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Effective Communication Skills


Effective Communication Skills

Effective Communication Skills

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Page 1 Page 2  MTD TRAINING EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION SKILLS Download free eBooks at bookboon.com 2 Page 3 Effective Communication Skills 1st edition © 2012 MTD Training & bookboon.com ISBN 978-87-7681-598-1 Download free eBooks at bookboon.com 3 Page 4 EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION SKILLS Contents CONTENTS Preface 6 1 Introduction – Effective Communication Skills 8 1.1 The Importance of Communication 8 1.2 What Is Communication? 9 1.3 What Are Communication Skills? 9 1.4 The Communication Process 10 2 Perspectives in Communication 16 2.1 Introduction 16 2.2 Visual Perception 16 2.3 Language 18 2.4 Other Factors Affecting Our Perspective 19 3 Elements of Communication 24 3.1 Introduction 24 3.2 Face to Face Communication 25 3.3 Physical Communication 31 A C A R EER W I T H I N F I N A N CE & I T Denmark’s largest provider of financial software solutions needs YOU! Offering you personal and professional growth We are a leading sup- The SimCorp culture is characterized by open Who are we looking for? plier of highly specialized dialogue, empowerment and fast decision-making. Our core competencies lie within economics, software and expertise Reporting lines are clear, thus action is not bogged finance and IT, and as a result the majority of our for financial institutions down in bureaucracy. We believe in solving work- employees have a master degree within business and corporations – related challenges together, and you will find that and finance, IT, mathematics or engineering. activities, which have established our repu- both management and colleagues are very receptive tation as “the house to suggestions and new ideas. Are you completing of financial know- your master degree this year? how”. We are listed As newly hired employee in SimCorp you will go Then apply now – why wait – a fast tracked inter- on the OMX Nordic through an extensive introduction period, in addition national orientated career is just around the corner! Exchange Copenhagen to being provided with a mentor. This gives you the and have 800+ emplo- opportunity to secure the know-how necessary to yees. perform efficiently. Care to join us? – Visit us at www.simcorp.com SIMCORP A/S · Oslo Plads 12 · DK-2100 Copenhagen O · Denmark · +45 35 44 88 00 · www.simcorp.com Download free eBooks at bookboon.com Click on the ad to read more 4 Page 5 EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION SKILLS Contents 4 Communication Styles 32 4.1 Introduction 32 4.2 The Communication Styles Matrix 33 4.3 Examples of Communication for Each Style 42 5 Basic Listening Skills 48 5.1 Introduction 48 5.2 Self-Awareness 49 5.3 Active Listening 50 5.3 Becoming an Active Listener 50 5.4 Listening in Difficult Situations 53 6 Effective Written Communication 54 6.1 Introduction 54 6.2 When and When Not to Use Written Communication 55 6.3 Writing Effectively 57 7 Resources 61 Download free eBooks at bookboon.com 5 Page 6 EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION SKILLS Preface PREFACE So what does it take to become a master communicator? Have you either “got it” or you haven’t? Are you born with outstanding communication skills or can they be learned? Either way, you’ll need to be a master communicator to get on in your studies and to progress throughout your career and life in general. This textbook covers the essentials and also hidden secrets of what being able to communicate with ease is all about. Sean McPheat, the Founder and Managing Director of management development specialists, MTD Training is the author of this publication. Sean has been featured on CNN, BBC, ITV, on numerous radio stations and has contributed to many newspapers. He’s been featured in over 250 different publications as a thought leader within the management development and training industry. MTD has been working with a wide variety of clients (both large and small) in the UK and internationally for several years. MTD specialise in providing: • In-house, tailor made management training courses (1–5 days duration) • Open courses (Delivered throughout the UK at various locations) • Management & leadership development programmes (From 5 days to 2 years) • Corporate and executive coaching (With senior or middle managers) Download free eBooks at bookboon.com 6 Page 7 EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION SKILLS Preface MTD provide a wide range of management training courses and programmes that enable new and experienced managers to maximise their potential by gaining or refining their management and leadership skills. Our team of highly skilled and experienced trainers and consultants have all had distinguished careers in senior management roles and bring with them a wealth of practical experience to each course. At MTD Training we will design and deliver a solution that suits your specific needs addressing the issues and requirements from your training brief that best fits your culture, learning style and ways of working. Our programmes are delivered when and where you need them! We believe that training should be fun, highly interactive and provide “real world” practical techniques and methods that you can use back in the office – and that’s exactly what we provide. Download A FREE Self Study Management Course Please visit our website www.m-t-d.co.uk for further details about the services that we offer and to also download a FREE Self Study Management Course Contact MTD: Online: Web: www.m-t-d.co.uk Email: [email protected] Telephone: From The UK: 0800 849 6732 International: ++ 44 800 849 6732 Download free eBooks at bookboon.com 7 Page 8 EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION SKILLS Introduction – Effective Communication Skills 1 INTRODUCTION – EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION SKILLS 1.1 THE IMPORTANCE OF COMMUNICATION In a survey conducted by the Katz Business School at the University of Pittsburgh, organizations rated communication skills as the most important factor used in selecting their management staff. The study found that oral and written communication skills were important in predicting job success, as was the ability to communicate well with others in the workplace. A University of Pittsburgh study found that the most important factor in selecting managers is