According to the theory of information richness, different communication channels have different amounts of information that can affect the participants’ understanding in a given time period. Media richness is a good indicator of how effectively a message can convey a message to a group. Hence, information that can change a participant’s understanding is more likely to be effectively conveyed in the medium of choice. In this case, a chemist and a regulatory attorney have to agree on the content and efficacy of a new product within the government’s regulatory guidelines. The two may exchange e-mails, but they may not meet in person.
Face-to-face communication is by far the most comprehensive, as it conveys a wide range of information (verbal and visual clues) and allows for an immediate reply that is just as detailed as the initial message. Consider how much you may learn from your communication partner’s body language. Video Calls are clearly less detailed, but you can still observe gestures and other nonverbal interactions.
Voice calls, such as those on your cell phone, deprive you of any non-verbal information and are thus significantly less rich. They do, however, provide the chance for immediate feedback. Instant Messaging is the first asynchronous medium on the list; SMS would also be included in this group of communication channels. Let us dig into the information richness concept in detail.
What Is the Significance of Information Richness in Communication Channels?
The amount of information available on different channels varies. Channels with more information convey more nonverbal information. Verbal communications are richer than written communications, as you would have guessed from our earlier consideration of verbal and written communications. According to research, more information-rich communication channels are used by effective managers than by less effective managers. The information richness of various information channels is depicted in the diagram below.
Videoconferencing, like face-to-face and telephone conversations, offers a high level of information richness because receivers and senders can see or hear more than just the words—they can observe the Sender’s body language or hear their voice tone. Because they transmit words and pictures/photos, handheld gadgets, blogs, and written letters and memos provide medium-rich channels.
In business, the choice of whether to communicate orally or in writing might be crucial. Furthermore, a wise manager recognizes the nonverbal messages sent by either style of communication—as previously stated, just 7% of verbal communication comes from the words themselves.
Consider a manager delivering a speech to a group of 20 people. The manager speaks at a regular pace. Employees appear to be enthusiastic. But how much data is actually transmitted? Not nearly as much as the speaker thinks! Listening is much faster than speaking in humans. The average public speaker speaks at a rate of approximately 125 words per minute. And the audience seems to enjoy the pace. (In fact, anything quicker would definitely sound strange.)
To put that statistic in context, a person speaking in a frantic conversation talks roughly 150 words per minute.) We can deduce from these figures that the employees have more than enough time to absorb each word the management says. And this is the issue. The average audience member can hear 400–500 words per minute. The audience has plenty of time to listen. As a result, they will each be thinking a lot of different things at the same time when the manager is speaking. Oral communication, as this example indicates, is an inherently flawed medium for transmitting specific facts. The minds of the listeners wonder! It’s not about you—in fact, it’s all about you.
The key to successful communication is to match the communication medium to the communication aim. When the Sender wants a record of the content, has less urgency for a response, is physically separated from the Receiver, doesn’t require a lot of reply from the Receiver, or the Message is complicated and may take some time to understand, written media may be a preferable solution. When the Sender is sending a sensitive or emotional Message, requires fast feedback, and does not require a permanent record of the interaction, oral communication makes more sense. When selecting whether to employ written or verbal communication, consult the chart provided.
What Is Information Richness?
A medium-rich channel allows receivers to detect the tone of voice and body language of the transmitter. Written letters and memoranda, as well as blogs and mobile devices, are examples of medium-rich channels. The formal written document, on the other hand, is the least-rich channel. This is because it frequently adheres to conventional formats, which lose nuance. As a result, it’s critical to pay particular attention to how you employ multiple communication channels to communicate with your target audience.
Similarly, the information richness of a communication channel is determined by how the user interacts with it. In a nutshell, information-rich communication routes are those that communicate the greatest amount of nonverbal data. On the other hand, spoken communications are often rich in details, but written communications are typically deficient in this area. Furthermore, depending on the medium used, a message may be more detailed.
The amount of information in a message is determined by how it is delivered. Changes in sentence form, as well as the amount of description and pauses, are all contributors. The baseline manner of speech, as well as any variations from it, have a significant impact on linguistic style. In general, communication should be succinct and to the point. Otherwise, the information is misinterpreted.
When it comes to the amount of nonverbal information conveyed by a communication, the medium’s information richness must be considered. A good manager will be able to decipher nonverbal cues more effectively. This will help him or he communicates more effectively. If this is the case, selecting an acceptable media is critical.
Which Communication Channel Has the Lowest Information Richness?
Impersonal Written Communication: Impersonal written communication has the least amount of information and is best for communications that must be sent to a large number of people.
1. Because feedback is unlikely, managers must ensure that communications are written in clear, understandable language for all recipients.
