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Coming To Grips With Communication Competence

Coming To Grips With Communication Competence

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Published by Susan Klopfer
Communication skills are essential in today's globalized society, so much that most junior colleges, colleges and universities - and even organizations and businesses - offer students and employees courses in effective communication.
Communication skills are essential in today's globalized society, so much that most junior colleges, colleges and universities - and even organizations and businesses - offer students and employees courses in effective communication.

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Categories:Types, Business/Law
Published by: Susan Klopfer on Nov 13, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Success With Diversity, Globalization MeansLearning Communication Competence; Continuing Education
By Susan Klopfer, MBAAuthor of Profit From Diversity; Getting Along With Others Publication Date, Nov. 30, 2010
(New diversity management business book targets inexperienced supervisors, managers. Profit From Diversity:Getting Along With Others, emphasize story-telling, includes unique glossary with down-to-earth definitions of diversity-related key words.)
~ ~ ~
ou're kidding me. I can't graduate unless I take a speech class? But my major is engineering.
 Sue isn't happy after learning about this added requirement.
It is going to cost me time and money - something I amalmost out of since you keep increasing my class requirements and my tuition keeps going up,
she complains to her academic advisor.
Is this speech class really necessary?
 Like Sue, many students are not happy about taking a speech class, especially if they in an
field. Besidestime and money, fear can be one more factor. (So, who among us can say they were not scared stiff to give their first public speech?)
et, with increased globalization and diversity, the need to learn as much as possible about communication andcross-cultural communication before taking a first job, and throughout one's professional career, is becoming moreand more apparent.If Sue's academic counselor is at all communication savvy, she will point out three immediate reasons why a speechclass is required for all students: first, communication is critical for functioning in society. Second, oral tradition is akeystone to the democratic process, and third, globalization and expanding information technologies making our world smaller, putting us in contact more and more with people who communicate differently than the members of the dominant U.S. culture.As these three reasons expand due to global economic change, there becomes even more need for people to be better communicators.Communication skills are essential in today's globalized society, so much that most junior colleges, colleges anduniversities - and even organizations and businesses - offer students and employees courses in effectivecommunication. In one manufacturing company where I worked, the company set up and supported a Toastmaster'sClub to help us become better communicators.Schools and organizations take such steps knowing that learning about communication helps students andemployees think more critically, solve problems, increase personal credibility, adapt to change, develop self-confidence and communicate interculturally.Without communication skills we are unable to share thoughts and feelings with each other; further we are unable toshare our cultures. Communication is a core part of our daily lives. Arguments can be made that every hour we areawake involves communication. When not directly communicating with others, we are engaged in a host of intrapersonal communication activities such as sending e-mail, listening to music on iPods, reading magazine ads, or even deciding whether to go to work or class.
Acts of communicating vary from anything as seemingly unimportant as saying hello to a casual acquaintance tocalling 911 to report an emergency.Because communication is a social activity, it can be changed - people can increase and improve their communication skills. The requirement to do so has grown as the U.S. moves from a manufacturing to a knowledge- based economy. Diversity in the workforce and globalization require increased competence in communication with people from a variety of cultures.Once Sue takes the
dreaded' speech class, she will learn that speech is only one aspect of the entire communication process. A speaker is mostly engaged in communication whenever he or she consciously or unconsciously affectsthe behavior of others.Upon entering the work force as an engineer, Sue will immediately recognize that people ask and answer questionsevery day, participate in conversations, exchange ideas in team meetings and deliver presentations - formally andinformally.Factors such as culture, credibility, motivation, listening skills, feedback will all come into play as these and relatedevents occur. For instance, as a person speaks in a team meeting, the other team members send messages back to thespeaker with their smiles, yawns, blank gazes, squirming in their chairs, twirling their pens, sending text messagesfrom their cell phones - all conveying their individual nonverbal reactions to the speaker.How Sue communicates on the job will depend on her understanding of the communication process. While thedefinition of communication takes many forms, most introductory speech students learn it is the process of one person sending a message that creates meaning in another person. The key word
implies an interactionthat consists of parts or components.Most critical is the sender, the individual or group originating the message. In public speaking, the sender issomeone who wants to communicate with others. To do so, the speaker prepares and transmits a message toreceivers that contains information the sender wants others to understand; this can be verbal or nonverbal.Messages are transmitted through a channel to the receiver. The channel can be direct or 
through a cell phone, webinar on the Internet, radio, or other such means such as a video camera or photograph. The receiver is theintended recipient of the message and the one who interprets the message. It is the receiver who assigns meaning,and this may or may not be what the sender wanted to communicate if the first place.Communication is often said to be receiver based. If Sue tells an audience that the webinar starts at 5 o'clock, mostemployees will think she means in the late afternoon, near the end of the work day.But an employee, especially if they were physically isolated from the others, might interpret this to be an earlymorning Internet meeting. Receivers, after interpreting the message and assigning meaning, put together a response,or an action they take as a result of the meaning they've assign to the message - such as trying to log into an earlymorning webinar rather than doing so in the late afternoon.Another part of the communication process is feedback or what allows the speaker to determine if the message iseffective. A nod or smile may be something different from a frown. What does a
head mean? Or lack of eye contact? These forms of feedback vary from culture to culture, as most speech and communication students aretaught.Communication takes place in both a physical and a social environment - the actual place where the communicationtakes place and the social environment, which is more abstract. People change their communication styles inresponse to both the physical and social environments.If Sue meets with her academic advisor for a beer at the local bar, their communication style is different than what occurs when they meet in her advisor's campus office.The final aspect of communication involves noise or the types of distractions that occur during a communicationevent. Physical noise takes many forms, such as loud talk outside of a classroom or the Internet cutting out during awebinar.

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