Business Communication

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  • 1. Business Communication , edited by Arkabrata Bandyapadhyay<br /> Principles of Communication-( Definition, Purpose, Process, Types)<br />Definition : Communication is the activity of conveying meaningful information between at least two agents. Communication requires a sender, meaningful message, medium, receiver, feed-back (from receiver). Some times although receiver need not to be present at the time of the communication, thus communication can occur across vast distance., in the time & space. Communication process is complete, once the receiver has understood the sender’s information & getting feed-back(may be positive or negative) from receiver.<br />Communication is complex. When listening to or reading someone else's message, we often filter what's being said through a screen of our own opinions.  One of the major barriers to communication is our own ideas and opinions.<br />PRINCIPLES OF COMMUNICATION:<br />Communication is a two-way process of giving and receiving information through any number of channels.  Whether one is speaking informally to a colleague, addressing a conference or meeting, writing a newsletter article or formal report, the following basic principles apply:<br />Know your audience.<br />Know your purpose.<br />Know your topic.<br />Anticipate objections.<br />Present a rounded picture.<br />Achieve credibility with your audience.<br />Follow through on what you say.<br />Communicate a little at a time.<br />Present information in several ways.<br />Develop a practical, useful way to get feedback.<br />Use multiple communication techniques.<br />Sending Messages in proper way:<br />Messages should be clear and accurate, and sent in a way that encourages retention, not rejection.<br />Use Verbal Feedback: Even If Nonverbal Is Positive And Frequent.  Everyone needs reassurance that they are reading nonverbal communication correctly, whether a smile means "You're doing great," "You're doing better than most beginners," or "You'll catch on eventually."<br />Focus Feedback On Behavior Rather Than On Personality: It's better to comment on specific behavior than to characterize a pattern of behavior.  For example, instead of calling a colleague inefficient, specify your complaint:  "You don't return phone calls; this causes problems both in and outside your office."<br />Focus Feedback On Description Rather Than Judgment: Description tells what happened.  Judgment evaluates what happened.  For example, in evaluating a report don't say, "This is a lousy report!!"  Instead, try:  "The report doesn't focus on the information that I think needs emphasis," or "This report seems to have a lot of grammatical and spelling mistakes."<br />Make Feedback Specific Rather Than General: If feedback is specific, the receiver knows what activity to continue or change.  When feedback is general, the receiver doesn't know what to do differently.  For example, in an office situation, instead of saying "These folders are not arranged correctly," it's better feedback to say, "These should be arranged chronologically instead of alphabetically."<br /> In Giving Feedback, Consider the Needs and Abilities of the Receiver: Give the amount of information the receiver can use and focus feedback on activities the receiver has control over. It's fruitless to criticize the level of activity, if the decision to grant the necessary monies for materials, personnel or technology is made at a different level.<br />Check to See if the Receiver Heard What You Meant to Say: If the information is important enough to send, make sure the person understands it.  One way of doing this is to say, "I'm wondering if I said that clearly enough.  What did you understand me to say?" or "This is what I hear you saying.  Is that right?"<br />Feedback (Listening):<br />Getting and giving feedback is one of the most crucial parts of good communication.  Like any other activity, there are specific skills that can enhance feedback.  Listening is a key part of getting feedback:<br />Listen to the Complete Message: Be patient.  This is especially important when listening to a topic that provokes strong opinions or radically different points-of-view.  In these situations, it's important not to prejudge the incoming message. Learn not to get too excited about a communication until you are certain of the message.<br />Work at Listening Skills: Listening is hard work.  Good listeners demonstrate interest and alertness.  They indicate through their eye contact, posture and facial expression that the occasion and the speaker's efforts are a matter of concern to them.  Most good listeners provide speakers with clear and unambiguous feedback.<br />Judge the Content, Not the Form of the Message: Such things as the speaker's mode of dress, quality of voice, delivery mannerisms and physical characteristics are often used as excuses for not listening.  Direct your attention to the message--what is being said--and away from the distracting elements.<br />Weigh Emotionally Charged Language: Emotionally charged language often stands in the way of effective listening.  Filter out "red flag" words (like "liberal" and "conservative," for instance) and the emotions they call up.  Specific suggestions for dealing with emotionally charged words include<br />Take time to identify those words that affect you emotionally.<br />Attempt to analyze why the words affect you the way they do.<br />Work at trying to reduce the impact of these words on you.<br />Eliminate Distractions: Physical distractions and complications seriously impair listening.  These distractions may take many forms: loud noises, stuffy rooms, overcrowded conditions, uncomfortable temperature, bad lighting, etc.  Good listeners speak up if the room is too warm, too noisy, or too dark.  There are also internal distractions:  worries about deadlines or problems of any type may make listening difficult.  If you're distracted, make an effort to clear your head.  If you can't manage it, arrange to communicate at some other time.<br />Think Efficiently and Critically: On the average, we speak at a rate of 100 to 200 words per minute.  However, we think at a much faster rate, anywhere from 400 to 600 words per minute.  What do we do with this excess thinking time while listening to someone speak?  One technique is to apply this spare time to analyzing what is being said.  