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MB0039-Set-1

MB0039-Set-1

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Saurabh Verma MBA 1ST SEM ASSIGNMENT SET-1
Saurabh Verma MBA 1ST SEM ASSIGNMENT SET-1

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ASSIGNMENT – 01

NAME ROLL NO. LEARNING CENTRE LEARNING CENTRE CODE COURSE SUBJECT SEMESTER SUBJECT CODE DATE OF SUBMISSION MARKS AWARDED SAURABH VERMA 511220551 BHOPAL (MADHYA PRADESH) 1650 MBA BUSINESS COMMUNICATION- SET 1 SEMESTER 1 MB0039 JULY 3, 2012

DISRECTORATE OF DISTANCE EDUCATION SIKKIM MANIPAL UNIVERSITY IIND FLOOR , SYNIDICATE HOUSE MANIPAL-576 104

_______________________ Signature of Coordinator

_______________ Signature of Center

____________________ Signature of Evaluator

MB0039-BUSINESS COMMUNICATION

ASSIGNMENT SET– 01
Q. 1. Describe any situation in your experience where the communication went wrong. Analyze the situation by pointing out the type of barrier to communication and suggest how to overcome this barrier. Ans. Situation where Communication was a failure to me: As an Associate Manager, I was a sender for a communication and intended to be received by my executives. I have sent the following communication to my executives through a notice and displayed on the notice board: “Coming Second Saturday to complete our targets for the month a review meeting is arranged and all should attend. If any executive is not able to attend should find out the contents of the meeting from their peers without fail”. But my communication went wrong and out of 10 executives, only three executives attended at 4.00 PM who checked-in with me at the time of the meeting. Following were the barriers of communication which stood in the way of my communication: • • • • • The “Channel” I have chosen did not ensure the receipt of the communication by “Receivers”. The communication lacked the “Chronological context”. Second Saturday being a non-working day. The communication has created a “Psychological noise” by not mentioning correct time of the meeting and confusion had been created The “social context” also is one of the cause for the failure of the communication as I have not taken all my executives into confident by giving any advance information or an intention of the meeting earlier. Lessons learnt in order to overcome these barriers of communication: • • My communication was unclear by not giving exact time of meeting. The media I have used is the placing the notice on the notice board, instead had I circulated to all the receivers and obtained their signatures by asking their availability or feedback my communication would not have failed. • • I have chosen a wrong day a holiday though the task was a routine one. I could have maintained good relations with my executives for success of my communication.

Irrespective of the setting in which communication takes place or the number of people that are involved, all communication consists of certain key elements. The Communication Model shown on the next page illustrates each of these elements: Model of Communication Sender or Encoder – This is the person who transmits a message. For example, a manager writing a letter of apology to a customer regarding a defective product, or a sales manager making a presentation to his sales team. Receiver or Decoder – The person who notices and decodes, or attaches some meaning to a message. Decoding may

not always be accurate and a wrong meaning may be attached to a Message. For example, a friendly joke might be taken as an offense, or feedback given to a Subordinate by a superior might be taken in the wrong Sense.

Message – This is any signal that triggers the response of a receiver. Messages may be intentional (as in the example of the sales presentation given above) or unintentional (nonverbal signals such as yawns that convey the message of boredom). Channel – This refers to the medium or the method used to deliver the message. As a business executive, you will often have a choice of channels. For example, you could communicate with a customer through a letter, through email or telephone. Feedback – Most communication is two-way. Receivers generally respond to messages – for example, students may ask questions during a lecture session and an employer may tell an employee that he has to think about his proposal. This response to a sender’s message is called feedback. This kind of feedback is oral. Sometimes feedback could also be written, as when you respond to a customer’s letter of complaint, for example. At other times, feedback could be nonverbal, as in smiles and nods of appreciation during a talk or presentation. Even failure to respond could be considered as feedback, since it may indicate a lack of interest or indifference to the sender’s message. Due to the element of feedback, people are simultaneously senders and receivers of information in face to face communication. Noise – Communication fails when the message received is not identical to the message that is sent. Several factors could interfere with the exchange of messages. “Noise” refers to all these factors that disrupt the communication and could be classified under the following types:

• • •

Physical Noise – Distracting sounds, poor acoustics, or just information overload could interfere with the listening process. Physiological Noise – Hearing or other disabilities, fatigue, or physical illness could come in the way of both speaking and listening. Psychological Noise – Sometimes emotions within the sender or receiver such as preoccupations, hostility, fear or lack of interest could interfere with the speaking or listening Process.

