Professional Communication


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  • Module Length
    2.50 Hours
    This module addresses the importance of good communication skills in a professional setting. This applies to both written (common usage, grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors that should be avoided), verbal and nonverbal communication.
    Active Listening Handout
    Spelling and Usage Handout
    Commonly Misspelled Words Handout
    Listed below are reference sites:
    Note: Please make sure participants have printing capabilities for preparation of communication style activity they will do.
  • Instructor Notes
    Before, your focus was on how well you communicated to your supervisor. Now, your focus is on how well you communicate information to your staff as well as other members of management.
    At the beginning of this slide mention the following:
    Effective communication skills are necessary in order to have a successful team and allow staff to:
    Increase productivity
    Improve the quality of work
    Create a positive and trusting work environment
    Ask them to explain what the last statement means to them. “As a supervisor, communication skills will be and are held to a higher standard.”
    I am now in a leadership position and my team will look at me as a role model. It is my responsibility to “walk the walk” and “talk the talk” and set a good example.
  • Instructor Notes
    In order to be an effective communicator, supervisors need to be mindful of their communication style.
    Activity Preparation Recommendation:
    Trainer can make contact with a few key individuals at each site to take survey prior to training and are willing to share their results to show how realistic the activity is and develop buy in from supervisors before doing activity for communication style on this slide.
    ACTIVITY: Go to the following website and have supervisors take an online 2 minute survey to determine which communication style they possess.
    Have the supervisors print and share the results to their communication style to the rest of the group. May choose to do this discussion in pairs or whole group discussion.
    Now that the supervisors know what type of communication style they possess, have the supervisors explain why they will need to adapt their communication style based on the following audiences: (list on slide is not all inclusive of the list below, feel free to add more situations and audience type from the list below to engage further discussion)
    Peer to Boss - Former peers who now report to them
    Their Team
    Other Supervisors
    Human Capital
    What will their communication style be in the following situations:
    Discussion with their peers
    Team meeting
    Supervisor meeting
    Individual conference with their staff
    Presentation of ideas to management
    Addressing issues with Human Capital
  • Instructor Notes
    Have the class discuss the quote on the slide and explain what they think it means. Ask volunteers to share an example of someone they have met where their nonverbal qualities were so distracting they could not pay attention to the actual message.
    Someone playing with the change in their pocket.
    Notes from the following website:
    Trainer will share in their own words the following information.
    The way you listen, look, move, and react tells the other person whether or not you care, if you’re being truthful, and how well you’re listening. When your nonverbal signals match up with the words you’re saying, they increase trust, clarity, and rapport. When they don’t, they generate tension, mistrust, and confusion.
    If you want to communicate better in all areas of your life, it’s important to become more sensitive to body language and other nonverbal cues, so you can be more in tune with the thoughts and feelings of others. You also need to be aware of the signals you’re sending off, so you can be sure that the messages you’re sending are what you really want to communicate.
    Nonverbal communication skills can help connecting with others and express what they are really trying to say. In addition to verbal communication, nonverbal communication is equally important.
    Nonverbal communication cues can play five roles:
    Repetition: they can repeat the message the person is making verbally
    Contradiction: they can contradict a message the individual is trying to convey
    Substitution: they can substitute for a verbal message. For example, a person's eyes can often convey a far more vivid message than words and often do
    Complementing: they may add to or complement a verbal message. A boss who pats a person on the back in addition to giving praise can increase the impact of the message
    Accenting: they may accent or underline a verbal message. Pounding the table, for example, can underline a message.
    It is not only what you say but how you say it!!
  • Instructor Notes:
    There are many different types of nonverbal communication. Together, the following nonverbal signals and cues communicate your interest and investment in others.
  • Instructor Notes
    Facial expressions tend to be a universal language. The facial expressions for happiness, sadness, anger, surprise, fear, and disgust are the same across cultures.
    There are numerous facial expressions one can display in order to communicate an emotion.
    For example: (Have individuals demonstrate these different facial expressions and share experiences when someone misread their facial expression to mean something other than what they intended.)
    Why is important to be aware of facial expressions?
    As the team leader your role is to be steady and calm as possible and convey that feeling to your team. Facial expressions are important because your team will take the queue from not only what you say, but your expressions when you say it.
    Trainer will mention the definition to gestures: Gestures are movements of the body or limbs that express or emphasize an idea or attitude.
    They can include any of the following:
    Head nod
    High five
    Thumbs up or thumbs down
    Eye rolling
    Supervisors should use caution when using gestures because they can be different across cultures.
    How might the gestures used help or hurt communicating with a staff member?
