The objective of communication is to transmit the message with meaning and understanding. All communication has the two broad objectives of information and of persuasion. Other objectives are aspects of these two broad objectives. Whatever we might be communicating, there is some information in what we say. There is also an element of persuasion, because we want the other person to believe us and agree with us and accept what we say.
Read this article to learn about: –
Objectives of Communication – 1. Information – enquiring, supplying or receiving information 2. Advice – 3. Suggestion 4. Order 5. Motivation 6. Persuasion 7. Warning 8. Negotiation 9. Education
Objectives of Downward Communication -1. Instructions 2. Orders 3. Education and Training 4. On-the-job Training 5. Motivation 6. Raising Morale 7. Counselling 8. Advice 9. Persuasion 10. Warning 11. Appreciation
Objectives of Upward Communication – 1. Request 2. Application 3. Appeal4. Demand 5. Representation6. Complaints 7. Suggestion
Objectives of Horizontal or Lateral Communication – 1. Exchange of Information 2. Requests 3. Discussion 4. Co-ordination 5. Conflict resolution 6. Problem solving 7. Advice 8. Social and emotional support
Objectives of Communication
An objective is something that we want to get done by our efforts; it is the purpose with which we undertake an activity. When we communicate we have a reason for doing it. When we speak or write to our friends, our purpose is to keep in touch and to be friendly.
But in a business or official situation, when we communicate with customers, or to our subordinates or our superiors at work, we have a specific objective or purpose; we want to accomplish something, that is, succeed in getting something done.
In business, we have many reasons or purposes for communicating. We may want to give information, we may want to make a request, give instructions, or make a complaint. We may also want to ask for information or learn.
Many times, we want to persuade someone to agree with what we say. There are also some more difficult purposes to achieve when we communicate.
A person who is a leader, manager, or supervisor who has to keep together a team of many persons, has the purpose of motivating them. Sometimes, a leader has to show appreciation and praise the members of the team. Sometimes, the leader has to scold and warn them to do their work properly.
Our communication is clearer and more effective when we know the objective of a particular message which we are going to send. It is also better when we make the objective clear to the receiver. We should be fully clear what we are trying to achieve when we speak to a customer or to a supplier.
All communication has the two broad objectives of information and of persuasion. Other objectives are aspects of these two broad objectives. Whatever we might be communicating, there is some information in what we say. There is also an element of persuasion, because we want the other person to believe us and agree with us and accept what we say.
The objectives of downward communication from seniors to subordinates are different from the objectives of upward communication from subordinates to seniors. Also, the objectives of lateral communication between persons of equal status are different.
What are the Objectives of Communication?
The objective of communication is to transmit the message with meaning and understanding. This message may take any form in the organization: information, order, suggestion, negotiation, persuasion etc.
Whatever the form it assumes, it must be ensured that the communication environment is healthy and harmonious, in which people feel self-respect and convey respect for others, otherwise the objective of communication will be defeated.
Therefore every executive and employee should feel his responsibility to create and maintain the congenial and conducive environment for communication. This responsibility increases with possession of power, position and learning.
The broad objectives of communication are as follow:
One of the objectives of communication is enquiring, supplying or receiving information through spoken or written language or through symbols, signs or signals. Information is different from data. Data (plural of word datum) are symbols, signs or characters without meaning; and information is processed data, with meaning and value.
For example bare accounts of assets, liabilities and capital, conveying nothing meaningful is data; but when these are arranged in Balance Sheet form to portray financial position of a business at an instance of time, it becomes information. Communication aims at sharing and understanding information.
Information is a versatile commodity. It enhances analytical skill and decisiveness, provides the most sustainable competitive advantage and guides the organization towards economy and efficiency.
Business needs different types of information not only to manage different operations and processes but also to ensure its existence in the competitive world. Information acts like lubricating oil for business to work better and thrive in the competition. To be able to get complete and precise information, businesses should cultivate the system that facilitates its people to share what they know.
Types of Information
As far as the informational need of business is concerned, information can be divided and discussed in following two types:
(a) External Information
1. Information about the politics of the country, rules and regulations that affect business.
2. Information about consumers in response to products, its price quality etc.
3. Information about the sources of finance whether foreign (ADR, Euro bonds, GDR, etc.) or internal (Bank loans, loans from financial institutions, creditors, etc.)
4. Information about the quality, price, transportation, credit facilities, supply of raw material etc.
5. Information about efficiency and efficacy of advertisement media.
6. Information about sociological factors affecting business. Such factors include literacy rate, standard of living, etc.
7. Information about science and technology to be imbibed by business.
(b) Internal Information
1. Information of the policies, objectives and programmes of the organization.
2. Information about the employees, their responsibilities, their area of jurisdiction, nature of jobs assigned to them, procedures governing them, etc.
