Communication Effect

The system of sending information or message from one place to another place is communication.

Understand the meaning of communication and system of communication. Understand about the familiar developments like Mobile, Fax, Computer, E-mail, and Telecommunication.

In ancient times it used to take many days to send a message or information to distant places. But today we can send messages to any part of the world quickly due to the development in the field of communication. The message may be in the form of written piece, sound, picture or movie. Today man uses Telegraph, Radio, Television, Telephone, Fax, Mobile, Videophone, Pager etc., through telegraphy, message can be sent in the form of words. For example: If you want to send a message “Happy Birthday” to your friend. Go to a nearby post office and send the message to his address. This message reaches your friend in few hours. The most common device used for communication is Telephone. We can converse with a person anywhere in the world through a telephone. Depending upon the distance between the communication people, service of the telephone is divided into three categories. The system of sending information or message from one place to another place is known as telecommunication. Through Fax, written material and pictures can be sent. Telephone calls are grouped as local-calls, Subscribers Trunk Dialing, International Subscribes Dialing. Through internet one can access the required information from any part of the world. The modified form of postal service is e-mail.

Speaking through the telephone while driving a vehicle or even walking is not a surprise. Here the mobile phone acts as a receiver and transmitter. The radio waves are set up between the two people, who are communicating with each other. Fax is a modified version of telegraph. The written material pictures can be sent through Fax. For Ex: If you want to send a cartoon story to a news paper, feed the fax machine with your data. The cartoon story written on a paper is transferred to the fax machine at the news paper office through telephone line as it is For this you should know the Fax number of the news paper office.

Every individual needs to be well equipped with the tools to communicate effectively, whether it is on the personal front, or at work. In fact, according to the management gurus, being a good communicator is half the battle won. After all, if one speaks and listens well, then there is little or no scope for misunderstanding. Thus, keeping this fact in mind, the primary reasons for misunderstanding is due to inability to speak well, or listen effectively.

Communication is a process of exchanging verbal and non verbal messages. It is a continuous process. Pre-requisite of communication is a message. This message must be conveyed through some medium to the recipient. It is essential that this message must be understood by the recipient in same terms as intended by the sender. He must respond within a time frame. Thus, communication is a process and is incomplete without a feedback from the recipient to the sender on how well the message is understood by him.

There are a lot of communication barriers faced these days by all. The message intended by the sender is not understood by the receiver in the same terms and sense and thus communication breakdown occurs. It is essential to deal and cope up with these communication barriers so as to ensure smooth and effective communication.

It is of utmost importance not only to communicate but also effectively communicate. Please throw some light on the first instance where Lisa was not suitably promoted. She did give her presentation, she did communicate, then why was she denied her promotion? She did not effectively communicate. The trick is not only to communicate but effectively communicate. And if you can effectively communicate, the world is all yours.

Communication process is a simple process where a message is being transferred from a sender to the receiver. The receiver after receiving the message understands the message in the desired form and then acts accordingly. Not every individual is born with good communication skills; it is inherited in due course of time as the individual passes through the various stages of life. Communication skill is an art which has to be mastered to make one’s presence feel, stand apart from the crowd and emerge as a strong leader in all facets of life.

Don’t always depend on verbal communication at work place. After any verbal communication with the fellow workers, make it a habit to send the minutes of the meeting or the important points through e-mail marking a cc to all the participants. Always depend on planners, organizers and jot down the important points against the date set as the deadline to complete a particular task. During presentations, the addressee must use whiteboards, papers and the participants also must carry a notepad to avoid forgetting any point.

Intra-personal communication skills: This implies individual reflection, contemplation and meditation. One example of this is transcendental mediation. According to the experts this type of communication encompasses communicating with the divine and with spirits in the form of prayers and rites and rituals.

Interpersonal communication skills: This is direct, face-to-face communication that occurs between two persons. It is essentially a dialogue or a conversation between two or more people. It is personal, direct, as well as intimate and permits maximum interaction through words and gestures. Interpersonal communications maybe:

Focused Interactions: This primarily results from an actual encounter between two persons. This implies that the two persons involved are completely aware of the communication happening between them.

Unfocused interactions: This occurs when one simply observes or listens to persons with whom one is not conversing. This usually occurs at stations and bus stops, as well as on the street, at restaurants, etc.

Non verbal communication skills: This includes aspects such as body language, gestures, facial expressions, eye contact, etc., which also become a part of the communicating process; as well as the written and typed modes of communications.

communication like group discussion. Remember you are not the only one speaking in the group discussion; there are other participants as well who are vying for the limelight. You might get only a single chance, and you just can’t afford to miss the opportunity to create that first impression, and as they say first impression is the last impression. An individual might have complete knowledge about the topic assigned to his group, might be well aware of what is happening around him, but if he can’t effectively communicate his ideas to others, he will fail to create his mark. The way an individual communicates his ideas has to be very impressive for him to live up to the expectations of the deciding authorities.

Teddy appeared for an interview with a reputed media house. He had been eyeing for this company for quite a long time. He fared extremely well in the face to face rounds and was looking forward to getting selected in the organization. Unfortunately something else was in store for him. He could not get through the GD Round. He was exceptionally good in academics, had a healthy professional background and even expressed his ideas in his best possible way in the group discussion. The problem was in his communication level. He did try his level best but failed to impress the interviewer and thus lost out on his dream job.

Converting your thoughts into words is an art and one has to master it to win over the trust and confidence of the assessor. One has to very sensibly and carefully choose the right words to share his thoughts with the other participants and make his points clear. Never use slangs, instead go for some corporate jargons or professional terminologies for the desired edge. Also avoid cracking jokes in between as it is considered highly unprofessional. An individual must not stammer in between or chew half of his words. Speak clearly and your voice must never be shaky. There is no one who will beat you there, so why to get afraid of a group discussion?

No one will ever deduct your marks if you greet your fellow participants well. Use warm greetings and never forget the handshake on meeting. These gestures actually help in breaking the ice and create a bond among the participants. Someone has to begin the discussion, so why not you? Take the initiative and start the discussion. Introduce yourself and your team members well. Never believe in personal favors. If any participant is unwilling to speak, do not force him unnecessarily. If someone has spoken well do not hesitate to give him a pat on his back. Such non verbal communications sometimes go a long way in boosting the morale of the participants. Be very confident to win over the trust of the interviewer as well as the other participants.

The pitch and tone must also be taken good care of. You are speaking not for yourself, but for others to listen and respond. Always ensure that you are audible to one and all. Every participant must be able to hear you clearly and understand what you intend to convey. An individual must also learn the art of voice modulation. Don’t keep the same pitch always; learn to play with your tone as per the importance of the word or the sentence. If you want to raise a question to your fellow participants, it must also reflect in your voice. Avoid shouting or being too loud in group discussions. You are here to voice your opinion, not for fighting. Keep your voice polite, soft but convincing. Never sound unintelligent or foolish, as the interviewer has a constant eye on you. Do take care of your punctuation marks and the flow of words. It is no harm to take pauses or breaths in between sentences. Never repeat sentences as it will lead to monotony and others will tend to ignore you. Don’t just speak for the sake of speaking.

Always remember there are other individuals also who are participating in the group discussion. They may not be from the same background as you are, might have an altogether different thought process, but you have no right to make fun of their views. Always respect their opinion. If a participant is speaking, never criticize or oppose him in between. You will get your time to speak, and please wait for your turn. An individual has to be very patient, calm, dignified, sophisticated and above all professional in his approach. The individual who passes the information to others for sharing his thoughts and ideas with them is called the sender. (First Party) The individual who receives the information from the sender and responds accordingly to give him the feedback is called the receiver. (Second Party). In the process of communication the information must reach the receiver in exactly the same form the speaker intends to. If the recipients fail to provide feedback to the speaker, communication is considered to be ineffective and incomplete.

Communication is neither transmission of message nor message itself. It is the mutual exchange of understanding, originating with the receiver. Communication needs to be effective in business.

Communication is essence of management. The basic functions of management (Planning, Organizing, Staffing, Directing and Controlling) cannot be performed well without effective communication. Business communication involves constant flow of information. Feedback is integral part of business communication. Organizations these days are very large. It involves number of people. There are various levels of hierarchy in an organization. Greater the number of levels, the more difficult is the job of managing the organization. Communication here plays a very important role in process of directing and controlling the people in the organization. Immediate feedback can be obtained and misunderstandings if any can be avoided. There should be effective communication between superiors and subordinated in an organization, between organization and society at large (for example between management and trade unions). It is essential for success and growth of an organization.
Communication gaps should not occur in any organization. Business Communication is goal oriented. The rules, regulations and policies of a company have to be communicated to people within and outside the organization. Business Communication is regulated by certain rules and norms. In early times, business communication was limited to paper-work, telephone calls etc. But now with advent of technology, we have cell phones, video conferencing, emails, and satellite communication to support business communication. Effective business communication helps in building goodwill of an organization.

Business Communication can be of two types:
• Oral Communication
• Written Communication

Oral Communication – An oral communication can be formal or informal. Generally business communication is a formal means of communication, like: meetings, interviews, group discussion, speeches etc. An example of Informal business communication would be – Grapevine. Oral communication implies communication through mouth. It includes individuals conversing with each other, be it direct conversation or telephonic conversation. Speeches, presentations, discussions are all forms of oral communication. Oral communication is generally recommended when the communication matter is of temporary kind or where a direct interaction is required. Face to face communication (meetings, lectures, conferences,
interviews, etc.) is significant so as to build a rapport and trust.

Written Communication – Written means of business communication includes – agenda, reports, manuals etc. Written communication has great significance in today’s business world. It is an innovative activity of the mind. Effective written communication is essential for preparing worthy promotional materials for business development. Speech came before writing. But writing is more unique and formal than speech. Effective writing involves careful choice of words, their organization in correct order in sentences formation as well as cohesive composition of sentences. Also, writing is more valid and reliable than speech. But while speech is spontaneous, writing causes delay and takes time as feedback is not immediate.
Advantages of Written Communication

Written communication helps in laying down apparent principles, policies and rules for running of an organization.

It is a permanent means of communication. Thus, it is useful where record maintenance is required.

