Effective Communication is significant for managers in the organizations to perform the basic functions of management, i.e., Planning, Organizing, Leading and Controlling. Communication serves as a foundation for planning. All the essential information must be communicated to the managers who in-turn must communicate the plans so as to implement them. Organizing also requires effective communication with others about their job task. Similarly leaders as managers must communicate effectively with their subordinates so as to achieve the team goals. Controlling is not possible without written and oral communication.
So communication plays a vital role in all the management functions. Thus, we can say that “effective communication is a building block of successful organizations”. In other words, communication acts as organizational blood. Mary Ellen Guffey, author of “Business communication: process and product” says that employee and employer's success depend on the communication. "Surveys of employers consistently show that communication skills are critical to effective job placement, performance, career advancement and organizational success" (Mary Ellen Guffey, 2010)
Communication plays a vital role in the day to day activities in an organization. Therefore it is a must for an employee and employer to improve communication skills to move up the career path.
Figure 1 show a survey conducted in a top blue chip company in India percentage of time we devote to the four communication skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing.
Source: A survey conducted in a top blue chip company in India – (Business Communication, Raman M, Singh P, 2006) The communication process has two key elements, i.e. sender and receiver. Each of us plays the roles of sender and receiver many times each day. Therefore it’s interesting to note an average individual spends considerable amount of time each day in listening than in writing speaking or reading. Frank Tyger quoted in David D. Acker says the importance of listening as follows. “All wise men share one trait in common: the ability of listen.” (Frank Tyger, 1992). Though we spend most of our time in listening it is important to know whether we listen effectively, as effective listening is an important aid to communication. Bad listeners will make bad communicators. In 2004 an international survey conducted by Melcrum Publishing of 712 communication and HR practitioners found that the quality of communication of operational managers was generally poor. Only 14% of communicators rated operational managers in their organization as “good” or “very good”.
The managers were confident and knew their business but were poor at managing and representing their own staff. The biggest problem areas were reported to be managers’ skills at communicating upwards the views and concerns of their team, managers not acting as leaders, and not knowing their employees’ needs. Respondents blamed the managers for the problems because they said the managers didn’t make the effort to communicate even though they had the time. (Kim Harrison, 2004) The above quote supports the fact that among communication skills, listening and Presentation skills are two key skills that a manager must sharpen.
What is meant by Listening?
Dennis M.Krataz and Abby Robinson Krataz say that “Listening is the act by which we make sense of sounds. The most common form of listening involves spoken messages”. We spend most of our time listening. But most people listen with only 25% efficiency.
Johnson as quoted in David D. Acker defines listening as the ability to understand and respond effectively to oral communication thus it clearly says that hearing is not listening. We hear things rather than listen. Therefore it is important to learn how to listen effectively.
“Hearing is with the ears, but listening is with the mind” (Johnson)
Hearing and listening are two...
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