How Communication Networks Determine the Work Environment?

Communication Networks in offices or organisations govern and define the Work environment. The work culture stems out of the manner in which the information is shared and exchanged.

What purpose does communication serve in an organisation? We frequently observe the following functions of communication:

1. Efficient planning

2. Sharing information

3. Training and development

4. Leadership and coordination

5. Building relationships

6. Facilitating decision making

Absence of good and transparent communication may lead to false assumptions and wrong inferences. On the other hand information overload, hierarchical rigidity and fear of superiors can also obstruct the communication process in an organisation.

If we explore vigilently we can identify the following four types of communication networks that operate in various organisations:

Wheel: It is less liberal and does not offer scope for free interaction.The power is centrally located. The communication is one_way and restricted. This does not give space to the subordinates to express their opinion or concerns. In this network communication is confined to one central point of authority hence it is rigid and autocratic.

Chain: It allows one – way communication. The people at every senior level communicate to their subordinates but their is no upward communication. This is based on passing information downward but does not give opportunity to junior employees to participate in the communication process. This is again restrictive and less interactive.

Circle: It allows interaction at same level and with people having similar interests. This helps in creating a liberal platform of communication for people sharing common goals and objectives. This network fuels competition and improves productivity.

Allchannel Network: It is the most democratic form of communication network. It facilitates communication across all levels. It is an open type of communication network that lets employees share their thoughts, concerns and grievances and focuses on managing employee communication through a well defined system of communication. The communication is both upward and downward.

An organisation can choose any communication network as per its requirement but it should be best suited in the interest of the organisation and its employees. If the office communication is clear, simple, transparent and liberal with equal opportunity for expression and open discussion it will not only empower the employees but also help attain professional goals.

A democratic communication network helps build trust among team members. Trust is essential for optimising the potential of the employees and improving their efficacy. Contented and happy team is the key to a positive work environment. Keeping in view the interest and demand of the employees is the mark of a successful employer. The communication network defined by an organisation can either promote or restrict the collective growth of the organisation based on whether it allows for open and flexible channels of communication or sticks to the rigid and orthodox system of communication hierarchy.

Employee satisfaction and employee growth are the biggest contributors to the success of an organisation. If the employees are provided a healthy and congenial environment it will help reduce undue work pressure and free them from unnecessary challenges in day to day work.

Let us thus aim to simplify the communication processes in work places by promoting flexibility, transparency, justice and equality. Remember, a brand is build not just through promotion and publicity; it is the human resource that is the most important asset of an organisation. If the employees are nurtured and their interests protected then undoubtedly there will be unparalleled rise in their performance.

External success is a reflection of the internal harmony, coordination and collective efforts of the employees. Establishing an effective communication network can show magical results in fostering a healthy and dynamic business environment.

How Silence Becomes a Powerful Non-Verbal Tool of Communication?

Silence speaks when words fall short. Silence uses neither words, nor sounds or syllables. Yet it acts as a subtle means of communication. It is both strength and weakness. This article is about the mysterious power of silence. It attempts to explore how silence empowers one to communicate at a deeper level of communication where even words fail. Let us unravel the hidden force of silence.

Silence is golden‘, is what we have always known but do we also know that silence is a type of Non-verbal Communication?

Keep silence‘ can be seen on signages in hospitals or reading rooms.

Finger on your lips‘ or ‘Pin drop silence‘ are commonly used idioms in kindergarten or primary schools.

In public speaking platforms the anchor always announces ” Ladies and gentlemen, please put your mobiles on silent mode”and while travelling by air we are requested “to put our mobiles on silent mode.”

So whoever said that silence doesn’t speak?

Silence on the bank of a river is tranquility, silence on the hill top is meditation, silence in the lap of mother nature is divine.

Silence in a prayer service is repect, silence in condolence is homage, silence in classrooms is discipline, silence in hospitals is consideration, silence in argument is wisdom, silence in anger is pain, silence in pain is patience, silence in peace is an agreement, silence in solitude is contemplation.