    Have the participants describe other appropriate gestures they might use in the work place.
    Discuss how you may treat your “A” team members different from your “F” team members without realizing it. – gestures, tone, body language.
    Many use eye contact to communicate a nonverbal message.
    The way one looks at someone can have a variety of meanings.
    Interest in subject matter
    Attraction (warn to be careful with use of this type of communication in the workplace)
    The use of eye contact during a conversation helps maintain the flow of the conversation.
    Eye contact also allows a person to gauge reactions to what is being said and whether or not someone understands your message.
    Ask participants how they use eye contact to communicate with their staff.
    Example: If a staff member is being too loud, perhaps all the supervisor needs to do is make direct eye contact with them to correct the behavior.
  • Instructor Notes
    The way a person moves and carries themselves can communicate a variety of messages.
    Peoples perception can be affected by how one does the following:
    Hold your head
    Position your arms
    How can body movements and posture affect the way a team responds to their supervisor?
    Have the participants discuss their perceptions of someone when they do the following:
    Shaking their leg or foot
    Slouched in their chair
    Straight up
    Feet propped up on their desk
    With their head down
    With their head up and making eye contact with others
    Feet together
    Feet apart
    Head Position
    Looking upward
    Straight forward
    Arm Position
    By your side
    Raised above your head
    One hand on your hip
  • Instructor Notes
    Everyone has limits in regards to the physical space that surrounds them. This space is typically referred to as personal space.
    The definition of personal space depends on the individual, the situation and one’s individual culture.
    The invasion of this space can communicate the following:
    How can invasion of one’s personal space affect communication?
    Have the supervisors define their personal space and how their individual preferences can affect their staff. Try to keep a middle ground in personal space.
    Supervisors communicate verbal messages with their voice using the following speech sounds: (Discuss and define the following terms. See if the supervisor can define the term before reading the definition.)
    Tone refers to the quality of one’s voice. A persons tone of voice can convey a variety of meanings. For example, frustration, confusion, enthusiasm, fear, anger, etc. It can also represent one’s confidence level.
    Pitch is the highness or lowness of one’s voice. High pitched voice could indicate nervousness.
    Volume refers to how loud or soft someone is speaking. The volume of one’s voice can depend on the situation.
    Inflection is a change in the tone or pitch of one’s voice and allows you to emphasize key words. Emphasizing the wrong word can change the entire meaning of a sentence.
    Rhythm is the patterned or melodic sound of your voice.
    Rate refers to how fast or slow your speech is. If someone speaks too fast, one might think they are nervous or in a hurry. It is also difficult to understand someone when they speak too fast. If someone speaks slowly or has interrupted speech, one tends to think they are less confident or perhaps shy.
    In addition to listening to words, people also “read” another’s voice to interpret the message.
    ASK: How can each one of these speech sounds affect the message a person is trying to deliver?
    This requires your full concentration and attention. If you are planning what you’re going to say next, daydreaming, or thinking about something else, you are almost certain to miss nonverbal cues and other subtleties in the conversation. You need to stay focused on the moment-to-moment experience in order to fully understand what’s going on.
    Manage Stress
    Stress compromises your ability to communicate. When you’re stressed out, you’re more likely to misread other people, send off confusing or off-putting nonverbal signals, and lapse into unhealthy knee-jerk patterns of behavior. Furthermore, emotions are contagious. Your upset is very likely to trigger upset in others, making a bad situation worse.
    If you’re feeling overwhelmed by stress, it’s best to take a time out. Take a moment to calm down before you jump back into the conversation. Once you’ve regained your emotional equilibrium, you’ll be better equipped to deal with the situation in a positive way.
    Emotional awareness
    Accurately read other people, including the emotions they’re feeling and the unspoken messages they’re sending.
    Create trust in relationships by sending nonverbal signals that match up with your words.
    Respond in ways that show others that you understand, notice, and care.
    Know if the relationship is meeting your emotional needs, giving you the option to either repair the relationship or move on.
    Understand signals sending and receiving
    Pay attention to inconsistencies. Nonverbal communication should reinforce what is being said. Is the person is saying one thing, and their body language something else? For example, are they telling you “yes” while shaking their head no?
    Look at nonverbal communication signals as a group. Don’t read too much into a single gesture or nonverbal cue. Consider all of the nonverbal signals you are receiving, from eye contact to tone of voice and body language. Taken together, are their nonverbal cues consistent—or inconsistent—with what their words are saying?
    Trust your instincts. Don’t dismiss your gut feelings. If you get the sense that someone isn’t being honest or that something isn’t adding up, you may be picking up on a mismatch between verbal and nonverbal cues.