It assists in proper delegation of responsibilities. While in case of oral communication, it is impossible to fix and delegate responsibilities on the grounds of speech as it can be taken back by the speaker or he may refuse to acknowledge.

Written communication is more precise and explicit.

Effective written communication develops and enhances an organization’s image.

It provides ready records and references.

Legal defenses
An effective and efficient communication system requires managerial proficiency in delivering and receiving messages. A manager must discover various barriers to communication, analyze the reasons for their occurrence and take preventive steps to avoid those barriers. Thus, the primary responsibility of a manager is to develop and maintain an effective communication system in the organization.

Remember effective communication is a necessity in today’s challenging scenario and the above tips definitely go a long way in improving one’s communication skills.

Communication Styles

Communication is a bridge to the world. Being able to communicate effectively with others is important to our psychological well-being. This is simply because it allows us to convey our needs and feelings to others as well as respond to and respect the needs of others. As such communication helps us in developing significant relationships at the social and business level. A quick glance at one’s life will reveal that almost every problem that one faces has in its roots in interpersonal communication problem.

In this sense, effective communication involves:

Language which brings the world into being – a process of fitting or matching our words to the world, as we know it. It allows us to achieve certain outcomes, to serve our particular interests and concerns, to make sense of the why and how of things, to express ourselves, to be known and understood, to get our point across and to make things happen.
Language in its broad sense does not only include the words said but, also, the way the message is transmitted. It is the body language that reveals the true message more than the words said.
To communicate means that we send and receive information. It is through effective listening that one makes others feel that they are important and that their own points of views are appreciated.
Effective communication is a partnership that needs both parties to become involved as speakers and listeners.

EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATORS TRAITS

They express themselves clearly and confidently, whether they are revealing their emotions to someone close to them, discussing a problem with colleagues at work, or simply chatting in a social setting.
They are active listeners which implies that they listen carefully because they want to understand fully what the other person is saying or they need to know how well they are understood
Good communicators not only choose their words carefully but also control their body language. As such, they know how to express themselves clearly and accurately.
In any given situation, good communicators have the power of choice which means that they have the right to choose the way they behave and consequently do not see themselves as victims of circumstances, events or people i.e. they know when to express anger, when to hold to their opinion and when to make compromises.

COMMUNICATION STYLES

Individuals have various preferences when communicating with others as well as interpreting messages received from others. Thus, effective communication skills require a high level of self-awareness. Consequently:

Understanding one’s personal communication style helps in creating a good and lasting impressions on others.
By becoming more aware of how others perceive us, we can adapt more readily to their communication styles.

The following are different communication Styles:

Passive communication style: This category of communicators usually fail to express themselves clearly and are usually characterized by low self-confidence levels. Thus, they are willing to do anything to avoid conflict even if their own rights are violated.

Passive communicators are characterized by being:

Apologetic and self-conscious.
Trust others but not self.
Do not express own wants and feelings.
Allows others to make decisions for them.
Do not get what they want.

While communicating they show the following behaviors:

Try to sit on both sides of the fence to avoid conflict.
Clam up when feeling treated unfairly.
Ask permission unnecessarily.
Complain instead of taking action.
Let others make choices for them.
Have difficulty implementing plans.
Self-effacing.

Consequently they use the following cues:

Non-verbal cues:

Excessive head nodding.
Look down or away.
Lack of facial animation.
Smile and nod in agreement.
Downcast eyes.
Slumped posture.
Fast when anxious while slow and hesitant when doubtful.

Verbal cues:

Monotone and low energy.
Apologetic.
Overly soft and tentative voice.
“You should do it.”
“You have more experience than I do.”
“I can’t… ”
“This is probably wrong, but… ”
“I’ll try… ”

When confronting a problem, they tend to:

Avoid, ignore, leave or postpone.
Withdraw silently.
Agree externally though they might be disagreeing internally.
Expend energy to avoid conflicts that are anxiety provoking.
Spend too much time asking for advice.
Agree too often.

Feelings felt by passive communicators are:

Powerlessness.
Wonders why doesn’t receive credit for good work.
Chalks lack of recognition to others’ inabilities.

Implications on passive communicators:

Builds dependency relationships.
False feeling of inferiority.
Slowly loses self-esteem.
Promote others’ causes.

Aggressive communication style: A communication style in which the communicator’s main goal is to win in any situation even at the expense of violating other people’s rights. Hence, aggressive communicators are usually close minded, poor listeners, and have difficulty in understanding the point of view of others.

Aggressive communicators manifest the following characteristics:

Achieves goals even at others’ expense.
Domineering and bullying.
Patronizing.
Condescending and sarcastic.

While communicating they manifest the following behaviors:

Downgrade others because they think they are always right.
Jumps on others, pushes people around.
Know-it-all attitude.
Never show appreciation.

Consequently they use the following cues:

Non-verbal cues:

Points and shakes finger.
Frowns.
Squints eyes critically.
Glares and stares.
Rigid posture.
Critical, loud and yelling tone of voice.
Fast, clipped speech.

Verbal cues

Verbal abuse
Use “you” statements
“You must, should, ought better… ”
“Don’t ask why, just do it.”

When confronting a problem, they tend to:

Threaten and attack.
Operate from I win / you lose position.

Feeling felt by aggressive communicators are:

Anger and hostility.
Frustration and impatience

Implications on aggressive communicators:

Provoke counter aggression and alienation from others.
Waste time and energy over supervising others.
Pay high price in human relationships.
Foster resistance, defiance, sabotaging, striking back, forming alliances, lying and covering up.
Force compliance with resentment.

Assertive communication style: Such communicators have the ability to communicate needs, feelings, opinions and beliefs in an open and honest manner while not violating other people’s rights. Thus, they are honest and straightforward in expressing their needs. Such communicators are:

Active listeners.
Set limits and expectations.
Express self directly and honestly.
Understand their own feelings and others feelings.

Assertive communicators manifest the following characteristics:

Non-judgmental i.e. observe behavior rather than label it.
Self-confident and trust other people.
They use both logic and emotions when assessing any situation.
Open, flexible and versatile.
Decisive, proactive and initiating.

While communicating they show the following behaviors:

Have the power of choice.
Effective planners and implementers.
Action-oriented and firm.
Realistic in their expectations.
Fair and consistent
Take appropriate action toward getting what they want without denying the rights of others.

Consequently they use the following cues:

Non-verbal cues:

Relaxed postures and movements.
Open and natural gestures.
Attentive and interested facial expression.
Direct eye contact.
Confident or relaxed posture.
Appropriate and expressive vocal volume.
Varied rate of speech.

Verbal cues:

“I choose to… ”
“What are my options?”
“What alternatives do we have?”

When confronting a problem, they tend to:

Negotiate, bargain, trade off and compromise.
Confront problems at the time they happen.
Do not let negative feelings build up.

Feeling felt by assertive communicators are:

Enthusiasm.
Wellbeing.
Even tempered.

Implications on passive communicators:

Increased self-esteem and self-confidence.
Trusting
Highly motivated
Others know where they stand.

For more information, please contact Hala Omar at

Communication Effect

The system of sending information or message from one place to another place is communication.

Understand the meaning of communication and system of communication. Understand about the familiar developments like Mobile, Fax, Computer, E-mail, and Telecommunication.

In ancient times it used to take many days to send a message or information to distant places. But today we can send messages to any part of the world quickly due to the development in the field of communication. The message may be in the form of written piece, sound, picture or movie. Today man uses Telegraph, Radio, Television, Telephone, Fax, Mobile, Videophone, Pager etc., through telegraphy, message can be sent in the form of words. For example: If you want to send a message “Happy Birthday” to your friend. Go to a nearby post office and send the message to his address. This message reaches your friend in few hours. The most common device used for communication is Telephone. We can converse with a person anywhere in the world through a telephone. Depending upon the distance between the communication people, service of the telephone is divided into three categories. The system of sending information or message from one place to another place is known as telecommunication. Through Fax, written material and pictures can be sent. Telephone calls are grouped as local-calls, Subscribers Trunk Dialing, International Subscribes Dialing. Through internet one can access the required information from any part of the world. The modified form of postal service is e-mail.

Speaking through the telephone while driving a vehicle or even walking is not a surprise. Here the mobile phone acts as a receiver and transmitter. The radio waves are set up between the two people, who are communicating with each other. Fax is a modified version of telegraph. The written material pictures can be sent through Fax. For Ex: If you want to send a cartoon story to a news paper, feed the fax machine with your data. The cartoon story written on a paper is transferred to the fax machine at the news paper office through telephone line as it is For this you should know the Fax number of the news paper office.

Every individual needs to be well equipped with the tools to communicate effectively, whether it is on the personal front, or at work. In fact, according to the management gurus, being a good communicator is half the battle won. After all, if one speaks and listens well, then there is little or no scope for misunderstanding. Thus, keeping this fact in mind, the primary reasons for misunderstanding is due to inability to speak well, or listen effectively.

Communication is a process of exchanging verbal and non verbal messages. It is a continuous process. Pre-requisite of communication is a message. This message must be conveyed through some medium to the recipient. It is essential that this message must be understood by the recipient in same terms as intended by the sender. He must respond within a time frame. Thus, communication is a process and is incomplete without a feedback from the recipient to the sender on how well the message is understood by him.

There are a lot of communication barriers faced these days by all. The message intended by the sender is not understood by the receiver in the same terms and sense and thus communication breakdown occurs. It is essential to deal and cope up with these communication barriers so as to ensure smooth and effective communication.

It is of utmost importance not only to communicate but also effectively communicate. Please throw some light on the first instance where Lisa was not suitably promoted. She did give her presentation, she did communicate, then why was she denied her promotion? She did not effectively communicate. The trick is not only to communicate but effectively communicate. And if you can effectively communicate, the world is all yours.

Communication process is a simple process where a message is being transferred from a sender to the receiver. The receiver after receiving the message understands the message in the desired form and then acts accordingly. Not every individual is born with good communication skills; it is inherited in due course of time as the individual passes through the various stages of life. Communication skill is an art which has to be mastered to make one’s presence feel, stand apart from the crowd and emerge as a strong leader in all facets of life.

