Building Professional Communication Skills
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Building Professional Communication Skills

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  • Ask participants what they want to get out of the webinar: and note it – if at the end a topic isn’t covered we will talk about it but likely most will be covered
  • Ask participants what they want to get out of the webinar: and note it – if at the end a topic isn’t covered we will talk about it but likely most will be covered
  • exercise 1 minute – every person makes a list of what their positive communication skills – gets them to acknowledge what they already do well – so they are thinking about it as we go through this and can build upon those strengths (ie., I listen well, I don’t yell, etc.)
  • exercise 1 minute – every person makes a list of what their positive communication skills – gets them to acknowledge what they already do well – so they are thinking about it as we go through this and can build upon those strengths (ie., I listen well, I don’t yell, etc.)
  • About inquiry – talk about my job really getting people to open up and share their lives – learned more than I ever dreamed possibleIt’s inductive [upside down triangle] – instead of going into a situation thinking we have the answers and we are ‘looking’ to prove or disprove what we think we know, we enter a situation with open eyes and open ears – without expectation or thinking we know the answer.We all have bias – lens – seeing the world a certain way and acting towards people and situations based on how we ‘think’ they areReference bias – assuming others are making decisions in their situation the same way we would in the that same situationIt’s about connecting with the other person. This is called rapport. Finding what we have in common with another person and using it to feel comfortable and get connected to one another. We live in a diverse world – people of different cultures, races, ages, neighborhood, socioeconomic backgrounds – we actually have a lot more in common than we think.
  • It’s about understanding context – nothing happens in isolation. Two people, same place, same thing – two totally different versions of what happened! Walking a mile in someone else’s shoes.Practice: go to askix.com/ava/ - click on optical illusion – click on my wife and my mother-in-law – what do you see? How do you know?
  • It’s about understanding context – nothing happens in isolation. Two people, same place, same thing – two totally different versions of what happened! Walking a mile in someone else’s shoes.Practice: go towww.askix.com/ava/ - click on optical illusion – click on my wife and my mother-in-law – what do you see? How do you know?
  • Talk about how I do my job as ethnographer
  • Engaged listening – some call it active listening - listening without thinking about what you will say next or thinking about all those other things you have to do, it’s really listening!It’s hard!Tires you outBe comfortable with the uncomfortable silence – we always aim to fill that silence – if you wait a few seconds someone will say somethingWhen you don’t understand something ask!Observation – seeing before speaking% of communication that’s nonverbal [UCLA – 93% - 7 percent by the words used, 38 percent by voice quality, and 55 percent by the nonverbal communication – studies by Albert Mehrabian (Mehrabian, 1972). [debates now in the works – academic departments dedicated to studying this!]How many times have you been involved in an argument or conflict because of things that were NOT said?
  • [talk about what I do in observation] – youtube video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xAFfYLR_IRY - Test Your Observation Sklills – stop at :33 to get people’s counts and then go on to the gorilla part
  • [talk about what I do in observation] – youtube video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xAFfYLR_IRY - Test Your Observation Sklills – stop at :33 to get people’s counts and then go on to the gorilla part
  • Asking open-ended questions and affirmations An open ended question invites people to be the expert and tell their storyAn open ended question helps you minimize bias and listen moreAn open ended question gives you more and better information, which helps you make a more informed decision
  • Go through handout on open-ended questions/affirmations
  • Owning our feelings helps us process them and allows us to maintain professionalism – it’s ok to be angry or frustrated, it’s just about how we communicate that – we want it to be productive and lead to a solution
  • Practice: choose one activityWork in partners - give close-ended questions and have them create open-ended and then the other person answers them while their partner practices engaged listening. Aim for storyteller to use an affirmation in statement.– 5 minutes – 2 minutes each person – sharing and listening – choose an activityProcess: what was hard, easy, uncomfortable?Moving forward: Practicing KISS principle.
  • Practice: choose one activityWork in partners - give close-ended questions and have them create open-ended and then the other person answers them while their partner practices engaged listening. Aim for storyteller to use an affirmation in statement.– 5 minutes – 2 minutes each person – sharing and listening – choose an activityProcess: what was hard, easy, uncomfortable?Moving forward: Practicing KISS principle.

