What is Effective Business communication skills

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BUSINESS COMMUNICATION ENG301 Table of Contents: Page no. Lesson 1 Introduction to Communication…………………………………… 3 Lesson 2 Flow of communication…………………………………………….. 8 Lesson 3 Theories of Communication………………………………………… 12 Lesson 4 The process of communication and misconceptions 14 Lesson 5 Barriers in effective communication ………………………………… 16 Lesson 6 Non-verbal communication…………………………………………… 19 Lesson 7 Non-verbal communication…………………………………………… 22 Lesson 8 Traits of good communicators………………………………………… 25 Lesson 9 Principles of business communication………………………………… 27 Lesson 10 Concreteness………………………………………………………....... 31 Lesson 11 Consideration…………………………………………………………. 37 Lesson 12 Intercultural communication………………………………………… 41 Lesson 13 Intercultural communication…………………………………………. 43 Lesson 14 Individual cultural variables…………………………………………... 49 Lesson 15 Process of preparing effective business messages…………………….. 54 Lesson 16 The appearance and design of business messages…………………… 60 Lesson 17 The appearance and design of business messages 65 Lesson 18 Communication through technology………………………………… 72 Lesson 19 Basic Organizational Plans…………………………………………… 78 Lesson 20 Inquiries and general requests………………………………………… 84 Lesson 21 Inquiries and general requests……………………………………… 89 Lesson 22 Letter writing (placing orders)……………………………………… 99 Lesson 23 Letter writing (claim letter)…….…………………………………….. 108 Lesson 24 Letter writing (adjustment letter)….………………………………… 112 Lesson 25 Collection letter…………………………………………………… 118 Lesson 26 Sales letter……………………………………………………….. 123 Lesson 27 Memorandum and Circular……………………………………… 132 Lesson 28 Minutes of the meeting………………………………………. 136 Lesson 29 Business reports……………………………………………… 142 Lesson 30 Business reports (letter reports)……………………………….. 148 Lesson 31 Business reports (formal reports)………………………………. 154 Lesson 32 Market reports…………………………………………………… 158 Lesson 33 Job search and employment……………………………………… 164 Lesson 34 Resume writing………………………………………………….. 169 Lesson 35 Resume and application letter……………………………………… 177 Lesson 36 Job inquiry letter and interview……………………………………. 181 Lesson 37 Process of preparing the interview…………………………………. 187 Lesson 38 Oral presentation…………………………………………………… 191 Lesson 39 Oral presentation…………………………………………………. 196 Lesson 40 Language practice and negotiation skill…………………………….. 199 Lesson 41 Negotiation and listening………………………………………… 204 Lesson 42 Thesis writing and presentation………………………………….. 210 Lesson 43 Thesis writing and presentation………………………………….. 215 Lesson 44 Research methodology…………………………………………….. 220 Lesson 45 Research methodology…………………………………………….. 227 VU LESSON 01 COMMUNICATION Outline:  Why we study business communication?  What is communication?  Importance  Advantages of Communication in your Career  Communication & Global Market  Communication at workplace Why we study business communication? You may say that communication is important; you spend a lot of time doing it and you’re pretty good at communicating. After all you talk to people, write notes, read books, and get along with other people which make you informed already. Why should you study communication?” The apparent simplicity of communication is deceptive. Just because we all communicate every day does not make us good communicators. Just because some aspects of effective communication are based on common sense; it does not mean common sense alone is enough. Skilled communicators draw on an extensive and complex body of knowledge, including semantics (the study of word choice according to their meaning), linguistics (the study of language), rhetoric (the study of writing and speaking effectively), psychology, sociology, graphic design, and even computer science. You will explore and apply the scholarship and research from all of these fields in your study of communication. “Why then,” you may well ask finally, “study business communication specifically? Communication is communication: I’ve taken plenty of English courses and communicated in every one of my other courses.” Good communication does, in fact, cross disciplines; correct grammar and audible speaking, for example, are as necessary in a geography class as they are in a business communication class. There are, however, at least five ways in which what you will learn that how this course differs from what you have learned, or will learn, in your other classes. First, the subject matter is different: here you will get a chance to practice communicating with concepts and techniques from areas such as accounting, finance, and marketing. Secondly the forms are also different: you will, for example, practice writing memos, letters and business reports – not just term papers, exams and essays. Thirdly, in this class you will have a chance to practice your oral presentation skills, which – according to various studies – you will probably be using extensively in the business world. Fourthly, you may learn a slightly different style; in general, business communication is more objective, systematic, and concise than creative or personal communication. Finally, perhaps the most important difference is that, you will learn to persuade people to accomplish your desired results. What is communication? I have been discussing how important communication will be for your success in business. What