3. Information about the designation, authorities and decision making powers of the different managers.
4. Information about the availability of raw material and stores in the organization.
5. Information about the condition of machinery.
6. Information about the workers, their skill and experience.
7. Information about the position of cash and bank or other financial resources expected to be generated in future.
Sources of Information
1. Mass Media: Mass Medias like newspapers, journals, television and radio provide ample relevant and up to date information to business.
2. Chambers of Commerce and Associations: Chambers of commerce and various associations provide information about the sales, exports, change of tastes of customers, addresses of members, etc.
3. The Libraries: The libraries provide access to reference books, research publications, annual reports, statistical reports, government publications of various kinds, etc., which contain certain relevant information for business.
4. Meetings, Conferences, Seminars and Workshops: Meetings, conferences, seminars and workshops sponsored by large business houses, provide ample knowledge about the latest research and developments in a particular field.
5. Trade Fairs and Exhibitions: Trade Fairs and exhibitions arranged on particular themes or subjects, provide ample information related to that theme or subject.
6. Internet: Internet links the people spread over different locations of the world through computers and satellite links. Through the internet people have easy and instantaneous access to information.
7. Office records: Office records provide information about past correspondence, past performance of business and particulars about employees.
8. Personal observation: Personal observations provide first-hand information about employees’ sincerity, honesty, loyalty, efficiency, etc.
9. Personal interviews: Personal interviews with politicians, professional experts and other prominent personalities can provide certain information for predicting the future of products and policies of the government.
10. Market Research: Market Research conducted through carefully designed questionnaires or interviews provide information about customer’s likes and dislikes.
Advice is the personal opinion about what to do? What should I do? When to do it? and where to do?, a particular course of action in a particular situation with a view to change the behaviour and opinion of the receiver. Since it involves the personal opinion of the advisor, it is likely to be subjective. It is not neutral, objective and factual like information.
Communication flow of Advice
Advice usually flows horizontally or downwards. When the advice flows down from the boss to the subordinate, it is called downward advice. When an expert of a specialized field advises the management how to discharge their function better, advice is said to flow horizontally.
Need for Advice
Present day business operations and processes are not simple and straightforward, rather they are complex and complicated. Various specialized branches of knowledge have emerged to handle the various aspects affecting finance and taxation, marketing and advertising, production and engineering, personnel and human resource development, etc.
No business executive is expected to have thorough knowledge of all fields. Therefore they need advice from professionally expert persons.
Essentials of Effective Advice
Advice can help and harm the receiver. To ensure that it helps and does not harm, it must be given consciously and selectively.
1. Advice should be given only if the recipient is prepared for it, otherwise, it will be a wastage of time and energy by the adviser.
2. The recipient must have confidence in the adviser’s experience, knowledge and sincerity.
3. The advice should be given after careful thought to its various possible dimensions affecting the recipient.
4. The advice should be given after taking into account the level of understanding of the receiver with ideas clearly and completely explained.
5. The tone of the advice should demonstrate the adviser’s sincerity, honesty and interest in the betterment of the receiver.
6. While giving advice, the feeling of inferiority complex should not take place in the mind of the receiver.
7. Advice can be given in a direct way if the receiver is genuinely interested. Another way to offer advice indirectly is to credit it to another source. Some people would say…in this type of situation…..
8. Advice should be given with no insisting on following it. Advice that must be followed is not advice but an order.
Counseling seems like advice but counseling is with professional touch by a man of greater knowledge and skill. It is meant for persons facing domestic or job problems and consequently their disturbance affects the performance of the work. With counseling his pains and emotions are shared, his tension is released.
The purpose of counseling is to regain physical as well as mental health, restoration of his happiness and harmony. While counseling someone, following points must be considered:
1. Prepare yourself by being aware of the problem of the individual.
2. Talk with him/her in a friendly tone by demonstrating sincerity of an interest in her/his welfare.
3. Tell him that he has been called not for putting blame on him but to solve the problem positively.
4. Tell him that details of the meeting will be kept confidential.
5. Hearten him compassionately, even encourage him/her to talk and explain more.
6. Collect all the data from his/her statements and identify the apparent as well as real problem.
7. Explain what is wrong and right and ask him about any suggestions to improve the situation
8. Suggest ways to overcome the problem and arrive at the solution with his active help.
9. Get regular feedback about his performance.
Suggestion is the most important objective of communication. Suggestions are the proposals by subordinates to higher authority indicating change required in the existing procedural and operational matters.
Suggestions are different from advice. The advice flows horizontally whereas suggestions flow upwardly. The advice is given by experts whereas suggestions are given by lower staff.
In bureaucratically degenerated organizations suggestions may be received through suggestion boxes and then thrown in dusty baskets but in present day learning organizations aspiring for excellence and total quality, suggestions are weighed very high. The advantages of calling suggestions are:
(a) Creativity is not the monopoly of top management. Operational level staff can convey better ideas. Through a suggestion scheme, they are encouraged to become more creative.
(b) With creativity their job satisfaction increases and their sense of belongingness is strengthened.
(c) Through suggestions management comes to know the grievances and problems of employees and can think over them before they agitate.
