Now it's your turn! Below is all the information given on a training program needed, called Effective Communication. You are a trainer in the given situation. Please submit the following:
Tim Smith the IT manager comes to you and says "My project coordinators are in a slump; they just are not producing their usual caliber of work. I need to find out what the problem is. No one on the project team knows what is going on. The communcation my project coordinators are giving is coming across as rude, which in turn keeps moral low and the teams are not doing the work. I was hoping you would be able to put together an Effective Communication training for them to help get everyone back on the right track." There are 10 project coordinators in the IT department. Two of the project coordinator's are in the organization's Bangkok office. Tim wants the training to last no longer than 4 hours and wants it to be face to face in a class room with you, the trainer. He does not want to fly the Bangkok assoicates in and would like you to set up a Skype session with them during your training. He also wants you to set up weekly coaching sessions with each project manager and himself for a month after the training is completed.
Training Purchased from USA Training: Effective Communication
You are to use this information, but are not limited to it. Tim wants to make sure this information is covered in the training as he went online and bought it from USA Training, however he is open to what research you find. He wants the training to be interactive and requested that you included at least 1 activity around communication in the training.
People in organizations typically spend over 75% of their time in an interpersonal situation; thus it is no surprise to find that at the root of a large number of organizational problems is poor communications. Effective communication is an essential component of organizational success whether it is at the interpersonal, inter-group, intra-group, organizational, or external levels.
In this chapter we will cover the basic process of communication and then we will cover some of the most difficult communication issues managers’ face-providing constructive and effective feedback and performance appraisal.
The Communication Process
Although all of us have been communicating with others since our infancy, the process of transmitting information from an individual (or group) to another is a very complex process with many sources of potential error.
In any communication at least some of the "meaning" lost in simple transmission of a message from the sender to the receiver. In many situations a lot of the true message is lost and the message that is heard is often far different than the one intended. This is most obvious in cross-cultural situations where language is an issue. But it is also common among people of the same culture.
Communications is so difficult because at each step in the process there major potential for error. By the time a message gets from a sender to a receiver there are four basic places where transmission errors can take place and at each place, there are a multitude of potential sources of error. Thus it is no surprise that social psychologists estimate that there is usually a 40-60% loss of meaning in the transmission of messages from sender to receiver.
It is critical to understand this process, understand and be aware of the potential sources of errors and constantly counteract these tendencies by making a conscientious effort to make sure there is a minimal loss of meaning in your conversation.
It is also very important to understand that a majoring of communication is non-verbal. This means that when we attribute meaning to what someone else is saying, the verbal part of the message actually means less than the non-verbal part. The non-verbal part includes such things as body language and tone.
Barriers to Effective Communication
There are a wide number of sources of noise or interference that can enter into the communication process. This can occur when people now each other very well and should understand the sources of error. In a work setting, it is even more common since interactions involve people who not only don't have years of experience with each other, but communication is complicated by the complex and often confliction relationships that exist at work. In a work setting, the following suggests a number of sources of noise:
Reading Nonverbal Communication Cues
A large percentage (studies suggest over 90%) of the meaning we derive from communication, we derive from the non-verbal cues that the other person gives. Often a person says one thing but communicates something totally different through vocal intonation and body language. These mixed signals force the receiver to choose between the verbal and nonverbal parts of the message. Most often, the receiver chooses the nonverbal aspects. Mixed messages create tension and distrust because the receiver senses that the communicator is hiding something or is being less than candid.
Nonverbal communication is made up of the following parts:
This often called body language and includes facial expression, eye movement, posture, and gestures. The face is the biggest part of this. All of us "read" people's faces for ways to interpret what they say and feel. This fact becomes very apparent when we deal with someone with dark sunglasses. Of course we can easily misread these cues especially when communicating across cultures where gestures can mean something very different in another culture. For example, in American culture agreement might be indicated by the head going up and down whereas in India, a side-to-side head movement might mean the same thing.
We also look to posture to provide cues about the communicator; posture can indicate self-confidence, aggressiveness, fear, guilt, or anxiety. Similarly, we look at gestures such as how we hold our hands, or a handshake. Many gestures are culture bound and susceptible to misinterpretation
This involves the use of touch to impart meaning as in a handshake, a pat on the back, an arm around the shoulder, a kiss, or a hug.
