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Learning Objectives 3.1 Identify key management skills associated with effective communication. 3.2 Explain what causes interpersonal communications to fail. 3.3 Describe the principles of good oral and written communications. 3.4 Describe the factors that influence which communication method to use. 3.5 Suggest ways that a manager can improve communication with employees and with superiors. What is Communication? Communication – Communication is the act of exchanging information. It can be used to inform, command, instruct, assess, influence, and persuade other people. Significance of Communication Managers spend over threequarters of their time communicating. Good managers use their communication skills to absorb information, motivate employees, and deal effectively with customers, co-workers, senior managers, vendors and stakeholders. Communication as a Management Skill Communicating effectively is an important management skill for several reasons: • Managers must give direction to people who work for them. • Managers must be able to motivate people. • Managers must be able to convince customers that they should do business with them. • Managers must be able to absorb the ideas of others. • Managers must be able to persuade other people. What is Interpersonal Communication? Interpersonal Communication is an interactive process between individuals that involves sending and receiving verbal and nonverbal messages. Factors that Interfere with Interpersonal Communication Several factors that can interfere with interpersonal communication include: • Inappropriate assumptions • Different interpretations of the meaning of words (semantics) • Emotions either preceding or during communication • Poor listening habits • Inadequate communication skills • Insufficient feedback • Differences in the interpretations of nonverbal communications Elements of Communication Before managers can master oral or written communication they must be able to: • Identify their audience • Develop active listening skills • Learn to ask questions effectively • Give and receive feedback • Understand the importance of nonverbal communication Identifying the Audience • Managers communicate daily with a variety of individuals and/or groups. • To communicate effectively, managers should tailor communications to their unique audience. • Each audience possesses a different need for information which contributes toward achieving organizational objectives. Active Listening is the conscious process of securing information (including feelings or emotions) through attention and observation. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Don’t assume anything. Don’t interrupt. Don’t guess about intentions. Don’t react too quickly. Don’t exhibit bad behavior. How to Be a Better Listener Some suggestions for effective listening include the following: • Select and appropriate time and place to hear a person out, based on the need for privacy and comfort. • Avoid if possible, placing nonverbal barriers between you and an employee when conversing. • Take notes, if necessary to help retain key points and demonstrate interest. • Be Patient How to Be a Better Listener - Continued • Provide supportive cues; nod your head, offer a confirming remark, maintain eye contact, echo a few keywords, or paraphrase a key thought. • Listen for feelings expressed “between the lines”; demonstrate empathy, probe non-aggressively for additional thoughts; offer a tentative summary of what you’ve heard. • Stop (or at least minimize) your own talking! Asking Effective Questions Specific types of questions, when used at the appropriate time, can lead to more effective communications. • Open ended questions – are questions that require a sentence or more to answer, and are useful for starting dialogue. • Close ended questions – are questions that require only simple, short answers. Essential Ingredients for Effective Feedback 1. Determine if feedback is desired. 2. Focus on a few items. 3. State it objectively; be specific and job-related. 4. Make sure feedback is timely and understood. 5. Establish clear priorities for future action. 6. Include positive factors that you can praise. 7. Give the recipient a chance to respond. What is Non verbal Communication? Non Verbal Communication is non verbal behaviors – actions, body language and active listening – are vitally important communication skills. Experts suggest that communication between humans is 90 percent body language, 8 percent tone of voice, and 2 percent what you say. Methods of Communication: Written Communication 1. Letters – useful for official notices, formally recorded statements, and lengthy communications. 2. Email – similar to letters, however emails are less formal than letters and should be carefully tailored to their recipients. 3. Reports – are used to convey background information, analyses of pros and cons, and recommendations to superiors and colleagues. 4. Social Media – is a very informal method of communication and should be a discouraged method of communication for any private information regarding employees or company policies. Principles of Good Writing Many managers have difficulty writing well. To improve their writing managers can apply three basic principles: • Write as simply and clearly as possible. • Be sure that the content and tone of the document are appropriate for the audience. • Proofread the document. Methods of Communication: Person to Person • Informal Chats – suitable for day-to-day contacts, directions, expressions of care and concern, exchanges of information, progress reviews, and some disciplinary sessions. • Planned Appointments – appropriate for regular appraisal reviews, recurring joint work sessions, and so forth. • Telephone Calls – These are useful for quick checkups or for imparting or receiving key information, instructions, or data. Developing Oral Communication Skills All businesspeople need to speak effectively. Whether they are talking to colleagues or presenting a keynote address, businesspeople should follow the same rules of thumb: • Make emotional contact with listeners by addressing them by name where possible. • Avoid speaking in monotone. • Be enthusiastic and project a positive outlook. • Avoid interrupting others. • Always be courteous • Avoid empty sounds or words such as “uh,” “um,” “like,” and “you know.” Improving Employee Communication Some guidelines to improve communications with employees are: • Keep it simple – use a picture, chart or illustration when possible. • Keep it brief – short messages are retained; long messages are lost. • Keep it regular – communicate daily and repeat important messages. • Keep it consistent – strive for consistency so as not to confuse. • Make it timely and proactive – deliver time sensitive messages & FAQs ASAP. • Seek feedback – confirm that messages are received and understood. • Model the way – act and behave consistent with communications. Handling Difficult Customers The following are best practices for handling difficult customers: • Address the situation promptly and professionally; do not put it off. • Prepare by obtaining facts and developing a clear goal for the conversation. • Choose the right time and place for the conversation. • Be direct and to the point. • Invite the employee to share their view of the problem. • Engage the employee in a 2-way dialogue. • Obtain the employee’s commitment on how you plan to move forward. • Set a date to follow-up and evaluate your progress. Communication Guidelines What Should I Tell the Boss? • Progress towards performance goals and standards. This covers such items as deliverables, output, and quality. • Matters that may cause controversy. Arguments with other managers, a controversial interpretation of company policy, a discipline problem within your department – all are issues that should be brought to your superior. • Attitudes and morale. Tell your boss regularly about both the general level of morale and employee reactions to specific issues. • Constructive suggestions. Offer up new ideas, suggestions for changes in policies and procedures, and cost-saving approaches for the organization to consider.