Context – This refers to the setting in which the communication takes place and could sometimes determine the success or failure of the communication. Context could be classified as follows Physical context refers to the physical surroundings for example a work or social environment, in which the communication takes place. Asking your boss for a promotion might be received differently, depending on whether the communication takes place in your office, your boss’s office, at a company party or over lunch at a restaurant. Social context refers to the relationship between the sender and the receiver. Taking the same example, asking for a promotion is likely to be received differently, depending on how well you get along with your boss and whether you are personal friends or not. Chronological context refers to time related factors that could influence the communication. For example, is your request made first thing in the morning or at the far end of the day? Is it made during or after work hours? Is it made at a time when the company is going through problems such as a strike in the factory, or major losses?

Cultural context refers to the similarity of backgrounds between the sender and the receiver, such as age, language, nationality, religion and gender. These factors could influence the communication favorably or unfavorably. Each of the elements discussed above contributes to the success of the communication. In other words, communication can go wrong if any of the following elements go wrong. 1. A wrong person sends the message. For example, a junior accountant in a company writing a letter to a bank, asking for a loan for a project worth several Crores, is not likely to get the bank’s approval. 2. The message is unclear or badly worded. Or there are too many messages, leading to confusion and information overload. 3. The wrong channel of communication is chosen. Placing an ad for a liquor product in a religious magazine for example, is not likely to be received favorably! 4. 5. 6. 7. The message is wrongly interpreted, i.e., the receiver attaches the wrong meaning to the message. The feedback is not adequate to ensure understanding. Physical, physiological or psychological noise distorts the message. The communication takes place in the wrong physical, social, chronological or cultural context.

Q. 2. Describe any two aspects of non verbal communication and give examples of how each of them could be used to convey positive messages at the workplace. Ans. Nonverbal communication has received much attention in the areas of business presentation, sales and marketing, and the development of social skills. Little attention, however, has been given to its importance in general communication despite major differences in cultural use and interpretation of body language, expression, personal space and other nonverbal tools. It is estimated that less than ten percent of interpersonal communication involves words, the remainder being made up of voice tone, sounds and a variety of devices such as kinetics (movement), haptics (touch), oculesics (eye-contact), proxemics (space) and chronomics (time) as well as posture, sound symbols and silence, which either replace or accompany words. Different studies have identified a wide variety of types of nonverbal communication. The following is a relatively simple classification:

Kinesics Proxemics Haptics Oculesics Chronemics Olfactics Vocalics Sound Symbols Silence Adornment Posture Locomotion Expression

body motions (blushes, shrugs, eye movement, foot-tapping, drumming fingers) spatial separation (in relation both the social and physical environment) touch eye contact use of time, waiting, pausing smell tone of voice, timbre, volume, speed grunting, mmm, er, ah, uh-huh, mumbling absence of sound (muteness, stillness, secrecy) clothing, jewellery, hairstyle position of the body (characteristic or assumed) walking, running, staggering, limping frowns, grimaces, smirks, smiles, pouting

It is often assumed that nonverbal communication is a transferable skill. However, there are two major problematic factors: firstly that, like speech, it has both form and function, and, secondly, that it is not always directly translatable. It is the first of these factors which makes nonverbal communication difficult to teach, and the second which leads to breakdowns and misunderstandings in intercultural communication.

