18635830 lesson-1-introduction-to-business-communication


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18635830 lesson-1-introduction-to-business-communication

  1. 1. UNIT 1 LESSON 1: CHAPTER 1: NATURE OF INTRODUCTION TO BUSINESS COMMUNICATION COMMUNICATION What do we mean by communicating effectively? The object of On completion of this lesson you will understand BUSINESS COMMUNICATION communication is to convey thoughts/ intentions/emotions/ • What is communication? facts/ideas of one person or group to the others. When the • How important it is in context of business organizations? message sent is received and understood by the receiver in the • How communication process works? same sense , as the sender wants to convey ,effective communi- cation takes place. When the receiver misunderstands a message“Communication” is a process — an activity that serves to we consider it a distortion in communication. Throughout ourconnect senders and receivers of messages through space study, we would try to improve our communication skills soand time. Although human beings tend to be interested that we can make ourselves better understood in our communi-primarily in the study of human communication, the process is cations.present in all living things and, it can be argued, in all things. The fact is that we spend so much of our time communicating;From this we may conclude that communication is a funda- we tend to assume that we are experts. Surveys indicate thatmental, universal process. when business professionals are asked to rate their communica-How often have you heard statements such as these? tion skills, virtually everyone overestimates his or her abilities as• If you want to be promoted, you’ll have to improve your a communicator. There is a natural tendency to blame the other communication skills. person for the problems in understanding or making ourselves• One of the strengths of our relationship over the years has understood. The better option is to improve one’s own been that we communicate so well - in fact, usually I know communication. One has to be always on a look to identify his what she’s thinking before she tells me! weak points as a communicator and strive to overcome them. This needs a thorough understanding of meaning and process• The lightening storm knocked out our communication of communication. systems, and since then we haven’t handled a single customer call. Meaning of Communication• He’s really smart, and he knows his stuff, but as a teacher he Communication is derived from the Latin word communis, just doesn’t communicate it very well. which means, “ to share” that is, sharing of ideas, concepts, feelings and emotions. The science of communication is almost• They say they built the product to meet our specifications, as old as man himself. Form time immemorial; the need to but it’s not what we asked for - I think we have a share or to communicate had been felt. Different vehicles / communication problem here. channels were identified and subsequently improvised for theThe word “communicate” derives from the word “common” - purpose of transmission of ideas and concepts. A study ofto share, exchange, send along, transmit, talk, gesture, write, put these channels enables us to gain an insight into the process ofin use, relate. So an investigation of this subject might begin communication.with the question: What do all studies of communication havein common? What are the shared concepts that make the study Before a definition of communication is arrived at, a fewof “communication” different from the study of subjects such queries, which arise in the minds of the readers, have to beas “thought” or “literature” or “life?” When someone says, answered. What is the importance of communication? Why“this is a communication problem,” what does that mean? should it be studied? Why should the channel be analyzed and examined?When a baby sees his mother’s face for the first time, communi-cation happens. When someone steps out onto a beach in Goa The importance of communication can be gauged from the factand water touches his feet communication happens. When the that we are communicating in some from or the other almostIndian parliament passes a new bill to curb monopolies in the every moment of our lives. Whether we are walking,, talkingmarket and the President signs, communication happens. ,playing, sitting, or even sleeping, a message is being formulatedWhen a computer in Delhi calls up a computer in Tokyo and and transmitted. Man, who is a social animal, is constantlytransmits a message, communication happens. interacting with other individuals. For him it is necessary to understand the art of communication and apply or modify it inCommunication is a general phenomenon. It occurs in nature, a suitable manner. Man possesses the ability to communicate,wherever life exists. Whether we recognize it or not, we have no which is much more than a composition of certain symbolizechoice but to communicate. If we try to avoid communicating or to understand concepts in terms of images or symbols. It isby not replying to messages, we are nevertheless sending a this ability that helps him to communicate. Communicationmessage, but it may not be the one we want or intend. When then, it may be stated, is much more than an understanding ofwe don’t say yes, we may be saying no by default – and vice the spoken or written language. It is a composite of symbols,versa. The only choice we can make about communication iswhether we are going to attempt to communicate effectively. © Copy Right: Rai University11.234 1
  2. 2. gestures, and illustrations that accompany either the spoken or A Study-tour of CommunicationBUSINESS COMMUNICATION the written word. This tour presents a fundamental overview of the study of communication with emphasis on the study of human Basic Purpose of Communication communication. The sections may be used in any order, though People in organizations typically spend over 75% of their time in a comprehensive study would normally begin with section an interpersonal situation; thus it is no surprise to find that at the number one and consider each in the order listed below. root of a large number of organizational problems is poor communications. Effective communication is an essential compo- 1. The Communication Process nent of organizational success whether it is at the interpersonal, Communication is a process that serves to connect senders and intergroup, intragroup, organizational, or external levels. receivers of messages in space and time. Although human beings tend to be interested primarily in the study of human “What is the purpose of (formal) communication?” A communication, the process is present in all living things and, it response to a query of this nature would be more beneficial if can be argued, in all things. From this we may conclude that attempts were made to understand the business situation communication is a fundamental, universal process. where success or failure of