An order is the directive issued by management to subordinates in an authoritative manner, specifying to do or to restrain from doing some course of action. Irrespective of the size and nature of organization, issuing of orders is essential to accomplish the task. It is downward communication as it flows from higher authorities to subordinates. Order is always internal and downward communication. It may be written or oral.
Written orders are issued in the following circumstances:
(i) When it is essential to pinpoint the responsibility, and to keep the record.
(ii) When the person, to whom orders are to be issued, is situated far away in a remote location and it is not possible to communicate with him on phone.
(iii) When the job is of routine and repetitive nature and it is wasteful to issue oral orders every time.
(iv) When the directives are to be given in special or specific forms.
Oral Orders are given in the following circumstances:
(i) When face-to-face communication between the communicator and receiver is possible.
(ii) When the task is to be done immediately without the loss of time.
(iii) When keeping record of the order is not imperative.
(iv) When the relations between boss and subordinate are of trust and loyalty.
Features of an Effective Order
1. Simple Language: The language of the order should always be simple and straight. If the language of the order is beyond the receiver’s level of understanding, it will confuse him. As a result the purpose of the order will be defeated.
2. Clear and complete: Order should always be clear and complete so that the reader can know what exactly is expected from him.
3. Possibility of execution: The communicator must issue that order whose execution is possible. If there are possible difficulties, it must be overcome with detailed instructions.
4. Tone of Order: The tone of the order should not produce resentment and repercussion in the mind of the receiver. The harsh and bitter tone does not stimulate the willing acceptance rather acts as a negative force in the execution of orders.
5. Appraisal: On execution of order, its appraisal should be done at proper time with active feedback.
Motivation channelised the inner urges of man to work and to excel towards the organizational goals. Everyman is worker as well as shirker, and divine as well as devil. The business manager has to motivate his employees to work with all their divine qualities in the direction of organizational goals.
The position of manager in motivation is not the same as in case of order or persuasion, where he acts like a sage on the stage. Whereas in motivation his role is like a guide by side, helping others to discover their inner urges to excel.
For motivating employees, the following points should be considered.
1. Each employee has needs, physical as well as psychological. Physical needs are the basic needs like food, shelter and clothing. And psychological needs include social belongingness, self-esteem, status and self-actualization. The manager should identify with the needs of the various employees and activate their behaviour in the direction of fulfillment of those needs.
2. Ensure that employees feel themselves identified with the organization. If employees are identified with the organization, they can think and work better for achieving its goal.
3. Cultivate healthy and harmonious relations among people at work. Motivation is possible only in the environment of trust, understanding and friendship, not under confrontation and resentment.
4. Encourage employees to participate in the decision-making process so that they can feel themselves as an important organ of the organization. This helps the management to earn their confidence and co-operation.
5. Clarify the targets and tasks to be accomplished in concrete terms. This should be in such a way that employees must feel a sense of pride and responsibility to accomplish them.
6. Provide genuine and honest leadership to the employees so that they can learn through the example of their leader.
Persuasion is the act of influencing the other persons to voluntarily change their attitudes, beliefs, feelings or thoughts. Effective persuasion is a difficult and time consuming task, but it is also a more powerful way than ordering or warning in command-and-control style of management.
In business, persuasion is used a number of times. The seller persuades the buyers to buy the company’s products by telling them the potential benefits they can get. Sometimes demoralized, disinterested or disgruntled employees are persuaded to work for their as well as the company’s betterment.
Persuasion is better than coercion or compulsion which breed resentment and retaliation. People forcefully resist change when they are forced to change. But in persuasion, change is brought in through- indirect and invisible way, of which the person is not aware.
Therefore Jay A. Conger remarks, “If there ever was a time for business people to learn the fine art of persuasion, it is now. Gone are the command-and-control days of executives managing by decrees. Today businesses are run largely by cross-functional teams of peers and populated by baby boomers and their Generation X offspring, who show little tolerance for unquestioned authority. Electronic communication and globalization have further eroded the traditional hierarchy as ideas and people flow more freely than ever around organizations and as decisions get made closer to the markets. These fundamental changes, more than a decade in the making, but now firmly part of the economic landscape, essentially come down to this: work today gets done in an environment where people don’t just ask what should I do? But why should I do it? To answer this question effectively is to persuade.”
How to Persuade
“It (Persuasion) involves careful preparation, the proper framing of argument, the presentation of vivid supporting evidence, and the effort to find the correct emotional match with your audience,” Jay A Conger aptly states.
To him, effective persuasion involves four distinct and essential steps: “First Effective persuaders establish credibility. Second, they frame their goals in a way that identifies common ground with those they intend to persuade. Third, they reinforce their position using vivid language and compelling evidence. And fourth, they connect emotionally with their audience.”
But remember, persuasion does not lie in presenting great arguments, but also more than this, lies in the persuader’s credibility.
