Lecture Notes Business Communication

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Lecture Notes Business Communication A Prepared by Olga Temple English Communication Strand School of Humanities & Social Sciences University of Papua New Guinea Andrew Kavana English Communication Strand School of Humanities & Social Sciences University of Papua New Guinea Printed at the University of Papua New Guinea Printing PressForeword This is an attempt to provide the students of the University of Papua New Guinea with an up-to-date and concise text on the subject of Business Communication. These lecture notes introduce the students to the theory of communication and to the special features and principles of business communication. . This knowledge is essential in improving the students’ interpersonal communication skills and provides a platform for the follow-up Business Communication B course, which is more practically oriented. The first part of BCA explains the concept and process of communication, providing an in-depth understanding of what is effective communication, common barriers to effective communication, and the specifics of communication in organizations. The course further focuses on the characteristics and principles of business communication and the process of planning business communication. The various interpersonal communication skills required for effective communication are discussed at length (writing, reading, speaking, and listening), with special emphasis placed on analytical thinking, which is the underlying prerequisite for all the other communication skills. This course also introduces the students to the major types and conventions of business communication and provides some practical experience in writing business letters, memos, short reports, etc. These Lecture Notes are based on a number of sources, including  The AAT Study Text (Language & Literature Dept., UPNG) nd  Judith Dwyer The Business Communication Handbook 2 Edition MBC NSW Australia, 1991  L.A. Woolcott & W.R. Unwin Mastering Business Communication Macmillan Press Ltd., 1983  N.B. Sigband Business Communication Harcourt Brace Jovanovich College Outline Series, Books for Professionals, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich Publishers, 1984  The Internet Olga Temple University of Papua New Guinea Port Moresby November, 2000 Contents Lecture 1: Introduction to Business Communication 1 The Purpose of the Course 1 Definition of Communication 1 Communication Theory 1 The Process of Communication 3 Feedback in Communication 3 Effective Communication 3 Barriers to Communication 5 Lecture 2: Communication in Organizations 6 Concept & Types of Organizations 6 Communication in Business Organizations 6 Functions of Communication in a Business Organization 7 Increased Volume & Complexity of Communication in Organizations 7 Organizational Structure & Lines of Communication 8 Communication in a ‘Network’ Organization: New Realities 11 Channels of Communication & Networking: Types of Networks 11 Communication Media in Business Communication 12 Principles of Business Communication 12 Lecture 3: Using the Language 14 A Historical Overview 14 The Wrong Words 15 Jargon 15 Emotive Language 17 Too Many Words 18 The Fog Index 19 The Right Words 20 Style & Tone 21 Sentence Structure 22 Paragraph Structure 23 Assignments 23 Reference Section: Basics of Syntax & Sentence Analysis 24 Lecture 4: I. Research Methods; Obtaining Information 32 Business Information 32 Effective Information Search: Primary & Secondary Data 32 Receiving Information 33 Analysing, Selecting & Preparing Information 34 Taking Notes 34 Making Notes 34 Summary & Precis 34 II. Writing with Force & Clarity 34 The Planning Process in Communication 35 Scope, Limitations, & Depth 36 Drawing Up the Tentative Outline 36 Outlining Methods 36 Orders of Development 37 Types of Outlines 37 Writing the First Draft 37 Choosing the Words 38 Choosing the Sentences 38 Choosing the Paragraphs 38 Qualities of Writing Style 38 Editing Suggestions 38 Readability Formulas 39 Ten Suggestions for Clear Writing 39 The Final Paper 39 Lecture 5: Communication through Writing: Business Letters 42 The Advantages of the Business Letter 42 The Business Letter Today 42 Letter Format 43 Letter Form 43 Principles of Business Communication 44 Different Types of Letter 45 Memoranda & Notices 47 Lecture 6: Information Storage & Retrieval. Report Writing 50 Information Storage & Retrieval 50 Reports for Decision Making: Types of Reports 51 General Points of Style 51 Report Formats: the Short Form 51 Report Formats: the Long Form 54 Lecture 7: Oral, Non-Verbal & Visual Communication 57 The Advantages of Oral Communication 57 The Disadvantages of Oral Communication 57 Skills in Oral Communication 57 Effective Speaking: the Short Presentation 58 Effective Speaking: the Long Presentation 59 Listening 59 Using Visual Aids to Communicate 61 Lecture 8: Persuasion Persuasion and Influence 63 What is Argument? 