The meaning of words can be altered significantly by changing the intonation of one's voice. Think of how many ways you can say "no"-you could express mild doubt, terror, amazement, anger among other emotions. Vocal meanings vary across cultures. Intonation in one culture can mean support; another anger
Use of Time as Nonverbal Communication:
Use of time can communicate how we view our own status and power in relation to others. Think about how a subordinate and his/her boss would view arriving at a place for an agreed upon meeting...
For most of us, someone standing very close to us makes us uncomfortable. We feel our "space" has been invaded. People seek to extend their territory in many ways to attain power and intimacy. We tend to mark our territory either with permanent walls, or in a classroom with our coat, pen, paper, etc. We like to protect and control our territory. For Americans, the "intimate zone" is about two feet; this can vary from culture to culture. This zone is reserved for our closest friends. The "personal zone" from about 2-4 feet usually is reserved for family and friends. The social zone (4-12 feet) is where most business transactions take place. The "public zone" (over 12 feet) is used for lectures. Similarly, we use "things" to communicate. This can involve expensive things, neat or messy things, photographs, plants, etc. Image: We use clothing and other dimensions of physical appearance to communicate our values and expectations
A "majority" of the meaning we attribute to words comes not from the words themselves, but from nonverbal factors such as gestures, facial expressions, tone, body language, etc. Nonverbal cues can play five roles:
Skillful communicators understand the importance of nonverbal communication and use it to increase their effectiveness, as well as use it to understand more clearly what someone else is really saying.
A word of warning: Nonverbal cues can differ dramatically from culture to culture. An American hand gesture meaning "A-OK" would be viewed as obscene in some South American countries. Be careful.
Developing Communication Skills: Listening Skills
There are a number of situations when you need to solicit good information from others; these situations include interviewing candidates, solving work problems, seeking to help an employee on work performance, and finding out reasons for performance discrepancies.
Skill in communication involves a number of specific strengths. The first we will discuss involves listening skills. The following lists some suggests for effective listening when confronted with a problem at work:
A major source of problem in communication is defensiveness. Effective communicators are aware that defensiveness is a typical response in a work situation especially when negative information or criticism is involved. Be aware that defensiveness is common, particularly with subordinates when you are dealing with a problem. Try to make adjustments to compensate for the likely defensiveness. Realize that when people feel threatened they will try to protect themselves; this is natural. This defensiveness can take the form of aggression, anger, competitiveness, avoidance among other responses. A skillful listener is aware of the potential for defensiveness and makes needed adjustment. He or she is aware that self-protection is necessary and avoids making the other person spend energy defending the self.
In addition, a supportive and effective listener does the following:
Constructive Feedback: Developing Your Skills
"I don't know how to turn her performance around; she never used to have these attendance problems and her work used to be so good; I don't know why this is happening and what to do."
This manager is struggling with one of the most important yet trickiest and most difficult management tasks: providing constructive and useful feedback to others. Effective feedback is absolutely essential to organizational effectiveness; people must know where they are and where to go next in terms of expectations and goals-yours, their own, and the organization.
Feedback taps basic human needs-to improve, to compete, to be accurate; people want to be competent. Feedback can be reinforcing; if given properly, feedback is almost always appreciated and motivates people to improve. But for many people, daily work is like bowling with a curtain placed between them and the pins; they receive little information.
Be aware of the many reasons why people are hesitant to give feedback; they include fear of causing embarrassment, discomfort, fear of an emotional reaction, and inability to handle the reaction. It is crucial that we realize how critical feedback can be and overcome our difficulties; it is very important and can be very rewarding but it requires skill, understanding, courage, and respect for yourself and others. Withholding constructive feedback is like sending people out on a dangerous hike without a compass. This is especially true in today's fast changing and demanding workplace. Why managers are often reluctant to provide feedback? As important as feedback is, this critical managerial task remains one of the most problematic. Many managers would rather have root canal work than provide feedback to another-especially feedback that might be viewed as critical. Why are managers so reluctant to provide feedback? The reasons are many:
Characteristics of Effective Feedback
It is an important step toward authenticity. Constructive feedback opens the way to a relationship which is built on trust, honest, and genuine concern and mutual growth.
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