you might be asked, what does the term communication mean? It is certainly hard to define because it has come to mean practically anything. Definition of Communication The word communication means the act or process of giving or exchanging of information, signals or messages as by talk, gestures or writing. Technically speaking, in the act of communication, we make opinions, feelings, information, etc known or understood by others through speech, writing or bodily movement. © Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 2 VU Why do we communicate? The purpose of any given communication may be: a) to initiate some action; b) to impart information, ideas, attitudes, beliefs or feelings; c) to establish, acknowledge or maintain links or relations with other people. Initiating Action Initiating action may be achieved by two basic categories of communication. a) Expressing needs and requirements. This can range from a baby’s cry – or even the bleep of an alarm clock – to an adult’s more precious expression of needs and wants. In a business organization, it would include briefings, instructions and procedure manuals. This will only be effective where the other person is willing to satisfy the needs. b) Persuading and motivating others It means to carry out the desired course of action” in other words, giving them a reason (other than one’s own want or need) to perform that action. Persuasion of this kind is likely to be a major element in marketing and sales: a sales reply cannot simply ask a customer to buy the product because she, the sale rep, needs success. She must show that there are benefits to the consumer, which will make the purchase worthwhile. Imparting Information Imparting information, ideas, attitudes, beliefs and feelings may have any number of specific purposes.  Creating awareness  Creating understanding  Persuading others  Influencing others Information gathering is a constant activity of human beings. We receive a great deal of data and information in our daily lives, only some of which we seek or consciously absorb. Think about these: news bulletins, books, bank statements, business information, gossip, thing people tell you, things you ask them. This list is endless. Remember that other people may be seeking information in the messages you ‘send’ (and in the tone of your voice and other indications of what is ‘between the lines’). This information may or may not be something you wish to communicate: you will need to be aware of it before your listener/reader. Establishing relations Establishing, acknowledging and maintaining relations with other people are vital functions of communication. © Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 3 VU Importance Communicating effectively in speaking and writing is useful in all areas of business, such as management, technical, clerical, and social positions as we have just seen. The ability to communicate well has always given advantages to those who possess it. Communication has a rich history. The ancient world, both the East and the West, depended on oral communication. In ancient Greece and Rome, it was necessary to communicate when dealing with matters in assemblies and the courts. During the Medieval and Renaissance Periods, the oral tradition progressed. As writing became more important as a permanent record of communication, authors and books on written communication principles appeared. So we can say that some of today’s principles of writing are a mixture of ancient oral and written traditions. Advantages of Communication in your Career  Your success in your career is based on your ability to do well in written and oral communication.  This ability to communicate effectively is a valuable asset for you.  If your career requires mainly mental rather than manual labor, your progress will depend on how effectively you communicate your ideas to others who need or should receive them.  Strong communication skills are found in every job description listed by companies’ advertising positions. Communication is a primary responsibility in many careers, such as customer relations, labor relations, marketing personnel, public relations, sales, and teaching.  Communication is also required in government and non profit organizations. Communication skills play a major role at every level.  Even if your work is mainly with figures, as in the accounting profession, the ability to communicate to those who read your financial reports is necessary. A quality for Promotion As an executive you must have the ability to communicate if you want promotion. Those who cannot communicate effectively in either oral or written communication, remain in the same positions. Many surveys have born out the idea that effective communication is essential for success and promotion in every field. Communication & Global Market The way you communicate both within and outside your own country effects everything you do. Moreover your ability to speak and write effectively will also make a difference to your organization. These qualities will help you to be successful in dealing with international business people. Always remember that “To the customer, you are the company”. Your dealing with customers, clients and the public reflects the company you represent. Important communications can make a difference to your company because each message communicates the essential quality and culture of your company and