64 Constructing a Logical Argument: Persuasive Logic 65 Message Characteristics: Persuasive Style 66 Identifying False Arguments 69 Engaging in a Constructive Discussion 71 Lecture 9: Cooperation 72 Cooperation & Group Characteristics 72 Roles and Relationships within Groups 73 Working in Groups 73 Supervision & Leadership: Styles & Functions 74 Conflict Management 75 Motivation 75 Disciplinary & Grievance Procedures 77 Lecture 10: Conducting Meetings. Documentation for Meetings 78 References 82 1 Lecture 1: Introduction to Business Communication 1. The Purpose of the Course 2. Definition of Communication 3. Communication Theory  The Behavioral Theory  The Mathematical Theory 4. The Process of Communication 5. Feedback in Communication 6. Effective Communication 7. Barriers to Communication 1. The Purpose of the Course. This course is designed to improve the students‟ communication skills through achieving a better understanding of:  the role of communication in human society  the nature of communication in human society  the process of communication in human society  the importance of feedback in communication  barriers to effective communication  specificity of communication in organizations  forms, media, and channels of communication in organizations The focus on the principles and conventions of business communication will also help us improve our basic interpersonal communication skills, such as reading, writing, listening, and speaking. The all-important role of analytical thinking as the underlying factor in any form of effective communication will be highlighted. 2. Definition of Communication. Communication is a complex process often involving reading, writing, speaking and listening. It may be verbal and non-verbal (or a mixture of both), and it uses a variety of media (language, mass media, digital technology, etc.). Broadly speaking, communication is a transfer and reconstruction of information. More specifically, we may define communication as the transmission and reception of ideas, feelings and attitudes – verbal and non-verbal – that produce a response. 3. Communication Theory. There are two major theories of communication: behavioral & mathematical.  The Behavioral Theory covers both verbal and non-verbal communication. First set forth by Dr. Jurgen Ruesch, a psychiatrist, it postulates that communication is based on social situations in which individuals find themselves. Our participation in communication with others must conform to established behavioral patterns involving o social situations (culture, social class, time & place, etc.) o roles (sex, professional, religious, etc.) o status (authority, respect, social/class standing, i.e. in the caste system in India) o rules (protocol, ethics, or code of behavior) 1 2 o clues in non-verbal communication (gestures, touch, voice inflections, rate of delivery, etc.) This theory identifies communication networks such as  intrapersonal, i.e., communication with oneself,  interpersonal, i.e., communication between individuals,  group interaction, such as between clans, or organizations, and  cultural, i.e., between distinct cultures, such as Islamic and Christian, or African, Anglo-Saxon and Spanish, etc. in America. The Mathematical Theory is largely based on the work of Claude Shannon & Warren Weaver who were not social scientists but engineers working for Bell Telephone Labs in the United States. Their goal was to ensure the maximum efficiency of telephone cables and radio waves. They developed a model of communication, which was intended to assist in developing a mathematical theory of communication. Shannon and Weaver‟s work proved valuable for communication engineers in dealing with such issues as the capacity of various communication channels in „bytes per second‟. It contributed to computer science, and in making „information‟ „measurable‟ it gave birth to the mathematical study of „information theory‟. Their original model consisted of five elements:  An information source, which produces a message;  A transmitter, which encodes the message into signals;  A channel, to which signals are adapted for transmission;  A receiver, which „decodes‟ (reconstructs) the message from the signal;  A destination, where the message arrives. A sixth element, noise, is a dysfunctional factor: any interference with the message traveling along the channel (such as „static‟ on the telephone or radio) which may lead to the signal received being different from that sent. The strengths of Shannon and Weaver‟s model are its  Simplicity  Generality, and  Quantifiability. Such advantages made this model attractive to several academic disciplines. It also drew serious academic attention to human communication and „information theory‟, leading to further theory and research. Weaknesses of the transmission model of communication: The transmission model tends to over-simplify and misrepresent the nature of human communication, reducing it to a process of “transmitting information.” It fails to recognize that human communication is about meaning rather than information. The transmission model fixes and separates the roles of „sender‟ and „receiver‟, whereas human communication often involves simultaneous „sending‟ and „receiving‟ (not only talking, but also „body language‟ and so on). In Shannon and Weaver‟s model the source is seen as the active decision-maker who determines the meaning of the message; the 2 3 destination is the passive target. It is a linear, one-way model, ascribing a secondary role to the „receiver‟, who is seen as absorbing information. There was no provision in the original model for feedback (reaction from the receiver). Feedback enables speakers to adjust their performance to the needs and responses of their audience. A „feedback loop‟ was added by later theorists, but the model remains linear. For the purposes of this course, however, we shall make use of the modified version of the transmission model of communication, highlighting some important behavioral aspects and implications of human communication. 