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The Indian Institute of Planning & Management



Resolution for Communication Gap

Submitted by : Preeti Chopra SS 2010 12 IIPM Bangalore

Effective communication is a building block of successful organizations. Communication is an important facet of life. Communication skills are essential in all spheres of life. Be it an interview or dealing with the project leader or working out a solution with a team or writing a report, getting across the point effectively is what matters. The success of an endeavour hinges on the ability to communicate effectively in today's fast paced life, everyone is asked to do more with less. In such a scenario effective communication holds the key. Effectively communication centers round the usage of words, speed of delivery of words, pitch modulation and body language. Using the right tools to communicate the right messages at the right time can salvage a crises and motivate people to work towards success. Truly said, communication works but for those who work at it. In the existing globalization scenario, most of the Information Technology, I.T Enabled Services, management institutes, public and private sector, multi-national Companies, Union Public Service Commission, and State Public Service Commission are search for a right and suitable fresher for executive posts. Whatever be the recruiting criteria that I.T, ITES, industry giants had in their agenda, once this was clear a first class degree would not serve the purpose, the candidate have to satisfy the skill sets that the companies were looking for. And unanimously, the skills set that they were looking for communication skills. People in organizations usually spend 75 percent of their daily time on communication through writing, reading, listening, speaking, inter-debate etc. Effective communication is an essential component for organisation success, whether it is the interpersonal intra group organisation or external levels. A recent newspaper report said that our of very hundred interviews, only five qualified for the employability. It is not that were technically not sound but they lacked in communication skills. Communication skills are as important as technical qualifications for youngsters aiming at a bright career. Communications hold the key. Poor communication skills, low confidence levels and improper body language have resulted out in the job race. The person recruited will have to deal with the global clients directly. The command over the language and accent neutralization also plays a vital role in the recruitment process.

Importance of Communication in Success

Most of the times, we do not realize the importance of communication in our dayto-day professional life and is mostly overlooked. It is important that we put across our views and opinions effectively to the people in our organization so that everyone is on the same page towards the goal. A goal-oriented group of individuals in a team or organization can reach success in an easier way than others. Communication is the medium or the process by which one can convey or express his thoughts, views and feelings. Whatever be the mode of communication, the effectiveness of the communication is very important for the success of an individual or a team. Ineffective or bad communication is equivalent to not exhibiting your opinions. Hence the key factor for success is communication, especially effective communication. Communication can be of 5 types in nature. Very popularly described as WOVEN, the five types include written, oral, verbal, electronic and non-verbal communication. But why is effective communication important or rather how does communication help in achieving success?

1. Communication will help strength relationships and will improve bonding among the people in a team or organization. The more you communicate openly and frankly, the listener will tend to build his levels of comfort and confidence in you. Once the confidence level increases among the team members, the goal turns into a common one and thus can be easily achieved.

2. Effective communication will prevent many misunderstandings in general. Assumption is a major adversity as many people tend to think that others know what they are thinking. But when opinions clash, it turns into misunderstandings and conflicts. Such problems can be resolved by taking time to convey across thoughts and feelings in an accurate manner. Thus communicating is important so as to make sure that everyone is in synchronization to avoid misunderstanding and conflicts.

3. It is a must that important decisions and factors are documented for reference in future. This kind of written communication can be held as a proof for future use. Also such kind of documentation helps in keeping the team members in synchronization with the goals and standards that were formulated even before they joined the team.

4. Communication is always not necessarily from the top management. It also needs to be equipped by every member of the team to send their thoughts and views. When there are cases of complaints or misunderstandings, team members need to communicate that to their leaders following the right hierarchy so as to reduce the level of frustration and friction within the team.

5. Decision making in an organization hugely depends on the thoughts and ideas that are communicated from all the employees. Strategies like brainstorming and other kind of decision making tools need thoughts and views of all the involved members as the prime input. Such kind of methods require effective communication processes to make the entire process a success.

6. In a huge team, it is mandatory that all the team members are on the same levels in terms of information knowledge and messages conveyed. In these scenarios, team meetings and discussions will help resolve misunderstandings and communication gaps. So to ensure the success in a team effort, the information needs to be effectively communicated to all the members. Oral communication followed by verbal communication will ensure that the information passed to all the members is same and accurate.

7. Job delegation and responsibility assigning is a frequently encountered act in organizations and teams. But if the job details are not effectively passed on, the work will not be completed satisfactorily and would cause failure of the job. Thus communication plays an important role again in this regard. Communicating the job details accurately is important and necessary so as to get the job done as per requirements.

Thus based on the above factors and discussions, we can conclude that communication is not just a necessary ingredient for success but is also needed for maintaining harmony and a peaceful professional relationship within the organization.

Conversation skills
"Conversation" is defined as 'an informal talk involving a small group of people or only two on a particular subject or selected topics'. The aim of this skill is to help you to become a good conversationalist. Conversation should be like a Tennis match, each person having his turn to give and receive. The true art of conversation is talking and listening. Good conversation requires delicacy and tact, give and take.