Don’t always depend on verbal communication at work place. After any verbal communication with the fellow workers, make it a habit to send the minutes of the meeting or the important points through e-mail marking a cc to all the participants. Always depend on planners, organizers and jot down the important points against the date set as the deadline to complete a particular task. During presentations, the addressee must use whiteboards, papers and the participants also must carry a notepad to avoid forgetting any point.

Intra-personal communication skills: This implies individual reflection, contemplation and meditation. One example of this is transcendental mediation. According to the experts this type of communication encompasses communicating with the divine and with spirits in the form of prayers and rites and rituals.

Interpersonal communication skills: This is direct, face-to-face communication that occurs between two persons. It is essentially a dialogue or a conversation between two or more people. It is personal, direct, as well as intimate and permits maximum interaction through words and gestures. Interpersonal communications maybe:

Focused Interactions: This primarily results from an actual encounter between two persons. This implies that the two persons involved are completely aware of the communication happening between them.

Unfocused interactions: This occurs when one simply observes or listens to persons with whom one is not conversing. This usually occurs at stations and bus stops, as well as on the street, at restaurants, etc.

Non verbal communication skills: This includes aspects such as body language, gestures, facial expressions, eye contact, etc., which also become a part of the communicating process; as well as the written and typed modes of communications.

communication like group discussion. Remember you are not the only one speaking in the group discussion; there are other participants as well who are vying for the limelight. You might get only a single chance, and you just can’t afford to miss the opportunity to create that first impression, and as they say first impression is the last impression. An individual might have complete knowledge about the topic assigned to his group, might be well aware of what is happening around him, but if he can’t effectively communicate his ideas to others, he will fail to create his mark. The way an individual communicates his ideas has to be very impressive for him to live up to the expectations of the deciding authorities.

Teddy appeared for an interview with a reputed media house. He had been eyeing for this company for quite a long time. He fared extremely well in the face to face rounds and was looking forward to getting selected in the organization. Unfortunately something else was in store for him. He could not get through the GD Round. He was exceptionally good in academics, had a healthy professional background and even expressed his ideas in his best possible way in the group discussion. The problem was in his communication level. He did try his level best but failed to impress the interviewer and thus lost out on his dream job.

Converting your thoughts into words is an art and one has to master it to win over the trust and confidence of the assessor. One has to very sensibly and carefully choose the right words to share his thoughts with the other participants and make his points clear. Never use slangs, instead go for some corporate jargons or professional terminologies for the desired edge. Also avoid cracking jokes in between as it is considered highly unprofessional. An individual must not stammer in between or chew half of his words. Speak clearly and your voice must never be shaky. There is no one who will beat you there, so why to get afraid of a group discussion?

No one will ever deduct your marks if you greet your fellow participants well. Use warm greetings and never forget the handshake on meeting. These gestures actually help in breaking the ice and create a bond among the participants. Someone has to begin the discussion, so why not you? Take the initiative and start the discussion. Introduce yourself and your team members well. Never believe in personal favors. If any participant is unwilling to speak, do not force him unnecessarily. If someone has spoken well do not hesitate to give him a pat on his back. Such non verbal communications sometimes go a long way in boosting the morale of the participants. Be very confident to win over the trust of the interviewer as well as the other participants.

The pitch and tone must also be taken good care of. You are speaking not for yourself, but for others to listen and respond. Always ensure that you are audible to one and all. Every participant must be able to hear you clearly and understand what you intend to convey. An individual must also learn the art of voice modulation. Don’t keep the same pitch always; learn to play with your tone as per the importance of the word or the sentence. If you want to raise a question to your fellow participants, it must also reflect in your voice. Avoid shouting or being too loud in group discussions. You are here to voice your opinion, not for fighting. Keep your voice polite, soft but convincing. Never sound unintelligent or foolish, as the interviewer has a constant eye on you. Do take care of your punctuation marks and the flow of words. It is no harm to take pauses or breaths in between sentences. Never repeat sentences as it will lead to monotony and others will tend to ignore you. Don’t just speak for the sake of speaking.

Always remember there are other individuals also who are participating in the group discussion. They may not be from the same background as you are, might have an altogether different thought process, but you have no right to make fun of their views. Always respect their opinion. If a participant is speaking, never criticize or oppose him in between. You will get your time to speak, and please wait for your turn. An individual has to be very patient, calm, dignified, sophisticated and above all professional in his approach. The individual who passes the information to others for sharing his thoughts and ideas with them is called the sender. (First Party) The individual who receives the information from the sender and responds accordingly to give him the feedback is called the receiver. (Second Party). In the process of communication the information must reach the receiver in exactly the same form the speaker intends to. If the recipients fail to provide feedback to the speaker, communication is considered to be ineffective and incomplete.

Communication is neither transmission of message nor message itself. It is the mutual exchange of understanding, originating with the receiver. Communication needs to be effective in business.

Communication is essence of management. The basic functions of management (Planning, Organizing, Staffing, Directing and Controlling) cannot be performed well without effective communication. Business communication involves constant flow of information. Feedback is integral part of business communication. Organizations these days are very large. It involves number of people. There are various levels of hierarchy in an organization. Greater the number of levels, the more difficult is the job of managing the organization. Communication here plays a very important role in process of directing and controlling the people in the organization. Immediate feedback can be obtained and misunderstandings if any can be avoided. There should be effective communication between superiors and subordinated in an organization, between organization and society at large (for example between management and trade unions). It is essential for success and growth of an organization.
Communication gaps should not occur in any organization. Business Communication is goal oriented. The rules, regulations and policies of a company have to be communicated to people within and outside the organization. Business Communication is regulated by certain rules and norms. In early times, business communication was limited to paper-work, telephone calls etc. But now with advent of technology, we have cell phones, video conferencing, emails, and satellite communication to support business communication. Effective business communication helps in building goodwill of an organization.

Business Communication can be of two types:
• Oral Communication
• Written Communication

Oral Communication – An oral communication can be formal or informal. Generally business communication is a formal means of communication, like: meetings, interviews, group discussion, speeches etc. An example of Informal business communication would be – Grapevine. Oral communication implies communication through mouth. It includes individuals conversing with each other, be it direct conversation or telephonic conversation. Speeches, presentations, discussions are all forms of oral communication. Oral communication is generally recommended when the communication matter is of temporary kind or where a direct interaction is required. Face to face communication (meetings, lectures, conferences,
interviews, etc.) is significant so as to build a rapport and trust.

Written Communication – Written means of business communication includes – agenda, reports, manuals etc. Written communication has great significance in today’s business world. It is an innovative activity of the mind. Effective written communication is essential for preparing worthy promotional materials for business development. Speech came before writing. But writing is more unique and formal than speech. Effective writing involves careful choice of words, their organization in correct order in sentences formation as well as cohesive composition of sentences. Also, writing is more valid and reliable than speech. But while speech is spontaneous, writing causes delay and takes time as feedback is not immediate.
Advantages of Written Communication

Written communication helps in laying down apparent principles, policies and rules for running of an organization.

It is a permanent means of communication. Thus, it is useful where record maintenance is required.

It assists in proper delegation of responsibilities. While in case of oral communication, it is impossible to fix and delegate responsibilities on the grounds of speech as it can be taken back by the speaker or he may refuse to acknowledge.

Written communication is more precise and explicit.

Effective written communication develops and enhances an organization’s image.

It provides ready records and references.

Legal defenses
An effective and efficient communication system requires managerial proficiency in delivering and receiving messages. A manager must discover various barriers to communication, analyze the reasons for their occurrence and take preventive steps to avoid those barriers. Thus, the primary responsibility of a manager is to develop and maintain an effective communication system in the organization.

Remember effective communication is a necessity in today’s challenging scenario and the above tips definitely go a long way in improving one’s communication skills.

Communications for Change

An article in the December issue of PM Network by Sarah Fister Gale deals with the public relations issues that companies engaged in the extraction of oil and natural gas reserves by the process of fracturing, or “fracking” as it’s called by the industry. The issue is basically one of distrust: people concerned about the affect of toxic chemicals on their drinking water distrust the extraction companies. They suspect that the chemicals they use are poisoning their water. In some cases they may be right but in the majority of cases, their suspicions are unfounded. Unfounded or not, these suspicions have a negative impact on the drilling projects. The same suspicions caused by a lack of facts can impact on IT projects, especially those introducing a new process or replacing existing systems. Before I examine the affects of communication on those projects, let me bring you up to speed on the issue Sarah Fister Gale wrote about.

Fracking requires the extraction company to dig a deep well through intervening layers of shale or other hard deposits and flush the gas or oil to the surface by pumping pressurized water, sand, and chemicals into the well. The pressure created opens up fissures and flushes the gas or oil to the surface. If fracking only relied on water and sand to achieve results, there would be no issue; it is the toxins that are sometimes used in conjunction with these natural agents that are the issue. Because the process requires the flushing action to be carried out at a level that is usually lower than the water table there is a risk that any toxic chemicals used could contaminate the drinking water. This fear is compounded by the exemption that American companies enjoy from the Safe Drinking Water Act. The amount of public resistance to fracking projects has led to the postponement or cancellation of some projects as politically savvy environmental protection groups exert pressure on politicians to intercede.

Companies who have enjoyed some success in countering these campaigns have done so by treating the communities whose water the project could affect as stakeholders and treating communications with the communities as a project deliverable. An example of one such communications campaign involved newspaper ads which included photos and descriptions of all the equipment and materials used in the project. This approach presupposes that the materials and equipment in use does not introduce harmful chemicals to the drinking water. Communication with these stakeholders from the initiation phase of the project is another key to success.

Fracking projects are not the only ones that can fall prey to the fear of the unknown. Many IT projects run the risk of meeting user resistance because the effect of a new system on their jobs is an “unknown”. Users fear that their jobs are going to be made more demanding or that they will lose functionality with the new system. They may also fear losing their jobs as a result of a new software system making their jobs obsolete. Project managers responsible for projects which implement new software systems should take a page from the fracking industry’s book. The tools used to communicate may differ but the same principals that make the fracking communication effective can make communications for the IT project effective.