4. The Process of Communication. Communication begins with an impulse (or motivation) to pass on a message made up of bits of information. In the process of encoding, units of information are selected and organized for transmission. Input is the sum of experiences that build up in the human brain or computer. Output is the encoded message transmitted by the information source (an individual person or group of people). The interpretation of the message is referred to as decoding. Feedback is the response, or message that the recipient (decoder) returns to the sender (encoder). Graphic presentation of this model of the process of communication: Impulse – input/encoding/output – relaying through potential distortion on both sides – decoding – feedback Example: When Peter calls Jenny on the phone and says, “Would you like to stop at the Big Rooster‟s today?” he is drawing on his pleasant past experiences with Big Rooster‟s roast chicken and potato chips. He has encoded a message and transmitted it to Jenny, using the English language as the medium and the telephone lines as channel of communication. Jenny, in turn, has received the message, decoded (= translated) it, and on the basis of her information source (= input = sum total of experiences), gives Peter feedback (response) by saying, “I dislike the Big Rooster thoroughly. How about the Chinese instead?” 5. Feedback in Communication. Feedback in the communication process is the response that gives us some indication of how effectively we communicate. It is the gauge of efficiency in communication. Example: If a thirsty man asks for water in a culturally appropriate way, using proper means and channels of communication, he will get the desired feedback (water to quench his thirst). Thus, the purpose of his communication will have been achieved. 6. Effective Communication. We communicate with other people around us from the day we are born until death. Most of our communication, however, will be ineffective if we do not understand the processes involved and acquire special communication skills in order to enhance our effectiveness. What is effective communication? Human communication is effective, if: 3 4  the input (a sum of information or experiences built up in the encoder‟s mind) is translated into an encoded message in such a way that the output (encoded message sent) most accurately represents the input (1:1 output-input ratio),  the encoded message is easily decoded, or translated by the decoder, and  an adequate (= desired, predictable, calculated) feedback (response to the encoded message) is sent back and duly received. Prerequisites for effective communication: 1. Knowledge of  subject matter  decoder(s)  environment  human psychology 2. Communication Skills. Skill means “practiced ability, expertness.” If you are good at something – whatever this activity may be - because you approach it intelligently, have mastered and habitually employ the techniques, then you have a skill, i.e. driving, swimming, or typing Communication skills means intelligent and practiced ways of sending and receiving messages – talking and writing, listening and reading. This involves an understanding of how the process works, and sensitivity to variable factors, as well as mastery of the techniques.  Language skills: oral (i.e., clear pronunciation, suitable vocabulary, correct grammar/syntax, fluency, expressive delivery), written (correct spelling, suitable vocabulary, correct grammar/syntax, good writing or typing, suitable style, etc.), and visual/non-verbal (understanding of/control over “body language”)  Analytical thinking: ability to extract and prioritize information; ability to choose the appropriate medium & channel of communication; ability to analyze the reactions of the decoder(s), etc. 3. Personality traits, such as charm, self-confidence, relaxed, easy-going and friendly manner, sensitivity, perceptiveness, emotional stability, objectiveness and patience, open-mindedness and flexibility. 4. Motivation, practical benefit, personal interest, etc. 5. Necessary infrastructure, such as telephone, fax, public address system, microphone, computer networks, the Internet, e-mail, visual aids, electricity supply, etc. 6. Physical/mental health and fitness, i.e., communication with a deaf, dumb, or delirious man will be impeded, just as it will be if the encoder / decoder is exhausted physically or drunk/drugged. Thus, good interpersonal communication skills and conducive attitudes (willingness to communicate) are the basic requirements for effective communication. 4 5 7. Barriers to Communication: on one or both sides (encoder‟s and decoder‟s):  Lack of knowledge  Lack of interest or attention  Lack in communication skills (language use, analytical thinking)  Lack of charm, self-confidence, sensitivity, perceptiveness, objectiveness and patience; tense, uneasy personality, inflexibility  Bias, prejudice, or preconceived ideas  Distractions  Competition for attention  Differences in perception  Attitudes  Lack of motivation  Physical/mental handicaps  Stress All of the above barriers to communication may be classed into two broad categories:  Distortion resulting from inadequate use of language (incorrect grammar, syntax, overuse of technical/obscure words, ambiguity, etc.) and other communication skills (analytical approach to/understanding of decoders and the context/ environment within which communication is taking place, choice of appropriate medium and channel of communication).  