Training is the helping of people to adapt to a role behavior that will be useful to the organization. It tends to narrow the range of responses so that all the employees who undergo the same training successfully will make similar or have similar response in a specific situation.The area in my workplace which needs an intervention of training is communication among the staff members. There is very poor communication from the managerial level, middle level mangers and the general workforce.
Very little effort has been made to improve the communication systems in the organization. This has resulted to poor staff relationships as there is no coordination amongst them. Everyone seems to be an island of themselves thus stagnating service delivery. There is an urgent need to conduct training on communication for the staff so that they can be able to communicate and work more effectively and efficiently.
Objectives of Communication Training
The training will be guided by the following objective
- To define communication and its concepts relating them to their work experiences.
- To acquire and develop new skills in communication and use them more effectively
- To train the staff to become good and efficient communication agents in their work and to the general public
Any organization that aspires to succeed in the competitive world must make sure that its communication channels are very efficient and effective. Virtually everyone communicates at work or elsewhere.
No matter what the field, and no matter how much you know about your job, specialized knowledge is not enough to guarantee success; communication skills are vital. The need for communication skills is important in virtually every career, not just those that are traditionally regarded as people oriented. The importance of communication is not suprising when you consider the staggering amount of time people spend communicating on the job. In organizations where communication is inefficient, many things go astray and the end result is that the organizational objectives will not be achieved.
It is easier to recognize the importance of communication than is to define the term. A close look at what happens when people try to communicate can offer clues about why some attempts succeed and others fail.Communication can be defined as the passage of information between one person or group to another person or group. It involves the process of the exchange of information among two or more parties which is best represented by a simple model of communication between two persons or more.
This includes the use of phones, faxes, internet and letters within and outside an organization. No matter what the setting or the number of people involved, all communication consists of a few elements. Although the process of communication is more than the total of these elements, understanding them can help explain what happens when one person tries to pass an idea/message to others.
The process of communication
Communication involves the following;
- The sender- communication begins with the sender, the person who transmits the message.
- The message- a message is any signal that triggers the response of the receiver. Some messages are deliberate while others (such as sighs and yawns) are unintentional. Messages are not synonymous with meanings. For, example, you might remind a co-worker about the deadline with the intention of being helpful, bit your colleague could interpret the message as an indication that you were annoyed or mistrustful.
- Encoding- the sender must choose certain words or non verbal methods to send an intentional message. This activity is called encoding. The words and channels that a communicator chooses to deliver the message can make a tremendous difference in how that message is received. Whether the words are respectful or abrupt and whether the message is delivered in person or memo can make a big difference in how the feedback is received.
- Channel- this is the method that is used to deliver the message. For example, as a business communicator, you can often choose whether to put your message in writing as a letter or as a memo. You can deliver it by hand or send it via regular or use an overnight delivery. You can send a fax or electronic mail or you can communicate orally, either over the phone or in person.
- Receiver- is any person who notices and attaches some meaning to a message. In the best of the circumstances, a message reaches its intended receiver with no problem. In the confusing world of business, however, several problems can occur that the message may never get to the receiver. It might be delivered but buried under a mountain of papers.
- Even worse, a message intended for one receiver might be intercepted by one another. A bystander might overhear your critical remarks about co-worker, or a competitor might see a copy of your correspondence to a customer.
- Decoding-Even if a message does not get to its intended receiver intact, there is no guarantee that it will be understood as the sender intended it to be. The receiver must still decode it, attaching meaning to the words or symbols. Your friendly joke might be taken as a deliberate offense, or a suggestion might be interpreted as an order.
- Feedback- receivers just do not absorb messages like sponges, they respond to them. Some feedback is nonverbal-smiles, sighs and so on. It can also be written as when you respond to a worker’s memo.
Failure to answer a letter or to return a phone call can suggest how the noncommunicative person feels about the sender.Communication networksWhen people communicate in all but the smallest organizations, they need a system for managing the flow of information. You can appreciate this need if you consider how confusing unregulated communication would be, even in small organizations wit only17 members. They way in which the message is passed from one person to another will automatically change the situation and will be interpreted in very different ways by the people who received it though they are working in the same company.
In every organization, there is an organizational chart which clearly shows how the information flows in the organization and can flow in several directions namely;
- Downward communication- it occurs whenever superiors initiate a message to their subordinates. The message could be on job instructions, job rationale, procedures and practices and feedback. Most managers’ would agree at least in principle that downward communication is important.
- Upward communication- Messages flowing from subordinates to superiors are labeled upward communication. Virtually every organization claims to seek out upward messages, but many aren’t as open to employee opinions as they claim. In some organizations, questioning the boss can be a recipe for professional suicide. Upward communication can consist of what the subordinates are doing, the unsolved work problems, the suggestions for improvement and how subordinates feel about each other and the job.
