KURSUS KOMUNIKASI KORPORAT UNTUK AJK PESTA KONVOKESYEN UKM 2009INTRODUCTION TO EFFECTIVE BUSINESS COMMUNICATION ZAINI ABDUL WAHAB B.Eng(Hons.), UKM, 1997 Date: 9 May 2009 Venue: Tekam Plantation Resort, Jerantut, Pahang
What Is Communication? Communication is often mistaken as being a means of transferring information. For human beings communication is much more than an information transfer, it is more clearly described as an exchange of meaning. Note the two words ‘exchange’ and ‘meaning’. Exchange means that there is always more than one person actively involved, communication with an active speaker and a passive listener, for example writing an article in a company newsletter, is not an exchange of meaning. Meaning is more than words, it involves all that is behind the words, the context in which they are used, the persons involved in the communication, the non verbal elements such a tone and body language. It involves both the creator of the message and the recipient.
The Meaning Of Words If I told you I was driving the latest model Rolls Royce you may wonder what such an important person would be doing here spending time in a class room. So you can see what the use of a familiar word can do and how the image can be simply enhanced, or changed by the addition of another simple word. Language is very powerful.
Our Understanding of Words If words can convey powerful images, words we don’t know or haven’t experienced before do nothing for us. We constantly confronted with words we don’t understand. Technical jargon (words we know but no one else understands) are wasted if our communication is not with an other person familiar with exactly the same technology. Beware of jargon!
Non Verbal Communication We are all familiar with verbal communication but we tend to overlook the non verbal aspects of communication. We seem to accept non verbal communication without a lot of thought. We do it naturally and we respond to it naturally. The two most powerful non verbal messages that can enhance your presentations are sincerity and determination. The slickness of the presentation and the degree of nervousness you are experiencing have little effect but if you are really sincere and determined to achieve the outcomes you believe are best for the business you will impress.
Our Preferences For Taking In And Processing Information People have certain ways of taking in information and in processing that information. We can’t tell what the preferences of our audience are so it is important to cover all possibilities. To illustrate what I mean by preference please write your name. Now write your name again using your other hand. Now you know what I mean by preference. You prefer using one hand rather than the other for writing and clearly one does a better job more easily than the other. In the same way we have preferences for gathering and processing information.
Introduction First impressions count. This professional dress code is codified because many professionals have never been taught appropriate professional appearance and demeanor. Professional dress code standards are alive and well in major financial and executive management. Anyone who aspires to top management knows that personal appearance counts. If you look and behave like a highly trained and well- groomed professional, you will win the respect and honor of our valued clients.
First Things First Some of the perceptions people can form solely from your appearance are: Your professionalism. Your level of sophistication. Your intelligence. Your credibility.
The Basics So whats right and whats wrong? First, there is no single set of rules that will work for everyone; sometimes the only written rules are expressed in your organizations dress code, if it has one. But there are a handful of characteristics that most successful business communicators share when it comes to dress and grooming.
Fashionable Of Foolish The corporate culture and the role you play in it should guide your choice of business attire. More businesses are moving to full-time business casual at every level in the organization. Some just have one or two days each week that are casual. And the definition of business casual varies, ranging from jeans to blazers. Just as in business communication, business dress requires you to know your audience. You need to gauge what attire will be right for the audience and the circumstance. This all hinges on the norms of the culture of the industry, region, company, division, department, and function. While your attire can be a vehicle for personal expression, you can pay a price for violating the written and unwritten codes of your culture. Always know the price before you pay.
Dress To Fit Your Audience When youre in front of a group giving a presentation, making a speech or just plain talking, you need to choose your attire to match the event. Regardless of what youre wearing, make sure it works. Make a thorough assessment of how you look in front of a full-length mirror. And dont hesitate to get a second opinion. Hands speak worlds about capability. They also reinforce your words. Hiding them can send a subtle message of incompetence. If you are not wearing a long-sleeved blouse under a jacket, the jacket sleeve should extend to the end of the wrist bone. This will preserve the visibility of your hands without calling attention to the bareness of your forearms.
