Business Communication: communication used to promote a product, service, or organization; relay information within the business; or deal with
legal and similar issues. It is also a means of relying between a supply chain, for example the consumer and manufacturer. At its most basic level, the purpose of communication in the workplace is to provide employees with the information they need to do their jobs. Business Communication encompasses a variety of topics, including Marketing, Branding, Customer relations, Consumer behaviour, Advertising, Public relations, Corporate communication, Community engagement, Research & Measurement, Reputation management, Interpersonal communication, Employee engagement, Online communication, and Event management. It is closely related to the fields of professional communication and technical communication. Business is conducted through various channels of communication, including the Internet, Print (Publications), Radio, Television, Ambient media, Outdoor, and Word of mouth. Business Communication can also refer to internal communication. A communications director will typically manage internal communication and craft messages sent to employees. It is vital that internal communications are managed properly because a poorly crafted or managed message could foster distrust or hostility from employees. Business Communication is a common topic included in the curricula of Masters of Business Administration (MBA) programs of many universities. There are several methods of business communication, including:
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Web-based communication - for better and improved communication, anytime anywhere ... e-mails, which provide an instantaneous medium of written communication worldwide; Reports - important in documenting the activities of any department; Presentations - very popular method of communication in all types of organizations, usually involving audiovisual material, like copies of reports, or material prepared in Microsoft PowerPoint or Adobe Flash; telephoned meetings, which allow for long distance speech; forum boards, which allow people to instantly post information at a centralized location; and face to face meetings, which are personal and should be succeeded by a written followup.
Communication From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Jump to: navigation, search For other uses, see Communication (disambiguation). Communication is a process of transferring information from one source to another. Communication processes are sign-mediated interactions between at least two agents which share a repertoire of signs and semiotic rules. Communication is commonly defined as "the imparting or interchange of thoughts, opinions, or information by speech, writing, or signs". Communication can be perceived as a two-way process in which there is an exchange and progression of thoughts, feelings or ideas towards a mutually accepted[clarification needed] goal or direction. Communication as an academic discipline has a long history. 
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1 Overview 2 Types of communication o 2.1 Dialogue or verbal communication o 2.2 Nonverbal communication o 2.3 Visual communication o 2.4 Other types of communication 3 Communication modelling 4 Non-human living organisms communication o 4.1 Plants and fungi 5 Communication as academic discipline 6 References 7 See also 8 Further reading 9 External links
 Overview Communication is a process whereby information is encoded and imparted by sender to a receiver via a channel/medium. The receiver then decodes the message and gives the sender a feedback. Communication requires that all parties have an area of communicative commonality. There are auditory means, such as speaking, singing and sometimes tone of voice, and nonverbal, physical means, such as body language, sign language, paralanguage, touch, eye contact, by using writing. Communication is thus a process by which we assign and convey meaning in an attempt to create shared understanding. This process requires a vast repertoire of skills in intrapersonal and interpersonal processing, listening, observing, speaking,
questioning, analyzing, and evaluating. It is through communication that collaboration and cooperation occur. There are also many common barriers to successful communication, two of which are message overload (when a person receives too many messages at the same time), and message complexity.  Types of communication There are three major parts in human face to face communication which are body language, voice tonality, and words. According to the research:
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55% of impact is determined by body language—postures, gestures, and eye contact, 38% by the tone of voice, and 7% by the content or the words used in the communication process.
Although the exact percentage of influence may differ from variables such as the listener and the speaker, communication as a whole strives for the same goal and thus, in some cases, can be universal. System of signals, such as voice sounds, intonations or pitch, gestures or written symbols which communicate thoughts or feelings. If a language is about communicating with signals, voice, sounds, gestures, or written symbols, can animal communications be considered as a language? Animals do not have a written form of a language, but use a language to communicate with each another. In that sense, an animal communication can be considered as a separate language. Human spoken and written languages can be described as a system of symbols (sometimes known as lexemes) and the grammars (rules) by which the symbols are manipulated. The word "language" is also used to refer to common properties of
languages. Language learning is normal in human childhood. Most human languages use patterns of sound or gesture for symbols which enable communication with others around them. There are thousands of human languages, and these seem to share certain properties, even though many shared properties have exceptions. There is no defined line between a language and a dialect, but the linguist Max Weinreich is credited as saying that "a language is a dialect with an army and a navy". Constructed languages such as Esperanto, programming languages, and various mathematical formalisms are not necessarily restricted to the properties shared by human languages.  Dialogue or verbal communication A dialogue is a reciprocal conversation between two or more entities. The etymological origins of the word (in Greek διά(diá,through) + λόγος(logos, word,speech) concepts like flowing-through meaning) do not necessarily convey the way in which people have come to use the word, with some confusion between the prefix διά-(diá-,through) and the prefix δι- (di-, two) leading to the assumption that a dialogue is necessarily between only two parties.  Nonverbal communication Nonverbal communication is the process of communicating through sending and receiving wordless messages. Such messages can be communicated through gesture, body language or posture; facial expression and eye contact, object communication such as clothing, hairstyles or even architecture, or symbols and infographics, as well as through an aggregate of the above, such as behavioral communication. Nonverbal communication plays a key role in every person's day to day life, from employment to romantic engagements.
Speech may also contain nonverbal elements known as paralanguage, including voice quality, emotion and speaking style, as well as prosodic features such as rhythm, intonation and stress. Likewise, written texts have nonverbal elements such as handwriting style, spatial arrangement of words, or the use of emoticons.A portmanteau of the English words emotion (or emote) and icon, an emoticon is a symbol or combination of symbols used to convey emotional content in written or message form. Other communication channels such as telegraphy fit into this category, whereby signals travel from person to person by an alternative means. These signals can in themselves be representative of words, objects or merely be state projections. Trials have shown that humans can communicate directly in this way without body language, voice tonality or words.  Visual communication Visual communication as the name suggests is communication through visual aid. It is the conveyance of ideas and information in forms that can be read or looked upon. Primarily associated with two dimensional images, it includes: signs, typography, drawing, graphic design, illustration, colour and electronic resources. It solely relies on vision. It is form of communication with visual effect. It explores the idea that a visual message with text has a greater power to inform, educate or persuade a person. It is communication by presenting information through visual form. The evaluation of a good visual design is based on measuring comprehension by the audience, not on aesthetic or artistic preference. There are no universally agreed-upon principles of beauty and ugliness. There exists a variety of ways to present information visually, like gestures, body languages, video and TV. Here, focus is on the presentation of text, pictures, diagrams, photos, et cetera, integrated on a computer display. The term visual presentation is used to refer to the actual presentation of
information. Recent research in the field has focused on web design and graphically oriented usability. Graphic designers use methods of visual communication in their professional practice.  Other types of communication Other more specific types of communication are for example:
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Facilitated communication Graphic communication Nonviolent Communication Science communication Strategic Communication Superluminal communication Technical communication
 Communication modelling
Communication major dimensions scheme
Communication code scheme Communication is usually described along a few major dimensions: Content (what type of things are communicated), source / emisor / sender / encoder (by whom), form (in which form), channel (through which medium), destination / receiver / target / decoder (to whom), and the purpose or pragmatic aspect. Between parties, communication includes acts that confer knowledge and experiences, give advice and commands, and ask questions. These acts may take many forms, in one of the various manners of communication. The form depends on the abilities of the group communicating. Together, communication content and form make messages that are sent towards a destination. The target can be oneself, another person or being, another entity (such as a corporation or group of beings). Communication can be seen as processes of information transmission governed by three levels of semiotic rules:
1. 2. 3.
Syntactic (formal properties of signs and symbols), pragmatic (concerned with the relations between signs/expressions and their users) and semantic (study of relationships between signs and symbols and what they represent).