    Divide the room into teams and have them act out the above a combination of their communication style with a non-verbal communication style of their choice for the rest of the audience to guess.
    Facial expressions can show: happy, sad, interested, understanding, frustration, lack of interest
    Posture can show, interest, authority, disinterest, lack of confidence
    Tone of Voice can show anger, humor, interest or lack of interest, excitement.
    Have volunteers come in front of the class and demonstrate their nonverbal and verbal communication style and have the class assess what message they conveyed and identify weaknesses and strengths to the style demonstrated and how it impacts the perception of them as a professional supervisor.
    Review techniques for active listening and what active listening is not. (Active listening is being non-judgmental, with the emphasis on listening and not solving the issue or problem. It is being attentive and respectful to the person talking. It involves listening closely, paraphrasing back to the speaker what you hear, clarifying what you think you hear, etc. Active Listening is not planning your response to what the person is saying. It is not day dreaming while they are taking. It is not solving their problems or giving advice.) Provide Active Listening Handout which lists out seven adapted active listening techniques used by hostage negotiators to review before activity.
    Divide the class into groups of three and have each group decide who will be the active listener, who will role-play the scenario, and who will be the observer. Instruct the role-player of the scenario to “get into” their role and not to just read their role to their partner. The observer should see if the active listener is employing active listening techniques. Have all three rotate their roles until each person has played each role. (Alternate Method: Request 3-4 volunteers to play the role of listener and have them sit right outside of the training room. Ask for 3-4 volunteers to be the role-players. Each listener will come into the classroom and demonstrate their effective listening techniques just learned with one of the role players in front of the class. Everyone else in the classroom will be observers and provide constructive feedback after the scenario is acted out. This is a whole class discussion activity.) Six scenarios have been posted below. Trainer will make copies of scenarios on index cards or in trainer’s preferred medium and assign three different scenarios to each individual in group to role-play once it is their turn.
    Reassemble the class and conclude with a discussion about how they felt and the power of active listening, on our jobs and with co-workers.
    Activity Scenarios:
    Scenario 1: You’re talking to your supervisor who called you in to ask if you were okay. You have been tired and worn out for the last several weeks. You just don’t feel enthused about anything and each day is not something you look forward to. You feel like you’re just going through the motions on everything you do.
    Scenario 2: You’re talking to your supervisor who just walked in after you got off the phone with yet another irate caller who really pushed all your buttons during your scheduled sup que assignment. You’re feeling guilty because you snapped back at him a couple of times, but you’re afraid to say anything because you don’t want to get into trouble. At the same time, you want to vent!
    Scenario 3: You just came in to work straight from a doctor’s appointment where you found out the doctor wants to send you for some tests because they had some unusual readings on your annual physical. (Take it from there…..) you’re speaking with a co-worker.
    Scenario 4: Earlier in a shift, you made a fairly serious mistake and you’re really upset about it. Usually, you’re really outgoing and upbeat, but this mistake is really eating at you. Even though nothing happened to the involved parties, you feel really terrible and question whether you can still do the job and keep up with all the activity levels like you once did.
    Scenario 5: You’re upset about a conflict you had with a co-worker a few days ago. You’re talking to a different co-worker about it. You feel like you acted like a rat. You did apologize to the person you offended, and you have tried to make up for it. Still, you keep hearing about it and you feel that you can’t do any more, so why doesn’t everyone just drop it!
    Scenario 6: You’re talking to a co-worker about this: you’ve been working on a project for some time, you did all the surveying, the compiling, even the writing. And it was your idea in the first place. But, someone else turned in your project with their name on it, and they got all the credit.
    Sometimes difficult situations do not arise from mistakes, but from people taking a wrong approach or stance or does not understand the situation and refuses to acknowledge who is wrong.
    Requires high level of professionalism in handling
    Acknowledge that you may not agree with the person, but will try to resolve the issue. May also need to accept the person may never acknowledge they are wrong. Sometimes silence is the solution to a difficult situation.
    Discussion Activity: Ask the supervisors for examples of difficult situations that have encountered and discuss how they were able to address the issue. Open for group discussion.
    Professionals should determine what caused the mistake to prevent it again.
    Most people are receptive to a sincere apology and move on to a working relationship.
    You are a true professional when you can recognize a mistake, acknowledge it to the people involved, and learn from your mistake. Trainers will emphasize that supervisors will have to acknowledge that you may not agree with the person, but will try to resolve the issue. May also need to accept the person that may never acknowledge they are wrong. Sometimes silence is the solution to a difficult situation.