communication skills. This makes sense when you think about it. If you can communicate well, you can get your message across to others in an effective way and they then have accurate instructions to complete their assigned tasks. If you are not able to communicate well, the messages you send get lost in translation. Communication breakdowns result in barriers against your ability to develop both professionally and personally. Even though communications skills are so important to success in the workplace, there are many individuals who find these skills to be a stumbling block to their progress. They struggle to convey their thoughts and ideas in an accurate manner, making it difficult to progress and nearly impossible to lead well. However, there is hope for anyone who finds communicating to be difficult. These skills can be practiced and learned. It takes learning about how communication works, how to communicate exactly what it is you want to say, what mode of communication is best, and what factors are influencing the ability for you to send and receive messages with acumen. Download free eBooks at bookboon.com 8 Page 9 EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION SKILLS Introduction – Effective Communication Skills 1.2 WHAT IS COMMUNICATION? When asked to define communication, how would you respond? Most people will relate to the forms of communication – talking or listening. But communication goes beyond that. Communication involves getting information from one person to the other person. Yet even this is not a complete definition because communicating effectively involves having that information relayed while retaining the same in content and context. If I tell you one thing and you hear another, have I communicated? Communication is the art and process of creating and sharing ideas. Effective communication depends on the richness of those ideas. So if we look at communication from another angle, it involves the perception of the information as much as the delivery of that information. In other words, we can define communication as the art and process of creating and sharing ideas. Effective communication depends on the richness of those ideas. In order to be effective at communicating, there are a number of skills that you can rely. Which skill you choose will depend upon your situation, the recipient of your communication, and the information that you need to convey. 1.3 WHAT ARE COMMUNICATION SKILLS? Imagine you are on one side of a wall and the person you want to communicate with is on the other side of the wall. But there’s more than the wall in the way. The wall is surrounded by a moat that is filled with crocodiles and edged by quicksand. These barriers could be things like different cultures, different expectations, different experiences, different perspectives, or different communication styles, to name just a few. Communication skills are the tools that we use to remove the barriers to effective communication. You might experience only one of these barriers at a time, or you might find yourself facing them all. Getting your message to the other person requires that you recognize these barriers exist between you, and that you then apply the proper tools, or communication skills, to remove those barriers preventing your message from getting through. Download free eBooks at bookboon.com 9 Page 10 EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION SKILLS Introduction – Effective Communication Skills Of course, communication is a two-way street. The person on the other side of those barriers will also try to send messages back to you. Your ability to understand them clearly could be left to a dependence on their ability to use communication skills. But that’s leaving the success of the communication to chance. Instead, you can also use your own communication skills to ensure that you receive messages clearly as well. Finally, there isn’t only one point in your communication with another person at which you have to watch out for barriers. To be successful at communicating, it’s important to recognize that these barriers to communication can occur at multiple points in the communication process. 1.4 THE COMMUNICATION PROCESS The communication process involves multiple parts and stages. These are: The communication process is composed of several stages, each of which offers potential barriers to successful communication. • Source • Message • Encoding • Channel • Decoding • Receiver • Feedback • Context At each of these stages, there is the potential for barriers to be formed or problems to arise. As we look at ways to limit the barriers to communicating effectively, remember that you may have to apply them at more than one occasion during your communications process. The steps in the process are represented in Figure 1 and explained further in the following information. Download free eBooks at bookboon.com 10 Page 11 EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION SKILLS Introduction – Effective Communication Skills  6RXUFH    )HHGEDFN 0HVVDJH   5HFHLYHU (QFRGLQJ &RQWH[W   0HVVDJH  0HVVDJH 'HFRGLQJ  0HVVDJH &KDQQHO Figure 1: The Communication Process 1.4.1 SOURCE The source of the communication is the sender, or for our purposes, you. In order to be a good source, you need to be clear about the message that you are sending. Do you know exactly what it is that you want to communicate? You’ll also want to be sure you know why it is that you are communicating. What result is it that you expect? If you cannot answer these questions, you will be starting the communication process with a high chance of failure. The source of the message is the sender. The sender must know why the communication is necessary and what result is needed. Download free eBooks at bookboon.com 11 Page 12 EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION SKILLS Introduction – Effective Communication Skills 1.4.2 MESSAGE The message is simply the information that you want to communicate. Without a message, there is no cause for communicating. If you cannot summarize the information that you need to share, you aren’t ready to begin the process of communication. The source of the message is the sender. The sender must know why the communication is necessary and what result is needed. 