Therefore, communication is social interaction where at least two interacting agents share a common set of signs and a common set of semiotic rules. This commonly held rules in some sense ignores autocommunication, including intrapersonal communication via diaries or self-talk, both secondary phenomena that followed the primary acquisition of communicative competences within social interactions. In a simple model, information or content (e.g. a message in natural language) is sent in some form (as spoken language) from
an emisor/ sender/ encoder to a destination/ receiver/ decoder. In a slightly more complex form a sender and a receiver are linked reciprocally. A particular instance of communication is called a speech act. The sender's personal filters and the receiver's personal filters may vary depending upon different regional traditions, cultures, or gender; which may alter the intended meaning of message contents. In the presence of "communication noise" on the transmission channel (air, in this case), reception and decoding of content may be faulty, and thus the speech act may not achieve the desired effect. One problem with this encode-transmit-receivedecode model is that the processes of encoding and decoding imply that the sender and receiver each possess something that functions as a code book, and that these two code books are, at the very least, similar if not identical. Although something like code books is implied by the model, they are nowhere represented in the model, which creates many conceptual difficulties. Theories of coregulation describe communication as a creative and dynamic continuous process, rather than a discrete exchange of information. Canadian media scholar Harold Innis had the theory that people use different types of media to communicate and which one they choose to use will offer different possibilities for the shape and durability of society (Wark, McKenzie 1997). His famous example of this is using ancient Egypt and looking at the ways they built themselves out of media with very different properties stone and papyrus. Papyrus is what he called 'Space Binding'. it made possible the transmission of written orders across space, empires and enables the waging of distant military campaigns and colonial administration. The other is stone and 'Time Binding', through the construction of temples and the pyramids can sustain their authority generation to generation, through this media they can change and shape communication in their society (Wark, McKenzie 1997).
The Krishi Vigyan Kendra Kannur under Kerala Agricultural University has pioneered a new branch of agricultural communication called Creative Extension.  Non-human living organisms communication Communication in many of its facets is not limited to humans, or even to primates. Every information exchange between living organisms — i.e. transmission of signals involving a living sender and receiver — can be considered a form of communication. Thus, there is the broad field of animal communication, which encompasses most of the issues in ethology. Also very primitive animals such as corals are competent to communicate. On a more basic level, there is cell signaling, cellular communication, and chemical communication between primitive organisms like bacteria, and within the plant and fungal kingdoms. All of these communication processes are sign-mediated interactions with a great variety of distinct coordinations. Animal communication is any behaviour on the part of one animal that has an effect on the current or future behavior of another animal. Of course, human communication can be subsumed as a highly developed form of animal communication. The study of animal communication, called zoosemiotics' (distinguishable from anthroposemiotics, the study of human communication) has played an important part in the development of ethology, sociobiology, and the study of animal cognition. This is quite evident as humans are able to communicate with animals, especially dolphins and other animals used in circuses. However, these animals have to learn a special means of communication. Animal communication, and indeed the understanding of the animal world in general, is a rapidly growing field, and even in the 21st century so far, many prior understandings related to diverse fields such as personal symbolic name use, animal emotions, animal culture and learning,
and even sexual conduct, long thought to be well understood, have been revolutionized.  Plants and fungi Among plants, communication is observed within the plant organism, i.e. within plant cells and between plant cells, between plants of the same or related species, and between plants and nonplant organisms, especially in the rootzone. Plant roots communicate in parallel with rhizobia bacteria, with fungi and with insects in the soil. This parallel sign-mediated interactions which are governed by syntactic, pragmatic and semantic rules are possible because of the decentralized "nervous system" of plants. As recent research shows 99% of intraorganismic plant communication processes are neuronal-like. Plants also communicate via volatiles in the case of herbivory attack behavior to warn neighboring plants. In parallel they produce other volatiles which attract parasites which attack these herbivores. In Stress situations plants can overwrite the genetic code they inherited from their parents and revert to that of their grand- or greatgrandparents. Fungi communicate to coordinate and organize their own growth and development such as the formation of mycelia and fruiting bodies. Additionally fungi communicate with same and related species as well as with nonfungal organisms in a great variety of symbiotic interactions, especially with bacteria, unicellular eukaryotes, plants and insects. The used semiochemicals are of biotic origin and they trigger the fungal organism to react in a specific manner, in difference while to even the same chemical molecules are not being a part of biotic messages doesn’t trigger to react the fungal organism. It means, fungal organisms are competent to identify the difference of the same molecules being part of biotic messages or lack of these features. So far five different primary signalling molecules are known that serve to
coordinate very different behavioral patterns such as filamentation, mating, growth, pathogenicity. Behavioral coordination and the production of such substances can only be achieved through interpretation processes: self or non-self, abiotic indicator, biotic message from similar, related, or non-related species, or even “noise”, i.e., similar molecules without biotic content-  Communication as academic discipline Communication as an academic discipline, sometimes called "communicology," relates to all the ways we communicate, so it embraces a large body of study and knowledge. The communication discipline includes both verbal and nonverbal messages. A body of scholarship all about communication is presented and explained in textbooks, electronic publications, and academic journals. In the journals, researchers report the results of studies that are the basis for an ever-expanding understanding of how we all communicate. Communication happens at many levels (even for one single action), in many different ways, and for most beings, as well as certain machines. Several, if not all, fields of study dedicate a portion of attention to communication, so when speaking about communication it is very important to be sure about what aspects of communication one is speaking about. Definitions of communication range widely, some recognizing that animals can communicate with each other as well as human beings, and some are more narrow, only including human beings within the parameters of human symbolic interaction.
Behavioral communication From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search Behavioral Communication is a psychological construct that addresses people's use of day-to-day behaviors as a form of communication. Specifically, it refers to people's tendency to express feelings, needs, and thoughts by means of indirect messages and behavioral impacts. Basically, any behavior (or its absence when one is expected) may be judged as communicative if it has the intent to convey a message. For example, an expressive hairstyle, a show of a certain emotion (or emotional withdrawal), or simply doing (or not doing) the dishes all can be means by which people may convey messages to each other. The construct of behavioral communication is conceived as a variable of Individual differences. This means that some people more than others tend to engage in behavioral communication in spite of the plausible alternatives of using verbal communication. A measure of the construct, The Behavioral Communication Questionnaire (M. Ivanov, 2008), has been introduced at the Society for Personality Assessment conference in March, 2008. The conceptual framework of the construct has been presented at Western Psychological Association Conference in April, 2008
Autocommunication From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Jump to: navigation, search Autocommunication is a term used in communication studies, semiotics and other cultural studies to describe communication
from and to oneself. This is distinguished from the more traditionally studied form of communication where the sender and the receiver of the message are separate. This can be called heterocommunication. Where heterocommunication gives the receiver new information, autocommunication does not. Instead it enchances and restructures the receiver's ego. Both forms of communication can be found either in individuals or within organisations. When autocommunication is done by an individual it can be called intrapersonal communication. Autocommunication is typical for religious or artistic works. Prayers, mantras and diaries are good examples. In organisations and corporations strategic plans and memos, for example, can function like mantras. But any text (or work) can become autocommunicational if it is read many times over. Intrapersonal communication From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Jump to: navigation, search Intrapersonal communication is language use or thought internal to the communicator. Intrapersonal communication is the active internal involvement of the individual in symbolic processing of messages. The individual becomes his or her own sender and receiver, providing feedback to him or herself in an ongoing internal process. It can be useful to envision intrapersonal communication occurring in the mind of the individual in a model which contains a sender, receiver, and feedback loop. Although successful communication is generally defined as being between two or more individuals, issues concerning the useful nature of communicating with oneself and problems concerning
communication with non-sentient entities such as computers have made some argue that this definition is too narrow. In Communication: The Social Matrix of Psychiatry, Jurgen Ruesch and Gregory Bateson argue that intrapersonal communication is indeed a special case of interpersonal communication, as "dialogue is the foundation for all discourse." Intrapersonal communication can encompass:
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Day-dreaming Nocturnal dreaming, including and especially lucid dreaming Speaking aloud (talking to oneself), reading aloud, repeating what one hears; the additional activities of speaking and hearing (in the third case of hearing again) what one thinks, reads or hears may increase concentration and retention. This is considered normal, and the extent to which it occurs varies from person to person. The time when there should be concern is when talking to oneself occurs outside of socially acceptable situations. Writing (by hand, or with a wordprocessor, etc.) one's thoughts or observations: the additional activities, on top of thinking, of writing and reading back may again increase self-understanding ("How do I know what I mean until I see what I say?") and concentration. It aids ordering one's thoughts; in addition it produces a record that can be used later again. Copying text to aid memorizing also falls in this category. Making gestures while thinking: the additional activity, on top of thinking, of body motions, may again increase concentration, assist in problem solving, and assist memory. Sense-making (see Karl Weick) e.g. interpreting maps, texts, signs, and symbols Interpreting non-verbal communication (see Albert Mehrabian) e.g. gestures, eye contact
Communication between body parts; e.g. "My stomach is telling me it's time for lunch."
