Communication Processes in Public Services How we say it;  not just what we say!
NLA/MPLA Conference <ul><li>‘ Basque’ in Knowledge:  </li></ul><ul><li>Read It, Hear It, Know It @ Your Library </li></ul>...
Why am I here? <ul><li>Specifically, what is it you want to know about communication? </li></ul><ul><li>What aspect of com...
Communication means . . . <ul><li>Effectively  sending & receiving the message </li></ul>
Effectiveness depends upon many types of variables <ul><li>Individual differences  </li></ul><ul><li>Organizational struct...
Variables include . . . <ul><li>Gender </li></ul><ul><li>Culture </li></ul><ul><li>Age </li></ul><ul><li>Language </li></u...
Nonverbal communication <ul><li>Body Language: How we move and how we posture </li></ul><ul><li>Facial Expressions: Gender...
More Nonverbal Communication <ul><li>Touching: Who, when, how we touch others </li></ul><ul><li>Personal Space: The indivi...
Verbal Communication <ul><li>Talkativeness: How much one talks, how long one holds the floor </li></ul><ul><li>Voice Quali...
Passive Listening:  Message sent (facts & feelings) & not fully acknowledged nor understood   <ul><li>Sends message </li><...
Active Listening:  Message sent (fact & feelings) & it is acknowledged & understood <ul><li>Sends message </li></ul><ul><l...
We need to be aware . . . <ul><li>Be aware of messages we send ourselves & others through the way we behave, sit, stand, l...
Meetings &  Gender Differences   <ul><li>Men  play meetings like this:  </li></ul><ul><li>Speak at length </li></ul><ul><l...
While women . . . <ul><li>Tend to play meetings like this: </li></ul><ul><li>Speak briefly </li></ul><ul><li>Phase comment...
What does this mean? <ul><li>How might knowing this help you understand what goes on in meetings? </li></ul><ul><li>What c...
The importance of  relationship In our consumer environment, the emphasis has shifted to the quality of the relational int...
Relationship factor: <ul><li>Increasing body of knowledge indicating that the key to success in reference & other public s...
Users are different! <ul><li>They are not experts, we are. </li></ul><ul><li>We know how the “system” works. </li></ul><ul...
Common causes of failure: <ul><li>Not acknowledging the user </li></ul><ul><li>Not listening </li></ul><ul><li>Playing 20 ...
What about the  “bad-guy” user? <ul><li>There is no such thing </li></ul><ul><li>We are all “bad-guy” users of other syste...
Being approachable <ul><li>Be poised and ready to engage users by not being engrossed in other work </li></ul><ul><li>Esta...
Using inclusion makes you & the user both winners! <ul><li>Inclusion is a way of making the user a partner.  </li></ul><ul...
Questioning skills <ul><li>Use open, not closed questions </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid jumping to conclusions </li></ul><ul><li...
Points of service <ul><li>Think about one-stop shopping concept </li></ul><ul><li>Consider labels/language used in signage...
Being approachable . . . <ul><li>Acknowledge others waiting for help </li></ul><ul><li>Remain visible to patrons as much a...
Success in the first 30 seconds! <ul><li>Nonverbal </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Eye contact </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Smiling &N...
Turning off users <ul><li>Provide unmonitored referral </li></ul><ul><li>Immediately refer the user to somewhere else </li...
Successful communication is a two-way street <ul><li>For organizational communication – remember “do unto others” </li></u...
Setting goals for improving your communication skills <ul><li>By December 1 st , I will improve my nonverbal communication...
Thank you! <ul><li>Mary C. Bushing, Ed.D. </li></ul><ul><li>Library Consultant & Educator </li></ul><ul><li>Bozeman, Monta...
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Communications Processes in Public Libraries

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Communications Processes in Public Libraries

  1. 1. Communication Processes in Public Services How we say it; not just what we say!