They critically review the material by asking the following kinds of questions:<br />What is being said to support the speaker's point of view? (Evidence)<br />What assumptions are being made by the speaker and the listener? (Assumptions)<br />How does this information affect me? (Effect)<br />Can this material be organized more efficiently? (Structure)<br />Are there examples that would better illustrate what is being said? (Example)<br />What are the main points of the message? (Summary)<br />The following are some of the importance of feedback in communication either in a formal or informal setting:<br />1. It completes the whole process of communication and makes it continuous. 2. It sustains communication process 3. It makes one know if one is really communication or making sense 4. It is a basis for measuring the effectiveness of communication 5. It is a good basis for planning on what next to be done especially statistical report 6. Communication will be useless without feedback 7. Feedback paves way for new idea generation.<br />Scope of communication:<br /> Scope, in this context, refers effectively to the sphere of operation (or influence) of the communication. There are two aspects to this: 'audience scope' and 'subject scope'.<br />Audience Scope - First and foremost, it is essential for the communicator to clearly identify the target audience of the communication. This will allow the recipient to decide "Is this communication intended for me?". It will also allow the communicator to tailor the communication (especially the language used) to the particular needs of the audience (see also Defining the audience).<br />Most technical communications are not aimed at specific people, but at groups of people, or more likely, at job functions or users of particular products. It may also be the case that the communication is aimed at 'the general public'. In each case, the communicator must ensure that the target audience is clearly identified.<br />Quite often the definition of the audience is left to the distribution list, but this is not sufficient. Communications may be forwarded, or copied without the distribution list, at which point the target audience definition is lost. Additionally, it is not always wise to assume that the target audience is implicit in the location of the communication. For example, if a set of instructions is included in a binder labeled "Accounts Receivable Clerk's Operating Procedures" then it could safely be assumed that the instructions are to be carried out by the Accounts Receivable Clerk. But what happens when a copy of these instructions are given to the clerk's Supervisor, who needs to understand what the clerk is doing? Clearly, it would be safer to simply state in the instructions that they are to be carried out by the Accounts Receivable Clerk.<br />For some communications, it is not possible for the audience to be identified within the communication itself. A good example is a factory siren, or a flashing light on a shop floor. In these cases, the audience is defined by informing the target audience in advance that when (for example) a siren sounds, they have to take a particular action.<br /> Subject Scope - In order to allow readers to further ascertain whether a communication contains information that they need to know, or that they may be looking for, a communication should always clearly identify the subject scope of the communication. The subject scope is a specification of the information covered by the communication. For example, if a a document provides instructions for changing a printer cartridge, it would be wise to specify the models to which the instructions apply.<br />In some circumstances, it may be more useful to specify the scope in terms of what is not covered by the communication. For example, in a general information manual for a network router, it may be worthwhile stating that the manual does not include information on installing or configuring a network. (Ideally, in these cases, the communication should then go on to specify where the reader can find the information that is not in the scope of this communication.)<br />Obviously, any specification of the scope of a communication should appear as near to the start of the communication as possible. The whole point in specifying the scope is to allow the reader to decide whether the communication is relevant to them - forcing them to read half the document before telling them, rather negates this point!<br />Purpose of communication:<br /> A communication will always have a purpose. A good technical communication will always have a purpose for the reader (some communications seem to be purely for the benefit of the communicator's ego or self-aggrandizement!). For most technical communications, the purpose of the communication must be clear to the recipient of the communication. In some cases, such as subliminal advertising, the actual purpose needs to be disguised (although few Technical Communicators will find themselves called upon to perform such deceptions).<br />The following list highlights a number of different purposes for a communication, and describes the way in which the communication might need to differ based on this purpose.<br />To inform<br />To convey<br />To persuade<br />To request<br />To warn<br />To reassure<br />Purpose of Communication in Professional world:<br />Senior Leader Influence:<br />How do leaders of large organizations with little direct contact with their teams continue to exert influence?<br />As leaders of large organizations, Commanding Generals understand the art and importance of communication and getting others to spread their message.<br />For example, here's how the Commanding General (CG) of 270 on-campus leadership training programs known as ROTC communicated his vision throughout the U.S.:<br />The ROTC programs were members of 13 different Brigades, who in turn were part of three different Regions.<br />This required the CG to communicate his vision through the leaders of these Regions and Brigades.<br />Region and Brigade Commanders then communicated his vision so that each of the 270 ROTC programs received the same message.<br />To ensure consistency, the CG repeated his message at regional conferences and did a “spot check” during various visits with Brigades.<br />Effective Workplace Communication:<br />Since the purpose of communication is to achieve common understanding or to create new or better awareness, effective workplace communication demands that you convey your message successfully throughout the organization.<br />Imagine what would happen if key leaders did not “buy-in” to your message or they merely retransmitted your words without communicating your intent. Your message would be lost in translation and open to interpretation. When key leaders accept the message as their own, they pass on the message as it was intended.<br />As organizations grow, senior leaders have to exercise increasingly effective communication skills in order to influence the key leaders who have direct contact with so many others.