To quote Jay A. Conger, “In persuading people to change their minds, great arguments matter. No doubt about it. But arguments, per se, are only one part of the equation. Other factors matter just as much, such as the persuader’s credibility and his or her ability to create a proper, mutually beneficial frame for a position, connect on the right emotional level with an audience, and communicate through vivid language that makes arguments come alive.”
Persuasion is an act which comes with conscious practice and experience. These are some of the guiding hints that can be applied in persuasion:
1. Analyze the situation and concerned persons: Before initiating persuasion, first analyze the situation to know what is the real as well as apparent problem. What are the other courses of action and what are their merits and demerits from persuader’s and other people’s point of view? The interests, needs, motives and psychology of the man to be persuaded should be imagined beforehand.
2. Prepare the receiver to be open-minded: Never start the persuasion with overwhelming dry and rough arguments. Before this, the receiver should be prepared to open his mind. The close-minded and egoistic persons are difficult to convince because their minds are preoccupied with prejudices, presumptions and preconceived ideas.
Here the persuader should meet them in the middle of the way by starting from the common agreeable points. As the receiver starts opening his mind and accepting some of the views, then gradually starts convincing him.
3. Use the appealing arguments: Use those arguments that appeal to the receiver’s interests and needs. For this, it is imperative that knowledge of the likes and dislikes of the receiver must be kept in mind.
4. Be flexible, never impose: If the persuader wants the receiver to listen to him, he should first listen to him totally. If there are certain positive points, those must be appreciated with an open mind and broad heart. In argumentation, never impose arguments on other people; give subtle suggestions and indirect hints. It is quite possible that we try to win arguments, but lose relations along with arguments.
5. Do not be emotional: Sometimes it happens that in argumentation we become emotional, and identify with certain opinions. When we do not find the other person responding we lose temper and patience. That does not solve the problem, rather complicates. Therefore, it is imperative to cool the temper of oneself by being aware of it, as well as to soothe the other person.
Discussion should always be in a cool and dispassionate manner, rather than in an angry and agitated way. Be watchful that arguments are generating more light than heat.
6. Motivate for action: First wait and watch that the attitude of the other person has been changed. Then motivate and encourage him for action. Ask him that the decision you have taken is his own.
Warning is informing about the unpleasant and unfavorable consequences, if a certain course of action is not changed. Such courses of action may be negligence, defiance, mishandling material and machinery regularly, misbehaving with others, etc. The purpose of warning is to ask the employee to abide by the rules and regulations and work with dedication and discipline.
The warning is usually given by superior to the subordinate either in oral or written form. It can be general or particular. General warnings are not directed to any particular person or group. Warnings like ‘No smoking’, ‘Outsiders are not allowed’, ‘No admission without permission’ are general warnings.
Particular warnings-warnings against a particular person- can humiliate that person which may evoke his resentment and repercussion. Therefore while issuing particular warning, following points must be observed:
(a) Warning should always be issued after objective and impartial analysis of the situation, not out of personal prejudices or presumptions.
(b) Before warning any person, he should be given a reasonable opportunity to explain his position.
(c) Oral warning should be given in privacy and with a friendly but fresh tone. Harsh and humiliating words should be avoided that may nurse personal grudge in the heart of the person being warned. The purpose of warning is betterment of the individual as well as of organization, therefore words used in warning should be carefully and consciously thought out.
(d) Written warning should be given through secret, not open letters. The letter should contain a clear and complete message with hope for the betterment.
Negotiation is one of the objectives of business communication. In negotiation, two or more parties discuss the proposals concerned with specific problems to find mutually acceptable agreement. Usually it is done in an informal way.
According to Adler and Elmhorst, negotiation can be approached in four ways:
(a) Bargaining Orientation is based on the assumption that only one side can reach its goal and victory of one party is defeat of the other party. Here one party forces the other towards a specific outcome. This approach focuses only on the immediate results and ignores the maintenance of relations.
(b) Lose-Lose Orientation is a situation when the concerned parties damage each other to such an extent that they both feel like a loser. Both do not seek a lose-lose situation in the initial stage but when one feels that the other party is blocking him, he starts blocking the other person’s gain. For example, when an employee requesting leave to attend his brother’s marriage is denied, he starts behaving in a manner detrimental to the organizational interests.
(c) Compromise when the concerned parties realize the impossibility of controlling the opponent and choose to avoid unnecessary fighting, they are said to have compromised. This compromise is better than indulging in a lose-lose situation. Here both the parties lose at least some of what they were expecting.
(d) Win-Win Orientation is the transformation of the conflicting and competitive environment into cooperative and collaborative endeavours. Here both the parties explore solutions to the problem (unlike lose-lose situations where they themselves become the problem) even transcending the conflicting means of both parties, with the objective to satisfy the ends each one is seeking.
Thus, the purpose behind this approach is maximizing mutual benefits and maintaining healthy relations, while solving the problem. This approach is obviously superior to other approaches. In applying this approach, following steps should be considered.
(a) First of all the ends which both parties are seeking are identified rather than arguing over means.
