Differences between Internal and External Communication
Depending on the involvement of parties, communication can be classified into two forms: internal communication and external communication. Both are essential in attaining organizational goals. In a broad sense, internal communication flows within the organization, whereas the external communication flows in the vast business environment. There exist some basic differences between them as they are different in nature. These differences are shortly discussed below:
- Definition: Internal communication is the exchange of information between internal members of an organization. It refers to the communication which takes place among the participants within the business organization.
- Coverage: Its coverage is limited within the organization. It points to the communication that occurs between participants who are within an organization or business.
- Types: Internal communication may take place in a vertical and horizontal direction. It can be formal or informal.
- Distance: Since it occurs within the people of an organization, there may not exist any significant distance between the sender and the receiver of the message.
- Purpose: The purpose of internal communication is to exchange information that facilitates the performance of internal organizational activities. It aims at the transmission of information between various business units and departments.
- Frequency: It occurs frequently in performing organizational activities. It is aimed at transmitting ideas among various departments and business units within an organization.
- Participants: The participants of internal communication are employees and the company’s management.
- Ex: The internal communications, includes letters, memos, notices, instructions, and orders.
- Definition: External communication occurs when an organization exchanges information with the external parties. It is a communication that occurs between the organization and other individuals, groups or organizations.
- Coverage: External communication links the organization with the external people. It refers to the form of communication that takes place among an organization and other entities, organizations or groups.
- Types: No such classification is seen here. It is mostly formal and highly documented.
- Distance: Significant distance exists between the sender and receiver of external communication.
- Purpose: It is done mainly for maintaining relationships with external parties. It focuses on maintaining a relationship or exchanging information with the parties external to the business.
- Frequency: It occurs less frequently than internal communication. It pays attention to maintaining a relationship or information exchange with external parties.
- Participants: The parties to external communication include customers, shareholders, investors, clients, the general public, suppliers, creditors, etc.
- Ex: External communication includes acknowledgment, enquires, tenders, meetings, conferences, and notices.
In spite of the above-stated difference between internal and external communication, both of them are vital to business operations and success. Internal communication denotes a type of communication within the organization. External communication is needed for smooth conduct and the progress of the business. This form of communication takes place through personal visits, telephones, and postal services.