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Basic Model Of Communication

Communication is the process of sending and receiving messages between parties.

While all of the complexities of human communication can not be captured in a

single model, this diagram will offer a reasonable begining. A sender source has a
message in mind. The source intends to encode the message into language that
will be understood by the receiver. Perhaps it is a statement of the senders
preference for a particular outcome in a negotiation. The message may be encoded
into verbal language or it may be encoded into nonverbal expression. Once encoded,
the message is then transmitted sent via voice or facial expression, or written
statement, and through face-to-face interaction, video, letter, telegram, etc.- to the
receiver.The receivers receptors pick up the transmission, and recode the message
to give it meaning to the receiver. In a one way of communication cycle this would
constitute a completed transmission. A source who puts his message in writing and
sends it by mail to the receiver generally assumes that the message is received and
understood. However, most communication particularly in negotiation- involves
continued dialogue and discussion between at least two parties. As a result, the
receiver takes on a more active role in the communication process in two ways.
First the receiver provides information on how the message was received,
and second, the receiver becomes a sender himself and respons to, or builds upon,
the earlier message of the sender. For the current discussion, we shall refer to both
of these processes as feedback. In the feedback process, the receiver encodes the
message through reading or listening- to assure his own understanding and
comprehension of what the sender said , and what the message meant. He then
ascribes meaning to the communication a comprehension of the information
content of the message, as well as an interpretation of that content. The receiver
then becomes a sender of communication back to the source. The encoded
message may take multiple forms: questions or other communications to obtain

clarification or better understanding of the earlier message; exclamations or reactions

to the information content of the message; or rebuttals to the content of the first
message. All of these are encoded, transmitted through various channels, received,
and decoded by the original source. The entire sequence may be as simple as a
question by one person, Want to go for a cup of coffeee? and an affirmative
headshake by the other, to complex statements and responses used by negotiators
in shaping a contract.
This model of communication works to the degree that a wide variety of
information facts, opinions, feelings, preferences, and experiences- are completely
and thoroughly shared between parties. However, human communication systems
seldom perform with this high degree of efficiency and effectiveness. Most of the
linking elements in the model are subject to external factors that distort messages
and their meaning, hampering them from getting through accurately.


What does it mean to communicate? Everyone read and talk a lot about
communication, but it means different things to different people. Someone may think
of communication as casual conversation, the formal use of mass media, books,
letters, friendly notes, or formal public speeches. Regardless of the many different
meanings that people give to the word communication, everyone seems to agree that
it is important.
Each elements in the sequence;

1-Senders and Receivers

Senders and receivers each have goals and objectives things that they want
to accomplish. The sender may want to change the receivers mind, or secure
concessions toward a negotiated agreement. The receiver may not want to have his
mind changed, and not want to make concessions; moreover, the receiver may have
the identical objective in mind fo his opponent. The more diverse the goals of the
sender and receiver, or the more antaonistics they are in their relationship, the
greater likelihood of distortion and error in communication. Similarly, senders and
receivers differ in their individual makeup each is likely to have a different pattern of
personel values, attitudes toward certain issues and objectives, previous
experiences, life history, and personality characteristics. Each of these elements
contributes to a different way of viewing the world.

2-Transmitters and Receptors

Tranmitters and receptors are simply the equipment by which information is
sent. Information can be sent verbally and nonverbally. The choice of transmitters
can affect outcomes, i.e., some messages may be better spoken, while others need
to be written. Moreover, when presenting information face-to-face, congruence or
incongruence between multiple transmission channels is often a problem. The old
expression that your lips tell me no,no but there is yes,yes in your eyes highlights
the incongruity of messages sent simultaneously by both verbal and nonverbal
channels, and the possible error introduced by this dublicitous communication. On

the receivers end, poor eyesight or faulty hearing may similarly diminish the ability to
accurately receive a message.

3-Messages and Channels

Messages and channels are the vehicles by which information is
communicated. As noted by many writers on communication, human beings are
unique in their ability to use symbolic forms of communication primarily the written
or spoken language- to transmit information. Some messages are direct expressions
of meaning I lean over the table and grab the pencil that I want- while others are
symbolic representations I ask the person seated across the table, Please pass
me the pencil. The more we are prone to use symbolic communication, the more
likely that symbols may not accurately communicate the meaning we intend. In the
simplest example, if the person does not understand English, or if there are several
pencils on the table, there is increased likelihood that the communication will be less
than effective.
Channels are the vehicles by which messages are carried. If we speak directly,
it is the airwaves; if we write, it is the paper and pen or type-writer; if we talk over the
telephone, it is the telephone circuitry and microwaves. Both messages and channels
are prone to disortion from noise, which we will use as a broad descriptive category
of various forms of interference in the communication process. Messages can be
transmitted more clearly in a quiet room than in a loud, distracting hotel ballroom. The
greater the sources of distraction and confusion in the communication environment,
the more that noise will interfere with accurate and complete message

4-Decoding, Meaning, and Encoding

Decoding, meaning and encoding are the processes that the individual uses to
interpret the messages of others, and to formulate messages themselves. Decoding
is the process of translating messages from their symbolic form into interpretations
that we can understand.
If the parties speak the same language, or use the same common nonverbal
gestures to communicate messages, the process is reasonably simple and error-free;
if they do not, decoding is prone to contribute a high degree of error. While
translators may help to decode the others messages, full translation may not be
possible, i.e., understanding the others meaning or tone, as well as the words or
may introduce additional error into the communication.
Meanings are the facts, ideas, feelings, reactions, or thoughts that exist whitin
individuals, and act as a set of filters through which the decoded messages are
interpreted. If a party has asked the other to please pass me that pencil, and the
other party has said no, the encoded no back to us is likely to stimulate a variety
of reactions in the search for meaning. Did the other hear the message? Was the
no a direct refusal to the request? Why did the other say no? Does he need the
pencil too? Is he being obstinate and intentionally blocking me? Answers to these
questions will vary depending upon a variety of other aspects of the communication
sequence and the relationship between the parties, and will lead to different
ascriptions of meaning to the word no.
Finally, encoding is the process by which messages are put into symbolic
form. The encoding process will be affected by varying degrees of skills in encoding,
e.g., fluency in language, skill at expression in written and verbal form, etc. It will also

be affected by the meaning attached to earlier communication- what we want to

communicate, how we have reacted to earlier communications, etc. Senders are
likely to choose to encode messages in a preffered form; this form may not be the
same preffered by receivers. Two managers may need to distinguish a negotiated
contract; while one may prefer to get together and discuss it over lunch, the other
may prefer to have each one prepare a written draft that they can exchange and
revise individually. How this contract will eventually be prepared may thus be the
subject of the negotiation itself.

Feedback is the process by which the receiver reacts to the senders
message. Even in a one-way communication cycle, feedback is essential. It is
necessary to let the sender know that the message was (a) actually received,
(b)encoded, and (c) ascribed with the same meaning that the sender intended. The
absense of feedback can contribute to significant distortions in communication, since
senders never know whether their message is being received, much less understood.
Anyone who has ever talked to a large audience may find himself directing his
comments to the individual who is nonverbally shaking her haed yes, or similing, or
in some other way acknowledging that the communication is being received and
even appreciated. The sender is unlikely to direct comments to a receiver who is
shaking his head no, or asleep, unless the comments are specifically designed to
change the receivers disposition.