 Intrapersonal communication in dreams A particularly interesting example is that of a recently designed technique of 'interviewing' one's dream characters, particularly during lucid dreaming. In the lucid state, the dreamer is aware that he or she is dreaming, and can proceed to question, in-depth, each dream character, whom are necessarily understood to be part of the 'self' in either a psychological sense or in the more scientific sense of each aspect of one's dream arising from one's own brain processes.
Professional communication From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Jump to: navigation, search
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Professional communication encompasses written, oral, and visual communication within a workplace context. This discipline blends together pedagogical principles of rhetoric, technology, and software to improve communication in a variety of settings ranging from technical writing to usability and digital media design. It is a new discipline that focuses on the study of information and the ways it is created, managed, distributed, and consumed. Since communication in modern society is a rapidly changing area, the progress of technologies seems to often outpace the number of expert practitioners available to administer them. This creates a demand for skilled communicators which continues to exceed the supply of trained professionals. The field of professional communication is closely related to that of technical communication though professional communication encompasses a wider variety of skills. Professional communicators use strategies, theories, and technologies to more effectively communicate in the business world. Successful communication skills are critical to a business because all businesses, though to varying degrees, involve the following: writing, reading, editing, speaking, listening, software applications, computer graphics, and internet research. Job candidates with professional communication backgrounds are more likely to bring to the organization sophisticated perspectives on society, culture, science, and technology. Contents [hide]
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1 Professional communication theory 2 Professional communication journals 3 Studying professional communication 4 Organizations 5 See also
6 Notes 7 References
 Professional communication theory Professional communication draws on theories from fields as different as rhetoric and science, psychology and philosophy, sociology and linguistics. Much of professional communication theory is a practical blend of traditional communication theory, technical writing, rhetorical theory, and ethics. According to Carolyn Miller in What's Practical about Technical Writing? she refers to professional communication as not simply workplace activities but also to writing that concerns "human conduct in those activities that maintain the life of a community." As Nancy Roundy Blyler discusses in her article Research as Ideology in Professional Communication researchers seek to expand professional communication theory to include concerns with praxis and social responsibility. Regarding this social aspect, in "Postmodern Practice: Perspectives and Prospects," Richard C. Freed defines Professional Communication as "A. discourse directed to a group, or to an individual operating as a member of the group, with the intent of affecting the group's function, and/or B. discourse directed from a group, or from an individual operating as a member of the group, with the intent of affecting the group's function, where group means an entity intentionally organized and/or run by its members to perform a certain function....Primarily excluded from this definition of group would be families (who would qualify only if, for example, their group affiliation were a family business), school classes (which would qualify only if, for example, they had organized themselves to perform a function outside the classroom-for example, to complain about or praise a teacher to a school
administrator), and unorganized aggregates (i.e., masses of people). Primarily excluded from the definition of professional communication would be diary entries (discourse directed toward the writer), personal correspondence (discourse directed to one or more readers apart from their group affiliations), reportage or belletristic discourse (novels, poems, occasional essays--discourse usually written by individuals and directed to multiple readers not organized as a group), most intraclassroom communications (for example, classroom discourse composed by students for teachers) and some technical communications (for example, instructions--for changing a tire, assembling a product, and the like; again, discourse directed toward readers or listeners apart from their group affiliations)....Professional communication...would seem different from discourse involving a single individual apart from a group affiliation communicating with another such person, or a single individual communicating with a large unorganized aggregate of individuals as suggested by the term mass communication " (Blyler and Thralls, Professional Communication: The Social Perspective, (pp. 197-198).  Professional communication journals
"IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication". http://ewh.ieee.org/soc/pcs/?q=node/24.
The IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication is a refereed quarterly journal published since 1957 by the Professional Communication Society of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). The readers represent engineers, technical communicators, scientists, information designers, editors, linguists, translators, managers, business professionals and others from around the globe who work as scholars, educators, and/or practitioners. The readers share a common interest in effective communication in technical workplace and academic contexts.
The journal's research falls into three main categories: (1) the communication practices of technical professionals, such as engineers and scientists, (2) the practices of professional communicators who work in technical or business environments, and (3) research-based methods for teaching professional communication.  Studying professional communication The study of professional communication includes:
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the study of rhetoric which serves as a theoretical basis the study of technical writing which serves as a form of professional communication the study of visual communication which also uses rhetoric as a theoretical basis for various aspects of creating visuals the study of various research methods
Other areas of study include global and cross-cultural communication, marketing and public relations, technical editing, digital literacy, composition theory, video production, corporate communication, and publishing. A professional communication program may cater to a very specialized interest or to several different interests. Professional communication can also be closely tied to organizational communication. Students who pursue graduate degrees in professional communication research discourse and communicative practices in organized contexts, including business, academic, scientific, technical, and non-profit settings to study how communicative practices shape and are shaped by culture, technology, history, and theories of communication. What professional communication encompasses is broad, embracing a diversity of rhetorical contexts and situations. Areas of study range from the everyday writing of the workplace to
writing pedagogy of the nineteenth century, from the implications of new media on communicative practices to the theory and design of online learning, and from oral presentations to the production of websites. Types of professional documents
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Short Reports Proposals Case Studies Lab Reports Memos Progress / Interim Reports Writing for Electronic Media
Technical communication From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Jump to: navigation, search Technical communication is the process of conveying technical information through writing, speech, and other mediums to a specific audience. Information is usable if the intended audience can perform an action or make a decision based on it (JohnsonSheehan 7). Technical communicators often work collaboratively to create products (deliverables) for various media, including paper, video, and the Internet. Deliverables include online help user manuals, technical manuals, specifications, process and procedure manuals, reference cards, training, business papers and reports.