Silence is powerful but silence in injustice is cowardice. Silence is strength, silence is hope but staying silent against wrong is weakness.

Silence is cold, chilling and frightening in fear, misery and death.

In love, silence is beautiful. When the eyes speak and the heart listens silence is bliss. Silence then becomes faith, silence in love becomes trust.

The language of silence is not words , not sounds, not metre nor syllables, it is deeper language of heart and mind. It is an expression of emotions which are strong and profound.

Silence speaks if you have ears to listen and heart to feel. Keep listening!

Some Annoying Non-Verbal Actions that You Should Always Avoid

People do frame opinions about you based on your non-verbal communication. It is upto you that how you want your public image to be framed. Do you wish to be recognised as a sensible, sensitive, responsible and intelligent individual or you wish to appear as an irresponsible, unpleasant, insensitive and foolish person?

The choice is yours. Remember image and reputation management is a necessary marketing strategy in todays competitive environment.

In the previous post I discussed about how Non-Verbal communication plays a pivotal role in the process of communication. Through this post I wish to throw light on some basic and quite commonplace human behaviour which knowingly or unknowingly turns out to be annoying to the onlooker or a keen observer. Most people are blind or ignorant to these gestures as they lack the ability to recognise the implications of these gestures. Here we will devote considerable attention to such common yet annoying behaviour.

  • Bangbang: No, I Have no intention to coin any new theory of evolution rhyming with the one named Big bang. I wish to draw your attention to the fact that many people while making presence in public gatherings like meetings, seminar halls, convocations, examination halls or auditoriums are highly insensitive to opening and closing doors while stepping in and out of the room. They just unintentionally bang the doors behind them , leaving behind a disturbed and annoyed audience. We can show more sensitivity to people by handling the doors more gently.
  • Drumming and whistling in public places : Yes drumming and whistling might be a great idea while enjoying leisure time with your friends but not in a formal setting. In a classroom, formal meeting, Interview or a conference hall, it is best to refrain from such actions. Such actions draw more negative attention than positive appreciation. Drumming could be interpreted as a symptom of anxiety or casual behaviour. Whistling again, may be interpreted as a mocking gesture or lack of self-control.
  • Pushing aside people, while trying to make way for oneself: Very annoying and offensive behaviour is one when people walk/ brush past against you pushing you or hurting you and then act so indifferent as if they did nothing. They do not feel the need to apologise and walk away from the scene. It only shows poor civic sense and people label you as rude and uncultured.
  • Acting funny in response to serious discussion or situations: Some people are so fascinated by the idea of cracking jokes that they try to bring in their characteristic humour in every situation. Irrespective of the fact where they are or in whose company they are sitting, some people are  always absorbed in their own thoughts.  Little do they realise that using humour every now and then in response to serious questions or grave discussions can become a serious offence if used without context and lack of judgement. It shows absence of consideration (One of the 7 C’s of communication) and comes across as an irresponsible behaviour.
  • Diverging from the central theme of discussion to avoid confrontationThere is another special category of people who always try to streamline the communication as per their liking. They override your arguments with illogical explanations simply to divert the flow of communication. They use this strategy as a weapon for self-defense. Such a communication where one tries to mask ones mistakes by using illogical and irrational arguments to divert the attention and escape from the uncomfortable situation is often judged as escapist or arrogant behaviour. It is important to confront the fears instead of trying to hide them under the carpet.
  • Staying glued to ones mobile while someone is talking: Highest form of discourteousness observed in todays mobile generation is staying glued to ones mobile when someone is speaking. This is nothing less than showing disrespect to the speaker. Eye contact is a significant way to send feedback to the speaker. Avoiding eye-contact may send the wrong signal and strain the relations with the speaker and create misunderstandings.

