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Chapter 1

Effective Communication in Business

Chapter Objectives

To understand the importance and benefits of effective communication To understand essential components of communication To learn the concepts of communication and Challenges of communication To understand the role of nonverbal communication in overall communication

importance of effective communication

Important for the development of human civilization The ancient world depended heavily on oral communication With the evolution of human civilization, the art and science of written communication were developed Writing became more important as a means of keeping permanent record of communication

importance of effective communication (contd.)

The origination of communication principles can be traced back to the bureaucratic traditions of China. Thus, some of the principles of writing are based on a mixture of ancient oral and written traditions.

importance of effective communication (contd.)

Lifeblood of Every Organization(Internal)

As blood helps transmission of vital nutrients and hormones for effective functioning of human body, Communication does so in an organization. This is achieved through Internal Communication - Downward, Upward and Horizontal.

importance of effective communication (contd.)

Lifeblood of Every Organization

Effective downward communication also provides the employees proper guidelines to carry out their tasks. Effective upward communication fosters employee loyalty towards the organization. They feel they are part of the organization. Managers, through effective upward communication get to know the impact of their decisions on their employees and overall functioning of the organization.

importance of effective communication (contd.)

Lifeblood of Every Organization

Effective horizontal communication is essential for peer-learning within the organization. It helps employees solve problems, perform duties, prepare for the meetings and enhance the level of interdepartmental coordination required for carrying out cross-functional tasks.

Importance

importance of effective communication (contd.)

External Communication

External communication determines can have far reaching effect on a firms reputation and ultimate success. The letter, proposal, report, telephone call, or personal conversation can win back a dissatisfied customer.

importance of effective communication (contd.)

Cost of Communication

Cost of communication can be measured in terms of time and money. Late or ineffective communication may cause loss of customers and firms goodwill. In certain businesses, such as aviation, oil drilling, healthcare, mining, construction, poor communication may cost life of people and money.

benefits of effective communication

A Valuable Job Requirement

Managerial career requires mainly intellectual inputs to perform tasks effectively and hence an ability to communicate effectively becomes a valuable asset. Communication is a primary responsibility in many careers, such as marketing, sales, public relations, human resources, customer relations, financial services, and teaching.

benefits of effective communication (contd.)

A Valuable Job Requirement

Even if your work is mainly with figures, as in the accounting profession, the ability to communicate to those who read your financial reports is essential. It is an important requirement for those who are looking for their career advancement.

benefits of effective communication (contd.)

An Essential for Promotion

Managers spend 60 to 90 percent of their working days communicating speaking, writing, and listening. Ability to communicate is one of the very important aspects of becoming successful in managerial career.

components of communication

Context Sender-Encoder Message Medium Receiver-Decoder Feedback

Communication Basics Process

Communication Process Model

Communication Process: The Exchange


Decoding The Message
The process of interpreting the message Encoding The Message The process of selecting and organizing the message

components of communication
(contd.)

Context

Every message, whether oral or written, begins with context. It is a broad field that includes country, culture, organization, and internal stimuli. Every country, culture and organization has its own conventions for processing and communicating information. Your attitudes, opinions, emotions, past experiences, likes and dislikes, education, etc. influence the way you communicate.

components of communication
(contd.)

Context

Especially important is your ability to analyze the culture, viewpoint, needs, skills, status, experience and expectations in order to communicate effectively. Words alone have no meanings. They are meaningful in a given context.

components of communication
(contd.)

Sender - Encoder

As a sender-encoder, you use symbols that express your message and create the desired response. Alphabets are verbal symbols, which are used to design a message. Posture, gesture, eye contact, facial expressions, silence, etc. are some of the non-verbal symbols managers use to encode a message.

components of communication
(contd.)

Message

It is the core idea that on wants to communicate and it contains both verbal and non-verbal symbols. A communicators first task is to decide exactly what the message is and what other information to include. Choice of medium is crucial in determining the effectiveness of the message being communicated.

components of communication
(contd.)

Medium

The selection of communication channel depends on all the contextual factors and the nature of the message itself. The choices of medium include oral conversation, presentation, meeting, on one hand and e-mail, letter, memorandum, report, proposal, on the other hand. In nutshell, a communicator should decide: to speak or to write.

Factors involved in choosing the Means of Communication


Cost Confidentiality Safety and Security Influence Urgency Distance Resources Written Record Recipient

Channels of Communication

Downward Communication

Memos, notices, newsletters, manuals


Memos, reports, meetings, informal discussion Committee meetings, seminars, conferences Depends on cooperation, goodwill and respect

Upward Communication

Horizontal Communication

Diagonal Communication

components of communication
(contd.)

Characteristics of Oral and Written Media:


Oral Written
Delayed feedback Longer sentences & words More formal Delayed action Fewer personal pronouns More complex constructions

Immediate feedback Shorter sentences & words Conversational Prompt action More personal pronouns More colloquial language

Focus on interpersonal relations Focus on content


Less detail technical information More detailed technical info.

Simpler constructions
More imperative, interrogative, and exclamatory sentences

Possibility of review
Useful for permanent record and detailed documentation

components of communication
(contd.)

