What Is Horizontal Communication? How To Improve It?

8 Mins Read Red Hat Media 08 Dec 2021
Horizontal Communication

Good communication acts as the bridge between clarity and confusion. It is mandatory to establish a pool of strong communication to ensure positive workplace culture in an organization.

A strong communication flow can also enhance employee productivity. But, communication has different types like horizontal communication, vertical communication, diagonal communication, etc. 

But do you know what communication is exactly? In a nutshell, it’s the exchanging or imparting of information or news. But, if the mere act of giving and receiving information can change so many dynamics in our life, shouldn’t we be more careful about how we communicate with people? Indeed we should. So, keep on scrolling, and we will get to the little bits and pieces of this phenomenon. 

Why Is Communication Important?

Being able to communicate your thoughts and expressions clearly to the other person is probably an essential life skill. But, communication is a two-way street. If you want to be good at communication, you have to learn the importance of speaking your thoughts, and as well as the importance of listening to others’ thoughts. So, let’s find out why communication is so important.

1: It Helps Maintaining Relationships

Communication is a great way to maintain relationships. For example, if you are in the workplace and your boss wants to give you feedback, it won’t be possible until and unless you both have strong communication skills. Your boss has to use clear speaking terms, while you have to keep your ears open for listening. 

Even if you are talking to a friend or family member, positive communication can help you understand each other better. As a result, you reduce your chance of potential conflict with the other person.

2: It Facilitates Innovation

When employees have good communication skills, they can better express their thoughts and ideas in an organizational context. Thus, it creates room for brainstorming new ideas and nurturing everyone’s creative persona. 

Good communication skills allow people to speak their minds, thereby yielding positive results in every aspect of life. Even if you are in school or college, and you get to share your out-of-the-box idea with the professor, that helps you develop creative thinking skills.

3: It Increases Employee Engagement

When management communicates its ideas and plans with the whole organization, it helps employees find a sense of belonging. As a result, they feel more valued and appreciated, and they start thinking of the organization as their own.

Strong communication skills also help employees engage with one another. Thus, it will help them be a part of the shared vision. Not only will they know how their company is doing, but they will also feel how significant their contributions are to the firm’s success.

Different Types Of Communication

Different Types Of Communication

Since communication is an essential aspect of our lives, we should talk about its types and how each works, right? There are mainly three types of communication, such as horizontal communication, vertical communication, and diagonal communication

Horizontal Communication: Horizontal communication is also called lateral communication. That’s because it is the practice of sharing information inside among people who work at the same level, same team, or in the same department. 

Vertical Communication: Vertical communication is the polar opposite of horizontal communication, as the name implies. It is the activity of sharing information between members of an organization who are on different hierarchy levels.

Diagonal Communication: Employees from different organizational units and administrative levels communicate with one another through diagonal communication. When a corporation has an informal structure, this strategy is typically used. 

If you support the accurate flow of signals from workers at the same hierarchical level, It will develop their teamwork and problem-solving skills. As a result, horizontal communication fosters a sense of togetherness in both professional and personal life. That’s why in this article, we will talk about what horizontal communication is and how it works.

What Is Horizontal Communication?

You notice examples of horizontal communication every day in your workplace because when you communicate with your team members, that is known as horizontal communication. Funny, right? That means you have been using horizontal communication skills for a long time but did not know what it was called. 

This type of communication is commonly used by company members to improve employee productivity, develop relationships among colleagues, create employee trust, assist employees, adjust to changes, and promote innovation.

An example of horizontal communication is when you speak to your team members to coordinate tasks and resolve conflict. Even if you talk to your friends or siblings, you are using horizontal communication because you are simply sharing information with people at the same level as you. You are neither giving them orders nor instructing them to do something.

Horizontal Communication-Pros And Cons

Horizontal communication ensures better work coordination.
It helps resolve conflict efficiently.
It strengthens group efforts and team working skills.
It empowers employees, thereby increasing employee trust and job satisfaction.
It may be challenging to maintain control in an organization that uses horizontal communication.
It is a time-consuming communication approach.
It creates a lack of discipline.
It discourages the attitude of top management and creates a threat for them.

How To Improve Horizontal Communication?

Improve Horizontal Communication

There are a few ways to improve horizontal communication. It does not matter if you are working in an office or studying in school; these techniques can help you enhance horizontal communication in any sphere of life. 