  2. 2. NLA/MPLA Conference <ul><li>‘ Basque’ in Knowledge: </li></ul><ul><li>Read It, Hear It, Know It @ Your Library </li></ul><ul><li>November 7, 2003 </li></ul><ul><li>Incline Village </li></ul><ul><li>Lake Tahoe </li></ul>
  3. 3. Why am I here? <ul><li>Specifically, what is it you want to know about communication? </li></ul><ul><li>What aspect of communication do you want to improve in your library? </li></ul><ul><li>What do you think are the causes of any communication problems in your library? </li></ul>
  4. 4. Communication means . . . <ul><li>Effectively sending & receiving the message </li></ul>
  5. 5. Effectiveness depends upon many types of variables <ul><li>Individual differences </li></ul><ul><li>Organizational structures </li></ul><ul><li>Cultural differences </li></ul><ul><li>A facility that helps or hinders </li></ul><ul><li>Non-verbal messages </li></ul><ul><li>Other? </li></ul>
  6. 6. Variables include . . . <ul><li>Gender </li></ul><ul><li>Culture </li></ul><ul><li>Age </li></ul><ul><li>Language </li></ul><ul><li>Knowledge and/or education </li></ul><ul><li>Body language </li></ul><ul><li>Specialized language </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(library speak!) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Physical arrangement of space </li></ul><ul><li>Power relationships (real and/or perceived) </li></ul><ul><li>Other variables? </li></ul>
  7. 7. Nonverbal communication <ul><li>Body Language: How we move and how we posture </li></ul><ul><li>Facial Expressions: Gender differences especially in amount of smiling </li></ul><ul><li>Body Posture: Amount of space, relaxed or formal, types of movements, restless or at rest </li></ul><ul><li>Decoding Abilities: The ability to figure out other’s feelings based on nonverbal clues </li></ul>
  8. 8. More Nonverbal Communication <ul><li>Touching: Who, when, how we touch others </li></ul><ul><li>Personal Space: The individual “bubble” around an individual that must not be invaded </li></ul><ul><li>Gaze: Where our eyes are during communication </li></ul>
  9. 9. Verbal Communication <ul><li>Talkativeness: How much one talks, how long one holds the floor </li></ul><ul><li>Voice Quality: Intonation, pitch, accent </li></ul><ul><li>Content of speech: What we talk about & our vocabularies to do it </li></ul>
  10. 10. Passive Listening: Message sent (facts & feelings) & not fully acknowledged nor understood <ul><li>Sends message </li></ul><ul><li>Receives little feedback on message & problem </li></ul><ul><li>May be emotional </li></ul><ul><li>May not be thinking clearly </li></ul><ul><li>Receives little empathy or help </li></ul><ul><li>Finds concentration difficult </li></ul><ul><li>Has a cluttered mind </li></ul><ul><li>Is one jump ahead </li></ul><ul><li>May be tense with emotion </li></ul><ul><li>Concerned with reply </li></ul><ul><li>Has a different perception </li></ul>
  11. 11. Active Listening: Message sent (fact & feelings) & it is acknowledged & understood <ul><li>Sends message </li></ul><ul><li>Receives feedback </li></ul><ul><li>Becomes relaxed </li></ul><ul><li>Is able to think more clearly </li></ul><ul><li>Feels empathy of listener </li></ul><ul><li>Is helped to solve problems </li></ul><ul><li>Feels better about self </li></ul><ul><li>Owns problems & solutions </li></ul><ul><li>Makes commitment to solving problem </li></ul><ul><li>Has clear mind </li></ul><ul><li>Interacts with speaker </li></ul><ul><li>Is relaxed </li></ul><ul><li>Does not make evaluations </li></ul><ul><li>Summarizes facts </li></ul><ul><li>Reflects feelings </li></ul><ul><li>Helps speaker to solve and own problems and solutions </li></ul>
  12. 12. We need to be aware . . . <ul><li>Be aware of messages we send ourselves & others through the way we behave, sit, stand, look. </li></ul><ul><li>Be aware the message we send may not be the message others hear. </li></ul><ul><li>Be aware that the message we hear may not be what the sender really intended to communicate. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Meetings & Gender Differences <ul><li>Men play meetings like this: </li></ul><ul><li>Speak at length </li></ul><ul><li>Use a declamatory voice </li></ul><ul><li>Interrupt </li></ul><ul><li>Resist being influenced, especially in public </li></ul><ul><li>Facial expressions less likely to reveal feelings or thoughts </li></ul>
  14. 14. While women . . . <ul><li>Tend to play meetings like this: </li></ul><ul><li>Speak briefly </li></ul><ul><li>Phase comments as a question </li></ul><ul><li>Wait turn </li></ul><ul><li>Smiling (encouraging others, embarrassment, etc.) likely to be interpreted as “agreement with . . .” </li></ul><ul><li>More likely to reveal self as a means of showing solidarity with or approval of others </li></ul>
  15. 15. What does this mean? <ul><li>How might knowing this help you understand what goes on in meetings? </li></ul><ul><li>What can you do more successfully communicate in meetings? </li></ul>
  16. 16. 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.