issues is always measured in terms of man- hours spent in the completion of a task. Let us take an example. Suppose the boss issues instructions to his subordi- nate to complete a certain project in a particular manner within a stipulated timeframe. The subordinate does it to the best of his ability. However, the end result is a miserable failure because the manner of completion does not match with the expectations of the boss. A lot of time has been wasted as a result of miscommunication on the part of the two members of the 2. Self Andsociety same organization. In fact, more first instance. If the amount Messages are formed in the mind of one individual and of time used in completion of this particular task is calculated, interpreted in the mind of another. Yet the formation and it would be seen that double the time necessary has been taken. interpretation of messages are affected by the groups to which The example cited above is one of the most common and the individuals belong. Thus, a complete understanding of prevailing examples of miscommunication resulting from a lack human communication must take into account both human of feedback in organizations. This, however, is not the only psychology and human social interaction. criterion that qualifies for an in-depth study of communication. Let us take a look at the communicative competence required at three different levels in an organization. In the business situation of a manager, as he goes higher up in the hierarchy is to coordinate, issue instructions, collate information, and then present it. All these activities require effective communication skills the sooner these skills are honed, the easier it is for the manager to accomplish tasks. Similar is the case of the junior manager vying for a quick promotion. As 3. Information work in the organization is always done in conjunction with To receive messages human beings must make use of their other people, effective communication skills become a necessity. senses. However, the senses continually process large volumes Let us compare the progression of two junior managers up the of data, not all of which are the result of communication. It is ladder of success possessing almost the same academic the human ability to discern, recognize, and remember patterns qualifications and almost similar personality traits. Only one of in this constant flow of data that makes meaningful communi- them would be able to make it to the managing Director’s chair. cation possible. Without doubt it would be the candidate with excellent communication skills. Prior to entry in any organization, certain communicative abilities are also looked for in candidates. Ability to speak, conduct oneself properly in an interview, get along with others, listen carefully and accurately, make effective presentations, prepare good yet brief report, make proposals, sell ideas, convince and persuade others are some of the attributes looked for in a candidate. If an individual possesses these attributes looked for in a candidate. If an individual possesses these attributes or can train himself to 4. Signs And Language excel in them, he himself would realize how much easier it is for Some patterns of data bring to mind memories of previous him only to secure a comfortable position in an organization but patterns. These “signs,” as they are called, can be assembled into also to achieve success. large, powerful patterns called “languages.” Much (though certainly not all) of human communication is carried on through the use of language. © Copy Right: Rai University 2 11.234
  3. 3. Systems BUSINESS COMMUNICATION A “system” is typically described as a collection of parts which are interconnected, or related to, one another and which also relate to the environment which surrounds the system. In the picture below, the circles and rectangles represent the parts, the solid lines represent the relationships among the parts, and the arrows show the system’s interaction with its environment.5. Interaction And RelationshipsIn face-to-face situations human beings cannot avoid commu-nicating with one another. This “interpersonal”communication, which involves processes such as “speech” and“body language,” plays an important role in the formation,development, and dissolution of human relationships. To say that the elements of a system are interconnected implies that if something happens to change one part, then at least one other part must change, too. Naturally, as soon as that second part changes, some other part must then change ... and so on. This is somewhat like the effect of touching a bowl of gelatin -6. Mass Communication a single touch results in a long period of jiggling motion.Approximately five hundred years ago a new form of commu- Because systems interact with their environments, they arenication arose. This “mass” communication process, which constantly being “touched” from the outside. This means thatmakes use of permanent text that can be made available to most systems are constantly changing, and, because thesemillions of people at the same time, has quickly become an changes take time, a system cannot be described as having oneimportant factor in the lives of many human beings. particular shape. It is this property that makes systems useful for studying the kinds of situations that scholars usually refer to as events, or processes. The idea of a system is well illustrated by the device called a “mobile.” The parts of this system, or objects, as they are often called, are represented in the illustration below as “fishes.” The relationships are established by the bars, which maintain a horizontal spacing among the fish, and the pieces of string, which keep the fish at certain vertical depths.7. The Communication EnvironmentHuman communication takes place within, and cannot beseparated from, the complex social environments within whichall communicators must live. Systems of belief, technologicalmedia, and the presence of cultural artifacts all affect thecommunication process and contribute to the development ofthe human social reality. Notice that the strings and bars • Connect every fish with every other fish, • Allow the fish to move around quite a bit, yet confine themCommunication: a system for sending and receiving messages. to a certain area and keep them from falling apart.An investigation of this statement will lead first to the idea of a This is a fine example of how a system works. If any one fishsystem, and then to the idea of messages. moves, at least one other fish will react by moving, too. Thus, the smallest breeze will keep the mobile in constant motion. © Copy Right: Rai University11.234 3
