For an organisation to communicate effectively with its external audiences, it is necessary for it to have effective internal communication. Yet how often do we hear about well-laid plans being ruined by poor internal communication, for example when employees are the last to be told about plans, or when managers fail to listen to those around them?
All the communication principles described earlier apply equally within organisations; indeed, they are an essential part of management. The need for good communication underpins everything that managers do.
In communicating with other members of the organisation, a manager has to exchange ideas, attitudes, values, opinions and information. This may take up most of their time, but without this concern for communication managers achieve little.
Within organisations, communication means more than just sending information. The meaning of the message must be clear, all parties need to understand what is being said, and the sender must be ready to receive feedback and react to it. So managers need to develop these skills.
Some of the reasons for communication within an organisation are:
These broad aims are channelled - formally and informally - to a variety of audiences.
Formal channels follow the structure of the organisation. As a manager, you need to send messages to subordinates, peers and superiors - downward, horizontal and upward communications. Equally importantly, all these people need to communicate with you, to provide feedback on messages received from you, and to feed through their ideas, opinions and information.
We have looked at the communication process and the audiences. Next week we will look at the different vehicles that can be used to carry the message.
Let us think about your organisation’s external audiences. External customers include actual or potential buyers or users of a product or service and a host of other people, groups or organisations who might have an influence on the organisation’s behaviour. Below we list a fairly typical range.
Audiences who might buy from your organisation:
Audiences your organisation might wish to influence:
No doubt you can add to this list from your own experience. Whoever your audiences are, you need to find an appropriate way to inform, influence and communicate with them.
Some of the messages you send might be saying, “We have something for you”. Your organisation might be launching a new brand or a new aspect of its consultancy service, or perhaps a “new, improved” version of a long-established product. Other messages might be saying, “We are better/more dependable/friendlier/more concerned about the environment than our competitors”.
Some reasons for communicating with external audiences are:
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