Allow your conversation partner to speak. Respect the other person's point of view. Concentrate on the conversation. Only hearing rather than listening will cause you to miss vital information. Find out what your listener wants. To gain the most from any conversation, focus on your listener. Ask questions and listen to the responses. Define terminology so there is less chance of misunderstanding. Speaker and listener should maintain cordial and friendly atmosphere. Clarify each other any misunderstandings and solve the problems by accepting amicable solution.

Positive language

Words are the best tools of communication. choose words carefully. Words can hurt and words can heal. What are the characteristics of positive language? People who use positive language are effective communicators. Their message, written or oral, would be polite, pleasant, practical, persuasive and powerful. Your positive attitude makes you think positively. Your positive language creates a positive impact on the receiver and it helps you to attain your goal and achieve success.

An effective communicator checks whether his/her message is received positively or negatively. Language is a powerful tool and it can help people to make wonders. Communicating in a a positive way helps people project themselves positively. People who use positive language play a constructive rather than a destructive role. Negative words hurt the feelings of the recipient and tell the person that he or she has done wrong. positive words encourage the person and tell him or her that they are respected. Positive words have a healing touch. Choose the words carefully.

Communication Gap
A communication gap is a state that occurs when communication is not happening when it should be. For example, a well reported communication gap is present between Ministers of the European Parliament and voters. With such vast areas to represent they gauge very little of the general opinion and because of this difficulty people decline to provide input and comment and ultimately it leads to a lack of progress. This is the exact same in a business; be it internal management or external advertising. Beating the communication gap is a major hurdle in the organisation's pursuit of prosperity and progress. With the gap unresolved it leads to goals and objectives not being met and this hinders a business fulfilling its potential. The general reasons for a communication gap vary, and can be anything from differing languages and the differing quality of language (both high brow and rude) through to vague instructions, poor definitions and contradictory messages. It can often be down to gender differences or a clash within the workplace. The challenge is for managers and employees to be able to discuss the problems and where the confusion lies and why they feel there is a problem, and then to work through and close the gap. If the instruction is convoluted (complex) then change the wording. At the end of giving an instruction, ask the employee if they understood what is required of them. Simple adjustments to how dialogue is performed but it can make a huge difference. Going back to the gender divide, women tend to ask questions before they get to work, unlike men who just set about being productive. The result is that men assume women are incompetent and that's why they need additional information, when really they are just trying to verify they understood correctly so they can improve their performance. With the majority of managing types being men, and with men generally growing and vying for leadership along the way, it results in a clash and frustration at the difference in methods and responses and interaction preferences.

How to Improve Communication Gaps Between Employees

When communication gaps arise between employees, the results are often confusion, unclear motives, misaligned priorities and indecisive actions. Such communication gaps could be technological in nature, requiring an upgrade of the office computer equipment. Other times, gaps emerge because of personal problems originating from personality differences. Mary Ellen Guffey, author of "Essentials of Business Communication," also cites generational differences as a cause for gaps: While Generation Y'ers are more inclined to rely on technological devices for communication, baby boomers often shy away from this type of communication at work. Whatever the reason, bridging these gaps requires an extensive analysis of the issues and corrective steps to rectify the problems. Step 1 Identify communication problems. Assess which worker or what device is responsible for the breakdown. Evaluate intrapersonal relationships between employees and the caliber of communication devices in the office. For every complaint or issue, immediately jot possible problems. For instance, if a subordinate complains about not receiving an email on time, ask the sender to forward the email, which reveals the date and time it was sent. Perform a quick survey to gauge how many other workers are experiencing similar issues. Step 2 Measure gaps in the grapevine. Patricia Merrier, author of the book "Business Communication" advises managers to review all formal messages and gauge feedback to ensure additional communication is not necessary to clarify main themes. Merrier also advocates not attempting to stifle grapevine information, as doing so could result in lower productivity and misunderstandings. Step 3 Assess the resources needed to fix the problem. If the problem is a result of acrimonious tension between coworkers, opt for a mediation program or a staff meeting to disentangle issues. For technology-related issues, appeal to higher-ups and ask for IT-related support, an overhaul of the equipment or switching software. Consider switching communication companies for faulty Internet and phone communication.

Step 4 Train employees on the new communication methods. Hold training seminars for new technological devices or host cross-cultural exercises if the communication gap is related to cultural sensitivity issues. Ask for feedback in this process to better assist workers with transitioning to any new system. Step 5 Follow up on the issue to verify the communication gaps have been resolved. Determine a follow-up date when the training is conducted, such as in one week's time and again after three to six months. Facilitate open communication by offering an open-door policy, which permits workers to express grievances without retribution

