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Business Communication Assignment

Question 1: Mention and explain Four Characteristics of Communication

Answer: Communication is the process of creating, transmitting, receiving and interpreting messages between a source and receiver. (Williams) The exchange of thoughts, messages or information (American Heritage 3rd Edition) The real meaning of communication is getting the receiver and the sender tuned together for a particular message. Communication takes place when one person transfers some understandable data to another person. It also includes the exchange of thoughts, opinions, sentiments, facts, and information between two or more persons. Feedback is very important as it assures that your message should be properly conveyed to the receiver. Important Characteristics of Communication:

It is a 2-way process - Communication is sharing of information between two or more persons, with continuous feedback. It is a Process - Communication process happens between or among two or more parties. (Sender and Receiver). Each message is part of a process and does not occur in isolation. This means that the meaning attached to a message depends on what has happened before and on the present context. For example, your bosss response to your request for a promotion will depend on your past relationship with him, as well as his mood at that particular moment. It involves a Sender and a Receiver of Information - Communication involves exchange of ideas, feelings, information, thoughts, and knowledge. Any communication starts with a sender of a message and requires a receiver to attach some meaning to that message. It is successful when the Receiver Interprets the Meaning in the Same Way as that intended by the Sender - Communication involves mutuality of understanding between Sender and Receiver. The receiver does not always attach the same meaning to a message as the sender. When the message is wrongly interpreted, the communication is a failure.

Reference:, SMU MBA business communication manual

Question 2: List and Five purposes of effective communication in an organization.

Answer: An organization is a group of people associated for business, political, professional, religious, athletic, social, or other purposes. Its activities require human beings to interact and react, that is, to communicate. They exchange information, ideas, plans; order needed supplies; make decisions, rules, proposals, contracts, and agreements. Communication is the lifeblood of every organization. People in organizations typically spend over 75% of their time in an interpersonal situation; thus it is no surprise to find that at the root of a large number of organizational problems is poor communications. Effective communication is an essential component of organizational success whether it is at the interpersonal, intergroup, intra-group, organizational, or external levels. Communication can be considered as a personal process that involves the transfer of information and also involves some behavioral input. Communication is something people do. It has all to do with relationships between people and consists of the transfer of information and understanding between parts and people in an organization, and the various modes and media involved in the communication. Another way of looking at communication is as an interpersonal process of sending and receiving symbols with meanings attached to them resulting in the exchange of information and shared understanding between people. So a measure of the effective management of interpersonal communication is that information is passed, and relationships are built. Effective Communication is therefore critical to the success of an organization because; 1. Organizations today are becoming more complex both in structure and technology. 2. Economic and market conditions are forcing greater efficiency and quality at minimum cost in manufacturing and services. 3. Government legislation requires managers to interpret the changing implications for policies and practices in their own organization. 4. People at work have high expectations from their employers not just high wages, but also greater personal job satisfaction. 5. Organizations are becoming more dependant on horizontal communication channels. With increased complexity, information needs to flow quickly between specialists rather than go up and back down the hierarchy, with its inevitable delay and message distortion. So when we look at the changes that are taking place in organizations today, it is clear that managers, to be effective, require communication performance at high levels of excellence. Effective communication serves the following specific purposes in an organization Greater Awareness of Organizational Goals and Teamwork - When there is open communication between superiors, co-workers and subordinates, there is smooth flow of information regarding the goals of the organization. Coordination between the different

departments in particular, leads to greater motivation to work together towards achieving a common organizational goal, rather than working in isolation.

Better Employer-employee Relationships - By listening to employees, showing empathy and giving them the freedom to express their opinions without fear of being repressed, a manager can create a climate of openness that leads to better work relationships. Employees will then feel more comfortable in approaching their superiors and discussing any matter with them.

Problem-solving - Effective communication can help resolve conflicts between coworkers, work related and performance related problems. Face-to-face communication is especially suited for achieving this task, since it is one to one and highly personalized in nature.

Improved Performance - Effective communication by managers at the time of appraising the performance of their employees can point out areas for improvement. A constructive review of performance, through which a manager gives positive feedback and counsels the employee, instead of criticizing him for poor performance, can motivate the employee to perform better.

Stronger Link between Managers and the External Environment - Apart from internal communication within the organization, effective communication by managers with external audiences such as customers, government, bankers, media and suppliers leads to a better rapport with them. A manager will be able to understand the needs of his customers, be aware of the presence of quality suppliers of material, of government regulations and of the expectations of the community at large, only through proper communication.