  4. 4. The following quotation by Stephen Littlejohn provides a more Communication ConnectsBUSINESS COMMUNICATION formal definition of the term “system” . But communication is not merely passive connection. Rather, From the simplest perspective, a system can be said to consist communication is the process of connecting. It is a collection of of four things. renewable actions that work throughout space and over time to form relationships among objects. • The first is objects. The objects are the parts, elements, or variables of the system. These objects may be physical or Communication is not an object itself; it is not a thing, and this abstract or both, depending on the nature of the system. leads to a second insight into the nature of communication. • Second, a system consists of attributes, or the qualities or Communication Happens properties of the system and its objects. This is an important observation. It implies that communica- • Third, a system must possess internal relationships among tion can never fully be understand by looking only at “things.” its objects. This characteristic is a crucial defining quality of To understand communication, we must also look at the systems. A relationship among objects implies a mutual relationships among the “things” and at the environments in effect (interdependence) and constraint. which the “things” reside. • Fourth, systems also possess an environment. They do not For example, consider some common communication exist in a vacuum but are affected by their surroundings. “things”: Clearly, the “fish” mobile meets these requirements. • A paperback copy of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, • A video tape of the CNN 6:00 news broadcast on May 5th, 1990, • A written invitation to attend my sister’s wedding. In each case the thing - the actual book, the actual video tape, the actual invitation - is not the communication. • The communication is the process that connects the readers of the book to the story told by the author. • The communication is the process that connects the watchers It is important to do the following exercise. Thinking about of the broadcast to the events of the day. systems in this way is the most effective way to understand • The communication is the process that connects my sister them. and I via the announcement of her wedding. Consider each of the three systems named here and try to: True, the book, the tape and the invitation are a part of the • Name some of the objects that make up the system, communication process, but they are only a part. • Name some of the relationships among the objects, There are additional observations to be drawn from these • Describe the environment of the system, and examples. • Describe ways in which the system is constantly changing. • Communication always happens between or among - it takes at least two to communicate. Three Systems Your body’s nervous system, • Communication involves an exchange - of electrical signals, of sounds, words, pages of print, or whatever. The legal system of the United States, For ease, these exchanges among communicators will be given The U. S. Interstate Highway system. the general name: messages. The Role of Communication Notice, for example, that each of the previous set of examples Notice that these example systems have communication in contained sender and a receiver and a message. The book was common. written by its author to be read by its audience. The video tape • The nervous system carries messages from the nerve endings was produced by one group of people to be watched by in our extremities to our brains and back. another. And the invitation is a message sent from my sister to • The legal system includes thousands of individuals talking me. to one another, laws being read and interpreted, forms being The idea of “messages” is considered at length in these filled out, and so on. tutorials. At this point, however, it is appropriate to reiterate the • The highway system requires constant communication two basic rules that have just been uncovered: among drivers - turn signals, brake lights, and so on - and 1. Communication is a process that happens among and acts to between drivers and their vehicles - as, for example, when connect communicators through space and over time. you “tell” your car to turn left by pulling on the steering 2. Communication involves the creation, transmission, and wheel. reception of messages. In fact, it might be said that communication is the “glue” that holds a system together. This gives insight into the nature of communication itself, to wit: © Copy Right: Rai University 4 11.234
  5. 5. BUSINESS COMMUNICATION © Copy Right: Rai University11.234 5
  6. 6. That’s Just What I Mean! barriers are filters that we use to decide what is useful for us. NoBUSINESS COMMUNICATION Most problems arise because people cannot sustain one can completely avoid these filters. If you start taking every effective communication. Cultivating the art of listening information and message you get seriously, you would be helps to build bridges and enhance relationships, says overloaded with information. But if you are not consciously Santosh BabuAll happy families resemble one another, each aware of this filtering process, you may lose a lot of valuable unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” Thus begins Leo information. A way to overcome these filters when you want is Tolstoy’s epic Anna Karenina. What he meant, perhaps, is that through active listening and feedback. communication is complete when the mind is happy and Active Listening uninhibited, and distortion creeps in when the mood is sullen All of us can hear, but all of us cannot listen. Hearing and and sad. Most problems in an organization, family or group are listening are not the same thing. Hearing is involuntary and the result of people failing to communicate. Haven’t you often listening involves the reception and interpretation of what is said “You don’t understand what I say” or words to that effect? heard. It decodes the sound heard into meaning. Does a knock Communication is the exchange or flow of information and on the door sound the same all the time? What if you are alone ideas between one person and another. Technically, it involves a and you hear a knock at late night? What happens when you sender passing on an idea to a receiver. Effective communication hear a knock while you are expecting someone whom you like? occurs when the receiver comprehends the information or idea People generally speak at 100 to 175 words per minute but we that the sender intends to convey. What does a communication can listen intelligently at 600 to 800 words per minute. This process involve? You have an idea that you need to communi- means most of the time only a part of our mind is paying cate, and a message is sent to the receiver, either verbally or attention, it is easy for the attention to drift. This happens to all non-verbally. The receiver then translates the words or nonver- of us. The cure: active listening. This involves listening with a bal gestures into a concept or information. Let’s take, for purpose. It may be to gain information, obtain directions, example, this message: “You are very intelligent.” Would this understand others, solve problems, share interests, see how the message carry the same meaning to