Art and science of communication

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The power is now brings you the communication series with P.S. Perkins hosted by Eric Lawrence Frazier

The power is now brings you the communication series with P.S. Perkins hosted by Eric Lawrence Frazier

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  • 1. BUSINESS BOOK REVIEW ® Stay on Top of Best in Business Knowledge SM May 10, 2010The Art and Scienceof CommunicationTools for Effective Communicationin the WorkplaceP.S. Perkins©2008 by P.S. PerkinsAdapted by permission of John Wiley & Sons, Inc.ISBN: 978-0-470-25759-4IntroductionIn the workplace, communication is both an art and a lessons can help build healthy relationships not onlyscience. Even after centuries of extensive study, many between coworkers, but also between entire cultures.aspects of human communication remain mysterious. The Communication StaircaseHowever, researchers have proven that relationshipsbetween workers are the biggest determinant in a According to Perkins, effective communication cancompany’s success or failure. Today’s business leaders take place on seven different levels. The seven typeshave recognized the need for effective interpersonal of communication are like steps on a staircase; eachcommunication despite the growing use of technol- step is crucial to the next, and they must be taken oneogy as a means of sending and receiving messages. at a time. The seven steps on the communication stair- case, from lowest to highest, are:P.S. Perkins’ The Art and Science of Communicationinforms the reader of the seven types of communica- 1. Intrapersonal Communicationtion, beginning with the individual and ending on a 2. Nonverbal Communicationglobal scale. Perkins argues that effective communica- 3. Interpersonal Communicationtion relies on positive thoughts, motivating language,and a willingness to listen for the needs and desires of 4. Small Group/Organizational Communicationothers. In today’s high-conflict world, Perkins’ simple 5. Public CommunicationBusiness Book Review® May 10, 2010 • Copyright © 2010 EBSCO Publishing Inc. • All Rights Reserved
  • 2. The Art and Science of Communication P.S. Perkins6. Mass Communication7. Intercultural Communication Key ConceptsEach type of communication occurs, often severaltimes, throughout the course of the day. In order to Those looking to improve their relationships incommunicate effectively, one must master the steps in the workplace should consider the followingorder, beginning with intrapersonal communication. advice:Intrapersonal Communication • Intrapersonal communication often suffers due to poor self-image.Intrapersonal communication is the communica-tion one has with oneself, about oneself and others. • Nonverbal communication makes up 93Intrapersonal communication occurs more frequently percent of all messages; this type of com-than any other type of communication, making it munication includes one’s appearance,one of the most important aspects of daily life. Most gestures, vocal qualities, and other nonver-critical to intrapersonal communication is how one bal codes.communicates with oneself, verbally and nonver- • The key to effective communication isbally. Self-sabotage is a common phenomenon both at active listening; all parties must considerhome and in the workplace; people who fail to replace the others’ needs and make room for theirnegative thoughts with positive ones often have dif- unique realities.ficulty concentrating and communicating with othersthroughout the day. • Leaders of small groups or organizations should use language that is esteem-buildingSelf-image is a complex issue that can create a vari- and intent-driven.ety of problems at work. Western culture, especiallythe media, has often created feelings of inadequacy • Anxiety is an unavoidable part of publicor alienation among Americans, which can hinder communication. With sufficient mentalproductivity and professional success. Popular cul- preparation, excellent speakers can use ner-ture also creates a needlessly competitive atmosphere vous energy to their advantage.where workers are driven to compare themselves with • Mass communication can persuade peopleeveryone around them. Self-image and work image through facts and logic (logos), speakerare directly related; workers are a reflection of their credibility (ethos), or emotional appealsown thoughts about themselves, whether positive or (pathos).negative. Workers must learn to define themselves, orelse risk someone else doing it for them. • Intercultural communication allows com- panies to examine their place in the globalGood intrapersonal communication employs a process business environment.called metacognition. Metacognition is an individual’sability to identify and evaluate his own thoughts. g g g gIt can be extremely helpful to count the number ofnegative thoughts that occur over the course of a day; Information about this book and other business titles:people who perform this exercise are often surprised www.wiley.com/businessby the frequency with which negative thoughts occur, Related summary in the BBR Library:as well as the intensity of those thoughts. As a similar Just Listenexercise, Perkins suggests that workers write down Discover the Secret to Getting Through toall the words they use to describe themselves. From Absolutely Anyonethere, workers should identify the words that are By Mark Goulstonempowering or limiting, as well as those which theworker has accepted or rejected. This can provide aninsight into one’s self-image, which can be improvedBusiness Book Review® May 10, 2010 • Copyright © 2010 EBSCO Publishing Inc. • All Rights Reserved Page 2
