Process Essay, 5 pages (1200 words)

Understanding the communication process in the workplace

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Within our organisation communication is essential for providing the best service for our guests and to profit the business. The cooperation between the departments, between managers and our suppliers/service providers is key. Well informed staffs are motivated staff and everyone benefits.

The model contains 8 key components, Source, Encoder, Message, Channel, Noise, Decoder, Receiver and Feedback. Source is the sender; it’s the person who initiates the process. It could be verbal or written, an order or a question. As a maintenance engineer most of our work is reactive requiring quick responses to emergencies and verbal communication over the radios has proven to be the best initiator. Message is the content that is being communicated from one end of the model to the other. Naturally you will send multiple messages that are precise, rather than a single message which has too many meanings. Encoder is the shape and format of the message that the initiator wants to communicate. E-mail, phone, letter or even a hand shake. Clear, specific, informative etc.

Channel is the route the message will travel on, be it verbal or written the source should decide the best route for effective communication. Noise could be considered an interference that changes the initial message the source intended to send. It can be something physical like a muffled radio transmission or a language barrier when talking to a foreign guest. Noise must be reduced to achieve effective communication. Decoder is essentially the same interaction as that of the source and encoder, but in a reverse sequence. It is how the receiver interprets the message, they may change the format into a way they understand. Destination (receiver) is the end destination that the source had intended for the message to reach. The receiver takes and interprets the message. Feedback is the receiver’s response to the message. The intent is to let the source know how well the message was received and interpreted.

In most communication processes barriers will be present and limiting these barriers as much as possible will again help prove effective communication in the workplace. An engineer stuck in the boiler room with constant engine noise and high temperatures will struggle to understand a message over a radio and maybe miss the importance of the message. I have had to apologise for late responses to emails where I have had to respond to an emergency situation that can take 3-4 hours to fix and has kept me away from the office. A recent example is when a colleague had come to me to complain about being left out of the hotel football team and would not want to listen to why this might have happened.

I have gained the habit to always follow up on messages and not just wait for feedback. I have come to realize how a colleague can be busy with other things and forget to respond but I also at every opportunity try to explain how important their feedback can be and how it can affect other work or decisions to be made. We have a pager/phone system in place for managers to be able to reach each other when there are not in their office and even receive emergency/security messages to be able to respond quickly.

As a written communication method we use Microsoft Outlook, which is linked with our mobile phones. Written e-mails and text messages can be read and replied from a PC and/or a smart phone. Daily spread sheets from the accounts department, front of house and reservations are communicated every morning for all managers to interpret.

As an oral communication method I try to reach the individual in person to see and feel the response of my colleague, but our main method again is the pager/phone system. Every department manager, supervisor carries these and 90% of requests, questions and job reporting is done via this method. In my own experience the phone is used to bring the two parties to meet and discuss in person.

Advantages of written communication It leaves a permanent effect on the receiver. It allows the receiver to analyse the message then decide what action to take. It gives the receiver time to think. It is helpful to reduce tension on delicate matters. It is the only way to communicate long messages like new work policies It is easier to communicate to a large number of people at once.

Disadvantages of written communication It can be time consuming. It can take time to receive a reply. It can’t be written briefly, it has to be clear. It is seldom flexible. It cannot remain confidential as it was intended to. It lacks that personal touch. It can be expensive.

Advantages of oral communication It is fast. Easier to receive recent information. It is a two way communication and therefore promotes a better understanding. It is flexible. Can be kept brief and simple. Body language can be read

Disadvantages of oral communication It isn’t open to everyone. It can lead to misunderstandings. It can be uncomfortable/awkward when around other people. It is no doubt how strong non-verbal communication can affect the oral communication process positively and/or negatively. An individual’s body language, hand gestures, facial expressions can all tell us more than what the individual actually orally communicates. No reaction and no eye contact at all can tell us the other party is not interested in the message. A hand-shake can mean the other party is happy to see us and will help the oral communication to flow.

Physical barriers can also affect the communication process. In a meeting a table in the middle with each party sat on either end can promote a defensive barrier between the two. Feedback is the only stage in the communication process that creates a cycle. It’s the only tool we can use to check someone’s understanding, reaction, feelings etc. During a two way communication it will promote more discussion points. Verbal or non-verbal it also helps the source of the communication process to change their encoder stage if the receiver is misinterpreting the message. It helps reduce the chances of misinterpretation.

I use feedback from others during two way communications to assess my own ability of getting the message across. Being verbal or non-verbal the feedback helps me decide if I need to re word the message I communicated. Then use the same format when communicating to others. I also use informal chat lines to loosen the tension if any and always show a positive attitude when giving criticism, allowing the person to feedback with no concern. I encourage them to feedback.

But I have noticed I use too many closed questions, especially when there is a language barrier, as I don’t want to waste time and after I realise from the feedback I did not get my main message across. I also can be answering my question as I couldn’t wait for an answer or assumed I have a better answer. As an action to improve I will try to use more open questions and be more patient when communicating with someone to allow them time to answer, then ask more open questions to open more discussion points rather than jumping in. I will show patience and listen to encourage others to continue speaking.

Thanks for your opinion!
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