the receiver every time you other person feels, even show support. This type of listening voice these words? The success of the transmission depends on takes the same amount of or more energy than speaking. This two factors—content and context. Content is the actual words requires the listener to hear various messages, understand the or symbols that constitutes a part of the message, known as meaning and then verify the meaning by offering feedback. Here language. It could be either spoken or written. We all interpret are some of the traits of an active listener: words in our own ways, so much so that even simple messages could be understood differently. • Does not finish the sentence of others. • Does not answer questions with questions. Context is the way the message is delivered-the tone, expression in the sender’s eyes, body language, hand gestures, and state of • Is aware of biases. We all have them... we need to control emotion (anger, fear, uncertainty, confidence and so on). As we them. believe what we see more than what we hear, we trust the • Never daydreams or becomes preoccupied with one’s own accuracy of nonverbal behavior more than verbal behavior. So thoughts when others talk. when we communicate, the other person notices two things: • Lets others talk. What we say and how we say it. Normally we think communica- • Does not dominate the conversation. tion is complete once we have conveyed the message: “I don’t know why it was not done. I had asked him to do it.” Chances • Plans responses after the other persons have finished are that the message was not perceived properly. A message speaking, not while they are speaking. hasn’t been communicated successfully unless the receiver • Provides feedback, but does not interrupt incessantly. understands it completely. How do you know it has been • Analyses by looking at all the relevant factors and asking properly received? By two-way communication or feedback. open-ended questions. Communication Barriers Ourselves • Keeps the conversation on what the speaker says...not on Focusing on ourselves, rather than the other person can lead to what interests them. confusion and conflict. Often, we are thinking about our • Takes brief notes. This forces one to concentrate on what is response, rather than focusing on what the other person is being said. saying. Some other factors that cause this are defensiveness (we feel someone is attacking us), superiority (we feel we know Feedback more than the other), and ego (we feel we are the center of the This is done by restating the other person’s message in your activity). Perception: If we feel the person is talking too fast, own words. It helps to make sure that you understood the not fluently or does not articulate clearly, we may dismiss the message correctly. How much better daily communication person. Our preconceived attitudes affect our ability to listen. would be if listeners tried to understand before they tried to We listen uncritically to persons of high status and dismiss evaluate what someone is saying! Let’s do a test of your those of low status. Mental state: People don’t see things the listening ability. Get a paper and pen. You have two minutes to same way when under stress. What we see and believe at a given do this. If you take more time, you need to improve your moment is influenced by our psychological frames of refer- listening skills. Read all the instructions below before doing ences-beliefs, values, knowledge, experiences and goals. These anything. © Copy Right: Rai University 6 11.234
  7. 7. • Write your name in the top right corner of the paper BUSINESS COMMUNICATION• Draw five small squares in the top left corner• Put a circle around each square• Put an X on the lower left-hand corner• Draw a triangle around the X you just made• Sign your name at the bottom of the page• On the back of your page multiply 70 x 30• Write the answer to the above problem adjacent to your signature• Check whether you have done all the above correctly Now that you have finished reading carefully, do only the first instruction. The author is a Delhi-based personal growth trainer. © Copy Right: Rai University11.234 7
  8. 8. BUSINESS COMMUNICATION LESSON 2: STAGES IN COMMUNICATION CYCLE In this case the boss heard far more than a simple message that Content Terry won’t be at work today. The boss “heard” hostility from • Key stages of communication cycle Terry, indifference, lack of consideration, among other emo- • Methods of Communication – Verbal and nonverbal tions. Terry may not have meant this, but this is what the boss heard. The Communication Process Communications is so difficult because at each step in the Although all of us have been communicating with others since process there major potential for error. By the time a message our infancy, the process of transmitting information from an gets from a sender to a receiver there are four basic places where individual (or group) to another is a very complex process with transmission errors can take place and at each place, there are a many sources of potential error. multitude of potential sources of error. Thus it is no surprise Consider the Simple Example that social psychologists estimate that there is usually a 40-60% loss of meaning in the transmission of messages from sender • Terry: “I won’t make it to work again tomorrow; this to receiver. pregnancy keeps me nausious and my doctor says I should probably be reduced to part time. It is critical to understand this process, understand and be aware of the potential sources of errors and constantly counteract • Boss: Terry, this is the third day you’ve missed and your these tendencies by making a conscientious effort to make sure appointments keep backing up; we have to cover for you and there is a minimal loss of meaning in your conversation. this is messing all of us up. It is also very important to understand that major of our In any communication at least some of the “meaning” lost in communication is non-verbal. This means that when we simple transmission of a message from the sender to the attribute meaning to what someone else is saying, the verbal receiver. In many situations a lot of the true message is lost and part of the message actually means less than the non-verbal the message that is heard is often far different than the one part. The non-verbal part includes such things as body language intended. This is most obvious in cross-cultural situations and tone. where language is an issue. But it is also common among people of the same cuture. Key Stages in Communication Cycle Look at the example. Terry has what appears to be a simple Communication is a two- way process in which there is an message to convey-she won’t make it to work today because of exchange and progression of ideas towards a mutually accepted nausia. But she had to translate the thoughts into words and direction or goal. For this process to materialize, it is essential this is the first potential source of error. Was she just