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Assignment on Communication Skills

Communication Skills

The term 'Communication' has been derived from the Latin word 'communis' that means
'common'. Thus 'to communicate' means 'to make common' or 'to make known'. This act
of making common and known is carried out through exchange of thoughts, ideas or the
like. The exchange of thoughts and ideas can be had by gestures, signs, signals, speech or
writing. People are said to be in communication when they discuss some matter, or when
they talk on telephone, or when they exchange information through letters.

Basically, communication is sharing information, whether in writing or orally.

Effective communication is all about conveying your messages to other people clearly
and unambiguously. It's also about receiving information that others are sending to you,
with as little distortion as possible.

In fact, communication is only successful when both the sender and the receiver
understand the same information as a result of the communication.

The Communication Process

Communication that is what we try to do speak to those near us

 Thought: First, information exists in the mind of the sender. This can be a
concept, idea, information, or feelings.
 Encoding: Next, a message is sent to a receiver in words or other symbols.
 Decoding: lastly, the receiver translates the words or symbols into a concept or
information that he or she can understand.
During the transmitting of the message, two elements will be received: content and
context.

Content is the actual words or symbols of the message which is known as language - the
spoken and written words combined into phrases that make grammatical and semantic
sense. We all use and interpret the meanings of words differently, so even simple
messages can be misunderstood. And many words have different meanings to confuse the
issue even more.

Context is the way the message is delivered and is known as paralanguage - it is the non
verbal elements in speech such as the tone of voice, the look in the sender's eyes, body
language, hand gestures, and state of emotions (anger, fear, uncertainty, confidence, etc.)
that can be detected. Although paralanguage or context often cause messages to be
misunderstood as we believe what we see more than what we hear; they are powerful
communicators that help us to understand each other. Indeed, we often trust the accuracy
of nonverbal behaviors more than verbal behaviors.

Some leaders think they have communicated once they told someone to do something, "I
don't know why it did not get done. I told Jim to do it." More than likely, Jim
misunderstood the message. A message has NOT been communicated unless it is
understood by the receiver (decoded). How do you know it has been properly received?
By two-way communication or feedback. This feedback tells the sender that the receiver
understood the message, its level of importance, and what must be done with it.
Communication is an exchange, not just a give, as all parties must participate to complete
the information exchange.

Types of communication

1. Verbal Communication
2. Non Verbal Communication

1. Verbal Communication

The basis of communication is the interaction between people. Verbal


communication is one way for people to communicate face-to-face. Some of the
key components of verbal communication are sound, words, speaking, and
language.

Types of Verbal Communication

There are basically two types of verbal communication:-

 Oral-which means spoken words


 Written-which means in written form

2. Non Verbal Communication

Nonverbal communication can be best defined as the procedure of communicating


with a person or party without using any form of speech to grab an audience
attention or to exploit a message. Non verbal communication is often used to
make an expression of a thought or thoughts and make your message more
appealing and interesting to whom you are speaking.
The advantages of non-verbal communication are:

1) You can communicate with someone who is hard of hearing of deaf.

2) You can communicate at place where you are supposed to maintain silence.

3) You can communicate something which you don't want others to hear or listen to.

4) You can communicate if you are far away from a person. The person can see but not
hear you.

5) Non-verbal communication makes conversation short and brief.

6) You can save on time and use it as a tool to communicate with poeple who don't
understand your language.

The disadvantages of non-verbal communication are:

1) You can not have long conversation.

2) Can not discuss the particulars of your message

3) Difficult to understand and requires a lot of repetitions.

4) Can not be used as a public tool for communication.

6) Less influential and can not be used everywhere.

7) Not everybody prefers to communicate through non-verbal communication.

8) Can not create an impression upon people/listeners.