It is impossible to avoid communicating

Communication is largely nonverbal
Context affects communication
Meanings are in people, not in words
Communication is irreversible
Noise affects communication
Comination is circular
Creating common goal is essential
Communication has effects

A first principle of communication is that it is impossible to avoid

communicating. In other words, there is no such thing as noncommunication. DeVito
(1988) notes that communication is inevitable, that people cannot not communicate
and people cannot not respond. Some of ramifications of this principle are obvious,
and some may not be as clear.
Communication is largely nonverbal. Impressions are made largely in
response to nonverbal cues.
A third principle that has a direct relationship to successful communication is
that context(environment) affects communication. Where (under what conditions)
ideas are presented makes a difference in how they are interpreted. Physical
conditions are one aspects of context.
A fourth principle important for success is that meanings are in people, not in
words. Meanings are in the perception of decoders; people mean, but words do not.

The message remembered by people often is not what communicator intended to

say. The message remembered is whatever the listeners interpret it to be.
An other important principle is that communication is irreversible. At once time
or another people may have wished they could change what they have said or done.
Unfortunately, that is simply impossible. People may give additional information or a
rationalization for their previous actions, but they can only modify the impession they
have already made.
A sixth principle of communication is that noise is a factor in any
communication situation. Noice is any factor that interferes with the clear and
accurate transmission of a given message.
Communication is circular, not linear. This means that people send and receive
communication simultaneously. Because of its simultaneously aspects, the
communication process could be considered a circle or spiral rather than a line.
People process feedback while they speak to others, and they speak to themselves
think- while others are speaking.
An eight principle is that communication is most efficient when the participants
share a considerable amount of common experience. Common experience is
achieved by using shared symbols and speaking from a shared history.
Misunderstandings are less likely in such situations.
And the last principle is that communication always has an effect of some kind.
For every communication act, there will be consequences. People can even feel a
sense of accomplishment in a communication exchange in which a listener does not
respond verbally.


Primary to effective communication is a message. Any human activity has
message value. That is, human activities can convey or symbolize meaning to others.
In its simplest sense, a message can be a idea, nemotion, desire, or emotion that
one person shares with another. This can be occur whether or not a person intends
to send such a message. When people think they are listening patiently to someone,
but their eyes drift away from that person and become fixed on some object, they
have sent a message. Another person, observing their behavior, can assign a
meaning to it.
Before a person can improve his or her skills he or she must be aware of the
basic ways in which people send and receive messages. These can be classified in
two major groups: verbal messsages and nonverbal messages.

Verbal Messages
Messages sent verbally are messsages expressed in words. Since we already
know that people communicate with words, it may seen unnecessary to talk about
that kind of behavior. However, people need to be aware that their effectiveness in a
given situation will often depend on the words they choose to use. There is a whole
science devoted to the study of meaning in words, the science of semantics.
Because of the study done by the specialists in this area, people know a great deal
more about meanings and how they are conveyed through words.
Meaning is a product of what goes on in the minds of both the sender and the
receiver. Meaning is not permanently assigned to words. It is carried about in the
human mind and is often the result of an individuals experiences with language and
meaning. Thus, a word may have many shades of meaning. Effective communication

depends on finding meanings shared by the sender and the receiver. Understanding
this simple fact makes the role of feedback clear. People can not know if the other
person meanings are shared if they giving a reactions to each other in a
communication situation.
Language is symbolic. It stands for impressions and notions people have. It is
impotant in sending messages that the person knows as much as possible about
those with whom he communicating. People also need to aware that words stand for
things, but the words are not those things. Thus, labelling an idea or a person does
not make the label true. It merely indicates a feeling or an idea that one holds about
the thing or person.
Languages chances, too, and because it does, the meanings one person
attaches to a word or a group of words may not agree with anothers understanding
of that word or phrase. Slang and expressions used only in a small geographip area
or by one ethnic group can make communication difficult if some effort is not make to
discover the meanings carried by such expressions.

Nonverbal Messages
About 65 percent of the meanings people get from a communication situation
come to them from the nonverbal elements rather than from the words that are
spoken. Researc has shown that the nonverbal messsages will often override the
words spoken in interpersonal communication. For example, imagine that a friend
accuses a person of having played a pratical joke on him or her. The person deny it
but blush uncontrollably. The friend will believe the message sent by the blush rather
than the statement of innocance.
One very important concept aabout nonverbal messages is that they are often
sent and received subconsciously. That is, people may not realize that they are
sending or receiving any message at all. When a nonverbal message is sent, they
become aware of it through all their senses. They process and assign meaning to the
message at the same time, and often they are unaware that they have performed this
thought process. An important step in improving communication skills is to become
aware of nonverbal behavior and to make the sending and receiving of nonverbal
messages a concious process. Nonverbal behaviors that sent messages can be
grouped into three types: paralanguage, kinesics and proxemics.

Paralanguage refers to the ways the voice is used in sending messages the
inflection place on a particular word, how loudly, softly, quickly, or slowly a person
speaks, and so forth. Each quality of a persons voice sends a particular messsage.
Most of time people use paralanguage deliberately. A person might say, for example,
Oh, sure, i like him a lot, using sarcastic inflections to make the words him exactly
the opposite. When a person choose to do this, she has sent her real messsage
nonverbally, not verbally.
Sometimes tha paralanguage message is not intentional. Suppose a person
are giving a speech and his voice shaky and halting. His words are strung together
with uhand, uh The audience gets a clear messsage that he is frightened,
uncomfortable, or possibly unprepared. That messsage may be strong that the words
he say are ignored by his listeners. In this case his nonverbal behavior is harmful to
his communication.

Physical Movements
Kinestics is the physical movement of a persons body as he or she
communicate with others. This is often called body language. Such beclothing, and
even breathing can send messsages. These messsages are often interpreted as
expressions of inner feelings and attitudes. If a person want to express an attitude of
openness and acceptance of the other with whom he is communicating, he will use
direct eye contact and face the person squarely, stand a little closer than normal.
When a person talks with someone who faces away from the person with crossed
arms and who refuses to look at her directly, she generally assume that the person is
closing her out. The communication is poor, not because of the verbal messsage but
because of the nonverbal behavior.
One interesting function of kinesics in conversation is that people use their
bodies to punctuate the conversation. People actually signal that they want to talk.
When they lean forward, or take a deep breath, or raise their eyebrows and open
their mouth slightly, they are sending messsages thaat say, It is my turn to talk! In
the same kinds of way, people signal to others that it is their turn. And also people
use kinesics to let the others know they do not want to comminicate.

Closely related to our physical movements is the idea of proxemics, or space,
as a nonverbal messsage unit. Where a person sit or stand in relationship to the
others he or she is talking to can say a great deal about how he/she feels about that
person. Most people have very clear ideas about what might be called personal
space. Some of these ideas are cultural, but others are the products of individual
Generally, people in America regard the area from three to twelve inches from
them as an intimate zone. They choose the people they will let into that area. If
someone stands taht close to their in normal situations without an express invitation,
they are offended. They feel the person is being pushy, and have a negative reaction
to the person and any messsage he or she might be sending.
The are from twelve to thirty-six inches is generll regarded as a personal zone.
Persons can usually stand in that are without making the other uncomfortable.
However, if a stranger enters that area in a large empty room, people feel violated
and sometimes fearful.
The social zone for most of the people is from four to eight feet away. People
can converse socially in that area and usually finf it difficult to ignore someone who is
that distance from them.
The public zone, in which people have the option of acknowledging someone
or not, is the area more than eight feet away.
The importance of proxemics is that the persons behavior within certain
prescribed spatial areas in relation to others will cary a particular messsage.