Gestures, expressions and all other forms of nonverbal communication have functions, which, as with language, need to be taught along with their forms. In the same way as language items, some paralinguistic expressions have

several functions, while nonverbal communication in general performs the three basic functions of managing identity, defining relationships, and conveying attitudes and feelings (but not ideas):

Form Nod (Yes) Shrug (I don’t know) Scratch head, quizzical look Tone of voice, pointing Hand raised Head shake Eye movements Staring/Looking down or away Raised fist Hand-shake Touching, kissing Over-adornment

Main Function (in some cultures) Repeating Substituting Complementing Accenting Regulating, turn taking Contradicting Deceiving Dominating/Submitting Aggression Socialising Arousal Boasting

Misunderstandings occur because the functions of paralinguistic forms vary from culture to culture, although there are some universal nonverbal such as smiles, laughter and sour expressions. There are also differences according to gender and age. Nonverbal communication tends to be relatively ambiguous and open to interpretation while its influence often depends on the nature of the ‘listener’, particularly when it is unclear whether the messages conveyed are deliberate or unconscious. Nonverbal indicators are most common in polychronic cultures, in which an individual often performs several tasks simultaneously. The following are examples of common gestures which have different functions and meanings in different cultures: Perfect: Commonly – everything’s all right perfect, France – worthless, Japan – Money, Germany – rude, Malta, Greece, Brazil – obscene. Thumbs up: Commonly – all OK, Australia, Iran- Rude, Nigeria – Very offensive, Japan – five, Turkey – Political rightist Party Stop: Commonly – Stop, enough (person, car, action), Turkey – you get nothing from me, West Africa – You have 5 fathers! The Fig: Turkey, Greece, Tunisia, Holland – obscene, Russia- you get nothing from me, Yugoslavia – you can’t have it, Brazil – good luck

Nonverbal and verbal communication are normally inseparable, which, for example, is why it may seem so difficult to use the telephone in a foreign language. It needs to be taught and practiced as per situation, in the right contexts, and with plenty of cultural input and awareness. Given its importance, there is a singular lack of material for the teacher which focuses on this aspect of communication, but here are a few techniques: • • • Learners discuss the meaning of gestures and expressions (either demonstrated by the teacher, from pictures, or from existing published materials. This is particularly effective with multilingual classes. Learners watch a video clip without sound, then discuss and write the dialogue. Learners act out a dialogue using gesture and expression only: A: Excuse me. Can you take a picture of me? B: Yeah, sure. A: Just press that button. B: Er, which one? A: The one on the top. B: OK, right. Er.... can you move back a bit. A: Is this OK? B: Fine, now smile. That's it. Very nice. A: Thanks. B: Not at all. You've got a lovely smile. Er... fancy a drink? A: OK, but I've got no money on me. B: That's OK. I'll pay. • Learners, in pairs, take turns in listening to each other for 30 seconds, using only nonverbal responses.

Nonverbal communication has implications for the teacher as well as the learner. It is often said that one can always recognize a language teacher by their use of gesture in normal conversation, while it is certainly true that a system of gestures has evolved which allows a teacher to perform aspects of classroom management quickly, quietly and efficiently. Gestures for 'work in pairs', 'open your books', 'listen' and 'write' are universal, while individual teachers have developed nonverbal repertoires involving the use of fingers to represent words, expressions to denote approval/disapproval and gestures to indicate time, tense and other linguistic features, and hence systems for instruction, correction and management which well-trained learners respond to immediately. The effective use of nonverbal cues assists in a wide range of classroom practices by adding an extra dimension to the language: • • • • • • • reducing unnecessary teacher talking time increasing learner participation confidence building reducing fear of silence clear instructions efficient classroom management classroom atmosphere

Teachers, however, should always remember that the meanings of gestures and other nonverbal cues need to be taught in the same way as the meaning of essential classroom language, also that a number of nonverbal techniques already exist in their repertoire, such as the use of Cuisenaire rods, colors and charts, adapted from the Silent Way. Make sure that the learners understand your codes, and teach them to use them themselves.