Technical domains can be of any kind, including the soft and hard sciences, high technology including computers and software, consumer electronics, and business processes and practices. Technical communication jobs include the following:
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Technical writer Technical editor Technical illustrator Information architect Usability expert User interface designer User experience designer Technical trainer Technical translator
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1 History 2 Content creation o 2.1 Determining purpose and audience o 2.2 Collecting information o 2.3 Organizing and outlining information o 2.4 Writing the first draft o 2.5 Revising and editing 2.5.1 Adjusting and reorganizing content 2.5.2 Editing for style 2.5.3 Editing for grammar 2.5.4 Edit for context 3 Controlled languages 4 References 5 Journals 6 Associations
7 See also 8 External links
 History The origin of technical communication has been variously attributed to Ancient Greece, The Renaissance, and the mid 20th Century. However, a clear trend towards the professional field can be seen from the First World War on, growing out of the need for technology-based documentation in the military, manufacturing, electronic and aerospace industries. In 1953, two organizations concerned with improving the practice of technical communication were founded on the East Coast of the United States: the Society of Technical Writers, and the Association of Technical Writers and Editors. These organizations merged in 1957 to form the Society of Technical Writers and Editors, a predecessor of the current Society for Technical Communication (STC).  Content creation Technical communication is sometimes considered a professional task for which organizations either hire specialized employees, or outsource their needs to communication firms. For example, a professional writer may work with a company to produce a user manual. Other times, technical communication is regarded as a responsibility that technical professionals employ on a daily basis as they work to convey technical information to coworkers and clients. For example, a computer scientist may need to provide software documentation to fellow programmers or clients. The process of developing information products in technical communication begins by ensuring that the nature of the audience and their need for information is clearly identified. From there the technical communicator researches and structures the content into a framework that can guide the detailed development. As the
information product is created, the paramount goal is ensuring that the content can be clearly understood by the intended audience and provides the information that the audience needs in the most appropriate format. This process, known as the 'Writing Process', has been a central focus of writing theory since the 1970s, and some contemporary textbook authors have applied it to technical communication. Technical communication is important to engineers mainly for the purpose of being professional and accurate. These reports supply specific information in a concise manner and are very clear in their meaning if done correctly. The technical writing process can be divided into five steps: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Determine purpose and audience Collect information Organize and outline information Write the first draft Revise and edit
 Determining purpose and audience All technical communication is done with a particular end in mind. The purpose is usually to facilitate the communication of ideas and concepts to the audience, but may sometimes be used to direct the audience in a particular course of action. The importance of the audience is in the notion that meaning is derived from the audience's interpretation of a piece of work. The purpose may be something as simple as having the audience understand the details of some technological system, or to take a particular action using that system. For example, if the workers in a bank were not properly posting deposits to accounts, someone would write the procedure so these workers might have the correct procedure. Similarly, a sales manager might wonder which of two sites would be a more appropriate choice for a new store, so he would ask
someone to study the market and write a report with the recommendations. The sales manager would distribute the report to all parties involved in making that decision. In each of these instances, the person who is writing is transferring knowledge from the person who knows to the person who needs to know. This is the basic definition of technical communication. The most commonly used form of technical communication is technical writing. Examples of technical writing include: project proposals, persuasive memos, technical manuals, and users' guides. Such materials should typically present an (informal) argument and be written diplomatically. A user's guide for an electronic device typically includes diagrams along with detailed textual explanations. The purpose should serve as a goal that the writer strives toward in writing. The identification of the audience affects many aspects of communication, from word selection and graphics usage to style and organization. A non-technical audience might not understand, or worse yet, even read a document that is heavy with jargon, while a technical audience might crave extra detail because it is critical for their work. Busy audiences do not have time to read an entire document, so content must be organized for ease of searching, for example by the frequent inclusion of headers, white space and other cues that guide attention. Other requirements vary on the needs of the particular audience. Examples: In Government: Technical communication in the government is very particular and detailed. Depending on the particular segment of the government (and not to mention the particular country), the government component must follow distinct specifications. In the case of the US Army, the MIL-spec (Military specification) is used. It is
updated continuously and technical communications (in the form of Technical Manuals, Interactive Electronic Technical Manuals, Technical Bulletins, etc.) must be updated as well. The Department of Defense utilizes Technical Manuals regularly and is a core part of the agency's responsibilities. Although detail oriented in their requirements, the DoD has deficiencies in technical communication. The following paper discusses those deficiencies and identifies the major contributing factors. Duffy, Thomas M.; and others. (1985). Technical Manual Production: An Examination of Four Systems. CDC Technical Report No. 19. Carnegie- Mellon University, Pittsburg, PA. http://www.eric.ed.gov/ERICDocs/data/ericdocs2sql/content_stora ge_01/0000019b/80/2f/2c/63.pdf  Collecting information The next step is to collect information needed for accomplishing the stated purpose. Information may be collected through primary research, where the technical communicator conducts research first-hand, and secondary research, where work published by another person is used as an information source. The technical communicator must acknowledge all sources used to produce his or her work. To ensure that this is done, the technical communicator should distinguish quotations, paraphrases, and summaries when taking notes.  Organizing and outlining information Before writing the initial draft, all the ideas are organized in a way that will make the document flow nicely. A good way of doing this is to write all random thoughts down on a paper, and then circle all main sections, connect the main sections to supporting ideas with lines, and delete all irrelevant material.
Once each idea is organized, the writer can then organize the document as a whole. This can be accomplished in various ways:
Chronological: This is used for documents that involve a linear process, such as a step-by-step guide describing how to accomplish something. Parts of an object: Used for documents which describe the parts of an object, such as a graphic showing the parts of a computer (keyboard, monitor, mouse, etc.) Simple to Complex (or vice versa): Starts with the easy-tounderstand ideas, and gradually goes deeper into complex ideas. Specific to General: Starts with many ideas, and then organizes the ideas into sub-categories. General to Specific: Starts with a few categories of ideas, and then goes deeper.
Once the whole document is organized, it's a good idea to create a final outline, which will show all the ideas in an easy-tounderstand document. Creating an outline makes the entire writing process much easier and will save the author time.  Writing the first draft After the outline is completed, the next step is to write the first draft. The goal is to write down ideas from the outline as quickly as possible. Setting aside blocks of one hour or more, in a place free of distractions, will help the writer maintain a flow. Also, the writer should wait until the draft is complete to do any revising; stopping to revise at this stage will break the writer's flow. The writer should start with the section that is easiest for them, and write the summary only after the body is drafted. The ABC (Abstract, Body, and Conclusion) format can be used when writing a first draft. The Abstract describes the subject to be written about, so that the reader knows what he or she is going to
be told in the document. The Body is the majority of the paper, in which the topics are covered in depth. Lastly, the Conclusion section restates the main topics of the paper. The ABC format can also be applied to individual paragraphs, beginning with a topic sentence that clearly states the paragraph's topic. This is followed by the topic, and finally, the paragraph closes with a concluding sentence.  Revising and editing Once the initial draft is laid out, editing and revising can be done to fine-tune the draft into a final copy. Four tasks transform the early draft into its final form, suggested by Pfeiffer and Boogard:  Adjusting and reorganizing content During this step, the draft is revisited to 1) focus or elaborate on certain topics which deserve more attention, 2) shorten other sections, and 3) shift around certain paragraphs, sentences, or entire topics.  Editing for style Good style makes the writing more interesting, appealing, or readable. Some changes are made by choice, not for correctness, and may include:
• • • • • •
shortening paragraphs rearranging paragraphs changing passive-voice sentences to an active voice shortening sentences defining terminology adding headings, lists, graphics
 Editing for grammar At this point, the document can be checked for grammatical errors, such as comma usage and common word confusions (for example, there/their/they're).  Edit for context Determining the necessary amount of context is important. There needs to be a balance between exuberance, which may lead the audience to take unintended additional meaning from the text, and terseness, which may leave the audience unable to interpret meaning because of lack of context.  Controlled languages In environments where readability and (automated) translatability are of primary concern, authors may be using a controlled language, i.e. a subset of natural languages whose grammars and dictionaries have been restricted. An example of a widely used controlled language is Simplified English, which was originally developed for aerospace industry maintenance manuals.
Organizational communication From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Jump to: navigation, search This article may require cleanup to meet Wikipedia's quality standards. Please improve this article if you can. (May 2009) Organizational communication is a subfield of the larger discipline of communication studies. Organizational communication, as a field, is the consideration, analysis, and criticism of the role of communication in organizational contexts.
• • • • • • • •
1 History of Organizational Communication 2 Assumptions underlying early organizational communication o 2.1 Communications networks 3 Direction of communication 4 Interpersonal communication 5 Research in organizational communication o 5.1 Research methodologies 6 Current Research Topics in Organizational Communication 7 See also 8 Notes 9 References 10 External links
 History of Organizational Communication The field traces its lineage through business information, business communication, and early mass communication studies published in the 1930s through the 1950s. Until then, organizational communication as a discipline consisted of a few professors within speech departments who had a particular interest in speaking and writing in business settings. The current field is well established with its own theories and empirical concerns distinct from other communication subfields and other approaches to organizations. Several seminal publications stand out as works broadening the scope and recognizing the importance of communication in the organizing process, and in using the term "organizational communication". Nobel Laureate Herbert Simon wrote in 1947 about "organization communications systems", saying communication is "absolutely essential to organizations".