The first rule of effective communications is to treat the user community as a project stakeholder that must be communicated with. The primary user community will be immediately obvious, these are the folks the system must be rolled out to and who must be trained in its use, but look beyond that initial community. Are there any folks downstream or upstream of this primary group whose work could be impacted by the new system. Even if the work products are substantially the same, could slight differences affect their work? Could differing delivery schedules affect them? The use of process flow charts can help you identify hidden stakeholders. Don’t stop at the edge of the chart; check out the groups at the other end of those “off the page” markers.

Make communications with these stakeholders a project deliverable. Large extraction companies frequently employ whole groups of people whose only job is communications. They are seasoned veterans of project communications and can manage all aspects of this work from identifying stakeholders, to defining the best strategies, to composing the right communications. Smaller, less sophisticated, IT projects must manage this activity on their own. Make sure your project has a communications management plan, identify all the stakeholders and then find out what information each stakeholder group would be best served by. Another trick we can learn from the extraction sector is to engage these folks as early as possible, don’t wait until the week before implementation.

The stakeholders you must communicate with may include workers whose jobs will be eliminated when you deliver your new system. You may be tempted to discount these people – after all, they won’t be around to trouble you after your new system is implemented. Often the best and brightest of these folks get re-assigned to other jobs that you may come in contact with so treating them with respect is in your best interests. Even those who will leave the company will have an impact on those left behind. If the perception is that these people are treated fairly, included being kept informed, the effect will be positive. If the perception is that they are deliberately being deprived of information, the effect will be negative.

Now for the $64,000 question: exactly what do I say to people whose jobs will disappear when the new system is introduced? Firstly, don’t try to hide or cover up the fact that jobs will be eliminated; your dishonesty will be discovered and from that point forward you will have lost everyone’s trust. Work with your HR organization to develop information to be communicated. These are the people who understand which policies affect that type of communication. They should also be experienced with putting these types of communications packages together. Secondly, get all the facts around job eliminations. Which jobs will be eliminated? Which jobs will be opening up because of the change? How do workers go about applying for other positions in the company? Your HR organization should be able to help with all these questions. Include what you know about the project. What were the reasons behind building the new system? How will the new system benefit its users? How will it benefit the company? There may be information that is sensitive and can’t be communicated until the public has been informed. This information is usually of the type that would tend to influence stock prices. When you are unable to share this information, inform your stakeholders of the reason you can’t share it with them. It is very likely that communications for a new system that is part of a major change in business will be managed at the corporate level. Your communications should form a part of that larger plan.

Be honest in your communications. Give people the facts they are interested in or that they need. We are often tempted to gloss over any negative impacts the new system may have on the user community. We don’t deliberately mislead people but we tell people things we think they want to hear. Don’t be afraid to mix the good news with the bad. Frequently new systems require users to endure short term pain to enjoy long term gain. Don’t shy away from communicating information about the short term pain. Your user community is smart enough to figure out the value proposition. Just remember that once the cat is out of the bag it is very hard to put it back in. Know who has overall responsibility for communication in your company and always seek for their blessing of the information you want to communicate and the timing of that communication.

Timing is everything with communication. Being communicative with your stakeholders at a time when they aren’t particularly concerned with your project is wasteful of your project’s communication resources. Communicating a welter of technical details about the new system a year before implementation won’t be seen as honesty, it will be seen as noise and ignored. Good communications should give your stakeholders the information they want when they want it. This criterion must be balanced with the information available and when it becomes available. Communicate a description of the new system in a few sentences, along with the business reasons for choosing it in your first communications. You can also communicate changes to existing processes and procedures in very broad terms. This information should answer the question: how will the new system affect my work, but only at a very high level. Communicate project progress and any “wins” the project experiences during your build phase. Communicate the specifics of how the new system will impact work to specific groups of workers as the project gets closer to delivering.

Training on new systems is critical to their delivery of the value envisioned in the business case. Training sessions can also present you with opportunities to communicate to the trainees. Include the reasons the new system is being introduced with training in how to use it. Use the information you have available to support your communication and start out as you mean to go on. Let the stakeholders know when you will be communicating with them and if possible what you’ll be communicating (your communication management plan). During the initiation phase of your project you’ll have very little information available, but you will have the Business Case and Project Charter to use. The benefits, both tangible and intangible, the new system will bring to the organization is a good start and you should have that information to hand. You may want to tailor that information to suit your audience. Filter the benefits to make them specific to the group of stakeholders you are communicating with.

Slipping delivery dates for the introduction of a new system that will cause stakeholders some discomfort can leave these people feeling like they are being drawn through a knothole backwards. Realize that there are many different reasons that a final delivery date could change that have nothing whatever to do with the project or your management of it. The people who are paying for your project have every right to change the final delivery date when they have good business reasons for doing so. I wonder how many dates were changed as a result of the fallout from 9/11. Don’t paint yourself into a corner with your communications. Let stakeholders know that the delivery date chosen for the project could change down the road if business needs dictate. If you have to communicate a change in date, be sure to communicate the reasons for the change. Don’t just say the new Acme time tracking system will not be delivered on April 1st as originally planned, but on July 1st, tell the stakeholders that priorities have shifted to take advantage of a business opportunity that will increase revenue by 15%. This shift means that project work is being delayed and this will move final delivery to July 1st.

Treating project communications as a key project deliverable probably won’t eliminate all the fear and loathing of the new system you are building, but it should succeed in eliminating it for those stakeholders capable of viewing the project objectively. At the very least it will trigger questions that will provide you with an opportunity to refine the information you give your stakeholders.

Future Communications of Mankind

Communication could be defined as passing information from one location to the other. We humans are good at communications because we developed a better tool than all other organisms on earth. That tool is language. We created languages. Languages are nothing more than organized signals of messaging. Animals use sound systems but they do not qualify as languages. They might be languages but they are very limited. Our communication skills got better because of the invention on languages.

In contrary to the communications, the information to be passed from location to location is always present. Just because we did not pass the information from one place to the other does not mean that the information is not there. Information and communication are interconnected but are two entirely separate entities. We should treat them separately in order to understand communication and its future.

After developing languages in the early history of humans, we made them organized with grammar. Languages did not have written forms in the beginning. Humans developed written forms of languages to better communicate without using sound. Letters were initially symbols and much more complicated. Unlike today’s letters the early day letters represented whole events or messages. Later on breakdown of such symbols resulted in letters to be used as syllables of sound. It is after the usage of symbols or letters to represent the syllables of sound that the language started to develop drastically.

We also needed to construct languages when we invented computers. We needed to pass the message to the computer and wanted the computer to pass messages to us. There are several computing languages that were created by humans. We do not have access to information that cannot be passed out through language.

For example, people say that they couldn’t explain a feeling with words. You might have heard people saying that words are not enough. It is not just an expression. It is real that our languages are not sufficient to communicate certain information. However, our communication skills and systems have enabled us reach higher achievements.

The future of the communications will need to make sure that all information could be communicated. The future of communications will definitely be influenced by technology. As we have now, there is information communication technology. This will breakdown in the following years into information technology and communication technology. As mentioned above, information and communication are two entirely different entities.

The information technology will focus mainly on gathering, storing and processing information. The communications technology will focus only on communicating. We are already at a point where these two are to be separated. Once these two fields are separated, the future of communications will begin.

After inventing languages, we started using tools to communicate. We still used languages but used tools to apply the language to communicate information. The pen and paper method was prevalent for centuries. Once we had invented electronic media, we had shifted towards the electronic media. The internet was one of the major developments in the communications history of mankind. We now communicate mostly through the internet. All our mobile phones work through a similar system as well.

The early day electronic communications required larger equipment and special locations. Now we have that communication in our pockets. The next step is to bring that communication system inside our physical body. There have been advances made in this direction so that we could one day have the communications system within our body.

Universities and research institutions have carried out experiments where people with disorders have voluntarily participated. The major theme in these experiments was to place a chip in the cortical column of the brain and act as an intermediate communicator between the brain and an assigned computer. The cortical column is a highly sophisticated and outermost layer of the brain where it is believed that our thoughts are processed. Scientists have figured out a way of accumulating the waves produced by our thoughts and translating them into a language that computers could understand. This has made it possible for computers to get commands directly from our brain. The experiments carried out so far had people moving curser pointers on computer screen with their thoughts. It had worked successfully. There have been records of people browsing the internet with their brain. There have been instances of people moving synthetic limbs thorough the same concept.

It is the current state of the future communications technology. This is called the Brain Computer Interface or BCI as abbreviation. BCI is a very advancing stream of science and is proving to be very successful. In BCI the human brain is only communicating with a computer. When this technology would enable people to communicate between people with the aid of computer chips implanted in their brains, then we will reach the future of communications.

There are two major concerns to achieving this state. The first concern is the ethics of placing a chip inside a human brain. There will always be people who support the idea and oppose the idea. If majority of the people didn’t want to do this, then it couldn’t be done. The second concern is to permanently placing such devices inside human brain. The permanent placement of such devices would require energy for them to run, clinical safety and the precision manufacturing. If such a device fails within the brain, replacement would require a surgery. No one will want to open up their skull just to recharge or repair the equipment.

Compared to what is expected in the future communications technology, the current BCI researches are still at their infancies. We will need these devices to be able to translate and then broadcast signals wirelessly. And the signal should be strong enough to be picked up by the signal transmission towers. To achieve this, the device will need much power like our phones. We should either place a battery that should power the device for a life time or should place a mechanism that will keep on charging the device. Placing a battery is not very practical based on our experiences on cell phones. Placing a mechanism is very possible.

Our body generates heat and this heat is transported by our blood stream. If the device could be assigned a mechanism through which the thermal energy could be transformed into electricity, then the power problem will be solved. There are such devices today. There are watches that function on body heat for example.

Producing signals is a concern. The emitted signal might damage the brain cells with radiation. The equipment will get heated with operation. No one would want to bake their brain inside out. We are still decades away from such a technology to exist but that is where we are headed.

Once this technology is in place, we will be able to communicate feelings with people but not by words. When we communicate to someone now, we only try to explain our feelings with words. That is why we say words are not enough. If the chips are capable of receiving our brain waves and communicating the same to another person, then the other person will receive exactly what we had in our mind. If you are sad or happy, the other person on the communication will feel exactly what you feel.

