Master of Business AdministrationMB0039 ± Business Communication

Q.1 Describe any situation that you experienced where the communication went wrong because the listening was faulty. Analyze the situation by explaining the type of listening barrier. . How could this barrier be overcome? Most people are very average listeners who have developed poor listening habits that are hard to shed and that act as barriers to listening. For example, some people have the habit of ³faking´ attention or trying to look like a listener, in order to impress the speaker and to assure him that they are paying attention. Others may tend to listen to each and every fact and, as a result, miss out on the main point. Yet another habit is to avoid difficult listening and to tune off deliberately, if the subject is too technical or difficult to understand. Sometimes, the subject itself may be dismissed as uninteresting, because the listener does not want to listen. Barriers to Listening 1. Physiological Barriers ± This was discussed earlier under the barriers to communication. Some people may have genuine hearing problems or deficiencies that prevent them from listening properly. Once detected, they can generally be treated. Other people may have difficulty in processing information, or memory related problems which make them poor listeners. Another physiological barrier is rapid thought. Listeners have the ability to process information at the rate of approximately 500 words per minute, whereas speakers talk at around 125 words per minute. Since listeners are left with a lot of spare time, their attention may not be focused on what the speaker is saying, but may wander elsewhere. 2. Physical Barriers ± These refer to distractions in the environment such as the sound of an air conditioner, cigarette smoke, or an overheated room, which interfere with the listening process. They could also be in the form of information overload. For example, if you are in a meeting with your manager and the phone rings and your mobile beeps at the same time to let you know that you have a message, it is very hard to listen carefully to what is being said. 3. Attitudinal Barriers Preoccupation with personal or work related problems can make it difficult to focus one¶s attention completely on what a speaker is saying, even if what is being said is of prime importance. Another common attitudinal barrier is egocentrism, or the belief that you are more knowledgeable than the speaker and that you have nothing new to learn from his ideas. People with this kind of closed minded attitude make very poor listeners. 4. Wrong Assumptions The success of communication depends on both the sender and the receiver, as we have seen in an earlier unit. It is wrong to assume that communication is the

sole responsibility of the sender or the speaker and that listener have no role to play. Such an assumption can be a big barrier to listening. For example, a brilliant speech or presentation, however well delivered, is wasted if the receiver is not listening at the other end. Listeners have as much responsibility as speakers to make the communication successful, by paying attention, seeking clarifications and giving feedback. 5. Cultural Barriers Accents can be barriers to listening, since they interfere with the ability to understand the meaning of words that are pronounced differently. The problem of different accents arises not only between cultures, but also within a culture. For example, in a country like India where there is enormous cultural diversity, accents may differ even between different regions and states. Another type of cultural barrier is differing cultural values. The importance attached to listening and speaking differs in western and oriental cultures. Generally, Orientals regard listening and silence as almost a virtue, whereas Westerners attach greater importance to speaking. Therefore this would interfere with the listening process, when two people from these two different cultures communicate. 6. Gender Barriers Communication research has shown that gender can be a barrier to listening. Studies have revealed that men and women listen very differently and for different purposes. Women are more likely to listen for the emotions behind a speaker¶s words, while men listen more for the facts and the content. 7. Lack of Training Listening is not an inborn skill. People are not born good listeners. They have to develop the art of listening through practice and training. Lack of training in listening skills is an important barrier to listening, especially in the Indian context. Lee Iacocca, former Chairman of the Chrysler Corporation in the US, was one of the first to recognize the need for organized training programs in listening skills. Today, many organizations both in India and abroad incorporate listening skills in their training programs. 8. Bad Listening Habits Most people are very average listeners who have developed poor listening habits that are hard to shed and that act as barriers to listening. For example, some people have the habit of ³faking´ attention or trying to look like a listener, in order to impress the speaker and to assure him that they are paying attention. Others may tend to listen to each and every fact and, as a result, miss out on the main point. Yet another habit is to avoid difficult listening and to tune off deliberately, if the subject is too technical or difficult to understand. Sometimes, the subject itself may be dismissed as uninteresting, because the listener does not want to listen. We can overcome above barriers by taking following steps: 1. Create a Conducive Environment ± To an extent, you can try to control the environment in which communication takes place, so that listening can take place without any distractions. Ensuring a proper sound system and acoustics so that the speaker is audible, avoiding places with high levels of activity, loud noises from the outside environment and poor air conditioning systems, shutting off mobile phones and telephones, are some of the ways in which you can overcome some of the physical barriers to listening.