People do frame opinions about you based on your non-verbal communication. It is upto you that how you want your public image to be framed. Do you wish to be recognised as a sensible, sensitive, responsible and intelligent individual or you wish to appear as an irresponsible, unpleasant, insensitive and foolish person?

The choice is yours. Remember image and reputation management is a necessary marketing strategy in todays competitive environment. Communication, both verbal and non-verbal is an indespensible tool in reputation management.

Read to Learn, Learn to Read

Having discussed the many benefits of reading , the chief concern here is how to develop reading skills. Reading demands self-discipline and sincerity. One needs to set aside  reading hour in the daily time- table and follow the routine religiously. What you read may not be restricted to or limited to any one area, field or genre. You can select any theme or topic that interests you.

People both young and old are frequently heard complaining, “Reading is so boring”, ” It’s such a waste of time”. We look for short cuts and quick notes to prevent ourselves from the mundane task of reading the full text.  We rely on summaries and precis just a day before an examination, interview or a presentation. Yes, in a world hard pressed for time and where everything is made available at the press of a button, who would prefer to read a book/blog/magazine or devote time to read.

Reading is the source of  abundant knowledge,  information and even aesthetic pleasure. Reading is an opportunity to explore the unexplored, to unlock the doors of novel ideas and distinct viewpoints. Reading not only widens the horizons of understanding but also triggers your imagination and creativity. Reading is the best vocabulary building exercise. There is no better way to develop your word power than to read. Reading improves comprehension and lays the foundation for strong communication skills.  It gives you ideas for public speaking. Reading makes you worldly wise.

Having discussed the many benefits of reading , the chief concern here is how to develop reading skills. Reading demands self-discipline and sincerity. One needs to set aside  reading hour in the daily time- table and follow the routine religiously. What you read may not be restricted to or limited to any one area, field or genre. You can select any theme or topic that interests you. News , Literature, sports, fashion, entertainment or politics, you can identify any stream of your liking but never skip your reading session. Based on your objective of reading, reading can be classified into four main types

  1. Aesthetic reading– to read for pleasure, which may include story, drama, poetry , fiction or entertainment
  2. Reading for information– to get the gist of the content
  3. Reading for meaning-to read and comprehend the writer’s viewpoint
  4. Reading for knowledge– to comprehend the writer’s message and critically analyse the content to frame and express ones opinion

Once you are in the habit of reading you will find it easier to concentrate on details If you have a clear and well defined objective than it will be simpler to apply the right technique of reading.  On the basis of reading objective, the techniques may be classified broadly  into four types:

  1. Aesthetic reading- Extensive reading technique-It can be read at leisure and there can be a slow and relaxed pace.
  2. Reading for information- Skimming and scanning- are the two techniques which can be applied for seeking quick information. They are rapid reading techniques. Skimming is reading rapidly in order to get a general overview of the material. Scanning is reading rapidly in order to find specific facts.
  3. Reading for meaning- SQ3R technique is an effective reading strategy for academic reading or reading for comprehension  SQ3R ( SQRRR- Survey, Question, Read, Recite and Review) was introduced by Francis P. Robinson, an American education philosopher in his 1946 book Effective Study.
  4. Reading for knowledge- Critical reading: It involves logical and rhetorical skills. It is slow and attentive reading which focuses on the language, structure and meaning of the text. Highlighting main points, making notes or keeping a record journal are essential to this technique. It equips the reader to differentiate between fact and opinion. Further it enables the reader to formulate his responses and critically evaluate the text. Critical reading is a process of analyzing the text, looking for evidence and then drawing inferences based on ones interpretation and understanding.

Reading will not happen overnight. It is a gradual process which requires persistence and regularity. So go slow but go steady. Take one step at a time. Begin with things that interest you, topics that fascinate you, themes that entice you, authors that captivate you. Let reading be your passion. Read, read , read whenever you have time. Once you start having fun with your reading, there will be no looking back.

Keep reading…don’t miss the fun!