When we say that we are imagining something, we cannot explain our imagination to the fullest to someone. Once this technology is made available, we will be able to share our imaginations with others. We can record and preview our dreams. We can share dreams with others in real time. By the time the technology would reach such a point, we will have self driving vehicles. We will not need to drive. We will not need to press buttons on the car. We can communicate to the car with our mind and the car will take us where we want to go.

It is hard to fully imagine something before it ever existed. The future is not here yet. We can only predict and anticipate it. People can simply predict where the current technologies will take us in the future. If people are to anticipate, they will always want a better system than present. We are going to have a better communications system in the future than we can imagine now.

We all expect something better to happen in our lives. If we think about it cumulatively for humanity, then we need better lives for all. Below are some videos that will explain the advancement of communication technology. These are just the beginning. Later on, we will have even better systems.

Unified Communications & Contact Center Options – Making the Transition

Imagine a customer calling for detailed, technical information about your products and services. These calls can be cumbersome for customer service employees who don’t possess the technical knowledge about a specific product or service. Now imagine those same customer service employees having a comprehensive menu on their computer screens describing the exact technical knowledge about that specific product or service, as well as other detailed information the inquiring customer can use to make an informed decision right away.

In the world of UC (Unified Communications), technical customer service calls are handled and processed much differently than they were just a decade ago.

Transitioning to a UC platform improves communications both internally and externally by arming employees with better technology tools that add value to the overall communication process. This article contains helpful knowledge and insights to assist you in the transition to a unified communications platform.

UC is essentially a unified platform for communications in all its forms. Potentially, this can include land-lines and cellular phones, e-mail, instant messaging (IM), VoIP, IP-PBX, fax, voice mail, conference calls, video conferencing, whiteboard and unified messaging. Your employees will have presence within your business communications – whether they are physically in the office or not.

The concept of presence is easy to understand within instant messaging where a “buddy status” is available at a glance. UC takes this a step further by grouping these “buddies” together by specialized skills and attaching them to specific knowledge areas. All of this would be available at a glance.

UC allows for real-time delivery of all these forms of communication within a single environment that users can access within a simple interface. For example, customer service staff could have a list of employees knowledgeable about a product, along with the best method for immediately contacting that person who has the correct answers about the details of the product.

By clicking on a contact icon, a call can be made, or even a page or a whiteboard session accessed to bridge key information on the product, customer and employee contacts simultaneously. If your business doesn’t already have it, Unified Messaging (UM) can offer communications integration, albeit on a smaller scale than UC.

Unified Messaging is capable of grouping together communications from different sources, such as e-mail, faxes and voice mail, but does not allow (in all instances) real-time delivery. Unified Messaging systems store these multi-platform communications for the user to access information at his or her discretion.

Still, nowadays, UM does provide improved communication synchronization to an extent that was not available just a decade ago. It is important to understand that while UM does offer efficiencies by grouping communications together; it is not the same thing as UC. Oftentimes, these terms are interchanged and interpreted to have the same meaning.

Again, they are not the same. Tying communications together in a UC platform can have a tremendous positive impact on productivity at your business. Businesses with offices across the globe have an excellent opportunity to synchronize communications as they occur around the clock in real time. Additional functionality allows calls to be routed according to preset rules.

For example, if an employee is working at a remote location outside the office, the UC system can route a call to their cell phone and then a voice message into their voice mail. At the heart of UC is the Voice-over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology that allows analog phone conversations to be transmitted over the Internet. UC basically expands that functionality by allowing other communications through the same protocol. Transitioning to UC does not have to be an overwhelming process.

First, consider what usable technology your business already has and how those assets could be integrated into the new platform. Consider what communications are already transmitted utilizing the Internet Protocol (IP). It could be that your business is only a few steps away from integrating these into a truly unified format that dramatically increases productivity.

Another benefit of introducing UC to your business is enhanced security within your company’s communications that was never present before. Without UC, communications occur over multiple data formats using multiple protocols, and you may not have control over certain information. Integrating these data formats using UC gives your company the ability to better manage the overall communications process.

The necessary equipment for creating a UC infrastructure includes various software applications and hardware equipment. The Microsoft version of the UC solution is built around the Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 and the Microsoft Office Communicator 2007 for the interface. Microsoft, of course, is geared toward the software UC solution. Its server software is designed to be deployed on a dedicated communications server.

Cisco, the IT hardware equipment manufacturer most widely known for its routers and switches and its reputation as the “backbone of the Internet,” also offers software UC solutions, along with the necessary hardware equipment. Cisco is more widely known as a hardware company; so naturally, the company’s UC solution is more hardware-based.

The two big players in the world of IT have developed UC solutions. Which one is best for you is really a function of your specific requirements and your company’s monetary resources to support and maintain the technology. Keep in mind that there are tailored solutions available from both Microsoft and Cisco customized for the size of your business.

Microsoft’s Office Communications Server 2007 comes in two editions: Standard and Enterprise. The Standard Edition is intended for SMBs that have one server platform on one machine. Along with the accompanying Standard Client Access License (CAL) it allows for messaging, peer-to-peer video and voice, and file transfers all to occur within an integrated and familiar Microsoft Office environment.

An advantage Microsoft has in the small-business world is the familiarity of its products. As with any Microsoft application, upon installing Office Communications Server 2007 and starting up the application, you become instantly familiar with the interface and notice that it is very intuitive based on your familiarity with Microsoft products.

The Standard Edition is intended for organizations that do not require server clustering and does not utilize the virtual server environment.

The Enterprise Edition is intended for larger businesses running more than one server. With this edition, your organization gains the features offered by the Standard Edition, with the purchase of a Standard license, along with additional enterprise features. These include the sharing of applications, VoIP backed by a software solution, Web conferencing and comprehensive telephony management.

The Enterprise Edition requires that Standard Edition licensing be purchased. Once the correct licenses are purchased, full access to the entire range of features offered by the Enterprise version and the Standard version of the Microsoft Unified Communications platform becomes available.

Communicator is the client application for the Microsoft UC platform. Accessing the application allows the user an integrated communications environment, including instant messaging, voice and video communications. Of course, all communications are easily integrated into Microsoft software such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint and the newer ones such as SharePoint, Groove, and OneNote.

Deploying the solution within a pre-existing Microsoft environment allows for easy integration of address books and other directories established at the corporate level. Calendars are also integrated within the UC platform, even out-of-office messages previously established within Outlook.

With UC in place, users find they can easily change modes of communication. A conversation could begin with a simple IM, for example, and then with a quick click on a button, users can switch to a video conference should the need arise. Or, users could transfer files back and forth from the Communicator interface. However communications occurred previously, by using various Microsoft applications, these are all integrated into one interface within Communicator.

Cisco’s approach to a UC solution is quite different from Microsoft’s. Cisco offers a set of managed services at the SMB and mid-market level, and a different set of managed services customized for the enterprise-sized business.

Cisco approaches the UC platform with both hardware and software solutions. At the SMB level, Cisco’s UC platform solution is the Cisco Unified Communications 500 Series for Small Business. This system supports varied common communications needs within a small business including voice, video, secure wireless access and productivity enhancements for external users.

Deploying the solution enhances network security at your small business with tried-and-true Cisco technology. This edition is designed for businesses with 50 or fewer users of the system. Depending on the size of your SMB, the Cisco UC solution is available at increased levels of accessibility.

The Cisco Unified Communications Manager Express is designed for up to 240 users, the Business Edition for up to 500 users and the full version of Cisco Unified Communications Manager is extensible from 150 to an unlimited number of users.

Advanced features are available with the Cisco system even at the SMB level. Features such as music on hold and basic call-center capability are built into the UC platform.

At the enterprise level, Cisco’s UC solution includes routing, switching and security hardware along with the software applications used to manage the entire network. Security on the enterprise is enhanced with the Cisco hardware and software approach, including wireless communications, which are notoriously susceptible to a security breach.

The enterprise solution is tailor-made for your business, taking into consideration the lifecycle of your network, and includes the option to outsource management of network resources to Cisco and the installation of third-party communications software.

The hardware bundled with the Cisco UC platform includes the VoIP-enabled phones and various other hardware options, depending on the size of your business. SMBs get software that monitors and manages the VoIP phones on a single server, while enterprise-level organizations also get routers and switches, as needed. Enterprises that already have Cisco routers and switches find the UC platform an added feature that only needs to be enabled to use.

Cisco’s most advanced phones, the Unified IP Phones 7900 Series, are capable of integrating voice data and video straight through the phone. Voice mail can be accessed using a computer, and applications can be run on the phone itself, including clock-in functions for payroll services, on-screen display of information customized for your business needs and support for wireless communications standards.

Cisco hardware provides an extra level of security for your network. For example, the Catalyst 6500 Series switch, Cisco’s flagship model, virtually guarantees confidential communications between client and customer with the ability to instantly detect threats and contain them. Network administrators have control over whom and what can attach to the network and can define specific security policies.

Cisco routers are where communications integration occurs. Security is also standard here through firewalls, data encryption and built-in protection from would-be hackers. These routers are modular in nature, so as your business expands, more devices can be easily added, as needed. Basically, switches are used to connect various IP-enabled devices within your network, and routers are used to tie the networks together. Switches can be managed or unmanaged in that a managed switch is programmable, while an unmanaged switch comes fully ready upon shipment. Routers become the first line of defense to your network against outside Internet threats.

Whichever solution is best for your business, it’s important to keep in mind that a UC solution will provide enhanced security within your network. Inherent within Unified Communications is the ability to integrate the various forms of communications that occur at your business.

The transparency involved also provides an enhanced level of management including the ability to back up all the communications including voice mail. At first, it may seem unnecessary to back up all the communications at your company, but if your organization needs to comply to Sarbanes-Oxley requirements, as all U.S. publicly traded companies are, then you have a need to create these backups.

Additionally, if you work in a health-care-related environment, your company may have to be compliant to certain HIPPA mandates. Consider a situation where you have a need for disaster recovery. Hurricane Katrina, in 2005, forced many executives in the New Orleans area to act on the urgent need for disaster recovery.

Remember, UC allows for real-time delivery of communications in its varied forms within a single environment that a user can access using a simple client interface. This interface is standardized across the business environment. UC also enhances employee collaboration regardless of where employees are physically located.

