MBA management

PRINCIPLES OF COMMUNICATION


In order to make the letters, memoranda, reports, representations and other forms of communication effective, one should follow certain scientific principles.

CLARITY


1. Clarity of Thought

The communication cycle begins with the generation of an idea in the mind of the transmitter. A great deal of clarity is needed at the stage, for if the beginning is fuddled, it is likely to mar the entire communication process. The communicator must be clear about three points :

What is the objective of communication?

What is to be communicated?

Which medium will prove to be the most suitable for this purpose?

2. Clarity of Expression

The receiver learns about the idea in the transmitter’s mind through the coded message. If encoding is faulty, the message may be misinterpreted.

The following points about the choice of words deserve attention :

USE SIMPLE WORDS

Remember that simple and short words are more effective than pompous and heavy words. It is better to use “tell”, or “inform” for “acquaint.”

(i) Use single words for long phrases:
A single word is often more effective than long, pompous-looking phrases.

(ii) Use verbs for nouns:
Using verbs in place of nouns often brings about simplicity and clarity.

(iii) Avoid double entry:
We often use phrases with two words conveying the same idea. Such phrases can be easily simplified.

(iv) Use concrete expressions:
Concrete expressions create visual images that are easy to register. So instead of vague, generalized statement, give definite facts.

(v) Prefer active constructions – for they are easier to understand. If you deliberately want to create an impersonal style, you may bee justified in using passive constructions.

(vi) Avoid excessive use of the infinitive .The use of the infinitive tend to make the style impersonal and formal.

(vii) Avoid Jargon : ‘Jargon’ refers to the special language of a trade, profession, or field of study. It may refer to words as well as to the style of writing.

(viii) Avoid ambiguity:
If the message can mean more than one thing, it is ambiguous. Ambiguity is often caused by a careless use of personal pronouns.

(ix) Use short sentences:
Whether your communication is oral or written use very short sentences. Long sentences tend to be complex and demand greater concentration.

COMPLETENESS

In business communication, completeness of facts is absolutely necessary. Incomplete communication irritates the reader, for it leaves him baffled, if wrong actions follow an incomplete message, they may also prove expensive. Let us suppose you are ordering shirts by mail. Your communication must include all the relevant facts---size, color, catalogue number, quantity, mode of payment, mode of dispatch, the date by which you need the shirts, etc.

i. While answering a letter make it sure that questions are answered ; If your customer has four queries and answer only two of them, it will not bring the desired answer.

ii. Checking for the “five W” questions --- who, what. Where, when, and why, and any other essential points like ‘how’ also helps to make your message complete.

CONCISENESS

A reader’s time is invaluable. Don’t make him feel that he is wasting his time in going through your unnecessarily lengthy letter. Be as brief as possible .brevity in expression effectively wins the attention of the reader .However, brevity should not have effected at the cost of appropriate clarity, correctness, completeness or courtesy.

The following four simple rules will help you to achieve conciseness to your messages :

i. Include only relevant facts:
Make sure your message does not get cumbered by unnecessary details.

ii. Avoid repetition:
Repetition includes monotony or irritation. This might repeat information or a request in order to stress it. The reader would naturally expect you are saying something additional.

iii. Avoid trite and wordy expressions:
Organize your message well. Use simple and short words as sentences; ensure that your message is coherent.

CONSIDERATION

In our letters, we must show consideration for the reader, this can be done in the following ways:

i. Adopt the ‘you’ attitude
We know that we are primarily interested in ourselves. Naturally, every other person is interested more in himself than in a third party. We must avoid using I’s and We’s and have as many You’s as possible.

ii. Avoid Gender bias
Now that the business world is no longer dominated by men, it is extremely important to avoid gender bias. Using ‘he’ when message is going to a lady will certainly cause offence. So take some precautions.

iii. Use words free from gender bias
Use a slash to include both the alternatives.
Use plural forms inclusive of both the gender.
It is often possible to use ‘the’ for ‘his/her.’

iv. Emphasize positive vision and use pleasant facts
On many occasions you may have to refuse, say ‘no’, regret, disagree, complain or say ‘sorry’. To say this in plain words and a straight forward style is not difficult, but its effect on the reader’s mind and the repercussions on the firm are bad far reaching.

