Discuss the nature of communications in an organizational setting, including communication flows, channels, and networks. Explain barriers to communication, and discuss the most common types of barriers to group communication. Clearly, the task of preparing and submitting a finished sales report doesna€™t require the same kinds of communication skills as talking on the phone with a classmate. Communication may also flow laterally in organizational settings (as it does between you and your classmate), but more often it flows up or down.
As the term suggests, downward communicationdownward communicationCommunication flow from higher to lower organizational levels. Upward communicationupward communicationCommunication flow from lower to higher organizational levels. Lateral (or horizontal) communicationlateral (or horizontal) communicationCommunication flow across the organization, among personnel on the same level. Your bossa€™s request for a sales report is an instance of downward communication, and when youa€™ve finished and submitted it, you will have completed a task of upward communication. Finally, while horizontal flows are valuable for promoting cooperation, they can also be used to engage in conflicta€”for instance, between two departments competing for the same organizational resources.
Note that FigureA 8.9, a€?Channels of Communicationa€? takes the form of a grid, thus creating four dimensions in which communication can take place. An organizationa€™s formal communication networkformal communication networkNetwork consisting of all communications that flow along an organizationa€™s official lines of authority. Every company also has an informal communication network (or grapevine)informal communication network (or grapevine)Network that carries information whenever two or more employees get together and start talking about the company and their jobs., which goes to work whenever two or more employees get together and start talking about the company and their jobs. Though ita€™s sometimes called the grapevine, an informal network is an extremely important communication channel. On the upside, savvy managers can tap into the informal network, either to find out what sort of information is influencing employee activities or to circulate more meaningful information, including new ideas as well as corrective information.
The organizationa€™s formal lines of communication arena€™t working as well as they should be. The best way to minimize informal communication and its potential damage is to provide better formal communication from the outseta€”or, failing that, to provide whatever formal communication will counteract misinformation as thoroughly as possible. Go to your supervisor or another senior manager and try to find out as much as you can about the organizationa€™s real plans.
Ask a senior manager or a human resources representative to meet with your team and address membersa€™ concerns with accurate feedback.
Make it a priority to keep channels opena€”both between yourself and your team members and between team members and the human resources department.
Because actions of this sort send a message, they can legitimately be characterized as a form of formal communication.
By barriers we mean anything that prevents people from communicating as effectively as possible. As for creating unnecessary verbal noise and failing to listen, we can probably chalk them up to poor communication habits (or maybe the same habit, for as legendary management expert Peter Drucker argues, a€?Listening is not a skill; it is a discipline. If it hasna€™t happened already, for example, one of these days youa€™ll find yourself having a work-related conversation with a member of the opposite sex. It really doesna€™t matter which a€?stylea€? (if either) is better suited to making a conversation more productive. Even if two people of the opposite sex enter a conversation with virtually identical viewpoints, their different styles of expressing themselves might very well present a barrier to their reaching an agreement. FigureA 8.11, a€?Functional Barriers to Communicationa€? illustrates the location of barriers that may be present when a team-based project must deal with a certain degree of functional diversity. The company has assigned team members from different functional areas, notably marketing and operations (which, as at Motorola, includes design, engineering, and production). Information (which wea€™ve characterized as different types of a€?specsa€?) must be transferred from function to function, and at the key points where this occurs, wea€™ve built in communication barriers (symbolized by brick walls).
If, for example, marketing specs called for the new Motorola phone to change colors with the usera€™s mood, someone in engineering might have to explain the difficulties in designing the software. Each technical problema€”each problem that arises because of differences in team membersa€™ knowledge and expertisea€”becomes a problem in communication.
Downward communication flows from higher organizational levels (supervisors) to lower organizational levels (subordinates). Lateral (or horizontal) communication flows across the organization, among personnel on the same level. Barriers to communication include anything that prevents people from communicating as effectively as possible. To your manager telling him what the sales were for the quarter and whether sales improved (or got worse), and why. To the vice president of the company recommending a new system for tracking sales in your division. Brian Tracy: “I asked myself that very question  about sales success when I started selling many years ago.
For more insights and business strategies, sign up for our free leadership newsletter, Leader’s Edge. BRIAN TRACY is the Chairman and CEO of Brian Tracy International, a company specializing in the training and development of individuals and organizations. To assemble a starting list of known gaps, solicit input from the management, business development, marketing and sales teams.