To increase the probabilty that communication will be successful, the sender
must be willing to adapt the messsage to both the purpose and the audience. For
example, the purpose of communication is to give information. A number of factors
will differ from communication to inspire or to persuade. By the same token, a letter
intended for a close personal friend will differ from a letter written to a total stranger.
There are basicly three factors that should be adapted to purpose and audience:
language, style, and format

Appropriate language is the language that has been adapted to the receiver
while retaining a naturalness with respect to the sender. A city slicker who wears his
pinstripe whole suit and silk tie out to the field to talk to a farmer about leasing his
cotton land may mistakenly try to speak like a country rube in an effort to adapt the
message to the audience. However, the message will lack genuineness and could
offend the farmer. But even in a pinstipe suit and with educated speech, the city man
could adjust his message by using clear explanations, avoiding jargon, and speaking
with respect.
A politician may speak to an audience of independent oil men about the need
for the discontinuation of the oil taxes or a sanction on imported oil. Later in day, that
same politician may speak to a group of farmers about the need for agricultural price
supports. That candidate has adapted the message to the audience. He or she has
chosen the subject matter that each group wants to hear about. It is important that
the politician also use language taht will make the audience aware of his or her level
of knowledge of the issue.

The concept of style of message might be illustrated by using a series of extreme
opposites: formal/informal, simple/complex, natural/flamboyant. Each of these styles
might be appropriate in a given situation with a particular audience. People can
probably think of a number of public speakers who could be classified in each of
these ways. They would find an equal number of people who would say that each
was the best. Harry Truman, for example, spoke and write in a simple, direct style
appropriate to a Missouri farm boy. His style spoke for his origins. But he also
capable of adjusting in some respects for the occasion and for the audience.
The key to chosing the style of either spoken or written messages is clarity.
People communicate in order to be understood. People understood best when they
are clear. Clarity is usually best achieved through simplicit of style using highly
specific and descriptive words rather tahn broad generalizations and unsubstantiated
judgments. A letter to a customer that speaks of a chemical that is oxygenous
unnecessarily obscures the message that this is a gaseous chemical. Business
communication differs substantially from social communication because it often
concerns matters of grave importance. So it is important for the communicator to
choose a style that will be clear yet memorable.

Depending on the receiver (audience) and on the purpose (in-house reminder
or out-of-house publication), for example, a business communicator must choose an
appropriate format. This decision will many times be dictated by the tradition of the
district or by district policy. At other times, it will be based on the purpose and the
audience. As the specific kinds of communication, the person will become acquainted
with their formats. People will often have a choice of format. For example, a person
wanted to take one additional day of vacation. Would he send a formal request with
carbons to midmanagement, or would he first make an informal, oral request of his
immediate superior? If he wanted to increase the number of hours per week that he
was working at a fast food establishment, would he write a formal letter, make an oral
request, or leave an informal note? People have to be sensitive to the effect that
format can have on the eventual accomplishment of their communication goal.

The Johari Window, named after the first names of its inventors, Joseph Luft
and Harry Ingham, is one of the most useful models describing the process of human
interaction. A four paned "window," as illustrated belowed, divides personal
awareness into four different types, as represented by its four quadrants: open,
hidden, blind, and unknown. The lines dividing the four panes are like window
In this model, each person is represented by their own window.

Adjectives selected by both the participant and his or her peers are placed into
the Arena quadrant. This quadrant represents traits of the participant of which both
they and their peers are aware. For example, I know my name, and so do you. It may
also be called "open" quadrant.

Adjectives selected only by the participant, but not by any of their peers, are
placed into the Faade quadrant, representing information about the participant of
which their peers are unaware. It is then up to the participant whether or not to
disclose this information. For example, I have not told you, what one of my favorite
ice cream flavors is. This information is in my "Faade" quadrant. As soon as I tell
you that I love "Ben and Jerry's Cherry Garcia" flavored ice cream, I am effectively
pulling the window shade down, moving the information in my faade quadrant and
enlarging the arena quadrant's area. Faade quadrant also called "hidden" quadrant.
Adjectives that are not selected by the participant but only by their peers are
placed into the Blind Spot quadrant. These represent information of which the
participant is not aware, but others are, and they can decide whether and how to
inform the individual about these "blind spots". For example, we could be eating at a
restaurant, and I may have unknowingly gotten some food on my face. This
information is in my blind quadrant because you can see it, but I cannot. If you now
tell me that I have something on my face, then the window shade moves to the right,
enlarging the arena quadrant's area.
Adjectives which were not selected by either the participant or their peers
remain in the Unknown quadrant, representing the participant's behaviors or motives
which were not recognized by anyone participating. This may be because they do not
apply, or because there is collective ignorance of the existence of that trait. For
example, I may disclose a dream that I had, and as we both attempt to understand its
significance, a new awareness may emerge, known to neither of us before the
conversation took place.
The process of enlarging the open quadrant is called self-disclosure, a give
and take process between me and the people I interact with. Typically, as I share
something about myself (moving information from my hidden quadrant into the open)
and if the other party is interested in getting to know me, they will reciprocate, by
similarly disclosing information in their hidden quadrant. Thus, an interaction between
two parties can be modeled dynamically as two active Johari windows. For example,
you may respond to my disclosure that I like "Cherry Garcia" by letting me know what
your favorite ice cream is, or where a new ice cream shop is being built, kinds of
information in your hidden quadrant.
A Johari Window consists of 55 adjectives used to describe the participant, in
alphabetical order:













The elements of communication process must be controlled for effective
communication and the nature of messages. Before we can be consistently
successful as a communicator, we will need to develop the ability not only to plan and
implement effective communication but also to analyze why a particular
communication situation might be unsuccessful. In order to build that skill, we will
need a more complete understanding of barriers to communication.
Barriers to communication are those physical or psychological elements that
interfer with the message-for either the sender or the receiver.
The things that make communication poor will be unique to the persons and
the situations involved. Because we know a great deal about communication, we can
guard against some of the obstacles to it. In order to do so, we need to examine the
differences in people and in situations that sometimes create communication

The kinds of categories used in a census of the population are all relevant to
understanding tangible differences between people. These are factors such as sex,
age, race, national or cultural origin, socioeconomic class, urban or rural
residence, educational level, and so forth. These are things that we can know by
observing people. We can be aware of these elements that shape their individuality,
simply by knowing tangible things about them.
No matter where people may live, will be associating and needing to
communicate with people from widely different backgrounds. For example; the
people work with will represent a wide variety of sex, age, and ethnic typers. The
person should not assume anything ahead of time about those with whom you will
work. Understanding how tangible elements such as sex and age affect
communication behavior, then, is vital to you in the business world.
SEX: For instance, your sex has been found to be a major influence on
the way you communicate with other people. Simply knowing a persons gender can
allow you to draw some general conclusions that hold true for many people. These
general conclusions are based on reports of research projects by social scientists
conducting experiments to discover how people interact in the real world. Not all men
and women ct in these ways; in fact , these patterns are currently changing. We can
say, however, that men and women tend to communicate with one another in
different ways according to their sex. Since this is true, we can see that sex is one of
the factors leading to differences in interpersonal communication effectiveness.
According to studies by researchers; women and men differ as follows when
they communicate:
When men and women work together in a group, men tend to be more assertive
and self-confident.

Women are more likely than men to express their emotions, to reveal how they feel
about a situation.
It should be obvious that these are not rules, but general tendencies. However,
they are important to us because they allow us to make some educated predictions
about communication. They allow us to analyze communication as it occurs.
AGE: Likewise, a persons age is a strong influence on the way he or she
communicates. Research has shown that young people and old people communicate
in different ways. Their maturity, their educational backgrounds, and the different eras
in which they grew up amake a generation gap inevitable. This often shows in the
words they choose to express their thought. Objectively speaking, a persons age or
sex is not important in judging the truth or wisdom of what that person says.
Sometimes, though, we do tend to judge a statement by different standards if we
know the speakers age or sex.
In addition to the factors of age and sex, there are many other tangible
characteristics that influence the effectiveness of communication between people.
Consider race, occupation, socioeconomic class, and educational level as some
areas of individual differences. The short exercise is this: Imagine you are discussing
the many video game arcades that have opened in your area. Someone says; I
believe there ought to be a ban on letting elementary school age children play video
games except after school hours and on weekends.
Suppose this statement were made by each of the following individuals. Would
your reaction be different with each individual?
1. Brad Sandefer, the middle-aged music director of the largest church in the
2. Ethyl Brown, the local librarian
3. Marshall Pickering, an elemantary school principal.
4. Tyrone Jefferson, a seven grade student enrolled at Booker T. Washington
Vocational Technical School.
5. Howard Burke, PFC, U.S. Marine Corps.
6. Your father.
If your reaction to the statement about the video games would different
according to which person said it, you can see how individual differences can afferct
interpersonal communication.