V. Impart integrity to your message
Showing integrity is perhaps the best way of showing consideration. Integrity involves the observance of ethical principles, ---Sincerity and fair treatment.

COURTESY

In business we must create friendliness is inseparable from courtesy.

i. Answer the letters promptly

In business it is general practice to answer a letter the same day it is received. Sometimes you might need a back reference, or may have to refer to different departments for clarification of certain points.

ii. Omit irritating expressions

Some words and expressions are negative in connotation and irritate the reader. Particularly, when used with ‘you’, they become provocative, Expressions like ‘you forgot’, ‘you failed’ are bound to irritate or hurt the reader.

iii. Apologize sincerely for an omission/thank generously for a fever.

If you have overlooked or failed to do something, express your regrets promptly and sincerely and make up for the omission at the earliest.

COURTESY IN VARIOUS TYPES OF COMMUNICATION

I. Horizontal communication (neutral) level of communication)

Before writing, employ empathy, Empathy is the ability to imagine how you would feel if you were in someone else’s situation.

ii. Upward communication (to your superiors)

Keep your message full and complete. Be courteous and respectful but not fawning; Superiors respond effectively.

iii. Downward communication (to your subordinates)

Be brief, clear and courteous.

CORRECTNESS

I. Give correct facts
Business communication often leads to expensive operations. So you should be sure that you are transmitting correct facts in correct language.

ii. Send your message at the correct time
All messages must be transmitted and responded to at the most appropriate time. Outdated information is useless.

iii. Send your message in the correct style:
This may also be described as the principle of adaptability. You must adapt your message to the needs of the receiver. You must keep before you his educational background, the width of his vocabulary, specialized knowledge of the subject, the depth of the information required his psychological make-up, his relationship to you or your organization.

LETTER

Letters are the most widely used from of written communication. They are used mostly for external communication. A letter has a complex layout which has to be carefully followed as each part of the layout has a purpose and is needed for reference. It is typed/ printed on the company’s letterhead. It may be sent by mail, speed post, courier or hand delivery.

MEMO

MEMO (Short form of memorandum) is usually an informal message between members of an organization and generally relates to daily work. Instructions can be conveyed by a memo. Many organizations provide pads of memo forms (with blank sheets of carbon copies) for the exchange of short messages among individuals. Memo forms are usually small and used for brief messages. The forms may have the company’s name printed on the top; spaces are provided for date, sender’s name and department, and the receiver’s name and department. Top executives of an organization may have personal memo pads with their name printed on the top, for use within the department. A memo may or may not be signed.

NOTICE

A notice is used when people in the organization have to be given the same information. It is the most common method of mass communication with in an organization. A notice is short; the language is simple, and the type is large and well spaced for easy reading. A notice is put up on the notice board.

CIRCULAR

A circular is a detailed document giving information, instructions or orders on a specific matter. A circular has a number and a date for reference, and is signed by the authorized signatory of the issuing office. Circulars are generally issued by the government departments and other official bodies like councils, universities and had offices of the organization. Circulars are sent by mail or fax to the various offices that are to be given the information.

REPORT

A report is a document prepared by an individual or a committee entrusted with the task of collecting information on a given subject. It requires careful research, collection of data and presentation of the findings, conclusions and recommendations. Reports are of varying length and may be anything from two pages to a full book divided into chapters.

MINUTES

Minutes are the written record of decisions taken at a meeting. Different bodies have their own convention of recording the discussion and the decisions. Minutes may be written by hand or typed and pasted in a minute book, or typed and fild in a minute file. Minutes are a legal document.

FUNCTIONS OF WRITTEN COMMUNICATION


• Written message can wait for the attention of the receiver while speech requires immediate attention.

• It is now possible to use Dictaphones and leave voice mail on the telephone which will be heard by the other person later.

