I work in a small am of 4 and I have a single member of staff who reports directly to me. Understand the nature and importance of the communication process in the workplace Effective communication is a valuable skill to have in the workplace. In business it is essential that communication is effective to ensure we can head towards a shared and common goal, ultimately leading to successes for all. Communication involves sharing information and ideas so that all parties involved have a common understanding.
If information that has been shared is misunderstood problems can occur and the desired goal is not achieved. Understanding what makes up the elements of communication provides us with the tools to effective communication with all those we have dealings with. To understand what is going on in communication we must understand the communication process (or cycle). According to the ELM COUrse materials there are 5 elements in the communication cycle: sender (transmitter) , message, method of transmission, receiver, feedback (response)- (ELM level 3, Module 2 , page 1).
The communication process begins with the sender (or transmitter) formulating a message they wish to transmit. The sender ‘encodes’ the message ii decides hat they are going to say and how they will say it. The message is next transmitted via the most appropriate means to be successfully received. Once received, the encoded message then needs to be decoded and understood by the receiver. Finally, the receiver, having decoded the message provides feedback (thus becoming the sender) and so the cycle starts again. This process can be applied to any form of communication between people.
For example, when I want to deliver the same information to a number of people egg details of a meeting, in 2 weeks time I (sender) will usually send an e-mail message & method) and ask them to confirm their attendance by a given time (feedback). If I am communicating with a colleague about the progress of an urgent support call my approach would be very different. I will probably speak to them face to face or on the phone to get a more immediate response. However, there may be a number of barriers to overcome to ensure successful transmission and receiving of a message.
Therefore it is important to be aware of what these barriers are, and this is what will discuss in the next paragraph. Barriers to communication can be divided in to 2 main groups: internal and external. Internal barriers, where they relate to the sender or receiver off message, can further be outlined in three main categories. Firstly, emotional barriers egg ‘screening’ we say or hear messages so that they are more favorable to us. Secondly, cognitive barriers egg our knowledge and understanding (or lack of it) of a topic. Finally physical barriers egg hearing or speech impediment or simply being tired.
External barriers are those outside of the person, such as a noisy office, lack of privacy or not being able to meet with some one face to face. The examples below outline some experiences have in the office in relation to he communication process and barriers I have faced and dealt with. Have a technical job but often have to convey technical topics in layman’s speak so that my “receivers” can apply what I have said to their day to day (non technical) work, thus overcoming a cognitive barrier. My language will adjust accordingly if I am talking with colleagues who are more familiar with the technical aspects of my work.
An example of a physical barrier that I experience is my hearing. I wear hearing aids, this is not usually a problem if I speak with a person face to face (it’s amazing how much you lip read and don’t realism it! . However, communication can be problematic on the phone. This can be especially important when I am receiving technical or detailed information. One strategy I use to deal with this is always confirm back to the person what I think I have heard – this has 2 bonuses – through my feedback they immediately know if I have understood them or not and they know I am listening.
Ultimately, this means both parties can be confident they have understood each other, and hopefully neither of us come away from the conversation frustrated or wondering if the message has been successful Lily transmitted. Communication in the Council is not without its difficulties. We operate a flexible working policy, whereby workers can set their own start and end times (there are some rules – you need to cover core hours set out by your directorate and you need to complete your working hours), also many employees do not have a fixed desk whereby they either work from the office or at home (more commonly referred to as “Timelier”).
While this is great for home/work balance this demonstrated a number of external communication barriers we face. Often e-mail is the most reliable communication method to overcome this barrier, ND scheduling a meeting is often the only way of guaranteeing a face to face encounter. Understand the methods of communication Communication between people falls in to 2 categories: Verbal (oral and written) and non verbal (body language, tone of voice, appearance etc). Verbal communication methods used by the Council include face to face, phone, e- mail or instant internal message (electronic), letter and sometimes SMS.
There are also less personal forms of written communication used such as the intranet and internet, leaflets, posters and signage. Oral communication at The Council s usually by phone or face to face and consists of general chatter, or more structured/purposeful meetings and/ or conversation. Of course, the method of communication may vary according to target audience, and topic. Since my role predominantly involves internal communications the examples use will relate to that. One of the most common forms of verbal written communication I use is e- mail.
The benefits of e-mail are: Email is a quick way of communicating (almost instant in some cases). The same as all written communication methods, e- mail allows for a permanent record of what you have said. You can keep the thread of a conversation communication . E-mail is easy to store and file away, it is relatively cheap; you can communicate with a numerous number of people at the same time and it can be very secure. E-mail does not require an instant response, and as with most written communication it allows you time to think and compose what you are going to say.
The disadvantages of e-mail (and much written communication) are; you can get the contact details wrong and send potentially confidential information to the wrong person, and you may not realism this until you get feedback. Instant feedback is not guaranteed (if at all). It can be difficult to imply intonation in written communication. You are not able to gauge the readers reaction to/or understanding the information communicated. Finally, it may be more appropriate, convenient or just your preferred style to communicate orally.