Q. 3. Which types of listening would be required the most at the workplace? Explain with suitable examples. Ans. Listening is the most important of all the aspects of communication. In fact, listening precedes communication. It occurs more frequently on the job than even speaking, reading or writing. The new model of business, based on teamwork, requires more effective listening skills than before for greater coordination. Given its importance, in this unit we will try to understand the true meaning of listening, examine some obstacles to listening and discuss methods to be adopted for better listening in the workplace. Listening is one of the most important skills you can have. How well you listen has a major impact on your job effectiveness, and on the quality of your relationships with others. We listen to obtain information. We listen to understand. We listen for enjoyment. We listen to learn. Given all this listening we do, you would think we’d be good at it! In fact we’re not. Depending on the study being quoted, we remember a dismal 25-50% of what we hear. That means that when you talk to your boss, colleagues, customers or spouse for 10 minutes, they only really hear 2½-5 minutes of the conversation. Turn it around and it reveals that when you are receiving directions or being presented with information, you aren’t hearing the whole message either. You hope the important parts are captured in your 25- 50%, but what if they’re not? Clearly, listening is a skill that we can all benefit from improving. By becoming a better listener, you will improve your productivity, as well as your ability to influence, persuade negotiate. What’s more, you’ll avoid conflict and misunderstandings – all necessary for workplace success. Understand the importance of listening at workplace: Listening is hard work and is more than just sitting passively and absorbing a speaker’s words. According to Lundsteen, “Listening is a highly complex process by which spoken language is converted to meaning in the mind”. Listening has been identified by Stephen Covey as one of the “seven habits of highly effective people”, in his book with the same title. This definition implies that listening is a skill which can be cultivated and developed, just like speaking, reading or writing. Listening is often thought to be synonymous with hearing. The difference is that while hearing is a passive process, listening is active. It means being alert to and understanding the meaning behind the speaker’s words. While listening, one is engaged in processing the information, reconstructing the information and also giving meaning to the information. This brings us to a discussion of the different types of listening. Types of Listening: 1. Discriminative Listening

This is the most basic type of listening, whereby the difference between the sounds is identified. Unless the difference between the sounds is identified, the meaning expressed by such differences cannot be grasped. Once we learn to distinguish between sounds in our own language, we are able to do the same in other languages 2. Comprehension Listening Once we have learnt to discriminate between the different sounds, the next step is to try to comprehend the meaning of these sounds. In order to do this, we require a dictionary of words, along with the rules of grammar and syntax. Apart from the verbal communication, we also need to understand the meaning conveyed by the speaker’s nonverbal behavior 3. Evaluative Listening This kind of listening involves making judgments about what the speaker is saying. We listen critically and try to assess what is being said as good, bad, worthy or unworthy. We generally resort to this kind of listening when the other person is trying to persuade us, change our behavior or convictions. The tendency then is to question what the speaker is trying to say. 4. Appreciative Listening This kind of listening could be in the form of paying selective attention to certain kinds of information which might be relevant to us, or which helps to meet our needs and goals. The tendency is to appreciate such information better. Appreciative listening is also used when listening to good music, poetry or a powerful speech. 5. Empathetic Listening In this type of listening, we try to put ourselves in the other person’s place and understand the moods, beliefs, goals and feelings behind the speaker’s words. It requires excellent discrimination and paying attention to the nuances of emotional signals. It also requires a high degree of sensitivity and tactful probing on the part of the listener. Empathetic listening is most often needed at the workplace, when dealing with customer complaints, employee feedback and problems. 6. Therapeutic Listening In this type of listening, the listener goes beyond merely empathizing with the speaker and tries to help him to change or develop in some way. This type of listening is common in social situations, where family and personal problems are resolved through counseling. It is also important in job situations, where managers try to solve the problems of employees. Taking the same example of a manager doing a performance appraisal, the manager should not only understand the employee’s problems, but should also “counsel” him, by suggesting what measures he could take to improve his performance in future.

7.