2. Select Face-to-face Channels ± Listening is less accurate in the absence of face-to-face communication. For example, listening to and understanding ideas correctly over the telephone are much harder than through a face-to-face meeting. Take the case of calling a restaurant and placing orders over the telephone for home delivery of a meal. The chances are that your orders may not be understood correctly. Therefore, as far as possible, arrange face-to-face contact to ensure more accurate listening. 3. Be Open-minded and Avoid Distractions ± Listening is an exhausting activity which requires the right attitude and mindset. You have to focus your attention completely on what the speaker is saying, without letting your mind wander. This kind of concentration can be developed through various techniques and through constant practice. In addition, it is also important to rid yourself of the notion that you have nothing new to learn from the other person. Even if it is a subject about which you may be knowledgeable, the speaker may offer a different perspective or point of view. Therefore it is important to listen actively. 4. Use Nonverbal Cues to Indicate Active Listening ± It is important to communicate to the speaker that you are listening actively to what he is saying. This can be done even without verbal communication. All the different aspects of nonverbal communication discussed earlier should be used for maximum effect. For example, maintaining steady eye contact with the speaker, sitting up with an erect posture, nodding now and then to show appreciation and understanding and appropriate facial expressions are some of the ways in which your nonverbal communication can indicate that you are involved in what the speaker is saying. 5. Use Verbal Communication to Indicate Active Listening ± While nonverbal behavior by itself can communicate that you are an active listener, it is also important to engage in verbal communication with the speaker. Silence is often interpreted as lack of understanding or attention. You need to seek clarifications, give feedback and suggestions, or just paraphrase in your own words what the speaker has said, in order to convey that you have understood his message. 6. Listen First Before Responding ± Always let yourself finish listening before you begin to speak. Avoid the tendency to formulate your own response, even before you have listened completely to the speaker¶s words. If you are too busy thinking about what to say next, you may miss the main point that the speaker is trying to make. This also gives the speaker the impression that you are preoccupied or rude. 7. Use the Speaker listener Gap Constructively It was pointed out earlier that listeners have the ability to absorb information faster than speakers¶ rate of speech. This spare time available to listeners is often misused by letting the mind wander and is one of the physiological barriers to listening. One way of overcoming this barrier is to try to use this spare time to note down what the speaker has said, review what has been said so far and anticipate what he may say next. Thinking ahead of the speaker and trying to guess where his talk is leading is a good strategy for effective listening. This is not easy, but can be learnt through proper training.

8. Focus on the Verbal and Nonverbal Message ± Listening involves not only hearing and understanding the meaning behind the words, but also being alert to the nonverbal behavior of the speaker. The importance of nonverbal cues has been emphasized throughout this book. It is important to watch for any positive or negative messages that may be conveyed through the speaker¶s tone of voice, facial expressions, gestures and outward appearance. 9. Focus on the Content, rather than the Delivery ± In order to grasp the true meaning of what the speaker is saying, it is important to concentrate on the content of the message, rather than on how the message is delivered. For example, looking at the power point slides during a speaker¶s presentation may distract your attention from the main point that he is trying to convey. Similarly, being over critical of the speaker¶s accent or mannerisms may make you miss the essence of the message.

Q.2 Select a business article from any business publication of approximately 500 words in length. Evaluate it in terms of : a) Appropriate level of readability b) Use of jargon, slang and metaphors c) Common errors in English. Is it well or poorly written, in your opinion?