  1. Make a strategy for obtaining feedback and engaging in discourse. Depending on the scope of your project, you may need to set a time restriction or limitation on how much time is spent planning and communicating amongst departments.
  1. Use a flow chart to show the organization’s structure to various department members and department heads. Time and frequency of contact between different departments and project meetings are all valuable characteristics.
  1. Create a message board with the most critical communication topics for your project or for a given period when policies, practices, and procedures are being changed. 
  1. Survey the workplace culture. Competitive behaviors among peers who are attempting to stand out for their own achievement are some of the workplace culture concerns that typically hinder efficient horizontal communication.

What Are The Tools You Can Use To Improve Horizontal Communication?

Tools You Can Use To Improve Horizontal Communication

1: Slite

Slite is a document collaboration platform that makes it simple for team members to create, distribute, and archive documents. This solution can be used by members of your organization to create rooms dedicated to specific tasks or projects. 

Teams can then use the collaborative platform to discuss papers and notes related to upcoming projects, plans, and business departments.

2: Trello

Trello is an online task management solution for organizations to create graphical maps and schedule work based on projects and progress. Trello is the perfect way of increasing team productivity while enhancing communication skills. 

In fact, this solution familiarizes employees with the notion of process automation while also putting a variety of features such as Trello boards, lists, and cards into practice.

3: Volley

Volley is another excellent way to improve horizontal or lateral communication. You can do everything here, from sending a video message to creating a separate channel for conversing with individual people. 

Volley is a relatively new tool because it was created during the pandemic to support the workflow in remote work cultures. You can use this tool on both your PC and smartphone. 

What Are The Characteristics Of Effective Horizontal Communication?

Characteristics Of Effective Horizontal Communication

No matter how many tools you use or how many strategies you follow, horizontal communication must have a few characteristics to ensure the utmost effectiveness. So, let’s look at the fundamental attributes of horizontal communication. 

1: Easy To Understand

When using horizontal communication to talk to people, you must use simple phrases and concise statements to ensure ease of understanding. If you use complicated terminologies, it may confuse the other person.

2: Attentiveness

Not paying attention while someone is talking may result in chaos and confusion. Therefore, while applying horizontal communication, make sure you stay aware of what the other person is saying so that you don’t miss out on anything important.

3: Open-Mindedness

If you have a narrow mindset, you will misinterpret the other person’s message. In addition, it may lead to fights, and arguments, so make sure the person involved in horizontal communication has an open mindset.

4: Remember The Message

To ensure the utmost effectiveness of horizontal communication, you have to remember the message. When the listener gets the turn to speak, his replies will be to the point and relevant to the context.

Why Is Horizontal Communication Important In Workplace?

Horizontal Communication Important In Workplace

Horizontal communication ensures a flow of conversation across all the business departments. As it is done in a one-on-one format, it becomes more interactive. Since horizontal communication takes a more informal approach, it also creates trust between employees and managers. Therefore, if you want to create a great communication climate in the workplace, you should use this technique.

With the growing number of employees working from home nowadays, it’s more critical than ever to make sure your company’s communication is clear. Employees will be able to tackle problems that they cannot handle on their own by gaining insight from colleagues in different departments with horizontal communication. 

Communication and teamwork are inextricably linked. As a result, investing in one will strengthen the other. Additionally, suppose you stress horizontal communication in your workplace. In that case, you will be able to boost collaboration between diverse departments of your business, establish a synchronized work environment to address problems, and build better teams.


1: What Is Horizontal And Vertical Communication?

Ans: When people in the same hierarchical level interact, that is called Horizontal communication. Vertical communication, on the other hand, is of two types: downward and upward. Downward communication is the transmission of information from upper-level management to lower-level employees. Whereas, when employees share information with the administration, that is called upward communication.

2: Which Is An Appropriate Example Of Horizontal Communication?

Ans: If you take the example of brainstorming sessions, you will notice how so many people share their ideas with their colleagues, and everyone’s idea is heard and appreciated there. It is an informal approach that follows the left to the right path or vice versa. So, a brainstorming session is an apt example of horizontal communication.

3: What Are The Major Differences Between Horizontal And Vertical Communication?

Ans: Horizontal communication is informal, whereas vertical communication is more formal. The purpose of horizontal communication is to coordinate tasks, but vertical communication is used to control information flow. Horizontal communication is oral, while vertical communication is mainly written. Moreover, the horizontal communication channel is much shorter than the vertical communication channel.

Final Thoughts

Are you still with us? That means we have already intrigued your interest in horizontal communication. So, if you are impressed by the benefits and importance of this particular communication method, share this article with your friends. You can even start applying it in your personal and professional life, and let us know in the comment section how it worked.

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