Assign these to the competitive intelligence function and require a periodic report to a responsible manager. Unfortunately, the spreadsheets in the presentation were intentionally obscured since they were a result of a client engagement. You will need to use unique links (the Google Analytics URL Builder is a fantastic tool for this) in your blog to track the blog’s and specific entries’ effectiveness over time. Comparison blog entries readily translate into sales because they highlight the differences between two competitors. Remember that your product or service must not just have features, but be able to solve problems. Sometimes people don’t use a product properly and this leads to negative customer reviews on your website or on outside consumer review sites.
Web surfers are more likely to trust “people like me” versus a company, so let your users help create compelling blog content. No matter what your a€?workstationa€? happens to bea€”whether your workplace office or your kitchen tablea€”youa€™re performing the task of preparing that sales report in an organizational setting.
Leta€™s assume that you and the classmate you called on the phone are on roughly equal footinga€”youa€™re both juniors, your grades in the class are about the same, and so forth. Downward communication, for example, is appropriate for giving instructions or directionsa€”telling people what to do. As information seeps downward, for instance, it tends to lose some of its original clarity and often becomes distorted or downright wrong. The problem is especially bad when such horizontal communications breach official upward or downward lines of communication, thus bypassing managers who might be able to resolve the conflict.
Informal communication, for example, can take place either among people within the company (internally) or between insiders and outsiders (externally).
Informal communication can take place just about anywhere (in one persona€™s cubicle, in the cafeteria, on the golf course) and by just about any means (phone, e-mail, instant messaging, face-to-face conversation).
Because much of it is communicated orally, ita€™s likely to get distorted and often degenerates into outright misinformation.


In the 1970s, Chicago-area McDonalda€™s outlets found themselves fighting rumors about worms in their hamburgers. Because ita€™s your job to replace bad information with good information, you need to find out whata€™s really going on.
Its only function is to carry information, so therea€™s no reason why you cana€™t pump some useful information through it.
In a practical sense, what can a managera€”say, the leader of a long-term product-development teama€”do to provide better communication?
They also reflect good leadership: Even though the information in this case relates only indirectly to immediate team tasks, youa€™re sharing information with people who need it, and youa€™re demonstrating integrity (youa€™re being honest, and youa€™re following through on a commitment to the team).
Noise, for example, can be a barrier to communication; if you and other team members are mumbling among yourselves while your team leader is trying to explain task assignments, youa€™re putting up a barrier to group communication. None of these advantages, though, magically appears simply because workplace diversity increases. If the conversation doesna€™t go as smoothly as youa€™d expected, therea€™s a good reason: Men and women in the workplace dona€™t communicate the same way.
Much the same can be said of differences in style arising from other cultural filters, such as ethnicity, education, age, and experience. Recall that when we introduced the organizational structure of Notes-4-You in ChapterA 6, Managing for Business Success, we characterized it as a functional organizationa€”one that groups together people who have comparable skills and perform similar tasks.
Simply this: The more a€?divisionalizeda€? an organization becomes, the more likely it will be to encounter communication barriers. At the same time, each group must contribute to the company-wide effort to achieve common goals. If design specs called for quadraphonic sound, production might have to explain the difficulties in procuring sufficiently lightweight speaker components. In addition, communicating as a member of a team obviously requires much more than explaining the limitations of someone elsea€™s professional expertise. Its formal communication network consists of all communications that flow along an organizationa€™s official lines of authority. It says that 80 percent of sales success is mental and emotional, not technical and physical. One of the top business speakers and authorities in the world today, he has consulted for more than 1,000 companies and addressed more than 5,000,000 people in 5,000 talks and seminars throughout the United States and more than 60 countries worldwide.
Leigh Stringer, author and workplace design specialist, provides five tips on how you help your employees become healthier and more productive.
The gap could be positive (that is, we are in a better position) or negative (our position is worse).
Identifying the known gaps (though not necessarily easy) is only the first step in a robust gap analysis process.
For instance, we may know that competitor X is about to introduce their new product which is 20% faster than any product that we have. For each gap that they identify, make sure that it is specific and well described, that the impact is estimated and each competitor which is better is noted.