Receiver-Decoder

The receiver of the message - either a reader or a listener is also known as decoder. The receiver-decoder is influenced by the context and by the external and internal stimuli. The receiver decoded the whole message the verbal and non-verbal contents of the message.

components of communication
(contd.)

Feedback

The receivers response to a message depends on the meaning that is communicated through the message. The receiver gives feedback using either a verbal or non-verbal or both symbols. Feedback can be an oral or a written message, an action or simply silence.

Formal Network Flow in an Organization

Downward Communication

Supervisor to employee

Upward Communication

Feedback to downward communication

Horizontal Communication

Interaction between organizational units on the same hierarchical level

A communication model
CONTEXT
Stimuli

Sender-Encoder _______________ (experiences, attitudes, skills) Perception Idea encoding Symbol Decisions Sending Mechanism

Message _________
Verbal Nonverbal

Medium

Receiver-Decoder _______________ (experiences, attitudes, skills) Receptor Mechanism Perception Decoding Idea interpretation

FEEDBACK Verbal, nonverbal

Methods/types of Communication

Internal Communication External Communication

External Communication

ORAL

WRITTEN

Meeting Conference/Se minar Conversation Telephone Presentation

Brochure Invitation Press Release Advertisemen t Report E-Mail/Fax Letter

Internal Communication

ORAL

WRITTEN
Memo
Report

Telephone Intercom Meeting/Co nference Presentatio n Face-toFace Discussion Messages

Graphs/Chart

E-Mail/Fax Notice Form/questio

nnaire Newsletter Minutes

Concepts and problems of communication


Each persons mind is a unique filter. Problems with communication are more likely to occur when the two communicators filters are sharply different. The communication is said to be effective only when the senders meaning is conveyed to the receiver.

Concepts and problems of communication (contd.)

The senders meaning the senders meaning and the receivers meaning are affected by a number of factors:

Individual Conventions of Meaning Individual Perception of Reality Individual Values, Attitudes and Opinions

Concepts and problems of communication (contd.)

Individual Conventions of Meaning

The fundamental principle of communication is that the symbols the sender uses to communicate messages must have essentially the same meaning in both senders and receivers minds. A sender can never assume that the message that resides in his/her mind will be perfectly transmitted to receivers mind. This is because of differences in semantic understanding.

Concepts and problems of communication (contd.)

Individual Conventions of Meaning

The difference in semantic understanding can be reduced by common experience. The closer the common experiences surrounding the symbols and their things (referents) in the minds of sender and receiver, the closer the level of understanding. For examples, meanings of FIFO (fist in, fist out) or LIFO (last in, first out) can be understood by those who commonly share the profession of an accountant.

Concepts and problems of communication (contd.)

Communication Problems in Individual Conventions of Meaning


Miscommunicated Instructions Reactions to Denotations, Connotations, and Euphemism

Concepts and problems of communication (contd.)

Miscommunicated Instructions

Miscommunication occurs when the communicator (sender) and the communicate (receiver) attribute different meanings to the same words or use different words though intending the same meanings. It does not occur only in business and corporate offices but also among government officials, professionals and all of us in our everyday contacts.

Concepts and problems of communication (contd.)

Reactions to Denotations, Connotations, and Euphemism

Most People agree on denotative meanings of word, as they are dictionary meanings. A connotation is an implication of a word or a suggestion separate from the usual definition. In addition to more literal denotative meanings, some words have connotative meanings that arouse qualitative judgments and personal reactions

Concepts and problems of communication (contd.)

Reactions to Denotations, Connotations, and Euphemism

For example, the word student is denotative; whereas scholar, bookworm, dropout, are connotative. The connotative meanings for words are also affected by the communicators backgrounds and interests. Words such as speed, gay, feminist arouse mixed feelings and arguments.

Concepts and problems of communication (contd.)

Individual Perception of Reality

The world provides a special reality to individuals called Perception. Human beings receive external stimuli through sensory mechanism touch, sight, sound, smell, taste. Every individuals attach meanings to these stimuli in their own way.

Concepts and problems of communication (contd.)

Communication Problems in Individual Perception of Reality


Abstracting Inferring

Concepts and problems of communication (contd.)

Abstracting

Abstracting is a process of focusing on some details and omitting others. Abstracting is necessary in countless situations, as the communicator has limited time, money, space and purpose. The communicator and communicatee should ensure that the facts they are acquainted with are truly representative of whole. Slanting is unfair in reporting and creates communication problems.

Concepts and problems of communication (contd.)

Inferring

Inferences are the conclusions made by reasoning from the evidence or premises. Most of the individuals make assumptions and draw conclusions even though they are not able to immediately verify the evidence. Some inferences are both necessary and desirable, however, some are risky and even dangerous.

Concepts and problems of communication (contd.)

Necessary and Desirable Inferences

Inferences are essential for analyzing materials, solving problems. And planning procedures, for many professionals such as marketers, advertisers, architects, designers. Certain inferences we make in our day-today life are necessary and are reliable, such as If I assign some task to Mr. Shah- Sr. Executive, Marketing, it will be completed in time.

Concepts and problems of communication (contd.)

