Methods of Communication

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Methods of Communication

The standard methods of communication are speaking or writing by a sender and listening or reading the receiver. Most communication is oral, with one party speaking and others listening.

However, some forms of communication do not directly involve spoken or written language. Nonverbal communication (body language) consists of actions, gestures, and other aspects of physical appearance that, combined with facial expressions (such as smiling or frowning), can be powerful means of transmitting messages. At times, a person's body may be “talking” even as he or she maintains silence. And when people do speak, their bodies may sometimes say different things than their words convey. A mixed message occurs when a person's words communicate one message, while nonverbally, he or she is communicating something else.

Although technology such as e-mail has lessened the importance of nonverbal communication, the majority of organizational communication still takes place through face-to-face interaction. Every verbal message comes with a nonverbal component. Receivers interpret messages by taking in meaning from everything available. When nonverbal cues are consistent with verbal messages, they act to reinforce the messages. But when these verbal and nonverbal messages are inconsistent, they create confusion for the receiver.

The actions of management are especially significant because subordinates place more confidence in what managers do than what they say. Unless actions are consistent with communication, a feeling of distrust will undermine the effectiveness of any future social exchange.

Oral communication skills

Because a large part of a manager's day is spent conversing with other managers and employees, the abilities to speak and listen are critical to success. For example, oral communication skills are used when a manager must make sales presentations, conduct interviews, perform employee evaluations, and hold press conferences.