can either build goodwill or destroy it. © Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 4 VU Messages written to international customers and other business contacts are sensitive to the readers. Your goodwill as well as your organization’s is at stake. So be very careful while communicating with international people. The ability to communicate effectively with others is repeatedly named as a top quality of a successful business person. You as a business person may be very intelligent; but if you can’t get your message across to the other, you will be thought of as less intelligent than you are because ideas are common, but the ability to clearly communicate ideas to others is rare. If you are a better communicator, customers and business associates form better impression of you and your organization. This impression is based solely upon your ability to communicate both oral and written messages. Effective business message builds or retains goodwill which is a priceless commodity. Because the exchange of written communication is vital to a businessman for promoting goodwill, the art of producing effective correspondence will help ensure your success in business. So, your ability to communicate is, in fact, your trademark. The memos, letters and reports you write, demonstrate your ability, or lack of ability to communicate. Presenting yourself through your communication will project a favorable image as well as promote successful business both internally and externally. Besides, as a businessman you are required to run the working of your organization smoothly because you are to clearly transfer your objectives, policies, method of working etc. to the people working with you at different levels, so this ability to communicate is very crucial for basic managerial functions. As a businessman you will regularly plan design and control affairs to maximize your production and minimize your cost. Your ability to communicate effectively is going to help you from the brainstorming step to implementing the objectives that you chalk out for the promotion of your business. Another factor that is important to achieve the desired objectives is decision making. Here again ability to communicate both orally and in writing helps you make the most of yourself and your organization. Above all, your ability to communicate helps you in understanding human relationships. Being an effective communicator, you can interact effectively and positively with others. This situation results in an open climate of communication within organization as well as outside it. So communication is of paramount importance to be successful in the business. Developing the right attitude “To the customer, you are the company.” Your attitude when dealing with customers, clients, and the public reflect on the company you represent. Your attitude will reflect your country and your culture. Each message communicates the essential quality and culture of your company and can either build goodwill or destroy it. Doing an honest job enthusiastically and competently helps both the doer and the receiver. Answering even routine inquiries should and can be an interesting challenge. Preparing Adequately Most of the people can learn to communicate effectively for business if they are willing to devote whatever effort is necessary to prepare them adequately. In addition to the proper goodwill-building attitude, the following qualities are desirable:  Careful, sound judgment when choosing ideas and facts for each message.  Patience and understanding, even with unjustly insulting persons.  Integrity, backed up by a valid code of ethics.  Reasonable facility with the English language.  Applied knowledge of the communication process and principles and of successful methods for sending and receiving messages.  Knowledge of the cultural conventions of your audience. © Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 5 VU Cultural Diversity at work Today’s workplace is increasingly divers in age, gender and national origin. Diversity has brought problems to organizations, but it has also brought strengths. Changing demographics have contributed to change in management styles, making effective communication central to success in carrying out the organization’s business. Advance in Technology The internet, e-mail, voice mail, faxes, pagers, and other wireless devices have revolutionized the way people communicate. Such technological advances are new and better tools to the workplace but also increase the speed, frequency, and reach of communication. People from opposite ends of the world can work together effectively, 24 hours a day. Moreover, advancement in technology makes it possible for more and more people to work away from the office-in cars, airports, hotels and at home. So it is easier to understand why communication is so important. © Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 6 VU LESSON 2 FLOW OF COMMUNICATION Outline:  Flow of Internal Communication o Formal Internal Communication o Informal Internal Communication  Direction of flow within the organization  External Communication o Various Aspects of Formal External Communication o Informal External Communication o Ways of External Communication An organization is a group of people associated for business, political, professional, religious, social, or other purposes. Its activities require human beings to interact and react, that