trying to that the basic elements of communication be identified. These convey that she would be late; was she trying to convey anything elements are. else. It turns out she was. She was upset because she perceived Sender/ Encoder/ Speaker that her co-workers weren’t as sympathetic to her situation as The person who initiates the communication process is they should be. Her co-workers, however, were really being normally referred to as the sender. From his personal data bank pressured by Terry’s continued absences, and her late calls. They he selects ideas, encodes and finally transits them to the receiver. wished she would just take a leave of absence, but Terry refuses The entire burden of communication then rests upon the because she would have to take it without pay. sender or encoder. His choice of images and words the Thus what appears to be a simple communication is, in reality, combination of the two is what goads the receiver to listen quite complex. Terry is communicating far more than that she carefully. In this process a number of factors come into play, would miss work; she is conveying a number of complex primary among them being an understanding of the recipient emotions, complicated by her own complex feelings about and his needs. If the message can be formulated in accordance pregnancy, work, and her future. with the expectations of the receiver, the level of acceptance is going to be higher. For example, a consultant wishes to She sent a message but the message is more than the words; it communicate with the HRD manager of a company. The includes the tone, the timing of the call, and the way she objective is to secure consultancy projects on training of expressed herself. personnel. If the consultant wishes the HRD manager to Similarly, the boss goes through a complex communication communicate with him, he has to ensure that their goals process in “hearing” the message. The message that Terry sent converge. He has a tough task ahead of him. The manager had had to be decoded and given meaning. There are many ways to been interacting with many consultants. Why should he pay decode the simple message that Terry gave and the way the heed to the proposal of this consultant? In a situation such as message is heard will influence the response to Terry. this, a good strategy to be adopted is to expand the purview of the proposal and make it company specific. The result could be © Copy Right: Rai University 8 11.234
  9. 9. BUSINESS COMMUNICATIONhighlighted and spelt out in terms of increase in sales. Ifsufficient preparation has been done, the message too would SENDINGincrease in sales. If sufficient preparation has been done, themessage too would be formulated in a manner conducive to the Encoding Transmission Decodinginterests of the HRD manager.Receiver/ Decoder/ ListenerThe listener receives an encoded message, which he attempts to Source Noise Receiverdecode. This process is carried on in relation to the workenvironment and the value perceived in terms of the worksituation. If the goal of the sender is envisioned as similar tohis own, the listener Feedback Loopbecomes more receptive. The decoding of the message is donein almost entirely the same terms as were intended by the Encoding Transmission Decodingsender. In the example cited above, as soon as the HRDmanager realizes that the proposal of the consultant is going toresult in tangible benefits, he becomes more receptive and his Activityinterest in communication is reinforced. Try not to narrate a story of a film you recently saw to your friend. Ask your friend to tell the story, which you have just toldMessage him. Try to understand the entire communication processMessage is the encoded idea transmitted by the sender. The through the above diagram.formulation of the message is very important, for a message,which is incorrectly structured, can turn the receiver hostile or Barriers to Effective Communicationmake him lose interest. At this stage the sender has to be There are a wide number of sources of noise or interferenceextremely cautious. What is the order in which he would like to that can enter into the communication process. This can occurpresent his ideas? Suppose he has four points to make would when people now each other very well and should understandhe (a) move in the stereotyped manner of presenting them in a the sources of error. In a work setting, it is even more commonsequence or (b) would he like to be innovative and proceed in a since interactions involve people who not only don’t have yearscreative way? Probability is high that in case (a) he might become of experience with each other, but communication is compli-monotonous and in case (b) he might touch a wrong spot. cated by the complex and often conflictual relationships thatHow then should the message be formulated and transmitted? exist at work. In a work setting, the following suggests aThe ordering, as stated earlier, should be based on the require- number of sources of noise:ments of the listener so that its significance is immediately • Language: The choice of words or language in which agrasped. The minute the receiver finds his goals codified in the sender encodes a message will influence the quality ofmessage, he sits up, listens and responds. The message thus has communication. Because language is a symbolicmade an impact. representation of a phenomenon, room for interpreationMedium and distortion of the meaning exists. In the above example,Another important element of communication is the medium the Boss uses language (this is the third day you’ve missed)or channel. It could be oral, written or non- verbal. Prior to the that is likely to convey far more than objective information.composition of the message, the medium / channel should be To Terry it conveys indifference to her medical problems.decided. Each medium follows its own set of rules and Note that the same words will be interpreted different byregulations. For example, in oral communication one can afford each different person. Meaning has to be given to words andto be a little informal, but when using the written mode, all many factors affect how an individual will attribute meaningrules of communication need to be observed. It must be to particular words. It is important to note that no tworemembered that anything in writing is a document that would people will attribute the exact same meaning to the samebe filed for records or circulated to all concerned. words.Feedback • Defensiveness, distorted perceptions, guilt, project,This is the most important component of communication. transference, distortions from the pastEffective communication takes place only when there is • Misreading of body language, tone and other non-verbalfeedback. The errors and flaws that abound in business forms of communication (see section below)situations are a result of lack of feedback. Le us take a look at • Noisy transmission (unreliable messages, inconsistency)the typical responses of people involved in miscommunication: • Receiver distortion: selective hearing, ignoring non-verbal“ this is not what I meant” or “ This is not what I said”, or cues“this was not my intention”. If feedback is solicited on alloccasions, this error can be minimized or even completely done • Power strugglesaway with. Fallacious statements or erroneous conclusions are • Self-fulfilling assupmtionsmade because of lack of confirmation through feedback and • Language-different levels of meaningdiscrepancy between the message transmitted and understood. • Managers hesitation to be candid © Copy Right: Rai University11.234 9