    Requires high level of professionalism in handling
    Accept responsibility for solving the problem and addressing the issue. If an apology is in order to a co-worker, the supervisor, or team member should do so immediately and work at preventing a repeat situation.
    Remaining calm and courteous is always appropriate and projects a professional image.
    Appreciation can be expressed orally or written or both.
    Sometimes people fail to recognize the importance of expressing appreciation and overlook this very simple but important aspect of professionalism.
    TIP: Two simple words – “Thank You” – can positively affect your professional image.
    A person who extends an accommodation for you should be acknowledged.
    Always try to express appreciation verbally and then follow up with a written personal note
    It is not the cost of the gift but the acknowledgement of the other person
    Must maintain a business relationship and not cross too far into someone’s personal life, but ok to let the person know you care and are concerned during a difficult time in their life.
    Internal Communication:
    Management will expect communication from you regarding status of projects and work assignments.
    Should plan what you want to say in meetings, etc. so that you are efficient in communicating progress of a project. If the task requires follow-up, should have that information readily accessible regarding the task.
    Be prepared to share about challenges you anticipate with projects or people with management.
    TIP: Bring suggested solutions for problems and challenges to management.
    Provide timely responses to any internal communication.
    IMPORTANT: Failure to follow chain of command can result in conflicts in the business environment.
    This helps develop a positive working relationship with management.
    Group communications
    Arrive on a timely manner, be prepared for purpose of meeting, participate in the meeting, and make notation of any follow up required.
    Allow others to speak and contribute as well as make your own contributions.
    Listen carefully and participate as a problem solver in challenging situations, not a problem-maker.
  • Instructor Notes:
    How you communicate reflects on you.
    The reader forms an impression of you based on how you communicate.
    Clear, concise, and accurate messages demonstrate your intelligence and capability.
    How you communicate reflects on your company.
    Communication plays an essential role in everything we do
    Almost all positions in the Company require some form of writing.
    Clients and the public view the Company based on its employees’ ability to communicate.
    Ask the supervisors if they think their communication skills will be held to a higher standard as opposed to when they were working production. How you communicates reflects on you. This can be a positive or a negative.
    As a professional, you will be required to compose a variety of written communications. These include the following: memos, emails, letters, reports, and proposals.
    The goal when writing is to communicate your message clearly.
    A common mistake is to overuse language in an effort to get a point across.
    Before responding:
    Make an effort to understand the writer’s message so that you can respond appropriately.
    Read and re-read the originator’s correspondence.
    After you have written your response, confirm that you have addressed everything.
    It is a help to the reader if your response is clear.
  • Instructor Notes
    Using standard language means avoiding technical jargon or slang with a group that may not understand those terms.
    Define what is Tense (past, present), and why it is important to be consistent in your document.
    Know your audience: Your audience could be CCR’s, fellow supervisors, Managers, Directors, Human Capital, HHSC groups.
    Apply the Golden Rule: always communicate with others the way you expect them to communicate with you.
    Be very careful with sense of humor – is often not appropriate and can be viewed differently by others
  • Instructor Notes
    Clichés bore the reader and dehumanize the writer.
    Often, a cliché will be overlooked or ignored
    The reader may not understand or misinterpret the meaning.
    Find a way to write it another way.
    Ask the participants if they are familiar with the phrase on slide. Have them define the meaning of the cliché.
    Out of pocket this week
    Out of the office
    Additional meanings
    An expense someone had to pay for out of their own pocket and will not get reimbursed.
    Someone did or said something that was not appropriate
    Ask them to think of other clichés they hear in the work place.
    Ducks in a row
    Touch base
    Crunch numbers
  • Instructor Note
    Ask: How many of you text? How many of you have used texting in a memo or business email?
    Texting jargon is not appropriate in professional communication
    The style and tone is considered unprofessional and people may not be familiar with the meaning.
    For example, avoid the following: (look at slide)
    Handout the activity Supervisor Email and have the supervisors try to interpret the message. This activity should reinforce why texting jargon/abbreviations are not appropriate to use in business.
    Discuss all the business abbreviations that are used by HHSC and MAXIMUS and ensure your audience understands all abbreviations. Discuss how in writing document the standard is the first time an abbreviation is used, it is also spelled out, then can be only an abbreviation when again used in that document.
  • Instructor Notes
    Read the email before you send it - Reading your email before sending it can avoid sending it with spelling, grammar or punctuation errors. Reading it with the recipient in mind will help you send a more effective message and avoid misunderstanding and inappropriate comments.
    If the presentation is provided to supervisors in hardcopy form, have them read the poem and underline the words that need to be corrected. If this is shown in presentation form only, have them take a few minutes to read the poem to themselves and then ask volunteers to suggest what needs to be corrected.
