is perplexed or worried, excited afraid nervous his thinking will be blurred and he will not be able to organize the message properly. His state of
mind will be reflected in the message.