Communication within Departments (intra-Departments)

Communication is wiring of entire organisation through which electricity (or words) are passed.

Communication is a medium of language or conveying words.

Communication means expressing the thoughts by one person to another in such a manner that the other person understands 100% what the first one intends to convey. If it is less than 100%, then, another person fills the balance through his / her knowledge bank and starts filtering of original information.

Communication need not be through words and even body movements (hand / eye) and expressions can also convey the same, e.g. if I want to drink the water, I can convey this intention through words or eye / hands movement or through expression. Communication gets complete when the purpose of drinking water is solved.

Communication in the organisational context

    • Communication is an important human value;
    • Impossible to work in the organisation without communication;
    • Starting from morning when we wish “Good Morning!!!” to others in the organisation, the process of communication begins → “what if we don’t wish others?” → indifference in the entire team builds in → simple words but if avoided create large meanings;
    • Examples:
        • Instructions passing to juniors;
        • Discussion with fellow members;
        • Discussions in Meetings;
        • Communication with vendors / customers / other stakeholders;
        • Instruction feeding in machines (communication with machines);
        •  Websites / product catalogues / advertisements / promotion campaigns.
    • Importance
        • Quite sometimes, we say “we wanted to convey THIS to him but he didn’t get THIS and created his own meaning” → execution of work in an un-intending manner → result →  discussed in next paras.
        • Unless users understand 100% same of each-other’s language → delays & extra cost & may be more.

Why communication fails?

    • Human has been gifted with language by Mother Nature → Language consists of words, expressions and body movements (eyes / hands, etc.);
    • Words are the most incomplete medium
        • each word can have different meaning according to usage by a person or culture or context in which the same used;
        •  words create more confusion than expressions and body movements.
    • Perception about particular words or traits of another person
        • perception is the result of our past experience;
        • our past governs the present while we face or analyse the present moments;
        • we create meanings out of present interactions, (e.g. I may have encountered experience where seniors / bosses play unfair practices resulting into my perception that ‘bosses are bad and can’t be relied upon’ → this perception would create many different meanings from interactions with my present boss even if he / she works professionally in a fair manner).
    • Present state of mind
        • The person may be in a state of emergency (say, rushing to hospital) → any communication in this state would fail.
    • Intentions of the person
        • Person with bad intentions would spoil the further communication OR implement in an incorrect manner;
        • Observe the body movements of the listening person → the person would not be listening what you want to convey.

Results of poor communication

    • Message not reaching the other person in the manner conveyed (not 100% communication) → Default in delivery of information;
    • Delayed projects impacting profits (e.g. the project site office may be asking for socket with diameter of 12 mm but receiving of 14 mm from store → project would get delayed unless the correct one would be received);
    • Default in product delivery to customers / other departments;
    • Increased process time / costing
    • Frustration and bad health are also results of defaults;
    • Creation / furtherance of bad perceptions about the person → impacting future communication (as discussed in previous topic);
    • Rumours (i.e. circulating what is not present);
    • Reputation loss impacting future sales, funds sources, credibility, etc.

Establishing Good Communication

Following practices are important even if these may appear to be obvious:

    • Step-by-step break-up
        • Break the entire project in sub-projects;
        • List out smaller milestones to be achieved.
    • Written instructions better than oral instructions
        • Less confusion about the written words.
    • Involving all concerned persons
        • Involve all decision makers in the discussion loop so that everybody knows the present status of communication;
        • In email conversations also, the entire concerned persons must be kept in the loop → no confusion regarding the present status.
    • Language
        • Each word can have different meaning according to usage by a person or culture or context in which the same used;
        • Choice of words very crucial → don’t use inappropriate words.
    • Check the present state of the person
        • Whether other person is comfortable in discussion and has no emergency of urgent work-in-hand or family, etc.?
    • Conveying the purpose of the work and end-results
        • Begin communication by conveying the purpose of communication to the other person;
        • Purpose brings clarity of the discussion;
        • Once the end-result in sight, the listener engages in the discussion more.
    • Involvement in the discussion
        • Involve the other person in the discussion → don’t let be a one-way communication;
        • Involvement brings listener in on-going analysing the discussion points.
    • Observing body language of the person
        • The body remains normal when it is comfortable in the surroundings but react adversely otherwise;
        • Observe whether other person is still listening or got lost somewhere;
        • Observe whether he / she has lost interest in the talk or started yawning.
    • Cross-checking
        • Cross verifying from the listener what he / she heard or understood;
        • Summarising the discussion in the end.
    • Check the progress
        • Check the status of work on-going for:
        • Whether the person understood the project clearly?
        • Whether the project would complete by due date?
        • Whether agreed steps have been followed by the person?
        • Whether the projects steps need modifications to achieve the results in better manner?

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