Difference Between Formal and Informal Communication with Comparison Chart: We can let others know our thoughts and views by Communicating with them. It is only because of this communication that human civilization has developed beyond words. Had we not been able to properly communicate, we would have lagged far behind. Thus, communication has played a great role in the overall progress of the Human Race. now check more details for Formal versus Informal Communication from below.
We, as professionals or budding professionals, need to deeply master the skills of communication. As we all might have learnt from our childhood, there are two basic types of communication – Formal and Informal Communication. In our school days, we were taught letter writing which was classified into two types of letters – Formal Letters, which we used to address the Principal of our School or to the Editor of a particular Newspaper & Informal Letters, which we had to write to our Family and Friends.
In layman’s language, I can bring out the difference between these two types in a very simple way. The first one, that’s Formal Communication, we need to be careful with our words. They need to be precise, that is to say, write only that much as is essential for the purpose of Communication. While, as in the case of later, we are free for the length and also for the way we communicate.
However, to deeply analyze the two and also to master our skills in both these types of communications, let’s go through each one of them in detail.
Difference Between Formal and Informal Communication
|Formal Communication||Informal Communication|
|Official channel||Un official channel|
|Planned and systematic||Un planned and spontaneous|
|Part of organization structure||Cuts across formal relationships|
|Oriented towards goals and task of the enterprise||Directed towards goals and need satisfaction of individual|
|Impersonal||Personal and social|
|Stable and rigid||Flexible and instable|
|Slow and structured||Fast and un-structured|
In the context of organizations, this means using the formal channel of communication. In the case of Formal Communication, there can be further two classifications: Horizontal Communication & Vertical Communication.
HORIZONTAL COMMUNICATION: This implies communication in the same line, that’s, in the same level. In this form, position in an organization does not play a role. For Example, the communication held between various interns of different departments, who are at the same level in an organization will be classified as having a Horizontal Communication.
VERTICAL COMMUNICATION: In this form of communication, information flows either upwards or downwards in an organization. If the information is gathered at the lower level and then summarized and passed on the higher authorities, then it will be an Upward Vertical Communication. For example, information flowing from Interns through Associates and then through their Managers to the Board Members would constitute an Upward Vertical Communication. Generally, information is passed on via this level of communication.
In the opposite way, when data is passed from the higher authorities to the lower authorities, then it will be considered as Downward Form of Communication. Generally, orders or instructions are passed on in this way. Consider, order for a particular dress code to be followed by the interns, and this order was passed by the Board. So, it will flow from the Board to the Manager, then to the Associates, and via them to the Interns.
As the name suggests, it is informal in nature and hence called Informal Communication. A common form of Informal Communication is called the GRAPEVINE. Just like a grapevine spreads all around, this form of communication has no direction or we can say, it flows in all directions. It is not in the hands of the management to control this form of communication. Generally, rumors and all are a part of this kind of communication. It usually happens during the lunch breaks or tea time breaks.
All these forms of communication are very important in any organization. It is important for all of us to understand and master these communication skills.
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