Official Communication

What is Official Communication?

Official communication or formal communication is the name given to the type of exchange of information. It takes place within a formal or official place between colleagues or with higher-ranked officials. Official Communication helps to maintain a professional, healthy workplace environment, as required and directed by the organization. Official communication follows definite communication rules. It is controlled by the chain of command that follows all the rules of the organization. There are various ways in which the information and orders are passed on based on the hierarchy of the company. It is essential to maintain the hierarchy in official communication without being disrespectful to anyone.


Types of Official Communication

According to the direction of the flow of information within the workplace or organization, official communication can be categorized into different types. 

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  1. Downward Communication

Downward Communication is a type of official communication where information is passed down from the management level or the highest level of hierarchy to the subordinate levels or the lower levels of the official system. 

The information that flows down through downward communication includes mostly orders, instructions, and circulars. This type of information may either be verbal or may be transferred through reports, emails, letters, manuals, or directives.

  1. Upward Communication

Upward Communication, as the name suggests, is the opposite of downward communication which is used when information has to be sent from the lower levels or the subordinate level to the higher or the management level of organization. The information transferred through this method mostly includes reports, requests, grievances, complaints, suggestions, etc.

  1. Horizontal or Lateral Communication 

Horizontal or lateral communication methods are the types of official communication techniques used when the flow of information is within or between co-workers or colleagues. The information remains within the same level of official hierarchy.

  1. Diagonal or Crosswise Communication

This type of communication takes place when the employees of different levels of the official hierarchy communicate with different departments of the same office or organization. This type of communication is not limited to any department. It is inclusive of all levels.


Solved Examples

Q1. What is the Official Communication Network?

Answer: To understand the process or pattern in which official or formal communication takes place, we must understand what the official communication network is. The official communication network is the pattern of how people of a formal community interact with each other.

There Are Several Types of Official Communication Networks. They Can Be Classified Into the Following Categories.

  • Wheel Network

This is a centralized form of official communication where all the information flows from one central person like the leader to the subordinate members. The other members, except the leader, have little to no input in the flow of information.

  • Chain Network

In this type of official communication, the information either flow up or down the official hierarchy. Here, a person gets information and passes it on to the immediate superior or junior, and the chain follows.

  • Circle Network

It is a decentralized form of communication where the information is shared equally among the members present. Here, each person receives and gives information equally, and all have an equal chance to participate.

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  • Free Flow Network

In this type of official communication, everyone is connected and information can flow freely without any order. It is the most decentralized form of official communication. Everyone is connected and can freely communicate without any inhibition.

  • Inverted V Communication

The Inverted V Communication or Y communication is a pattern of official communication where the subordinate is allowed to speak to their immediate superior and the superior of their superior, simultaneously. 

Hence, there are several types and patterns of ‘Official Communication’ existing in the official hierarchy. It is essential to learn about them to strive in the official community.


Did You Know?

It is suggested not to use Whatsapp or any such social media to transfer official information. It is best to send official documents over mail unless specifically asked not to.

Whatsapp is not considered as an official application over which you can send important official documents and data. You should send only relevant information over the mail. Be polite and respectful of whoever you are sending it to. It is also preferable not to share bad news over email. Always do it in person or over the phone. 

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What is the Actual Difference Between Formal Communication and Informal Communication?

Formal Communication is the type of communication present in a work environment or organization where information is passed through pre-existing channels of hierarchy throughout the organization. This type of communication follows specific rules and regulations. It is considered to be disrespectful to break the chain of hierarchy or communication to spread data or information. It is crucial to follow these rules to maintain a healthy work environment.

Informal Communication refers to the type of communication which exists in an organization. This flow of information in this type of communication does not require following any predetermined set of channels. There is a random spread of information among all. It has no relation or dependence on the official hierarchy.

2. How Should I Write Formal or Official Emails?

An average person working in the office receives around a hundred emails daily. Due to a huge amount of workload, some emails get overlooked easily. It is advised to follow a few basic outlines which will help to make your email noticeable and easy to follow.

  • It is crucial to keep the email brief and to the point. No one has time to spare in a stressful work environment. It is best if you think of the most critical points that you want to communicate and write those in the order of their importance. 

  • The subject lines are a great way of showing the importance of your email. Write a subject line that briefly outlines the information you want to share.