is, to communicate. They exchange information, ideas, plans, and order needed supplies and make decisions, rules, proposals, contracts, and agreements. All these activities require one skill that is communication. So we can say that communication is the “Lifeline” of every organization. An exchange of information within an organization is called internal communication. It takes place at different levels downwards, upwards and horizontal. To exchange information within and outside the organization, we use a variety of formal and informal forms of communication that carry the flow of information. Flow of Internal Communication Internal Communication Formal Planned communication Memo, letter, report, e-mail & faxes that follow company’s chain of command Informal Casual Communication among employees e-mail face to face conversation phone calls, discussions i) Internal Communication The formal Communication Network • The formal flow of information follows the official chain of command. Following is the table to help us understand this official chain of command. © Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 7 VU President VP VP VP VP VP Finance Production Marketing Sales Human Resources Sales Sales Sales Sales Manager Manager Manager Manager Midwest East International West District District District 1 2 3 Manager Manager Manager Sales Sales Sales Sales Sales Rep Rep Rep Rep Rep Direction of flow within the organization Downward Flow Organizational decisions are made at top level and then flow down to the people who carry them. When employees receive appropriate downward communication from the management, they become motivated and more efficient. They need clear job directions, safety rules, facts about organizational strategy, products, and viewpoints on important controversial issues. They are also concerned about their benefits such as health care, promotions, pensions, training, etc. Upward Flow To solve problems and make intelligent decision managers need what is going on in the organization. Upward internal communication is also very important. Many executives want comments from employees in addition to the usual periodic reports. Successful managers listen closely to opinions, complaints, problems, and suggestions, especially when these are clearly put forward. They want to know about problem, emerging trends etc. © Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 8 VU Horizontal Flow Horizontal flow takes place between peers in organizations in order to solve problems, perform job duties, prepare for meetings, and cooperate on important projects. So you can imagine that people spend time on listening to and making requests, writing notes and memos, and discussing and writing about projects. And they do it through communication. Informal Internal Communication Every organization has an informal communication network – a grapevine – that supplements official channel. It is important source of information. It is casual conversation of an organization. External Communication Communication that takes place outside the organization is called external communication. The right letter, proposal, report, telephone call, or personal conversation can win back an angry customer, create a desire for a firm’s product or services, encourage collections, motivate performance, and in general, create goodwill. Flow of External Communication External Communication Formal Planned communication with outsides Memo, letter, report , Fax’s that follow company’s chain of command e-mail Informal Casual Communication among Customers, suppliers, investors, e-mail face to face conversation phone calls, discussions © Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 9 VU Various Aspects of External Communication Informal External Communication Although external communication is formal, informal contacts with outsiders are important for learning customer’s needs. Plenty of high level manager recognize the value of keeping in touch with “the real world by creating opportunities to talk with and get feedback from customers and frontline companies. Ways of External Communication Letters, pamphlets, annual reports, interviews with the news media etc. Any of these forms is used to communicate externally. It depends on the needs of the communication. Effective communication internally and externally can build a good reputation and have a positive impact on the ultimate success of the individual as well as organization. © Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 10 VU Lesson 3 THEORIES OF COMMUNICATION Outline:  Electronic Theory  Social Environment Theory  Rhetorical Theory We have been discussing how important communication will be for your success in business communication. Communication does not occur haphazardly. Nor does it happen all at once. It is more than a single act. It is a dynamic, transactional (two way) process that can be broken into different phases. To have a better understanding of the process of communication, we need to look at different theories of it. Electronic Theory One very influential theory is called the mathematical or electronic theory of communication. This idea emphasized the technical problems of transmitting a message from a sender to a receiver. It uses the language of, electronics. The message begins with an information source, the mind of the sender (writer or speaker), who encodes a message into words and sentences. The