(b) The possible solutions to the problem that satisfy the ends are listed and evaluated from both parties’ perspective.
(c) The most suitable solution that harms least and provides maximum mutual benefits is chosen. Here satisfaction of both the parties is must.
(d) The solution selected is implemented in the environment of trust and cooperation.
Which Approach to Use?
No rational person will indulge in a lose-lose situation. Compromise is the next choice when it is impossible to win. The party has to choose between a win-win approach or bargaining. Both are different in following regards:
(a) Parties in bargaining approach, consider others as their foe whereas in win-win as their friend. There is conflict and competition in bargaining whereas there is co-operation and collaboration in win-win situations.
(b) Bargaining concentrates on self-interest whereas win-win approach seeks for mutual gains.
(c) Bargaining is based on exercising power, dictating terms and taking advantage of the other party’s weakness. However, the win-win approach does not practise this. It follows the path of trust, understanding and open communication.
When to use Bargaining and win-win Negotiating Styles:
Education is the most important objective of communication. Organizations teach and train their executives and employees, both existing as well as newly recruited to learn new tools and techniques of performing various operations with greater economy, efficiency and effectiveness.
Besides this, while marketing their products and services they also educate the public about the potential benefits of the product. For this, communication is imperative and indispensable.
Education of Executives and Employees
Following the waves of liberalization and globalization, competency and inefficiency are becoming intolerant. With this, executive’s and employee’s education is coming on top of the agenda of companies in the current business scenario.
Shoshana Zuboff, author of ‘In the age of the smart machine’, profoundly remarks, “learning is the new form of labor. [It’s] no longer a separate activity that occurs either before one enters the workplace or in remote classroom settings……. learning is the heart of productive activity.”
Further illuminating the importance of education and learning in the present business environment and the role of communication media for that, Tom Peters remarks, “Organizations that have learned how to learn, that have looked into universities and other learning centres, they alone will thrive.”
In India, for the education of executives, business organizations have relied upon universities and big management institutions which are offering residential Executive/MBA programmes. These programmes are so costly that most small and medium scale units find it difficult to afford these courses.
Keeping this limitation of conventional management education courses, certain organizations like All-India Management Association are offering programmes within the company ranging from a few days to months. These programmes have an edge over full time courses in that they provide uniformity of training to different participants from the company without interruption of work and at lesser cost.
Through mass communication media like Television, radio, newspapers, etc., business organization can educate the public about the products and services offered by it. The various benefits and utilities of a company’s products, specialty of different brands, time to time concessions and discounts, etc. are communicated at different intervals.
Main Objectives of Communication
1. To communicate effectively for stronger decision making.
2. To share and understand the information.
3. Communication acts as a tool for the effective work related flow of information.
4. To make sharing of ideas simple, clear and complete.
5. To develop strong business relationships and enhance professional image.
6. It enhances rapport with peers, superiors and subordinates.
7. To promote the company name and public promotions.
8. To counsel employees regarding career guidance, legal advice and improve their productivity.
9. To delegate the work to the subordinates.
10. Upward communication facilitates the employees in putting forth their opinion.
11. To persuade the receiver to understand and accept the proposal.
12. To improve motivation level and morale among the employees.
Objectives of Downward Communication
Messages moving from seniors to subordinates in an organization or from persons with expert knowledge to lay persons, have several objectives like giving instructions and orders to carry out tasks, training people for the tasks and for general improvement, motivating people to put in their best effort, to maintain high level of discipline and conduct, giving advice and suggestions when needed and persuading others on various matters.
Customers and the general public have to be educated on the use of products, business procedures; customers who do not pay their dues have to be warned, and potential buyers have to be persuaded to buy.
Instruction is information about how to carry out a process or procedure. Supervisors instruct their staff on tasks that are to be performed from time to time. In most cases, this can be done orally, individually or in groups.
Oral instruction may be supplemented with written material and visual material. Actually showing how to do something is called demonstration; it is a method of instructing in procedures and in operating machines. Films can also be used for demonstration. User manuals which are given to customers with mechanical articles, have diagrams and pictures. This type of instruction is educational.
An order is a formal assignment of a task. It is often in written form, and generally means that the matter mentioned in it is final. Simple orders to carry out certain tasks may be given orally. Subordinates who question or disobey orders are considered guilty of misconduct or insubordination.
An order must be clear and exact. Junior staff may not have enough understanding to be able to function usefully unless they are given clear and full instructions on their tasks. All communication must be in a style which the recipient understands.
Office Order is a formal written statement of any change to be made in office routine. It is a record and formal instruction to all concerned that the change is effected. It states the change and the date from which it comes into effect. Copies are filed in all the relevant files and sent to concerned persons who are expected to take action and who are affected by it.
3. Education and Training:
Education is the development of the abilities of the mind. Training is practical education or practice in some skill, under the guidance and supervision of an expert. Both require an expert to teach and guide. Education and training are both informative as well as persuasive. Both lead to discipline and development through learning, and practice.