  • 3. The Art and Science of Communication P.S. Perkinsthrough self-monitoring and metacognition. 2. To control others’ impressionsPerkins offers several other strategies to improve one’s 3. To complement wordsself-image and intrapersonal communication: 4. To contradict words• Understand the role of thoughts in effective com- 5. To confirm the messages of others munication. 6. To distinguish relationships between oneself and• Realize that communication begins on the inside others and determines the outside. 7. To maintain a congruent understanding of the• Use affirmations, meditation, or prayer as desired. messages in a shared environment (such as theFinally, Perkins suggests that workers replace non- workplace)affirming thoughts with affirming thoughts andstatements. Instead of saying,“I cannot stand my boss,” one We learn the nonverbal codes of society much in the same wayshould try saying, “I would we learn language, as an integral part of our symbol system.prefer a more understanding Just as with language, we do not always acquire the most effec-boss, but I appreciate his vision.” tive nonverbal habits.Instead of focusing on negativethoughts about appearance, one Nonverbal communication is learned along with lan-should work towards an improved appearance and guage at an early age, and is made up of symbols thatfeel confident and proud about the extra effort. are often specific to a single culture or geographicNonverbal Communication region. Nonverbal communication can be dividedNonverbal communication includes all of the mes- into four categories: visual, vocal, physical, and spa-sages a person sends and receives without words, tial messages.both on a conscious and unconscious level. Studies Appearance is one of the first nonverbal messages inter-show that nonverbal communication accounts for preted by others. While physical beauty is a factornearly 93 percent of the messages others receive from in first impressions, other aspects of appearance areus, and nonverbal communication plays a significant much more important. Workers should consider therole in how an individual judges another’s trustwor- messages they are sending through their clothes andthiness or believability. accessories, even including the types of colors theyNonverbal communication is used to fulfill seven wear. Workers may choose to simply conform to stan-functions: dards, or they may decide to stand out in one way or another. No style of appearance is inherently good or1. To substitute for words bad, only appropriate or inappropriate. Paralanguage is an important nonverbal message in the workplace. Paralanguage is not what one says, but About the Author rather how one says it. It includes vocal features such as tone, pitch, emphasis, stress, inflection, volume, P.S. Perkins is founder and CEO of the Human pacing, accent, dialect, pauses, and many other vari- Communication Institute, LLC, and a graduate ables unique to a person. Notably, paralanguage can of the communication schools of the University be adjusted if desired. Workers who are self-conscious of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and New York about accents or bad speaking habits may choose to University. She has been training, lecturing, and take instruction in diction or accent reduction. developing communications curricula for more than 20 years. Kinesics includes subtle body movements which com- plement or contradict a verbal message. This includesBusiness Book Review® May 10, 2010 • Copyright © 2010 EBSCO Publishing Inc. • All Rights Reserved Page 3
  • 4. The Art and Science of Communication P.S. Perkinsposture, stance, eye contact, and facial movements 1. Sender or Encoder – The person that creates theand reactions. Workers who display poor or defensive message for the intended receiver.body language often deny themselves career oppor- 2. Message ­ The information being sent from sender –tunities without even knowing it. to receiver.Chronemics is the study of time as a nonverbal system. 3. Channel – How the message travels from senderDifferent cultures have different perceptions of time; to receiver.in the U.S., time is segmented according to activity.Time can be used to indicate an individual’s level of 4. Environment – The context in which the com-importance (e.g. those who arrive “fashionably late”). munication occurs, including time, place, andExcessive time constraints and pressures can create circumstance.stressful work environments that result in chronic 5. External/Internal Noise – Interference that is eitherabsenteeism. These types of problems can negatively part of the environment or inside the mind.impact bottom-line costs for many companies. 