Peoples attitudes and values would be different not only because they were
different physically, but also because of their different backgrounds. The differences
between peoples attitudes and values are often more important than their physical
differences in influencing how they communicate. Therefore, we should not neglect
the psychological factors that affect communication.

PERCEPTION: All learning results from perception through our senses.

Sight, hearing, and other physical senses are our contacts with the physical world.
Our access to all learning is limited by the range and power of our physical senses. A

person who is hearing impaired will perceive things differently than will someone who
has very acute hearing. The nearsighted person will perceive the world differently
than the person with perfect sight. Our physical limitations are a screen through
which we perceive things that exist in our environment.
Our perception is also limited by psychological screens that we have
developed. We choose from among the many things within our range of perception
those that we will notice, and block out the rest. We see and hear what we want! This
is known as Selective Perception. Does this exchange sound familiar?

Will you straighten up your room?

Why? Whats messy?

This mother and her teenager both see the same room, but through different
eyes. The mothers perceptual screen is in the context of having everything handy
and out in the open. Often, communication problems arise as a result of different
selective perceptions by the persons involved. The advice that can be offered is to
look at the topic from the other persons viewpoint. In this way, we can reduce some
of the misunderstandings and misperceptions that may come up.
Selective perception allows us not only to block out things that are there, but
also to see more things than are there. We make our own reality! This is most clearly
seen in the human tendency to stereotype others. We stereotype such groups as
women, ethnic minorities, older people, adolescents, and the members of verious
religious groups. So; when we get into communication difficulties with others, the
reason is often thet we do not share the same perceptions, and thus our meaning is
not clear.
MOTIVATION: Another basic psychological factor that relates to effective
communication is human motivation. A motive is a reason for action. The most
strongest motivations are those that are most personal. We all take actions in our
own self-interest. We are motivated by money, fame, power, love, status, security,
skill, ambition, and the other goals we want to achieve.
Not all human motives are positive. Sometimes an employee is not motivated
to work in the employers best interest. If a person is more concerned with getting off
work than with finishing a task, that person is called a clock-watcher or worse. His or
her motive is not in the best interests of the employer.
It is human nature that we possess a mixture of motives, some good and
some bad. In some situations, we find ourselves confused over what action to take
because our motives are in conflict.
Interpersonal conflicts often arise in business when co-workers do not share
similar motivations. If you have to cooperate with someone else on a project, but you
are more highly motivated to be productive than that person, conflicts are bound to
arise. You will feel that you are carrying more than your fair share of the work load.
The other person may feel that you are pushing too hard. You will both to be
frustrated. In such cases as this, the single factor that can lead to resolving the
conflict is the ability of each person to communicate effectively with the other.
TUNNEL VISION: This characteristics refers to a closed way of thinking,
especially about abstract topics, such as religion and politics. The person with tunnel
vision is one who has firmly fixed ideas. The opposite side of tunnel vision is openmindedness. Of course , it is possible to be too open-minded, just as it is possible to

be too closed-minded. The person who is too open-minded has a problem with being
wishy-washy and too easily influenced by the most recent thing he/she in told.
Very few people are extremely closed or open-minded. But nearly all people
lean one way or the other. These are ways of thinking about the world.
Communication is difficult when you must deal with a person who admits yo no errors
and accepts no compromise. The person with tunnel vision cannot cope well with
unforeseen developments and rapidly changing conditions. This is the person whose
attitude seems to say; Ive already made up my mind, Dont confuse me with the

EGO DEFENSIVENESS: Ego defensiveness is self-centered

communication. This is more than just being selfish. It is a response pattern in which
a person who follows this pattern sees a disagreement as a personal attact. Such a
persons first reaction to criticism would be to counterattack in an attempt to save
face and to defend the bruised ego in any way possible.
You need to realize that your own responses are the controlling factor in
communication. If they are defensive, they can make you blind to good suggestions,
and they can destroy your ability to relate positively to these with whom you work.
Some commen kinds of ego-defensive communication tactics are;

Sour Grapes: This tactic involves rationalizing, saying that you did not really
want a thing, or downgrading the qualities of something you are unable to
Projection: Projection involves accusing others of your own faults.
Scapegoating: Picking on others and blaming them unjustly are
characteristics of this tactic.

All of these ego-defensive mechanisms are normal in the sense that everyone
uses them on occasion. Sometimes they may even be necessary, as when others
seem unable to communicate with you without using hostile, abusive, or aggressive
attacks against you. Some people have poor self-images; so their communication
habits are based on these patterns. They feel that they must cut other people down in
order to build themselves up. They make communication difficult as best. The key
point to remember is that ego-defensive communication never deals with the
substance of a discussion, but rather with personalities. Thus, they can all be barriers
to good communication.
NEGATIVE EMOTIONS: Our emotions are an outgrowth of our responses to
conditions about us, to the perceptions we have of our relationships with others, and
to our own realities. In short, emotions are the feelings we have about the world
around us. Most of the time, positive emotions such as joy or love do not get in our
way when we communicate. But negative emotions almost always obstacles to good
communication. This is especially true if the emotion is uncontrolled, unfocused, or
misdirected. (Sometimes, even a positive emotion can become an obstacle by
making us unwilling to listen objectively to information.)
Sometimes negative emotions are misdirected. We demonstrate anger at the
wrong person or circumstance. This is much like unfocused emotion, but it is
sometimes possible to unravel the problem if someone in the situation takes the time.
An example of this could be a childhood experience when you were punished for
something you did not do. If you can remember such a time, you will understand the

feelings such a misdirected emotions can arouse in those with whom you
These five psychological factors- perception, motivation, tunnel vision, ego
defensiveness, and negative emotions - are all elements of communication that you
must consider when you plan for better communication. You need to avoid them in
your own communication when possible, and you need to be able to see them for
what they are when others use them.