In the 1950s, organizational communication focused largely on the role of communication in improving organizational life and organizational output. In the 1980s, the field turned away from a business-oriented approach to communication and became concerned more with the constitutive role of communication in organizing. In the 1990s, critical theory influence on the field was felt as organizational communication scholars focused more on communication's possibilities to oppress and liberate organizational members.  Assumptions underlying early organizational communication Some of the main assumptions underlying much of the early organizational communication research were:
Humans act rationally. Sane people behave in rational ways, they generally have access to all of the information needed to make rational decisions they could articulate, and therefore will make rational decisions, unless there is some breakdown in the communication process. Formal logic and empirically verifiable data ought to be the foundation upon which any theory should rest. All we really need to understand communication in organizations is (a) observable and replicable behaviors that can be transformed into variables by some form of measurement, and (b) formally replicable syllogisms that can extend theory from observed data to other groups and settings Communication is primarily a mechanical process, in which a message is constructed and encoded by a sender, transmitted through some channel, then received and decoded by a receiver. Distortion, represented as any differences between the original and the received messages, can and ought to be identified and reduced or eliminated.
Organizations are mechanical things, in which the parts (including employees functioning in defined roles) are interchangeable. What works in one organization will work in another similar organization. Individual differences can be minimized or even eliminated with careful management techniques. Organizations function as a container within which communication takes place. Any differences in form or function of communication between that occurring in an organization and in another setting can be identified and studied as factors affecting the communicative activity.
Herbert Simon introduced the concept of bounded rationality which challenged assumptions about the perfect rationality of communication participants. He maintained that people making decisions in organizations seldom had complete information, and that even if more information was available, they tended to pick the first acceptable option, rather than exploring further to pick the optimal solution. Through the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s the field expanded greatly in parallel with several other academic disciplines, looking at communication as more than an intentional act designed to transfer an idea. Research expanded beyond the issue of "how to make people understand what I am saying" to tackle questions such as "how does the act of communicating change, or even define, who I am?", "why do organizations that seem to be saying similar things achieve very different results?" and "to what extent are my relationships with others affected by our various organizational contexts?" In the early 1990s Peter Senge developed a new theories on Organizational Communication. This theories were learning organization and systems thinking. These have been well received
and are now a mainstay in current beliefs toward organizational communications.  Communications networks Networks are another aspect of direction and flow of communication. Bavelas has shown that communication patterns, or networks, influence groups in several important ways. Communication networks may affect the group's completion of the assigned task on time, the position of the de facto leader in the group, or they may affect the group members' satisfaction from occupying certain positions in the network. Although these findings are based on laboratory experiments, they have important implications for the dynamics of communication in formal organizations. There are several patterns of communication:
• • • • •
"Chain", "Wheel", "Star", "All-Channel" network, "Circle".
The Chain can readily be seen to represent the hierarchical pattern that characterizes strictly formal information flow, "from the top down," in military and some types of business organizations. The Wheel can be compared with a typical autocratic organization, meaning one-man rule and limited employee participation. The Star is similar to the basic formal structure of many organizations. The All-Channel network, which is an elaboration of Bavelas's Circle used by Guetzkow, is analogous to the free-flow of communication in a group that encourages all of its members to become involved in group decision processes. The All-Channel network may also be compared to some of the informal communication networks.
If it's assumed that messages may move in both directions between stations in the networks, it is easy to see that some individuals occupy key positions with regard to the number of messages they handle and the degree to which they exercise control over the flow of information. For example, the person represented by the central dot in the "Star" handles all messages in the group. In contrast, individuals who occupy stations at the edges of the pattern handle fewer messages and have little or no control over the flow of information.These "peripheral" individuals can communicate with only one or two other persons and must depend entirely on others to relay their messages if they wish to extend their range. In reporting the results of experiments involving the Circle, Wheel, and Star configurations, Bavelas came to the following tentative conclusions. In patterns with positions located centrally, such as the Wheel and the Star, an organization quickly develops around the people occupying these central positions. In such patterns, the organization is more stable and errors in performance are lower than in patterns having a lower degree of centrality, such as the Circle. However, he also found that the morale of members in high centrality patterns is relatively low. Bavelas speculated that this lower morale could, in the long run, lower the accuracy and speed of such networks. In problem solving requiring the pooling of data and judgments, or "insight," Bavelas suggested that the ability to evaluate partial results, to look at alternatives, and to restructure problems fell off rapidly when one person was able to assume a more central (that is, more controlling) position in the information flow. For example, insight into a problem requiring change would be less in the Wheel and the Star than in the Circle or the Chain because of the "bottlenecking" effect of data control by central members. It may be concluded from these laboratory results that the structure of communications within an organization will have a significant
influence on the accuracy of decisions, the speed with which they can be reached, and the satisfaction of the people involved. Consequently, in networks in which the responsibility for initiating and passing along messages is shared more evenly among the members, the better the group's morale in the long run.  Direction of communication If it's considered formal communications as they occur in traditional military organizations, messages have a "one-way" directional characteristic. In the military organization, the formal communication proceeds from superior to subordinate, and its content is presumably clear because it originates at a higher level of expertise and experience. Military communications also carry the additional assumption that the superior is responsible for making his communication clear and understandable to his subordinates. This type of organization assumes that there is little need for two-way exchanges between organizational levels except as they are initiated by a higher level. Because messages from superiors are considered to be more important than those from subordinates, the implicit rule is that communication channels, except for prescribed information flows, should not be cluttered by messages from subordinates but should remain open and free for messages moving down the chain of command. "Juniors should be seen and not heard," is still an unwritten, if not explicit, law of military protocol. Vestiges of one-way flows of communication still exist in many formal organizations outside the military, and for many of the same reasons as described above.Although management recognizes that prescribed information must flow both downward and upward, managers may not always be convinced that twowayness should be encouraged. For example, to what extent is a subordinate free to communicate to his superior that he understands or does not understand a message? Is it possible for
him to question the superior, ask for clarification, suggest modifications to instructions he has received, or transmit unsolicited messages to his superior, which are not prescribed by the rules? To what extent does the one-way rule of direction affect the efficiency of communication in the organization, in addition to the morale and motivation of subordinates? These are not merely procedural matters but include questions about the organizational climate, pr psychological atmosphere in which communication takes place. Harold Leavitt has suggested a simple experiment that helps answer some of these questions. А group is assigned the task of re-creating on paper a set of rectangular figures, first as they are described by the leader under one-way conditions, and second as they are described by the leader under two-way conditions.(A different configuration of rectangles is used in the second trial.) In the one-way trial, the leader's back is turned to the group. He describes the rectangles as he sees them. No one in the group is allowed to ask questions and no one may indicate by any audible or visible sign his understanding or his frustration as he attempts to follow the leader's directions. In the two-way trial, the leader faces the group. In this case, the group may ask for clarifications on his description of the rectangles and he can not only see but also can feel and respond to the emotional reactions of group members as they try to re-create his instructions on paper. On the basis of a number of experimental trials similar to the one described above, Leavitt formed these conclusions: 1. One-way communication is faster than two-way communication. 2. Two-way communication is more accurate than one-way communication.