<br />Leadership is about Influence:<br />Before leaders can communicate their vision and get everyone to work toward achieving corporate goals, they have to be able to influence. This is all about leadership.<br />Actions determine a leader’s ability to influence. Once you have set the example by living your corporate values, you can communicate purpose more effectively with a clear and compelling vision statement.<br />Vision:<br />Communicate your vision with passion so that key leaders “buy-in,” accept your message as if it were their own, and convey your message throughout your organization.<br />Components of Communication process:<br />Communication is a process of exchanging verbal and non verbal messages. It is a continuous process. Pre-requisite of communication is a message. This message must be conveyed through some medium to the recipient. It is essential that this message must be understood by the recipient in same terms as intended by the sender. He must respond within a time frame. Thus, communication is a two way process and is incomplete without a feedback from the recipient to the sender on how well the message is understood by him.<br /> Communication Process<br />The main components of communication process are as follows:<br />Context - Communication is affected by the context in which it takes place. This context may be physical, social, chronological or cultural. Every communication proceeds with context. The sender chooses the message to communicate within a context.<br />Sender / Encoder - Sender / Encoder is a person who sends the message. A sender makes use of symbols (words or graphic or visual aids) to convey the message and produce the required response. For instance - a training manager conducting training for new batch of employees. Sender may be an individual or a group or an organization. The views, background, approach, skills, competencies, and knowledge of the sender have a great impact on the message. The verbal and non verbal symbols chosen are essential in ascertaining interpretation of the message by the recipient in the same terms as intended by the sender.<br />Message - Message is a key idea that the sender wants to communicate. It is a sign that elicits the response of recipient. Communication process begins with deciding about the message to be conveyed. It must be ensured that the main objective of the message is clear.<br />Medium - Medium is a means used to exchange / transmit the message. The sender must choose an appropriate medium for transmitting the message else the message might not be conveyed to the desired recipients. The choice of appropriate medium of communication is essential for making the message effective and correctly interpreted by the recipient. This choice of communication medium varies depending upon the features of communication. For instance - Written medium is chosen when a message has to be conveyed to a small group of people, while an oral medium is chosen when spontaneous feedback is required from the recipient as misunderstandings are cleared then and there.Some major factors influencing the choice of communication media are::>its potential effectiveness,the need for tact,the need for a written record,confidentiality,the need for instant feedback,the complexity of the message,cost,time. <br />Recipient / Decoder - Recipient / Decoder is a person for whom the message is intended / aimed / targeted. The degree to which the decoder understands the message is dependent upon various factors such as knowledge of recipient, their responsiveness to the message, and the reliance of encoder on decoder.<br />Feedback - Feedback is the main component of communication process as it permits the sender to analyze the efficacy of the message. It helps the sender in confirming the correct interpretation of message by the decoder. Feedback may be verbal (through words) or non-verbal (in form of smiles, sighs, etc.). It may take written form also in form of memos, reports, etc.<br />Barriers to Effective Communication- In each process of communication – encoding, transference and decoding, there may be possibility of interface. It may hamper the communication process. This is known as noise. It is just like carrying water in leaky bucket. Barriers are also major difficulties during message transferred. To ensure clarity in communication, barriers must be eliminated or minimized<br />Barriers in Communication Process:<br />Following are the main communication barriers:<br />Perceptual and Language Differences: Perception is generally how each individual interprets the world around him. All generally want to receive messages which are significant to them. But any message which is against their values is not accepted. A same event may be taken differently by different individuals. For example : A person is on leave for a month due to personal reasons (family member being critical). The HR Manager might be in confusion whether to retain that employee or not, the immediate manager might think of replacement because his teams productivity is being hampered, the family members might take him as an emotional support.<br />The linguistic differences also lead to communication breakdown. Same word may mean different to different individuals. For example: consider a word “value”.<br />What is the value of this Laptop?<br />I value our relation?<br />What is the value of learning technical skills?<br />“Value” means different in different sentences. Communication breakdown occurs if there is wrong perception by the receiver.<br />Information Overload: Managers are surrounded with a pool of information. It is essential to control this information flow else the information is likely to be misinterpreted or forgotten or overlooked. As a result communication is less effective.<br />Inattention: At times we just not listen, but only hear. For example a traveler may pay attention to one “NO PARKING” sign, but if such sign is put all over the city, he no longer listens to it. Thus, repetitive messages should be ignored for effective communication. Similarly if a superior is engrossed in his paper work and his subordinate explains him his problem, the superior may not get what he is saying and it leads to disappointment of subordinate.<br />Time Pressures: Often in organization the targets have to be achieved within a specified time period, the failure of which has adverse consequences. In a haste to meet deadlines, the formal channels of communication are shortened, or messages are partially given, i.e., not completely transferred. Thus sufficient time should be given for effective communication.