message is transmitted as a signal (marks on paper or sound waves) through a channel, where it may be distorted by noise (such as smudged typing or acoustical problems). As a last step, the receiver (listener or reader) decodes the message. Look at the following illustration of this theory. Message Communicator Audience As “sender” as “receiver” The electronic theory is helpful because it introduces the ideas of senders and receivers and of possible interference. It emphasizes one important aspect of communication: accuracy. Its usefulness is limited, people are not machines. It may be possible to design perfectly an accurate electronic communication system but not a human one. Emphasis on accuracy ignores many other important dimensions of the situation in which we communicate. One may express an idea very accurately, but other may think he does not have the right to talk, so we need to understand other theories too. Social Environment Theory Social environment theory is of the social and behavioral scientists. It says that we must consider the situation, the social context in which we will work. When we work and communicate together, we all participate in a social situation, within that situation; each agrees to assume certain roles – such as “compromiser,” “initiator,” “or “encourager” – based on our part in the activity. We each have a certain status prescribed officially, such as our job title. We need to understand the rules, or the “culture,” of the environment in order to communicate: both the official rules – such as company policies and practices – and those unwritten rules regarding to whom, how, and when, and for how long it is appropriate for us to communicate within a certain organization. Look at the following illustration of this theory. Message Communicator Audience As “sender” as “receiver” © Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 11 VU Within a certain environment Social environment theory is helpful because it adds the important dimension of the specific social situation. Too often, inexperienced business people neglect to take into account role, status and rules when they communicate. A nicely tailored message may still fail to achieve its objective if you write to the wrong person at the wrong time. Rhetorical Theory Third set of theorists add more dimensions to our understanding of the communication process: communication is not linear, but circular; not just sending a message to be received, but producing a response; not static, but dynamic. Rhetorical theorists provide an important addition to a communication model for business communicators. Many people in business get so much absorbed in the accuracy of their message and appropriateness of the situation that they forget the third crucial variable, producing the desired response form their audience. The importance of response in business communication is illustrated in the following figure—which incorporates the ideas of accuracy (from the collective theory) and situation (from the social environment theory). This model is circular, not linear. Message Communicator Audience Response In fact, perhaps the most important difference between business communication and other forms of communication is this circular quality: your business communication effectiveness depends on the result you achieve. How can you achieve desired response? That’s what the rest of this course will be about. You will learn not only how to be more correct and accurate, and how to be more sensitive to the situation, but also how to identify your audience’s needs in order to become a better communicator. © Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 12 VU Lesson 4 THE PROCESS OF COMMUNICATION & MISCOMMUNICATION Outline:  Components of Communication  Sender / Encoder  Message  Medium/Channel o Oral Communication o Written Communication  Receiver / Decoder  Feedback Communication is a process of sending and receiving verbal and nonverbal messages. Communication is considered effective when it achieves the desired reaction or response from the receiver. Communication is a two way process of exchanging ideas or information. The process of communication has six components: sender/encoder, message, medium, receiver/decoder, and feedbacks. Context Every message, whether oral or written, begins with context. Context is a broad field that includes country, culture, organization, and external and internal stimuli. Internal stimuli have effect on how you translate ideas into a message. Your attitudes, opinions, emotions, past experiences, likes and dislikes, education, job status and confidence in your communication skills, all influence the way you communicate your ideas ,especially important is your ability to analyze your receiver’s culture, viewpoint ,needs ,skills, status, metal ability, experience and expectation. You must consider all these aspects of context in order to communicate a message effectively. Sender / Encoder While sending a message, you are the “encoder”, the writer or speaker, depending on whether your message is written or oral, you choose symbols—words, graphic, pictures—that express your message so that the receiver(s) will understand and react as you desire. You decide which symbols best convey your message and which message channel will be the most effective among the oral and written media (letter, memo, telephone, etc) Message The message is the main idea that