Communication Reflection 500 Words

Communicating: The Essence of Organizational Success

Dr. Craig Nathanson

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What is Communication?

The exchange of messages between persons for the purpose of constructing common meaning

The most critical skill for managers and for self-leadership

Personal power

Motivation

Resolving conflict

Delegation and/or empowerment

Facilitation

Collaboration

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The Challenge – Poor communications at work

Poor communication and interpersonal relationships

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Abrasive, insensitive, unskillful message delivery

Distant, distrustful, uncaring interpersonal relationships

Restricted, inaccurate information, and defective communication flow

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Traditional model of Business Communications

Focus on Accuracy and Efficiency

Conduit Model

transmitter, receiver, noise

However…

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Recent research confirms that interpersonal problems are responsible for a significant proportion of communication problems

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Communications is a complex process

Example

Terry: I won’t make it to work again tomorrow; this pregnancy keeps me nauseous and my doctor says I should probably be reduced to part time.

Boss: Terry, this is the third day you have missed and your appointments keep backing up; we have to cover for you and this is messing all of us up!

Message- encode- decode by receiver- message received

Margin for error is high at each step!

Some social psychologists estimate there is a usual loss of 40-60% of the meaning in a message from sender to receiver!

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Barriers to effective communications

Language: how we say it

Defensiveness or distorted perceptions

Misreading of body language

Self-fulfilling assumptions

Managers hesitation to be candid

Distrusted source

Perceptual biases

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Reading non-verbal cues

Visual

Body language, facial expression

Tactile

The use of touch

Vocal

The meaning changes through use of voice

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Reading non-verbal cues

Physical space

North American culture safe zones

The intimate zone – our closest friends – 2 feet

The personal zone- family and friends- 2-4 feet

The social zone- where most business transactions take place 4-12 feet

The public zone- used for presentations- over 12 feet

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It all starts with good listening skills

Listen openly and with empathy

Judge the content not the person

Use many methods to comprehend

Fight off distractions

Use questions to gather data

Respond with interest

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Common fears around giving feedback

Fear of the other person’s reaction

Only subjective data available

Information may be flawed

May be based on personal bias

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Characteristics of effective feedback

Descriptive (not evaluative)

Focused on the behavior, not the person

Given to help not hurt

Better when solicited than imposed

Timely (given when the person is ready and can use the data)

Doesn’t overload the receiver

The use of checking (asking the receiver to repeat what was heard)

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Good and poor examples of giving feedback

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Information richness

Low

Impersonal communication

Conveyed through documents, technology

Formal written or numeric

E-mails, faxes, reports

Limited or absent context

Delayed and limited feedback

Limited visual, audio information

Audio information

High

Personal communication

Face to face, spoken language

Body and natural language

Immediate feedback

Verbal and non-verbal

Rich visual and audio information

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Communications at work

Where is the most time spent?

Meetings

Presentations

E-mail

Phone conversations

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Phone communications

DO

Speak clearly

Identify yourself when calling

Ask “Is this a good time to talk?”

Leave message with details, and the best time to call back

Let the person know what you want them to do

Don’t

Hang up if you reach the wrong number

Type on the keyboard while on the phone

Answer the phone while speaking to a person face to face

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Peer and bi-directional communications

Practice effective communications and be a role model

Open (professional) doors for others

Encourage new ideas

Walk around a lot

Encourage open dialog

Be open yourself

Display integrity

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Cascading communications and goals

Use a system

highlights

lowlights

issues

plans

Distribute routine progress (weekly/monthly reports)

department

division

company

Create an open system — not a closed system

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Develop open and candid feedback

Be self-aware

biases

assumptions

Display integrity

Be a role model for integrity

Encourage others to display

openness

risk-taking and courage in communications

Encourage and establish balanced work relationships

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Summary

Quality in = Quality out

Adults are like kids. They need to be:

listened to

cared about

given enjoyable things to do

given opportunities to learn and grow

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Summary – continued

Role-model integrity in all communications

Take positive risks in all communications

Always over-communicate

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