Instead, they are events, activities, announcements and such that may signal gaps in the future. Nevertheless, tracking demographic, technology, product, legal and other areas is important. The goal is to actively determine whether to demote the gap if it is insignificant or to escalate it when it can be fully characterized. Their mission is to help the organization understand when a trend accelerates to the point where there are specific, compelling market responses occurring. The keys are to discriminate the different types of information, assign the responsibilities correctly for each and establish a process of regular review with management. A blog entry that addresses the problem will go a long way to making people comfortable about buying the product. Youa€™re still a sender transferring information to a receiver, but the organizational context of the task requires you to consider different factors for success in communicating effectively (including barriers to success). Your phone conversation, therefore, is a€?laterala€?: You belong to the same group (your accounting class), and your group activities take place on the same level. If it looks familiar, thata€™s because wea€™ve borrowed it from ChapterA 6, Managing for Business Success, where it appeared as the organization chart for the fictional company Notes-4-You.
External communicationexternal communicationChannel through which communication occurs between parties inside a company and parties outside it.
By and large, though you can use the same set of tools (memos, reports, phone calls) to communicate in any of these four situations, some tools (team blogs, news releases, supplier Web sites) are useful only in one or two.
For the simple reason that ita€™s typically widespread and can rarely be prevented, even if ita€™s not officially sanctioned by the companya€”indeed, even when the company tries to discourage or bypass it.
Remember: The more you know about grapevine information, the better you can interact with employees (who, in turn, will probably come to regard you as someone who keeps in touch with the things that concern them).
As a matter of fact, youa€™re putting up two barriers: In addition to creating noise, youa€™re failing to listen. In the rest of this section, wea€™ll overlook personal barriers to communication and concentrate instead on two types of barriers that are encountered by groups of people, sometimes large and sometimes small, working toward organizational goals. To the contrary: As diversity increases, so does the possibility that a group will be composed of people who have different attitudes and different ways of expressing them.
According to American linguist Deborah Tannen, men tend to assert their status, to exert confidence, and to regard asking questions as a sign of weakness. Not surprisingly, communication gets more complicated, for the same reason that an organization comes to rely on more levels of management.[290] Notes-4-You, for instance, needs two supervisors because its note takers dona€™t do the same work as its copiers. Moreover, certain organizational projects, like Motorolaa€™s cell phone project, may require the two groups to work together more closely than usual.
Once theya€™ve surfaced, technical and other problems have to be resolveda€”a process that will inevitably require even more communication.
External communication occurs between parties inside a company and parties outside the company, such as suppliers, customers, and investors. The informal communication network, sometimes called the grapevine, goes to work whenever two or more employees get together and start talking about the company and their jobs.
Cultural barriers, sometimes called cultural filters, are the barriers that result from differences among people of different cultures. The most important determinant of sales success in any field, in any economy, in any market, with any product or service, is self-confidence.
He has written 65 books and produced more than 500 audio and video learning programs on management, motivation, and personal success. In competitive intelligence, we study gaps (especially the negative ones) because we want to know and explain what our competitors are doing to create a significant advantage for themselves. Here are the 5 steps to comprehensively think through gaps, to create simple tracking methods and to ultimately get to the actions that will close the gaps. Since there has been a press announcement, live demonstrations which seem to confirm the claims and an established track record for the competitor, we can firmly believe that the product and the claims for it are real.
In technology, the broad trends of things getting smaller, faster, cheaper and more communicative is not a revelation to most people. The escalation process must be a part of a regular review cycle or it could become ineffective due to its irregular or inconsistent use. Their responsibility is to look for the specific trigger information and feed it back to a coordinating competitive intelligence function. Once the responses are being seen, then triggers are identified for each competitor to understand how they intend to act.


I have used FocalPoint, ProSight, Accept 360 and others for gap analysis, and it would be nice to see your template. One can promote their business and earn profits through internet marketing in several ways. One of the things that employeesa€”the receiversa€”most want to know is: What, exactly, does my job entail?[279]) Like a sales report, upward communication usually provides managers with information that they need for making decisions, but ita€™s also the vehicle for new ideas, suggestions, and complaints.
The same thing may happen when bad newsa€”say, a negative status reporta€”must be sent upward. Because it incorporates the organization chart for Notes-4-You, it shows the companya€™s lines of authoritya€”what, in ChapterA 6, Managing for Business Success, we called its reporting relationships. Unofficial information crosses virtually every boundary drawn by a firma€™s organization chart, reaching out and touching everyone in the organization, and whata€™s more, it travels a lot faster than official information. About 80 percent of top executives say that learning to listen is the most important skill in getting things done in the workplace,[286] and as President Calvin Coolidge once remarked, a€?No man ever listened himself out of a job.a€? Business people who dona€™t listen risk offending others or misinterpreting what theya€™re saying. In this respect, our structure shares certain characteristics with another form of organizationa€”divisional, which groups people into units that are more or less self-contained and that are largely accountable for their own performance.