3. Receivers are more sure of themselves and make more correct judgments of how right or wrong they are in the twoway system. 4. The sender feels psychologically under attack in the two-way system, because his receivers pick up his mistakes and oversights and point them out to him. 5. The two-way method is relatively noisier and looks more disorderly. The one-way method, on the other hand, appears neat and efficient to an outside observer. Thus, if speed is necessary, if a businesslike appearance is important, if a manager does not want his mistakes recognized, and if he wants to protect his power, then one-way communication seems preferable. In contrast, if the manager wants to get his message across, or if he is concerned about his receivers' feeling that they are participating and are making a contribution, the twoway system is better.  Interpersonal communication Main article: Interpersonal communication Another facet of communication in the organization is the process of face-to-face, interpersonal communication, between individuals. Such communication may take several forms. Messages may be verbal (that is, expressed in words), or they may not involve words at all but consist of gestures, facial expressions, and certain postures ("body language"). Nonverbal messages may even stem from silence. Ideally, the meanings sent are the meanings received. This is most often the case when the messages concern something that can be verified objectively. For example, "This piece of pipe fits the threads on the coupling." In this case, the receiver of the message can check the sender's words by actual trial, if necessary. However, when the sender's words describe a feeling or an opinion about
something that cannot be checked objectively, meanings can be very unclear. "This work is too hard" or "Watergate was politically justified" are examples of opinions or feelings that cannot be verified. Thus they are subject to interpretation and hence to distorted meanings. The receiver's background of experience and learning may differ enough from that of the sender to cause significantly different perceptions and evaluations of the topic under discussion. As we shall see later, such differences form a basic barrier to communication. Nonverbal content always accompanies the verbal content of messages. This is reasonably clear in the case of face-to-face communication. As Virginia Satir has pointed out, people cannot help but communicate symbolically (for example, through their clothing or possessions) or through some form of body language. In messages that are conveyed by the telephone, a messenger, or a letter, the situation or context in which the message is sent becomes part of its non-verbal content. For example, if the company has been losing money, and in a letter to the production division, the front office orders a reorganization of the shipping and receiving departments, this could be construed to mean that some people were going to lose their jobs — unless it were made explicitly clear that this would not occur. A number of variables influence the effectiveness of communication. Some are found in the environment in which communication takes place, some in the personalities of the sender and the receiver, and some in the relationship that exists between sender and receiver. These different variables suggest some of the difficulties of communicating with understanding between two people. The sender wants to formulate an idea and communicate it to the receiver. This desire to communicate may arise from his thoughts or feelings or it may have been triggered by something in the environment. The communication may also be influenced or distorted by the relationship between the sender and the receiver,
such as status differences, a staff-line relationship, or a learnerteacher relationship. Whatever its origin, information travels through a series of filters, both in the sender and in the receiver, before the idea can be transmitted and re-created in the receiver's mind. Physical capacities to see, hear, smell, taste, and touch vary between people, so that the image of reality may be distorted even before the mind goes to work. In addition to physical or sense filters, cognitive filters, or the way in which an individual's mind interprets the world around him, will influence his assumptions and feelings. These filters will determine what the sender of a message says, how he says it, and with what purpose. Filters are present also in the receiver, creating a double complexity that once led Robert Louis Stevenson to say that human communication is "doubly relative". It takes one person to say something and another to decide what he said. Physical and cognitive, including semantic filters (which decide the meaning of words) combine to form a part of our memory system that helps us respond to reality. In this sense, March and Simon compare a person to a data processing system. Behavior results from an interaction between a person's internal state and environmental stimuli. What we have learned through past experience becomes an inventory, or data bank, consisting of values or goals, sets of expectations and preconceptions about the consequences of acting one way or another, and a variety of possible ways of responding to the situation. This memory system determines what things we will notice and respond to in the environment. At the same time, stimuli in the environment help to determine what parts of the memory system will be activated. Hence, the memory and the environment form an interactive system that causes our behavior. As this interactive system responds to new experiences, new learnings occur which feed back
into memory and gradually change its content. This process is how people adapt to a changing world.  Research in organizational communication  Research methodologies Historically, organizational communication was driven primarily by quantitative research methodologies. Included in functional organizational communication research are statistical analyses (such as surveys, text indexing, network mapping and behavior modeling). In the early 1980s, the interpretive revolution took place in organizational communication. In Putnam and Pacanowsky's 1983 text Communication and Organizations: An Interpretive Approach. they argued for opening up methodological space for qualitative approaches such as narrative analyses, participant-observation, interviewing, rhetoric and textual approaches readings) and philosophic inquiries. During the 1980s and 1990s critical organizational scholarship began to gain prominence with a focus on issues of gender, race, class, and power/knowledge. In its current state, the study of organizational communication is open methodologically, with research from post-positive, interpretive, critical, postmodern, and discursive paradigms being published regularly. Organizational communication scholarship appears in a number of communication journals including but not limited to Management Communication Quarterly, Journal of Applied Communication Research, Communication Monographs, Academy of Management Journal, Communication Studies, and Southern Communication Journal.  Current Research Topics in Organizational Communication
The field of organizational communication has moved from acceptance of mechanistic models (e.g., information moving from a sender to a receiver) to a study of the persistent, hegemonic and taken-for-granted ways in which we not only use communication to accomplish certain tasks within organizational settings (e.g., public speaking) but also how the organizations in which we participate affect us. These approaches include "postmodern", "critical", "participatory", "feminist", "power/political", "organic", etc. and adds to disciplines as wide-ranging as sociology, philosophy, theology, psychology, business, business administration, institutional management, medicine (health communication), neurology (neural nets), semiotics, anthropology, international relations, and music. Currently, some topics of research and theory in the field are: Constitution, e.g.,
how communicative behaviors construct or modify organizing processes or products how the organizations within which we interact affect our communicative behaviors, and through these, our own identities structures other than organizations which might be constituted through our communicative activity (e.g., markets, cooperatives, tribes, political parties, social movements) when does something "become" an organization? When does an organization become (an)other thing(s)? Can one organization "house" another? Is the organization still a useful entity/thing/concept, or has the social/political environment changed so much that what we now call "organization" is so different from the organization of even a few decades ago that it cannot be usefully tagged with the same word--"organization"?
how do group members employ narrative to acculturate/initiate/indoctrinate new members? do organizational stories act on different levels? Are different narratives purposively invoked to achieve specific outcomes, or are there specific roles of "organizational storyteller"? If so, are stories told by the storyteller received differently than those told by others in the organization? in what ways does the organization attempt to influence storytelling about the organization? under what conditions does the organization appear to be more or less effective in obtaining a desired outcome? when these stories conflict with one another or with official rules/policies, how are the conflicts worked out? in situations in which alternative accounts are available, who or how or why are some accepted and others rejected?
who do we see ourselves to be, in terms of our organizational affiliations? do communicative behaviors or occurrences in one or more of the organizations in which we participate effect changes in us? to what extent are we comprised of the organizations to which we belong? is it possible for individuals to successfully resist organizational identity? what would that look like? do people who define themselves by their workorganizational membership communicate differently within the organizational setting than people who define themselves more by an avocational (non-vocational) set of relationships? for example, researchers have studied how human service workers and firefighters use humor at their jobs as a way to affirm their identity in the face of various challenges Tracy,
S.J.; K. K. Myers; C. W. Scott (2006). "Cracking Jokes and Crafting Selves: Sensemaking and Identity Management Among Human Service Workers". Communication Monographs 73: 283–308. doi:10.1080/03637750600889500.. Others have examined the identities of police organizations, prison guards, and professional women workers. Interrelatedness of organizational experiences, e.g.,
how do our communicative interactions in one organizational setting affect our communicative actions in other organizational settings? how do the phenomenological experiences of participants in a particular organizational setting effect changes in other areas of their lives? when the organizational status of a member is significantly changed (e.g., by promotion or expulsion) how are their other organizational memberships affected?
how does the use of particular communicative practices within an organizational setting reinforce or alter the various interrelated power relationships within the setting? Are the potential responses of those within or around these organizational settings constrained by factors or processes either within or outside of the organization--(assuming there is an "outside"? do taken-for-granted organizational practices work to fortify the dominant hegemonic narrative? Do individuals resist/confront these practices, through what actions/agencies, and to what effects? do status changes in an organization (e.g., promotions, demotions, restructuring, financial/social strata changes) change communicative behavior? Are there criteria employed
by organizational members to differentiate between "legitimate" (i.e., endorsed by the formal organizational structure) and "illegitimate" (i.e., opposed by or unknown to the formal power structure)? Are there "pretenders" or "usurpers" who employ these communicative behaviors? When are they successful, and what do we even mean by "successful?" Why Good Communication Is Good Business By Marty Blalock Why is communication important to business? Couldn’t we just produce graduates skilled at crunching numbers? Good communication matters because business organizations are made up of people. As Robert Kent, former dean of Harvard Business School has said, “In business, communication is everything.” Research spanning several decades has consistently ranked communication skills as crucial for managers. Typically, managers spend 75 to 80 percent of their time engaged in some form of written or oral communication. Although often termed a “soft” skill, communication in a business organization provides the critical link between core functions. Let’s examine three reasons why good communication is important to individuals and their organizations. Reason 1. Ineffective communication is very expensive.