you wish to communicate; it is of both verbal (written or spoken) symbols and nonverbal (unspoken) symbols. First decide exactly what your message is. Also consider the receiver of your message. You must also consider your context and your receiver’s as well. How your receiver will interpret your message and how it may affect your relationship. Medium/Channel It means the way to be used to send your message. You can choose electronic mail, the printed word or sound etc. The choice of medium is affected by the relationship between the sender and the receiver. The urgency of a message can also be a factor in whether to use the written or spoken medium. You may also consider factors such as importance, number of receivers, costs and amount of information; you must also consider which medium is preferred in the receiver’s culture. Based on research, the following are some of the characteristics found in oral and written communication. © Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 13 VU Oral Communication • The oral communication brings back immediate feedback • It has a conversational nature with shorter words and sentences • It stresses on interpersonal relations • This medium needs less technical details • Its sentence structures are simple Written Communication • This medium is more formal with focus on contents • It can convey any amount of technical information • It is best for permanent record • This medium uses longer words and longer sentences. It brings delayed feedback. Internal communication consists of sending messages inside your organization. External communication consists of sending messages outside your organization. For internal communication, written media may be: • Memos, reports, bulletins, job descriptions, • Posters, notes, employee manuals, • Electronic bulletin boards, even internal faxes Oral communication may take the form of • Staff meeting reports, face to face discussions, • Presentations, audio tapes, telephone chats, • Tele-conferences, or videotapes External written communication media may be: • Letters, reports, telegrams, cablegrams, • Mailgrams, faxes, telexes, postcards, contracts, • Ads, brochures, catalogs, news releases etc Orally it may be • face to face discussions, telephone, • Presentations in solo or panel situations Receiver / Decoder The receiver / decoder of your message is your reader or listener. He may be influenced by the context and by the external and internal stimuli. The receiver like sender receives messages through the eyes and ears but is also influenced by nonverbal factors such as physical environment, physical appearance, body movements, voice quality, touch, taste, and smell. All factors of a message are filtered through the receiver’s view and experience in the work. Therefore, miscommunication can occur when personal biases and individual values cause the receiver to misinterpret the sender’s internal message. Feedback Feedback can be oral or written; it can also be an action, such as receiving the mail or an item you ordered. Sometimes silence is used as feedback, though it is not very useful. Senders need feedback in order to determine the success or failure of the communication. © Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 14 VU LESSON 5 BARRIERS IN EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION /COMMUNICATION FALLOFF Outline:  Semantic Barrier o Denotation o Connotation  Physical Barriers  Psychological Barriers o Emotional Barriers o Perception barriers  Abstracting  Inferring  Barriers Involving Values, Attitudes etc.  Sender’s credibility People in the world are not exactly alike. Cultures or countries are not the same. These differences, however, can cause problems in conveying your meanings. Each person’s mind is different from others. As a result, message sender’s meanings and the receiver’s response are affected by many factors, such as the following: a. Semantic barriers(Convention of meaning) b. Physical Barrier c. Psychological barriers  Emotional barriers  Perceptual barriers d. Barriers involving values attitudes etc i) Semantic Barrier (Convention of meaning) A basic principle of communication is that the symbols the sender uses to communicate messages must have the same meaning in both the sender’s and receiver’s minds. You can never be sure that the message in your mind will be clearly sent to your receiver. The world is full with errors, as a result of differences in semantic (meaning) understanding. A symbol is a sign for something that exits in reality. Thus your name is really a symbol or a word which represents you. Only through common experience we learn, in a connection made between the symbol and the word attached to you and the person you are in reality .Anyone with less common experience will not easily relate the symbol (your name) with you. Besides, there are problems in convention of meaning, so you must make yourself familiar with different types of meaning. Denotation A denotation is usually the dictionary definition of a word. Denotative meanings name objects, people or events without indicating positive or negative qualities. Such words as car, desk, book, house, and water convey denotative meanings. The receiver has a similar understanding of the thing in which the word is used. Connotation A connotation is an implication of a word or a suggestion separate from the usual definition. Some words have connotative meanings, that