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Saturday, August 11, 2012

Forms of Business Communication

Forms or Types or Channel of communication
Communication can be classified on the following bases:
a) On the basis of organisational structure
1. Formal channel of communication
2. Informal channel of communication
Formal Channel of communication: A formal channel of communication is the officially prescribed route for the flow of communication. It is that route of communication which is institutionally determined and is associated with status or position of the receiver and sender. The formal channels are deliberately related to ensure that accurate information flows smoothly and timely.
Informal Channel of communication: The informal channel of communication is that channel of communication which is not officially prescribed. It is that route which is used by workmen in an organization to maintain social (informal) relationship amongst themselves. It is thus created as a result of operation of social force in an organization.

b) On the basis of direction of communication
1.       Downward communication: Communication that flows from the top level of the organization to the bottom level along with the scalar chain is known as downward communication. Example for such type of communication are orders, instructions, rules, policies, programs and directives etc. it specifies the extent of the subordinates authority and their responsibility.
2.       Upward Communication: Upward communication is just the opposite of downward communication. In this communication system, the message is transmitted from the bottom of the organization upward to the top of the organization through the middle managers along with the line. Usually this includes workers grievances, suggestions and reactions. This communication system was not appreciated by the superiors. But it has assured importance in modern times and is considered to be a main source of motivating employees.
3.       Horizontal communication: The flow of information between departments or people of equal level in an organizational structure may be termed as horizontal or lateral communication. The two departments may be under the same superior or may have different heads. Such communication may be written or oral. The main object of lateral communication is to co-ordinate the efforts of different departments or persons.
4.       Diagonal communication: Diagonal communication is between people who are neither in the same department nor on the same level of organizational structure. It cuts across departmental lines. It generally takes place when members cannot communicate effectively through other channels.
These upward, downward, horizontal or diagonal communications may be oral, written, informal or gestural.

c) On the basis of way of expression
1. Oral or Verbal communication
2. Written communication
Oral communication means communication through words spoken i.e. by speech: - In oral Communication, Both the parties to the process, i.e. sender and receiver, exchange their ideas through oral words either in face to face communication or through any mechanical or electrical device, such as telephone etc. in this system person can exchange their feelings fully and clarification regarding any doubt or ambiguity may be sought. Oral communication is preferred by rank and file employees as well as supervisors and managers, as they enjoy the opportunity to ask questions and to participate.
Advantage:
1. Economical: Oral communication is relatively less expensive. It saves the money spent on stationary in an organization.
2. Time saver: Oral communication is fast. It saves the time involved in writing the message.
3. Flexible: Oral communication is very flexible in sense it provides an opportunity to the speaker to correct himself and make himself clear by changing his voice, pitch, tone etc.
4. Quick response: Oral communication is also helpful in getting quicker response from the receiver. The speaker gets immediate response from the receiver. It thus provides immediate feedback to both sender and receiver.

Disadvantages/Limitation:
1. Time Consuming: Oral communication may not be time saver always. Many a times it is seen that meetings continue for a long time without arriving at any satisfactory conclusion.
2. Poor retention: Oral communication is more likely to be forgotten. The listener cannot always retain oral messages in his memory for long. Sometimes even the speaker may not remember what he actually said.
3. Not suitable for lengthy messages: Very often oral communication gets distorted. This is more so in case of lengthy messages when communicated through various level of hierarchy.
4. No Record: No permanent record is kept in case of oral communication. In the absence of record, oral messages have no legal validity.

Written communication means communication through words written. In written communication, both the parties to the process, i.e. sender and receiver, exchange their ideas through written words, graphs, diagrams, pictographs, etc. Written communication depends on language as a means up of sentences into clauses and of matter into paragraph etc is very important.
Advantages:
1. Permanent Record: Written communication provides a permanent record for future reference and serves as a good guide for decision making and planning in future.
2. Precise and Accurate: The writer tries to organize his ideas logically before penning them down. As a result written communication tends to be more accurate, precise and reliable.
3. Legal evidence: Written messages provide a permanent record and as such are used as legal evidence in a court of law. Written records are more reliable and acceptance as documentary proof.
4. Wide coverage: Written communication has the widest possible coverage. It is perhaps the only means of communication when the sender and the receiver are separated by long distance.
Disadvantages:
1. Time consuming: Written communication is not suitable when the message is to be sent immediately. It is time consuming event which requires time in not only sending it but also in putting the message in writing.
2. Rigid: Written communication is rigid and lacks flexibility. The doubts and queries cannot be clarified immediately.
3. Costly: Written communication is a bit more expensive than oral communication. It costs a lot in terms of stationary, postage and typing costs.
4. Lack of secrecy: It is difficult to maintain secrecy in written communication.

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