Types of Nonverbal Communication

What are the types of nonverbal communication? There are 5 types of nonverbal
communication; the 5 types of nonverbal communication are the following:
1. Eye Contact
2. Facial Expressions
3. Gestures
4. Posture & Body Orientation
5. Proximity
6. Vocal

 Eye contact: This helps to regulate the flow of communication. It signals interest
in others and increases the speaker's credibility. People who make eye contact
open the flow of communication and convey interest, concern, warmth, and
credibility.
 Facial Expressions: Smiling is a powerful cue that transmits happiness,
friendliness, warmth, and liking. So, if you smile frequently you will be perceived
as more likable, friendly, warm and approachable. Smiling is often contagious and
people will react favorably. They will be more comfortable around you and will
want to listen more.
 Gestures: If you fail to gesture while speaking you may be perceived as boring
and stiff. A lively speaking style captures the listener's attention, makes the
conversation more interesting, and facilitates understanding.
 Posture and body orientation: You communicate numerous messages by the
way you talk and move. Standing erect and leaning forward communicates to
listeners that you are approachable, receptive and friendly. Interpersonal closeness
results when you and the listener face each other. Speaking with your back turned
or looking at the floor or ceiling should be avoided as it communicates disinterest.
 Proximity: Cultural norms dictate a comfortable distance for interaction with
others. You should look for signals of discomfort caused by invading the other
person's space. Some of these are: rocking, leg swinging, tapping, and gaze
aversion.
 Vocal: Speaking can signal nonverbal communication when you include such
vocal elements as: tone, pitch, rhythm, timbre, loudness, and inflection. For
maximum teaching effectiveness, learn to vary these six elements of your voice.
One of the major criticisms of many speakers is that they speak in a monotone
voice. Listeners perceive this type of speaker as boring and dull

Barriers to Communication

Nothing is so simple that it cannot be misunderstood. - Freeman Teague, Jr.

Anything that prevents understanding of the message is a barrier to communication.


Many physical and psychological barriers exist:

 Culture, background, and bias - We allow our past experiences to change the
meaning of the message. Our culture, background, and bias can be good as they
allow us to use our past experiences to understand something new, it is when they
change the meaning of the message that they interfere with the communication
process.
 Noise - Equipment or environmental noise impedes clear communication. The
sender and the receiver must both be able to concentrate on the messages being
sent to each other.
 Ourselves - Focusing on ourselves, rather than the other person can lead to
confusion and conflict. The "Me Generation" is out when it comes to effective
communication. Some of the factors that cause this are defensiveness (we feel
someone is attacking us), superiority (we feel we know more that the other), and
ego (we feel we are the center of the activity).
 Perception - If we feel the person is talking too fast, not fluently, does not
articulate clearly, etc., we may dismiss the person. Also our preconceived
attitudes affect our ability to listen. We listen uncritically to persons of high status
and dismiss those of low status.
 Message - Distractions happen when we focus on the facts rather than the idea.
Our educational institutions reinforce this with tests and questions. Semantic
distractions occur when a word is used differently than you prefer. For example,
the word chairman instead of chairperson, may cause you to focus on the word
and not the message.
 Environmental - Bright lights, an attractive person, unusual sights, or any other
stimulus provides a potential distraction.
 Smothering - We take it for granted that the impulse to send useful information is
automatic. Not true! Too often we believe that certain information has no value to
others or they are already aware of the facts.
 Stress - People do not see things the same way when under stress. What we see
and believe at a given moment is influenced by our psychological frames of
references - our beliefs, values, knowledge, experiences, and goals.

Etiquette

In today's competitive business environment, social skills and proper etiquette can mean
the difference between finding and winning the job of your career and standing still in
your career. The confidence of knowing you can hold your own in any social setting,
from the white-knuckled nervousness of a first interview to a casual business lunch, can
change the way people perceive and judge you. The key to proper business etiquette is:
"Do unto others as they would want you to do unto them."

To be successful in the business world, a person must use proper verbal etiquette. One
important aspect of verbal etiquette is a proper introduction. Every day we encounter
people in a variety of business and social situations. The way we meet and greet them
creates lasting impressions and paves the way for a productive encounter. Introductions
project information. Besides the obvious elements of name, title, and affiliation, an
introduction conveys a level of respect and reflects how the person making the
introduction views the other person's status. Mastering the art of the introduction will
help put you and the people you are introducing at ease. Learning the basics - and they
are not very difficult - is the first step.

Basic points to remember when making introductions:

 The most important point about introductions is to always make them, even if you
can't remember names. Failing to do so causes embarrassment and discomfort. If
given a choice, most people would prefer you to make the introduction
incorrectly, even if you forgot their name, rather than stand there unacknowledged
and disregarded.

