The importance of effective communication

by The Times 100 on Monday 8th February, 2010

For a business to run well, effective communication is necessary. Messages must be passed to the right people, at the right time and using the right method. The Building Societies Association (BSA) is the trade association for all the UK's building societies. Building societies communicate with different groups: its members (customers), local communities, employees and potential customers. The individual needs of these stakeholders will dictate the communication medium that the building societies use to transmit their messages. For example, TV advertising may attract new customers whereas letters are often used to pass information to existing customers.

Barriers can hinder effective communication. These barriers may include technical breakdowns, unclear messages and poor timing. The BSA and its members aim to diminish the problems caused by barriers to communication by using the most appropriate channels and formats and ensuring messages are written in clear English with little use of jargon.

For multinational organisations, language can be a barrier to effective communication. When the head office is in one country, but customers and employees are in other countries, the ability to communicate in a number of languages may be necessary. Google is currently developing phone software that may help to eliminate some of these language barriers. Through the use of voice recognition and automatic translation, Google is hoping to create a phone that is capable of translating foreign languages instantaneously. It already has an automatic system for text translation which currently covers 52 languages, and is hoping to have the first basic phone translator ready within the next couple of years. Slang and strong accents may prove to be significant hurdles to the introduction of live translation, however, the Head of Google's translation services says it is using 'a combination of high-accuracy machine translation and high-accuracy voice recognition'. (The Sunday Times 7th February 2010)

Questions

  1. List different barriers to communication.
  2. Explain what is meant by 'formal communication'.
  3. Using the BSA case study, draw and explain the most appropriate communication network for passing information very quickly throughout an organisation.
  4. Analyse the ways that multinational organisations could benefit from Google's new phone translator.
  5. How could the translator benefit building societies' customers?

Answers to questions

  1. List different barriers to communication Wrong format, Technical breakdown,Receiver unable to understand message, Attitudes towards sender,Wrong channel, No feedback, Poor timing, Use of jargon, Unclear message, Wrong target
  2. Explain what is meant by 'formal communication' Formal communications are those made in a set format, recognised by the organisation, where records are usually kept.
  3. Using the BSA case study, draw and explain the most appropriate communication network for passing information very quickly throughout an organisation Probably the most appropriate is the Y-network which is often faster than a chain network. In a Y-network, messages are passed at the same time through two different channels which then pass on the information outwards.
  4. Analyse the ways that multinational organisations could benefit from Google's new phone translator Employees in different countries could converse with each other, Firms can communication immediately with both suppliers and employees who use different languages, Communication will be much quicker as there is no need to wait for translation to be carried out, Less need to employ translators so firms may be able to reduce their costs
  5. 5. How could the translator benefit building societies' customers? Help customers whose first language is not English.

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