Dialogue Listening As the name suggests, listening involves listening and learning through dialogue. This implies that listening is a two way, rather than a one way process. It involves interchange of ideas and information between the speaker and the listener. This type of listening is active listening, whereby the listener continuously seeks

clarifications, gives feedback and engages in conversation with the speaker. Another name for this is “relational” listening, since a relationship is established through the exchange of ideas. Q. 4. Imagine that you have to make a presentation on your MBA project to a group of your professors and industry experts. Prepare the following: a) A general statement of purpose b) A specific statement of purpose c) The key idea d) A brief audience analysis e) Delivery style. Ans. Statement of Purpose: The main aim of this presentation is to inform Online Study Portal project. Introduce the flexibility of MBA Project, by high lighting the salient features of this project that it is an online class room for the students from which they can access to a wide variety of activities like eBooks, SLMs, Quizzes, etc. anytime anywhere by just simply logging in. Key Idea: Project has launched first time in the History of Distance Education in India, the virtual classroom through this Project. Within the portal, after logging in, a student can access study materials in the form of an e-workbook with value-added components, attempt quizzes related to his study curriculum interactively, ask questions in the Discussion groups related to his subject of study and will get the reply also either from the LC faculties or the core faculties just sitting in the comfort of his own drawing room. The portal is for bridging the gap between the students and the faculties, for transferring the knowledge of the core-faculties directly to all students, for increasing the interaction between the LC faculties as well as core-faculties and above all for imparting quality education in a more productive way. Audience Analysis: Making a good presentation alone is not enough. It also has to be tailored to your listeners, in such a way that they understand and appreciate it. The group size of the students is 45 and nearly 50% of the students are new to internet. So the presentation should be more focused towards those persons in educating them about the advantages of Portal and how to use it without any difficulty. Explain the user friendliness of the web portal. As the group size is large, more time can be devoted for question and answers for making it more interactive. Also nearly 10 participants are not very good at English; hence the presentation could be had at a slower speed so that they can understand the point of discussion. There are around 5 participants who have used the portal for the first time. We could take an opportunity to request them to share their opinion on this portal. Delivery Style: The delivery style of the presentation could be speaking from notes – because this is generally the most effective style of delivery. I write down the main ideas in point form on index cards and then referring to these cards merely as a trigger while speaking, I can deliver the presentation. If the main ideas are put down briefly on the cards, I can elaborate on these ideas in my own words and speak for any length of time. The presentation is likely to be more effective, since it comes across as natural and permits eye contact with the audience.

Q. 5. In your opinion, does the success of a meeting depend more on the chairperson or the participants? Justify your answer. Ans. Successful Meetings: Face-to-face meetings are the most common way for groups to make decisions, solve problems, and educate people, and plan programs and projects. Meetings can be productive and accomplish goals efficiently. However, an unproductive meeting can be frustrating and influence the enthusiasm and attitude of the group. This also affects the image of the organization in the community and can hamper your efforts in recruiting volunteers, partners and sponsors. Effective meetings do not happen automatically. Planning the design, the equipment needed and who needs to be involved is critical to a meeting’s success. Most resources about effective meetings refer to business meetings. Key Roles Everyone at the meeting is responsible for its success. Some people have key roles to play including: • The Chairperson is responsible for ensuring that meetings are run effectively and efficiently. The chair must consider both the task functions of the group, i.e., the actions and decisions that are critical to achieve, and the maintenance functions – the relationships, welfare and harmony of the group. Both functions are important and will affect the organization’s success. The chair has the lead role in planning, preparing, implementing and evaluating meetings and is responsible for starting and ending on time and involving members in the decisions and discussions • The Secretary helps the chair and is responsible for the legal record of decisions and group memory. The secretary ensures the meeting minutes are prepared, adopted and kept in a format that is available to the membership. • • Committee chairs are responsible for researching issues and bringing options and recommendations to the meeting for decision. Members should come to the meeting prepared, be on time, keep their discussion focused, and participate in the decision making. Side conversations should be held until the end of the meeting or social time as they can be very disruptive. Before The Meeting

Define the purpose of the meeting. A clear purpose is required for every meeting. If the purpose is unclear, regularly scheduled meetings may not be needed. Determine if a meeting is the most effective way of getting the information across. Organizations must make good use of their volunteers’ time.

Plan the agenda. An agenda is a step-by-step outline of the topics to be discussed at the meeting. The chair should consult the secretary, treasurer and committee chairs when planning the agenda and organizing the materials and resources. Ensure that critical items are discussed first, with the appropriate time allowed.

