Effective Communication in Aviation

 A business and operations “must” for success

It is frequent to hear people say, “effective communication is key for the success of any business”. But what does it really mean? And the million-dollar question: Is it really that important? In my opinion, to have a better understanding of how to communicate effectively, we must first define communication. According to Merriam-Webster (n.d), communication is a process by which information is exchanged between individuals through a common system of symbols, signs, or behavior. That essentially means that any activity involving more than one person requires some level of communication (i.e., information exchange) which supports the importance of effective communication. Narrowing down the definition of communication within the context of aviation, virtually all of the activities performed by any organization in the industry rely on effective communication – from flying an aircraft, to checking in a passenger, to establishing strategic plans and executing business decisions. Like any other business/industry, the simple fact of having some level of communication in all of its activities backs up the shared understanding of the importance of pursuing higher levels of effective communication. In this article, I will explore two different areas within aviation that requires highly effective communication: business and operations. 

From a business perspective, effective communication is key for different reasons. One of them is related to the disclosure of financial results to the market. Shareholders’ investment decisions, company valuations, and even the overall perceived market confidence are based on most of the financial communications released by the organization. Some of these communications must follow predetermined standards and formats (common system and signs), especially for publicly traded companies. Profit & Loss statements and other types of relevant information must communicate the company’s “broader picture” effectively. From a wider triple bottom line perspective, effective communication is necessary to present the different initiatives and actions related to environmental and community-related concerns. Effective communication regarding these two topics is as important as the financial one. 

Another important aspect related to effective communication from a business standpoint is the “translation” of high-level strategic decisions into the day-to-day actions of most employees. Even though, most companies try to disseminate as much as possible the core values, mission, and vision of the organization, those bold sentences/words are not always “translated” by some of the mid-level leaders into action and end up fading away alongside the organizational chart. In this case, effective communication is getting most, if not all employees, on the same page regarding strategic decisions through tactical actions, and where the organization should be headed to, from an individual actionable perspective. 

From an aviation operation’s perspective, effective communication is definitely one of the most important factors for safety. Remember, according to Merriam-Webster (n.d) communication is a process by which information is exchanged between individuals through a common system of symbols, signs, or behavior. From an operational standpoint, the common system of symbols and signs is the English language. Most countries in the world, regardless of the local official language, adopt English as the official language for communication between pilots and air traffic controllers. All of the major Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) are required to publish documents and manuals in English. The use of English in aviation goes on and on. The ability to effectively communicate using the English language is paramount for all the individuals involved with operations in aviation and operators should seek to improve effective communications across the board as a way to improve efficiency and pursue higher safety standards. 

The business and operations perspectives regarding effective communication mentioned in this article are only a small part of the whole story. As pointed out earlier, any activity involving more than one person requires some level of communication. Trying to continuously seek to improve the effectiveness of how communication is performed might determine the failure or success of any business in aviation.  

Acesse a versão em português aqui.

The ideas and opinions expressed in the article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Portal AirConnected.

Israel Treptow
Israel Treptow
Israel Treptow atualmente é Diretor Executivo da Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University para as Américas Central e do Sul. Juntou-se à universidade Norte-Americana em setembro de 2019 após ter passado três anos atuando na indústria de aviação em países do sudeste Asiático. Israel possui mais de dez anos de experiência em empresas nacionais e internacionais e iniciou sua carreira como instrutor de voo e gestor de segurança operacional. O executivo é bacharel em Ciências Aeronáuticas, pós-graduado em gestão empresarial e mestre em ciências aeronáuticas com especialização em gestão de aviação.

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