For example, employees brainstorming about a new project could establish a live whiteboard session and work interactively in real time even if the office sites are thousands of miles apart.

It is important to consider what communications platforms you already possess at your business and how integrating these would enhance productivity in your operations.

Do you utilize instant messaging? How about voice mail or whiteboard sessions? Are any of these communications transmitted over IP already? By further tying your communications together on a true Unified Communications platform, your customers and employees are able to communicate in multiple data formats.

In retrospect, the concept of UC began with the development of VoIP (Voice-over Internet Protocol), which allowed analog phone conversations to be transmitted in a digital format over the Internet. With core-business processes becoming more and more digitized, UC basically expands that concept by allowing other forms of communication to be transmitted digitally.

Another important consideration when you decide to transition to a UC platform is the enhanced level of security that will be introduced to your business communications. Without UC, the varied forms of communication are transmitted over a diversity of media minimally controlled by your company. Bringing these together under a UC platform gives your company the ability to manage and monitor these transmissions just as it would with basic e-mail.

ransitioning to a UC platform can help your business accelerate past the competition and streamlines your business operations.

Below are some important considerations when making the transition to a unified platform. Answering these questions will help you understand how transitioning to a Unified Communications platform can significantly improve both internal employees and external communications with customers:

1. Does your business really need to transition to a UM platform at this time or can it wait until later?

2. What current technologies and assets do you currently own that can be integrated into a UC platform?

3. What resources (including all equipment, software, technical skills, training and maintenance) will it take to make this transition over to a Unified Communications platform?

4. How will the transition to a UC platform affect communication internally within your business and externally to your customers?

5. By what means and methods will your company communicate the rollout of a Unified Communications system?

For many companies, introducing Unified Communications to your business will enhance productivity and give your employees access to more useful information in real time. It’s critical that management objectively calculate the total cost of owning and managing its own internal UC platform versus having certain of the components outsourced through a hosted solution.

Many companies find it more cost effective to own some components and outsource others. Companies that at least consider the options available to them by adopting a fully integrated UC platform position themselves to differentiate their company from the competition with high-impact, time-sensitive communications across the enterprise.

Michael G. Perry has more than 20 years’ professional experience in management, IT consulting and writing technical documentation related to business process, policies and procedures.

Effective Communication Skills For Today’s Managers – Life Lessons

Effectively communicating to your employees will result in a more efficient operation and will help achieve the bottom-line objectives of any company, business, or basic interaction. As a manager, your communication skill is critical in directing the actions of your employees. This basic managerial skill course in communication will enable you to become a better manager for yourself, and for your organization. You will learn how to communicate effectively, which will help you to maximize “work through others” to get the job done.

There are many components to communication. Consider verbal communication skills, listening skills, written memorandums/email, telephone skills and non-verbal communication. Also, reflect upon all the people we communicate to: subordinates, peers, supervisors, customers, and groups of people. In addition, ponder some of the reasons, why we communicate: to get and give information, to discipline subordinates, to make assignments, and so on.

We will not be able to explore every facet and component of communication. Rather, we will focus on the general principles of effective communication that apply to most situations and we will point out important things to remember for some specific situations. We will use only as much “theory” as needed to gain basic understanding of communication problems. Primarily, we will discuss what you can do to become an effective communicator.

Our Objectives

Upon completion, you will be capable of:

1) Recognizing communication problems and barriers.
2) Implementing techniques to resolve communication problems and barriers.
3) Demonstrating the basic general rules of effective communication.
4) Using special techniques in specific communication situations.

This is designed to do more than just give you information on communicating. Rather, it is set up to teach you skills which you can apply in your day to day routine.

What is Communication?

Communication is simply the sending of a message to another person. The person sending the message first needs to formulate the message in his head. This involves determining the meaning that the sender intends to convey to the other person. To formulate the meaning of the message, the sender usually draws upon his background attitudes, perceptions, emotions, opinions, education, and experience.

The message is then sent to the listener through both verbal talking and non-verbal gestures. The person receiving this message then interprets its meaning. To do this, the listener uses his background, attitudes, perceptions, emotions, opinions, education, and experience.

Effective communication exists between two persons when the person receiving the message interprets it in the same way as the sender intended it. Sounds really simple doesn’t it? Well, it can be.

Who is Responsible for Communicating Effectively?

Managers share the responsibility in communicating effectively with the individual employees themselves. The manager is 100% responsible for communicating effectively with their employees.

This includes establishing an open and trusting climate for communication, as well as demonstrating good communication techniques to their employees. The employee is 100% responsible for taking advantage of the “climate for communication” to express what is important and relevant. For example,it is expected that a manager will ask “are there any questions?” after giving an employee an assignment, but it is also expected that an employee will say, “I have a question”, if one should occur to the employee, without waiting for the manager to ask.

Why Managers Need to be Effective Communicators?

o Communication is used so frequently that “we cannot afford to do it poorly”.
o Communication has a special power: to create interest, stimulate action, achieve agreement, foster enthusiasm.
o Communication is the primary method that managers use to direct their employee’s behavior.
o Communication is the basis for almost all other managerial skills. It is involved in delegating duties to subordinates, motivating employees, demonstrating leadership abilities, training new policies and programs, and counseling performance problems, etc.

Barriers to Effective Communication

o Supervisor inaccessible.
o Supervisor buried in work.
o Supervisor always in a hurry.
o Supervisor maintains a pre-occupied expression; little eye-contact with employees.
o Supervisor only informal with his peers or boss (never with subordinates).
o Supervisor tells employees to “write it up” instead of promoting discussion.
o Supervisor never asks, “How’s it going?”.

Where do Difficulties in Communication Arise?

The basic source of misunderstanding between two persons are communication failures that occur when the receiver understands the meaning of a message differently than it was intended. We do not always communicate what we intend.

Communication failures arise when there is a gap between what the sender meant and what the receiver thought the sender meant.

Communication failure can be caused by:

o Being so preoccupied that you do not listen to what other are saying.
o Being so interested in what you have to say that you listen only to find an opening to work your way into the conversation.
o Being so sure that you know what the other person is going to say that you distort what you hear to match your expectation.
o Evaluating and judging the speakers, which makes the speaker guarded and defensive.
o Not being able to “see past the words” and get the emotional message of the sender.
o Not trusting the speaker and becoming suspicious of what is being said.

Setting the Stage for Effective Communication

Even before the first word is uttered, various factors are already at work that can affect the success or failure of our communications. Let’s examine these factors to see what role they play.

Communicator’s Appearance

Before we ever say a word, others have been receiving messages from us. We communicate to others just by the way we dress and groom. In the book Dressing for Success, the author notes that other people conclude about 17 different things about us just on the basis of how we appear.

Many businesses utilize a dress code to guide people to the appropriate type of attire. It use to be traditional within the business world for men to wear a coat and tie. This conveys to others that we are professionals. In addition, conservative colors are preferred to more outspoken colors. This communicates seriousness, stability, and a “down-to-business” attitude. Recent changes have occurred in this area, just always remember that people do make conclusions about you based on your appearance. Understand the expectation as it relates to dress code and insure you are in tune with the company position.

Communicator’s Past Conversations

Communication experts tell us that the credibility of the communicator, as determined by past conversations, is a critical factor in effective communication. Credibility refers to the attitude the listener has toward the truthfulness and trustworthiness of the sender’s statements. When a listener views the sender as dependable, knowledgeable, reliable, warm and friendly, emphatic, and non-selfish, the message that is sent will be more likely to be received. Unless we seem credible to the receiver. our message will be discounted and we will not be able to communicate effectively with him.

Communicator’s Personality

The personality of the communicator plays a part in both the formulation of the message and in how the message is communicated. Each individuals beliefs, opinions, prejudices, feelings, biases, and personal experiences enter into the development of a message. Most of the time this happens quickly, automatically, and out of habit. In addition to influencing what we think and say, our personalities also play a role in how we say the message. You may know of an instance where two managers sound completely different in conveying the same exact message to a listener. For example a result oriented manager may talk in short, concise, action-oriented sentences, while another manager may end up in a long discourse including many details and side points.

The Communication Situation

The situation and circumstances surrounding our communication plays a part in determining its success or failure. Although many types of situations affect the messages we send, one particular type that can easily distort our messages is communication under stress. Stress, by its very nature, makes it difficult for us to “think clearly”. In a stress situation, the meaning of the message can be distorted; subtle shades of meaning can be confused; pieces of information can be forgotten; minor points may seem more important than major points. In addition, the wording of the communication may suffer. Uncertainty, nervousness, and confusion can creep into the speaker’s voice, resulting in a less assertive statement.

Communicating Effectively – Verbal Communication

Verbal communication means talking. The goal in communicating verbally is to convey a message to another person so that the other person understands it exactly as the person talking intended it. A well communicated message is one which the other person can accurately repeat back in his own words. Verbal communication can be made more effective by:

o Talking about specific rather than general situations.
o Using concrete language, e.g., “merchandise” rather than “stuff”.
o Using words familiar to employees; explaining unfamiliar words.
o Including an example to illustrate the point.
o Giving sufficient detail to convey the point.
o Giving details slowly and in order.
o Making it a practice to address the five “W” questions in the topic (if applicable).

Who is involved?
What is the situation; how did it begin?
When will it occur?
Where is it taking place? What you think, believe, feel?
Why will it happen? Why is this important?

Nonverbal Communication

Nonverbal communication refers to the gestures and body positions that accompany ones speaking. All people display certain gestures or lack of them when talking. It is important to be aware of your nonverbal communication, for it plays a big role in making your total communication effective.

Effective communication occurs when a person’s verbal message and nonverbal message both “say the same thing”. Problems in communication occur when the speaker’s words say one thing, but his gestures and body language says something else.

Types of Nonverbal Communication

All of the following “says something”. In the specific context, they should correspond and reinforce the spoken message.

o Eye contact.
o Position of our arms and legs.
o The distance we stand from others when talking to them.
o Where we sit at a table or in relation to others.
o Smiling.
o Nodding or other head movements.

