Communication in business is at the very heart of every successful enterprise. It’s a key element in how an enterprise grows, develops, and maintains its unique position in an increasingly globalized marketplace. However, with all of the hype about communication and technological “innovation,” many companies are not fully aware of the value of solid communications management practices. Having a solid understanding of what these disciplines entail can help ensure that companies remain on the cutting edge of their industry and remain highly competitive.
When it comes to communication in businesses, there are two distinct approaches that managers must take to effectively manage their networks and portfolios. These approaches are formal and informal, but they equally serve the same purpose, which is to properly plan and achieve the desired goals of communications management. Formal methods include planning meetings, conducting training, assigning tasks, and regular reporting. Informal methods include task-based team building, informal problem solving, live Internet meeting rooms, and other strategies to improve the level of team communications.
At the heart of formal communications is the concept of what is known as decoding. Decoding is a systematic process for communicating information in a way that is understood by the receiver. The commonest example of this would be the coded message sent back and forth by military radio operators during World War II. Coders decode signals by using a series of alphabets and numbers to represent words or phrases and convert the message into an understandable code. It is a system of recognizing a message and its corresponding code and is an essential part of the entire process of reading and writing (coding) in any form of communication, whether it is through spoken words, written words, images, videos, or electronic forms.
As a corollary to this work, modern man-and-machine communication systems have developed highly sophisticated decoding devices. For instance, the telephone (both landlines and mobiles) has built-in coding that converts voice patterns (including accents, inflection, pitch, modulation, etc.) into clearly readable data that can be decoded and understood by computers. Modern devices such as smart phones and digital cameras also have built-in decoders that enable them to make calls and send messages; they just need the user to punch in a code that gives them the correct data to read.
A good communication system is not complete without the ability to send and receive messages effectively. In fact, good communication is defined by the ability to both send and receive messages in an acceptable format. This means that there must be some way for the sender to specify how he/she wants the recipient to receive the message. This is not a technical definition, but is rather a definition of how the sender defines ‘good communication.’ There are three major categories under which good communicators fall: physical media (such as writing and speaking), information transfer (through tapes, documents, hand signals, and so on), and social media (such as emails, instant messaging, live chat, etc. ).
A good communicator understands the difference between written communication and verbal communication. He has good understanding of how to use both written and verbal communications in the workplace. He knows how to use and form words, sentences, paragraphs, etc.
Good communications management involves identifying the appropriate resources to deal with problems and how to best use those resources to solve problems. Then good communication management also involves planning, organizing, managing, and controlling these resources. Such activities can be described under the heading of project management, planning, organizing, execution, and controlling.
An effective communicator is aware of the importance of oral communication and how it differs from written communication. He takes active listening seriously. He does not assume that because someone is using oral language that he understands his meaning. Good oral communication involves taking in and interpreting what someone is saying and then responding accordingly. There is an old saying that says, ‘You can’t have too many hands discussing something.’ I consider this to be very applicable in the workplace.