Companies Are People, Too By: Anna Muoio Forget all the talk about corporate culture. It's time to analyze your company's personality. This diagnostic will help. Plenty of business gurus -- especially New Age thinkers such as Arie de Geus, Peter Senge, and Margaret Wheatley -- have argued for years that companies aren't just boxes and bubbles on org charts. Instead, they've argued, companies are more like biological organisms -- living things that learn, evolve, and eventually die. Are you ready to take this biological worldview to the next level? According to marketing consultant Sandy Fekete, companies can best be understood when thought of as people -- as unique creatures with their own values, their own personalities, and sometimes, if her clients really get into the spirit, their own names. "Most people assume that a company's personality matches its CEO's personality," says Fekete, 43, founder of Fekete + Company, a marketing-communications firm based in Columbus, Ohio. "But that's not true. An organization has its own ways of being." Fekete's job is to help her clients understand their company's personality -- its strengths and its weaknesses. Her main tool is a diagnostic called, appropriately, "Companies Are People, Too." The 74question test draws on several bodies of work: the legendary Myers-Briggs Type Indicator instrument; the principles of psychoanalyst Carl Jung; and insights from William Bridges's book "The Character of Organizations" (Consulting Psychologists Press, 1993). So far, people in 63 organizations ranging from museums to construction firms to medical practices have put pen to paper to scrutinize their companies' personalities. Actually, make that 64: Fast Company couldn't resist the chance to take the test It may sound like psychobabble, but the idea behind the tool is fairly simple: An organization, like a person, has preferred ways of focusing energy, gathering information, making decisions, and structuring work. Once people inside an organization understand those preferences, argues Fekete, they can do a better job of articulating their company's identity and values, and they can figure out better ways to work and to communicate. Some of her clients even elect "keepers of the personality" -- volunteers who make sure that their organization is clear about the attributes that it prizes. "Change comes from awareness," Fekete says. "Once you figure out who you are, you can begin to differentiate yourself from your competitors." Elford Inc., a family-owned commercialconstruction company, used the tool several years ago -- and created a fictitious character, Pop, with eating habits, clothes, and favorite TV shows that are meant to capture the company's personality. What are some of Pop's best traits? He's a "super dependable leader" who "always

follows through on commitments." What does he need to work on? He "may use energies anticipating dire events that do not occur." Dixon Schwabl Advertising Inc., a fast-growing agency based in upstate New York, has actually undergone a personality change as a result of using the tool. After taking the test for the first time, the agency created a character, named Samm, to embody the company's strengths and weaknesses. But a year later, after the agency worked on its weaknesses, Samm gave way to Jaz. "Samm was too deadline-focused," muses Lauren Dixon, 45, founder and president of Dixon Schwabl. "We're still driven to meet our deadlines, but not at the risk of compromising the creative. We needed a different character to personify who we had become." A:- Appropriate level of readability:- The above article is very simple in reading and do not have any complex terms. B:- Use of jargon, slang and metaphors:- There is frequent use of jargon, slang and metaphors like:- We're, It's, Inc etc. C:- Common errors in English:- There is no error in the article regarding verbs, spelling mistakes etc. According to my opinion this article is perfectly written.