Noise, or interference: o Physical noise – actual noise that may drown the communication o “Technical noise” – a failure in the channel of communication (breakdown of technology/equipment, etc.) o “Social noise” – personality differences due to upbringing; difference in perceptions/mentality due to diverse cultural, religious, educational, etc. backgrounds, bias due to age, sex, social class, status, etc. o “Psychological noise” – excessive/uncontrolled emotions (anger, fear, etc.), prejudice, stress, nervous tension, etc. Summary: 1. Human communication is a very complex dynamic process of human interaction subject to a multitude of environmental, cultural, etc., factors, as well as potential distortion. 2. For the purposes of this course we shall make use of the modified version of the „information transmission‟ theory, bearing in mind, however, the implications of the behavioral theory. 3. Transmission model of communication: impulse – input/encoding/output – relaying through potential distortion on both sides – decoding – feedback. 4. The concept of effective communication in this context signifies a most accurate transmission of meaning in the process of human interaction from the encoder to the decoder that receives an adequate response (feedback). 5 6 Lecture 2: Communication in Organizations. 1. Concept & Types of Organizations with Reference to the Behavioral Theory 2. Communication in Business Organizations 3. Functions of Communication in a Business Organization 4. Increased Volume and Complexity of Communication in Organizations 5. Organizational Structure & Lines of Communication 6. Communication in a „Network‟ Organization: New Realities 7. Channels of Communication & Networking; Types of Networks 8. Communication Media in Business Communication 9. Principles of Business Communication 1. Concept & Types of Organizations with Reference to the Behavioral Theory People function in society as individuals and in organized groups, such as family, clan, school, community, professional associations, trade unions, etc. Organization, according to one of the meanings given in the Oxford Dictionary, is an organized body of people; an organized system. Just like an organism (a living being, an individual animal or plant), it is an individual entity functioning as a unit. Examples: Telikom, Microsoft, Netscape, The National, Pepsi, Coca-Cola, the Government, the military, the air force, the navy, etc. Just like an organ (a distinct part of an animal or plant body, adapted for a particular function, i.e., digestive organs) in the larger body of human society, every organization carries out a specific function – be it educational, business, government or religious. To make our analogy more vivid, individuals are like single cells in the body of human society, whereas organizations are like organs with their specific functions. The Behavioral Theory identifies four levels of communication in the human society, or four main types of communication networks:  Intrapersonal  Interpersonal  Group interaction and  Cultural. Communication in organizations may occur on all four levels. 2. Communication in Business Organizations Business organizations are established to achieve a specific purpose, such as the production of some goods or services. Effective communication is vital for the coordinated functioning of any organization. There are the two main contexts in which organizational communication may be viewed: internal and external communication. Internal communication involves all communication networks within the organization, i.e. between the various levels of the hierarchy, departments, branches, or individuals. 6 7 The main internal communication channels include:  Written – memos, reports, forms, notice boards, house magazines, manuals  Oral – interviews, consultations, formal and informal meetings, grapevine.  Telecommunications – telephones, intercoms, private lines, fax, computers, email, etc. External organizational communication entails all communication by the organization with the general public, or other public or business organizations. External communication purposes vary from public relations and image-building to governmental, educational, environmental, etc. The channels of external communication include the mass media, advertising, letters, company reports, open days, local/community participation, sponsorship, trade fairs and exhibitions, conferences, etc. Internal communication in all organizations has formal and informal channels of communication. Levels of Business Communication: There are four levels of communication in organizations: 1. intrapersonal (communication with yourself) 2. interpersonal (communication to a superior or subordinate) 3. one to many (making a speech) 4. many to one (a committee making a presentation to company president, etc.) 3. Functions of Communication in a Business Organization The major functions of communication in a business organization include communication for  Information - passing information between people working in the same organization and between the organization and others  Control - communication (written, oral, or even nonverbal) is also used as part of management control for the planning of operations, evaluating performance, directing and motivating staff.  