Special communication skills are required to accomplish these objectives. Oral communication in the form of lectures and discussions is most commonly used for this purpose. Written notes and handouts are used for training. Demonstration, films, and actual work experience are used for training in technical work and skills.
Training is also used for changing attitudes and developing a commitment among employees. It is meant to create an emotional commitment to service and high quality of performance.
Customer education is an important objective of the marketing department. Customers who buy consumer durables are given training to use them most effectively. Companies selling products like Xerox machines, computers, vacuum cleaners, cellular phones, etc., arrange for training of buyers. Some customer education communication is done for the purpose of building up goodwill and public relations; it is informative as well as persuasive.
4. On-the-job Training:
When a new employee takes up a job; s/he needs some instruction and training, even if s/he has had previous experience. The person must be educated and trained to handle the work (especially if it involves handling a machine) and helped to understand the routine.
When a new employee is placed on the job, the supervisor, or another experienced employee watches, supervises, helps and corrects the new person till s/he learns the job. This kind of education/ training communication is informal. A supervisor or mentor who is given the responsibility for on-the-job training must have patience and the ability to teach.
On-the-job communication is oral; it may be supplemented by instruction booklets, policy statements, pamphlets and employee manuals.
Motivation means providing a person with a motive, an incentive, an inner urge to make an effort to do his best. Managers constantly try to improve performance in the workplace by motivatings the staff.
Communication is the most important and critical element in the motivation of employees. Managers use communication to improve employees’ sense of self-worth by showing recognition and appreciating good work. We all have a need for recognition, prestige, esteem, status and reputation.
When our seniors communicate to us that we have done well, we feel happy and good about ourselves. When we feel good about ourselves we are motivated to make better efforts.
Motivation requires regular and careful communication which managers and supervisors need to do skilfully. Subordinates and team mates can be motivated by managers, supervisors and leaders in several ways:
(i) Listening to them and showing respect for their views. People feel happy and important when their ideas and opinions are heard and respected by their supervisors.
(ii) Ensuring that credit is given where it is due. Expressing appreciation for achievement and effort is a good way to make people feel that they are recognized.
(iii) Avoiding personal criticism even when opposing their ideas. Persons must be shown respect and consideration even if specific ideas they express are not acceptable.
(iv) Maintaining an open communication climate. People should feel free to speak out their view even if they have complaints and criticism to express.
(v) Using friendly and co-operative style for giving instructions. Instructors and learners have to make a co-operative effort to give and receive the communication; authoritative style is not always effective. For example, after having explained something, the manager might say, “Let me make sure that I have not missed giving you information which you might need; will you summarize for me to make sure I’ve covered everything?”
In this way, the manager takes the responsibility and encourages co-operation from the subordinate. It helps to meet the ego-needs of the juniors and establishes a co-operative climate. It is much better than saying, “Please repeat what I said so I can make sure that you have understood.”
(vi) Making a clear statement of expectations. The manager must give the subordinates a clear idea of what is expected from them so that they can make the required effort to achieve it. People generally try to meet the expectations that others have of them.
6. Raising Morale:
Morale is the state of mind and of discipline and spirit of a person or a group. In a workplace, it is reflected in the individual and collective actions of the employees; it reflects their level of discipline and confidence. People with high morale feel good about themselves and are highly motivated and have the courage to face problems and meet challenges.
Confidence is an important factor of morale. People need confidence —
(i) in themselves; they must feel that they can do their job well and have confidence that they can meet challenges;
(ii) in the management; they must feel confident that their company will support them, give them required training and give them information about plans, progress, changes and problems which affect their job, career, prospects;
(iii) in their company’s ability; they must feel confident that their company can meet outside challenges like competition, crisis, business problems and other threats.
Raising morale cannot be done by a single communication; morale is affected by all communications, and by the manner and style of communications. The communication policy of an organization must be framed with this objective in mind.
An open communication climate helps to keep the morale high. Open communication climate means that there is a good flow of information in the organization. For example:
(i) Information about programs, plans, policies, progress must be circulated
(ii) Details of welfare schemes and facilities must be publicized
(iii) Upward communication must be cultivated and encouraged
(iv) There must be consultations on proposed changes and assurances of job security before any major changes are made.
When morale is low, the performance is poor; there is lack of discipline, absenteeism, and general lack of interest in work. The grapevine is likely to become fast and thick, and there are many rumours. Sometimes, the morale of some employees or a group of employees begins to drop if there are rumours of retrenchment, close-down of a department, a take-over, or some such possibility which creates fear and anxiety. Morale also comes down if the managers cannot handle a crisis or a threat from outside.
Communications with employees must be increased if the morale goes down or is likely to go down. It is seen in increased rumours. Companies put up notices and distribute circulars giving the correct information in order to stop rumours.
Meetings, including informal tea meetings provide a good channel for giving correct information and for improving morale. In case of a difficult or critical situation, a meeting of all staff may be held to explain the correct position and clear the doubts and anxieties of employees.
