ME3101 / ME3102Mechanical Systems DesignChapter 3Practice Good Communication
Communications 101Communication is not so much the transmittalof a message. It encompasses elements suchas:•Delivery of message•Receiving of message•Decoding (Understanding) a message•Responding to a message*Many major accidents in history are due tomiscommunications.!*
In a standard model of communication,communications does not distinguish the Communications 101roles of sender and receiver.Both people in a conversation are placedin the role of a sender and receiver at thesame time.One problem that might hinder theeffective process of communication isnoise. Which is anything that interruptsthe receiver in getting the message ormisconstrues the original meaning.Examples of noise are:•Physical Noise – Such as backgroundconversations etc.•Psychological Noise – Concerns ordisruptive day experiences the receivermight have•Physiological Noise – Physical Fatigue,hunger or illnesses
Did you know? It has been recorded that a large number of plane crashes happen due to miscommunication rather than technical difficulties or due to the pilot’s incompetency. In many of the cases, it was found that the miscommunication was due to…References::http://www.publicspeakingtoolkit.com/ethnic-theory-of-plane-crashes.html
Did you know? •Air traffic control understood “ ah,Examine the following conversation we’re running out of fuel” as standardCaptain: Advise ATC we don’t have fuel. comment, and not an emergency.First officer: Climb and maintain 3thousand and, ah, we’re running out of fuel •First officer is from Columbia, a highsir. power distance culture, while ATC isAir Traffic Control: I’m gonna bring you from a low power distance culture.about fifteen miles northeast and then turn Thus the First office is less forceful inyou back onto the approach. Is that OK with speech and mannerism.you and your fuel?First officer: I guess so. Thank you very •The state of emergency wasn’tmuch. conveyed to the ATC that the plane needed to land IMMEDIATELY.Five minutes later the plane crashed becauseit ran out of fuel
Moral of the story1. Pay attention to cultural differences and respect it2. A message is delivered not only through the words used, but also the tonality and speed of delivery3. Practice effective listening techniques
Some barriers to communication•Noise•Selective attention•Rebuttal Tendency•Closed mindedness•Competitive Interruption
NoiseNoise in this case does not refer to only thebackground noise or competing sounds.As mentioned earlier it can be:•Physical Noise•Psychological Noise•Physiological NoiseCommunicators should seek to eliminate allthese sources in order to focus attention ontothe communication partner.If it is too distracting and cannot be removed,either seek to change the location orreschedule.
Selective ListeningSelective listening occurs when aperson is seemingly paying attentionbut the focus is somewhere else.Most of the message does not getacross and this often frustrates thespeaker when the listener is exposed.
Rebuttal Tendency/ Close Mindedness A rebuttal tendency occurs when a listener forms a counter argument in his mind prior to a speaker finishing the message. This causes most of the message to be lost and time wasted trying to clear the miscommunication caused. Also this might sometimes be due to the listener’s close-mindedness, developing a behavior to not listen to things he/she disagrees with, thus eliminating many options /useful information in the process.
Competitive InterruptionCompetitive interruption occurswhen the listener often hijacksthe speaker’s air time to speak.While most interruptions arenot competitive in nature (someare expressions of support),they still do break the speaker’strain of thoughts andmomentum. Try to avoidinterrupting another person’sspeech and let him/her finishcommunicating the message.You turn will come eventually.
Active ListeningTo become a better listener, practice thefollowing:•Paying Attention•Maintain Eye Contact•Show affirmation/acknowledgement•Feedback•Respond Appropriately
Paying AttentionPaying attention is as simple as itsounds:1. Eliminate distractions2. Focus on your speaker3. Listen to and digest his message4. Double check with him if you are unsure (Eg. So what you are saying is…?)
Eye contactEstablishing eye contact in aconversation is important. It signifiesthat you are paying attention to thespeaker and encourages him in thedelivery of the message.Also, for added measure, you couldadjust your body direction to face thespeaker.
Show Affirmation/AcknowledgementTo allow the speaker to know that youhave received and understood whathe/she was saying, you could:•Nod your head to demonstrateacknowledgement•Use verbal cues such as “Uh-huh” or “Ok”or “Sure”
FeedbackAnother method of active listening isto feedback to your speaker. Inbetween pauses or during theconversation, you could reconfirm ifthe message he/she is saying is thesame as the one you have received.“So am I right in saying that..”Alternatively, you could alsoparaphrase the speaker, to lethim/her know that you are listening.This also helps the speaker smoothentheir train of thoughts andunderstanding
Respond appropriatelyThe last step of active listening is torespond appropriately to the listener.Taking into consideration differencessuch as culture etc. react to thespeaker’s message.Treat the speaker as you would liketo be treated.
In conclusionCommunication is a two way process and requires effort from thesource and the receiver.Pay attention to what each other have to say and respect each other’sopinions and differences.