    Answer Key
    I have a spelling checker
    It came with my PC;
    It plainly marks four my revue (for, review) Revue refers to a theatrical revue. (singing, dancing, acting, skits, etc.)
    Mistakes I cannot sea. (see)
    I’ve run this poem threw it, (through)
    I’m sure your pleased too no, (you’re, to, know)
    Its letter perfect in its weigh, (It’s, way)
    My checker tolled me sew. (told, so)
    — Authorship uncertain;
    attributed to Janet Minor/Pennye Harper
    The class might suggest using Grammar Check. This tool also is very limited and rarely works as intended.
    Point out the poem to the class as an example of how spell check can miss your intended meaning. Do not rely solely on this for accuracy; often suggested spelling is incorrect for the usage that you intend
    Use proper spelling, grammar and punctuation - Using proper spelling, grammar and punctuation is important because improper spelling, grammar and punctuation give a bad impression of MAXIMUS, and of you. Spelling, grammar and punctuation are also important to ensure the correct message is conveyed. Emails with no full stops or commas are difficult to read and can sometimes change the meaning of the text.
    There are a number of common spelling and usage errors that are seen in professional communication:
    Affect vs. Effect
    Accept vs. Except
    It’s vs. Its
    Than vs. Then
    There vs. Their vs. They’re
    Your vs. You’re
    Capitalization is an area of the English language in which the rules are vague.
    Use capitalization sparingly to give importance and emphasis only when and where it is warranted. Do not write in CAPITALS – IF YOU WRITE IN CAPITALS IT SEEMS AS IF YOU ARE SHOUTING. This can be highly annoying and might trigger an unwanted response in the form of a flame mail. A flame mail is a highly emotionally charged email that could be business inappropriate.
    There are some general “Dos” and “Don’ts” relating to capitalization. (You may want to mention some items on the DO and the DO NOT list but do not have to cover them all.)
    Generally, do capitalize:
    The first word in a sentence, The first word in a bulleted list, Proper names (people, cities, states, countries, organizations, etc.), The first word of salutations and closings in a letter, Job titles when they precede a person’s name, Days, months, and holidays, Specific laws, All references to a supreme being (God, Lord, Allah, etc.), Trademarks
    Generally, do not capitalize:
    Family titles (mother, father, brother, cousin, etc.), Job titles not used in front of a person’s name, Areas of academic study, Academic degrees, Names of office departments, Directions (north, south, etc.) — unless they refer to specific regions
    Handouts: Discuss and provide copy of Spelling and Usage and Commonly Misspelled Words to audience.
    Activity: If time permits, trainer may use the Professional Communication Review Handout to have supervisors correct errors on example sentences.
    Be careful with your formatting – font types, sizes, colors, etc. Remember that when you use formatting in your emails, the sender might not be able to view formatting, or might see different fonts than you intended. When using colors, use a color that is easy to read on the background.
    Take care with rich text and HTML messages. If you send messages in either rich text or HTML the recipient may be able to only receive plain text and your email will not be readable.
    Structure and Layout
    Always us a meaningful subject line. Try to use a subject that is meaningful to the recipient as well as yourself.
    Reading from a screen is more difficult than reading from paper. The structure of your email can assist or hinder the recipient. Use short paragraphs and blank lines between each paragraph. When making point, number them or make each point a separate line so the reader can follow the email more easily.
    Signature Line
    MAXIMUS requires that all email you send has a signature line that includes your Name, Title, your office location, telephone number and email address. To create this signature line in Lotus notes:
    To add a personal signature to all messages
    You need to create a text, HTML, or image file to use as your signature before you can complete the following steps.
    1.From the menu, choose Actions - Tools - Preferences.
    2.Click the Signature tab.
    3.Do one of the following:
    To enter text directly, select Text, enter text in the text area, and click OK.
    To use an existing file, select "HTML File," and then click Browse. Select a file type ("Text Files," "HTML Files," "JPEG Images," "Bitmap Images," or "GIF Images"), from the "Files of type" list. Browse to the file you want to use. Click Open.
    4.Select "Automatically append a signature to the bottom of my outgoing mail messages."
    5.Click OK.
    Note You can change the signature at any time by repeating the procedure and entering new text or browsing to a different file. You can remove the signature by turning off the check box in step 4.
    Disclaimer Statement
    MAXIMUS requires a disclaimer statement as part of your signature. When you create the HTML or Text file above, you can add the disclaimer below your email address.
    The standard MAXIMUS disclaimer is also on the Signature Instruction handout.