Dress For Business, Not Pleasure Business attire is different from social attire and tends to be more formal. The parameters that cover business attire are narrower than they are for social attire. For example, social attire can be more suggestive or flashier or make more of a statement, while business attire should be tuned to the needs of the business circumstance. Your clothing and grooming should not distract. Rather, they should direct attention to your face and particularly your eyes. When you connect with someone elses eyes, they tend to listen. But who can stay focused on eyes when your purchasing agent has a copper ring pierced through his nose? Typical formal business attire has an advantage because it can easily direct listeners to your eyes.
Look Down The great American dancer, Fred Astaire, who wrote the book on popular dance, said this about footwear: “If you want to know if a fellow is well dressed, look down.” Couturier Diana Vreeland, renowned in womens fashion for wardrobe development, said: “First, Id put money into shoes. No variety, just something I could wear with everything. ... Whatever it is you wear, I think shoes are terribly important.”
Speak Tight, Dress Right Business presenters need more than a professional look. They need to be able to move in their clothes. Narrow skirts, tight pants, or confining jackets restrict movement. To capitalize on large body gestures, be sure your clothes fit so you can move. And make sure they really fit.There is no excuse for ill-fitting business attire. If it doesnt fit, you must adjust it.
Testing, Testing. One, Two Three! Heres a simple test you can take before choosing attire for an event that puts you in the spotlight. Ask yourself: Whats appropriate for this audience? This event? What image do I want to project? For my company? For my department? For myself?
Formal attire is for everyone as a part of the internationalbusiness language
Business Attire For Men Traditional two-piece suit, or sport jacket with dress trousers in a dark color (NO KHAKIS). White freshly-pressed shirt. Conservative print or solid tie. No theme ties. Jewelry should be kept to a minimum, and can include a wedding band, class or other signet ring, and watch. All body piercings, including earrings, should be removed. Do not wear cologne or aftershave. Some people may be allergic! Your personal hygiene products will provide enough fragrance. Hair and facial hair should be neatly groomed and trimmed. Long hair should be worn in a low, neat ponytail. However, being clean shaven and having a short haircut is generally preferred. Limit the size of bags/briefcases and avoid over-stuffing them. No backpacks. A simple leather-like portfolio and planner will suffice.
Business Attire For MenBusiness formal Business casual
Business Attire For Men Shoes should be polished, and with a hard bottom, no rubber soles, worn with dark socks. A pair of top-quality shoes is a good investment because they can be resoled as needed and last for decades
Business Attire For Women Traditional two-piece suit with a blazer and skirt or pants in a dark color or small pattern. Skirts must be knee length or below (when seated). Blouse should be buttoned up, or a crew neck shell may be worn in a conservative color (no prints). Shoes should be polished, and with a hard bottom, no rubber soles, and with a closed toe. No toe cleavage. Heel should be 1-2 inches. Neutral hose should always be worn. Avoid patterned tights or wild colors. Accessories such as scarves should be in a conservative print. Limit your jewelry to one set of earrings, a wedding set, and a watch. Avoid multiple rings or noisy bracelets. Bags should be limited to one briefcase. Leave purses behind to avoid fumbling with them. Or, forego the bag completely, and use a simple leather-like portfolio and planner. Clothing should fit well and not be too tight, too short, too low-cut, or show bare arms. Makeup should enhance your features, not draw attention to them! Nails should be trimmed and polished with clear or neutral tones.