Written communication serves as a record and can be used for future reference. It is a document proof, and can b used as legal evidence.

Written communication is very precise and accurate.

Written communication is also known as non-verbal communication.

• Anything that is understandable to the minds of the receiver can be considered as written communication.

• To provide a convenient and inexpensive means of communication without personal contact.

• To seek or give information to the reader.

• To furnish evidence of transactions entered in the communication.

• To provide a record for future reference.

• It also helps in building goodwill by creating in the mind of the reader an impression of the writer’s organization as one that is efficient, reliable and anxious to be of services.

Written communication has a lasting impression on the reader’s mind because it stays with him, goes with him and does its work efficiently very time it is read.

Written communication widens the approach between the businessmen and his representatives.

Written communication acts as an authoritative proof and it can be treated as a valid document that can be produced as evidence in the court of law in case of dispute.

Written communication is an indispensable form of communication for industry and commerce.

• Any form of communication should make an impression on those who receive them.

• The 2 forms of non-verbal communication are visual and aural which are used consciously by skilled communicators.

ADVANTAGES OF WRITTEN COMMUNICATION


1. Non-verbal methods have an almost instant effect because of quicker grasp by the receiver; it takes less time to see a color or a picture and to hear a horn or a bell than to read or hear and understand words and sentences.

2. Speed in conveyance and response makes non-verbal methods extremely useful in critical situations like traffic signs and signals.

3. Visual, non verbal methods aid verbal communication; maps, charts and graphs are necessary for conveying information or plans related to geography, locations, data, and most of the sciences.

4. A large amount of complex data can be presented in a compact form: one page can convey information that would need several pages of words. It makes information available conveniently.at a glance for comparisons.

5. Response to visuals and plains sounds is more powerful than language.

6. A cry of agony arouses stronger response than a sad story; a film is more effective than a written story. TV news is more interesting than of radio.

7. It is the best method to convey information to illiterate people. Containers of poisons are marked with a skull and cross-bones as a warning; illiterate drivers manage with the non-verbal traffic signals.

8. Films are used to explain process to people who may not follow oral explanations easily.

9. Non-verbal communication can overcome the barrier of language.

LIMITATIONS OF WRITTEN COMMUNICATION


1. Written communication can take time to deliver.

2. Written information can be lost by the receiver.

3. Written communication is not 100% sure of security.

4. It can easily be opened and read or sent to the wrong address.

5. Takes time to produce letter and can be inconvenient if an urgent message has to be delivered.

6. No guarantee or assurance that message has been received unless feedback has occurred.

7. If recipient does not understand any information, then they have to reply to the message stating the problem and then wait for another message reply from the sender.

8. Rival companies can gain access to this information to increase competition between the organizations.

9. A report is a formal method of communication and is therefore time consuming to prepare.

10. If a reader of the report wanted to give feedback, then the process for this would be long. Causing the barriers of communication to occur.

11. Annual reports have to be produced every year even if the company had a bad year.

12. Annual reports have open channels of communication because they can be read by any one at any time.

13. The notice can easily be taken down to be read by an employee or covered up by another notice.

14. It can take time to distribute the notices around the organization.

15. If they don’t look attractive, people tend not to look at them as they may think from their first impressions that it doesn’t seem very interesting.

CIRCULAR LETTERS


INTRODUCTION


A circular is a letter or memorandum addressed to a number of persons or intended for general circulation. This form of communication is very commonly used both within organizations and for sending out information from the organizations. Circular letters are, therefore, the letters conveying the same information from a businessman or a business organization to a large number of customers and suppliers.

Circular letters are mostly written in the following situations:-

1. Introducing a new product or service.
2. Opening a new shop, branch, or regional office.
3. Expansion of an establishment.
4. Change of address.
5. Appointment of a sole-selling agent.
6. Seasonal discount.
7. Increase in prices.
8. Announcing a prize scheme.
9. Change in the constitution of the firm.
10. Partnership information.
11. Retirement or death of a partner / associate.