<br />Distraction/Noise: Communication is also affected a lot by noise to distractions. Physical distractions are also there such as, poor lightning, uncomfortable sitting, unhygienic room also affects communication in a meeting. Similarly use of loud speakers interferes with communication.<br />Emotions: Emotional state at a particular point of time also affects communication. If the receiver feels that communicator is angry he interprets that the information being sent is very bad. While he takes it differently if the communicator is happy and jovial (in that case the message is interpreted to be good and interesting).<br />Complexity in Organizational Structure: Greater the hierarchy in an organization (i.e. more the number of managerial levels), more is the chances of communication getting destroyed. Only the people at the top level can see the overall picture while the people at low level just have knowledge about their own area and a little knowledge about other areas.<br />Poor retention: Human memory cannot function beyond a limit. One cant always retain what is being told specially if he is not interested or not attentive. This leads to communication breakdown.<br /> Let’s talk about how to overcome these barriers of communication.<br />Eliminating differences in perception: The organization should ensure that it is recruiting right individuals on the job. It’s the responsibility of the interviewer to ensure that the interviewee has command over the written and spoken language. There should be proper Induction program so that the policies of the company are clear to all the employees. There should be proper trainings conducted for required employees (for eg: Voice and Accent training).<br />Use of Simple Language: Use of simple and clear words should be emphasized. Use of ambiguous words and jargons should be avoided.<br />Reduction and elimination of noise levels: Noise is the main communication barrier which must be overcome on priority basis. It is essential to identify the source of noise and then eliminate that source.<br />Active Listening: Listen attentively and carefully. There is a difference between “listening” and “hearing”. Active listening means hearing with proper understanding of the message that is heard. By asking questions the speaker can ensure whether his/her message is understood or not by the receiver in the same terms as intended by the speaker.<br />Emotional State: During communication one should make effective use of body language. He/she should not show their emotions while communication as the receiver might misinterpret the message being delivered. For example, if the conveyer of the message is in a bad mood then the receiver might think that the information being delivered is not good.<br />Simple Organizational Structure: The organizational structure should not be complex. The number of hierarchical levels should be optimum. There should be a ideal span of control within the organization. Simpler the organizational structure, more effective will be the communication.<br />Avoid Information Overload: The managers should know how to prioritize their work. They should not overload themselves with the work. They should spend quality time with their subordinates and should listen to their problems and feedbacks actively.<br />Give Constructive Feedback: Avoid giving negative feedback. The contents of the feedback might be negative, but it should be delivered constructively. Constructive feedback will lead to effective communication between the superior and subordinate.<br />Proper Media Selection: The managers should properly select the medium of communication. Simple messages should be conveyed orally, like: face to face interaction or meetings. Use of written means of communication should be encouraged for delivering complex messages. For significant messages reminders can be given by using written means of communication such as : Memos, Notices etc.<br />Flexibility in meeting the targets: For effective communication in an organization the managers should ensure that the individuals are meeting their targets timely without skipping the formal channels of communication. There should not be much pressure on employees to meet their targets.<br />Communication Skills:<br /> Communication skills is a proficiency acquired in the art of communication by a person. Communication is learned skills. Most people are born with the physical ability to talk, but we learn to speak well and communicate effectively. Speaking, listening & our ability to understand verbal & nonverbal meanings are skills we developed in various ways. We learn basic communication skills by observing other people & modeling our behaviors based on what we see. We also are taught some communication skills directly through education, & by practicing those skills & having them evaluated.<br />Effective Communication:<br /> There are certain features which are mandatory for productive communication. Among other parts, feedbacks play a very prominent role in the process of communication, as it ensures that the message is communicated properly & understood by the receiver.<br />Making Communication Effective:<br />Use concrete than abstract words wherever possible.<br />The content has to be made meaningful to the receiver<br />The message should be framed according to the capability of the receiver.<br />There should be a proper blend of verbal and non-verbal communication<br />Eye contact should be maintained<br />Speak at a moderate rate<br />Create rapport with the receiver<br />Select appropriate channel<br />Encourage listening & feedback<br />Avoid communicating in extreme emotional states<br />Make the message Attractive, Brief & Clear.<br />Audience Centered Effective Communication:<br />Identifying your audience and inspiring their interest in your topic is the secret to effective communication. Whether writing or speaking, focusing on audience needs and expectations will help you achieve your goals.Who Is Your Audience?<br />Identifying your audience is essential for successfully communicating with them. Consider your audience's point of view when crafting your presentation or report.<br />What Are You Really Talking About?<br />Remember writing a topic sentence or thesis statement for papers in school? Do the same for your topic whether writing or speaking. Clearly stating your topic prepares the audience for absorbing information about your topic and what it means to them.<br />Features<br />After identifying your topic, include a few of its pertinent features. If you're promoting a credit card, mentioning that it has a low interest rate will gain your audience's attention.<br />Benefits<br />The next step is to clearly communicate your topic's benefits to your audience. Using the example of a low interest rate, you could point out the benefit of saving money.