Building Professional Communication Skills Presentation Transcript

  • 1. Professional Communication Skills
    Building communication skills in the workplace
    Alexandra Wills
  • 2. about alex
    I have worked for years trying to better understand people and their lives. I have done both the Americorps and Peace Corps volunteer programs and have worked in a number of non-profit organizations and school systems.
    I have a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a masters degree in sociology. For the past several years I have worked as an ethnographer, which means I have traveled the U.S. and the world to spend time with people and learn about their lives so that companies can learn more about the people who buy their products. I have been lucky enough to make a living asking open-ended questions, practicing engaged listening and observing the world around me.
    You can check out some of my work and what’s going on in my life at http://alexandrawills.wordpress.com.
    Thank you for having me.
  • 3. why are professional communication skills important?
    A survey by Peter Hart Research Associates and reported in USA Today revealed:
    89%of employers think colleges should emphasize communication, both orally and in writing.
    81%of employers think colleges should emphasize critical thinking and analyticalreasoning skills.
    “Observation skills are the most used, and the most overlooked, of all critical job skills.” ACT workforce development
  • 4. today you will:
    • Explore your own strengths and skills when it comes to communicating in the workplace
    • 5. Understand the difference between closed and open-ended questions and how using open-ended questions can lead to more effective communication in the workplace
    • 6. Understand how using affirmations contribute to effective communication in the workplace
    • 7. Understand how using “I” statements contribute to effective communication in the workplace
    • 8. Learn and practice new tools for improving communication in the workplace, such as focused observation and engaged listening
  • exercise:
    • I want you to get thinking about what you already do well so that you can build on your strengths
    • 9. We will take one minute
    • 10. What you will need: paper and a pen or pencil
    • 11. List your positive communication skills – the things you do well
    • 12. Quickly, each person shares one thing he/she does well
  • Bottoms up!observe/listen first and then communicate based on getting a more informed understanding of the situation
    conclusions
    patterns
    build rapport
    throw out bias
    eyes and ears open
    It’s not about proving what we think we know
  • 13. it’s all about context!
    “Never trust general impressions, but concentrate on details.”
    Sherlock Holmes
  • 14. let’s practice!
    • We’re going to learn more about how we perceive things
    • 15. Group up
    • 16. Click here
    • 17. Click on “optical illusions” at the top of the page
    • 18. Click on “My Wife and My Mother-in-Law” in the box with the stars
    • 19. Look at the drawing. What do you see? How do you know?
    • 20. Discuss for about a minute and then someone from each group shares
  • techniques for improving professional communication
    • Focused observation
    • 21. Engaged listening
    • 22. Asking open-ended questions
    • 23. Using affirmations and “I” statements
  • engaged listening through observation
    Observe what’s happening before you start
    • facial expression
    • 24. tone of voice
    • 25. loud or soft voice
    • 26. gestures
    • 27. how far/close people are to one another
    • 28. communication through touch
    • 29. appearance
    • 30. what others in the room are doing
    • 31. what objects are in the room – who is using them and how?
    Photo courtesy of freefoto.com
  • 32. practice focused observation
    • Observe a local cafeteria/lunchroom for 10 minutes
    • 33. “People watch” in a park or shopping plaza
    • 34. Watch your kids
    • 35. Let someone tell you a story, and don’t say a word
  • let’s practice!
    • Click here to see the video “Test Your Observation Skills”
    • 36. To make it full screen, click on the 4 arrows on the bottom right corner of the video. To exit full screen, press “esc” on your keyboard or click on the 4 arrows on the bottom right corner of the video
    • 37. Watch the video. Count how many times the white team passes the rubber band ball.
    • 38. I’ll take a few answers.
    • 39. Let’s continue and add another layer of observation.
  • open-ended questions
    open-ended questions:
    • make people feel valued and comfortable
    • 40. encourage openness
    • 41. lead to more useful information and more informed decisions
    • 42. help us avoid bias
    There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.
    Maya Angelou
  • 43. affirmations
    affirmations:
    • recognize strengths
    • 44. acknowledge positive behaviors
    • 45. help lead to positive change – big or small
    There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you.
    Nelson Mandela
    Thanks to National Health Care for the Homeless Council for this great content on open-ended questions and affirmations!
  • 46. “I” statements
    i statements:
    • avoid blame
    • 47. help us own our feelings and experiences
    • 48. lead to more cooperative communication
  • “I” statements
    Thanks to the Human Potential Center for sharing this great content!
    Use
    I feel happy.
    I don't feel comfortable doing that.
    I am concerned.
    I feel in control of the situation.
    I need help.
    I want this to happen.
    I feel unsure about this.
    I appreciate you.
    Avoid
    You are crazy.
    You should be ashamed.
    You are wrong.
    You are making me mad.
    You could do better.
    You can't.
  • 49. “I” statements
    Thanks to the Human Potential Center for sharing this great content!
    • be specific
    • 50. avoid “oughts” and “shoulds”
    • 51. avoid labels
    • 52. avoid the phrases “I feel like” or “I feel that”
    • 53. include feelings and not just thoughts
  • let’s practice!
  • 54.
    • We are going to practice turning close-ended questions into open-ended questions and practice engaged listening.
    • 55. Pair up.
    • 56. One person changes a close-ended question into an open-ended question and asks it to his or her partner.
    • 57. Choose from one of the following questions:
    • 58. Did you like high school?
    • 59. Do you know how to cook?
    • 60. How many people are in your family?
    • 61. Have you ever gone on vacation?
    • 62. The partner tells his or her story in less than two minutes. The person who asked the question practices engaged listening.
    • 63. After the partner shares his/her story, switch.
    • 64. After the activity one person from each pair will share their experience. What was hard, easy, uncomfortable?
  • recommended readings
    Essential Research Methods for Social Work Allen Rubin, Earl R. Babbie (2009)
    “I Statements.” Human Potential Center (http://www.humanpotentialcenter.org/Articles/IStatements.html)
    “Outreach to People Experiencing Homelessness: A Curriculum for Training HCH Outreach Workers.” National Health Care for the Homeless Council (http://www.nhchc.org/learningmaterials.html)
    “ACT launches workplace observational assessment.” ACT (http://www.act.org/news/2010/02/23/act-launches-workplace-observation-assessment/)