Two-way communication is interpersonal communication in which two parties are involved, namely, the sender and the receiver. The transmission of information between the parties is generally to-and-fro.
The two-way communication process involves the sender transmitting the message or information that may be of significance to the receiver. The receiver, upon getting the message, deciphers it and replies with the feedback. In other words, this is a complete process of communication where there is a continuous flow of information between the sender and the receiver.
Two-way communication can be done through a voice-based channel or text. Instant messaging, telephone conversations, ham radio, video, chat rooms, etc., are examples of interpersonal communication.
What is Two-Way Communication?
Definition: Two-way communication is defined as a type of communication in which both the parties involved in the conversation transmit the message or share the information.
Two-way communication requires the involvement of a sender and a receiver. The sender is the one who is responsible for transmitting a message that needs to be communicated. The one who receives the message is the receiver and is responsible for communicating the feedback.
For instance, X is the sender, and Y is the receiver. X wants to convey to Y some critical message. So, that message is sent by X via email. Upon receiving the email, Y responds and acknowledges with another email. This is how the cycle of two-way communication goes about.
Types of Two-Way Communication
Two-way communication can be either vertical or horizontal. The communication that takes place between a subordinate and superior in an organizational environment is vertical two-way communication.
On the other hand, the one between employees of the same rank is known as horizontal two-way communication.
Importance of Two-Way Communication
Two-way communication is a cyclical process that is prevalent in most companies. Businesses need to maintain constant contact with their employees as they cannot function without any interpersonal communication. So, it becomes almost necessary to have a continuous flow of information among all the stakeholders.
Some of the reasons why two-way communication is important are-
1. Smooth Communication
Two-way communication ensures that there are no hindrances in respect to the flow of message and feedback. The sending party can smoothly transfer the message through a channel like a telephone, email, video, and so on. The receiving party, too, can respond to that message without facing any difficulties.
Two-way communication allows the receiver to acknowledge that the message has been received and understood. Once the sender sends the message, the receiver deciphers it and then acknowledges or sends the feedback via the same channel. It optimizes the commitment, support, and the ability to understand amongst colleagues, leaders, and group members.
3. Proper Execution of Superior’s Directions
The role of two-way communication is vital in every organization as it allows the employees or subordinates to ask clarificatory questions from the superior. This ensures that whatever instruction, direction, policy, or order the superior has given is appropriately executed. This way, any misunderstanding regarding the task can be quickly cleared away.
4. Employee Suggestions
Suggestions from employees are significant if an organization is looking for making some progress. Sometimes employees have great ideas to recommend that can help to improve the company’s policies and plans. Two-way communication, therefore, serves the purpose of encouraging them to put forth their suggestions.
5. Clear message
When an organization follows the two-way communication model, there is hardly any chance of ambiguity. If the receiver faces any confusion regarding the message, they can quickly contact the sender to get some clarity.
6. Effective Communication
Communication becomes effective when the information is comprehended well by both the parties involved. Two-way communication ensures that this effectiveness is maintained by allowing the sender and the receiver to evaluate and assess each other’s stances.
7. Job Satisfaction
In two-way communication, employees of an organization can be demonstrative about what they feel, what their interests are, and what all complaints and opinions they have. All this can be effectively conveyed to their superiors. This enables the superiors to take the required measures for promoting the employees’ welfare. All these efforts help in increasing the sense of job satisfaction among the organization’s employees.
Using Two-Way Communication in Workplace
Different ways through which two-way communication can be effective in optimizing employee engagement in the workplaces are-
1. Understanding the Audience
Two-way communication begins by understanding the audiences, which are the employees of an organization. Businesses should aim to provide information deemed necessary by the employees to engage them and achieve success within the organization.
Businesses should know what kind of information will be significant for the employees and what are those things that they must surely know. They should figure out ways to promote healthy dialogue among the employees. Moreover, it is necessary to make sure that the employees do not hesitate and are comfortable putting their opinions forward.
2. Selecting the Communication Channels
After understanding the audience, a business needs to shift its focus to select the channel or mode of communication. It needs to find out the best and the right kind of medium for ensuring an adequate flow of information.
It can make use of either the already existing modes or the new ones. When it comes to channels for getting feedback, a business can utilize either formal or informal mechanisms.
3. Encouraging Employee Feedback
A business must make sure that it gives due attention to the feedback of the employees. After selecting the proper feedback channels, it should utilize that feedback to give employees the impression that their opinion is valuable and meaningful.
Quick response to the queries and suggestions of the employees will ensure that they stay committed to their job. To make this happen, a person should be appointed to address the employees’ concerns as and when they occur.
4. Acting on the Received Feedback
Acting on the feedback received from the employees is the most crucial step and can’t be neglected. It can effectively help in building solid work engagement. When a business gives credit to the employees for making a difference in the organization, they feel respected and valued.
Employees must have an idea of how their organization is utilizing their recommendations. This is possible only when there is constant two-way communication for revealing the results.
Two-Way Vs. One-Way Communication
|Two Way Communication||One Way Communication|
|The sender delivers the message, to which the receiver responds with some feedback.||It only requires the sender to send the message to the receiver without hoping for a response.|
|It ensures that some accuracy is maintained as the employees can give their feedback and clear their queries in case of any misunderstanding.||It is nearly impossible to maintain accuracy without the feedback system.|
|It can become noisy and may fail to maintain orderliness.||Though one-way communication can give way to inaccuracy, it is less chaotic and keeps things in order.|
|A lot of time gets consumed in receiving feedback from the employees||One-way communication is rapid due to the absence of a proper feedback mechanism.|
|Phone calls, video calls, face-to-face conversation, group discussion, etc are examples of two-way communication.||Some of the common examples are radio, television, speeches, performances, newsletters, announces, etc.|
Examples of Two-Way Communication
1. Instant Messaging
Instant messaging enables messages and feedback to be communicated rather quickly. It allows people to know when the other person sees the message or when that person is online. Nowadays, it is an integrated feature of several social media apps.
2. Chat Rooms
In chat rooms, instant messages are sent to groups of people. These are public rooms where there is no restriction on whosoever is joining. There is a free flow of communication as everyone can send a message or feedback.
There may be a difference in the way telephones are designed now and the way they were designed back then. But their purpose has remained the same. Using the telephone makes it easy to establish effective two-way communication and get in touch with someone who lives far away.
4. In-person Interaction
In-person interaction or communication is the most effective way of delivering messages and receiving feedback as it helps build opportunities and long-term solid ties.
It is obvious that two-way communication processes when the receiver shares feedback or response after listening or analyzing the message of the sender.
Because of the effectiveness of two-way communication, it is also called a complete communication system that every organization should incorporate. Some of the ways through which it can benefit organizations are overcoming ambiguity, creating a democratic environment, increasing job satisfaction, ensuring a congenial relationship, and optimizing efficiency.
What are your thoughts about the effectiveness of two-way communication in different business and organizational systems?