The manager can use nonverbal behaviors in two ways. First, when speaking, he can monitor his own nonverbal behavior and try to make sure it corresponds and emphasizes what he is verbally saying.

For example:

o When taking charge of a situation, the manager should have good eye contact with his subordinates, stand in a straight posture, use a firm but not overbearing voice,and point to what he wants done.

o Upon noticing customers, the employee should smile to indicate friendliness, make eye contact to acknowledge the customer’s presence, tun his body in the direction of the customer to indicate his willingness to help if needed.

The other way a manager can use nonverbal behavior is in “listening to what others are really saying”. If the manager notices the employee saying one thing verbally but another thing non verbally, then the manager should suspect that the verbal message being said may be somewhat “incomplete”.

Active listening skills is what separates the good from the great. Learn to listen with your ears, eyes and perception paying attention to both the verbal and nonverbal communication.

For example:

An employee who says that he would feel comfortable doing a task but who exhibits folded arms, crossed legs, and tensed neck muscles might not be feeling as comfortable as he thinks. The manager who suspects this might need to keep his eye on this situation.

Written Communication

In written communication, the simpler, shorter, and more direct the better. This can be remembered by the equation:

Effectiveness = Conciseness = Completeness

Try the following tips for achieving concise and complete communication.

o Use simple words; your goal is not to impress your reader with your vocabulary, it is to get the point across.
o Make sure the words exactly express the thought; different words can slant the entire message of your point.
o Make the sentence structure clear; poor grammar, run on sentences, etc., can distort the point you want to make.
o Use a different paragraph for each complete unit of thought.
o Make sure all of the necessary information is included.
o Anticipate questions and include the answers in your message.
o Use only essential words and phrases.
o Make sure your facts, dates, times, etc., are correct.
o Consider the tone of the memorandum. Make sure it doesn’t contain antagonism or preaching. I highly suggest that if you are upset about something, it is OK to write out your thoughts and ideas for making the situation better. Then make sure you do not send it, until you read it the next day. You will find in most cases that what you want to say does not change, but how you say it will change dramatically once you are over the emotions you attached to it.
o Make sure it is neat in appearance.

Remember all written memorandums have a dual purpose: you want the reader to receive your message and you want to do it the shortest, quickest way possible without leaving out necessary information.

All memorandums written in this way will be a good reflection upon you.

Phone Conversations

Talking on the phone lies between face-to-face communication and written communication in regard to information we can receive from the other person. Phone conversations do not give us access to the body language of the other person, hence, we miss the nonverbal cues accompanying the words. On the other hand, phone communication does allow us to take into account the tone of voice the other person is using, unlike written communication/email.

Voice tone can be used in two ways. First, we can vary our voice tone to reinforce what we are saying verbally. Managers can convey competence, sincerity, and trust through the tone of their voice when talking to customers or employees.

Secondly, we can pay attention to other people’s tone of voice, much like nonverbal behavior, to check on unspoken feelings and thoughts. To do this accurately, practice listening to both the words and the tone of the voice that carries the words.

When talking to someone you have spoken to before, pay attention to changes in their usual voice qualities. Some people speak slow, loud, or clear. When these people change their normal voice qualities, they are communicating something extra to us. It is up to us to look for cues to detect what these changes in customary

voice tones mean. Remember, you can’t talk to someone on the phone and someone in front of you both at the same time and do justice to either party.

Communicating to a Group

Communicating to a group can be as simple as making an announcement r as complex as running a training program requiring much group participation. Much of what has been presented in this training applies to communicating to a group. Pre-communication factors, such as your appearance, credibility, and the specifics of the situation plays large part in establishing a successful presentation. Talking effectively and using nonverbal body language to correspond to the spoken words can all be used in group settings. A particularly skillful speaker can even “read” the nonverbal cues of the group as a whole and use this information to adjust his talk.

Listening

Why you Should Listen to Your Employees

o Employees might have helpful ideas.
o Employees might know causes of problems in the workplace.
o Employees might be able to warn me about potential problems I haven’t yet recognized.
o How employees feel about things can be a tip-of future problems.

Ways of Not Listening

o Signing routine papers.
o Sorting papers.
o Allowing long telephone interruptions.
o Sneaking looks at the time.
o Gazing out of the window, or at distractions passing by.
o Maintaining pre-occupied facial expressions.
o Calling orders to other employees in between sentences.
o Fidgeting nervously, shaking foot, playing with gadgets, coffee cup, etc.

Inhibiting Communication from Your Employees

Avoid the following to prevent cutting off future communication from your employees:

o Blaming the employee who gave you bad news.
o Getting angry.
o “Falling apart”.
o Demanding the employee to justify work that is reported to be not going well.

How should you react to news:
React to bad news by remaining objective; keep your emotions under control; switch to a “problem-solving”, “let’s get this situation corrected” approach. Respond to good news with praise, acknowledgment and appreciation.

Active Listening
Active listening is comprised of three separate and important skills: attention skills, following skills, and responding skills. Attention skills are those actions you take to put the talker at ease, to non verbally show you are listening, and to best “pay attention to” what the other person is trying to say. Maintaining eye contact, eliminating distractions, and concentrating on both the verbal and nonverbal are examples of attention skills.

Following Skills
These are the skills we use to encourage the conversation along; to get the point the person is making. Nodding our heads, saying “uh-huh”, “I see”, and “go on” are following skills. Asking appropriate questions to bring out the point is a following skill as is allowing silences without jumping in. All following skills serve two purposes: to indicate to the speaker that you are “with him” and to help him get the point across.

Responding Skills
This is where we determine if we received and interpreted the message as the speaker intended it. Say something like, “If I understand correctly, you are saying … ” and go on to paraphrase that we understand, using our own words. Check out the facts and ideas, the main point of what the speaker said. It is only after we are sure that we understood the message as intended, can we then evaluate, judge, take action, or supply an answer or comment.

Communicating on the Job – Who We Communicate To
Before the message is formulated and communicated, we become aware of who we will be sending it to. How and what we communicate can change depending upon who is the intended audience.

Upward Communication
If we will be communicating to our immediate supervisor, our message might be prepared, formulated, and presented in a specific manner. For example, if we need to seek assistance from our supervisor, asking an open-ended question will result in more information than a question that can be answered yes or no.

Peer Communication
If the communication is intended for a peer, the message might be less “formally” prepared and presented. For example, less background information might need to be given since the peer can “easily relate” to the situation to be described.

Downward Communication
The manager who is communicating to his subordinate may need to do so in a different way than to others. Clear, concise, directions might be the format for much of the messages the manager gives to his employees. In addition, the manager may follow-up many of his messages with, “Do you have any questions?”.

Checking For Understanding
When communicating with employees, it is always a good idea to check for understanding. Simply take a second and ask ” recap for me what I have asked you to do.” By doing this, you can clear up any missed communication that may have taken place. This step is helpful for both parties as it allows them to communicate back to you that they heard and understood your direction. This is a critical step in delegation of tasks.

Communicating With Customers
Communicating to a customer also affects how the message is formulated and delivered. Messages conveyed to customers need to be totally accurate and delivered in a professional and friendly manner.

Purpose of the Communication
When we talk to someone, we usually have a purpose. The purpose of the communication differs depending on the situation and who we are addressing. A manager may communicate for any of the following reasons:

o To motivate employees.
o To teach, instruct, or explain a task.
o To counsel an employee.
o To seek information or assistance.
o To correct an employee’s behavior.
o To be persuasive.
o To socialize.

With each of these purposes, the communication changes in order to accomplish our goal.

One of my favorite leaders use to say, that you will have become a master of communication when you are able to tell someone where to go and to have them looking forward to the trip!

Wireless and Mobile Communication Networks

Communication without being physically tied-up to wires has always been of interest and mobile and wireless communication networks promise that. The last few years have witnessed unprecedented growth in wireless communication networks. Significant advancements have been made in the technologies that support wireless communication environment and there is much more to come in the future. The devices used for wireless communication require certain features that wired communication devices may not necessarily need. These features include low power consumption, light weight, and worldwide communication ability.

In wireless and mobile communication networks, the access to a communication network is wireless so that the end users remain free to move. The rest of the communication path could be wired, wireless, or combination of the two. In general, a mobile user, while communicating, has a wireless connection with a fixed communication facility and rest of the communication path remains wired. The range of wireless communication is always limited and therefore the range of user mobility is also limited. To overcome this limitation, the cellular communication environment has been devised. In a cellular communication environment, a geographical region is divided into smaller regions called cells, thus the name cellular. Each cell has a fixed communication device that serves all mobile devices within that cell. However, as a mobile device, while in active communication, moves out of one cell and into another cell, service of that connection is transferred from one cell to another. This is called the handoff process. The cellular arrangement has many attractive features. As the cell size is small, the mobile devices do not need very high transmitting power to communicate. This leads to smaller devices that consume less power.

In addition, it is well known that the frequency spectrum that can be used for wireless communication is limited and can therefore support only a small number of wireless communication connections at a time. Dividing communication regions into cells allows the use of the same frequency in different cells as long as they are sufficiently far apart to avoid interference. This increases the number of mobile devices that can be supported. Advances in digital signal processing algorithms and faster electronics have led to very powerful, smaller, elegant, and versatile mobile communication devices. These devices have tremendous mobile communication abilities including wireless Internet access, wireless e-mail and news items, and wireless video (though limited) communication on handheld devices. Wireless telephones are already available and operate in different communication environments across the continents. The day is not far when a single communication number will be assigned to every newborn and will stay with that person irrespective of his/her location.

Another field that is emerging rapidly is the field of ad hoc wireless communication networks. These networks are of a temporary nature and are established for a certain need and for a certain duration. There is no elaborate setup needed to establish these networks. As a few mobile communication devices come in one another’s proximity, they can establish a communication network among themselves. Typical situations where ad hoc wireless networks can be used are in the classroom environment, corporate meetings, conferences,
disaster recovery situations, etc. Once the need for networking is satisfied, the ad hoc networking setup disappears.