Such special morale-boosting communications must be carefully planned. Top managers may hold a conference to work out a program of morale-boosting communications in case a crisis appears.
Counselling is a specialised form of advice; it is done by specialists. Persons who are experts in psychiatry, medicine, law, or other fields, give advice on matters related to their field of specialisation. Companies which take care of employees’ welfare have counselling services for their employees; they engage the services of specialists to give advice and career guidance to their employees. Stress, tension and some emotional problems can be sorted out, treated and corrected at the health counselling centre of the company.
Communication for counselling is oral, face-to-face and confidential. There may also be some printed material for the purpose of giving the required information. Counselling can be successful only if there is free two-way communication; the counsellor can give useful advice only when the person needing the advice is willing to explain and discuss the problem.
A manager or supervisor may advise junior employees on matters related to work or on personal matters if the relationship is close. A senior may give advice to a confused employee on how to be more efficient. Advice on purely official matters can be given with authority; but advice on personal matters can only be offered as a suggestion.
Communication for advice is oral, face-to-face, informal and confidential communication. The person giving advice must be tactful and have a sympathetic nature.
Persuasion means making efforts to change or influence the attitudes and behaviour of others. Persuasion is achieved by skilful appeal to emotions. The style and tone of persuasive communication is different from the style and tone of informative communication.
Persuasion means using the best arguments to win over and convince others. It requires the skill and ability to use the symbols of communication in an effective manner; the persuader should be able to use words, both spoken and written, as well as non-verbal methods in such a way as to have the most influential effect on the target audience.
Persuasion needs a basis of information; we cannot persuade customers to buy unless we give them information about our goods and services.
A great deal of communication in an organization is persuasive. We use persuasion to motivate employees to make better efforts or to accept a change; we use it to sell goods to customers and collect dues from customers. A company uses it to get the public’s goodwill and investment. Government uses persuasion to make people pay taxes.
There are three factors of persuasion:
(i) The personal character and reputation of the persuader must be respected and accepted by others; people believe what is said or written by a respected and reputable person or organization. This is known as source credibility.
(ii) The emotional appeal made by the persuader must be suitable and effective. All persons have three types of needs: physical needs, social needs and ego needs. Social and ego needs are the emotional needs; social needs are the need to belong to a group, to have friends, to meet others and have social interaction; ego needs are the need to win, to be successful, to do well, to be appreciated and recognized and to feel good about oneself. If the persuader offers satisfaction of these emotional needs, people respond favourably.
(iii) The logic of the presentation made by the persuader must be reasonable. People must be shown how they will benefit by accepting the proposed ideas, views, or actions. The persuader needs knowledge of the background and the present attitudes/views of the people in order to use the right appeals and reasons.
Warning means advising or urging someone to be careful; it is meant to caution someone of possible danger. A warning is also an authoritative and formal notice of something unfavourable. Warning is given in special circumstances.
An employee who does not work properly is given a warning. Groups may also be given a warning; for example, workers’ unions may be given warning that their agitation might lead to closing of the factory, which is a loss to all parties. A customer who has bought goods or services on credit and does not pay his dues is given a warning of the dangers of not settling his dues.
The warning is caution that credit facilities will be stopped, that other sellers would get information about his failure to pay, possible loss of credit reputation. Finally, there is a warning that legal action would be taken to enforce payment.
Warning is given only after milder methods have failed to achieve results. At first, an attempt is made by advice, request, instruction, or order; only if all these fail, a warning is given.
Warning may be given orally or in writing. A warning, whether oral or written, is always confidential. When severe disciplinary action, like dismissal, is to be taken against an employee, a warning notice must be given in writing.
The termination of any contract requires that one of the parties should give a written notice to the other party. Similarly, an employees’ union that intends to go on strike has to give a written notice of strike.
The purpose of a warning is not to break the relationship. You need good communication skills to be able to give a warning without being insulting. Courtesy, even while giving warning, is necessary to maintain one’s dignity and proper relationships.
Appreciation means showing and expressing praise for the work of others. Appreciation by managers and supervisors when employees do good work and make achievements creates a good attitude among the staff.
Simple appreciation can be expressed orally, in writing and by non-verbal methods.
a. Oral methods are:
(i) The manager may tell the person or group personally, immediately, that they have made the achievement that their work is appreciated.
(ii) If the achievement is big, appreciation can be expressed again at a meeting or a function.
(iii) It may also be mentioned at the time of introducing the person or group to a guest or visitor.
b. Important achievements are given written appreciation. Methods of written appreciation are:
(i) Letter of appreciation is issued to the person or persons
(ii) Notices on the notice board and bulletin board
(iii) It is mentioned in the minutes of a meeting of the staff
(iv) It is reported in the company’s House Magazine.
c. Non-verbal methods of appreciation include:
(i) Award of a certificate at a function
(iii) Invitation to a special meeting/function
(iv) Giving additional opportunity for career development (such as training courses)
(v) Assignment of more important and responsible tasks.
