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Chapter 12: Communicating and Interpersonal Skills
Section 12.1 - Understanding Communication
Key Terms
 Communication process
 Encoding
 Message
 Channel
 Decoding
 Feedback
 Grapevine
 Body language
 Verbal intonation
 Filtering
 Selective perception
 Information overload
 Jargon
 Active listening
Everything a manager does involves communicating. Ineffective communication skills
can lead to a continuous stream of problems for the manager. Communication can be
thought of as a process or flow. Communication problems can occur when there are
deviations or blockages in that flow.
Before communication can take place, a purpose, expressed as a message to be conveyed,
is needed. It passes between a source (the sender) and a receiver. The message is
encoded (converted to symbolic form) and is passed by way of some medium (channel)
to the receiver who re-translates (decodes) the message initiated by the sender. The result
is transference of meaning from one person to another. The communication process,
shown in Exhibit 12-1, is the transferring and understanding of meaning. It includes
seven stages: sender, encoding, channel, decoding, receiver, and feedback. Four
conditions affect the encoded message: skill, attitudes, knowledge, and the social cultural
Written communications are tangible, verifiable, and more permanent than the oral
variety. Both sender and receiver have a record of the communication. They can be
stored for an indefinite period of time and they are physically available for later
reference. One drawback is that writing consumes a great deal of time. Another major
disadvantage is the lack of feedback - written communications don’t have a built-in
feedback mechanism.
The grapevine is the unofficial way that communications take place in an organization. It
is neither authorized nor supported by the organization. It gets information out to
organizational members as quickly as possible with questionable accuracy.
Some of the most meaningful communications are nonverbal communications. The bestknown areas of nonverbal communication are body language and verbal intonation. Body
language refers to gestures, facial configurations, and other movements of the body.
Verbal intonation refers to the emphasis someone gives to words or phrases. During oral
communication the nonverbal component is likely to carry the greatest impact.
Interpersonal and intrapersonal barriers explain why the message decoded by a receiver is
often different from that which the sender intended.
There are several barriers to effective communication.
 Filtering - The deliberate manipulation of information to make it appear more
favorable to the receiver.
 Selective Perception - Receiving communication on the basis of what one selectively
sees and hears depending on his or her needs, motivation, experience, background,
and other personal characteristics.
 Information Overload - When the amount of information one has to work with exceed
one’s processing capacity.
 Emotions - How the receiver feels when a message is received.
 Language - Words have different meanings to different people. Receivers will use
their definition of words communicated.
 Gender - How males and females react to communication may be different; and they
each have a different communication style.
 National Culture - Communication differences arising from the different languages
that individuals use to communicate and the national culture of which they are a part.
The techniques useful for overcoming these barriers are identified below.
 Use feedback - Check the accuracy of what has been communicated—or what you
think you heard.
 Simplify language - Use words that the intended audience understands.
 Listen actively - Listen for the full meaning of the message without making
premature judgment or interpretation—or thinking about what you are going to say in
 Constrain emotions - Recognize when your emotions are running high. When they
are, don’t communicate until you have calmed down.
 Watch nonverbal cues - Be aware that your actions speak louder than your words.
Keep the two consistent.
Section Outline
Understanding Communication
A. How does the communication process work?
B. Are written communications more effective than verbal ones?
C. Is the grapevine an effective way to communicate?
D. How do nonverbal cues affect communications?
E. What barriers exist to effective communication?
1. Filtering
2. Selective perception
3. Information overload
4. Emotions
5. Language
6. Gender
7. National culture
F. How can managers overcome communication barriers?
1. Why use feedback?
2. Why should simplified language be used?
3. Why must we listen actively?
4. Why must we constrain emotions?
5. Why the emphasis on nonverbal cues?