<br />Be Convincing<br />Not all audiences will be receptive to your topic. If your topic is difficult or sensitive, it is essential to demonstrate why your topic is important and beneficial to the audience. What can your audience gain from your communication?<br />Handling Critics<br />You will likely encounter some degree of skepticism or resistance in any audience. Prepare in advance for addressing potential objections or criticism.<br />The 4Cs Model of Effective Communication:<br />The 4Cs model is a useful tool for objectively evaluating the effectiveness of many forms of communication: what’s working, what isn’t working, and why. The 4Cs can assess marketing communication, as well as business communication, political communication, entertainment, and plain old everyday person-to-person communication, from email and blogging to relationship talk.<br />The First C: ComprehensionDoes the audience get the message, the main idea, the point? What does the message instantly communicate? Can the audience play the message back? This confirms that they “get it” and the first C is working. Here are three tips for better comprehension:<br />Make the message clear and sharp.<br />Repetition helps. Tell them what you’re going to tell them; next, tell them; and then tell them what you told them.<br />Keep it simple - don’t go too deep.<br />The Second C: ConnectionMaking a connection with a communicated idea or message means not only that the audience “gets it,” but that it resonates with them, has meaning and significance for them, and usually triggers an irrational or emotional response: frustration, excitement, anger, passion, joy, happiness, sadness, and so on. When connection is there, it will spark new behaviors and actions.<br />The Third C: CredibilityThe audience needs to believe who is saying it (the brand or messenger’s voice), what is being said, and how it is being said. Otherwise, any connection begins to break down - immediately. Credibility is the critical C, because the audience may completely understand a communicator’s message, and even connect with it on an emotional level, then promptly turn around and say that coming from this particular source: company, political candidate, supervisor, whatever, they aren’t buying it.<br />The Fourth C: ContagiousnessIn communications, contagiousness is a good thing. You want your audience to “catch the message,” run with it, and spread it around. Think of the last time you saw a TV ad that was so funny or clever that you discussed it with your friends, found yourself reenacting it, or repeated the slogan or catch phrase in conversations. That’s contagiousness. To be contagious, a message has to be energetic, new, different, and memorable. It should also evoke a vivid emotional response, have “talk” potential, motivate the target to do something, and elicit a demonstrable reaction.<br />Features and Factors of Good Presentation Skills:<br />Presentation skills consist of adequate preparation of the required content with clarity of mind, perfect body language and positive attitude. There should be clear delineation of purpose that is to be aimed at the targeted group.<br />Dressing is given utmost importance as the first impression before the presentation is vital for smooth conduct of the meeting. Once the initial exchanges are over, then the real presentation with the ideal beginning followed by the aims and features of the discussion and finally the end result desired from the group. This way the presentation acquires meaning without much jargon and the audience will be impressed.<br />Key content must be minimized so that the audience remembers them well. There is no use beating about the bush but pinpoint accuracy and concise key word highlights have a lasting recall from the group.<br />Presentation skills often harp on positive thinking, real interest and bubbly attitude on the part of the presenter. The content must be amended suitably to the requirement of the group and no there is no use of wrong targeting.<br />Good presentation skills insist on direct interaction with the group and never ever venture out to criticize them without reason. If you pick up quarrel with the group there will be chaos and misunderstanding which will lead nowhere. Always focus on the goal by actively encouraging the group to participate in the discussion and be prepared to answer all their questions however inconvenient it may be, to their satisfaction. Once you win their confidence the battle is won and the rest will be a formality. Listening to the point of view of the group pays dividends and if they can be cleared forcefully then they will agree to your line of thinking easily.<br />Good presentation requires perfect choice of words and idioms laced with humor. Humor if directed at your own self will bring the audience to react and then the shackles will be broken. Barriers with the audience must be broken with reassurance and the results will automatically follow.<br />Persuasive communication is an art of good presentation skill and which clears the misgivings of the audience comfortably. Once this is done, they can be persuaded to your view without difficulty.<br />Visual aids are an integral part of presentation skills that have more impact on the group unlike the spoken word. They can be used more for better results.<br />Have a clear outcome in mind--What do you want the audience to take away from your presentation? Remember it’s about them and how they feel. It could simply be you want them to feel comfortable with you to provide a particular service, or you'd like to convince them your product is the best on the market. You may want to motivate them to do something or inspire or challenge them to try something new.<br />Organise your speech into “chunks”--This is as opposed to trying to memorise or read a 30 minute speech...or a three hour one! If you have several chunks that deliver a particular message, it is easier for you and your audience to remember. As an example 30 minutes could be broken up as follows:<br /> >A five minute opener with a story;<br /> >Three chunks of seven minutes where you talk about three different points using some variety while delivering those messages.<br />>Then a closer of four minutes perhaps to give out handouts or take a question or two then finish big with a call to action.<br /> <br />11. Use your body wisely.It’s okay to jump up and down and be energetic if that is your style. Many of you would be familiar with Anthony Robbins or other motivating style of presentation and observed how they use their bodies. At other times a speech delivered with poise and stillness from a lectern is appropriate. What isn’t appropriate is distracting movement such as pacing up and down for no reason, gesticulating wildly for no purpose, rocking back and forth or playing with your hair (women) thrusting hands in your pockets (men) or scratching or picking at imaginary fluff on your jacket.