Every organization is complex, and so are its communication systems. In this course, Brenda Bailey-Hughes emphasizes seven communication-related questions that you should ask yourself during every project or major change initiative in your organization. Focusing strategically on these seven questions will allow you to improve the internal and external communication strategies at your company.
Organizational communication is vital. When it’s effective, the right people have the right information to make the right decisions. When it fails, it has the potential to cost a lot of money and waste time and resources. Therefore, be intentional about how your organization communicates rather than treating it as an afterthought.
Start by thinking about your bottom-line message. If everything turned out perfectly in your project, what would people know, feel or do that they don’t right now? Keep that in mind throughout the communication efforts during your project.
Who do you want to receive that message? List all of the people who should be involved or know about your project and try to communicate directly with as many of them as possible. If you’re noticing a lack of communication between people in different departments, initiate those conversations. Think about your unintended audience—who could end up hearing your message? Emails and texts are easy to forward—you want your intended audience to receive your message and you need to be aware of what the consequences would be if an unintended audience were to receive your message.
Don’t assume you’re the best person to deliver your message. The best senders should be influential to the receivers. If you know someone else could be more effective, let them send your message. Focus on your purpose, not your pride.
When you know who is sending and receiving your message, you need to consider the receiver’s unique needs. What is the knowledge level, possible reaction and reason for listening to you? Frame your delivery to drive your bottom-line message across to your unique audience.
Make your message delivery about feedback. Build opportunities to hear from others in your organizational communication process. When given suggestions, try to apply it—fix concerns or use shared ideas. Ask only for feedback you can use and use open-ended questions when you ask for feedback.
Think about the context surrounding your communication —what’s going on in your organization? What’s the climate of your organization like? A climate is the emotional tone of your organization, and depending on its condition, it can either encourage interaction or slow communication flow.
Foster a supportive climate for communication by being open about your message and what it could mean for your organization. Make sure your whole team is able to give feedback and that you give thoughtful consideration toward implementing that feedback. If you’re unable to create a supportive climate, be ready to have a slower and less enthusiastic reception to your message.
For an organization to work effectively, you have to have a flow of organizational communication. Understanding the context, sender, receiver, message, possible interpretation and feedback in organizational communication is imperative to its success. With effective communication, the right people in the organization have the right information to make the best decisions for the organization’s success.