In virtually every employee satisfaction survey carried out in private and public companies across Britain the one complaint that almost everyone has relates to poor communication.

Effective facilities managers have to have very good communication skills. These skills enable them to develop appropriate relationships with colleagues, managers, clients, suppliers and anyone else they may have to deal with in the course of a day’s work.

At least 4 of the 6 key functions of facilities management rely on effective communication in order to be effective, and the remaining two would certainly benefit from good communication as well.

The most fundamental aspect of communication is the communication cycle. This term refers to the process of sending and receiving ‘messages’.

We do not normally think about how we send and receive ‘messages’, especially how we communicate verbally. Yet a brief observation of two people interacting will show that verbal communication is quite consciously organised and follows a pattern of ‘message sending’ (speaking) and ‘message receiving’ (listening and interpreting).

The interpretation aspects (feeling, understanding and reflecting) are important, but less visible, in this process.
Communication Cycle Diagram

Awareness of the communication cycle should, therefore, tell you that interpersonal interaction involves two-way communication. The receiver of a message sustains communication by responding or giving feedback to the original message. The process then repeats and builds into a communication cycle.

The turn-taking pattern of speaking and listening is one of the factors that allows the communication cycle to work effectively. Interrupting people who are speaking, or not listening to what they are saying, disrupts the sending and receiving process that the communication cycle is based upon.

Additionally, communication is most effective where the message is clear and unambiguous. This means that the person receiving the message will have few difficulties in interpreting its meaning.

A variety of factors, including cultural differences, background noise and language problems, can disrupt the smooth flow of the communication cycle and act as barriers to communication. These barriers need to be avoided where possible.



IWFM (BIFM) Qualifications

This article relates to the following IWFM (BIFM) Qualification Units:

  • IWFM (BIFM) Level 3 in Facilities Management
    • FM3.01 Introduction to Facilities Management
    • FM3.03 Customer and Stakeholder Relations in Facilities Management
  • IWFM (BIFM) Level 4 in Facilities Management
    • FM4.01 Overview of Facilities Management
    • FM4.03 Understanding People Management in Facilities Management
    • FM4.05 Managing Health and Safety in own area of Facilities Management
    • FM4.15 Managing Customer Service in Facilities Management
  • IWFM (BIFM) Level 5 in Facilities Management
    • FM5.02 Organisational and Facilities Management Strategy
    • FM5.03 Managing People in Facilities Management
Find out more about IWFM (BIFM) Qualifications