  • Be concise and to the point - Do not make an email longer than it needs to be. Reading email is harder than reading printed communications. A long email can be very discouraging to read.
    Use templates for frequently used responses – Responses to some questions you get over and over again can be saved as a template. The template can then be pasted into your message when needed. You can save your templates in a Word document.
    Do not attach unnecessary files - Large attachments have the potential of filling up the receiver’s email box and could bring down the email system. Whenever possible, compress attachments and only send attachments that are necessary. Ensure that your system has a good virus scanner in place to prevent sending any attachments with a virus.
    Mailings – use the Bcc: field or use a distribution list– When sending an email, some people place all the email addresses in the To: field. There are two drawbacks to this practice: (1) the recipient knows that you have sent the same message to a large number of recipients and (2) you are publicizing someone else’s email address without their permission. One way to avoid this is to place all addresses in the Bcc: Field. However, the recipient will only see the address from the To: field in their email so if this was empty, the To: field will be blank and this might look like spamming. You could include the mailing list email address in the To: field or use a distribution list.
    To create a Distribution List in Lotus Notes, go to Address Book. Click on Groups and New. Then click on Group. Enter group name, add the group members and save and close.
    Take care with abbreviations and emoticons - In business email, do not use abbreviations such as BTW (by the way) and LOL (laugh out loud). The recipient might not be aware of the meanings of the abbreviations and in business emails these are not appropriate. The same goes for emotions, such as the smiley☺.
  • Answer all questions in the email and anticipate further questions – An email reply must answer all questions and preempt further questions. If you do not answer all the questions from the original email, you will receive further emails regarding the unanswered questions which is a waste of both parties time. Anticipating and answering further questions will also demonstrate your level of professionalize and save time for both sender and receiver.
    Make it personal – Not only should the email be personally addressed, it should also include personal or customized content. For this reason, auto replies are usually not very effective. However, templates can be used effectively.
    Answer swiftly – you are sent an email because someone wishes to receive a response. Each email should be replied to within at least 24 hours and preferable within the same working day. If the email is complicated, send an email back saying that you have received the email and will respond as soon as possible. Never respond to an e-mail when upset - Give yourself adequate time to “cool down” before responding.
    Do not over use the high priority option – If you over use the high priority option, it will lose its function when you really need it. Even if an email has high priority, your message will come across as slightly aggressive if you flag it as high priority.
    Do not leave out the message thread – When you reply to an email, reply with history and include the original mail in your reply. If you receive many emails you will not remember each individual email and a “thread less” email will not provide enough information. You or the person receiving the email will be forced to spend time looking for the original email.
    Do not use reply to all - Only use reply to all when you really need all on the original receipt list to see your reply.
    Do not forward chain letters – They are hoaxes and are not work related.
  • Request delivery and read receipts – Requesting delivery and read receipts will annoy your recipient before he or she has even read your message. It usually does not work since the recipient could have blocked that function. If you want to know whether an email was received it is better to ask the recipient to let you know if it was received.
    Do not ask to recall a message – If your email software allows recall, do not use it. The chances are that your message has already been delivered and read. It is better to send an email to say that you have made a mistake in a previous email.
    Do not copy a message or attachment without permission – Do not copy a message or attachment belonging to another user without permission of the originator. If you do not ask permission first, you might be infringing on copyright laws.
    Do not use email to discuss confidential information – Sending an email is like sending a postcard. If you don’t want your email to be displayed on a bulletin board, don’t send it. Moreover, never make libelous, sexist or racially discriminating comments in emails, even if they are meant to be a joke.
  • Provide some time at the end of your presentation for questions. In answering these questions, reinforce the key points of your presentation.