1.4.3 ENCODING Encoding is the process of taking your message and transferring it into a format that can be shared with another party. It’s sort of like how messages are sent via a fax. The information on the paper has to be encoded, or prepared, before it can be sent to the other party. It has to be sent in a format that the other party has the ability to decode or the message will not be delivered. Lighting, beyond illumination In 10 years 2/3 of people will be living in big cities. At Philips we focus on providing lighting beyond illumination to make these cities more livable, enjoyable and safe. #makeitmeaningful What will be your impact? www.philips.com/careers Download free eBooks at bookboon.com Click on the ad to read more 12 Page 13 EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION SKILLS Introduction – Effective Communication Skills In order to encode a message properly, you have to think about what the other person will need in order to understand, or decode, the message. Are you sharing all the information that is necessary to get the full picture? Have you made assumptions that may not be correct? Are you using the best form of sending it in order to ensure the best chance of the message being properly received? Are there cultural, environmental, or language differences between you and the other party that could cause miscommunication? Encoding is the process of taking your message and transferring it into the proper format for sharing it with your audience. It requires knowing your audience and ensuring that your message provides all of the information that they need. Of course, to encode a message properly, you have to know who your audience is. You need to have an understanding of what they know and what they need to know in order to send a complete message. You need to use language they will understand and a context that is familiar. One simple example of how you can do this is being sure to spell out acronyms. We sometimes forget that not everyone is familiar with the acronyms that we may use on a regular basis. 1.4.4 CHANNEL The channel is the method or methods that you use to convey your message. The type of message you have will help to determine the channel that you should use. Channels include face-to-face conversations, telephone calls or videoconferences, and written communication like emails and memos. The Channel is the method of communication that you choose such as face-to-face, by telephone, or via email. Each channel has its advantages and disadvantages. For example, you will find it difficult to give complex, technical information or instructions by using just the telephone. Or you may get bad results if you try to give criticism via email. 1.4.5 DECODING Decoding happens when you receive the message that has been sent. The communication skills required to decode a message successfully include the ability to read and comprehend, listen actively, or ask clarifying questions when needed. Download free eBooks at bookboon.com 13 Page 14 EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION SKILLS Introduction – Effective Communication Skills Decoding is the process of receiving the message accurately and requires that your audience has the means to understand the information you are sharing. If the person you are attempting to communicate with seems to be lacking the skills to decode your message, you will need to either resend it in a different way or assist them in understanding it by supplying clarifying information. 1.4.6 RECEIVER Since you have thought out your message, you’ve certainly also thought about what you want the desired result to be on the part of your listener. But it’s important to realize that each person that receives your message will be listening to it through their own individual expectations, opinions, and perspectives. Their individual experiences will influence how your message is received. You have expectations for a response from the receiver when you send a message. You can increase the chances of getting this result by addressing your audience’s concerns or addressing specific benefits as part of your communication. While you can’t always address each person’s individual concerns in a message, part of planning for your communication is to think ahead of time about what some of their thoughts or experiences might be. For example, if you are releasing a new product and want to convince customers to try it, you would want to be certain to address the specific benefits to the customer, or what improvements have been made since the last version was released. 1.4.7 FEEDBACK No matter what channel you have used to convey your message, you can use feedback to help determine how successful your communication was. If you are face-to-face with your audience, you can read body language and ask questions to ensure understanding. If you have communicated via writing, you can gauge the success of your communication by the response that you get or by seeing if the result you wanted is delivered. Feedback lets you gauge how successful you were at communicating. It also offers a chance to adjust your communication process for the future. Download free eBooks at bookboon.com 14 Page 15 EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION SKILLS Introduction – Effective Communication Skills In any case, feedback is invaluable for helping you to improve your communication skills. You can learn what worked well and what didn’t so that you can be even more efficient the next time you communicate with that person or the next time you need to communicate a similar message. 1.4.8 CONTEXT The context is the situation in which you are communicating. It involves the environment that you are in and that in which your audience is in, the culture of your organization(s), and elements such as the relationship between you and your audience. You communication process will not look the same when you are communicating with your boss as it will when you are communicating with a friend. The context helps determine the tone and style of your communication. Context involves things such as your relationship with your audience, the culture of your organization and your general environment. Start your career as a trainee and get ahead. #PIONIERGEIST Our trainees talk about their work at innogy and what #PIONIERGEIST means to them. Click and see! Download free eBooks at bookboon.com Click on the ad to read more 15 Page 16 EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION SKILLS Perspectives in Communication 2 PERSPECTIVES IN COMMUNICATION 2.1 INTRODUCTION We all come to each communication exchange with our own ‘filter’ through which we see the world, the person we are communicating with, and the situation or topic we are communicating about. These filters mean that we don’t always start with the same perspective as the person we are communicating with. Our individual perceptions are the ‘filter’ through which we communicate with others. 