In addition, because their groups dona€™t perform the same work, the two supervisors dona€™t call on the same resources from the companya€™s four functional managers. When that happens, employees from each of the two groups may find themselves working together on the same team, but even so, one crucial fact remains: Information that one group possesses and the other doesna€™t must still be exchanged among team members. As wea€™ve seen in this part of the chapter, improving communication is a top priority for most organizations (for one thing, developing a team-based environment is otherwise impossible), and the ongoing task of improving communication is pretty much the same thing as the ongoing task of overcoming barriers to it. Functional barriers arise when communication must flow among individuals or groups who work in different functional areas of an organization.
That means the average income of the people in the top 20 percent is sixteen times the average income of the people in the bottom 80 percent. However, it could make a large difference if it is 10% faster in three years or 50% faster in six months. More recently, the trends toward more social media, lowering energy consumption, increasing recycling features and more emerging market support are becoming important.
The CI team then coordinates the evaluation of the triggers and decides when a potential gap has been identified.
There is fierce competition in the field of e marketing and therefore the marketer must have the right skills and technical knowledge for this job. Horizontal communication supports efforts to coordinate tasks and otherwise help people work together. Both internal and external forms of communication include everything from formal e-mail and official reports to face-to-face conversations and casual phone calls. Here we can see that the reporting relationships in question consist of upward communication from subordinates to superiors. Hence, this is a gap that is well characterized and is significant to our competitive position.
Without more information, it is also very difficult to assess the potential significance of the gap. Public companies, especially, signal much of what they plan to do through all types of disclosures.
The key to trend monitoring to find the ones that most affect customers (and, therefore, their buying decisions). One must also have the right amount of patience and skill as money is generated but it takes time and effort. External communication also takes such forms as customer and supplier Web sites, news releases, and advertising. In reporting to the operations manager, for example, the note-takersa€™ supervisor communicates upward. After an important trend is identified, then it is critical to understand the rate at which the trend is being responded to in the market. The great thing about internet marketing is that it requires minimum investments and profits are generated relatively faster than other businesses however it must be taken seriously like any other business.Social mediaSocial media websites are extremely effective ways to market online.
Conversely, when the note-takersa€™ manager needs to give direction to note takers, she will use downward communication.
Then I learned another fact: Every person in the top 20 percent started in the bottom 20 percent.
Then, when the uncertainty threshold is crossed and the evidence is more substantial, the potential gap can be escalated to a known gap status. Continuing the faster product example, it is entirely possible that the competitor had made patent filings years before the product was announced. The goal is to eventually identify the triggers (see step 3) which more concretely describe when and how competitors might gain some advantage. If the note-takersa€™ manager and the copiersa€™ manager must get together to prepare a joint report for the operations manager, theya€™ll engage in lateral communication. They may have purchased the assets of another company with specific technology competencies.
They may be actively making venture investments in small companies with complementary products. Making a decision, of any kind, and then taking action on that decision, is often the turning point in your life. Product or service news is often highlighted on web pages, but such items are also worthy of a blog entry (and a press release, too). In order to generate more and more traffic it is essential in internet marketing that the customers feel that they are a part of the business. Customers must be given the luxury of searching various aspects of the site through a search box. Moreover, customers must be allowed to leave their email address and other data and must keep receiving emails and request to search further, which will motivate them to visit the website more often. They must be allowed to send their questions and opinions to which they must get a prompt reply.
The emails that are sent by customers must also receive a reply within 24 hours, as that would generate the customers trust in the efficient services. A well-maintained website will give the reflection of a well-maintained business and generate sales.Have a nicheHaving a niche makes the website relevant for users.
A site having a niche will be more popular amongst customers and people who are willing to post ads and they will be willing to pay more through this. A specific market segment is important for marketing companies to know what kind of ads to post.Have a websiteThe website must be well designed and well crafted to seem more attractive to the customers. Business related websites would appear more sober while those related to teenagers will have bright colors and slang.PPC management services allow companies to post ads and they only have to pay for times the user clicks on their advertisement. They are important as they are displayed on browser websites where which people use on a daily basis, which allows more relevant and interested users to view them. As people type only what they are looking for on browser engines if someone sees and ad posted related to handbags they must have searched for it and therefore are possible buyers.



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