  17. 17. Relationship factor: <ul><li>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. </li></ul><ul><li>To judge the success of the relational factor the following are asked: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Willingness to return to the library </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Willingness to return to this staff member </li></ul></ul>
  18. 18. Users are different! <ul><li>They are not experts, we are. </li></ul><ul><li>We know how the “system” works. </li></ul><ul><li>As “experts” we have a hard time seeing things from the user’s viewpoint. </li></ul><ul><li>We think differently about information. </li></ul><ul><li>Users seldom present the context of the question or inquiry. </li></ul>
  19. 19. Common causes of failure: <ul><li>Not acknowledging the user </li></ul><ul><li>Not listening </li></ul><ul><li>Playing 20 questions – with yes & no answers </li></ul><ul><li>Interrupting at inappropriate times </li></ul><ul><li>Making assumptions </li></ul><ul><li>Not following up </li></ul>
  20. 20. What about the “bad-guy” user? <ul><li>There is no such thing </li></ul><ul><li>We are all “bad-guy” users of other systems </li></ul><ul><li>Attitude can greatly affect outcomes & user satisfaction </li></ul><ul><li>Attitude, conscious or not, affects public relations </li></ul>
  21. 21. Being approachable <ul><li>Be poised and ready to engage users by not being engrossed in other work </li></ul><ul><li>Establish initial eye contact (cultural differences need to be recognized here) </li></ul><ul><li>Smile, smile, smile </li></ul><ul><li>Have open body language </li></ul><ul><li>Acknowledge the presence of the user </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Friendly greeting to initiate conversation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Standing up, moving forward and/or closer to patron </li></ul></ul>
  22. 22. Using inclusion makes you & the user both winners! <ul><li>Inclusion is a way of making the user a partner. </li></ul><ul><li>Describe briefly what you are doing </li></ul><ul><li>Use inclusive language -- “we” “our” </li></ul><ul><li>Acknowledge user’s contribution </li></ul><ul><li>Restate the problem or question </li></ul><ul><li>Indicate that you are listening </li></ul><ul><li>If appropriate, indicate how much time the task will take </li></ul><ul><li>Assure the user that it is okay to ask more </li></ul>
  23. 23. Questioning skills <ul><li>Use open, not closed questions </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid jumping to conclusions </li></ul><ul><li>Put the inquiry in context </li></ul><ul><li>Use sense-making questions </li></ul><ul><li>Reflect content back to user </li></ul><ul><li>Have clear closure – the art of the tactful ending </li></ul>
  24. 24. Points of service <ul><li>Think about one-stop shopping concept </li></ul><ul><li>Consider labels/language used in signage </li></ul><ul><li>Consider the furniture used at points of contact </li></ul><ul><li>Hold staff accountable for how they treat & communicate with patrons </li></ul><ul><li>Provide customer service & communication training as needed </li></ul><ul><li>Walk the talk - - - model appropriate behavior </li></ul>
  25. 25. Being approachable . . . <ul><li>Acknowledge others waiting for help </li></ul><ul><li>Remain visible to patrons as much as possible </li></ul><ul><li>Rove through the area offering assistance </li></ul><ul><li>Follow-up with patrons whenever possible </li></ul><ul><li>Invite patrons to return with further/new questions or inquiries. </li></ul><ul><li>Do you do these things? </li></ul><ul><li>If not, why not? </li></ul>
  26. 26. Success in the first 30 seconds! <ul><li>Nonverbal </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Eye contact </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Smiling &Nodding </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Pausing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Posture </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tone of voice </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Oral </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Acknowledgement </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Repeating or paraphrasing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Listening </li></ul></ul>
  27. 27. Turning off users <ul><li>Provide unmonitored referral </li></ul><ul><li>Immediately refer the user to somewhere else </li></ul><ul><li>Imply that the user should have done something else first </li></ul><ul><li>Tell the user that the info does not exist </li></ul><ul><li>Signal nonverbally the end of the transaction </li></ul><ul><li>Warn user to expect defeat </li></ul><ul><li>Go away & do not return </li></ul>
  28. 28. Successful communication is a two-way street <ul><li>For organizational communication – remember “do unto others” </li></ul><ul><li>Two wrongs do not make a right! </li></ul><ul><li>In general, there is no such thing as too much communication. </li></ul><ul><li>Individuals are free to accept or ignore what they do not want. </li></ul><ul><li>You can lead a horse to water, but . . . </li></ul>
  29. 29. Setting goals for improving your communication skills <ul><li>By December 1 st , I will improve my nonverbal communication clarity by: </li></ul><ul><li>By December 1 st , I will improve my verbal / listening communication clarify by: </li></ul>
  30. 30. Thank you! <ul><li>Mary C. Bushing, Ed.D. </li></ul><ul><li>Library Consultant & Educator </li></ul><ul><li>Bozeman, Montana </li></ul><ul><li>(406) 587-4742 Home </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul>

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