  10. 10. • Assumptions-eg. assuming others see situation same as you, stage. The crux of the message in both the statements is theBUSINESS COMMUNICATION has same feelings as you same: You want an individual within an organization to • Distrusted source, erroneous translation, value judgment, undertake a project. The manner in which it is stated brings state of mind of two people about a difference in approach. Further, expressions that might hurt or cause mental pain to the receiver should, as far as • Perceptual Biases: People attend to stimuli in the possible, be ignored. For this it becomes essential that the “I” – environment in very different ways. We each have shortcuts attitude be discarded in favor of the “you”-attitude. Develop- that we use to organize data. Invariably, these shortcuts ment of interest in the “you” will perforce make the other introduce some biases into communication. Some of these individual also see the point of view of the other. At the time shortcuts include stereotyping, projection, and self-fulfilling of emphasizing the “you-attitude”, only the positive and prophecies. Stereotyping is one of the most common. This pleasant “you-issues” should be considered. If it is being used is when we assume that the other person has certain as a corrective measure, then the results are not going to be very characteristics based on the group to which they belong positive or encouraging. without validating that they in fact have these characteristics. 2. Clarity. Absolute clarity of ideas adds much to the meaning • Interpersonal Relationships: How we perceive of the message. The first stage is clarity in the mind of the communication is affected by the past experience with the sender. The next stage is the Makes comprehension easier individual. Percpetion is also affected by the organizational transmission of the message in a manner which makes it relationship two people have. For example, communication simple for the receiver to comprehend. As far as possible, from a superior may be perceived differently than that from a simple language and easy sentence constructions, which are subordinate or peer not difficult for the receiver to grasp, should be used. Cultural Differences: Effective communication requires deci- 4. Correctness. At the time of encoding, the sender should phering the basic values, motives, aspirations, and assumptions ensure that his knowledge of the receiver is comprehensive. that operate across geographical lines. Given some dramatic The level of knowledge, educational background and status differences across cultures in approaches to such areas as time, of the decoder help the encoder in formulating his message. space, and privacy, the opportunities for mis-communication In case there is any discrepancy between the usage and while we are in cross-cultural situations are plentiful. comprehension of terms, miscommunication can arise. If 7 C’S’ and 4 S’s the sender decides to back up his communication with facts 7 C’s and figures, there should be accuracy in stating the same. A situation in which the listener is forced to check the presented In any business environment, adherence to the 7 C’s and the 4 facts and figures should not arise. Finally, the usage of terms S’s helps the sender in transmitting his message with ease and should be nondiscriminatory, e.g. the general concept is that accuracy. Lets us first take a look at the 7 C’s: women should be addressed for their physical appearance 1. Credibility. If the sender can establish his credibility, the whereas men for their mental abilities. This, however, is a receiver has no problems in accepting his statement. stereotype and at the time of addressing or praising Establishing credibility is not the outcome of a one-shot members of both the sexes, the attributes assigned should statement. It is a long-drawn out process in which the be the same. Similarly for occupational references. In the receiver through constant interaction with the sender business world almost all professions are treated with understands his credible nature and is willing to accept his respect. Addressing one individual for competence in his statements as being truthful and honest. profession but neglecting the other on this score because of • Courtesy. Once the credibility of the sender has been a so-called ‘inferior’ profession alienates the listener from the established, attempts should be make at being courteous in sender. expression. In the business world, almost everything starts 5. Consistency – The approach to communication should, as with and ends in courtesy. Much can be accomplished if tact, far as possible, be consistent. There should not be too many diplomacy and appreciation of people are woven in the ups and downs that might lead to confusion in the mind of message. the receiver. If a certain stand has been taken, it should be Example: observed without there being situations in which the sender is left groping for the actual content or meaning. If the • Jane:” You can never do things right. Try working on this sender desires to bring about a change in his understanding project. If you are lucky you may not have to redo it.” of the situation, he should ensure that the shift is gradual • Jane: “This is an interesting project. Do you think you and not hard for the receiver to comprehended. would be able to do it. I know last time something went 6. Concreteness. Concrete and specific expressions are to be wrong with the project, but everyone makes mistakes. preferred in favour of vague and abstract expressions. In Suppose we sat down and discussed it threadbare I’m sure continuation of the point on correctness, the facts and your would be able to do wonders.” figures presented should be specific. Abstractions or abstract The two statements convey totally different impressions. While statements can cloud the mind of the sender. Instead of the first statement is more accusative, the second is more tactful stating: “There has been a tremendous escalation in the sales and appreciative of the efforts put in by the receiver at an earlier figure”, suppose the sender made the following statement: © Copy Right: Rai University 10 11.234