2.2 VISUAL PERCEPTION These filters can be visual, as in the famous example in Figure 2. What do you see when you look at the picture? A young woman or an old crone? Both perspectives are possible, and both are valid.  Figure 2: Young Woman & Crone Download free eBooks at bookboon.com 16 Page 17 EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION SKILLS Perspectives in Communication Figure 3: The Two Perspectives Download free eBooks at bookboon.com 17 Page 18 EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION SKILLS Perspectives in Communication Figure 3 reveals the two perspectives. Both of the perspectives represented in the young and old woman are valid – they are simply two different ways of seeing the same thing. We cannot decide that one does not exist just because we don’t see it. We have to recognize that there is more than one way to perceive the picture, just like there is usually more than one way to see any situation we encounter. 2.3 LANGUAGE The different perspectives we experience can be with language as well. How many times have you received an email that seemed to have a certain ‘tone to it,’ and that perception of tone colored the way that you might have responded? The same words can have very different meanings depending on how we interpret them. Here’s another example. What is the meaning of the following phrase? A woman without her man is nothing Download free eBooks at bookboon.com 18 Page 19 EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION SKILLS Perspectives in Communication Sounds pretty bad at first glance, doesn’t it? Look again. If you add punctuation or change the word emphasis, how does the meaning change? A woman. Without her, man is nothing. The words were the same in both cases. But the meaning has now changed completely. So although we think our meaning may be clear when we use specific words in a certain order, we can’t always be certain that the other person will read or hear them in that way. “Effective listeners remember that “Words have no meaning – people have meaning.” The assignment of meaning to a term is an internal process; meaning comes from inside us. And although our experiences, knowledge and attitudes differ, we often misinterpret each other’s messages while under the illusion that a common understanding has been achieved.” – Larry Barker 2.4 OTHER FACTORS AFFECTING OUR PERSPECTIVE There are a multitude of other factors that can affect our perspective, thereby affecting how we communicate with another person. Some of these factors come from our past experiences, our prejudices, our feelings, and our environment. Some of these will be discussed in greater detail in later chapters. 2.4.1 PAST EXPERIENCES Imagine that you are in a meeting where you will be discussing changes in your personnel policies at work. What will you be bringing to that conversation? You might have examples of other company’s personnel policies. You might have examples from your own time in the company that demonstrate why you feel that certain changes might need to be made. Or you might come to the table empty-handed, with just a pad of paper and a pen in order to take notes. What influences you to do any of these things? Your past experience. You would bring outside information because you have learned in the past that comparing situations can be helpful in decision making. You bring examples of your own experience because you have learned in the past that examples can be powerful ways to make your case. Or you come to the table empty-handed because in the past you have felt that your input wasn’t valued or you have no past experience in this topic and so you are a ‘clean slate’ information wise. In every one of these situations, your communication is being affected by your past experience. You enter a situation, a meeting, or a conversation, with certain expectations of what will happen in that scenario, and you behave accordingly. Download free eBooks at bookboon.com 19 Page 20 EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION SKILLS Perspectives in Communication Of course, sometimes you want your past experience to influence your future communications. For example, when your team responded positively to the sales tactics you put in place, those same or similar tactics can certainly be successful again. It’s when our negative past experiences stifle our communication or alter our full potential for communicating that we need to be aware. Further examples of how your past experience could influence your communication are given in Figure 4. Note that not all of them are negative – our past experiences can reaffirm our communication as well. 2.4.2 PREJUDICES We all have prejudices. They occur when we take our past experiences with a person and assume that the same type of experience will happen with all people who are similar to the first. Prejudices are partly due to culture and partly due to personal preference or experience. Not all prejudices involve a negative characteristic either; for example, you could consider all of one group to be smart. Past Experience Resulting Effect on Communication Your boss has reacted negatively when You hesitate to discuss the topic even you have discussed this topic in the past when it is necessary for your work You assume he or she will forget the Your co-worker has forgotten important information this time and so you information multiple times in the past overload him or her with reminders You don’t bring up another idea Your boss ignored your idea in the last meeting that could have made an impact You got nervous the last time You start out even more nervous you gave a presentation on your next presentation You use a similar style for The group reacted well to your last sales pitch your next sales pitch You fail to offer that product to the The last twenty customers 21st customer and beyond, some of rejected your new product whom may have wanted the product The last email you received from a colleague You send a rude email in return was rude (you perceived it as rude!) Your subordinate was disagreeable the last You don’t ask him this time, even time you asked him to work overtime though he would have agreed Figure 4: Past Experiences Influencing Communication Download free eBooks at bookboon.com 20

 

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