Q.3 List out and briefly explain five ³do´s and ³don¶t¶s´ for each of participants and chairperson of a meeting. According to Deborah Tannen, ³A meeting is any focused conversation that has a specific agenda, especially but not only if it has been set up in advance.´ This definition implies that meetings are not aimless discussions, require careful planning and revolve around a specific topic that is decided in advance. Therefore, while meetings may be more or less formal in the way they are conducted, they need to be planned, irrespective of the nature of the meeting. Meetings need to be planned in advance, so that they are successful. Before any planning can be done however, a basic question to be asked is whether to hold a meeting at all. The answers to the following questions would help to decide whether a meeting is necessary in the first place ± I Can the matter be decided or discussed over the telephone? I Can the matter be expressed in writing, in the form of a memo, or an email message? I Are key people available to attend the meeting and are they prepared? I Is the time allotted for the meeting sufficient? If the answers to the first two questions are yes and the answers to the other two questions are no, there is no purpose in calling a meeting. Once the need for a meeting has been determined, the next step is to start planning the meeting. First of all, the type and number of participants should be decided. A problem solving meeting should include representatives from all departments, since the decision would otherwise be incomplete. Shareholders, who are the owners of the company, should also be included. In terms of numbers, the size of the group could be anywhere between seven and eleven members. An exception to this is an information sharing meeting, where the numbers could be larger, so that a maximum number of people benefit from the information. The second and most important step in planning a meeting is to indicate the purpose or agenda of the meeting to the participants in advance. An agenda is essentially a list of topics that will be discussed during a meeting. In the words of Adler and Elmhorst, ³ A meeting without an agenda is like a ship at sea without a destination or compass: no one aboard knows where it is or where it is headed.´ An agenda is prepared by the Chairperson of the meeting, or the person who calls the meeting. A comprehensive agenda should also include the following ± 1. The Time, Venue and Duration of the Meeting ± The starting time and length of the meeting needs to be indicated, so that participants know how much to prepare and can plan their other activities and meetings accordingly. 2. A List of Participants ± It is important to let all members know who will be attending the meeting, so that they know whom to expect. 3. Background Information ± This could be in the form of new information, repetition of facts as a reminder, or a brief explanation of the importance of the meeting. 4. A Clear List of Items and Goals ± These should be included in order to ensure that the meeting has an outcome. Participants need to have a clear idea of their role in the meeting. Goals should be stated so that they sound specific, result oriented and realistic. 5. Advance Preparation by Participants ± A good agenda tells participants how to come prepared for the meeting ± for example, by reading an article, bringing important documents, collecting facts, or jotting down their ideas on a particular issue. In case certain members have to prepare in a specific way, this can be mentioned on their individual copy of the agenda. In general, the items to be discussed are listed in the descending order of priority in the agenda ± i.e., from the most important to the least important item. Sometimes, the simple issues may be listed first and then the more complicated issues. The task of conducting and moderating the meeting rests with the chairperson. He or she must be well versed with the procedures for

opening the meeting, encouraging balanced participation, solving problems creatively, concluding the meeting and managing time efficiently. We shall discuss each of these procedures in detail. 1. Opening the Meeting ± The manner in which the meeting is opened is important, since a good opening will ensure that the rest of the meeting will proceed smoothly. There are different ways of opening a meeting. Generally, it is best to sum up what has been stated in the agenda including the goals, background information and expectations of the participants. It is also a good idea to provide an outline of how the meeting will proceed, as well as a time budget. Example ± We will begin the meeting with a ten minute presentation by Pat on new office equipment, followed by a fifteen minute presentation by Chris on office decoration. The last twenty minutes will be reserved for brainstorming among the group for creative ideas for the advertising campaign. 2. Encouraging Balanced Participation ± It is also the responsibility of the chairperson to encourage silent members to contribute to the meeting and to moderate the dominant members, so that they do not ³hijack´ the meeting. There are several techniques to encourage participation. 3. Managing Time ± There is no prescribed length for a meeting. The duration of a meeting will depend on the type and purpose of the meeting. Generally, problem solving meetings will take than other routine meetings. In any case, the chairperson should set a time budget for the meeting, depending on the agenda and ensure adherence to the time limit. 4. Keeping the Meeting Focused ± Often, a lot of time is wasted during meetings by going off track and by discussing topics that are irrelevant. In such situations, it is the responsibility of the chairperson, or the person moderating the discussion to make sure that the discussion remains focused on the topics mentioned in the agenda. 5. Ensuring ³Convergence´ ± Convergence means hearing the points of view of all the members and then arriving at a decision. It is again the responsibility of the chairperson to bring the meeting to a point where an opinion emerges on each item of the agenda. 6. Summing Up ± This means summing up the different points of view, the decisions and the actions to be taken. This should be done by the chairperson, identifying the role of each person on each item of the agenda, along with a specified deadline. 7. Concluding the Meeting ± The way a meeting is concluded is as important as the opening, since it will influence the follow up action taken on decisions made during the meeting. The chairperson should know when and how to conclude the meeting. The meeting should normally be concluded at the scheduled closing time, unless important issues still remain to be discussed and members are willing to extend the meeting. Sometimes meetings may be concluded before the closing time, when key decision makers are not present, or when important information such as cost figures are not available. The code of conduct that needs to be followed by participants: 1. Be brief and to the point ± It is important to focus on the topic mentioned in the agenda and to remember that there is a time limit for the meeting. Do not dominate a meeting by speaking more than what is necessary and do not engage in irrelevant discussions. 2. Do not say something for the sake of it Participation in a meeting does not mean just saying something, whether it is relevant or not.