<br />All these tactical presentation tools must be used judiciously depending on the audience for the desired results. It all depends on the particular group you are targeting and appropriate presentation skills must be used to convey the message forcefully. Time must be given to perfect presentation skills to evolve for lasting benefits and never rush to do all the skills without purpose.<br />What IS assertive communication?<br />Assertive communication is the ability to express positive and negative ideas and feelings in an open, honest and direct way. It recognises our rights whilst still respecting the rights of others. It allows us to take responsibility for ourselves and our actions without judging or blaming other people. And it allows us to constructively confront and find a mutually satisfying solution where conflict exists.<br />There are many advantages of assertive communication, most notably these:<br />It helps us feel good about ourselves and others<br />It leads to the development of mutual respect with others<br />It increases our self-esteem<br />It helps us achieve our goals<br />It minimises hurting and alienating other people<br />It reduces anxiety<br />It protects us from being taken advantage of by others<br />It enables us to make decisions and free choices in life<br />It enables us to express, both verbally and non-verbally, a wide range of feelings and thoughts, both positive and negative.<br />There are, of course, disadvantages..<br />Others may not approve of this style of communication, or may not approve of the views you express. Also, having a healthy regard for another person's rights means that you won't always get what YOU want. You may also find out that you were wrong about a viewpoint that you held. But most importantly, as mentioned earlier, it involves the risk that others may not understand and therefore not accept this style of communication.<br />There are six main characteristics of assertive communication. These are:<br />eye contact: demonstrates interest, shows sincerity<br />body posture: congruent body language will improve the significance of the message<br />gestures: appropriate gestures help to add emphasis<br />voice: a level, well modulated tone is more convincing and acceptable, and is not intimidating<br />timing: use your judgement to maximise receptivity and impact<br />content: how, where and when you choose to comment is probably more important than WHAT you say.<br />Classification of communication:- <br /> COMMUNICATION<br /> <br />1.Human Communication 2.Non-human Communication<br />1.1Verbal, 2.1Animal Communication <br />1.2Non-verba,1.3Visua,1.4Written. 2.2Plants & Fungus Communication.<br />Nonverbal communication- is usually understood as the process of communication through sending and receiving wordless (mostly visual) messages - i.e., language is not the only source of communication, there are other means also. Messages can be communicated through gestures and touch ( HYPERLINK "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haptic_communication" o "Haptic communication" Haptic communication), by body language or posture, by facial expression and eye contact. Meaning can also be communicated through object or artifacts (such as clothing, hairstyles or architecture), symbols, and icons (or graphics). Speech contains nonverbal elements known as paralanguage, including voice quality, rate, pitch, volume, and speaking style, as well as prosodic features such as rhythm, intonation and  HYPERLINK "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stress_(linguistics)" o "Stress (linguistics)" stress.Dance is also regarded as a form of nonverbal communication. Likewise, written texts have nonverbal elements such as handwriting style, spatial arrangement of words, or the physical layout of a page.<br />However, much of the study of nonverbal communication has focused on face-to-face interaction, where it can be classified into three principal areas: environmental conditions where communication takes place, the physical characteristics of the communicators, and behaviors of communicators during interaction.<br />Characteristics of nonverbal communication:<br />Non-verbal messages primarily communicate emotions, attitudes.<br />Non-verbal cues substitute for, contradict, emphasize or regulate verbal message.<br />Non-verbal cues are often ambiguous.<br />Non-verbal cues are continuous.<br />Non-verbal cues are more reliable.<br />Non-verbal cues are culture bound.<br />Non-verbal behavior always has communicative value.<br />Non-verbal communication is powerful. Example:Non-verbal observations have the power to influence our judgments.<br />Movements/Body language :<br /> Facial Expression: The face is perhaps the most important conveyor of emotional information. A face can light up with enthusiasm, energy, and approval, express confusion or boredom, and scowl with displeasure. The eyes are particularly expressive in telegraphing joy, sadness, anger, or confusion.<br /> <br /> Postures and Gestures: Our body postures can create a feeling of warm openness or cold rejection. For example, when someone faces us, sitting quietly with hands loosely folded in the lap, a feeling of anticipation and interest is created. A posture of arms crossed on the chest portrays a feeling of inflexibility. The action of gathering up one's materials and reaching for a purse signals a desire to end the conversation.<br /> A gesture is a form of non-verbal communication in which visible bodily actions communicate particular messages, either in place of speech or together and in parallel with spoken words.[1] Gestures include movement of the hands, face, or other parts of the body. Gestures differ from physical non-verbal communication that does not communicate specific messages, such as purely expressive displays, proxemics, or displays of joint attention.[1] Gestures allow individuals to communicate a variety of feelings and thoughts, from contempt and hostility to approval and affection, often together with body language in addition to words when they speak.<br /> Gesture processing takes place in areas of the brain such as Broca's and Wernicke's areas, which are used by speech and sign language.