Types of business messages:

• Good will messages.
• Positive messages.
• Persuasive messages.
• Negative messages.

GOODWILL MESSAGES


Goodwill messages are those which include thanks, recognition, and sympathy. Finding the right words to express feelings is something more difficult than writing ordinary business document. These messages are easier to write whn the situation is fresh in our mind.

Functions:

1. Self less
The focus of the message should solely be on the receiver, not the sender .We should not talk about ourselves.

2. Specific
Personalize the message by mentioning specific incidents or characteristics of the receiver. Take care to verify names and other facts.

3. Sincere
Let your words show genuine feelings, Rehearse in your mind how you would express the message to the receiver orally. Then transform that conversation language to your written message.

4. Spontaneous
Keep the message fresh and enthusiastic. Avoid canned phases. Strive for directness and naturalness. Not creative brilliance.

5. Short
Although good-will messages can be as long as needed, try to accomplish your purpose in few sentences. What’s most important is remembering an individual.

Uses

1. To Express Thanks.
2. Response.
3. Sympathy.

Objectives :

1. To Express Thanks for a Gift.
2. To Send Thanks for a Favour.
3. To Extend Thanks for hospitality.
4. To Answer a Congratulatory Note.
5. To Respond to a Pat on the Back.
6. To Express Condolences.

Positive Messages


In an informative or positive message, you expect the audience to respond neutrally to the message or to be pleased. Negatives are minor; they are not the main point of the messages. We must convey information but are not asking the audience to do anything.

Functions

Functions of positive messages are :

1. Acceptances.

2. Positive answers to reader requests.

3. Information about procedures, products, services, or options.

4. Announcements of policy changes that are natural or positive.

5. Changes that are to the reader’s advantage.

6. Even a simple information or good news message usually has several purposes.

Uses

Uses of positive message are :

1. To build a good image of the writer.

2. To build a good image of the writer’s organization.

3. To cement a good relationship between the writer and reader.

4. To reduce or eliminate future correspondence on the same subject so the message doesn’t create more work for the writer.

Objectives

Objectives of positive messages are :

1. To give information or good news to the reader or to reassure the reader.

2. To have the reader read the message.

3. To deemphasize any negative element.

Negative Message


In a negative message, the basic information is negative; we expect the reader to be disappointed or angry. Few people like to give bad news-and even fewer people like to get it-but negative messages are common in business. How we present negatives and what we write or say can affect how audiences respond to our messages, as well as how they view us and our organization.

Functions

Negative messages are :

• Rejections and refusals.

• Announcements of policy changes that do not benefit customers or consumers.

• Requests the reader will see as insulting or intrusive.

• Negative performance appraisals and disciplinary notices.

• Product recalls or notices of defects.

A negative message always has several purposes.

Uses

• To build a good image of the writer.

• To build a good image of the writer’s organization.

• To reduce or eliminate future correspondence on the same subject so the message does not create more work for the writer.

Even when it is not possible to make the reader happy with the news we must convey, we still want readers to feel that

• They have been taken seriously.

• Our decision is fair and reasonable.

• If they were in our shoes, they would make the same decision.

Objectives

*To give the reader the bad news.
* To have the reader read, understand, and accept the message.
* To maintain as much goodwill as possible.

Persuasive Messages


In the 21st century, businesses depend more and more on persuasion and “buy—in” to get quality work done. You can command people to make widgets. You can’t command people to be creative.

Functions

Functions of persuasive messages are:

• Proposals and recommendations.

• Sales and fund- raising letters.

• Job applications letters.

• Reports, if they recommend actions.

• Efforts to change people’s behavior, such as collection letters, criticisms or performance appraisals where you want the subordinate to improve behavior, and public-service ads designed to reduce drunken driving, drug use, and so on.

All persuasive messages have several purposes.

Objectives

* To have the reader act.
* To provide enough information so that the reader knows exactly what to do.
• To overcome any objections that might prevent or delay action.