- Horizontal/lateral communication- it consists of messages between members of an organization with equal power. The most obvious type of horizontal communication goes on between members of the same division of an organization. Horizontal communication serves five purposes including task coordination, problem solving, sharing information and building rapport. Despite the importance of horizontal communication, several forces work to discourage communication between peers. People who feel threatened by one other aren’t likely to be cooperative Information overload can also discourage employees from reaching out to others in different areas.
Deciding which communication channel to use isn’t a trivial matter. Sometimes a written message succeeds where an oral one fails; at other times talking to the recipient will produce results that the printed word can’t match. There are various channels of communication which people can use to communicate, which they choose to be best to them. The channel used will be able to pass the message more appropriately as the sender intends.
For example a cleaner will opt to use a letter to pass some message to the boss because he/she feels that is the best method to communicate to the boss. The boss could be a bully who shouts at the workers and so the workers will not likely call him/her or talk to him/her face to face because of the boo’s bossy behavior and reactions. The communication channel includes;
- Face-to-Face communication- this is the most common and widely used channel of communication. The two people who are communicating are together, facing each other talking freely or not freely. One potential advantage of face to face communication is its speed. Once you make contact with the one you want to talk to, there is no time lag between the transmission of a message and its reception. Also it permits instantaneous feedback. When you speak directly to one or more listeners, you can respond to questions as soon as they arise. The two people who are communicating are in a position to explain them well when they are discussing and a conflict which may arise can be solved there and then. A personal encounter might also be unproductive if the contact antagonizes one another.
- Telephone and voice mail- the telephone lets you contact receiver who could be impossible to reach in person. The telephone can even help you get through to busy people who are nearby. A telephone conversation does lack the visual feedback and often reveals how your message is getting across. Despite its advantages, telephoning has its drawbacks. Even when you are able to reach out and touch someone with the phone, making contact can be problematic if you reach the caller at a bad time. Your chances of having a successful conversation will drop if the other person is hurried, angry or distracted. From the conversation of one person from the other side one can be to detect whether the two people are communicating well or not, and this could be noted with the note one is talking at and the kind of words being used during the conversation.
- Written communication- it comes in a variety of forms which includes letters, memos bulletins and reports. Written messages have a set of advantages and drawbacks than their spoken counterparts. Unlike speech, written communication is permanent. Once your words are down on paper, they are saved for future reference. While people may have trouble accurately recalling what they said a few hours ago, they can refer to their written remarks years later. Written communication has been used by many people to settle scores especially at work. Bosses prefer using memos to communicate to the other staff to pass messages whether good or bad.
One can judge from the reaction of the employees after reading the memo and then make a judgement whether the mode of communication used was right or wrong. Most employees could have preferred face to face communication as many questions could have been answered to their satisfaction.
Causes of poor communication
Poor communication in the organization or workplace can be brought about by the following;
- Personal differences- personal differences among the employees can result to poor communication. They may decide not to talk to each other even one is supposed to pass an important message to one another. This affects the general work performance of the employees if they are working in one team and they are not communicating just because of heir personal differences.
- Poor public relations in the organization- organization must be able to have public relations departments so that it can be able to train and guide staff on how to communicate more effectively at work. Some organizations do not have these crucial departments and so when there is a communication breakdown, there is no one to take action and the situation continues to worsen and so communication becomes a challenge if it is not handled well.
- Ignorance- some people just communicate the way they wish just because of ignorance or they hate the other person without caring that the other person is being hurt or the message has reached the other person in the right way. This can be detected or seen by observation the way one talks or responds to a message being passed using any channel of communication.
- Lack of training- If the staffs have not been trained on effective communication and it is supposed to be handled there is a great possibility of not communicating well amongst themselves. Training gives the employees on how they should communicate well with each other and which communication channel to use on when one wants to communicate depending on what type of message to put across.
- Poor communication tools- in some organizations, they have not been able to embrace the new technology and so install modern communication tools in the offices and even train the staff of on how to handle the new machines when they have been installed. The old fashioned machines are still in use some of which are not effective enough to pass over the message to the intended destination.
- Eisenberg, E.M, H.L Goodall (1997) Effective OrganizationalCommunication: Changing the World of Work
- Mankin D., Cohen S.G and Bikson T, K (1997) Teams and Technology- Tension DesignOrganizational Dynamics, Harvard Business School Press, Boston.
- Misner, Ivan, Don Moyer (2000) Masters of Networking: Building Work relationship, Atlanta.
- Pepper, G.L. (1995) Communicating in Organizations: A CulturalApproach, New York.
- Ronald B Adler, Jeanne Elmhorst (2002) Communication at Work: Principlesand Practices and the Professions, New York.
- Schultz, Heidi (2000). The Elements of Electronic Communication, Boston.