Formal Attire For Women Business casualBusiness formal
Define The SituationWhy are you giving the presentation? Know your purpose Specify your objectiveWho is your audience? Analyse your audience (needs, attitude, what at stake, interest)How much time do you have? Define the scope Allocate the time Time of the day/day of the week (impact on audience and organization)What delivery medium should you use? You! Low tech (handouts, flipcharts,OHP) High tech (LCD Projectors, Presentation Softwares, multimedia)
Presentation Format1. Introduction: Set the tone and the theme2. Motivation opening: Tell them why to listen; lift your visor3. Outline of agenda: Help them to understand and picture the structure of your material4. Present your basic idea: Explain the whole idea first so whatever further explanation comes next can be hung from the framework you create right at the beginning5. Content – section by section: Begin to break into segments; present each segment with its details
Presentation Format6. Recap each section: Build in a recap at the end of each section before you finish and go on, for reinforcement and additional clarification7. Make transitions to next section: Let everyone know youre about to go to a new topic; this makes your outline structure continuously clear8. Wrap-up: At the end of all the components, wrap up by restating the whole idea, hitting the major points9. Conclusion: Finish memorably with a grand finale – bringing together all the elements of your presentation by reviewing the highlights and restating your major argument.
Preparing A PresentationSteps:1. Decide the outcome you want2. Decide the core message you want your audience to accept3. Write the core message4. Write the supporting evidence around the core message to meet the needs of the different preferences for gathering and processing information that your audience may have5. Check through the supporting information to make sure you limit it to the bare minimum6. Arrange the presentation in a logical flowing order7. Prepare supporting graphs and diagrams8. Make a time for the presentation and invite your audience to attend9. Practice what you want to say as often as you can manage
Deliver The Presentation Creating impressions When we talk, giving speech or presenting, we create an impression on the people/audience Physical presence How we say and what we look like when we say it is much more important than what we say. Your credibility will be assessed by the people/audience based on how you look and move. Eye contact (psychological handshake) Direct eye contact- look into the person’s eye Establish eye contact with several people Maintain eye contact for 3-5 seconds Reestablish eye contact throughout the presentation.
Deliver The Presentation Facial expression Congruent with the intended message Show interest in the subject matter with the participants Movement Move with purpose (to emphasize important points/change topic) Gestures To clarify and reinforce our points
Deliver The Presentation Appearance Dress, grooming, posture Your voice Projection – loud, clear and matching the context Tone – high and low Enunciation-Pronounce correctly and clearly, avoid filler words (uh’s, um’s), complete each words, emphasize important words Pace – speak fluently with varying speed
Deliver The Presentation Appropriate word choice Not lose participants with unfamiliar words Not insult participants with too simple words Stick with the script Don’t rely on memory and unless you are very experienced in giving presentations don’t make it up as you go. Remember you have put a lot of effort into the preparation so don’t waste it. Allow the audience to seek further clarification either during the presentation or at the end. You need to tell them which would suit you. Be as nervous as you like. Audiences are generally very sympathetic with nervousness, they have probably all been there too.
UNDERSTANDINGTHE DECISION MAKING PROCESS AND DECISION MAKERS
Decision Making Process Making decisions based on logic or valuesLogic People who prefer using logic may be said to construct formulae in their minds, they enter the data, process the data and out comes the result on which a decision is made. Using this method ensures consistency in results as long as the formula doesn’t change. Decisions made this way tend to be based on impersonal, objective logic. People who prefer to make decisions using logic are likely to: focus on facts and principles ignore their own and other people’s emotions be good at analysing a situation concentrate on people’s thoughts rather than their feelings
Decision Making Process Making decisions based on logic or valuesValues People who prefer to use values for their decision making see values as guideposts which cannot be violated. So their decisions are directed towards ensuring they remain true to their values. The questions they would ask when having to come to a decision are such as; how would the other person feel if I did this? or is this an honourable thing to do? People who prefer to make decisions according to their values are likely to: decide things according to their own personal values focus on the values of other people and organisations ignore impersonal principles be good at understanding people and their principles concentrate on people’s feelings and thoughts
Decision Making Process Some key words which show the difference in logic and values intuition LOGICHead, distant, things, objective, criticise, analyse, firm but fair VALUESHeart,personal,people, subjective, praise, understand, merciful Which do you think your preference is? These differences in the way we take in information and process it have a profound effect on how we communicate.