<br /> <br /> Haptics: touching in communication: Haptics is the study of touching as nonverbal communication. Touches that can be defined as communication include handshakes, holding hands, kissing (cheek, lips, hand), back slapping, high fives, a pat on the shoulder, and brushing an arm. Touching of oneself may include licking, picking, holding, and scratching. These behaviors are referred to as "adapter" or "tells" and may send messages that reveal the intentions or feelings of a communicator. The meaning conveyed from touch is highly dependent upon the context of the situation, the relationship between communicators, and the manner of touch.<br /> Eye gaze: The study of the role of eyes in nonverbal communication is sometimes referred to as "oculesics". Eye contact can indicate interest, attention, and involvement. Studies have found that people use their eyes to indicate their interest and with more than the frequently recognized actions of winking and slight movement of the eyebrows. Eye contact is an event when two people look at each other's eyes at the same time. It is a form of nonverbal communication and has a large influence on social behavior. Frequency and interpretation of eye contact vary between cultures and species. Eye aversion is the avoidance of eye contact. Eye contact and facial expressions provide important social and emotional information.<br />Function of nonverbal communication<br />Express emotions<br />Express interpersonal attitudes<br />To accompany speech in managing the cues of interaction between speakers and listeners<br />Self-presentation of one’s personality<br />Rituals (greetings)<br />Pralanguage:<br />Paralanguage refers to the non-verbal elements of communication used to modify meaning and convey emotion. Paralanguage may be expressed consciously or unconsciously, and it includes the pitch, volume, and, in some cases, intonation of speech. Sometimes the definition is restricted to vocally-produced sounds. The study of paralanguage is known as paralinguistics.<br />The term 'paralanguage' is sometimes used as a cover term for body language, which is not necessarily tied to speech, and paralinguistic phenomena in speech. The latter are phenomena that can be observed in speech (Saussure's parole) but that do not belong to the arbitrary conventional code of language (Saussure's langue).<br />The paralinguistic properties of speech play an important role in human speech communication. There are no utterances or speech signals that lack paralinguistic properties, since speech requires the presence of a voice that can be modulated. This voice must have some properties, and all the properties of a voice as such are paralinguistic. However, the distinction linguistic vs. paralinguistic applies not only to speech but to writing and sign language as well, and it is not bound to any sensory modality. Even vocal language has some paralinguistic as well as linguistic properties that can be seen (lip reading,  HYPERLINK "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McGurk_effect" o "McGurk effect" McGurk effect), and even felt, e.g. by the  HYPERLINK "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tadoma" o "Tadoma" Tadoma method.<br />Visual communication:<br /> Visual communication is the conveyance of ideas and information through creation of visual representations. Primarily associated with two dimensional images, it includÂes: signs, typography, drawing, graphic design, illustration, colours, and electronic resources, video and TV. Recent research in the field has focused on web design and graphically oriented usability. Graphic designers use methods of visual communication in their professional practice.<br />Oral /Verbal Communication:<br />The basis of communication is the interaction between people.  Verbal communication is one way for people to communicate face-to-face.  Some of the key components of verbal communication are sound, words, speaking, and language.  <br />At birth, most people have vocal cords, which produce sounds.  As a child grows it learns how to form these sounds into words.  Some words may be imitative of natural sounds, but others may come from expressions of emotion, such as laughter or crying.  Words alone have no meaning.  Only people can put meaning into words.  As meaning is assigned to words, language develops, which leads to the development of speaking.<br />Oral communication, while primarily referring to spoken verbal communication, typically relies on both words, visual aids and non-verbal elements to support the conveyance of the meaning. Oral communication includes discussion, speeches, presentations, interpersonal communication and many other varieties. In face to face communication the body language and voice tonality plays a significant role and may have a greater impact on the listener than the intended content of the spoken words.<br />Spoken communication occurs in many different settings during the course of successful innovation and change.  These may be divided into three main types: <br />The formal and informal networks in which peers exchange information, such as professional associations, work units, work teams, etc.<br />The activities of change agents, opinion leaders, etc.<br />The contacts established at team meetings, conferences, training courses, etc.<br />Whether to use oral communication is a decision we all make frequently in the course of a workday.  The change agent must be able to identify those situations in which oral communication is the most appropriate one to use. <br />Use Oral Communication When:<br />The receiver is not particularly interested in receiving the message.  Oral communication provides more opportunity for getting and keeping interest and attention.<br />It is important to get feedback.  It's easier to get feedback by observing facial expressions (and other nonverbal behavior) and asking questions.<br />Emotions are high. Oral communication provides more opportunity for both the sender and the receiver to let off steam, cool down, and create a suitable climate for understanding.<br />The receiver is too busy or preoccupied to read. Oral communication provides more opportunity to get attention.<br />The sender wants to persuade or convince.  Oral communication provides more flexibility, opportunity for emphasis, chance to listen, and opportunity to remove resistance and change attitudes.<br />When discussion is needed.  A complicated subject frequently requires discussion to be sure of understanding.<br />When criticism of the receiver is involved.  Oral communication provides more opportunity to accomplish this without arousing resentment.  Also, oral communication is less threatening because it isn't formalized in writing.<br />When the receiver prefers one-to-one contact.<br />Components of an Effective Oral Report:<br />Introduction Capture the attention of the group right from the start. <br />Give the necessary explanation of the background from which the problem derived.