Formal communication:

Formal communication transmits official information through suitable, designated channels and routes. Information flow is restricted, and effective communication requires concerted effort: organizational hierarchy and the chain of command influence formal communication. The organization’s structure is typically hierarchical, with leaders in various divisions and senior people reporting to lower-level employees. Employees must use formal communication channels while doing their duties. Formal communication is considered effective since it is timely and well-organized.

Features of formal communication:

Verbal and written:

Formal communication can be both oral and written. The communication of daily tasks is verbal, whereas policy topics require textual communication.

Formal relationships:

This communication is used among personnel with whom the company has established formal relations: the sender and the recipient share organizational connections.

Prescribed Path: For information to move from one person to another, it must travel through a specific channel. For instance, to transmit an employee’s feelings to the management.

Institutional Message:

This channel is only concerned with authorized organizational messages; personal messages fall outside its purview.

Deliberate Effort: This communication channel is not established naturally but by deliberate effort. It is decided with the organization’s aims in mind.

Formal communication method:

Formal communication methods are comparable to the formal notes your instructor sends home with you. Your parents must sign the notes so your teacher can verify the receipt. This indicates that the information flow between sender and receiver is managed. Those who receive formal correspondence are frequently required to respond.

Formal communication methods are formal means of information exchange. The communications are organized and adhere to predetermined rules, procedures, or standards. Formal communications are prevalent in the educational, workplace, and corporate environments. Formal communications are predominantly written but may also be spoken. Formal communications are not personal communications.

Formal communication is important:

Formal communication guarantees that information flows properly between superiors and their subordinates. The following are some of the reasons why formal communication is important:

1. It establishes and defines authority. Within a company, formal communication facilitates the flow of information between higher-level and lower-level staff. As a result, subordinates are more informed about their responsibilities and to whom they report.

2. It boosts overall productivity. Having effective communication usually means that overall efficiency will improve on all levels. The fundamental reason is that properly adopting formal communication greatly reduces ambiguity.

3. It lowers the chances of making blunders and errors. Because the message is usually more clearly understood and comes from a source of authority, communicating within the bounds of formal communication reduces the chances of any faults or errors occurring.

4. It can instill discipline. Because everyone knows whom they report to and who reports to, clearly establishing an organization’s hierarchy and employing formal communication for internal messages helps increase general discipline.

5. It has the potential to increase work cooperation. Because of the clear messaging and well-defined line of command, formal communication between different organizational divisions can assist them in better coordinating their work.

6. When transmitting essential communications, it has a higher level of credibility. For example, formal communication for high-priority communications, such as company objectives, broad business directions, or direct orders to personnel or departments, is frequently perceived as more reliable and believable by the recipients, increasing the likelihood of full compliance.


• Improve overall efficiency: Because this communication is based on set rules, it improves the organization’s overall efficiency.

• Simple communication system: Top-level management uses a structured downward communication system to communicate with their staff. Employees must once again contact their superiors to use this system. It is really simple to communicate with one another.

• Permanent record: A copy of each formal correspondence is kept in the file and referred to as needed. As a result, obtaining a copy of it is simple if necessary.

• Quick work completion: It is sometimes necessary to communicate with staff quickly. Communicating swiftly with employees through the formal downward communication method is possible. As a result, the task may be completed on schedule.


• Time wastage: Top-level management communicates with their employees by keeping a succession board rather than bypassing any executive or level. As a result, it takes a long time and wastes much time for the person involved.

• Inflexibility: Formal communication is typically rigid. Someone from outside the channel cannot change his mind. Even when change is required, it is extremely difficult.

• A lack of initiative: In this communication system, everyone performs their duties following a predetermined structure. As a result, it creates a barrier to the employee’s creative development.

• Authoritarian attitude: In this system, the sender is a higher-ranking official, whereas the receiver is a lower-ranking official. In most cases, the superior’s command cannot be resisted. It establishes an authoritarian culture within the company.

Informal communication:

Informal communication is any communication that takes place outside of a company’s established techniques or structures. Unlike one-on-one or inter-company meetings, informal communication refers to the talks, notes, and asides we have with one another outside of these formal contexts.

Effective communication is essential for corporate success. However, there are instances when one way of informal communication is preferable to another. Getting the appropriate balance and knowing which to employ in each context is key to effective communication.

Types of informal communication:

Single strain: Information is passed through a chain of people in this grapevine communication.

Gossip chain: In a gossip chain, one individual actively communicates information to others in the vicinity.

Probability chain: This is a random process in which information can be passed from one person to another according to the law of probability. Naturally, with this communication style, some organization members will be informed while others stay beyond the scope.

Cluster chain: The cluster chain is the most common and dominant grapevine communication style. In this scenario, one person discloses information to a group of trusted individuals. In addition, some of these people may pass on information to a small group.

Example of informal communication in the workplace:

When one employee interacts with another casually and conversationally, this is a good example of informal communication in the workplace. For example, they can discuss the game that was on last night or a change in business policy.

Consider a chat amongst family members at a dinner table as an example of informal communication. Any child can approach the family’s mother or father (or the company’s CEO) and ask questions about something they mentioned at a family meeting. It is a relaxing and easygoing environment in which to talk about matters.

In the following parts, we will go over the many sorts of informal communication in the workplace and some of the benefits and drawbacks of doing so.


1. A system of alternate communication methods

2. Interpretation messages to subordinates need to be explained.

3. Informal communication fosters social relationships among participants because it is unofficial and personal.

4. As the manager-employee connection strengthens, it might help to establish a pleasant working environment.

5. Information flows quickly and is appropriate for emergencies.


1. The distortion harms employees.

2. A lack of confidentiality has a significant negative impact on a company.

3. It is passionate and full of sentiments in most circumstances, which can affect its meaning.

4. It spreads misinformation and jeopardizes the organization’s consolidation and cohesiveness.

5. It is unreliable.

Difference between informal and formal communication

1. It is one that passes through predefined channels of communication.1. It  refers to the form of communication which flows in every direction
2. A type of verbal communication in which the interchange of information is done through the pre-defined channels is known as formal communication.2. A type of verbal communication in which the interchange of information does not follow any channels i.e. the communication stretches in all directions.
3. Speed slow3. Speed very fast
4. More reliability4. comparatively less
5. Full secrecy is maintained5. It is difficult to maintain secrecy
6. Distortion due to the long chain of communication.6. Spread of rumors
7. Only through predefined channels.7. Can move freely.
8. Effective due to timely and systematic flow of information.8. Efficient because employees can discuss work-related problems, this saves time and cost of the organization.
9. As the communication is generally written, documentary evidence is present.9. No documentary evidence.

Formal VS Informal Communication 

  • Written communication is formal, but spoken communication is informal.
  • Formal communication has a higher level of reliability than informal communication.
  • Informal communication follows the rules, whereas informal communication is free to move in any direction.
  • Formal communication takes time, whereas informal communication is less time intensive.
  • While formal communication maintains a high level of confidentiality, informal communication does not.
  • Organizational formal communication is planned; informal communication comes organically.
  • Documentary evidence is always available; in informal communication, no supporting documents are available.
  • We should not use slang words in professional communication.
  • Formal communication is also called official communication, while informal communication is called grapevine communication.
  • Formal communication includes business, reports, letters, and orders, among other things. Examples include face-to-face communication, telephonic discussion, and other forms of informal communication.
  • In most cases, documentation occurs during formal communication; however, no documentation occurs during informal contact.