There are other numerous imperfections in the communication process itself
that contribute to misunderstanding and breakdowns. Many of these distortions share
commonalities with the perceptual distortions, or are compounded by perceptual
difficulties. Several of the more common and problematic distortions are as

DISTRACTIONS: One another barrier to effective communication si the

presence of distractions. A professor was noted for keeping bankers hours, coming
to work sometime between 11.30 and noon and leaving between 2:30 and 3:00.
When asked about his schedule one afternoon, and whether he were ducking out
early for some tennis or golf, he said. No, Im going to go home and see if I can get
some uninterrupted work done! Ringigng phones, visitors, and distracting noises
interrupt clear thought and coherent communication. All of us have been in a meeting
where people are constantly coming in and leaving for one reason or another, and
experinced the frustration that is created by this distracting traffic flow.
These distractions also contribute to communication overload, where an
individual is bombarded with so much information, or so many different requests, that
it is impossible to maintain a single communication sequence.
Time pressures create another source of distraction. For example; the
communication overload can occur because a manager does not have time
effectively sequence and control all of the different individuals who want access to
him- his secretary, his employee, the lunch partner, the person asking for the report,
etc. Under these time pressures, communication frequently gets abbreviated or even
omitted entirely. Breakdowns occur because time pressure forces the sender to
communicate messages that are incomplete, erroneous, or do not meet the needs of
the receiver. Time pressures also lead to distortion in negotiations, particularly as a
deadline approaches, and complex agreements must be established in very short
time periods. These conditions frequently lead to agreements that are difficult to
implement or ratify, since the time pressures force the parties to reach agreement
without attending to the details of wording, contingencies, etc...
SEMANTIC PROBLEMS: A second source of distortion in communication
comes from semantics- the use of words or expressions which have a different
meaning for the sender or receiver. Semantic problems typically occur when
communicators speak in ambiguous generalities, or express vague degrees of
Semantic problems are also created when communicators use technical
jargon- usage common to a particular field or specialization, but not known to those
who are unfamiliar with the field. Often, mastering this technical jargon is akin to
learning of a foreign language. Most communicators are blind to the jargon of their
own fields, but critical of the jargon of other fields. Businessmen criticize social

scientists for using big words to describe simple phenomena, while they themselves
are steeped in the jargon of accounting and finance.
ABSENCE OF FEEDBACK: A third source of distortion in communication
is contributed by absense of feedback channels. One can see that cutting off the
feedback loop does not permit the sender to know whether his message was
received or received accurately. Research on one-way vs. two-way
communicationhighlights this problem. Two-way communication with discussion and
questions of clarification takes longer, but is much more likely to be accurately
received. One-way communication, in contrast, takes a shorter period of time, and is
usually more efficient but it is more frustrating to the sender. Teachers frequently
wish that students would ask more questions, to make sure that a particular lecture is
well-understood; students frequently wish that the instructor would stop and ask for
questions, rather than continuing on without probing at the right time. Negotiations is
by definition, a give and take process, one that requires two-way communication to
be effective. The more dedicated or one-way it becomes- for example, from
superior to subordinate the more likely error and distortion will be introduced
because of the absence of feedback channels.

CLIMATE: In a well-known article on the impact on negotiations, Gibb

(1961) described the differences between supportive and defensive climates in
communication. Defensive behaviour,as defined by Gibb, is behaviour which occurs
when an individual perceives threat or anticipates threat in the group. Defensive
behaviour is characterized by devoting attention to defending oneself from the other
communicator- anticipating the others reaction to his comments, protecting himself
from attack by the opponent, and/or trying to impress, dominate, retalite against, or
attack by the opponent. Defensive communication is self-fulfilling. Defensive
communication is much more likely to occur when the parties do not trust one
another, or have dissimilar and conflicting goals and objectives, or have power
differences between them, defensive communication is a common problem for
On the other hand, supportive communication climates in negotiations are
rare; they are more likely to occur when negotiators find themselves on the sameside(that is, not having mutually conflicting interests), and pursuing an integrative
bargaining process rather than a distributive one.
STATUS AND POWER DIFFERENCES: Differences in status and power
between communicators can make the one-way communication problem more
acute. Research tends to show that managers spend a great deal of their time
telling their subordinates what they want to have accomplished- in other words,
higher status and power tends to lead to one-way communication from manager to
subordinate. In contrast, communication upward tends to be characterized by
distortions that are self-serving to the sub-ordinate- to make him look good in the
superiors eye, or to keep him from looking bad. Subordinates often dont
communicate with superiors freely on an open and honest basis.
When power differences exist between negotiators, differences in
communications are likely to parallel the differences in power. Research shows that;
imbalance or asymmetry in negotiating power leads the high power party to perform
significantly better than the low power party. However, we can infer that when power
differences between negotiators exist, high power parties use power to their
advantage, are more predisposed to use threats than promises, and use

communicationto direct the opponent toward compliance. In contrast, we might

expect low power parties to usea variety of appeals in order to persuade the high
power party to be mare equitable, fair, and just in his use of power in the negotiation.


Effective communication skills are necessary for smooth relations with other
people. They can be your family, friends, colleagues or even strangers.
Communication is engaging in an exchange with another person. Knowing how to
communicate effectively will help you get across what you mean more efficiently. You
do not need a long list of dos and donts for verbal use. You do need to understand
that language is not always exact. It carries possibilities for misunderstanding if not
carefully controlled. Some general guidelines for selecting words and some tips for
effective communication are noted in the following;
Be Exact: Try to find the most precise and specific words. Pay attention to
feedback that indicates how the meaning is perceived by the receiver.
Use the word is carefully: When you say; He is radical, you may really mean,
He seems to be a radical. There is a vast difference between the two statements,
and each might bring a different reactions.
Avoid Overgeneralization: Lumping groups together verbally expresses a
distorted vision of the world. Prejudice and stereotyping (assuming that an individual
will think and act according to your notion of the typical member of that sex or that
ethnic, racial, or religious group) rarely produce useful dialogue.
Be sensitive to connotative meaning: Connotative meanings are not the
definitions found in a dictionary. Rather, they are the emotional or implied meanings
we attach to certain words. Evenif your intent is to make a simple factual statement,
the connotative meaning of a term can offend someone. If your neighbours pet is not
from a single breed, you would probably not want to describe it as a mongrel. The
connotative meaning of the term mongrel is insulting. We reveal a great deal about
our attitudes to others if we are insensitive to the connotative meanings of words.
Do not to overuse you or your: One sure way to produce a defensive reaction is
to assign ownership. Your boss made another silly statement in his meeting last
night is almost guaranteed to produce an argument rather than a discussion.
Although we now that messages can be sent in verbal form, we may not be
aware of how the choice of words affects the ability of the receiver to decode our
message accurately. So we should keep in mind the importance of words in message
Count from 1 to 10: When you get in the middle of an intense argument or when
someone suddenly lashes out at you, dont get mad right away. Count 1 to 10 before
responding. This will make you aware that the person you are speaking to might just
be experiencing severe stress and does not intend to attack you personally.
Recognize that you dont know all the answers to all questions: If you dont
know the answer just say that you dont know. You dont have to make other people

Listen to other peoples concerns. People need to be heard just like you do. More
importantly, take the initiative to share in other peoples feelings.
Always remember that what others may not mean the way we think they
mean it: Our values, beliefs and judgments may have altered the meaning of what
someone has said. Always allow for the possibility that our impression of what
someone has said may not be true.
Focus on common interests rather than differences:This will help you direct
your energy to promoting the common interest and making everyone happier, and will
also help you avoid frustration. Be aware when you impinge on someones space.
Personal space is very important for most people. When you impinge on their space
try to ask them respectfully. Tell them the reason you have to impinge on their space.
Think positive:
Always see the glass as half full rather than half empty. Doing so will help you reduce
stress. Also it can keep you motivated and pleasant when you deal with other people.
Communicating can be a pleasant and enriching experience when you try to do it
more effectively. These simple pointers can help you moving towards more effectively
dealing with others, and will save you a great deal of stress and energy.


A number of techniques have been suggested for improving the accuracy and
efficiency of communications in negotiation. Tutoring communication- helping the
parties learn how to communicate accurately and appropriately- is a role typically
played by third parties. In the following; some other techniques that the parties
themselves can use to insure that some of the typical perceptual and communication
blocks are not confounding their ability to reach satisfactory agreement, are listed.