6. Listener or Decoder – The person receiving theHaptics is the nonverbal code of touching. In today’s message.workplace, touching is generally discouraged, withthe exception of handshakes and pats on the back. 7. Feedback – Messages sent from listener back toSexual harassment and diversity issues have made sender that evaluate the original message.workplace touching a complex subject. As a result, Feedback is the most overlooked factor in the inter-companies should consider the gender and cultural personal communication process. Senders often fail tomakeup of their workers before asserting what actions look for the variety of messages being delivered ver-are appropriate and inappropriate in the workplace. bally and nonverbally; this is a missed opportunity to improve one’s communicationCreate a better understanding between yourself and the people with the listener, and in general.you interact with nonverbally every day. Use your nonverbal An important technique is usingcommunication as a means of supplementing your verbal mes- supportive communication rathersages so that they are congruent. than defensive communication. Whereas defensive communica-Finally, olfaction, or one’s sense of smell, can play an tion is blame-centered, competitive, and uses theimportant role in the workplace. Americans have accusative “you,” supportive communication is prob-become accustomed to very neutral-smelling work lem-centered, cooperative, and uses the descriptiveenvironments, which may come as a surprise to work- “I.” Supportive communication is open to differingers from other cultures. Cultural hygiene issues can perspectives, while defensive communication is self-be difficult to approach for some managers, but one centered and closed-minded in nature.should not ignore the role of smells in nonverbal com-munication. Active listening is the most important part of any interpersonal communication. Listening is anInterpersonal Communication acquired skill that takes years of practice to master.Interpersonal Communication can be defined as the Over the course of a day, people spend more timeexchange of messages between two people. In the listening than they do speaking, reading, or writing.workplace people are often more concerned with the Americans live in a high-context society where peoplenumber of connections they make, rather than the feel a consistent need to express their viewpoints. Itquality of those connections. Effective interpersonal is no wonder, then, that good listeners are rare andcommunication is a two way-exchange that must valued members of society.involve good intrapersonal and nonverbal communi- Listening requires four human elements: mind, ears,cation, as well as active listening. eyes, and memory. However, not all listening requiresThere are seven parts of every interpersonal exchange: each element to be used with the same intensity. Dif-Business Book Review® May 10, 2010 • Copyright © 2010 EBSCO Publishing Inc. • All Rights Reserved Page 4
  • 5. The Art and Science of Communication P.S. Perkinsferent types of communication require different types ing. More points of view create a greater need forof listening, and it is up to the individual to decide problem-solving and conflict-management skills. Thewhat is appropriate in each situation. key to small group discussion is to acknowledge that there is always more than one way to approach anyPerkins suggests several ways to become a better lis- discussion.tener: In any company, successful small group communi-• Refrain from interrupting cation requires effective leadership. Leaders often• Keep an open mind do not examine their own communication skills to• Read ensure they are not damaging the workers they are trying to lead. Different organizations require differ-• Improve Vocabulary ent organizational styles; some workers need a more• Listen for main ideas casual “guide,” while others require more formal, even authoritarian-style leadership. The best way to• Quiet internal and external noise find out which leadership style fits best is to solicit• Be ready to listen feedback from employees.• Withhold judgment and evaluation Leaders should use intent-driven and esteem-build- ing language to drive success in a small group setting.