2. Company newsletters are frequently used by managers to reach a big number of employees.
3. Managers can utilize impersonal written communication to deliver a variety of messages, such as rules, regulations, and policies, breaking news, new organizational members, how to handle machinery, and how to execute work orders or client requests.
4. This communication medium’s paper trail can be quite valuable.
In addition, computerized delivery and retrieval of impersonal written communication are possible.
5. Unfortunately, the simplicity with which electronic messages can be distributed has resulted in their multiplication, and organizational members’ electronic mails are frequently backlogged.
6. The difficulty with such information overload is that critical information may be disregarded, and productivity may suffer as a result of time spent on irrelevant information.
Which Communication Channel Has the Maximum Level of Information Richness?
Videoconferencing provides the maximum level of information richness. This mode of communication conveys the most nonverbal information of any. The sender and recipient can see and hear each other’s body language and tone of voice during a videoconference. Email is another kind of communication. When it comes to message information, email is the least rich medium. It transmits the least amount of data in a single channel.
The amount of nonverbal information conveyed by a speaker determines the information-richness of a communication channel. In other words, an email or a phone conversation has the least amount of information. The individual using the most information-rich communication route must be a human. It must have the same content and structure as the text it is transmitting in order to build a meaningful relationship.
The channel with the most information richness is face-to-face communication. Face-to-face communication allows managers to take advantage of verbal communication, read nonverbal signs, and receive immediate feedback. Management by wandering around is a face-to-face communication strategy that many managers at all levels of a company find effective.
Managers walk about the office and have casual conversations with employees about their difficulties and concerns. These informal discussions provide crucial information to managers and support the establishment of beneficial connections.
Because of the length of time, it takes and the lack of a paper or electronic trail, face-to-face communication should not always be the preferred method of communication for managers. Managers should employ face-to-face communication and augment it with some kind of written communication for messages that are essential, personal, or likely to be misconstrued. Videoconferences are being used by many enterprises to provide face-to-face collaboration while also saving time and money. Videoconferencing enables administrators in two or more locations to communicate via video screens.
What Are the Different Types of Communication Channels?
There are three sorts of communication channels: internal, external, and hybrid. The avenues of communication are not always the same. There are, however, variances in the amount of information in the communication. Messages travel up and down the organizational structure in an organization. A message, for example, could be sent to employees at various levels. A message can be conveyed across a telephone line if there are no internal or external messages.
Unlike internal communications, external communications can be classified into different kinds. Some channels are information-rich, while others are medium-rich. Moreover, the content of the messages may vary from one medium to another. Depending on the nature of the message, a person can either read or listen to a message in a variety of ways. A written message can be translated into several languages.
What Is Information Richness’ Impact on Communication Channels?
Managers must choose an appropriate communication medium for each message they transmit in order to be effective communicators.
1. Managers cannot rely on a single optimum communication method.
2. Managers should consider three aspects when selecting a communication channel.
a. The level of information richness required is the most crucial factor to consider. The quantity of information a communication medium can transmit and the extent to which the medium allows the sender and receiver to establish a common understanding is referred to as information richness.
b. Media with a high level of information richness can carry a lot of data.
c. The amount of time required for communication is the second factor.
d. The need for a physical or electronic trail to serve as evidence that a document was transferred or received is the third factor.
After face-to-face contact, the information richness of spoken communication delivered electronically across phone lines is second highest.
1. Despite the lack of access to body language and facial emotions during a telephone conversation, managers can pay attention to the tone of voice, the sections of the message that the sender stresses, and the actual words said.
2. Managers may also get immediate feedback and address questions over the phone, ensuring that everyone is on the same page.
3. Managers can also send and receive vocal electronic messages via voice mail systems.
When managers are away from their desks or out of the office, such methods are essential.
The channel, or medium, by which a message is communicated has an impact on its accuracy. The strengths and drawbacks of spoken, written, and nonverbal communication are all different. In business, the choice of whether to communicate verbally or in writing can be crucial. Furthermore, a wise manager is aware of the nonverbal messages sent by any style of communication—as previously said, just 7% of verbal communication is made up of words.
Different communication channels are better or worse at transmitting different types of data. Some forms of communication are heavy on information, while others are light on it. Furthermore, communications inside organizations travel in diverse directions. E-mail is a crucial internal communication route that is convenient but must be handled with caution.
Public relations/press releases, advertisements, Web pages, and client communications such as letters and catalogs are all examples of external communication channels. Despite the use of many communication channels, communication in companies follows a predictable pattern. Information moves in groups and teams, as well as throughout the organization, via communication networks. The type of communication network in place is determined by the nature of the group’s tasks and the degree to which members of the group must communicate with one another.