is, qualitative judgment and personal reactions. The word man is denotative, father, prophet, brother are connotative. Some words have positive connotations in some contexts and negative meanings in others. For example, slim girl and slim chances. © Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 15 VU ii) Physical Barriers Communication does not consist of words alone. Another set of barriers is caused by your own physical appearance, your audience, or the context of the document or the presentation. Your ideas, however good and skillfully imparted, are at the mercy of various potential physical barriers. For Writing There is a whole barrage of possible physical blocks, jammed or jagged margins, fingerprints or smudges, unclear photocopies, unreadable word processor printout, water and coffee or tea spots etc. For Speaking Mumbling, not enunciating, speaking too quickly, noises become of hissing ventilation, blowing air conditioning, ringing telephones, slamming doors etc. are different aspects of physical barriers. iii) Psychological Barriers Because of the changing world, everyone has his own concept of reality. Also, human beings’ sensory perceptions – touch, sight, hearing, smell, and taste are limited, and each person’s mental filter is unique. In our daily interaction with others, we make various abstractions, inferences and evaluations of the world around us.  Emotional Barriers One possible psychological block is emotional; you may be emotionally blocked when you are announcing a new policy that whether you may become popular or unpopular. Similarly, you may have emotional barrier while making your first presentation or writing someone you dislike.  Perception barriers The perceptual problem is that people think differently so as a result their perception of reality is different. The material world provides a special reality to each individual. As human being’s sensory perceptions—touch, sight hearing, smell, taste are similar, and each person’s mental filter is unique. We make various abstractions, inferences and evaluations of the world around us. Abstracting Selecting some details and omitting others is a process called abstracting. On many occasions abstracting is necessary. Differences in abstracting take place not only when persons describe events but also when they describe people and objects. However, you should be cautious about “slanted” statements. Slanting is unfair in factual reporting. When presenting some particular facts, you include your own biased ideas into it, you make slanting statement. Try not to let personal preferences affect your factual reporting of information. Inferring Conclusions made by reasoning from evidence are called inferences. We make assumptions and draw conclusions even though we are not able to immediately verify the evidence. Some inferences are both necessary and desirable; others are risky, even dangerous. Necessary Inferences When we reach a foreign country, we are sure that we will be treated politely. When we post a letter, we infer that it will reach its destination. When we base our inferences on direct observation or on © Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 16 VU reasonable evidence, they are likely to be quite dependable. Conclusion we make about things we have not observed directly can often be untrue. As an intelligent communicator, we must realize that inferences may be incorrect or unreliable and anticipate the risks before acting on them. Be careful to distinguish clearly among verifiable facts, and mere guess work. Barriers Involving Values, Attitudes Both personality and attitude are complex cognitive process. The difference is that personality usually is thought of as the whole person whereas attitude may be the part of personality. The term attitude describes people and explains their behavior. More precisely an attitude can be defined as a persistent tendency to feel and behave in a particular way towards some object. For example: Naeem does not like night shift, so his attitude is negative towards his work assignment. A receiver’s attitude towards a message can determine whether it is accepted or rejected. The effectiveness is influenced also by the values, attitudes, and opinions of the communicators. People react favorably when they receive agreeable message. Receivers’ views of the information will affect their responses. This response could be what the sender desires or just the opposite. Occasionally people react according to their attitudes toward a situation rather than to the facts. Closed Mind Some people hold rigid views on certain subjects. They maintain their rigid views regardless of the circumstances. Such a closed minded person is very difficult to communicate to. Sender’s credibility Credibility in the sender is important in getting a favorable reaction. Often people react more according to their attitude towards the source of information than to the information itself. An effective communication builds credibility by writing and speaking in a fair and just manner and by considering receiver’s point of view. Other circumstances, such as environmental stresses, personal problems, and sensitivity affect attitudes, opinions and responses. © Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 17 VU Lesson 6 NON- VERBAL COMMUNICATION Outline:  What is the non-verbal past of the message?  