  • Professional Communication

    1. 1. Professional Communication for Supervisors
    2. 2. Purpose  Learn the importance of communicating well in a professional setting.  Discuss different types of communication for a professional.  Review proper verbal and nonverbal communication skills.  Discuss the importance of communicating in difficult situations.  Discuss business e-mail communications and etiquette.  Identify several professional writing techniques and avoid common mistakes when writing. Professional Communication
    3. 3. Lesson 1: Verbal and Nonverbal Communication Lesson 2: Effective Listening Lesson 3: Communicating in Difficult Situations Lesson 4: Expressing Appreciation Lesson 5: Internal vs. External Communication Lesson 6: Written Communication Professional Communication
    4. 4. LESSON 1 Verbal and Nonverbal Communication Skills Professional Communication
    5. 5. Importance of Verbal Communication Skills  Increase productivity  Improve the quality of work  Create a positive and trusting work environment What does this mean? As a supervisor, communication skills will be and are held to a higher standard. Professional Communication
    6. 6. Adapt Communication Style  Activity: Communication Style Survey  Communication style adaptations based on audience and situation:  Team Meeting  Other Supervisors  Management  Peer to Boss  Addressing issues with Human Resources Professional Communication
    7. 7. Importance of Nonverbal Communication Skills What does this mean? “What you do speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you say.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson Connects what others are really trying to say Equally important to verbal communication  Repetition  Contradiction  Substitution  Complementing  Accenting Professional Communication
    8. 8. Nonverbal Communication  May include the following:  Facial expressions  Gestures  Eye contact  Posture  Personal space  Tone of voice Professional Communication
    9. 9. Facial Expressions Universal language Facial expressions communicate emotion  Happiness  Sadness  Anger  Surprise  Fear  Confusion  Frustration  Disappointment Why is it important to be aware of facial expressions? Professional Communication
    10. 10. Gestures  Movement of body or limbs to express idea/attitude       Wave Point Head nod High five Thumbs up or thumbs down Eye rolling  Can be different across cultures How might the gestures used help or hurt communicating with a staff member? Professional Communication
    11. 11. Eye Contact  Can be solely used to communicate a nonverbal message  Conveys a variety of meanings  Upset  Redirection  Interest in subject matter  Confusion  Helps maintain the flow of the conversation  Allows to gauge a persons response Professional Communication
    12. 12. Body Movements and Posture  The way a person moves and carries themselves  Perceptions by others may include:  Sit  Walk  Stand  Hold your head  Position your arms  How can body movements and posture affect the way a team responds to their supervisor? Professional Communication
    13. 13. Personal Space  Everyone has limits  Depends on the individual, the situation and one’s individual culture  The invasion of space can communicate:  Dominance  Avoidance  Indifference  Aggression  Affection  How can invasion of one’s personal space affect communication? Professional Communication
    14. 14. Voice  Speech sounds  Tone  Pitch  Volume  Inflection  Rhythm  Rate  People also “read” another’s voice to interpret message Professional Communication
    15. 15. Effective Practices: Nonverbal Communication  Manage stress  Recognize your own emotions  Understand sending and receiving signals
    16. 16. LESSON 2 Effective Listening Professional Communication
    17. 17. Importance of Effective Listening  Often over-looked  Must be mastered fully  Important to develop as a true professional  Demonstrate effective listening skills  Usually excellent communicators and relate well to people  Lack effective listening skills  Never truly understand a person or message without listening effectively
    18. 18. Guidelines for Effective Listening  Give your full attention  Follow the thoughts presented  Do not interrupt until finished  Confirm what you think you heard by verifying information  Be aware of body language signaling other meanings  Recognize importance of listening
    19. 19. LESSON 3 Communicating in Difficult Situations Professional Communication
    20. 20. Sources of Difficult Situations  Miscommunication or people not meeting their expectations  Mistakes that occur and are unavoidable  Sometimes not from mistakes:  People taking a wrong approach or stance  People not understanding the situation  Refuses to acknowledge who is wrong
    21. 21. Tips to Communicate in Difficult Situations  Determine what caused the mistake to prevent it again  Give a sincere apology; most are receptive and move on  Recognize a mistake, acknowledge it to the people involved, and learn from the mistake  Demonstrate a high level of professionalism in handling  Accept responsibility for solving the problem and addressing the issue  Remain calm and courteous  Know when not to say anything
    22. 22. LESSON 4 Expressing Appreciation Professional Communication
    23. 23. Importance of Expressing Appreciation  Builds positive work environment  Beneficial impact on individuals  Increases productivity  Can be expressed orally or written or both  Two simple words – “Thank You”
    24. 24. Examples of when to express appreciation  Served as a reference for a job  Gave an opportunity to work in an area unfamiliar to you  Allowed you to participate on another’s work team  Provided assistance to you during peak time or an important project/task  Provided professional advice or counseling  Recommended you for a promotion  Received a gift for a special occasion  Extended a kindness during a difficult personal or professional life time  Identified employees attendance, performance, improvement, and/or dedication to overall team’s success