Motivation - The difficulty is for the managers to find a balance between control and motivation and efficiency. Too much control may reduce initiative and actually lead to a lower productivity with less response to what the customer wants and more emphasis on what the workers think the management wants 4. Increased Volume and Complexity of Communication in Organizations We know how complex the process of communication is between two parties (See Lecture 1). The complexity of internal communication systems and information flow increases with the growth of the administrative and clerical functions and the size of organizations. In a small organization with perhaps only 6 or 7 staff, all in one room, communication is simple and straightforward, with people talking face to face to one another. There is no need to send innumerable memos or use the telephone. However, there will still be a need for some internal written communication (information which will be used more than once must be kept in written form, such as reports, financial information, order and purchase records, stock control forms, etc.). 7 8 As soon as the organization expands, so does the communication system. More written communication is needed, more specialized information is needed, even the same information will need to be communicated in different ways to different groups. Advances in telecommunications technology have significantly expanded our options for communicating, but they have not solved the communication problem at work. It has always been difficult to get the right information to the right people at the right time – and it still is. In fact, one can make a persuasive case that the rate of change and the rapid growth of information are making this age-old challenge more difficult than ever. In view of the large volume and increased complexity of communication within organizations, the need arises to effectively select, control, and direct the flow of vital information. This is achieved with the help of formal organizational structure. 5. Organizational Structure & Lines of Communication Business organizations consist of people who work together to achieve common goals (at least in theory :). Organizations are the system by which individuals cooperate, so that there can be specialization of functions and skills for greater efficiency. This specialization of functions forms the basis of organizational structure. All organizations, as we know, have formal and informal structure. The formal structure is deliberately developed to regulate and direct the flow of information and to control other aspects of organizational hierarchy and set-up. In order to select, restrict, direct, and control the flow of communication within the formal organization structure, the traditional organizations employ the sequential model of communication that emphasizes up and down hierarchal communication. Most frequently we designate communication to superiors as upward/vertical communication, messages to subordinates as downward/vertical communication, and communication to those on our level as lateral/horizontal communication. Diagonal communication occurs when there is communication between lower and higher levels of hierarchy, but both in different lines of authority (for example, between senior members of academic staff and junior Bursary officers, etc.). Most traditional organizations also have a policy of communication (protocol) dictating the etiquette (formal standards/rules of correct and polite behavior within the organization) designed to ensure effective communication within the organization. Informal structures/networks, based on personal relationships, will not appear on any organization chart, but can have as much or more impact on the functioning of the organization as the formal communication system. For example, here are some of the positive aspects of the informal network:  It may speed up the communication process: when an employee in one department needs help to complete a task or solve a problem, members of the informal network in other sections can use their authority or power to assist. This avoids the delay of „going through the right channels.‟  It may create a conducive working atmosphere, again leading to higher productivity: If the needs and goals of formal management coincide with those of the informal organization, in other words, 8 9 if staff are well motivated, then the atmosphere of trust between the management and employees will lead to higher productivity.  It helps to diffuse tensions: Job satisfaction is also related to social environment. The informal network allows employees to „let off steam‟ with other colleagues, thus diffusing potentially destructive conflicts.  It provides feedback to the management: If management are sensitive to the „grapevine,‟ they can obtain information on how employees feel about the organization, the management, and the work. Some of the possible negative effects of the informal organization:  It may cause conflict within the formal structure: when the goals of the informal organization differ from those of the formal structure, conflict occurs. If the formal channels of communication are ineffective, rumor and gossip („grapevine‟) spread like wild fire and may disrupt the work process. Individual perceptions distort information. Rumor is the unsupported or untrue part of the informal communication and is therefore of great disadvantage to the organization.  