Four types of nonverbal messages o Personal o Common to a group of people or culture o Universal o Unrelated to the message (random)  How to analyze non-verbal communication?  Different aspects of non-verbal communication o Body movement (kinesics behaviour) o Physical characteristics o Touching behaviour o Vocal qualities (paralanguage) What is the non-verbal part of the message? Nonverbal communication consists of that part of a message that is not encoded in words. The nonverbal part of the message tends to be less conscious and often reveals the sender’s feelings and preferences more spontaneously and honestly than the verbal part. If the verbal message does not match the nonverbal communication, people tend to believe the nonverbal message. The nonverbal aspects of communication are so closely intermingled with the verbal part that it is difficult to separate them. People receiving verbal and non-verbal messages combine them with the context in which the communication takes place and interpret the total message. Four types of nonverbal messages Non-verbal communication can be classified into four types. 1. Personal (to the individual) 2. Common to a group of people or culture 3. Universal (to humankind) 4. Unrelated to the message (random) Personal nonverbal communication involves kinds of nonverbal behavior that are unique to one person. The meaning is also unique to the person sending the message. For example, someone may work while talking; another person may work in silence. One person may laugh due to nervousness or fear, while another may cry. Cultural nonverbal communication, by contrast, is characteristics of, or common to a group of people. It is learned unconsciously by observing others in the social group. In Aboriginal culture, for example, eye contact is less acceptable than it is in European culture. Universal nonverbal communication is behavior that is common to humankind. It shows happiness, sadness or deep-seated feelings – for example, a smile or tears. Unrelated nonverbal communication, such as a sneeze, is unrelated to the verbal message. It can distract from the verbal message, but has little effect on the meaning of the verbal part of the message. © Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 18 VU How to analyze non-verbal communication? People communicate nonverbally with body movements and personal relationship behaviors. This nonverbal communication changes or complements the verbal communication. Nonverbal communication always occurs in a context, or framework. The context often determines the meaning of the nonverbal behavior. On different occasions, the same nonverbal gestures may have completely different meanings. Without context and spoken works, nonverbal behavior is almost impossible to interpret with any accuracy. Different aspects of non-verbal communication Theoretical writings and research classify nonverbal communication into seven main areas: 1. Body movement (kinesics behavior) 2. Physical characteristics 3. Touching behavior 4. Vocal qualities (paralanguage) 5. Space (proximity) 6. Artifacts 7. Environment Body Movement Body movement, or kinesics behavior, includes movement of the hands, head, feet and legs, posture, eye movements and facial expressions – all these affect the message. Body posture – the way a person stands, leans forward. A person leaning forward, shaking and pointing a finger at someone is seen as trying to dominate the other person. The way this is received by others, and the type of feedback given, determines how the communication will flow. For example, emblems are non-verbal acts learnt through imitation to reinforce or replace the words. The non-verbal signals for ‘okay’ are a nod or a smile. Physical Characteristics Physical characteristics such as body shape, general attractiveness, body and breathe odours, weight, hair and skin colour are important parts of nonverbal communication. Because people react and respond to these factors, they all determine their responses in interpersonal encounters. First impressions and images of others can be associated unconsciously with past experiences of people with similar physical characteristics. Touching behavior Stocking, hitting, holding or guiding the movement of another person are examples of touching behavior that communicate non-verbally. Each of these adds a different meaning to a message. Touch can console or support the other person and show feeling such as affection. A handshake, for example, can express dominant equality. A pat on the arm can convey intimacy or control. Paralanguage (Vocal Qualities) Paralanguage is that part of language associated with but not involving the word system. It consists of the voice qualities and vocalizations that affect how something is said rather than what is said. Voice qualities include: • Pitch range • Pitch control • Rhythm control • Tempo © Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 19 VU • Articulation control • Resonance. Vocalizations also give clue to the total message. Three of these are shown in table. The tones of voice, rate of speaking and voice inflection are an important part of the total message. A tired person, for example, will speak more slowly than relaxed one, a disappointed person may speak with a flat tone, while the tone of voice of someone excited about a coming holiday reflects excitement. © Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 20

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