The benefits to oral communication include: It allows for a quick exchange of information between people, there is instant feedback. Several people can be involved in a conversation at once. When the communication is face to face it can include non-verbal communication to stress a point. However, because of TTS immediate nature oral communication can result in poor responses as there may be limited time to produce an adequate response. In team meetings some employees may not feel confident speaking in front of a group.
Some people may just not be effective oral communicators. An example of oral communication with my team is regular team meetings. There is usually an agenda (written communication) that is followed, this helps ensure we discuss the most relevant topics and salient team issues, thus ensuring nothing important is missed. Meeting face to face also allows for meaningful team discussion, it can be used to understand what is really important to other team members, and may also may be the only chance we really have to be together as a team.
An intrinsic part overall communication is non-verbal communication. Non verbal communication can convey information far more meaningful than the words themselves. According to research; vocal inflection, content and facial expressions account for the majority of a messages impact, with just 7% being inferred by the actual words, other research suggests that non verbal communication makes up the majority (up to 55%) of the messages we give out (ELM Module 2, app, 13).
If a manager says something but their non verbal immunization conveys a different message from that intended, the message may not achieve its desired effect. Conversely, non verbal communication can be used help convey meaning to or stress the impact/ importance of what is being said egg thumbs up to convey success or approval. Good communication skills also include an awareness of of (inter) personal space or proteomics and knowing what is appropriate for the communication situation (Hall, cited in ELM Module 2, 13).
Good communicators should be aware of both their and others’ non verbal communication to help ensure the intended message is transmitted and received n the most appropriate way. For example – when holding supervision sessions I try to ensure that the physical space to hold the meeting is appropriate egg using a smaller purpose designed meeting room. Keep good eye contact with my staff member, and check their body language for cues such as smiles, nodding head to see if they have understood are happy with the situation.
Of course much of this may be my interpretation that they are happy with the situation. Since much of the impact of a message comes from non verbal communication, a manager who wants to be positively received as a leader needs to convey his/ re messages with appropriate presence and awareness of themselves e. G. Good posture, what they are doing with their hands, eye contact, smiling and awareness of appropriate personal space. The final, but a vital element in the communication cycle is feedback. Feedback can be given via verbal or non verbal communication.
By giving and receiving feedback we can demonstrate that we have listened to and understood the message being communicated. Feedback lets us know if we are on-track and where we can improve thus we can avoid repeating (communication) mistakes. Depending on the type of communication, feedback could be a simple nod f the head to a reply to an email message to a progress report of our work performance. In addition to expressing acknowledgement and understanding, feedback is also a way of aiding personal development. One way this is done in The Council is through monthly I-Xi’s. -1 meetings are a useful way to connect with staff and provide them with feedback on their performance, whether that is praise or constructive support in areas needing improvement. It is also an opportunity for the staff member to give their own feedback indeed, it may be the only time a staff member feels they can voice their opinion. Be able to assess own effectiveness in communication In my self assessment I will be concentrating on my oral communication, more specifically on developing my listening and conversing skills. I used the 360 questionnaire (ELM Course material) to help me focus on the areas that I might most need attention.
Questionnaires were given out to a variety of people I regularly come into contact with. Responses were anonymous and told people to be harsh if they were not sure about a response. I will be using the same method to re-evaluate myself in a few month time. The areas in which I scored lowest were ‘listening’ and ‘conversing. The highest ere ‘being believable’ and ‘positive’. What was most interesting was that the general trend from respondents was the same even though the final outcomes varied from (46% to 79% – results in appendix 1) .
The responses were fairly analogous with the scores I gave myself, so in general I see myself as my work colleagues see me. Was not surprised by the listening as I am a chatty person and many of the questionnaires indicated that I talk more than listen. However, since a sizable proportion of my job involves listening to others (support) calls I am keen to find out exactly what it is I do that others do not think I attentively listen. I was reprised by conversing, so am keen to investigate why this perception is so. This is another area I will be concentrating on.
I have already noticed/started paying attention to how I behave in meetings or other situations that call for conversing and listening (including social). What I am doing when others are speaking. , I will try to be more aware of my body language so they can see am engaged in what the speaker is saying. The good thing is I am seen as believable and positive. Since, I intend to include my colleagues in my development plan having a good rapport will hopefully enable them to provide me with constructive criticism. Also, according to my scores I see myself very much as other see me.
In this respect I can (hopefully) also rely on my own future self assessments as being accurate. Development Plan: Need Actions Time scales Resources Determine communication area’s for improvement (verbal) Send out communication questionnaires ( from ELM course materials) Novo 15th 2014 questionnaire (Written) Analyses feedback received from questionnaires 5th 2014 Questionnaire / spreadsheet Develop listening skills (active listening) While on phone calls and in meetings Listen attentively – do not prepare answer before speaker has finished talking.
Jan 15 onwards Listening chapter ELM course book Be aware of my reactions to what is being said – all conversations Develop conversing skills Take time (to prepare answer) before responding (verbal & non verbal) Not get distracted when conversing with others.
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