• Develop an interest in the topic This type of language treats all members as equals,• Ask questions offers consistent praise and direct, clear feedback, and takes a proactive stance on conflict resolution.As a final note about interper-sonal communication, Perkins The need to make room for the other person’s reality is magni-asks the reader to consider whatshe calls the “Platinum Rule.” fied within the small-group dynamic because most individualsWhereas the well-known Golden have perceived and already solved the problem based on theirRule says, “Do unto others as you personal reality and personal needs.would have them do unto you,”the Platinum Rule elevates the concept by suggest- Conflict is inevitable in any small group setting. Withing, “Do unto others as they would have you do unto the right communication skills, however, conflict canthem.” The goal of listening is to determine the needs be turned into a useful tool that can enhance results.and wants of others. This is the only way to maintain Perkins suggests a general process for group problemany type of relationship, and is the key to the next solving, which requires only that members maintain atype of communication: small-group and organiza- “team” attitude throughout the following steps:tional communication. 1. Define the problem so that everyone is on theSmall Group/Organizational same page.Communication 2. Understand the issues that make up the problem.Small group communication is simply an extensionof interpersonal communication; by definition it 3. Review group and organizational resourcesincludes three or more people exchanging informa- needed to solve the problem.tion and messages. In the workplace there is a certain 4. Set an agenda to gather information and resources.balance between competition and cooperation. While 5. Apply a solution to remedy the problem.some companies value one over the other, both mustbe present in order to succeed. Small group com- As a general rule, workers should strive to be themunication includes the same personal issues as team member they would want to work with. A greatinterpersonal communication, such as insecurities, team member is dedicated to the goals of the group,intrapersonal noise, prejudices, and difficulty listen- the ethical leadership of the group, the team’s dailyBusiness Book Review® May 10, 2010 • Copyright © 2010 EBSCO Publishing Inc. • All Rights Reserved Page 5
  • 6. The Art and Science of Communication P.S. Perkinsproductivity, and the overall harmony of the group. a private or open forum; its purpose can be to inform,Additionally, Perkins states that successful group persuade, or entertain. Today, technology makes itinteraction is a mix of seven elements: possible to speak publicly in a variety of mediums, not just in front of a live audience. Fear of public speaking1. Healthy personal outlooks is a common phenomenon in many cultures. In the2. Effective communication skills U.S., public speaking is the single most-feared activ-3. Shared commitment to goals ity, even ranking above death. Many workers sit in the back of boardrooms, meeting halls, or classrooms in4. Teamwork ethics order to avoid being called upon to speak. In order to5. Group-communication ability be an excellent presenter, one must:6. Maintenance tasks • Be message-conscious rather than self-conscious.7. Conflict management skills • Acquire active listening skills.Every organization has both formal and informal • Understand the principles of scholarly researchcommunication networks that deliver messages to and the organization of ideas.employees. Formal structures include company poli- • Acquire a knowledgeable vocabulary, supple-cies, rules, tracking systems, evaluation processes, mented by a dictionary and thesaurus.complaint processes, and all other formally man-dated aspects of communication. Informal structures • Be aware of paralanguage and other nonverbalinclude break room discussions, water cooler gossip, codes.or simple small talk between employees. Most often, • Focus on the clarity of words.informal communication networks are the primary • Be comfortable with multicultural audiences.source of information for employees. • Enjoy the process of humanIt takes time and commitment to effectively add to a team, but communication.everyone can make a positive contribution. Make sure you It is important to recognize thatknow what you bring to the group dynamic. You have the nervousness is a part of the publicpower to advance the group’s mission. communication process. Profes- sional presenters use this energyAdditionally, there are several “patterns” of com- to their advantage, similar to the way in which pro-munication flow that can be used in an organization. fessional athletes rely on adrenaline to give themThe top-down pattern is the typical hierarchical pat- a competitive edge. The only way to control appre-tern where messages flow from the board of directors hension or stage fright is effective preparation. Thisdown to managers down to low-level employees. The should include psychological preparation; an effectiveforward pattern moves communication horizontally, technique is to envision oneself having a successfulalong a designed, formal line of information sharing. but realistic speaking experience.The circle pattern is more informal and allows more Speakers should choose words that are appropri-employees to participate in the communication, but ate for the organizational setting. Perkins provides ait is somewhat closed. The social pattern is completely checklist to help speakers decide what type of wordsopen and informal and includes all employees and to use in a presentation:their superiors. Companies may decide to adopt oneor more of these communication styles according to • Use denotative (dictionary) meanings of wordsthe type of environment and discussions they wish to rather than connotative (slang) meanings.foster. • Use words that are concrete rather than abstract.Public Communication • Use words that translate easily to all listeners.Public communication is the act of communicating inBusiness Book Review® May 10, 2010 • Copyright © 2010 EBSCO Publishing Inc. • All Rights Reserved Page 6