QUESTIONING: One of the most common techniques for clarifying

communications, and eliminating noise and distortion, is the use of questions.
Niereberg (1973) emphasized that questions are essential elements in negotiations
for securing information; asking good questions enables a negotiator to secure a
great deal of information about the opponents position, supporting arguments and
ACTIVE LISTENING/REFLECTING: Active listening and reflecting are
terms that are commonly used in the helping professions- counseling and theraphy.
Counselors recognize that communicators are frequently loaded with multiple
meanings, and that the counselor musttry to tease out these several meanings
without making the communicator angry or defensive. One technique for gaining
more information is to ask questions, another method of gaining more information is
by listening. There are 3 major forms of listening:

Passive Listening: is merely the reception of the message, providing no

feedback to the sender about the accuracy or completeness of reception.
Sometimes it is enough in itself to keep a communicator sending information.


Acknowledgment : is the second form of listening, slightly more active than

complete passivity. When acknowledging, the receiver occasionally nods his
head, maintains eye contact, or interjects responses like I see, interesting,
sure...etc. These responses are sufficient to keep the communicator sending
messages, but the sender often misinterprets the acknowledgments as the
receivers agreeing with the position, rather than simply receiving the
Active listening: is the third form of listening. When the receiver is actively
listening, he restates, or paraphrases, the senders message in his own
language. Such as;
Sender: Please, dont ask me about that now.
Receiver: Sounds like youre awfully busy right now.
Sender: I thought the meeting today accomplished nothing.
Receiver: We were very disappointed with our session.

Successful reflective responding is characterized by;

a greater emphasis on listening than on talking.
responding to that which is personal rather than abstract.
following the other in his exploration rather than leading him into areas we think
we should be exploring.
clarifying what the other has said about his own thoughts and feelings rather
than close questioning, or telling him what we believe he should be thinking or
responding to the others feelings in his communication.

ROLE REVERSAL : The third way communication distortions may be

eliminated is through role reversal. Role reversal techniques allow us to understand
the others position by actively arguing his position to his satisfaction. In doing so, it is
expected that the communicator will more fully understand his opponents position,
perhaps come to accept the validity of that position, and discover ways that both
positions can be modified or changed to bring them into greater compability.
Role reversal may be a useful tool for reducing the distortions in
communication that prohibit accurate understanding of, and appreciation for, the
other position in negotiation. However, such understanding may not necessarily lead
to an easier resolution of the conflict, particularly when accurate communication
reveals a fundamental incompatibility in the positions of the two sides.


Types of Communication
The business communication settings includes the sending and receiving of
messages in an organization- between two people, or among a small group of
people, or in a one-to-many setting, with the intent of influencing organizational
behavior. The results of communication efforts thus may be intentional (one person
deliberately attempts to influence another) or unintentional (one persons actions
areperceived and interpreted by another). All business communication is ultimately
persuasive in nature and represents an attempt to influence behavior in
Some impressions are intentional- under the control of communicator. Skilled
business communication consider the importance of first impressions as they plan for
a presentation. They carefully the way confident people walk into a room; they
consider appropriate dress (colors, textures, style, etc.); they note how when
handshake techniques affect the impression. Additionally, skillful presenters manage
the amenities of small talk and factors such as seating arrangements in an effort to
make a favorable first impression.
Indeed, a sharp image may be planned and cultivated well in advance. One
must sell oneself before offering an idea or a plan of action; this should motivate the
communicator to consider communication variables that affect the success of the
Other impressions are unintentional. While recognizing that such impressions
are unavoidable, effective communicators will try to be as sensitive to unintended
cues as possible in order to minimize potential distractions from an intended
A good business communicator tries to minimize misunderstandings. Even the
most sensitive persuader will have to recognize that much unconscious
communication (communication below the treshold of awareness) and/or
unintentional communication will ocur during a given interaction.
Only a careful audit of the feedback behaviors of the audience members will
give the business communicator clues as to the presence of such unintentional
stimuli. Awareness is the beginning of stimulus management.

There are five characteristics of any business setting that have a srond
bearing on communication. The business world is complex, competitive, group
oriented, and data based.


Complex: All business is done through some kind of organization.

That organization may be small neighborhood grocery store operated by a family. It
may be a large international corporation that employs thousands of people. Bot hare

complex. This is true because any organization demands communication and action
among people to accomplish its goals.
In very large organizations, communication must follow established networks.
The person must know about the chains of command. You must know the person to
people who make certain decisions or you have made. If the person fail to
understand and use those communication networks, you have communication
problems without realizing the reason.
In a more complex organization, the person must make decisions about
communication that depend on individual status or power. The person must decide
what kind of communication he or she need to use in getting a message to him or her
boss. The person also need to decide how best to communicate with co-wokers. If he
or she fail to make these decisions before communicating, the person will limithow
sucessful he can be.
b- Competitive: Business compete with one another to deliver the best goods or
services to their customers. Your ability to communicate with clients or customers
makes a difference in success in his job. However business is a competitive world in
another way, too. The person compete with others in his organization for recogition. A
promotion even continued employment- can depend on that ability. In a very real
way, competition influences all the business communication.
A special communication problem comes from this characteristic. Although the
person compete with others he will also be expected to be a part of the team
competing with other businesses. He must select appropriate and nondestructive
ways to communicate within the organization. This not easy. It requires a careful
working knowledge of communication and a desire to use communication skills
cGroup Oriented: Much of the communication in businesses takes
place in a group setting. The abilitiy to function well in a group is way important for
success in businesses. If the communication behavior in a group is negative, it will
block ability to function. It will endanger the group. It may even endanger the persons
own job success. If he brings personal emotions such as anger or jealousy into a
sales meeting, he cannot communicate effectively in the group. If he dominate a
group meeting failing to allow anyone else to express ideas, he is blocking the
groups effectiveness. On the other hand, if he fail to contribute anything in a group
meeting he is equally in effective. Understanding and applying the communication
behaviors needed for a group to function can be a real assets in his job.
dTask Oriented: Every business has a task-it must sell something,
either a product or a service. The individuals success within the business depends
on how well he or she helps it accomplish its task. As a part of the organization, he or
she helps it accomplish its task in the way he or she communicate both with others
inside the business and with those outside. Business letters, publis speeches, and
participation in civic groups assist the organization in accomplishing its tasks.
Realizing that the organization exists in order to accomplish a task will help the
individual be a better employee.
eData Based: Business in the latter half of the twentieth century are
forced to process greater and greater amounts of infomation for use within the
organization and for accountability outside it. As a consequence, todays business
are increasingly dependent on information technology, and the ability communicate
with machines, to store and retrieve information, is a vital communication tool for

Two writers Carter and Huzan(1981), studied the nature of a business in a

terms of data or information- related processes. They concluded that the following
processes are involved:
People-to-people communication (telephone)
People-to-paper communication (typing)
Paper-to-paper transfer (copying)
Paper-to-file transfer (storing)
Files-to-people transfer (information retrieval)
In many cases, an employee will have to acquire skills specific to a wide
variety of automation devices in order to function in an existing position. Fear,
resistance, or the inability to acquire the skills will create a job threatening situation.