 A second important point in any introduction is the order of names. The name of
the person being introduced is mentioned last, and the person to whom the
introduction is made is mentioned first. In a business setting, introductions are
based on power and hierarchy. Simply, persons of lesser authority are introduced
to persons of greater authority. Gender plays no role in business etiquette; nor
does it affect the order of introductions.

Another important aspect of verbal etiquette is the way in which people address others in
a business setting. Once introduced, improperly addressing superiors, colleagues,
customers and clients, or subordinates at future meetings may create tension and will
create a negative impression. Generally, it is appropriate to address subordinates and
others with whom an informal relationship has been established by their first name. In
formal relationships, or when the relationship status is unknown, it is necessary to refer to
the individual using the appropriate gender-specific title. When gender-specific titles are
necessary, use Mister (Mr.) to address men, Misses (Mrs.) to address married women,
and Miss (Ms.) to address women who are single or whose marital status is unknown.
Following are more specific rules for addressing others in business settings:

 Superiors: Always address superiors with the appropriate gender-specific title,


unless he/she gives express permission to do otherwise.

 Colleagues: It is generally accepted procedure to address colleagues by first


name. Exceptions arise when the relationship is formal or unfamiliar.

 Subordinates: If the superior has established an informal relationship with the


subordinate, use of first names is appropriate. If the relationship is formal or
unfamiliar, the appropriate gender-specific title is necessary.
 Clients and Customers: Most relationships with clients or customers are formal,
dictating appropriate gender-specific titles. Occasionally, though, an amiable
relationship has been established and would allow the use of first names.

A third aspect of business etiquette is proper telephone procedure. Since much of today’s
business is done over the phone, using correct telephone etiquette is more important than
ever. Lasting impressions may be formed during and after telephone conversations, and
business people, in order to be successful, must maintain a positive impression. This
dictates that people use proper telephone etiquette.

There are seven different aspects of telephone etiquette to consider.

1. General Telephone Etiquette

Identify yourself, with your first and last name, when answering the phone.

Return phones calls within 24 hours, and apologize if the call is late.

Identify yourself when you place a call. Say your name, the company, business or
department you represent. Then state the nature of your call. If you do not identify
yourself, expect to be asked and do not take offense.

2. Interoffice Phone Etiquette

Don’t hover outside a coworker’s office or cubicle waiting for him or her to finish
up a phone call.

Leave, and try again later.

Don’t listen in on coworkers’ phone conversations. If you share office space with
someone, this may be unavoidable, but try to keep busy while the person is
talking – and never comment on what you’ve just overheard!

3. Voice Mail
Outgoing messages should include your name and company name. If applicable,
mention the job you handle to prevent having to route the message to someone
else.

Let the caller know how to reach a live person in an emergency.

Keep your outgoing message current. If you’re going to be out of the office, your
message should say so. When you go away, state the date you’ll be back and
whether or not you’ll be calling in for messages, or whom to contact in your
absence.

4. Call-Waiting

Unless you are expecting an urgent call and say so, it’s impolite to continually put
the person to whom you’re speaking on hold while you take another call. Say, "I
have another call, can you hold just a second?" Take the other call, explain you’re
on another line and will call back shortly. Then quickly return to your first caller.

5. Speakerphones

Although a speakerphone is a great convenience when several people need to


participate in a conference call, in a two-person conversation, it often annoys or
offends the person whose voice is broadcast. Use it sparingly, and always tell the
person on the other end that a speakerphone is being used. Try to avoid using it
with a client.

6. Cellular phones

Try to remove yourself from a public area to a quiet corner of the room so as not
to bother others.

If you must make or take a call, keep it short and as discrete as possible.
7. Placing someone on hold

Make sure it’s for a good reason, such as pulling the person’s file or answering
another line.

Ask the person if he or she will hold, and wait for a response rather than assuming
the answer is yes.

Never keep a caller on hold for more than a minute. If you have to take longer
than that, return to the person and tell them that you absolute have to take a few
minutes longer, and ask if she wouldn’t prefer that you call her back."

When you return to the caller, thank them for holding.