Decision Making Process You won’t know the preferences of the people to whom you make presentations so it is wise to cater for all possibilities. For the people who prefer: LOGICShow the logic of your argument in clear and precise terms andshow the cost saving that will resultfrom your proposal.Also show in logical form how you will go about achieving theoutcomes you intend to deliver. VALUESShow what the people in the business think about this, how it willaffect them and make the company a better placeto work, more productive, and a better corporate citizen.
Types Of Decision Makers Based on nearly year study carried out in United States of America, decision makers can be classified into the following types:i) Charismatic (25%) Description: Looking for next big things ideas. Easily enthralled with bold and innovative approaches Prominent Examples: Richard Branson, Oprah Winfrey Characteristics: Enthusiastic imaginers, innovative risk seekers,Proactive and decisive,Responsible and accountable, bottom liners, interactive
Types Of Decision Makersii) Thinkers (11%) Description: Need to cautiously and methodically work through each pro and con of every conceivable option before rendering a decision. Prominent Examples: Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Michael Dell,Alan Greenspan Characteristics: Methodical and process oriented, information driven,Quantitative and precise,Relentlessly thorough,Guarded and cautious, balanced, intellectually fluid
Types Of Decision Makersiii) Sceptics(19%) Description: Inherent suspicious of any information that doesn’t fit their worldview. Need to hear things from very credible sources Prominent Examples: Larry Ellison Characteristics: Brazenly outspoken, fearlessly confident, assertive and demanding, determined and driven, visionary
Types Of Decision Makersiv) Followers(36%) Description : Make decisions based on how other trusted executives (including themselves) have made in the past Prominent Examples: Carly Florina Characteristics: Devoted to the tried and the true, averse the new, conscientious corporate citizens, deft people handlers, emphatic, difficult to identify
Types Of Decision Makersv) Controllers(9%) Description: Must be in charge of every aspect of decision making process. Need to have some ownership of an idea before proceeding with it Prominent Examples: Martha Stewart Characteristics: Driven by fear, proactive, fiercely self reliant, absolute and resolute, meticulous, unyielding perfectionists
Ways Of PersuasionCharismatic Give the headline first Stay grounded no matter what Address risks upfront Follow through, follow through and follow throughThinkers Tell your story chronologically Involve the thinker in your process’ Be exhaustive but patient Allow (and encourage) others to join the thinkingSceptics Above all, establish your credibility Hold your ground but find middle ground Keep your emotions and your ego in check Go to the source of credibility
Ways Of PersuasionFollowers When in doubt, assume Supply proof, proof and more proof Keep it simple Link the new to the oldControllers Enable action but don’t force it Fly below the radar Build alliances Draw your line and hold on it
Common Mistakes In Dealing With Decision Makers Word versus action Pay attention to the person’s actions Personality versus decision making style Don’t confuse the two. Can be dramatically different A specific instance versus general behaviour Don’t classify the decision making style based on one case Sceptics versus controllers Share same characteristics but different way of deciding Thinkers versus controllers Both need copious data but using the info differently Followers versus everybody else Often to be something else mainly because they way they tend to project themselves
Common Barriers And Weaknesses In Business Communication Language proficiency Written: conventional (letter, fax) and electronic correspondences (e-mail) Oral: presentation, tele-conversation, meeting, discussion, negotiation and etc. Lacking of knowledge and information on the following: Prospective people and organization Own products/services and organization Failure to address the needs and restrictions of the prospective clients Unattractive packaging of products/services offered Business/official appearances
CONCLUSION Communication in a business organization provides the critical link between core functions due to: The changing environment and increasing complexity of the 21st century workplace make communication even more important. The world’s economy is becoming increasingly global Communication is crucial to business. Specialized business knowledge is important, but not enough to guarantee success. Communication skills are vital.
CONCLUSION Think before you communicate. Be an active listener. Be focused on your audience in your response. Be brief and be gone. Effective communication in the workplace to be essential