Three Basic Types of HumanCommunicationDiploma of Management
In our Management Diploma you’ll be exposed tothe three basic communication skills:speaking, listening, and asking questions.Speaking skills are essential for a good leader.• You have to be able to:• Plan and organise what you are going to say• Use appropriate language for the target group• Modulate and vary your voice• Ensure that your non verbal messages support deliveryslowly• Speak clearly• Make eye contact with people.
Listening‘The reason why we have two ears and only one mouth isthat we may listen the more and talk the less.’Zeno of Citium, Greek philosopher (3rd century AD)As a leader you are the key member of the group. Tomaximise use of team members’ contributions you will needto become an active listener.It is often said that it pays to listen twice as much as wetalk. However there is a difference between listening andhearing.
Have you ever been in the situation where the person youare talking to can repeat what you were saying but you stilldon’t feel listened to? This is usually because they have notbeen actively listening. Passive listening, or listeningwithout demonstrating interest, can have a negative effecton communication.Here are some good tips on active listening :Active listening:http://www.mindtools.com/CommSkll/ActiveListening.htmTips for active listening:http://www.iamnext.com/people/listen.html
Non-verbal communicationNon-verbal communication can have an effect on therelationship between you and your learner.For example, when asking questions, the use of non-verbalresponses can be important. To pause after a question isanswered may indicate to the learner to elaborate on whatthey have said. However, to remain silent too long might beperceived as threatening.
You can encourage the learner to continue to speak byleaning forward, adopting a body position that indicatesinterest and responding positively with favourablenoises, such as (‘Uh-uh’, ‘Mmmm’, ‘yes’, ‘OK’). A simple nodmay also be encouraging.Generally, how we say something may have as muchimpact as what we say.
Non-verbal signals include:How we sit – this includes whether we arefidgeting, whether we have an open posture (or whetherthe posture is too open and therefore confronting)How we stand – generally a person who crosses theirarms is putting up a barrier between themselves and theother person and may therefore be uncomfortable withthat person
Our facial expressions – do we lookhappy, interested, nervous, annoyed?Eye contact – is the eye contact we have with othersculturally respectful?Physical space – are we providing others withappropriate physical space for them to feel comfortable?Vocal tone – the tone of voice you use with your learnerneeds to be non-judgemental and inquisitive. This meansinviting the learner to feel comfortable expressingthoughts, providing information and exploring issues on adeeper level.
Body LanguageBody language is the unspoken communication that goeson in every face-to-face encounter with another humanbeing. It tells you someone’s true feelings towards you andhow well your words are being received.Your ability to read and understand your learner’s bodylanguage, as well as control the message that you transmitthrough your own body language, can mean the differencebetween making a great impression or a very bad one. Wecommunicate a great deal about how we feel by facialexpressions, tone of voice, eye contact, pauses, handmovements and body postures.
Different cultures interpret body signals differently.Non-verbal signals may change as the relationshipdevelops. They may also be different depending on howthings are going in the relationship or in the learningpathway.Interpreting one gesture in isolation is a mistake. Youshould look for ‘clusters’ of gestures, and note the contextin which the body language is used.
QuestionsQuestions can be used to:• Gain information• Boost self esteem of team members• Encourage creative thinking• Promote discussion• Encourage participation• Check understanding• Pool information• Establish facts• Review previous work• Seek opinions• Encourage feedback
Questions should be phrased carefully to encourage teammembers to elaborate and expand ideas.Open questions are often the most useful type to askbecause they can’t be answered with a simple yes or no.Open questions begin withWho, How, Which, What, Where, Why etc…Types of questionsFact findingAsking specific facts, in order to establish existing levels ofknowledge or recap ground already covered.
ReasoningThese are the questions that actually help people learn.Use to help understanding by breaking a complex pointdown into small steps, the solution of each step leading onto the next.Questions should be phrased to enable trainees to work outeach step for themselves. Encourage trainees to apply whatthey know to problems to which they do not know theanswers.
Opinion seekingIt can be valuable to seek information about peoples’opinions, values and feelings, particularly where you arediscussing areas of best practice, or trying to changebehaviour. They can also be useful in achieving anatmosphere of openness and trust.
Using questions to overcome difficultiesIn an effort to overcome a team members objections to theirsuggestions, less skilled leaders often make the mistake oftrying to bluff their way through by making statements ofopinion, snowballing the facts, telling the team member thatthey are wrong, making threats or asking leading questionsthat put the learner on the defensive. Less skilled leadersmay be fearful of discussing the situation and they may fail totake into account the team member’s viewpoint or torecognise their needs.
A more useful approach is to open up the discussion toreveal fully any stumbling blocks and then to locate andbuild up the areas of agreement.LMIT provides online training and NationallyRecognised Courses in Certificate IV in FrontlineManagement and the Diploma of Management.