Communication in a business organization provides the critical link between core functions. The National Commission on Writing estimates that American businesses spend $3.1 billion annually just training people to write. The Commission surveyed 120 human resource directors in companies affiliated with the Business Roundtable, an association of chief executive officers from U.S. corporations. According to the report of the National Commission on Writing: People who cannot write and communicate clearly will not be hired, and if already working, are unlikely to last long enough to be considered for promotion.
Eighty percent or more of the companies in the services and the finance, insurance and real estate sectors—the corporations with greatest employment growth potential—assess writing during hiring.
Two-thirds of salaried employees in large American companies have some writing responsibility.
More than 40 percent of responding firms offer or require training for salaried employees with writing deficiencies.
Tips for Communication
• Whether writing or speaking, consider your objectives. What do you want your listeners or readers to remember or do? To achieve an objective, you need to be able to articulate it. • Consider your audience. How receptive will it be? If you anticipate positive reception of your message, you can be more direct. • Consider your credibility in relation to your audience. Also, consider the organizational environment. Is it thick or flat, centralized or decentralized? Each will have communication implications. • How can you motivate others? Benefits are always your best bet. And if you can establish common ground, especially at the opening of a message, you can often make your audience more receptive. • Think carefully about channel choice, about the advantages and disadvantages of your choice, and the preferred channels of your audience. • If you want to have a permanent record or need to convey complex information, use a channel that involves writing. If your message is sensitive, email may not be the best choice; the immediacy of face-to-face communication can be preferable, especially when you would prefer not to have a written record. Adapted from research on communication strategy by Mary Munter of the Tuck School at Dartmouth and Jane Thomas of the University of Michigan. In a New York Times article about the Commission’s findings, Bob Kerrey, president of New School University in New York and chair of
the National Commission on Writing, put it this way: “Writing is both a ‘marker’ of high-skill, high-wage, professional work and a ‘gatekeeper’ with clear equity implications. People unable to express themselves clearly in writing limit their opportunities for professional, salaried employment.” The ability to communicate was rated as the most important factor in making a manager “promotable” by subscribers to Harvard Business Review. Reason 2. The changing environment and increasing complexity of the 21st century workplace make communication even more important. Flatter organizations, a more diverse employee base and greater use of teams have all made communication essential to organizational success. Flatter organizations mean managers must communicate with many people over whom they may have no formal control. Even with their own employees, the days when a manager can just order people around are finished. The autocratic management model of past generations is increasingly being replaced by participatory management in which communication is the key to build trust, promote understanding and empower and motivate others. Because the domestic workforce is growing more diverse, an organization can no longer assume its employee constituencies are homogeneous. Employees reflect differences in age, ethnic heritage, race, physical abilities, gender and sexual orientation. Diversity is not just a matter of social responsibility; it is also an economic issue. Companies are realizing the advantage of making full use of the creativity, talents, experiences and perspectives of a diverse employee base.
Teams are the modus operandi in the 21st century workplace. In a recent survey of Fortune 1000 companies, 83 percent reported that their firms use teams; teams are all about communication. The collaboration that allows organizations to capitalize on the creative potential of a diverse workforce depends on communication. Reason 3. The world’s economy is becoming increasingly global. By the end of the 20th century, 80 percent of U.S. products were competing in international markets. The direct investment of foreign-based companies grew from $9 trillion in 1966 to more than $300 trillion in 2002. Many products we assume are American, such as Purina Dog Chow and KitKat candy bars, are made overseas. Brands we may think are international, Grey Poupon mustard, Michelin tires and Evian water, are made in the United States.
What We Have Here… Is a Failure to Communicate Does business language have to be dull? And full of jargon? And generally mind-numbing? Brian Fugere, Chelsea Hardaway and Joan Warshawsky don’t think so. In 2003, the three former consultants at Deloitte Consulting released a software program called Bullfighter. It includes a “jargon database” and “Bull Composite Index calculator” that allow you to measure just how bad your writing is. Better yet, it has a feature that allows you to copy and paste any awful office memo that crosses your electronic inbox, rate it for
readability—or lack thereof—and email the rating anonymously to the transgressor. Now the light-hearted trio has a new book on the same subject which is winning excellent reviews: “Why Business People Speak Like Idiots: A Bullfighter’s Guide” (176 pages, Free Press, New York) The book attributes failures in business communication to four common missteps: the obscurity trap, the anonymity trap, the hard-sell trap and the tedium trap. In fact, they maintain “jargon, wordiness and evasiveness are the active ingredients of modern business speak.” But fear not: The book uses humor to help you devise ways to communicate your message —in a sales pitch, a web page, even an annual report—and avoid “corporate-speak.” —Lari Fanlund
For managers, having international experience is rapidly moving from “desirable” to “essential.” A study by the Columbia University School of Business reported that successful executives must have multi-environment and multinational experience to become CEOs in the 21st century. The ability to compete in the global economy is the single greatest challenge facing business today. Organizations will want to negotiate, buy and sell overseas, consider joint ventures, market and adapt products for an international market and improve their expatriates’ success rate. All of this involves communication. Products have failed overseas sometimes simply because a name may take on unanticipated meanings in translation: the Olympic copier Roto in Chile (roto in Spanish means ‘broken’); the Chevy Nova in Puerto Rico (no va means ‘doesn’t go’); the Randan in Japan (randan means ‘idiot’); Parker Pen’s Jotter pen (‘jockstrap’
in some Latin American markets). This type of mishap is not an American monopoly: A successful European chocolate and fruit product was introduced into the U.S. with the unfortunate name “Zit.” Naming a product is communication at its simplest level. The overall implications of intercultural communication for global business are enormous. Take the case of EuroDisney, later renamed Disneyland Paris. For the year 1993, the theme park lost approximately US $1 billion. Losses were still at US $1 million a day in 1994-95. There were many reasons for this, including a recession in Europe, but intercultural insensitivity was also a very important factor. No attention was paid to the European context or to cultural differences in management practice, labor relations, or even such simple matters as preferred dining hours or availability of alcohol and tobacco. EuroDisney signals the danger for business practitioners immersed in financial forecasting, market studies and management models when they overlook how culture affects behavior. Few things are more important to conducting business on a global scale than skill in intercultural communication. Improve Your Skills Executive Education offers a three-day course in “Improving Communication Skills.” The program looks at ways to strengthen interpersonal communications skills, resolve conflicts and communicate with confidence. For all these reasons, communication is crucial to business. Specialized business knowledge is important, but not enough to guarantee success. Communication skills are vital. Gary Lessuisse, the new assistant dean for master’s programs at the School of Business, who recruited UW students for many years for Ford Motor Company, found effective communication in the workplace to be essential. His advice? Think before you
communicate. Be an active listener. Be focused on your audience in your response. Be brief and be gone. Marty Blalock is a senior lecturer and coordinator of professional communication at the School of Business. This fall, she taught a new undergraduate course, Intercultural Communication in Business. Another new undergraduate business course, Business Presentations and Meetings, is also being taught this fall by Senior Lecturer Scott Troyan.
