Communication is central to all meaningful collaboration and teamwork. Communication keeps a whole organization moving. There are different ways we can communicate such as written communication, verbal communication, non-verbal communication and visual communication.
It is important that whatever type of communication we choose, the information needs to be conveyed effectively. Various modes or medium to transmit and receive the information is referred as “communication channels”.
There has to be a direct channel between any of the 2 people involved in a communication. The number of direct channels which can exist with “N” number of stakeholders will be “N(N-1)/2”. As the number of stakeholder increases in a team, the number of channels increases much faster. The high number of channels can make communication very complex.
There are number of different types of communication channels exist as listed below:
The above channels need to identified and used effectively for achieving maximum impact and richness of information as desired. Learn more about these channels in our PMP course.
The above communication channels further can be categorized as:
It is an official way of communicating. A formal communication channel transmits information such as the goals, policies and procedures of an organization. Messages in this type of communication channel follow a chain of command. This means information flows from a manager to his subordinates and they in turn pass on the information to the next level of staff. Some examples include company newsletters, business plans, instructions, annual reports, agreements, company-wide communications, board presentations etc.
It is also an official way of communicating, with somewhat relaxed norms. There may not be a need for a chain of command or hierarchy in this kind of communication. There will be immense official communication where such hierarchy or command is not needed, but they happen within the official framework. Some examples will include conversations on the work floor addressing queries of team members, lunch time conversations, many of the emails where formal command is not needed such as someone is seeking some quick information etc.
Under the official environment, both formal and informal channels are used as needed.
There exists an unofficial mode of communication as well. The employees communicate outside work environment on topics not related to work. General social, sports, political and personal communication are unofficial channels. But a manager needs to be aware about the existence of such a channel and information flowing in them. Many times rumours and gossips also provide very important information which otherwise will not be available.
We need to be aware of existence of number of available channels in a team or project. It is important to choose the right communication medium or channel for effectively communicating.
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