    25. 25. Tips for Expressing Appreciation  Acknowledge those who make accommodations  Express appreciation verbally; follow up with written personal note  Give small tokens of appreciation  Maintain a business relationship
    26. 26. LESSON 5 Internal vs. External Communication Professional Communication
    27. 27. Internal Communication  Status of projects and work assignments expected  Plan what you want to say in meetings  Be prepared to share about challenges  Bring suggested solutions for problems and challenges  Provide timely responses  Follow chain of command  Develop a positive working relationship with management  Group communications (Supervisor/Team Meetings)
    28. 28. External Communication  Company meeting customer’s needs  Determine level of satisfaction of customers
    29. 29. LESSON 6 Written Communication Techniques, Best Practices, and E-mail Etiquette Professional Communication
    30. 30. Importance of Written Communication Skills  Reflection on the individual writer  Reader forms an impression of person writing  Clear, concise, and accurate messages  Reflection on the company  Communication plays an essential role in everything  Almost all positions require some form of writing  Clients/public view based on employees’ communication ability Professional Communication
    31. 31. Professional Writing Techniques/Best Practices  Follow when writing professionally:  Clarity  Understanding the Message  Consistency and Accuracy  Considering the Audience  Avoiding Clichés  Abbreviations  Objectivity  Proofreading Professional Communication
    32. 32. Clarity Goal is to communicate message clearly Common mistake: Overusing language Always use clear, concise language  Omit needless words  Eliminate redundancies (blue in color, absolute best)  Condense long phrases  Use bullets or lists Bad example: It is with regret that we inform you of our inability to avail ourselves of the opportunity you propose at the present time. Good example: Regretfully, we will not take advantage of the opportunity you propose at this time. Use simple – but effective – language! Professional Communication
    33. 33. Understanding the Message  Before responding:  Understand the writer’s message to respond appropriately  Read and re-read the originator’s correspondence  After writing response, confirm everything has been addressed Professional Communication
    34. 34. Consistency and Accuracy Avoid technical jargon or slang Use same tense throughout the message Bad Example: I reviewed the document and the first thing I see is a spelling error Good Example: I reviewed the document and the first thing I saw was a spelling error. Information should be accurate and clear Double check any information before sending message Professional Communication
    35. 35. Considering the Audience  Use good judgment to dictate tone and content of message  Frequently, correspondence is with a member of your team, management or HHSC  Always use professional and proper language.  Apply the Golden Rule  Sense of humor is often not appropriate Professional Communication
    36. 36. Avoiding Clichés  Clichés are not appropriate and should be avoided  Often, a cliché will be overlooked or ignored  Reader may not understand or misinterpret meaning  Write it another way Bad Example: “I will be out of pocket this week.” Good Example: “I will be unavailable this week.” Professional Communication
    37. 37. Abbreviations Should not be used in business.  Initials and acronyms are not understood by everyone  Abbreviations could have more than one meaning Texting jargon is not appropriate in professional communication  Style and tone is considered unprofessional and people may not be familiar with the meaning  For example, avoid the following:  BTW (by the way)  LOL (laugh out loud)  U for you  2 for two, to or too   Professional Communication
    38. 38. Proofreading    Re-read document to ensure it I have a spelling checker contains the intended It came with my PC; grammar and message It plainly marks four my revue NOT ALL CAPITALS Mistakes I cannot sea. I’ve run this poem threw it, Lotus Notes and Microsoft Word have Spelling/Grammar I’m sure your pleased too no, Its letter perfect in its weigh, Check features My checker tolled me sew. — Authorship uncertain; attributed to Janet Minor/Pennye Harper Professional Communication
    39. 39. How to Create Professional E-mail  Format with audience in mind  Structure and Layout  Signature Line  Disclaimer Statement Supervisor Tools Training 10/31/13
    40. 40. Email Writing Tips  Be concise and to the point  Use templates for frequently used responses  Do not attach unnecessary files  Mailings to many – use Bcc: field or use a distribution list  Use of abbreviations and emoticons Supervisor Tools Training 10/31/13
    41. 41. Email Etiquette  Answer all questions in email and anticipate further questions  Respond on a timely manner  Make it personal  Refrain from the following:  Over using high priority option  Leaving out message thread  Over using “reply to all”  Forwarding chain letters Supervisor Tools Training 10/31/13
    42. 42. Email Etiquette- Continued  Use request delivery and read receipts when appropriate  Refrain from the following:  Recalling a message  Copying a message or attachment without permission from the original sender  Discussing confidential information via email Supervisor Tools Training 10/31/13
    43. 43. Resources  Books and Publications, Handouts  Grammar guide  Handout – To Add a Personal Signature  People  Your fellow peers  Your Manager Supervisor Tools Training 10/31/13
    44. 44. Wrap-up: Key Points  Communicating well reflects favorably on the Supervisor and the Company  Consider your audience in your communications  Use proper grammar and tense  Proofread all documents before sending  Use simple – but effective – language  Verbal and written communication is key to professional success  Focusing on spelling, usage, and professional writing techniques greatly increases your ability to communicate Professional Communication
    45. 45. What Questions Do You Have? Supervisor Tools Training 10/31/13