  • 7. The Art and Science of Communication P.S. Perkins• Keep words and phrasing simple. of media. This type of communication offers the opportunity to enlist the minds of others to join one’s• Use jargon sparingly, unless the audience is well- cause. informed on the topic. Mass communication is usually persuasive in nature.• Use multicultural references. There are three possible goals of persuasion: 1) to• Be gender-aware. encourage some kind of action, 2) to change a strongThere are four types of public speech: impromptu, attitude or belief, or 3) to reinforce a certain belief.extemporaneous, manuscript, and memorized. Additionally, there are three ways to persuade theImpromptu speech is essentially everyday discourse; public: 1) facts and reasoning, 2) speaker credibility,it is unplanned and spur-of-the-moment. Extempora- or 3) appealing to emotions. Communicators may useneous speaking is a popular presentation style; it is a a combination of these techniques to best get theirprepared speech which involves research and often message across.uses note cards for organiza-tion and main points. Manuscript Through the airwaves, billboards, newspapers, magazines, tab-speech is when a presentation is loids, the Internet, and other forms of mass communication,read word-for-word. Surpris- we all consistently receive the world-view or perspective of theingly, this is the most difficulttype of speech and is usually dominant culture.reserved for professionals undertime constraints, or speakers who need to relay com- Facts and reasoning, also called logos, is most oftenplex or technical information. Memorized speeches used in settings where evidence is required to proveare short and reserved for special occasions such as and validate results, such as academic institutions.award ceremonies, announcements, dinner speeches, Speaker credibility, or ethos, is most used on individu-and other commemorative events. als who are easily influenced by what others thinkOne’s appearance is of utmost importance when and say. This style of persuasion includes celebritydelivering a speech or presentation. Most presenters endorsements or other recognized spokespeople.find it appropriate to dress up for speaking engage- Emotional appeal, or pathos, is used in industriesments. Many speakers find that being well-dressed where consumers make impulsive decisions based onincreases confidence, making presentations easier. how they feel. Each person is more likely to be per-Additionally, presenters should ensure that their ges- suaded by one tactic than another.tures reflect a high level of comfort with the topic and Intercultural Communicationwith the audience. Intercultural communication is communicationUnderstanding one’s audience is paramount to between individuals or groups from different culturalsuccess in public communication. Speakers must backgrounds. Also called cross-cultural communi-consider an audience’s demographics, level of topic cation, it is the highest step of the communicationunderstanding, purpose for attending and listening, staircase. The word “culture” may encompass peopleand receptivity to the speaker and topic. Speakers who share values, attitudes, beliefs, customs, orwill benefit from researching the audience in order to symbol systems that differentiate them from othertailor the material to their wants and needs. groups. Cultures can include groups defined by reli- gion, sex, gender, age, disability, ethnicity, and others.Mass Communication Intercultural communication helps companies exam-Mass communication is the message system that con- ine how they fit into the global community and thenects members of a society or group to one another global business environment.by means of public communication. Mass communi-cation takes place through the airwaves, billboards, According to one researcher, American culture isnewspapers, magazines, the Internet, and other forms defined by seven values:Business Book Review® May 10, 2010 • Copyright © 2010 EBSCO Publishing Inc. • All Rights Reserved Page 7
