Communications Processes in Public Libraries
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Communications Processes in Public Libraries

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    Communications Processes in Public Libraries Communications Processes in Public Libraries Presentation Transcript

    • Communication Processes in Public Services How we say it; not just what we say!
    • NLA/MPLA Conference
      • ‘ Basque’ in Knowledge:
      • Read It, Hear It, Know It @ Your Library
      • November 7, 2003
      • Incline Village
      • Lake Tahoe
    • Why am I here?
      • Specifically, what is it you want to know about communication?
      • What aspect of communication do you want to improve in your library?
      • What do you think are the causes of any communication problems in your library?
    • Communication means . . .
      • Effectively sending & receiving the message
    • Effectiveness depends upon many types of variables
      • Individual differences
      • Organizational structures
      • Cultural differences
      • A facility that helps or hinders
      • Non-verbal messages
      • Other?
    • Variables include . . .
      • Gender
      • Culture
      • Age
      • Language
      • Knowledge and/or education
      • Body language
      • Specialized language
        • (library speak!)
      • Physical arrangement of space
      • Power relationships (real and/or perceived)
      • Other variables?
    • Nonverbal communication
      • Body Language: How we move and how we posture
      • Facial Expressions: Gender differences especially in amount of smiling
      • Body Posture: Amount of space, relaxed or formal, types of movements, restless or at rest
      • Decoding Abilities: The ability to figure out other’s feelings based on nonverbal clues
    • More Nonverbal Communication
      • Touching: Who, when, how we touch others
      • Personal Space: The individual “bubble” around an individual that must not be invaded
      • Gaze: Where our eyes are during communication
    • Verbal Communication
      • Talkativeness: How much one talks, how long one holds the floor
      • Voice Quality: Intonation, pitch, accent
      • Content of speech: What we talk about & our vocabularies to do it
    • Passive Listening: Message sent (facts & feelings) & not fully acknowledged nor understood
      • Sends message
      • Receives little feedback on message & problem
      • May be emotional
      • May not be thinking clearly
      • Receives little empathy or help
      • Finds concentration difficult
      • Has a cluttered mind
      • Is one jump ahead
      • May be tense with emotion
      • Concerned with reply
      • Has a different perception
    • Active Listening: Message sent (fact & feelings) & it is acknowledged & understood
      • Sends message
      • Receives feedback
      • Becomes relaxed
      • Is able to think more clearly
      • Feels empathy of listener
      • Is helped to solve problems
      • Feels better about self
      • Owns problems & solutions
      • Makes commitment to solving problem
      • Has clear mind
      • Interacts with speaker
      • Is relaxed
      • Does not make evaluations
      • Summarizes facts
      • Reflects feelings
      • Helps speaker to solve and own problems and solutions
    • We need to be aware . . .
      • Be aware of messages we send ourselves & others through the way we behave, sit, stand, look.
      • Be aware the message we send may not be the message others hear.
      • Be aware that the message we hear may not be what the sender really intended to communicate.
    • Meetings & Gender Differences
      • Men play meetings like this:
      • Speak at length
      • Use a declamatory voice
      • Interrupt
      • Resist being influenced, especially in public
      • Facial expressions less likely to reveal feelings or thoughts
    • While women . . .
      • Tend to play meetings like this:
      • Speak briefly
      • Phase comments as a question
      • Wait turn
      • Smiling (encouraging others, embarrassment, etc.) likely to be interpreted as “agreement with . . .”
      • More likely to reveal self as a means of showing solidarity with or approval of others
    • What does this mean?
      • How might knowing this help you understand what goes on in meetings?
      • What can you do more successfully communicate in meetings?
    • The importance of relationship In our consumer environment, the emphasis has shifted to the quality of the relational interaction between client & staff. While the “answer” still matters, it matters less than the human element.
    • Relationship factor:
      • Increasing body of knowledge indicating that the key to success in reference & other public service contacts is the relational factor but we are only successful 55% of the time.
      • To judge the success of the relational factor the following are asked:
        • Willingness to return to the library
        • Willingness to return to this staff member
    • Users are different!
      • They are not experts, we are.
      • We know how the “system” works.
      • As “experts” we have a hard time seeing things from the user’s viewpoint.
      • We think differently about information.
      • Users seldom present the context of the question or inquiry.
    • Common causes of failure:
      • Not acknowledging the user
      • Not listening
      • Playing 20 questions – with yes & no answers
      • Interrupting at inappropriate times
      • Making assumptions
      • Not following up
    • What about the “bad-guy” user?
      • There is no such thing
      • We are all “bad-guy” users of other systems
      • Attitude can greatly affect outcomes & user satisfaction
      • Attitude, conscious or not, affects public relations
    • Being approachable
      • Be poised and ready to engage users by not being engrossed in other work
      • Establish initial eye contact (cultural differences need to be recognized here)
      • Smile, smile, smile
      • Have open body language
      • Acknowledge the presence of the user
        • Friendly greeting to initiate conversation
        • Standing up, moving forward and/or closer to patron
    • Using inclusion makes you & the user both winners!
      • Inclusion is a way of making the user a partner.
      • Describe briefly what you are doing
      • Use inclusive language -- “we” “our”
      • Acknowledge user’s contribution
      • Restate the problem or question
      • Indicate that you are listening
      • If appropriate, indicate how much time the task will take
      • Assure the user that it is okay to ask more
    • Questioning skills
      • Use open, not closed questions
      • Avoid jumping to conclusions
      • Put the inquiry in context
      • Use sense-making questions
      • Reflect content back to user
      • Have clear closure – the art of the tactful ending
    • Points of service
      • Think about one-stop shopping concept
      • Consider labels/language used in signage
      • Consider the furniture used at points of contact
      • Hold staff accountable for how they treat & communicate with patrons
      • Provide customer service & communication training as needed
      • Walk the talk - - - model appropriate behavior
    • Being approachable . . .
      • Acknowledge others waiting for help
      • Remain visible to patrons as much as possible
      • Rove through the area offering assistance
      • Follow-up with patrons whenever possible
      • Invite patrons to return with further/new questions or inquiries.
      • Do you do these things?
      • If not, why not?
    • Success in the first 30 seconds!
      • Nonverbal
        • Eye contact
        • Smiling &Nodding
        • Pausing
        • Posture
        • Tone of voice
      • Oral
        • Acknowledgement
        • Repeating or paraphrasing
        • Listening
    • Turning off users
      • Provide unmonitored referral
      • Immediately refer the user to somewhere else
      • Imply that the user should have done something else first
      • Tell the user that the info does not exist
      • Signal nonverbally the end of the transaction
      • Warn user to expect defeat
      • Go away & do not return
    • Successful communication is a two-way street
      • For organizational communication – remember “do unto others”
      • Two wrongs do not make a right!
      • In general, there is no such thing as too much communication.
      • Individuals are free to accept or ignore what they do not want.
      • You can lead a horse to water, but . . .
    • Setting goals for improving your communication skills
      • By December 1 st , I will improve my nonverbal communication clarity by:
      • By December 1 st , I will improve my verbal / listening communication clarify by:
    • Thank you!
      • Mary C. Bushing, Ed.D.
      • Library Consultant & Educator
      • Bozeman, Montana
      • (406) 587-4742 Home
      • [email_address]