Reference:, and SMU MBA business communication manual

Question 3: Mention five barriers to communication and explain them

Answer: Communication is a process beginning with a sender who encodes the message and passes it through some channel to the receiver who decodes the message. Communication is fruitful if and only if the messages sent by the sender are interpreted with same meaning by the receiver. If any kind of disturbance blocks any step of communication, the message will be destroyed. Due to such disturbances, managers in an organization face severe problems. Thus the managers must locate such barriers and take steps to get rid of them. There are several barriers that affects the flow of communication in an organization. These barriers interrupt the flow of communication from the sender to the receiver, thus making communication ineffective. It is essential for managers to overcome these barriers. The main barriers of communication are summarized below. Following are the main communication barriers: 1. Perceptual and Language Differences: Perception is generally how each individual interprets the world around him. All generally want to receive messages which are significant to them. But any message which is against their values is not accepted. A same event may be taken differently by different individuals. For example : A person is on leave for a month due to personal reasons (family member being critical). The HR Manager might be in confusion whether to retain that employee or not, the immediate manager might think of replacement because his teams productivity is being hampered, the family members might take him as an emotional support. The linguistic differences also lead to communication breakdown. Same word may mean different to different individuals. For example: consider a word value. a. What is the value of this Laptop? b. I value our relation? c. What is the value of learning technical skills? Value means different in different sentences. Communication breakdown occurs if there is wrong perception by the receiver. 2. Channel Barriers: Wrong choice of channel is one of the main barriers to communication. Using a wrong medium of advertising, or conveying a message orally

when a written letter would be more appropriate, are examples. The written channel is more appropriate when the communication is more formal or for keeping things on record, while emotional messages such as feelings about co-workers are better conveyed orally. Often in organization the targets have to be achieved within a specified time period, the failure of which has adverse consequences. In a haste to meet deadlines, the formal channels of communication are shortened, or messages are partially given, i.e., not completely transferred. Thus sufficient time should be given for effective communication. 3. Distraction/Noise: Communication is also affected a lot by noise to distractions. Physical distractions are also there such as, poor lightning, uncomfortable sitting, unhygienic room also affects communication in a meeting. Similarly use of loud speakers interferes with communication. 4. Individual Barriers A major barrier to interpersonal communication is a tendency to judge, evaluates, approve or disapprove of the views of another person. This happens particularly in situations where we have strong feelings about something. In such cases, we tend to block out the communication and form our own viewpoints. Emotional state at a particular point of time also affects communication. If the receiver feels that communicator is angry he interprets that the information being sent is very bad. While he takes it differently if the communicator is happy and jovial (in that case the message is interpreted to be good and interesting). 5. Complexity in Organizational Structure: Greater the hierarchy in an organization (i.e. more the number of managerial levels), more is the chances of communication getting destroyed. Only the people at the top level can see the overall picture while the people at low level just have knowledge about their own area and a little knowledge about other areas. References;, SMU MBA business communication Manual

Question 4: Name and explain three elements in the communication process.

Answer: Communication is a process of exchanging verbal and non verbal messages. It is a continuous process. Pre-requisite of communication is a message. This message must be conveyed through some medium to the recipient. It is essential that this message must be understood by the recipient in same terms as intended by the sender. He must respond within a time frame. Thus, communication is a two way process and is incomplete without a feedback from the recipient to the sender on how well the message is understood by him. The element in the communication process is illustrated in the diagram below.

Communication Process The three main elements of communication process are as follows: 1. Sender / Encoder - Sender / Encoder is a person who sends the message. A sender makes use of symbols (words or graphic or visual aids) to convey the message and produce the required response. For instance - a training manager conducting training for new batch of employees. Again, a manager is writing a letter of apology to a customer regarding a defective product, or a sales manager making a presentation to his sales team. Sender may be an individual or a group or an organization. The views, background, approach, skills, competencies, and knowledge of the sender have a great impact on the message. The verbal and non verbal symbols chosen are essential in ascertaining interpretation of the message by the recipient in the same terms as intended by the sender.

2. Message - Message is a key idea that the sender wants to communicate. It is a sign that elicits the response of recipient. Communication process begins with deciding about the message to be conveyed. It must be ensured that the main objective of the message is clear. Messages may be intentional (as in the example of sales presentation ) or unintentional (non-verbal signals such as yawns that convey the message of boredom). 3. Recipient / Decoder - Recipient / Decoder is a person for whom the message is intended / aimed / targeted. The degree to which the decoder understands the message is dependent upon various factors such as knowledge of recipient, their responsiveness to the message, and the reliance of encoder on decoder. Decoding may not always be accurate and a wrong meaning may be attached to a message. For example, a friendly joke might be taken as an offense, or feedback given to a subordinate by a superior might be taken in the wrong sense.

References;, SMU MBA business communication Manual