Send out the agenda and background information prior to the meeting. This will remind people of the meeting, ensure important issues are not overlooked and help members focus on the issues and be prepared to discuss them.

• •

Ensure all reports and information is available. Confirm that the required person or a suitable alternate is available to attend the meeting and make a report. Notify everyone who needs to know about the meeting early notification is important to ensure that the required people can attend.

Physical Set-Up All your best planning efforts can be wasted if you overlook the physical surroundings of your meeting. The following considerations will encourage participation: • • Size of the room. How many people will attend the meeting? Too big a room gives an isolated feeling, and too small a room makes people feel cramped and uncomfortable. Seating Arrangements. The arrangement will depend on the type of meeting. Large meetings with limited speakers suit the classroom or theatre style (chairs in rows).Long narrow boardroom tables tend to minimize participation. Chairs and tables arranged in circles, U shapes or squares support increased interaction as people can see each other, and the chair is part of the group. • Do participants know one another? Nametags or table cards help people interact and assist those who have difficulty remembering names. New people could be assigned a host for the meeting to make them feel more comfortable and part of the group. • Other considerations. o o o o At The Meeting • Set the ground rules. These agreements for participant behavior will make meetings more efficient and effective. They should be discussed by the group and revisited periodically. Some ground rules are: How do you access the room? Who has the key? Where is the room in the building? Don’t forget the acoustics, temperature, ventilation, audio-visual equipment, lighting, parking, and location of rest rooms, coat racks and refreshments.

o o o

Everyone has equal rights and can participate. The will of the majority is carried out. The minority will be heard.

o o • • • •

Only one topic will be considered at a time Decision-making will be done fairly and impartially

Start and end the meeting on time. Do not penalize the people who made the effort to be on time. Use a warm-up activity. As people come together, they should move their thinking from being individuals to being part of a group. Use of an ice-breaker activity can help build the team Make introductions. Welcome participants and ensure everyone knows everyone else, especially any newcomers. Summarize the purpose of the meeting and the timelines for discussions. It can be useful to write the agenda and points about the issues on a blackboard or large piece of posted paper. This helps participants keep track of the discussion.

• •

Use a speakers’ list. Make sure everyone who wants to speak is given the opportunity before anyone receives a second opportunity. Encourage input from all participants. Sometimes a few participants dominate the discussion because they are more comfortable speaking in a group or are more passionate about the topic. The chairperson must ensure there is input from everyone and should try to draw quiet people into the discussion.

Keep the discussion focused on the topic. Avoid topic drift, when participants add comments that are irrelevant to the agenda. The comments are usually interesting, but if they are pursued, the conversation drifts further from the objective

Use a “Parking Lot.” When unrelated issues are raised, keep track of them on the flipchart or blackboard, visible to everyone. Participants will realize that these ideas and concerns will not be lost and can be considered at the appropriate time or put on the agenda for the next meeting.

• • • •

Explain acronyms. Ensure short forms or initials are explained so that everyone is aware of what is being discussed. Be aware of non-verbal behavior. Body language can provide important clues as to the need for further discussion and/or the involvement and satisfaction of members. Respond to it accordingly. Assess when the debate has run its course. The chairperson should summarize the discussion and ask for a vote or expression of consensus Use an “Action Sheet.” Record the actions required, who is responsible and timelines for each action. The Action Sheet captures meeting decisions and reminds people to follow through on their commitments

Approaches to Decision Making Organizations should aim to hold fair and democratic meetings. The following two approaches are commonly used. If democratic processes are not being observed, it is wise for more formal processes to be introduced. • Parliamentary Procedure. This is a formal and defined procedure that is especially useful for larger groups. Using Roberts Rules of Order or other meeting procedure resources can give organizations a defined process to ensure the wishes of the majority are followed.

Consensus. This is an alternative decision-making method for smaller meetings, including board, executive or committee meetings. Consensus occurs when the participants, through discussion, come to an agreement on the decision. It eliminates the amendment process that parliamentary procedure dictates and encourages maximum participation. The minutes will reflect that the decision was made by consensus.