3. Contribute to add value ± Adding value may be done by expressing a new idea, through constructive disagreement ( e.g., ³why not do it this way instead?´), by endorsing another person¶s opinion ( e.g., ³ I agree with you´) or by seeking clarification ( e.g., ³ Can you explain that again?´). 4. Give credit where it is due ± It is good meeting etiquette to appreciate someone else¶s idea, if you think it is good. 5. Keep an open mind to facilitate convergence ± Don¶t impose your own ideas on others. Give others a chance to express their ideas, so that different viewpoints emerge on a single issue. 6. Do not interrupt ± If you wish to say something; always signal this by raising your hand politely at a suitable juncture. 7. Always address the chairperson ± Avoid ³bilateral talks´ and ³mini meetings´, or discussions with other participants, as well as speaking in another language. Address your questions to the chairperson

Q.4 Evaluate email as a channel of internal communication, explaining its advantages and disadvantages. List out five ways in which email messages could be made more effective.

Communicating Through Email Although email is a tool for external communication, it is also regularly used within an organization, in place of telephone and face-to-face contact. This is because email is instantaneous and allows you to send messages that others can pick up at their convenience. Besides, email also makes it possible to send messages to people anywhere in the world and to people who are otherwise impossible to reach. While the other forms of written communication are highly formal in nature, email is more informal and spontaneous. It is therefore easier to write an email message than it is to write a business letter or a report, where greater attention has to be paid to the language, style and tone. Since email is quick, easy to use and spontaneous, it can also help to improve personal relationships in the workplace. Advantages of Email 1. Relatively low cost of fulfillment. The physical costs of email are substantially less than direct mail. 2. Direct response medium encourages immediate action. Email marketing encourages click through to a website where the offer can be redeemed immediately this increases the likelihood of an immediate, impulsive response. 3. Faster campaign deployment. Lead times for producing creative and the whole campaign lifecycle tends to be shorter than traditional media. 4. Ease of personalization. It is easier and cheaper to personalize email than for physical media and also than for a website. 5. Options for testing. It is relatively easy and cost effective to test different email creative and messaging. 6. Integration. Through combining email marketing with other direct media which can be personalized such as direct mail, mobile messaging or web personalization, campaign response can be increased as the message is reinforced by different media. Disadvantages of Email 1. Deliverability. Difficulty of getting messages delivered through different internet service providers (ISPs), corporate firewalls and web mail systems. 2. Render ability. Difficulty of displaying the creative as intended within the in-box of different email reading systems.

3. Email response decay. Email recipients are most responsive when they first subscribe to an email. It is difficult to keep them engaged. 4. Communications preferences. Recipients will have different preferences for email offers, content and frequency which affect engagement and response. These have to be managed through communications preferences. 5. Resource intensive. Although email offers great opportunities for targeting, personalization and more frequent communications, additional people and technology resources are required to deliver these. Below are the five ways in which email message could be made more effective:1. Avoid ³shouting´ ± Shouting in an email message refers to use of all capital letters in the text. All caps make it difficult to read a message and are therefore considered to be rude, like shouting. 2. Avoid symbols and acronyms ± Symbolic messages using punctuation marks, known as ³emoticons´ (for example, : ) for a smiley face!) should be avoided, especially in business related email messages. Similarly, abbreviations such as BTW (by the way) should be avoided since they sound over casual and may not be understood by everyone. 3. Use friendly salutations and signoffs ± Although these are not strictly required in email communication as in business letters, a salutation such as ³Dear John´ and a signoff such as ³Warm Regards´, helps to make the tone friendly and personal. 4. Respond promptly ± In the case of business related emails, it is important to respond promptly, especially when communicating with superiors. Even if you are hard pressed for time, are out of town or out of the office, you can set an automatic email response to your received messages, which will mention that you will be responding in detail on a specific date. 5. Avoid personal messages at work ± Do not make use of the office facility to send personal email messages. Since confidentiality of the message is not guaranteed, it may lead to embarrassment later.