Method

1. To build a good image of the writer.

2. To build a good image of the writer’s organization.

3. To cement a good relationship between the writer and the reader.

COMMUNICATING WITH CHARTS AND GRAPHS


A wonderfully illustrative method of communicating complex data is to make good use of charts and graphs. Charts are a wonderfully illustrative method of displaying data. Charts and Graphs tend to draw a high level of visual attention. Here are some tips for charting:

Charting Tips

1. Use charts to get the reader’s attention: Use charts particularly for data points that you want the reader to take notice of.

2. Non-scientific-audiences: For non-scientific audiences, use easy-to –understand charts, such as pie charts, bar charts, line graphs, and tables.

3. Use explanations and bullet points: Wherever possible, try to include explanations or bullet points beneath the chart.

4. Use stand- alone charting: Charts should be able to stand on their own, with or without ext.

5. Chart garbage: Get rid of unnecessary chart “garbage” that clutters up your document and takes away from the data’s message.

6. Don’t have too many data points on one chart: For example, pie charts should have no more than six slices, line graphs should have no more than four lines, and bar charts are most effective if they contain only a few bars, etc.

7. Using tables: Tables should be used when no other good charting options are available.

TYPES OF GRAPHS AND CHARTS

1) Line Graph
a) Shows comparisons.
b) Sometimes called a frequency polygon.
c) Widely Used.
d) Clarifies and communicates relationship through time.
e) Don’t use more than one comparison for each visual.

2) Bar Graph

a) Called histogram.
b) Numerical dimensions are shown in bars or varying length.
c) Shows comparisons.
d) Multiple comparisons are possible.

3) Pictograph

e) Chart or simple drawings depict quantities.
a) Make abstract comparisons more concrete.
b) Use silhouette leaving out detail.
c) Large difference is best.
d) Good for young audiences.

4) Pie Chart

a) Division of the whole or parts of the whole.
b) Easy to grasp.
c) Lay out largest portions first clock-wise position.
d) Label larger portions in the circle.
e) Don’t make the proportions too small__ group if you can.

5) Cosmograph

a) Parts of a whole.
b) Similar to a pie chart.
c) Less numerical.
d) More graphic.

6) Flow Chart

a) Steps in the process.
b) Graphically shows the sequence of events or the process.
c) Shows the relationship of steps in the process.

7) Organisational Chart

a) Organizational relationships.
b) Chain of commands.
c) Shows how one department relates to another.
d) Direct and indirect relationships.
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Review Questions
  • 1. Define written communication.
  • 2. Write the advantages of written communication.
  • 3. Write the limitations of written communication.
  • 4. Write the functions of written communication.
  • 5. What are the various types of written communication?
  • 6. Why is non-verbal communication preferred when compared to verbal communication?
  • 7. What are the functions of writing stages?
  • 8. What are the objectives of writing stages?
  • 9. What are the steps involved in writing stages?
  • 10. What are the advantages involved in stages of writing?
  • 11. What are procedure involved in stages of writing?
  • 12. What do you mean by stages of writing?
  • 13. What are the materials involved in stages of writing?
  • 14. Explain the types of Business messages.
  • 15. What are Goodwill messages? What are its functions?
  • 16. What are the uses and objectives of Goodwill messages?
  • 17. What are positive messages? What are their functions?
  • 18. What are the uses and objectives of Goodwill messages?
  • 19. What are negative messages? What are its functions?
  • 20. What are Persuasive messages? What are its functions?
  • 21. What are the uses and objectives of Persuasive messages?
  • 22. What is the meaning of Proof-reading?
  • 23. What are the objectives of Proof-Reading?
  • 24. What are the functions in Proof-reading?
  • 25. Explain the process of Proof-reading.
  • 26. List out the advantages of proof reading.
  • 27. How can proof-reading help in developing a good essay?
  • 28. Explain the purpose of proof-reading.
  • 29. How is proof reading different from editing?/li>
  • 30. What is a report?
  • 31. What is the meaning of the word "REPORT"?
  • 32. What is the purpose of report writing?
  • 33. What are the uses of charts?
  • 34. Explain different types of graphs and charts.
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