Decision Making Processes Many times groups find themselves dominated by an individual or struggling to agree on a course of action. Using a structured process to discuss issues will help improve your meeting’s efficiency and group performance. The following are brief outlines of some basic processes that the chairperson or members can facilitate. These processes work best with smaller groups, but large groups can be divided for discussion purposes. Each small group has its own facilitator, then the large group is reconvened, and the results discussed. These processes will encourage the quiet person to contribute and moderate the impact of more assertive individuals. More processes and details can be found in resources on facilitation techniques Brainstorming. This process generates many spontaneous and diverse ideas in a short period of time. The leader clearly states the problem and outlines the rules which are: • • • • No evaluation, criticism or discussion on any point. Ideas are recorded until they are exhausted. Quantity counts. The more ideas, the greater the chance for a really good idea. Build on the ideas of others. Pool your creativity. Everyone participates.

Ideas are recorded on a flipchart or blackboard for everyone to see. Following the brainstorming, the list is screened and points clarified. Members then choose their four or five priority items and decide on a course of action. SWOT Analysis. This method examines the Strengths, Weaknesses (internal factors), Opportunities and Threats (external influences) of a given issue or situation. The whole group can participate in the discussion, or subgroups can discuss each section, and then report back to the larger group. This analysis helps the group determine direction. SCORE Analysis. This is a similar method to SWOT that examines issues using Strengths, Challenges, Opportunities, Risks and Expectations. TOPS Analysis. Also similar to SWOT, this method examines the trends, opportunities, priorities and strategies.

Prioritizing Technique. Each participant thinks of ideas or solutions that are recorded on a flipchart or blackboard. From these ideas, the group develops various options or solutions. The following techniques can be used to arrive at the option that the majority supports: • Give each person in the group five sticky dots and have them place the dots beside the options they prefer. They can choose five individual options or place multiple dots on an option they feel strongly about. The option with the greatest number of dots will determine the course of action. • Participants are asked to rank the options using a scale of 1 to 5, where 5 points represents their first choice, 4 their second choice, etc. The desired option is the one that accumulates the highest total score.

Force Field Analysis. This process is a way to graphically show the forces driving for change or forces restraining change in relation to a situation. • • • • • Draw a line vertically down the middle of the flipchart page and post so that everyone can see. The situation is stated clearly and written at the top. Participants then list the forces that are driving (the pros) the change in the left column, and the forces restraining (the cons) the change in the right column. A comparison of the driving and restraining forces helps participants determine the course of action. Review the Action Sheet. This ensures that the people who are assigned a task are clear on their responsibilities and timelines. Confirm the date, time and location of the next meeting. Evaluating the Meeting After the meeting, review what went well, where improvements could be made and any problems to be addressed before the next meeting. If you have people being groomed for the chairperson position, such as vice chairs, this is a good time to get them involved. It is important that results and strategies for improvement be summarized and communicated to the participants. Take the opportunity for feedback. It reduces the possibility of repeating unproductive behaviors and procedures and shows respect for people’s time. Some ideas for assessing your meeting are • • • Before the meeting is adjourned ask, “What went well” and “what could be improved.” Appoint someone to monitor the meeting process and report on it at the end. Have participant’s complete one of the numerous anonymous survey tools that are available on the Internet and discuss the results. Common Questions about Meetings How do we keep members aware of dates and deadlines for activities throughout the year? An Annual Planning Calendar is a breakdown, by month, of all the important dates of the organization, such as meeting dates, fundraising activities, events and deadlines for funding applications, etc. This tool keeps everyone informed of key activities and is a good recruitment and orientation tool to use with new members. The annual planning agenda should be reviewed and revised regularly throughout the year.

Conflict can arise and it is not necessarily negative. It can lead to innovation and positive change. Some points to consider when conflict occurs: • • • • Recognize there is conflict and identify the issue. Focus on the issue, not the personality. Do not criticize individuals Use a structured process to help the group discuss the issue, propose and assess solutions, and come to a resolution. If the discussion gets too tense, take a short break and, when the meeting reconvenes, summarize the pros and cons for the issues and negotiate a solution.

In a sensitive meeting, a neutral facilitator can help the group resolve the issues.