Risk of Inferences

Inferences made without factual support or sufficient evidence prove to wrong and they remain mere assumptions.

So far our company is doing well, but if current economic slowdown continues further, many of our colleagues might have to lose their jobs. (The
employee may or may not lose jobs)

Concepts and problems of communication (contd.)

Individual Values, Attitudes, and Opinions

The effectiveness of communication is affected by the values, attitudes, and opinions of the communicators and communicatees have in their minds as mental filters. The meaning of a message is derived based on these filters existing at both the senders side and the receivers side.

Concepts and problems of communication (contd.)

Communication Problems involving Values, Attitudes, and Opinions

Favorable or Unfavorable Information

Receivers often react to unfavorable information by rejecting, distorting or avoiding it. Creates confusion about the meaning when message is incorrect. Some people hold rigid views on certain subjects. It is very difficult to communicate with people who have closed minds.

Inadequate or Incorrect Information

Closed Minds

Concepts and problems of communication (contd.)

Communication Problems involving Values, Attitudes, and Opinions

Senders Credibility

Attitude towards the sender is very important in determining the credibility of sender and therefore authenticity of information. Sender ahs to win the confidence of the audience before sending any message to them.

Other Circumstances

Lifes stresses affect communicators ability to communicate effectively. Sensitivity to ones own mind as well a to that of the receiver helps communicate better.

Barriers and Miscommunication


Inadequate / inappropriate channels Status difference Lack of trust Close communication climate Information overload Message complexity and competition Physical distraction

Communication Effectiveness

Communication style Audience Good listening Cultural differences Ethics Communication technology Effective flow

Nonverbal communication

Nonverbal communication supports the verbal message being delivered by the communicator in an oral communication situation. Some of the symbols of nonverbal communication are:

Appearance Body Language Silence, time and space

Significance
70-90% communication is non-verbal Wordsobjective information Actions speak louder than words Words conceal actions reveal Non-verbaltrue feelings and attitudes Central to interpersonal relationships Leaders and managersto create impression, manage interaction Greater impact

Goals
Express emotions Send relational messages Convey deception Send messages of power & persuasion

Nonverbal communication
(contd.)

Appearance

In written communication, an envelope's appearance size, color, weight, postage may impress the receiver as either important, routine or junk mail. A communicators appearance clothes and accessories, perfume, grooming communicates a lot about his/her profession, professional status, senders credibility, etc. Appearance of surrounding room size, furnishing, lighting, air-conditioners, etc. supports the process of communication.

Nonverbal communication
(contd.)

Body Language includes:


Facial expressions Gestures, Posture and Movement Smell and Touch Voice and Sounds

Nonverbal communication
(contd.)

Facial expressions

The eyes and the face of a communicator are very useful in oral communication. They are capable of revealing emotions such as anger, confusion, joy, surprise, depression, dullness, etc. Appropriate eye contact covering almost everyone in the audience enhances the effectiveness of the communication Cheerful and charming face attracts audiences attention and thus helps communicator.

Nonverbal communication
(contd.)

Gestures, Posture and Movement

Hands and head movement adds to the message. Excessive and aggressive hand movement distracts the attention of the audience. Posture and Movement can convey selfconfidence. Relaxed, yet erect posture helps communicate more effectively. Controlled amount of movement inside the room helps communicate better.

Nonverbal communication
(contd.)

Gestures, Posture and Movement

Continual gesture and movement such as pacing back and forth may signal nervousness and may be distracting to listeners. An interested listener may lean forward towards the speaker; one who is bored may lean backward, slump or glance at the clock.

Nonverbal communication
(contd.)

Smell and Touch

Specific smell can communicate an identity. For example smell of coffee or tea attracts people to enter a restaurant. Touch can communicate friendship, love, approval, hatred, anger or other feelings. A pat on the back or shoulder communicates more than just words.

Nonverbal communication
(contd.)

Voice and Sounds

The voice quality and extra sound one makes while speaking is known as paralanguage. It includes voice volume, rate, articulation, pitch and the other sounds such as throat clearing or sighing. A loud voice communicates a sense of urgency. A lazy articulation, slurring sounds or skipping over syllables or words, may reduce the credibility. Speaking fast may be a sign of nervousness. A lack of pitch variation may be monotonous; while excessive variation may seem artificial and overly dramatic. Throat clearing can be distracting.

Nonverbal communication
(contd.)

Silence, Time and Space


Silence communicates more than words. Concepts of time varies across the cultures. German are very time punctual. But if you arrive for a meeting in time in Portugal, the host may wonder why you came so early. In Indian context, reaching late communicates ones high status and importance.

Nonverbal communication
(contd.)

Silence, Time and Space

Space or the distance between the sender and communicator is important for effective communication. The senior executive or officer keeps the size of the table larger to ensure a distance between him / her and the visitors or other staff in the office. The size of office space / cubicles communicates a great deal about the designation and importance of people in an organization.

Tips for Effectiveness


Observe and understand Use good eye contact Use your face and voice appropriate to situation

Adopt postures that reveal confidence and sincerity


Use gestures to drive home your points Be aware of the contradiction between verbal and nonverbal cues Understand the cultural differences