Nature and Importance of the Communication Process in the Workplace
|✓ Paper Type: Free Assignment||✓ Study Level: University / Undergraduate|
|✓ Wordcount: 2919 words||✓ Published: 17th Nov 2020|
1.1 Explain the importance of effective communication in the workplace .(8 marks)
The most important aim of communication within a workplace is to gain understanding which will lead to action. Therefore effective communication is an extremely important aspect of what happens within the workplace for a number of reasons. Good communication across all levels within the organisational structure shows commitment to everybody, by keeping all of the relevant staff informed of all relevant information. Non-verbal communication, such as body language and gestures, is also important as it can help to provide a more positive atmosphere within the workplace. Effective communication can also help to motivate staff, by making them feel informed and involved and in doing such can help to reduce conflict. A more motivated workforce with less conflict can ultimately lead to a higher standard of performance.
1.2 Describe the stages in the communication cycle (8 marks)
The communication cycle is made up of five stages, which information must go through in order to produce the intended action;
I have included a workplace example of this cycle being used for the following scenario;
The process for dealing with home visit requests has been adapted:
The Sender – This is the person who initiates the message or information.
The office manager has discussed this with the GP’s and is responsible for informing all of the admin staff
The Message – This is the content of what the sender wants to say.
The new protocol is written up in a step by step process.
The Method – The type of communication chosen to transmit the message, i.e. email, meeting
Email, this will ensure that all admin staff are given the information, regardless of whether they are working today. The new process can also be used with immediate effect rather than waiting until the next staff meeting. A copy can also be kept for future reference.
The Receiver – The target audience i.e. staff, patients.
All admin staff
The understanding – This is the opportunity to test a process or gather feedback.
The office manager will review how visit requests are dealt with going forward to check that the new process is being followed.
It is important for the sender to consider the potential communication problems before transmitting the message, to ensure the best possible outcome is achieved. (Thornfields, 2017)
1.3 Identify possible barriers to communication in the workplace (Describe at least three barriers )( 8 marks)
Effective communication in the workplace isn’t always easy, as there are many possible barriers which could be encountered along the way. Communication barriers could be broken down in three categories; Organisational, Interpersonal and Physical.
Organisational: Jargon is an example of an organisational barrier. Jargon is the language used in transmitting the message. Specifically, in a medical environment there is a lot of technical language and abbreviations which are widely used amongst professionals. However, patients, being our main customers, are less likely to understand the majority this jargon.
Interpersonal: Personal style is an example of an Interpersonal barrier. Personal style is somebody’s initial reaction to how they are likely to communicate. However, some people’s personal style isn’t always the most effective and won’t always be received as intended.
Physical: Disability is an example of a physical barrier. Disabilities can come in many forms. You may choose to communicate with a group of people using one method, to target all recipients in one go. However, one member of the group may have a disability preventing them from accessing the information through the method in which it was provided.
1.4 Explain how to overcome a potential barrier to communication (8 marks)
Overcoming a communication barrier is an important part of developing effective communication within the workplace, therefore preventing mistakes and misunderstanding.
Time restrictions are a major contributor to communication barriers. For senior staff especially, who have a huge number of responsibilities and duties it is sometimes difficult to prioritise and manage workloads effectively. It is a big responsibility to keep all of your staff informed and if there are a number of messages coming in which need to be communicated to staff there can sometimes be delays.
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The most effective way to overcome this barrier is to set time aside to deal with communications. During this time the first thing which must be done, to use the time as effectively as possible, is to prioritise the communications which need to be dealt with. Look for actions which may have deadlines, messages with affect day to day processes within the workplace. Once you have established which communications need to be dealt with most urgently, work through each establishing which method is most effective and transmit the information required. When time is limited, take advantage of communications which could be put on hold, by acknowledging that a message has been received and letting the sender know you will respond as soon as is possible. There should also be a balance between the amount of time needed for planning and the amount of time needed to process the information by the recipient. (Thornfields, 2017)
Understand the method of communication
2.1 Describe the main methods of written and oral communication in the workplace and their uses. (Describe one main method of both oral and written communication) (12 marks)
There are two main types of communication in the workplace; written and oral. Below I will look at the main methods of both types of communication regularly used.
Email is now probably to most frequently used written method of communication within my organisation. It is a quick and reliable form of written communication, which can be accessed anywhere, meaning the receiver does not have to be present at the time to be able to pick up the message. Email is beneficial when you need to target a number of people at the same time, it is also ideal if you want to message to arrive quickly. Email is regularly used in my workplace to send updated or new information to all staff within a particular team or even the whole organisation.
Meetings are a great way of transmitting information to a group of people with the added benefits of face to face communication. Within my workplace meetings are used frequently, staff meetings and partners meetings being some examples. Staff meetings generally have an agenda including; items regarding the organisation, staff issues which have been raised, reviewing significant events/complaints as well as praise. Meetings allow a large volume of information to be passed on regarding a number of different subjects. They also give staff the opportunity to be involved in discussion, gain clarification, give feedback and suggestions. Meetings do run the risk of going off track which is why it is important to have an agenda.