  11. 11. “There has been an escalation in the sales figures by almost element of deceit involved in the interaction or on the part BUSINESS COMMUNICATION 50% as compared to last year.” The receiver is more apt to of the sender. If the receiver is keen an observant, he would listen and comprehend the factual details. be able to sense the make-believe situation and, business7. Conciseness. The message to be communicated should be transactions, even if going full swing, would not materialize. as brief and concise as possible. Weighty language definitely 4 S’s sounds impressive but people would be suitably impressed into doing precisely nothing. As far as possible, only simple S’s Relevance and brief statements should be made. Excessive information Shortness Economises can also sway the receiver into either a wrong direction or into inaction. Quantum of information should be just right, Simplicity Impresses neither too much nor too little , e.g. Strength ConvincesUsually the policy date… Sincerity AppealsIn the first example, the statement is rather long and convo-luted. However, the second example gives it the appearance of Keys to More Effective Communicationbeing crisp, concise and to the point. Over 70% of our time is spent communicating with others,7 C’s and that’s the one interaction every person must do. Everyone must communicate their needs and ideas. Every organization must communicate its products and services. Unfortunately, C’s Relevance Credibility Builds trust many people have trouble in this area. Some just don’t have the professional impact they need to get ahead in today’s corporate Courtesy Improves relationships world. Communication is just as important as what we say Clarity Makes comprehension easier because people judge us, our companies, our products, our Correctness Builds confidence services, and our professionalism by the way we write, act, dress, Consistency Introduces stability talk, and manage our responsibilities. In short, how well we Concreteness Reinforces confidence communicate with others. Conciseness Saves time Successful people know how to communicate for results. They know how to say what they mean and get what they want without hurting the people they deal with. You deal daily with4 S,s peers, outside groups, customers, employees, and managers,An understanding of the 4 S’s is equally important. and you must have a good communication style.1. Shortness. “Brevity is the soul of wit,” it is said. The same When we ask people how well they communicate, their answers can be said about communication. If the message can be usually fall into one of three categories. First, and most prevalent, made brief, and verbosity done away with, then transmission is the person who responds, “I communicate perfectly. I spell and comprehension of messages is going to be faster and everything out so there’s nothing left to doubt.” more effective. Flooding messages with high sounding Another will react with surprise and ask me, “What do you mean words does not create an impact. Many people harbour a ‘how well?’ I don’t think about communicating, I just do it.” misconception that they can actually impress the receiver, if they carry on their expeditious travails. Little do they realize The third type will reflect on the question thoughtfully before how much they have lost as the receiver has spent a major saying something like, “How can one ever know how well they chunk of his time in trying to decipher the actual meaning of get their ideas across to another person? All I can tell you is I the message. work more hours trying to communicate than I can count, and it still doesn’t work some of the time.” Each answer, in its own2. Simplicity. Simplicity both in the usage of words and ideas way, is correct. reveals a clarity in the thinking process. It is normally a tendency that when an individual is himself confused that he Communicating today is both a discipline and a liberation. Our tries to use equally confusing strategies to lead the receiver in language is flexible; one size fits all. It’s a language in which ravel a maze. Reveal clarity in the thinking process by using simple and unravel mean the same thing; flammable and inflammable terminology and equally simple concepts. mean the same thing; fat chance, slim chance, no chance at all mean the same thing. Communication is both a science and a3. Strength. The strength of a message emanates from the feeling; it’s often a cinch, and often an impossibility. credibility of the sender. If the sender himself believes in a message that he is about to transmit, there is bound to be The smell of a woman’s perfume, the taste of semisweet strength and conviction in whatever he tries to state. Half- chocolate, the sight of a blind person’s cane, the feel of the hearted statements or utterances that the sender himself feverish brow of a sick child, the sound of the background does not believe in adds a touch of falsehood to the entire music of a horror movie—all these move us to action or reaction. These are all examples of effective communication, and4. Sincerity. A sincere approach to an issue is clearly evident to none of them involve words. the receiver. If the sender is genuine, it will be reflected in the manner in which he communicates. Suppose there is a small © Copy Right: Rai University11.234 11
  12. 12. Communication is full of risks; despite whatever precautions The telephone is appropriate when communicating simple factsBUSINESS COMMUNICATION and plans we make, we can never really be sure of our success. to a few people. The phone also has more impact and sense of No communication ever travels from sender to receiver in the urgency than written communication, but not as much as a same shape intended by the sender. And, no matter how hard meeting. To insure that messages are understood on the phone, you try, the message will never be what you say—the message is you may want to ask for feedback and check to make sure the always what they hear. But if you have a system to go by, you communication link is complete. can at least reduce the risk and improve your chance of being Face-to-face communication has more urgency than meetings. It effective. also has the advantage of speed, allows considerable two-way For communication to occur, there must be a two-way inter- communication to take place, and usually elicits a quick re- change of feelings, ideas, values; clarification of signals; and a sponse. It’s usually best to use face-to-face dialogue when the fine-tuning of skills. interaction is personal—when giving praise, counseling, or taking disciplinary action. Adjust the Climate Whenever people get together to communicate with one Meetings are appropriate when there is a need for verbal another, two factors are always present. First, there is some sort interaction among members of a group. Studies have revealed of content to be covered—instructions, news, gossip, ideas, that supervisors spend more than half of their potential reports, evaluations, etc. productive time in meetings, discussions, and conferences. For this reason, it’s important to decide in advance whether a All of us are familiar with the content of communication, meeting will actually achieve the desired result. because