<br />Clearly state and explain the problem.<br />Clearly state your objectives.<br />Indicate the method(s) used to solve the problem.<br />Suggest the order in which you will provide information.<br />Organization <br />Provide sufficient introductory information.<br />Use transitions from one main part to the next and between points of the speech.<br />Use summary statements and restatements.<br />Make the main ideas of the report clearly distinguishable from one another.<br />Content <br />Have adequate supporting data to substantiate what you say.<br />Avoid using extraneous material.<br />Present supporting data clearly--in terms of the ideas or concepts you are trying to communicate.<br />Were the methods of the investigation clearly presented?<br />Visual Aid Supports<br />Use clear drawings, charts, diagrams or other aids to make explanations vivid and understandable.<br />Make visual aids fit naturally into the presentation.<br />Be completely familiar with each visual used.<br />Don't clutter your report with too many visual aids.<br />Conclusion Conclude your report with finality in terms of one or more of the following: <br />the conclusions reached<br />the problem solved<br />the results obtained<br />the value of such findings to the county<br />recommendations offered<br />Question Period <br />Give evidence of intelligent listening in interpreting the questions.<br />Organize answers in terms of a summary statement, explanation, and supporting example.<br />Show flexibility in adapting or improvising visual aids in answering questions.<br />Delivery <br />Be natural, "communicative" in your delivery.<br />Use frequent eye contact to maintain rapport with the audience.<br />Vary your delivery with appropriate movements and gestures.<br />Speak distinctly.<br />Display confidence and authority.<br />Express enthusiasm for your ideas.<br />Written communication & its development:<br />Over time the forms of and ideas about communication have evolved through progression of technology. Advances include communications psychology and media psychology; an emerging field of study. Researchers divides the progression of written communication into three revolutionary stages called "Information Communication Revolutions".<br />During the 1st stage written communication first emerged through the use of pictographs. The pictograms were made in stone, hence written communication was not yet mobile.<br />During the 2nd stage writing began to appear on paper, papyrus, clay, wax, etc. Common alphabets were introduced and allowed for the uniformity of language across large distances. A leap in technology occurred when the Gutenberg printing-press was invented in the 15th century.<br />The 3rd stage is characterized by the transfer of information through controlled waves and electronic signals.<br />Communication is thus a process by which meaning is assigned and conveyed in an attempt to create shared understanding. This process, which requires a vast repertoire of skills in interpersonal processing, listening, observing, speaking, questioning, analyzing, gestures, and evaluating enables collaboration and cooperation.<br />Barriers to successful communication include message overload (when a person receives too many messages at the same time), and message complexity.<br />Misunderstandings can be anticipated and solved through formulations, questions and answers, paraphrasing, examples, and stories of strategic talk. Written communication can be clear by planning follow-up talk on critical written communication as part of the normal way of doing business. Minutes spent talking now will save time later having to clear up misunderstandings later on. Then, take what was heard and reiterate in your own words, and ask them if that’s what they meant.<br />Some others important types of communications:<br />Intra-personal communication- This implies individual reflection,contemplation & meditation.One example of this is transcendental mediation.<br />Inter-personal communication- This is direct,face to face communication that occurs between 2 person.It is essentially a dialogue or a conversation between 2 or more people.<br />It is personal,direct,as well as intimate & permits maximum interaction through words and gestures.It is may be<br />Focused interaction> Both are actively communicate with each-other.<br />Unfocused interaction> One simply observed/listening to persons with whom one is not conversing.<br />Nonverbal interaction<br />Mass communication> This is generally identified with tools of modern mass media including social media marketing which includes:books,the press,cinema,television,radio,etc.. <br />Mode of communication:<br />Formal & Informal Communication:<br /> Communication can be both formal and informal. The formality or informality of the communication depends on one’s relationship with the sender or receiver. When discussing business strategies, the communication will be formal. However, if among colleges, the discussion is about the latest movie, the communication is informal. <br /> Both formal and informal communication modes are equally important and the mode is decided by the relationship, purpose and occasion. Whenever there is uncertainty in deciding between formal & informal communication, formal communication should be preferred, as it does not involved the risk of offending the opponent.<br />Oral & Written:<br />Any communication can be broadly divided into two equally important categories > oral & written.Some forms of these are……<br /> Oral written<br />Face to face conversationMemosTele-communicationLetters Meetingse-mailsSeminarFaxesConferenceNoticeDictationCircularPresentationNewsletterInterview Proposal <br />Verbal & Nonverbal: Already described.<br />Internal & Extarnal:<br />Communication within an organization is known as internal communication,which is usually formal.The interaction take place through preset formats & are not usually unplanned.Internal communication helps in achieving an organization’s goals by informing the members of the general and specific objectives of the organization,either at the macro or at the micro level.Usually superiors take decision and convey then to the subordinates.latters,reports,instructions,seminars etc. re the methods of transmitting information.<br />To expand the boundaries of business, a good relationship with other external organization is must.This requires a sound communication strategy.All official,technical or professional communication with the people outside is known as external communication.Interactions with shareholders,regulators,vendors,service companies,customers and the general public are example of external communication.<br />