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Learning Objectives


  • Determine oral and written communications commonly used by managers.

  • Apply strategies for formal and informal meetings.

  • Discuss telephone communication.

  • Prepare for a business meeting.

  • Prepare for a presentation to a group.

  • Prepare selected written communication.

  • Distinguish general literacy from health literacy.

  • Address common communication hurdles in healthcare organizations.


The importance of communication in meeting managerial responsibilities has been addressed throughout Section 2—sharing an organization's vision and mission, outbound marketing, interviewing potential employees, and incident reports. Communication is a broad and complex topic that is viewed from a wide range of perspectives. Scholars in fields from sociology and psychology to digital technology, art, media, and literature use different lenses to study the transfer of information from a sender to a receiver. This chapter focuses on a small component of this broad topic by addressing selected oral and written communication skills important to managers.

Effective, understandable communication, formal and informal, is crucial to the life of an organization and dependent on mid-level managers who act as the intermediaries of organizational communications. Because communication even at its best is imperfect, managers, at the least, need to minimize misunderstandings. It is not desirable or possible to analyze every communication, but managers need to identify communication methods that are most effective for reaching an organization's goals through the work of its employees. Managers balance limiting information so they do not overwhelm their employees with unnecessary messages while encouraging an open, trusting environment for sharing information.

Effective communication depends on several factors. Senders and receivers of information compete for attention and time to communicate in busy organizations. Oral and written communications are often blocked, dropped, rearranged, and inappropriately filtered as they travel through organizations in all directions through many levels. The use of professional jargon and the shorthand speech of in-groups complicate communications within and among interdisciplinary team members as well. A commitment to open sharing of accurate information depends on managers willing to spend the time to correct distorted communication and reduce barriers. These barriers include the use of formal communication channels only, making themselves physically unavailable, withholding or limiting time for communications, disregarding messages that require action, or promoting a culture of anger and fear of reprisals so that people are uncomfortable disagreeing with managers.

Managers must also be sensitive to individual factors that influence communication. For instance, when interpersonal relationships are strained or one party provokes negative emotions in the other, it may be difficult to communicate. If messages are filtered because of whom the sender is, it may never be received. Ignoring an important message from a particular sender may result in disastrous consequences for others and the organization.

Individuals base their communications on prior experiences that may cover a wide range of socioeconomic circumstances and interactions that make people more likely to be angry, fearful, gullible, shy, jealous, ...

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