Relevance of Silence in the Context of Managerial Communication

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Communication is the way or process of transformation of data or information from a sender to receiver (Bovee and Thill 2008, p. 38). According to them, an effective communication plays the vital part to achieve the organisational goal. In the context of managerial communication, an effective communication is very helpful for early warning of potential problems, stronger decision making, faster problem solving, having a steadier workflow and resulting increased productivity responsible for the growth for the organisation. In an organisation, an effective communication can be proceed by both verbally and non-verbally. In non-verbal communication silence is one of the most important aspect. In managerial communication, silence is very important in listening more effectively, in understanding and paying concentration in various problems, to support the co-worker in critical work issue and building good relationship, in negotiation process when emphasising a point more effectively. Silence in a team can also signify harmony and productivity. Sometimes silence can effect in strong decision making, can result silence conflict in organisation, hinder the overall performance and sometimes silence can cause misunderstanding and tension. So it can be said that silence can play a significant role in the context of managerial communication. Through this essay some important aspects of silence and its consequences will be discussed and some suggestion will be provided to mange silence properly in the context of managerial communication.

According to Lewis (1975, p. 156) non-verbal communication are those communications that are not in words. Bratton and Gold(2002, p.584) suggested that nonverbal communication is the process of coding meaning through individual behaviour such as facial expression, silence, touch or hand gesture etc. According to Mckenna (2006, p-698) non-verbal communication is concerned about those aspects of communication that are not expressed orally or in writing and this includes movements, intonations that are applied on words, physical distance of the sender and receiver and also facial expression. Silence is very powerful form of nonverbal communication and it can be widely used in the context of managerial communication. Milliken, Morrison & Hewlin (2003) described that over 85% of the managers and professionals admitted to remain silent about one of their work concerns.

In the context of managerial communication silence is very closely related. Silence has both positive and negative impact in managerial communication. Lee (2000, p. 271) suggested that the art of creating and managing silence can be a useful counterpoint in our workplace. In managerial communication, there are different types of situation arises and a manager has to make the right decision at the right time. In workplace silence can take an important part when listening attentively, in negotiation, in reducing interpersonal conflict and also increasing informational privacy among the employees.

In the context of managerial communication silence can play a significant role in listening. Ellis and Richard (2002, p. 16) argued that listening is an activity that is very crucial in all form of communication and in various surveys managers have put down listening as their predominant activity where 45% of their working week is devoted in listening. Bovee and Thill (2008, p. 53) 80% of the top executives rated listening as the most important skill needed to get things done in work place. According to Johnson and et al (2003, p;23), silence greatly improves listening effectiveness. For example a manager has to give full attention to hear his employee and here silence is important.

In the context of managerial communication silence can minimise personal conflict among the employee. Employees may remain silent at work both to protect self interest and they also want to avoid co-worker getting in trouble, described by Edmondson (1996)....
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