The informal organization will tend to resist change: organizational restructuring (downsizing, etc.) that are perceived to threaten the existing structure, will be opposed effectively by a well- formed informal organization. Every organization has a constantly changing informal communication network that involves the link between individuals and groups outside the formal lines of authority and communication. To deal with it effectively, management should recognize its existence and try to influence its direction. It will do so by being aware of the rumors, replacing rumors with fact, and creating conditions that support the goals of both groups. Classification of Organizational Structures: Despite the wide diversity of organizational structures, we can classify them according to the following criteria:  The extent of complexity  The level of formalization  The degree of centralization. The greater the number of individual job functions/titles in an organization, the more complex the structure. The more sections, departments, or divisions in the organization, the more complex a company becomes because there are more levels between the least powerful and senior management. Complexity: Organizational structures may be tall or flat, depending on the number of levels of management. Tall structures are typical of large public sector corporations; they are also still found in some large companies. Tall structures are put in place when the management wants to centralize all decision-making and retain control over the whole of the organization. Flat structures exist in those organizations which have very few levels of management, so that there may be only one or two levels in the hierarchy. The number of levels, that is, whether the organization is tall or flat, directly affects communication within an organization. The effectiveness of communication will depend on how well managed the organization is, and on the extent of horizontal links. Formalization: The more an organization determines the job specifications of its employees, the more formalized it is. Low formalization in a job means that the employee 9 10 has a high degree of independence and discretion in the job. In other words, it means a high degree of control over work. Conversely, high formalization means little control or independence, therefore little power. Centralization: The communication effectiveness of an organization will also depend on the extent of the centralization of decision-making in the company. Organizations with tall structures tend to be highly centralized: all major decisions there require the approval of top management. This means that middle management is unable to make important decisions and must therefore use memos, short reports, and submissions to request a decision. Thus, there is an undeniable link between the organizational and communication structure of any concern. This is not the place for a detailed analysis of the link between an organization‟s structure and its overall efficiency; however, structure does have a major effect on the communication that takes place. Traditional organizations, operating in a more or less stable environment, tend to be more structured and make greater use of organizational charts, protocol, policies, and job descriptions. Modern organizations, operating in a very dynamic environment, may have no organizational charts, job descriptions, or standing plans; they are highly flexible. The structured organization is called mechanistic, and the flexible structure, organic. Mechanistic structures:  are static, rigid, vertically oriented, pyramid shaped  use rules, policies, procedures  decision-making is limited to top management  authority is based on position  have elaborate control system and  rigid communication channels. Mechanistic structures are best used when  goals are well known and long lasting  there is a stable, reasonably simple environment  technology is simple and well understood  work force appreciates routine, structure, and low levels of ambiguity. Organic structures:  are fluid, dynamic, ever changing  horizontally oriented  flat  decision-making takes place at all levels  changing authority patterns  authority based on expertise  collaboration  informal routes of communication based on current needs. They are best used when 10 11  tasks are uncertain  environment is complex and ever changing  technology is complex and constantly changing  workforce is creative and innovative. 7. Communication in a “Network” Organization: Facing New Realities. Leadership (management) has generally been considered the province of the CEO (Central Executive Officers), or at best, a few people at the top of the organizational hierarchy. “Command and control” leadership/management carried many organizations to very high levels of financial performance during periods when competition was not so great and things did not change very fast - but its time has passed. It is becoming clear that no small group at the top can provide the leadership needed for an entire organization of any size in the information age. The demands on the total organization are too great for a few people at the top to call all the shots. Today, better-informed customers, rapid change, and fierce competition from global competitors demand empowered employees exercising leadership at every level of the organization. This is not possible without a radical restructuring of the traditional sequential model of organizational communication. As mentioned earlier, there have been three pervasive patterns that will no longer work in knowledge-based organizations: 1. the primary flow of information was vertical – within departmental walls that were often impermeable, 2. information was hoarded and used as a source of power over others, and 3. people at the top often withheld crucial strategic information from those lower in the organization in the belief they couldn‟t handle it. The restrictive and regulatory function of the traditional sequential model of communication is no longer effective in ensuring the timely delivery of the right kind of information to the right people at all levels of the modern organization. Because vertical communication is bound by hierarchy and function, communication is constrained, lacking integration across function. The sequential model restricts innovation and prevents organizations from making effective use of information resources. A new, concurrent communication model is evolving – it is goal oriented and emphasizes an interactive process that supports simultaneous and spontaneous communication. Since communication is a critical element in organizational design, a new type of „network‟ organization is evolving, with formal and informal interactive communication structures at all units and levels. As the environment becomes more dynamic, the general trend is for organizations to move from the mechanistic structure to organic structure in order to remain competitive. 