How to Improve Team Communication

Communication is an important aspect of any size business. Being able to effectively communicate with a team of employees is a skill that all small business owners and managers should strive to possess. Effective communication can greatly improve the business as well as the bottom line. In addition, employees can feel more engaged and motivated when the lines of communication within the business are open and clear. Step 1 Lead by example. Many employees will emulate what they see among those who are above them in rank structure doing. If you want employees to communicate in a more positive manner, ensure that your own communications are always delivered in a more positive manner. Dont preach one thing while doing the opposite. Step 2 Recognize that all people learn and communicate differently. Some people are better verbal communicators whereas others are better when they are able to communicate via a written media. Allow employees to communicate in the way that they feel is best for them. Provide training to improve their communication skills in other ways. Step 3 Encourage employees to practice active communication techniques. During meetings or when conversing with team members, only one person should be talking while others are providing their undivided attention. At the conclusion of speaking, other team members should paraphrase what was said to ensure understanding of the speakers words. Step 4 Provide team communication training. This can be accomplished through team building activities and strategies. Dedicate one day to training employees to communicate better. For instance, give one team of employees a task and then tell them they must communicate the task to the other team without words. This will encourage employees to think outside of the box while making communication

fun. It will also foster team cohesiveness as they must work together to accomplish the task. Step 5 Institute a 360 degree evaluation for employees. Allow all team members to evaluate every member of the team on their communication skills. Let these surveys be anonymous and provide them to the employee. This will give them an idea of skills that are lacking as well as what they do well. Step 6 Connect employees together to help one another. If one employee is lacking in verbal communication, team him up with someone who excels in this area. Let them learn from each other. If possible, team people together who can help each other with skills rather than one who is teaching and one who is only learning.

Ways to Increase Communication Between Managers & Employees

Ongoing and open communication between managers and employees can help keep professional objectives clear, projects focused and potential workplace conflicts from getting out of hand. When expectations and issues are regularly discussed by managers and employees in both formal and informal settings, all team members have a better understanding of the status of the work relationship. Hold Regular Staff Meetings Regular staff meetings provide an opportunity for employees and managers to collectively discuss issues related to ongoing business operations. Managers should develop a written meeting agenda, with the input of employees, and distribute it in advance. This allows the opportunity for all potential issues and topics to be discussed and gives employees time to review the agenda and prepare for the meeting. If it becomes apparent an agenda item is better suited to an individual or small-group setting, table the issue and reschedule a meeting for the appropriate parties. Conduct One-on-One Meetings Some communication is more appropriately discussed in a one-on-one setting between a manager and an employee. This includes issues related to discipline, complaints, conflict resolution, and compensation and benefits. Additionally, oneon-one meetings between managers and employees give each party the opportunity to privately discuss personal goals, objectives and topics not suited to group debate. Have an Open-Door Policy An "open-door policy" describes a manager-employee relationship in which the employee has an open, standing invitation to approach the manager with questions, concerns, complaints and comments at any time. This management approach lets employees know their concerns are valued and that the manager is always available and willing to communicate. This management style can have a positive impact on morale and employee performance.

Issue a Regular Update Memo Distributing a daily or weekly memo about projects, announcements and deadlines keeps employees and managers on the same page about whats happening in the office. A memo can reiterate key elements of staff meetings, provide notice about upcoming vacation days, business events and important timelines that need to be met. Put it in Writing Any time an important interaction takes place between a manager and employee, the results of the communication should be documented in writing by the individual who initiated the meeting. For example, if a manager holds a one-onone meeting with an employee to discuss a salary adjustment, the manager should follow up the meeting with a written statement to the employee outlining the terms of the salary change. Following this approach ensures that everyone is operating with the same information and expectations.

Communication is one of the basic functions of management in any organization and its importance can hardly be overemphasized. It is a process of transmitting information, ideas, thoughts, opinions and plans between various parts of an organization. It is not possible to have human relations without communication. However, good and effective communication is required not only for good human relations but also for good and successful business. Effective communication is required at various levels and for various aspects in an organization such as For manager employee relations: Effective communication of information and decision is an essential component for management-employee relations. The manager cannot get the work done from employees unless they are communicated effectively of what he wants to be done? He should also be sure of some basic facts such as how to communicate and what results can be expected from that communication. Most of management problems arise because of lack of effective communication. Chances of misunderstanding and misrepresentation can be minimized with proper communication system. For motivation and employee morale: Communication is also a basic tool for motivation, which can improve morale of the employees in an organization. Inappropriate or faulty communication among employees or between manager and his subordinates is the major cause of conflict and low morale at work. Manager should clarify to employees about what is to be done, how well are they doing and what can be done for better performance to improve their motivation. He can prepare a written statement, clearly outlining the relationship between company objectives and personal objectives and integrating the interest of the two. For increase productivity: With effective communication, you can maintain a good human relation in the

organization and by encouraging ideas or suggestions from employees or workers and implementing them whenever possible, you can also increase production at low cost. For employees: It is through the communication that employees submit their work reports, comments, grievances and suggestions to their seniors or management. Organization should have effective and speedy communication policy and procedures to avoid delays, misunderstandings, confusion or distortions of facts and to establish harmony among all the concerned people and departments. So, effective communication is very important for successful working of an organization. Good communication skills place an organization at the correct slot in the society. The image of an organization depends on its ability to communicate with, the society around it. Good communication promotes better understanding between the employer and the employee. In this competitive environment, organizations vie with each other to acquire an employee friendly image. Thus, communication skills help in establishing, running, producing and marketing of products by commercial establishments.