2.2 Identify the main advantages and disadvantages of written methods of communication (8 marks)
Written communication has its advantages and disadvantages which I have explored in the table below.
Written communication can be retained for future reference. It can also be re-read at the time of receiving to gain understanding.
It is a one-way process with no immediate discussion, feedback or clarification from the receiver.
Information can be distributed to a number of people at one time, regardless of their availability at that time.
Information can be misinterpreted due to the way in which the sender has presented the information. The language they use, too much or too little information, jargon, waffling.
Electronic written communication can be sent and received instantly.
It can be impersonal, specifically if information is distributed to a group of people.
There is an inability to use tone or transmit/receive body language signals.
2.3 Identify the main advantages and disadvantages of oral methods of communication (8 marks)
Oral communication also has advantages and disadvantages, I have explored these in the table below.
Oral communication is a more personal method as there is opportunity to send and receive words along with tone.
When communicating orally, people rarely take notes therefore information is less easily retained.
It is easier to sense an understanding from the receiver when speaking to them as they have the opportunity to ask questions and give feedback.
It can be difficult to target all of the relevant people at the same time.
When speaking to a person or persons you can tailor the conversation to the particular audience.
Face to face communication is the most open as it benefits from the ability to send and receive body language signals.
2.4 Explain how non verbal communication can influence the effectiveness of oral communication (Give examples from your workplace) (8 marks)
Nonverbal communication can be described as body language signals. Body language says a lot about our interest and engagement in the communication we’re having. Even when we ‘say the right things’ the message can be lost if our body language suggests we’re thinking something different. (www.rcni.com). Some examples of effective body language are; keeping your body language open, eye contact and smiling.
There are three important elements to relaying a message:
- The words we use
- How we say it
- The signals we give whilst saying it
Experts have gathered the following information, which shows that body language accounts for more than half (55%) of any spoken message.
7% of what influences people is the actual words used
38% is from your voice – tone, emphasis etc
55% is from your body – postures, breathing pattern, facial expressions
Good nonverbal communication can influence the effectiveness of oral communication in the following ways; make the speaker feel and come across more confident and in control, make the receiver(s) feel comfortable and more willing to engage, gain trust and also keep the audience’s attention. Negative nonverbal communication can have the opposite effect.
When giving instructions to colleagues, if there appears to be confusion/misunderstanding due to the receiver’s verbal and non-verbal signals being incongruent, further explanation may be beneficial. Checking their understanding at this stage may prevent problems later if it transpires that the wrong message was received.
2.5 Explain the value of feedback in ensuring effective communication (8 marks)
Communication is a two way process, for communication to be effective the receiver needs to show understanding. Feedback from the receiver helps the sender know whether the message has been understood and interpreted correctly.
The chosen method of communication can result in varied feedback. Written communication has less reliable feedback as it is dependent on the receiver choosing to feedback meaning it can also take longer. Verbal communication can produce instant feedback, which can be verbal or non-verbal. There is opportunity for the audience to ask questions or to clarify anything they are unclear about. Body language can also produce useful feedback, such as a nod of the head to indicate understanding or agreement.
Where communication is used to give instruction it is useful for the sender to test the process in order to gain clarification as to whether the message was received correctly.
All forms of feedback are effective in helping the sender to reflect on their communications going forward, to make improvements or adjustments as necessary.
Be able to assess own effectiveness in communication
(Select a method of communication that you use frequently. Reflect upon your strength and weaknesses and prepare a short summary. Then identify at least three ways in which you could improve.)
3.1 Assess own performance in a frequently used method of communication (16 marks)
On a daily basis I use Email regularly as a method communication with both internal and external recipients. I feel I am able to differentiate well between internal and external recipients and adapt my presentation as necessary. External communications tend to have a need to be more formal i.e. the way in which I address the receiver and sign off from my message.
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It is important to considering the recipient(s) when using email as messages can easily be misinterpreted as there is no immediate feedback process. I feel as though I have a good awareness of of peoples differences in understanding information, therefore if I am giving an instruction or explaining a procedure I will consider the audience and try to present to information in a way in which I feel it will be understood.
A weakness which I have identified, when communicating with staff members within the practice, is depending on the nature of the message, I am aware that I can sometimes come across a little blunt or even harsh. Generally this happens if I am addressing a negative issue which has occurred, and I send it when I am still frustrated. This situation can also cause unnecessary waffling, which is less likely to get my message across clearly.
3.2 Identify actions to improve own performance in communicating (8 marks)
From the assessment above I have set myself three actions to improve my performance when communicating via email.
- Don’t rush to send emails regarding negative issues, give myself time to calm down and address the situation in a more logical state of mind, to prevent causing any offence of upset.
- When sending a message to a group of people, be more aware of the different levels of experience and understanding within the group to make the message as suitable as possible to all. If specific members of the group stand out as being particularly at risk of misunderstanding, it may be best to speak to them to confirm that they received the message and ask if they needed any elements clarifying.
- Consider if email is actually the best form of communication for the particular message. Sometimes it is easy to send an email but it isn’t necessarily the best method on reflection. It may sometimes be better to speak to the receiver face to face to get instant acknowledgement of understanding.
- Thornfields, Managing people with confidence day 3 workshop, 2017
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