Barriers to Effective Communication
Communication is said to be complete only when the recipient gets the message the way the sender intends it to be. When information is not received the way it was intended then it has been distorted. Distortion of a message is brought about by some communication barriers which may exists in the path of the message between the sender and the recipient. Some of these barriers are;
Service That Facilitate Communication
Services that facilitate communication include;
This refers to handling of letters and parcels. They are offered by organizations such as postal corporation of Kenya (P.C.K) Securicor courier and Document handling Limited (D.H.L)
Some of the services offered by the postal corporation include;
a) Ordinary Mail
These include surface mail and air mail.
An express mail is/must be presented at the post office counter by the sender and the envelope clearly addressed and a label with the word “express” affixed. Normal postage plus an extra fee (commission) is charged
The mail is delivered to the receivers nearest post office from where the post office makes arrangements to deliver the mail to the receiver within the shortest time possible.
NOTE: For speed post special arrangements to deliver the mail start at the sender’s post office whereas express mail, the arrangements start at the addressers post office.
c) Poste Restante;
This is a service offered by the post office to travelers who may wish to receive correspondence right away from their post office box. The addressee has to inform those who may wish to correspond with him/her of the nearest post office he is likely to use at a particular time
Under this arrangement when addressing the letter, the words poste Restante must be written on the envelope clearly. The addressee must identify himself/herself when collecting the correspondence from the post office.
There is no additional charge made apart from normal postage charges. This service can only be offered for three months in the same town.
a) Registered Mail;
This service is offered by the post office for sending articles of value for which security handling is required. A registration fee and a commission is paid. The commission depends on the weight of the article and the nature of registration. The sender is required to draw a horizontal and a vertical line across the faces of the envelope.
A certificate of registration is given to the sender. In case of loss, the sender may be paid compensation on production of the certificate of registration.
A green card is sent to the recipient. The card bears his name and the post office at which the mail was registered. The recipient will be required to identify himself before being allowed to possess the mail.
Items that may be registered include jewels, certificate, land title deeds etc.
b) Business Reply Service;
This is a service offered by the post office to business firms on request. The firm pays some amount to the post office and an account is then opened from which posted charges are deducted.
The service is useful/more common with firms which would like to encourage their customers to reply their letters. Customers are issued with reply card envelopes (or envelopes marked ‘postage paid’)
They can send letters to the business by using these envelopes/the card. The customers then place the card/envelope in the post box and the firm’s post office branch will deduct postage charges from the lump sum amount.
a) Courier Services
These are services where a service provider receives transports and delivers parcels or important documents to destinations specified by customers in return for payment of fees or charges.
Examples; Akamba bus service, Securicor courier services etc.
ii) Telephone services
Telkom Kenya, through the post office, provides telephone services which offer direct contact between people who are far apart. It makes conversation between people at any distance possible, as long as there are transmission facilities between them. Urgent matters can be discussed and consultations can take place so that instant decision or actions are taken. The telephone assists organizations to establish a fast and convenient machinery for its internal and external communication network.
ii) Cellular(mobile)phone services
These are hand held telephones with digital links that use radio waves. They are sometimes called cell-phones since they use power stored in a dry cell
In Kenya mobile phone services are provided by safaricom Ltd.(a subsidiary of Telkom Kenya)and Airtel communications Ltd(formally Kencel Communication Ltd)which is a joint venture between a French company and a Kenyan company, yu mobile services and Orange mobile services . This sector therefore greatly benefits from foreign investment to improve services.
The use of this service is popular. Apart from the provision of telecommunication service, cell phones have different attractive features or services such as short messages service (sms) whereby a caller can send a written message. Recent models of mobile phones enable the user to access the internet and send e-mail messages
Advantages of mobile phones
Disadvantages of cellular phones
iii) Broadcasting services
Communication commission of Kenya is a regulatory body that receives applications and issues licenses for radio and television broadcasting stations.
a) Radio stations
Radio broadcasting is a very important mode of giving news and information to people in the whole world.