Q.5 Write an unsolicited job application letter addressed to the HR Manager of a company of your choice, seeking a position in your area of specialization, along with a one page profile about yourself.

After completion of my MBA degree I would like to work with M/s. Rachna Overseas Pvt. Ltd. in their H & R Department. Pooja , 1625 A, Thana Road Najafgarh New Delhi ± 110 043 Mobile no. 9999618517

The HR Manager Rachna Overseas Pvt. Ltd. Plot No. 664, Pace City ± II Sector ± 37 Gurgaon ± 122 001 15th Nov 2008 Dear HR Manager, Sub : Application for the position of Management Trainee I am writing this with respect to your advertisement in the Times of India Ascent, dated Nov 14 th , 2008, for the position of Management Trainee with specialization in Human Resources Management. I believe that my qualifications and experience will match the needs of the above position. I have recently completed my MBA from Sikkim Manipal University via distance education, with specialization in H & Resources. Currently I am working with SAP. My working experience at SAP improved my leadership skills, communication skills and ability to work in a team environment. I have fluent spoken and written English. I am enclosing my resume, along with an executive summary of my project report, for your review. I request you to give me the opportunity of an interview with you at your earliest convenience. Thanking you, Sincerely, Enclosures (2)

Q 6. Case Study The Informal Communication Network In Secunderabad, a maintenance employee of the A to Z Construction Company asked for three months¶ leave of absence for personal reasons. The request was granted because it was in keeping with the Company and Union policy. A few weeks later, Mr. Subbaya, the Industrial Relations Manager of A to Z, heard through the ³grapevine´ that Mr. Reddy, the maintenance employee, had actually taken this leave to work on a construction project in another part of the state. The rumor was that Reddy needed some extra money and had taken up this job since the wages were nearly twice what he earned in his regular maintenance job. The act of taking leave for personal reasons with the hidden purpose of working for another employer was contrary to the labor contract and the penalty for this could be dismissal. After investigation to determine that the grapevine probably was correct, Mr. Subbaya prepared a ³Notice of hearing concerning dismissal action´ to be mailed to Reddy at his local address. The letter of notice was dictated by Subbaya to his secretary on Monday morning. The same night, Mr. Subbaya received a call from Reddy at his home, saying that he had heard that the notice was being prepared and that he felt that there was a misunderstanding. Reddy said that he thought that his action was acceptable under the contract, but if it was not acceptable, he was willing to return immediately, since he did not want to give up his permanent job. When Subbaya asked him how he knew about his pending dismissal notice, Reddy said that his wife had called him that evening, telling him that at the local supermarket, the mother of their son¶s friend had told her about the pending dismissal order. Questions: 1. Assume that grapevine facts are as follows ± Subbaya¶s secretary told a fringe benefit clerk about the dismissal notice. The clerk, not realizing that the information might be confidential, told someone else. If you were Subbaya, would you try to suppress grapevine leaks of this type? How? If I was Subbaya, I should have first talked to Reddy directly through either mean to verify what exactly he is up to. If he was violating the contract he should definitely have been punished. As far as suppressing the grapevine leaks of this kind is concerned, it is always better to keep subordinates who are trustworthy towards the company and their superiors. 2. After Reddy¶s telephone calls, what action should Subbaya take? Discuss. As soon as the Subbaya came to know the leak of the grapevine he should first ask all the employees whom he discussed about Reddy including his secretary. And the one found guilty should be dealt with the proper level of punishment and warning to avoid occurrence of any such incident in the future.

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