Appreciation always makes the recipient feel good and improves motivation.
Objectives of Upward Communication
Most of the objectives are related to communication from superiors to subordinates and from sellers to buyers. A good deal of communication also moves from subordinates to superiors and from buyers to sellers.
Information moves upward by a system of periodical reporting and collection of feedback and users’ evaluation sheets.
Also, people make requests, applications and appeals to those who have the power to grant them; aggrieved persons may make demands and representations and complaints; more creative and motivated persons make suggestions.
Requests are made by staff for various kinds of permission or favours. There may be requests for leave, for permission to report late or leave early on a particular day, for permission to attend classes, a request to be sponsored for a special training course, or for an increase in salary. These are best done in two stages; first, orally with the immediate superior and then, through the immediate superior, a written request to a higher authority.
Application is a written request, giving full details of the matter and supported with reasons, whenever necessary, for example, an application for a job, or for leave.
Appeal is an earnest request for help or support or for something that does not fall within your privileges. Such special favours may be obtained by appealing to a higher authority with proper reasons. An appeal may be written or oral, by an individual or by a group. Power of persuasion is necessary for success in having an appeal granted.
A demand is formal and is put up through an employee union. It has to be supported by good arguments. Demands are usually collective and in writing. Requests and appeals for better service conditions may turn into demands if the management is unsympathetic or the union is aggressive.
Representation is always in writing. An employee who feels that he has not been given what he deserves, for example, a promotion, makes a representation.
A representation must contain a full explanation of the case; evidence in the form of documents like an appointment letter, rules in the service-conditions book, government circulars, etc., may be quoted or cited.
A representation may be made by a group of persons; for example, a group of students may represent to the University Vice-Chancellor to get their grievances, redressed; a group of citizens may represent to the city transport company to get bus services extended to their locality; a group of aggrieved employees may make a representation to top management to get redressal of their grievances.
Complaint is made when there are faults or defects in the system or in the goods supplied or services rendered, so that they may be corrected. A complaint may be oral or written. Within an organization, minor complaints may be adjusted by oral communication. In commercial transactions, it is necessary to make complaints in writing. Customers can also make complaints by telephone.
If an internal complaint is of a serious and complicated nature, and if its correction is likely to involve action over a wide area, a written statement is necessary for circulation as well as for constant reference. Otherwise, good managers do not need written complaints because they are alert in correcting faults as soon as they are pointed out.
There should be courtesy in making a complaint. Courtesy is not contrary to firmness; talking or writing with courtesy and normal respect due to other human beings does not dilute the strength of a complaint or of a warning.
A suggestion is a new idea proposed for consideration. Everyone develops ideas about better ways in which to do their work or to improve their conditions and environment. In an organization, employees at all levels may suggest to their supervisors and seniors, ideas on better procedures and methods.
A suggestion is usually oral, and may come in a formal or informal discussion. However, a good suggestion which requires attention and careful consideration may be put up in writing so that it can be circulated to several concerned persons.
A suggestion can be made by any employee or customer. Suggestions from employees at all levels are greatly welcomed by modern management. Many companies have suggestion schemes as an organized method to encourage suggestions from employees. A well-operated suggestion scheme is an effective morale-builder.
Objectives of Horizontal or Lateral Communication
Communication among persons of the same status is very important for co-ordination and planning. Managers need to meet at regular intervals to ensure that the organization’s activities are in harmony.
While official issues may be taken up in formal meetings, requests, suggestions and advice may be exchanged informally.
The main objectives of horizontal or lateral communication are:
(i) Exchange of Information: Heads of departments and other peer groups need to share information about work, activities, progress and processes. Some information is conveyed formally through copies of documents like letters and reports; a good deal of information is exchanged orally by formal and informal meetings or over the intercom.
(ii) Requests: Informal and formal requests may be made among peer groups for suggestions, advice, favours and so on.
(iii) Discussion: Plans and projects require discussion and review; formal and informal meetings are held for this purpose. Daily routine matters may be settled by informal discussion. Discussions among persons of equal status have an educative value, and are used in training programs.
(iv) Co-ordination: Projects and tasks involve several departments; co-ordination needs lateral communication. Every department must know how the other aspects of a task are progressing so that all can make proper contributions. Members of a team need to meet regularly to review and understand the progress of their project.
(v) Conflict resolution: Conflicts are unavoidable when different personalities work together. Regular lateral communication is necessary for preventing and resolving conflicts that arise between departments or individual members of a team.
(vi) Problem solving: Problems may arise in the course of carrying out any task or project. Most of these can be solved by horizontal communication among all those who are concerned with the problem and affected by it. Brainstorming is often used for finding solutions.
(vii) Advice: Persons of the same status also exchange useful suggestions and advice in a friendly informal way.
(viii) Social and emotional support: One of the important and informal objectives of lateral communication is to provide social and emotional support among peers.
Persuasion plays a large part in horizontal communication, as matters are discussed and agreed upon and co-ordinated.