Employees Responsibilities
The wise employee and employer both realize that the success of the
individual is tied to the success of the organization. A slovenly, slow-moving waiter
may cause a loss of customers. If enough of them go away, he will also cause his
own loss of employment. A cross receptionist could run off so many clients that her
boss could no longer afford to employ her.
Any employee of an organization should be prepared to fulfill three
responsibilities. The responsible employee serves as an interpreter for the company,
as a humanizer or personalizer, and as a promoter. Each of these roles requires
particular communication skills and attitudes.
Interpreter: Suppose that anyone want to purchase a very sophisticated
camera for your father as a gift, but you know nothing about cameras. Would you
order it from catolog? The chances are that you would go to a camera store where an
employee could interpret for you the various models and explain the advantages for
each. This employees function would be that of an interpreter of the organization and
its product.
Humanizer: As a business organizations get larger and larger, there is a
growing need for employees to humanize their organization. If an employee uses
highly skillful communication, the human contact can relieve the fear and sometimes
the anger of a customer. There was a time when people paid their their monthly bills
in person to business who employed people they knew.
This rarely true today. The person send payments to faraway computer
centers, and your inquiries about bills are handled by incividuals working in crowded
offices miles away. An employee who can create a sense of warmth and caring in
communicating with customers is humanizing the organization.
During a recent convention, a conventioneer picked up one of the houses
phones and asked for the hotel manager. When the manager answered, the
conventioneer described the kind and the patient actions of the desk clerk who had
been on duty during the frantic check-in time the night before.
Within the organization there are also opportunities for an employee to
humanize the business. If new rules, mandates, and policies that affect the
employees can be made more understandable, they will be accepted more readily.
An organization needs employees who can establish communication with a personal
Promoter: Employees are also important in promoting business. Promotion
can take the form of deliberate communications to audiences about the wok and

contributions of the business. This situation do not mean that an employee must
accept everything that the organization does; constuctive criticism is needed in any
group. But the emploee who promotes the organization helps it work to solve its
problems rather than broadcasting them to the outside world. A sense of pride in the
place you work and a sense of loyalty to the organization should be part of your
attitude and should show in your communication.

Communication Skills
If one person act as an interpreter, a humanizer, and a promoter for his
organization, what skills will you need? Most people involved in the business world
agree that there are nine essential communication skills:
Group discussion
Interpersonal communication
Public speaking
Nonverbal communication
Problem solving
Telephone communication
As a result of a survey conducted by a team of researchers, we can see how
those communication skills are used in a typical office by various employees. The
researchers divided office activities into two categories: communication and
noncommunication activities. The communication activities were divided into type A
(direct conversational kinds involving two-way communication and feedback) and
type B (not conversational but involving some storage function) They also designated
three levels of employees:
Level 1- Upper Management
Level 2- Other Management
Level 3- Nonmanagement.
The chart that follows represents their findings.


Percentage of Time Spent on Office Activities by Various Levels of Employees


Communication Activities
Type A activities
direct conversation


Type B activities
no direct conversation

Equipment use

Time spent by:

Level 1 employees
(upper management)




Level 2 employees
(other management)







Level 3 employees

Each of these communication skills and types is a product of a single process,

complex and interactive but observable and understandable. Since our purpose is to
become better communicatiors in the businesss setting, a full understanding of the
process of communication is essential.

Communication Ethics
Ethics are central to communication. Ethics are standards of condust and
moral judgement. Communication ethics is the consideration of the rightness of
wrongness of a given communication act. Whenever anyone seeks effect change in
an organization or in a relationship with another person, there are ethical dimensions
to consider. The following questions illustrate the issues involved:
Is the request in the long-term good of the organization?


Is the request in the best interest of the parties involved in the

Do all parties have the information and understanding they need in order to
make an informed choice?
Is the information correct/truthful?
In ethical communication, the answers to all these questions have to be yes.
These are among the ethical questions that are raised whenever a business
communication is transacted. It is not ethical to lie or hide the truth when it prevents
another person from exercising the right to choose from a full range of options.
These is an inherent relationship between ethics and communication. In
addition to deciding what is efficient, effective, and desirable in a communication
interaction, the straightforward business communicator will choose what is ethical.

Quality versus Quantity

More communication is not inherently better communication. Sensory or
message overload paralyzes a business organization. Effective communicaiton
(quality) in the business setting may be more helpful than more messages (quantity).
Moreover, the best possible communication will not solve all problems in a business
organization. Some problems may occur because of a lack of resources, innovations
by competing businesses, philosophical differences that can be explored but not
overcome through communication.

Communication Networks
Business organizations contain formal and informal networks. Networks are
patters of communication in an organization. They are channels through which
messages pass from one person to another. Formal networks are legitimate
(aurhorized by management) and often indicated by an organization chart that
displays who answers to whom.











CRX 1000





CRX 2000



CRX 3000

-Organization chart of line and staff positions

An organization chart shows the levels of authority within an organization and

reflects the expected flow of information. Normally, each employee answers directly
to only one person. Such formal networks indicate a unity of command. A higherranking company official who wants an employee under the authority of another to
perform some task normally communicates the request through an informal network
or asks the employees immediate supervisor to see that the task is completed.
Informal networks are unofficial channels through which information passes in
an organization. Formal communication networks contain more of the written,
predictable, and routine communications; informal networks are faster, richer, and
often more accurate, and communication is more likely to be face-to-face. Informal
communication networks are not controlled by management. Sometimes people
leak information to the informal network for the purpose of sending up trial
balloons (ideas not ready for formal proposals). Conrad (1990) writes, Because
using formal communication networks takes so much time and effort, people may
have choose to not communicate at all if they have no formal channels available.
Even gossip and rumors usually provide accurate information. Such networks are
called grapevines. They reflect patterns that employees develop when the formal
channels are not clear, efficient, and/or respected. DeVito (1988) notes that the
grapevines speed and accuracy make it an ideal medium to carry a great deal of the
social communications that so effectively bind together workers in an organization.
Informal channels of communication flow upward, downward, and horizontally, with
little regard of designated positional relationships. Successful managers learn to top
the grapevine and alter the flow of formal communication appropriately.
Line and staff distinctions are important for business communicators. Line
functions are usually essential to the successful operation of the organization. On an
organization chart, line functions are usually connected by solid lines indicating the

direction of authority. Line networks normally involve superior-subordinate

relationships. Staff relationships between the members of an organization are most
often advisory in nature. It is possible for a given employee to have a line relationship
with one group in an organization and a staff relationship with another.
The span of control refers to the number of subordinates who are under the
authority of an individual supervisor or manager. The smaller the span of control, the
more communication access each employee will have to the supervisor. If employees
are assigned similar tasks, the span of control may be somewhat greater. If
employees perform complex and divergent tasks, then the span of control should be
consolidated so access can be increased; otherwise, communication problems may
Tall organizational networks have multiple levels of management and
supervision; flat organizational structures are broad-based (look at followed figures).
Flat structures allow more independent action by employees and provide greater
access to top management. Flat (or wide) structures has fewer third- and fourth- level
supervisors. Communication tends to be freer in more broadly based (flat)
configurations because there is a shorter chain of command to pass through wth a
given message.
Some organizations are operated in a task-oriented manner. Other
organizations are more loosely disciplined. A relaxed communication network
(normally found in flat structures) is more likely to support innovations than a tight or
mechanistic one, because there is less delay in the communication flow and a less
restrictive atmosphere.




























(a) Tall organizational structure; (b) flat organizational structure

Information Flow in Business Organizations

Organizations charts do not indicate how all information travels. Even in the
best-managed organizations. Informal networks take the form of friendship groups
and the grapevine of corporate gossip. In a well-run organization, formal channels
should be more accurate. In many less effective organizations, the informal networks
appear to be more assurate in reflecting what is really happening.
Another factor in business communication is the direction of communication.
Downward communication occurs when a manager or supervisor sends a message
to one or more subordinates. Downward communication is often designed to give
instructions or to explain how a superior wants a task accomplished. Superiors send
information to appraise a subordinates performance or to further motivate the
Downward communication sets the tone for a business organization. If the
majority of the communication in a business comes from the top (vertical down) and
generally is directive, the organizational styles tends to be autocratic. If the majority
of the downward communication is supportive and has a large element of concern for
the subordinates, the tone set will be more supportive. Such communication will
encourage collaboration between management and employees. Furthermore, it will
encourage a full range of upward communication.
Upward communication occurs when messages flow from subordinates to
managers or from supervisors to executives. Employeees are expected to report their
progress in completing tasks; what, if any, tasks are causing them problems;
suggestions for product or procedural improvement; and, most important, how they
feel about things are going. Upward communication is important-managers need
accurate feedback about whether their messages have been understood, how
decisions are being accepted, and what problems are developing.
Horizontal communication (or lateral communication) occurs between people
at the same level, or between people at corresponding levels in different divisions,
within an organization. Effective horizontal communication can help people to
coordinate projects, solve problems, provide a collation of information, resolve
conflicts, and pave the way for business relationships.
All too often, horizontal communication is blocked because of jealousy, the
barriers of technical specialization or seperate locations, and because too much
information flows for any one employee to process the data meaningfully. For


example, people in a unit may feel that they are in competition with the production
staff for all sorts of perks bonuses, information, new positions, and so on- and they
may seek to limit the amount of information that is shared. Insightful managers create
an environment in which cooperation has more reward than competition; thus, they
improve the communication environment of the entire organization. Recognizing and
rewarding a group- a team- of employees is one way to encourage a cooperative

What makes managerial communication different from other kinds of
communication? Managerial communication is succesfully only if you get your
desired responce from your audience. To get that desired response, you must think
strategically about your communication before you start to write or speak.

a- What are the objectives?