The Psychology of Communication

On the limits of the process of communication and the central role of interpretation

Communication is about using symbols and in case of humans, using language, to convey meanings and ideas between individuals and it involves the act of evoking reactions from other individuals. Human communication is marked by intention and anticipation of the reactions and communication in humans can be verbal when mediated by language or non-verbal when no language is involved. Communication can also be direct when a certain pattern of behavior evokes a particular type of response or subtle and indirect when behaviors are not predictable or ambiguous and not even completely comprehensible. Thus communication is separated into certain distinct categories such as:

1. Direct and Indirect communication

2. Verbal and non-verbal communication

Any direct communication can be both verbal and non-verbal just as indirect communication can also be verbal or non verbal. Verbal communication can again be direct or indirect and similarly non verbal communication can also be either direct or indirect. So let’s say there are four types of communication patterns in humans – verbal and direct, verbal and indirect, non-verbal and direct, non-verbal and indirect. Examples of verbal and direct would be saying things that are straightforward or unambiguous and with no hidden or incomprehensible messages. These are verbal expressions of emotions and ideas as they occur. Like when you are happy and say that you are happy, you are using the verbal direct method of communication to express your feelings. Indirect methods of verbal communication are using subtle expressions such as taunts, sarcasm, hints etc. that can have ambiguous meanings and do not represent expressions of emotions or ideas ‘as they occur’. Thus if you are sad and do not say so but imply indirectly, then you are using indirect methods to convey your state of mind. Non verbal communication is about using cues, facial or bodily expressions, body language, eye or hand movements etc., to express ideas. This can be quite direct like say, hitting a person is rather non verbal but direct as it expresses anger just as crying represents sorrow. However non verbal communication can be indirect such as turning away your eyes from a person you feel uncomfortable with or maintaining prolonged eye contact with a person to convey a message.

Communication is the basis of human and non-human interaction and we can all communicate with a touch or a sound, a look or a symbol, a word or a sentence and also by doing or saying nothing at all. The body is an important interface in communication and I’ve discussed this in the psychology of body in which body language is shown to play an important role in communication. We communicate with our mates through intimate body language and sexual interaction is a very important communication tool in humans and also in animals. The psychology of communication will include the different elements or stages of communication in an individual such as

1. Absorption of external information through listening or reading etc,

2. Interpretation of the stimuli received, and

3. Reaction to the information obtained through behavior

The three stages of the communication process as in absorption or taking in information, the interpretation or deriving meaning of the information and reaction or responding to the information are facilitated by the following elements:

1. Absorption or taking in information – is through sense organs and we simply absorb the sounds and colors, the spoken words and all external data provided to us. Absorption is an objective process

2. Interpretation or analysis of information – involves using brain mechanisms and analyzing external stimuli as well as details such as expressions and subtle verbal and non verbal cues, so interpretation is a subjective process

3. Reaction or response to the stimuli – uses physical communication routes such as speech, language or expressions through facial and bodily movements. Reactions are the result of a subjective and an objective process. This is because when presented with certain stimuli we all have a set of predictable responses which are objective but depending on how we interpret the situation subjectively, the reactions might vary to an extent. Reactions can be imitative – you smile when you see someone smiling or it can be just the opposite as when someone tries to look at you and you try to look away.

This reaction or response evoked in an individual can become a stimulus for another chain of responses or the stimulus can be a completely separate event or situation. Behaviorists will usually consider communication as a stimulus-response pattern with individuals perceiving the stimuli and reacting to them in the form of communication. Freudian psychoanalysis suggests that communication is directly related to how we subjectively perceive the external information based on our own experiences. So ‘interpretation’ of external stimuli or the mediation of the individual mind is the most important aspect of communication according to psychoanalysis, although behaviorists will completely eliminate the importance of the ‘interpretation’ part considering communication as nothing but a series of mechanical ‘stimulus-response’ pattern. Thus according to behavioral psychology, we perceive an object and react to it via communication almost like a computer program. It sounds strange that the importance of mind and consciousness in communication has only been recently acknowledged in ‘scientific’ psychology.

The methods of communication are also equally interesting as humans communicate through the written word and the spoken word and through letters, messages, phone calls, personal face to face conversation, through glances and physical contact, through sex, and on a wider scale through seminars, conferences, news events, newspapers, press releases, books, brochures, and campaigning or propaganda. The newer methods of communication using information technology are via chats and chatrooms, internet and emails, text messages, forums, blogging and networking. Technology has opened up new avenues of communication and the world is now completely dependent on how far and how quickly people are able to communicate.

Communication is central to our modern life, yet it is a difficult and complicated process and a gap remains between the ideas communicated and the ideas perceived. This communication gap as it is generally called is closed only with proper consideration of all verbal, non verbal, indirect and direct elements of the communication process. So in a personal or business meeting the communication process involves not just presentation of the ideas of people verbally but also the non verbal facial and bodily expressions.

The purpose of communication is almost always motivated or intentional as we naturally expect a response from people we communicate with. In fact all communication is based on anticipation of response from others thus communication tend to have a direction or purpose. However the communication gap can create problems in the process and the purpose of communication may remain unfulfilled when communicated ideas are too vague or indirect. The vagueness increases when channels of communication between two or more individuals are remote or distal rather than proximal.

Long distance communication methods such as emails and internet, telephone calls etc. bring in new challenges to the study of communication as we are not able to see the person we communicate with, we find it difficult to ‘interpret’ the stimuli that we encounter. As I have noted in an earlier part of this discussion, the ability to ‘interpret’ the communicative stimuli is a very important part of the communicative process and the interpretation or derivation of the meaning of what we hear or see depends on our inherent need for analysis of all indirect body language cues, facial expressions and hints or subtle or subconscious processes. Human beings are intelligent and in most cases do not take all information for granted. The direct face to face communication provides us with a definite sense of what the other person really means and gives us assurance that our interpretation of the communication is correct. That is why the face to face interviewing process still remains the most popular method of communication in a selection process. All online communication and information on the internet are thus prone to misinterpretation as we are not able to interpret the information using the non verbal cues or expressions that are an essential part of the communication process. The communication gap is thus the gap of interpretation as despite a lot of information there is certain dearth of essential information and our mind recognizes the communication process as incomplete. You may chat with a person online for several hours in a day but unless you are able to see or hear his or her facial and bodily expressions, you can never be assured that the communication process is completely authentic. Of course, modern devices such as the webcam have greatly improved the communication process. Yet it is also true that even if we have all the essential cues of communication, the very fact that we have to interpret the information received subjectively, can suggest the possibility of a communication gap.

In this discussion then, I simply pointed out that the three stages of communication comprise of certain essential elements and a communication gap is inherent in the process of interpretation either because of our own limitations or due to limitations of technology.

Ten Tips for Effective Workplace Communication

We have been communicating right from the time we were born. There is very little effort needed to express our message while communicating to people with whom we are most comfortable. At the most, a small misunderstanding or an argument can result due to miscommunication at home or in social settings. And so, we may wonder, “What is the big fuss about work place communication?” and “what is the need for Communication Training?” The simple answer to that question is – “The stakes are far too high!” Poor communication can impact productivity and morale of employees and even have legal implications. So here are a few tips that can help you improve your communication skills and help you communicate effectively at your workplace:

Conceptualizing your Message with Clarity: Every time you have to communicate to a stakeholder or your colleagues, ask yourself if you are clear about the message you want to communicate. Remember, your message does not involve just words, it includes feelings and emotions surrounding the situation about which you are communicating. Proactively choose the emotion you want to convey through your message.

Understand the Other’s Paradigm: The objective of effective communication, especially in a workplace, is to ensure that the receiver perceives the message the way you intend. So, if the onus is on the communicator, then it is imperative that the communicator understands the receiver’s world. The more you understand their paradigm, the easier it is to communicate the message in a fashion they understand.

Recognize Barriers to Communication: In today’s globalized work scenario, there is a mélange of barriers that impedes effective communication. Top most on this list, is the cultural barrier. It is impossible to understand another’s culture totally but you can strive to understand the receiver’s world. Understand how your communication needs to be altered to get the desired result.

Communication is a Partnership: Establishing trust and rapport positively impacts the effectiveness of communication as it permits the communicators to be relaxed and comfortable. While communicating observe closely the other person’s body language and mirror it by altering your own. When you are the listener, encourage the speaker with positive body language that expresses interest.

Communicate Clearly, Concisely and Coherently: Avoid ambiguous words and phrases and ensure clear diction, enunciation and inflection. It is important to keep the message short, and simple. Resist the temptation to say or write more. Information overload is a sure recipe for miscommunication and confusion. Stick to the central theme of your message.

Appropriate use of Tone and Body Language: Be sure your facial expressions, gestures and other non-verbal cues suggest the appropriate emotion that you want to convey. The most important aspect of the non-verbal cue is your tone of voice. Be aware of the pitch and rate of speech that can determine the emotions you convey through your voice. In written communication, choice of words determines the tone of the message. Be sensitive to how the reader may perceive your message.

Conviction & Passion Persuades: Messages that require people to take action, especially when it is against what the listener believes in, are fuelled by the conviction and passion with which your message is communicated. Here, usage of appropriate metaphors can, not just add beauty to your speech but also be persuasive.

Eliciting Feedback: Ensure your communication includes requests for feedback. Inquire to find out if you were able to get your message across authentically. Here, the objective of feedback is primarily to check their understanding of your message. If they did not understand you, you can alter your communication to establish complete comprehension.

Effective Listening: Listening plays a more significant role in communication than spoken communication. Always listen with an open mind. You do not have to agree to what is being said but it is imperative to understand it. Understanding the message clearly helps you to make better decisions on whether to agree or disagree to the message. Active listening includes questioning, paraphrasing and summarizing the message. While listening to messages with high emotional content, practice reflective listening. This enhances the relationship as you display empathy when using reflective listening.

Reflecting on the Feedback: Your success in business communication hinges on the whole-hearted attempts you make on establishing win-win outcomes. This is only possible when you reflect on the feedback you receive from the other person. Do not allow critical feedback and criticisms, which are just part and parcel of any working environment, to affect you negatively. Always look at the bigger picture. If you have to convey a critical feedback, ensure it addresses the issue and the person.

Regardless of how good your communication is, following these tips will surely enhance your ability to establish long-term and productive professional relationships at your workplace. Improve your communication effectiveness through appropriate communication skills training and reap the benefits for a life-time.