7. Channels of Communication and Networking. Types of Networks. When we communicate with those above us, below us, or around us, we are establishing communication networks. These may be formal channels or informal channels. Within the organization, there are usually four types of networks:  Wheel: a wheel network exists when there is a supervisor with a number of subordinates reporting directly without consultation or links with each other. 11 12  Chain: in a chain communication network information is passed sequentially to the next employee above or below in the line of authority.  Circle: the circle is a three level hierarchy with the lowest level of employees communicating with each other and directly with the person on the next level. That level then reports directly to the higher level. Communication also occurs downwards between the levels.  Star, or the all channel network, is more an ideal than a reality: every member of the organization is able to communicate directly as an equal with every other member. Some committees are examples of all channel (star) networks. The most structured is the wheel; the least structured is the star, where opportunities for feedback are greatest and morale is usually the highest. 8. Communication Media in Business Communication Both formal and informal channels of communication may employ four major media of communication:  face-to-face communication (formal meetings, interviews, informal contact, the grapevine),  oral communication (the telephone, the intercom or public address system),  written communication (letters, memos, reports, forms, notice boards, bulletins, newsletters, organizational manuals, etc.),  visual communication (charts, films, slides, photos, etc.). 9.Principles of Business Communication There are eleven principles of business communication: 1. Conciseness. Most business people are very busy (time is money). The wordy letter is usually put aside, for its very wordiness makes comprehension difficult. 2. Completeness. Your communication must contain all necessary information. Having to request information that should have been included will probably antagonize the recipient of the communication. 3. Courtesy. 4. Correctness. Everyone has a tendency to focus on errors. To many people, errors in spelling, price quotations, sentence structure, and the like are a reflection of organizational inefficiency. 5. Clarity. All ambiguity should be avoided. 6. Logical Organization. It is one of the keys to all effective communication. 7. Attractiveness. All business communication should „look good‟. Appearance is also important in face-to-face communication. 8. Natural tone. The tone of business communication should be friendly, natural, and sincere. Hackneyed, archaic, and obsolete words, phrases and expressions should be avoided. 12 13 9. Tact. Controversial expressions that might antagonize or embarrass the „receiver‟ should be avoided. At times it is necessary to convey unpleasant ideas, but the choice of words used to accomplish that objective should permit the „receiver‟ to save face and accept the idea. 10. Positive tone. A positive tone almost invariably evokes a positive reaction. In almost every situation, it is more desirable to make a positive statement. On rare occasions you may wish to convey a negative idea or problem. However, you should almost always follow immediately with an offer of a positive solution. 11. „Receiver‟ orientation. An effective communicator must be sensitive to the reactions and anticipated responses of the „receiver(s)‟. We shall take a closer look at these principles in the next few lectures on the use of the language in business communication. Assignments 1. Examine a company of your choice and answer the following: a. Is this a tall structure or flat structure organization? b. Briefly describe the extent of complexity in this organization c. Describe two horizontal communication channels in this organization. 2. Construct a diagram of one of the four communication networks discussed. Name the organization that you think uses this structure. Highlight in the diagram the leader in the network. Which of the four types of communication networks would you prefer to use as a leader? Why? 3. Examine the company or public sector organization you work in or one you can get information about and describe its formal structure, with the aid of an organizational chart, if possible. Give examples of vertical, lateral, and diagonal communication used in this organization/business. Outline the major communication problems that can arise because of this organization‟s structure. 4. What is the difference between a tall and a flat organization? 5. Why is it important for an organization to match goals and expectations with its employees‟ goals and needs? 