Defining the objectives provides two important benefits. First, you will be more
efficient, because you will no longer waste time writing or presenting material unlesss
you have a clear reason for doing so. Second, you will be more effective, because
formulating your objective precisely will help you communicate more clearly. To clarify
your purpose, hone down your objectives from the general to specific.
General objectives: These are your broad goals, the ones that trigger the
creative process and start you thinking. They are comprehensive statements about
what you are doing, what you hope to be doing, or what problem you are trying to
Action Objectives: To define your objectives more specifically, determine yor
action objectives- specific, measurable, time-bound steps that will lead toward your
general objectives. State your action objectives in this form: To accomplish a specific
result by a specific time.
Communication Objective: Your communication objective is even more
specific. Based on your action objectives, decide precisely how you hope your
audience will respond to your written or oral communication. To define your
comuniaction objective, complete this statement: As a result of this communication,
my audience will

Examples Of Objectives



Increase customer base.

Contract with X number of

clients per X time period.

As a result of this letter, the

client will sign the contract.

Develop a sound financial


Maintain annual debt-toequity ratio no greater

than X.

As a result of this
phonecall, the accountant will
give me the pertinent
information for my report


Increase the number of

women hired.

Maintain market share

Hire X number by X date.

As a result of this
presentation, at least X
number of women will sign
up to interview with my firm.

Sell X amount by X date.

As a result of this
presentation, the sales
representatives will
understand our product

b- Which communication style should be choosed?

Once you have defined your communication objective, choose the appropriate
style to accomplish that objective. The following model, adapted from organizational
theorists Tannenbaum and Schmidt, displays the range of communication styles used
at various times in virtually any job. The two dimensions to consider how much you
want to involve your audience. The more you control, the less you involve; the more
you involve, the less you control.

In tell/ sell situations, you have enogh information; you know the answer. For
tell style, you are informing or explaining; you want your audience to learn. For sell
style, you are persuading; you want your audience to perform an action.
In consult/ join situations, you do not have enogh information; you do not know
the answer. For consult style, you are interacting with your audience with some
control (such as meeting or a questionnaire). For join style, you are collaborating with
your audience to come up with the content (such as brainstorming session).

Your communication style should vary with each situation you encounter.
Generally, use tell/sell styles when you (1) have sufficient information, (2) can
understand that information without help from others, and (3) are concerned with a
quick, logical, orderly decision. Generally, use consult/ join styles when you (1)
needmore information, (2) need critical evaluation from other, and (3) are concerned
with implementation of the decision.

Examples of Objectives and Styles

Communication Objective
As a result of reading this statement,
the employees will understand the
benefits progarm available in this
As a result of this presentation, my
boss will learn what my department has
accomplished this month.
As a result of reading this letter, my
client will sign the enclosed contract.
As a result of this presentation, the
committee will approve my proposed
As a result of reading this survey, the
employees will respond by answering the
As a result of this question-and-answer
session, my staff will voice and obtain
replies to their concerns over the new
As a result of reading this agenda
statement, the group will come to the
meeting prepared to offer their thoughts
on this issue.

Communication Style
TELL: In these situations, you are
instructing or explaining. You want your
audience to learn, to understand. You do
not need your audiences opinions.

SELL: In these situations, you are

persuading. You want your audience to
do something different. You need some
audience involvement to do so.
CONSULT: In these situations, you are
conferring. You need some give-and-take
with your audience. You want to learn
from them yet the control the interaction
JOIN: In these situations, you are
collaborating. You and your audience are
working together to come up with the

As a result of this brainstorming

session, the group will come up with a
solution to this problem.

c- What is credibility?
Once the person have formulated what to accomplish (that is, stated your
objective and choosen the appropriate style to accomplish it), consider your
audiences perception of you. In other words, consider your own credibility; their
belief, confidence, and faith in you. Their perception of you has a tremendous impact
on how you will communicate with them.
Five factors- based on social theorists French, Raven, and Kotter- affect your
credibility: (1)rank, (2)goodwill, (3)expertise, (4)image, and (5) shared values. Once
you understand these factors, you can enhance your credibility by stressing your
initial credibility and by increasing your acquired credibility.
Initial Credibility: Initial credibility refers to audiences perception of you
before you even begin to communicate, before they ever read or hear what you have
to say. Your initial credibility, then, may stem from their perception of who you are,
what you present, or how you related to them previously.
As part of your communication strategy, you may want to stress or remind your
audience of your initial credibility. Also, in those lucky situations in which your initial
credibility is high, you may use it as a bank account. If people in your audience
regard you highly, they may trust you even in unpopular or extreme decisions or
recommendations. Just as drawing on a bank account reduces your bank balance,
however, drawing on your initial credibility reduces your credibility balance; you must
deposit more to your account, perhaps by goodwill gestures of further proof your
Acquired Credibility: In contrast, acquired credibility refers to your
audiences perception of you after the communication has taken place, after they
have read or heard what you have to say. Even if your audience knows nothing about
you in advance, your good ideas and your persuasive writing or speaking will help
earn you credibility. The obvious way to acquire credibility, therefore, is to do a good
job of analyzing and communicating in general.
You can however, also use more specific communication techniques to
increase your credibility. The chart on below lists these techniques.



Based on

Initial Credibility


Stress by

Increase by


Hierarchical power

Emphasizing your
title and rank

Associating yourself
with someone of high
rank (e.g.,
countersignature or


personal track

relationships or to
track record

Building goodwill by
citing audience




audience desire to
be like you

Shared Values

Morality, standards

Associating yourself with

or quoting someone
your audience considers
Building your image
by identifying yourself
attributes audience
with your audiences
finds attractive
__Mentioning values you share with__ your
Including a
biography or

CURTIS Dan B., FLOYD James J., WINSOR Jerry L., Business
and Professional Communication, Harper Collins Publishers, 1992
GOLDMAN Alvin, Rojot Jacque, Negotiation Theory and Practice,
Kluwer Law International, 2003
HILTROP Jean M., VDALL Sheila, The Essence of Negotiation,
Prentice Hall, 1995
LEWICKI Ray J., LITERER Joseph A., Negotiation, Irwin
MUNTER Mary, Guide to Managerial Communication, Prentice
Hall, 1992
SCOOT Bill, The Skills of Negotiation, Wildwood House
STANFORD Wayne F., DAWALDER David P., Communicating In
Business, Auston Press, 1994

THILL John V., BOVEE Courtland L., Excellence in Business

Communication, Prentice Hall, 2005
THOMAS David A., FRYOR Maridell, Business Communication
Today, National Textbook Company, Second Edition