The liberalization of the communications sector in Kenya in 1999, Kenya has witnessed a mushrooming of FM Stations which are owned by private sector operators e.g. Kiss Radio, Easy FM, Classic FM, Family FM, Kameme etc.
They have helped to spread news and information countrywide. Before liberalization, Kenya Broadcasting cooperation (KBC) radio was operating as a state owned monopoly.
b) Television Stations
Television broadcasting (telecasting) does not reach as wide an audience as radio broadcasting in Kenya. It however serves the same purpose of relaying news and information to Kenyans. Both radio and television stations are widely used for advertising purposes.
The T.V subsector has been liberalized since 1999 and a number of privately owned stations have emerged e.g. Kenya Television Network (KTN) Nation Television, Family T.V etc. Prior to that time KBC television was in operation as a state owned monopoly.
Other services that facilitate communication
Current trends and Emerging issues in communication
With the advancement of information technology (I.T) there has been a lot of revolution in communication.
The following are some of the current trends and emerging issues in communication;
Telephone Bureaux (Bureaus)
These are privately owned kiosks where telephone services are sold. The owner of the kiosk must get authority from the service provider in order to run the bureau. The individual wishing to use the services of the bureau makes payments to the owner of the service. Other services offered by the bureau include selling of scratch cards for mobile telephones and credit cards for landline telephone services.
i) Mobile phones (cell phones)
These are hand held telephones with digital links that use radio waves. They have become an important business and social tool. This is because most people and traders want some flexibility to be able to communicate whenever they are.
Other reasons that have led to the popularity of cell phones include:
This is a service provided through the internet for sending messages.
It is similar to sending a letter through the postal system only that it is done electronically.
Messages can be sent to anyone on the network, anywhere in the world. For this to take place, computers have to be connected to each other to form a network.
To communicate, one is required to have an email address e.g. raeform2@ yahoo.com. Messages arrive at the e – mail address immediately they are sent.
It is only the addressee of the message who can retrieve the message since a password is required to access the mailbox.
E – Mail can also be used to send documents and photographs like certificates by scanning and attaching.
More and more businesses are using e- Mail to communicate with other businesses, their customers and suppliers.
The internet links computers all over the world. Written and oral information is transmitted on the internet through the use of telephone wires, fibre- optic cables and wireless devices.
The internet has changed the way people communicate in the following ways;
The future office will rely largely on computers. Most of the communication will be done through computers. This may result in less use of paper, hence the use of the term “the paperless office”.
Vi) Decline in the use of postal services
Decline in the use of postal services is a result of the impact of the internet. E-mail has become a popular and preferred mode of communication since it is fast and cheap. However, ordinary mail/ use of postal services may not be completely phased out since the government, businesses and people do not regard an e-mail as a binding or formal communication.
Vii) Transformation of language
The language used to pass and receive messages has evolved through time. e.g. the youth have adopted the use of “sheng” in exchanging messages. Such language is largely understood by its youthful users. There is also the use of cell phones to send short text messages; which are highly abbreviated and may use slang whose meaning is only known to the users.
Communication Revision Questions
1. Define the term communication
Communication is the process by which information is passed from one person or place to another.
2. Outline the role played by communication in any given organization
(a) Vertical communication
Involves the flow of information either downwards or upwards, for example, from a senior employee to a junior employee
(b) Horizontal communication
Is also referred to as lateral communication which is passing of information between people of the same rank or status, for example from one departmental manager to another departmental manager
(c) Diagonal communication
This is communication of different people in different levels of management or departments for example a receptionist communicating to a production manager.
4. Distinguish between formal and informal communication
Formal communication is official and documented and follows certain rules for example a worker writing an official letter to an organization’s seniors. Informal communication does not conform to any time, for example communicating to friends and relatives.
5. State the essential elements in communication.