6. Identify 3 examples of formal communication channels and three informal channels 13 14 Lecture 3: Using the Language 1. A Historical Overview 2. The Wrong Words a. Jargon b. Emotive language 3. Too Many Words 4. The Fog Index 5. The Right Words 6. Style & Tone 7. Sentence Structure 8. Paragraph Structure 9. Assignments 10. Reference Section: Basics of Syntax & Sentence Analysis 1. A Historical Overview English has many more words than most other languages: for example, the Concise Cambridge Dictionary has 300 pages for Italian-English, but 500 pages for English- Italian. Why? The wealth of vocabulary is the legacy of its history. The basis of the language is Anglo- Saxon, a relatively obscure Germanic dialect brought to England in the 5th century. The Norman Conquest in 1066 (the best-known date in English history) brought about the defining influence of Norman French: over the next 200 years Anglo-Saxon (the language of the peasants) absorbed a huge number of French words and became English. Thus, it gained a large number of words from the mainstream Romance languages descended from Latin. By high medieval times English had become the common tongue of nobleman and peasant alike, but the languages of learning were still largely Greek and Latin. That is why English absorbed large numbers of often technical and scientific terms from these languages. Middle Ages: period in European history between the fall of the Roman Empire in the 5th century and the Renaissance in the 15th. Among the period‟s distinctive features were the unity of W Europe with the Roman Catholic Church, the feudal organization of political, social, and economic relations, and the use of art for largely religious purposes. It can be divided into 3 sub-periods: The early Middle Ages (5th-11th centuries), when Europe was settled by pagan Germanic tribes who adopted the vestiges of Roman institutions and traditions, were converted to Christianity by the Church (which had preserved Latin culture after the fall of Rome), and who then founded feudal kingdoms; The high Middle Ages (12th-13th centuries, which saw the consolidation of feudal states, the expansion of European influence during the Crusades, the flowering of scholasticism and monasteries, and the growth of population and trade; The later Middle Ages (14th-15th centuries), when Europe was devastated by Black Death and incessant warfare, feudalism was transformed under the influence of incipient nation-states and new modes of social and economic organization, and the first voyages of discovery were made. (Reference from The Wordsworth Encyclopedia, Helicon Publishing Ltd, 1995) 14 15 The spread of the British Empire gave English an influx of words from many languages. Some, like char (dated Brit. infml. for „tea‟), brought back from India by soldiers, remained colloquial, while others, like bungalow or khaki went directly or indirectly into standard usage. However, the greatest modern influence has been American. Especially in the last 70 years, there has been a lease-lend of words which has helped maintain the vigour and versatility of the language. To it we owe hundreds of such useful expressions as boom, slump, bulldoze, paperback, grapevine, commuter, breakeven, etc. English is the most widely used language in the world: 60% of the world‟s radio programmes and 70% of the letters written every day are in English. It is the international language of air traffic and of the United Nations. A vigorous language is constantly changing. New words come into use, new meanings evolve (i.e. escalate, in the Vietnam war). Some words become archaic and disappear – perhaps to reappear Obscene, for example, was dismissed as somewhat archaic by the Oxford English Dictionary in 1933, but was restored to general use recently. The structure of the language changes, too, and there is no good reason for clinging to rules of grammar which no longer reflect current usage. The function of the structure of language is to support the meaning, not to restrict expression. The English language, like society, manners and fashion, has become more informal since the Second World War, and many words and constructions which would once have been unacceptable in standard English are now established. For example, different to, and different than, as well as different from, are now acceptable forms. The distinction between due to and owing to has disappeared, and the rules about will and shall are fast disappearing. „Correct English‟ is, in short, whatever is widely acceptable in current usage. But „Good English‟ is something else again. Despite the large vocabulary (the average vocabulary of a person in Britain is 13,000 words), we still often have difficulty in expressing ourselves clearly. We use the wrong words – those that do not express what we mean, those which are not understood by our recipient, or which antagonize him. Sometimes we merely use so many words that the meaning is lost in them: we can‟t see the wood for the trees. To be aware of the many ways in which language can be misused is the first step towards using the language more effectively. 2. The Wrong Words Jargon cannot be better defined than in the words of H.W. Fowler: Jargon is talk that is considered both ugly-sounding and hard to understand; applied especially to the sectional vocabulary of a science, art, class, sect, trade or profession, full of technical terms…the use of long words, circumlocution and other clumsiness. There are two kinds of language identified here. First, the special terminology that develops within any group: lawyers, social workers, computer staff, medics, pilots, and 15

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