Communication is the act of conveying information from one person to another or a group of people. Disclosure is necessary for the workplace to create connections among employees, sharing ideas, managing teams et cetera. There are four types of communication – verbal, non-verbal, written, and visual. Some instances may require specific modes of communication over another in an organization. For example, a manager can use verbal communication during a staff meeting but use written communication when delivering the organization memo to other branches of the organization.
This type of communication uses language either through speaking or sign language to convey information. Verbal communication is mostly used in an organization, especially employees chatting with each other or during company briefings. Other instances where verbal communication is appropriate is in video conferencing, phones calls, one-on-one conversations and meetings.
This type of communication uses gestures, body language, and facial expressions to communicate with others. It helps estimate and evaluates the thoughts and feelings of others. Non-verbal communications can either be intentional or unintentional. When a person is laughing at a funny comment by another staff member, for instance, may be either intentional or unintentional.
With written communication, the information is conveyed through writing, typing or printing symbols such as numbers and letters. There are several forms of written communication in the workplace, for instance, emails, memos, letters, blogs, books and much more. The mainly used form of written communication nowadays is through the use of emails such as Gmail and yahoo.
This is the use of photographs, drawings, sketches, presentations, arts, drawings, and charts and graphs to convey information. Visual communication is usually used alongside the other types of communication, for instance, an employee may be asked to read certain parts of a written article during a briefing or to present written information in the form of a video to help other better understand the points. As the saying goes, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” the information presented visually is more likely to be understood by the target audience compared to other types of communication. This type of communication is also important for content that requires large content mastery.
Appropriate Methods and Tools of Communication
The different audience has different needs and hence the need to adjust the methods of communication to fit them appropriately. Effective communications ensure that the employee is well informed of the culture of the organization and hence vices such as absenteeism, lowered productivity and high employee turnover.
The tools of communication are verbal, non-verbal, written, and the following is how effectively they are used.
When to Use Verbal Communication
Verbal communication is mandatory is situations such as interviews since the first impression of employees is being sought apart from their qualifications. Some other situations where verbal communications are necessary is when necessary adjustments are being made within the organization, such as replacing staff or firing some employees. Written communication may be used, but it is necessary for verbal communication to be used to pass the message clearly to the target audience.
When to Use Non-Verbal Communication
Types of non-verbal communications are facial expressions, body movement and posture, gestures, eye contact, touch, space, and voice. When it comes to the voice, it is the tone of the person or the way he or she pronounces some words to create a different mood and meaning. For the case of people with special needs, for instance, the deaf, they may be shown affection through a smile and communicated to through sign language.
When Appropriate to Use Written Communication
Some situations will make written communication the best option, such as when two persons are in two different locations. Moreover, in situations such as the need for maintaining a permanent record, when presenting complex information, communicating with a large audience, when there is less need required to interact with the audience, and maintaining uniformity in respectability.
A permanent record may be needed for future reference, especially if the information involves the strategies the organization is undertaking to boost its productivity.
In the case of complex information, written communication will give the audience the opportunity to read again and again till they understand.
A large audience may not clearly hear what the speaker is saying yet maybe the information being presented is important. This will prompt a written material to be made so that everyone can read on their own.
Interaction with the audience may be unnecessary at some point since, for instance, in an organization, everyone may be busy and bringing people together from various departments just for a five-minute talk may be unnecessary. Sending a written email to everyone is more appropriate.
When Appropriate to Use Visual Communication
There are several instances when verbal communication is appropriate, especially when presenting information such as charts or elaborating an organization presentation. Visual communication is best used when elaborating a complex business model that the organization may want to put in place.
Visual communication is useful in conveying information faster and in an easy to remember format since people can easily understand and remember what they see compared to other tools of communication.
How Organization Culture Affects Communication in the Workplace
Culture is the way an individual, group of people or communities and nations carry out tasks or act in accordance with their beliefs and values. Organization culture is the system of shared values, beliefs, assumptions and which govern the organization behaviour. The following are the ways in which organization culture affects communication in the workplace.
The work environment is where employees seek feedback, present new ideas or make mistakes and expose their ideas. If the organization culture is harsh to employees, they may withhold a lot of information which may even be useful to the organization.
The way the leaders in an organization behave determine how the employees will behave. If the leaders do not allow employees to be frank and sincere with themselves, the employees will mostly communicate with each other.
Leaders who abuse employees affect the communication style of the organization since the low-level employees will not be open to take any issue to them. They may communicate through other employees, such as support staff.
Hierarchical organization increases the likability of employees to withhold compared to flatter hierarchies.
Job Control and Autonomy
High ranking employees or the experienced ones have more say in their areas of expertise, or their say has more impact compared to others. This may make some employees feel that their ideas are not valued and may not present some important strategies to the organization in fear of rejection.
Analyzing Communication within Aviva Insurance Company
Aviva is a leading insurance and savings business with its headquarters in London, England. I chose the company to analyze the communication that takes place in the company. The company uses the following types of communications.
The visual presentations are made in advertising products to customers and creating awareness through YouTube videos which can be accessed through their company website, www.aviva.com.
Written communications detailing pension terms to employees in conjunction with the risks and the benefits involved. Also, the legal law that requires employees to be informed of new pension schemes within six months after the start date of duties.
Verbal communications are in calling employees who may have questions regarding their finances. Verbal communication is also applicable during a staff meeting in several departments and briefings that takes place occasionally.
Non-verbal communication is seen in the way the organization takes pride in producing quality products to their customers. It shows their concern to their customers.
Methods and Tools are Suitable for Various Audiences in the workplace
The visual presentation is important in giving presentations about company products, especially reviewing the financial state of the organization and the strategies needed to meet the goals. Since it is a financial organization, it has to keep financial records in the form of balance sheets, brochures, et cetera, which is presented in charts and graphs for ease of understanding. The tools used here are computers, projection boards, and even smartphones.
Written communication is best when delivering emails to clients or to employees within the organization. The memo may also be sent to alert the employees of regular changes in the organization, which may not require a meeting to be called.
Verbal communication is important during briefings and important staff meetings where it is necessary for meetings to be conducted, such as a change in employee ranks, introducing new employees into the organization, et cetera.
Non-verbal communications are in the way employees react to information being presented or when they are communicating with each other, for example, handshake, laughter, smiling, and even nodding their heads. Non-verbal communications can give an estimated picture of how the audience is getting the information or how the information is presented by the speaker.