it’s the most obvious factor, and because we deal with it every day. The second factor that is always present when people Eliminate Static get together to communicate is the atmosphere or feeling that Another helpful skill is elimination of communication “static” accompanies what you say. This is known as the communica- or barriers. If there’s too much static, or noise, there’s a garbled tion climate. message. The problem is that each of us has different barriers, Physical climate affects us in many ways. When it’s cold, we wear and we don’t usually know what kind of noise the other warm clothes. When it’s raining, we wear protective clothes. person is hearing. Sometimes we guess, and sometimes we And it’s not uncommon for weather conditions to affect our guess wrong. The major barrier to communication is our mood. Communication climates also affect us. They can be natural tendency to judge, evaluate, approve, or disapprove the either positive or negative. When the communication climate is other person’s statements. positive, it’s easier for us to communicate, solve problems, reach Suppose the person next to you at lunch today says, “I really decisions, express thoughts and feelings. In short, it makes like what Kay duPont has to say.” What will you say? Your reply working and dealing with other people more pleasant and will probably be either approval or disapproval of the attitude productive. We’ve all been in restaurants, stores, offices, and expressed. You’ll either say, “I do too!” or you’ll say, “I think homes where we felt comfortable and at ease. We usually want she’s terrible.” In other words, your first reaction will be to to go back to those places. We’ve also been in homes, offices, evaluate it from your point of view, and approve or disapprove and shops where the climate has been negative. In those what the other person said. Although the tendency to make instances, we were uncomfortable, uneasy, and less open. We evaluations is common in almost all conversation, it is very usually don’t enjoy attempting to communicate or do business much heightened in those situations where feelings and in a negative climate. Are you making the climate negative for emotions are involved. those you work with? Tune in Choose Your Channel One of the best ways to “tune in” to the other person is to find Like a radio, human transmitters and receivers have channels. A out how they process and store the information they receive. communication channel is the medium through which Studies of Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) have proved information passes from sender to receiver: lecture, written that there are three sensory process types: Visual, Auditory, and messages, telephone conversations, face-to-face dialogue, and Kinesthetic. group meetings. Some people are visually oriented. They remember and imagine The choice of a channel may affect the quality of the communi- things by what they look like. They store pictures. Some people cation and, in turn, the degree to which the receiver will respond are auditory—they store sounds. Some people are kinesthetic— to it. Therefore, you must decide which channel will be most they store touch sensations. effective in accomplishing your purpose. How can you figure out a person’s processing system? By Written communication should be used when communicating listening. People tend to broadcast how they process informa- complex facts and figures or information, such as engineering, tion, how they file their data. Visually oriented people say things legal or financial data, since communication breakdowns often like: “Here’s what it looks like to me. Do you see what I mean? result when complex material is presented orally. Written Do you get the picture? I need a clearer vision of that. That’s communication is also the best channel when communicating not coming in clear to me.” All visually oriented terms. with large numbers of people, when transmitting large amounts Auditory people remember and imagine things by what they of data, or when you need a record of the communication. sound like. They say: “Here’s what it sounds like to me. That © Copy Right: Rai University 12 11.234
  13. 13. rings a bell. Do you hear what I mean? We need to have more BUSINESS COMMUNICATIONharmony in this office. We’re not in tune on this.”Kinesthetic people remember and imagine things by the feel ofthem. They say: “Here’s what it feels like to me. Do you graspwhat I’m saying? That was a rough problem. That was a heavyburden. That was a weighty issue.”People don’t always use the same sensory words, of course, butwe do tend to use one sensory process about 70% of the time.If you want me to understand how you feel or see what youmean or get in tune with your ideas, you need to talk to me inwords I’ll relate to—either visual, auditory, or kinesthetic. Ifyou talk to me in flowers, and I hear in pastry, we can’t commu-nicate. This is a very sophisticated form of communicating, andcan be very effective.Know Your NonverbalsBody movement, eye contact, posture, and clothing are also veryimportant elements. In fact, studies prove that 93% of yourmessage is nonverbal and symbolic. Employees learn to cue onthe boss’ moods, spouses learn to react to each other’s move-ments, children instinctively watch for signs from their parents.Studies have also taught us that sometimes our tongues sayone thing, our bodies say another thing, and our symbols—likeclothing and hairstyles—say still a third thing. When this occurs,the normal person will believe what they see, not what theyhear. So you need to be constantly aware of the image youportray. Is it one of assertive confidence. . .someone who iswilling to listen and solve problems? Or is it of someone whois unfriendly and uncaring? Do your clothes and posture reflecta person of high quality or one of sloppy habits?Over 2 centuries ago, Ben Franklin said, “Power is with theperson who can communicate well.” It’s truer today than it hasever been. And the power exists within you. . .all it takes isawareness and practice.Exercise1. Pick up any two students in your class. At random give feedback to both of them – positive to one and negative to the other. Note down their verbal responses and body language. Is there any difference between the responses of the two students? If yes, what is it? What strategies can be used to even out the differences?2. Divide the section into two groups with two observers. Both the groups are numbered and further subdivided into senders and receivers. It is decided beforehand that the message transmitted in the first group is meaningful and in the second, a mere exchange of social pleasantries. Observers list down the criteria that help them to determine the significance of the message – whether it is meaningful or being used to while away the time. Observe the non-verbal cues in a piece of communication. How do these cues affect the meaning of words? What is their impact on the receiver? © Copy Right: Rai University11.234 13