Two-way communication occurs when the receiver sends response or feedback to sender’s message. In two-way communication process, the cycle of communication involves the sender first transmitting the message to the receiver. After receiving a message, the receiver decodes it and then sends back his or her reaction to the sender.
In two-way communication, information flows in two ways: information form sender to receiver and response from receiver to sender. So it is regarded as the complete communication process.
Two-way communication may occur horizontally or vertically in the organization. It can also be a form of symmetrical communication. In terms of symmetrical communication, conversations are straight to the point and simply “formal” to the core. When information is exchanged between superior and subordinate, it is known as vertical two-way communication. On the other hand, when communication takes place between persons holding the same rank or position, it is called horizontal two-way communication. Two-way communication is represented in the following diagrams:
Therefore, it can be said that the nature communication process having provision for feedback is termed as two-way communication.
Importance of two-way communication
Two-way communication is the complete communication process. In this communication, information flows form sender to receiver and response of the receiver goes back to the sender. In achieving the organizational goals and facing personal problems, we need to rely on two-way communication. The following points highlight the importance of two-way communication:
- Ensuring smooth flow of information: In two-way communication, the receiver can directly express his response with regard to the message he received. As a result, smooth flow of information occurs in both directions.
- Providing acknowledgement: In two-way communication, sender sends information to the receiver and receiver gives his response or answer to the sender. In this way, two-way commutation acknowledges the reception of message by the receiver.
- Implementation of directions: In the organization, superiors convey various orders, instructions, policies, procedures etc. to the subordinates. If subordinates fail to understand any instruction, order or policy, two-way communication allows them to ask for further clarification. Thus, two-way communication helps implementation of superior’s directions.
- Encouraging suggestions from employees: In order to enrich organizational plans and policies, management should encourage suggestions from subordinates. Such encouragement is possible when there exists two-way communication channels.
- Increasing job satisfaction: Two-way communication provides employees with a means to convey their complaints, attitudes, feelings, interests and opinions to their superiors. Afterwards, superiors can take necessary steps for well-being of the employees. As a result, the job satisfaction of the employee’s increases. The assurance of a mechanism that avoids one-way communication helps boost employees interest to work.
- Creating democratic environment: In two-way communication, both communicator and receiver can freely express their feelings, ideas and views. This mutual exchange of information creates a democratic environment in the organization. It is not a closed channel that prevents the possibility of providing relatable feedback.
- Overcoming ambiguity: Two-way communication is also very useful to overcome any confusion or ambiguity regarding the message as it allows the receiver to convey his response compared to one-way communication that only allows disseminating information with no feedback.
- Creating congenial relationship: Congenial relationship between workers and management is essential to achieve organizational goals. In order to create such a relationship, management must listen to the opinions and views of employees. The cycle of communication that allows for response/feedback makes it possible. Even in symmetrical communication, the recipient’s view and opinions are appreciated.
- Creating informal relationship: Another positive aspect of two-way communication is that it enhances informal relationship between sender and receiver. Since two-way communication allows both the participants to exchange whatever they think, they can develop a sense of mutual understanding. The result is a better relationship between them which is impossible in one-way communication.
- Increasing effectiveness of communication: Effective communication depends on proper understanding of message by both sender and receiver. Through two-way communication, both parties can evaluate each other’s opinions and thus can increase their communication effectiveness.
- Increasing efficiency: Two-way communication also positively contributes to the efficiency of the receiver. In this communication, the receiver can seek clarification and analysis of sender’s message that ultimately increases his knowledge, understanding and efficiency. In a closed channel of communication, it becomes difficult to understand the content or information in detail.
From the above discussion, it can be concluded that two-way communication plays vital role in improving organizational performance. This is the only complete communication process. For this reason, so much importance is placed on two-way communication. Creating a central channel through which information can be disseminated and response/feedback can be received is as important as the conception of the whole idea.