What happens when we don’t have a quorum? A quorum is the minimum number of people needed for an organization to conduct its business. This number should be specified in the organization’s constitution or bylaws. For small groups, it is usually the majority of members, i.e., if the board has 12 directors, a quorum would be seven. In large groups, it is the majority of the number that usually attends the meeting. If a meeting does not have a quorum, the people attending can hold discussions on issues, but no decisions can be made. A quorum should be present at the beginning of the meeting and remain through the entire meeting for a decision to be valid. Q. 6. How do memos differ from other written communication channels? Give examples of two business situations that would require either an informational or a persuasive memo. Ans. The word “memo” is a short form for “memorandum”, which is derived from the Latin word which means “a thing which must be remembered.” It is also referred to as an “Inter Office Memorandum”, since it is used primarily as a tool for communicating within the organization. The memo is essentially a condensed or a brief report that can be used to convey information and decisions, or to make short requests to coworkers, superiors and subordinates. It is relatively informal in style, compared to letters and long reports, and is unpretentious and concise. It is important for the business executive to know how to write condensed reports or memos. Often, business executives may also be asked to condense business articles for their superiors. This is essentially the same as “précis writing”, where an article is condensed to one fourth its size, without losing the essence or meaning. The condensed article could then be put in memo format and sent to the superior. Memos are generally of two types – informational memos and persuasive memos. A memo may be written in one of two formats – • • Direct organizational plan or deductive Organization Indirect organizational plan or inductive organization.

1. Direct Organizational Plan – This format is used when a memo is purely informational, as in the example
shown above. Since the purpose is only to convey information, the purpose is mentioned right at the outset and all the details are presented right away. It is also used sometimes when the purpose of the memo is to persuade. This is appropriate when you are sure that your proposal or request will be accepted without any resistance. In this case, the writer will make the request right at the beginning and then list out the reasons. An example of a persuasive memo that is written following the direct organizational plan or deductive organization is shown below –

TO : The Marketing Manager FROM : The Sales Manager

DATE : March 10th , 2008 SUBJECT : Increase in the number of salespersons Based on my experience and knowledge of territory X, for which I am responsible, I feel that an increase in the sales force will yield a positive growth rate. Therefore, I would like to recommend that we increase the number of salespersons from 10 to 15, so as to reach more number of prospective customers. I have done an in depth analysis of the current market situation in territory X. Although several new entrants and our existing competitors have done well, we continue to enjoy a good reputation in the market. Although the current rate of growth is disappointing, the future market potential is enormous, pointing towards a positive growth. Strengthening the sales force will be advantageous for the following reasons – • • • Increases the reach of the company to the customers Increases the frequency of calls made Gives us an edge over the competition

In view of the above long term benefits to the company, I request you to consider my proposal and to grant approval.

2. Indirect Organizational Plan or Inductive Organization – This type of memo format is appropriate when the purpose of the memo is to persuade, but when the writer feels that the reader might object to the request or the proposal .Therefore, the writer will try to convince the reader by presenting the reasons first and then make the request or recommendation right at the end. An example of a memo written using this format is given below–

TO : The VP Marketing FROM : The Advertising Manager DATE : March 11th , 2008 SUBJECT : Review of advertising campaign An analysis of our latest sales reports has revealed that territory X, for which I am responsible, is a highly profitable one. This territory has been contributing to the bulk of our company’s sales over the last one year. The annual advertising budget for our products being sold in territory X is currently Rs. 50 lakhs. Although our advertising has been satisfactory, it needs to be reviewed for the following reasons• • More frequent advertising is needed to improve awareness levels of our products, which are still new to the market. Advertising is an investment and needs to be sustained over a long term, in order to build our brand.

• • •

Building a positive brand image through advertising can help build long term brand loyalty. Fast moving consumer goods such as ours require a higher percentage of sales spent on advertising, during the introductory stage. We need to spend an amount on advertising that is comparable to our closest competitor in the region.

In view of the long term benefits of advertising, I would like to recommend doubling our advertising budget in territory X to Rs. 1 crore a year. I request you to consider my proposal and to grant approval.

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