  • 8. The Art and Science of Communication P.S. Perkins1. Individualism low-context category, possibly explaining the nation’s emphasis on verbal communication.2. Equality In order to succeed, workers must become aware3. Materialism of their prejudices. While prejudices are personal4. Science and Technology and private choices that every individual deserves5. Progress and Change to make, they can be detrimental to one’s success if taken to extremes. Stereotypes are generalizations6. Work and Leisure based on prejudices, often formed without accurate7. Competition evidence. “Isms,” such as racism or sexism, specifi- cally refer to the actions that result from prejudicesExamining these values can help a person see the and stereotypes. Perkins asserts that people who dis-differences between world cultures. The differences play extreme prejudice often show signs of extremebetween individualist cultures and collectivist cul- insecurity, low self-worth, or simple ignorance.tures are especially noteworthy. The U.S. has oftenbeen described as a hyper-individualistic culture, g g g gwhere individual rights are highly valued andfiercely defended. However, this extreme emphasis Features of the Bookon individualism often results in conflict avoidance Reading Time: 3-4 hours, 198 pagesand passive-aggressive types of defense mechanisms. P.S. Perkins’ The Art and Science of CommunicationAnother value dimension present in every culture is is a comprehensive look at the various ways humanspower distance. Power distance is the degree to which send and receive messages. The book is neatly divideda culture accepts the stratification of individual power into seven sections, one for each type of communica-and placement. High power-distance cultures often tion. While most of the book focuses on issues in theuse caste-type social structures, while low power- workplace, much of the advice is suitable for devel-distance cultures value equality among all people. oping personal relationships and a positive outlookWhile it is a point of contention, the United States on life.is regarded as a low power-distance culture, whereevery citizen has an opportunity to ascend the social The book places heavy emphasis on diversity in theladder, at least in theory. workplace, and the importance of understanding the differences between cultures. Each chapter concludesUncertainty avoidance is a value dimension which with a “Q&A” section, which uses hypothetical situ-identifies a culture’s tendency towards filtering out ations to demonstrate the communication strategiesthe unfamiliar. More homogenous societies are more presented by the author. A quick and enjoyable read,likely to have high uncertainty avoidance, making The Art and Science of Communication is a simple,them less accepting of diversity. By contrast, cultures inspiring guide to building the healthy relationshipswith low uncertainty avoidance always make room required to achieve success.for differences. The United States is considered to dis-play low uncertainty avoidance; diversity is generallyaccepted, especially in large communities. ContentsOne researcher asserts that cultures can be either high- Forewordcontext or low-context. High-context cultures have long Acknowledgementshistories and are mostly homogenous. These cultureshave huge amounts of information embedded in the Introductionenvironment, often resulting in a decreased need for 1. Step One: Intrapersonal Communicationverbal communication. Low-context cultures, on theother hand, are fairly new and have not established a 2. Step Two: Nonverbal Communicationlarge set of traditions. The United States falls into theBusiness Book Review® May 10, 2010 • Copyright © 2010 EBSCO Publishing Inc. • All Rights Reserved Page 8
  • 9. The Art and Science of Communication P.S. Perkins3. Step Three: Interpersonal Communication4. Step Four: Small-Group/Organizational Communi-cation5. Step Five: Public Communication6. Step Six: Mass Communication7. Step Seven: Intercultural CommunicationEpilogue: New BeginningsIndexBusiness Book Review® May 10, 2010 • Copyright © 2010 EBSCO Publishing Inc. • All Rights Reserved Page 9
  • 10. The Art and Science of Communication P.S. Perkins A Note to Our Readers We at BBR encourage our readers to purchase the business books we summarize. BBR Summaries are intended as a service to busy professionals, as we recommend only those books that are worth your time to read in their entirety. We apply stringent criteria in selecting only the best business books, and in that selection process, strive to help you make informed book-purchasing decisions. This book is available at bookstores and online booksellers. Business Book Review® is a service of EBSCO Publishing, Inc. For more information about BBR, to subscribe to BBR, or to provide us feedback, visit our Web site. www.businessbookreview.com EBSCO Publishing Inc. 10 Estes Street Ipswich, MA 01938 USA www.ebscohost.com Copyright of Business Book Review Library is property of EBSCO Publishing Inc. and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder’s express written permission. However, users may print, download or email articles for individual use.Business Book Review® May 10, 2010 • Copyright © 2010 EBSCO Publishing Inc. • All Rights Reserved Page 10