Communication & Leadership
No one would talk much in society if they knew how often they misunderstood others. - Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe Many of the problems that occur in an organization are the direct result of people failing to communicate. Faulty communication causes the most problems. It leads to confusion and can cause a good plan to fail. Communication is the exchange and flow of information and ideas from one person to another. It involves a sender transmitting an idea to a receiver. Effective communication occurs only if the receiver understands the exact information or idea that the sender
intended to transmit. Studying the communication process is important because you coach, coordinate, counsel, evaluate, and supervise through this process. It is the chain of understanding that integrates the members of an organization from top to bottom, bottom to top, and side to side. The Communication Process Communication That is what we try to do Speak to those near us
Thought: First, information exists in
the mind of the sender. This can be a concept, idea, information, or feelings.
Encoding: Next, a message is sent to Decoding: lastly, the receiver
a receiver in words or other symbols.
translates the words or symbols into a concept or information that he or she can understand. During the transmitting of the message, two
elements will be received: content and context. Content is the actual words or symbols of the message which is known as l a n g u a g e - the spoken and written words combined into phrases that make grammatical and semantic sense. We all use and interpret the meanings of words differently, so even simple messages can be misunderstood. And many words have different meanings to confuse the issue even more. Context is the way the message is delivered and is known as p a r a l a n g u a g e - it is the non verbal elements in speech such as the tone of voice, the look in the sender's eyes, body language, hand gestures, and state of emotions (anger, fear, uncertainty, confidence, etc.) that can be detected. Although paralanguage or context often cause messages to be misunderstood as we believe what we see more than what we hear; they are powerful communicators that help us to understand each other. Indeed, we often trust the accuracy of nonverbal behaviors more than verbal behaviors.
Some leaders think they have communicated once they told someone to do something, "I don't know why it did not get done. I told Jim to it." More than likely, Jim misunderstood the message. A message has NOT been communicated unless it is understood by the receiver (decoded). How do you know it has been properly received? By two-way communication or feedback. This feedback tells the sender that the receiver understood the message, its level of importance, and what must be done with it. Communication is an exchange, not just a give, as all parties must participate to complete the information exchange. Barriers to Communication Nothing is so simple that it cannot be misunderstood. - Freeman Teague, Jr. Anything that prevents understanding of the message is a barrier to communication. Many physical and psychological barriers exist:
Culture, background, and bias - We
allow our past experiences to change the
meaning of the message. Our culture, background, and bias can be good as they allow us to use our past experiences to understand something new, it is when they change the meaning of the message that they interfere with the communication process.
Noise - Equipment or environmental
noise impedes clear communication. The sender and the receiver must both be able to concentrate on the messages being sent to each other.
Ourselves - Focusing on ourselves,
rather than the other person can lead to confusion and conflict. The "Me Generation" is out when it comes to effective communication. Some of the factors that cause this are defensiveness (we feel someone is attacking us), superiority (we feel we know more that the other), and ego (we feel we are the center of the activity).
Perception - If we feel the person is
talking too fast, not fluently, does not
articulate clearly, etc., we may dismiss the person. Also our preconceived attitudes affect our ability to listen. We listen uncritically to persons of high status and dismiss those of low status.
Message - Distractions happen when
we focus on the facts rather than the idea. Our educational institutions reinforce this with tests and questions. Semantic distractions occur when a word is used differently than you prefer. For example, the word chairman instead of chairperson, may cause you to focus on the word and not the message.
Environmental - Bright lights, an
attractive person, unusual sights, or any other stimulus provides a potential distraction.
Smothering - We take it for granted
that the impulse to send useful information is automatic. Not true! Too often we believe that certain information has no value to others or they are already aware of the facts.
Stress - People do not see things the
same way when under stress. What we see and believe at a given moment is influenced by our psychological frames of references - our beliefs, values, knowledge, experiences, and goals.
These barriers can be thought of as filters, that is, the message leaves the sender, goes through the above filters, and is then heard by the receiver. These filters muffle the message. And the way to overcome filters is through active listening and feedback. Active Listening Hearing and listening are not the same thing. Hearing is the act of perceiving sound. It is involuntary and simply refers to the reception
of aural stimuli. Listening is a selective activity which involves the reception and the interpretation of aural stimuli. It involves decoding the sound into meaning. Listening is divided into two main categories: passive and active. Passive listening is little more that hearing. It occurs when the receiver of the message has little motivation to listen carefully, such as when listening to music, story telling, television, or when being polite. People speak at 100 to 175 words per minute (WPM), but they can listen intelligently at 600 to 800 WPM. Since only a part of our mind is paying attention, it is easy to go into m i n d d r i f t - thinking about other things while listening to someone. The cure for this is a c t i v e l i s t e n i n g - which involves listening with a purpose. It may be to gain information, obtain directions, understand others, solve problems, share interest, see how another person feels, show support, etc. It requires that the listener attends to the words and the feelings of the sender for understanding. I t takes the same amount or more
e n e r g y t h a n s p e a k i n g . It requires the receiver to hear the various messages, understand the meaning, and then verify the meaning by offering feedback. The following are a few traits of active listeners:
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Spend more time listening than talking. Do not finish the sentences of others. Do not answer questions with Are aware of biases. We all have them. Never daydreams or become
We need to control them.
preoccupied with their own thoughts when others talk.
Let the other speakers talk. Do not Plan responses after the others have
dominate the conversations.
finished speaking, NOT while they are speaking.
Provide feedback, but do not interrupt Analyze by looking at all the relevant
factors and asking open-ended questions. Walk others through by
Keep conversations on what others Take brief notes. This forces them to
say, NOT on what interests them.
concentrate on what is being said. Feedback When you know something, say what you know. When you don't know something, say that you don't know. That is knowledge. - Kung Fu Tzu (Confucius) The purpose of feedback is to alter messages so the intention of the original communicator is understood by the second communicator. It includes verbal and nonverbal responses to another person's message. Providing feedback is accomplished by paraphrasing the words of the sender. Restate the sender's feelings or ideas in your own words, rather than repeating their words. Your words should be saying, "This is what I understand your feelings to be, am I correct?" It not only includes verbal responses, but also nonverbal ones. Nodding your head or
squeezing their hand to show agreement, dipping your eyebrows shows you don't quite understand the meaning of their last phrase, or sucking air in deeply and blowing it hard shows that you are also exasperated with the situation. Carl Rogers listed five main categories of feedback. They are listed in the order in which they occur most frequently in daily conversations. Notice that we make judgments more often than we try to understand:
Evaluative: Making a judgment about
the worth, goodness, or appropriateness of the other person's statement.
Interpretive: Paraphrasing -
attempting to explain what the other person's statement means.
Supportive: Attempting to assist or Probing: Attempting to gain additional
bolster the other communicator.
information, continue the discussion, or clarify a point.
Understanding: Attempting to
discover completely what the other communicator means by her statements. Imagine how much better daily communications would be if listeners tried to understand first, before they tried to evaluate what someone is saying. Nonverbal Behaviors of Communication
To deliver the full impact of a message, use
nonverbal behaviors to raise the channel of interpersonal communication:
Eye contact: This helps to regulate the
flow of communication. It signals interest in others and increases the speaker's credibility. People who make eye contact open the flow of communication and convey interest, concern, warmth, and credibility.
Facial Expressions: Smiling is a
powerful cue that transmits happiness, friendliness, warmth, and liking. So, if you smile frequently you will be perceived as more likable, friendly, warm and approachable. Smiling is often contagious and people will react favorably. They will be more comfortable around you and will want to listen more.
Gestures: If you fail to gesture while
speaking you may be perceived as boring and stiff. A lively speaking style captures the listener's attention, makes the conversation more interesting, and
Posture and body orientation: You
communicate numerous messages by the way you talk and move. Standing erect and leaning forward communicates to listeners that you are approachable, receptive and friendly. Interpersonal closeness results when you and the listener face each other. Speaking with your back turned or looking at the floor or ceiling should be avoided as it communicates disinterest.
Proximity: Cultural norms dictate a
comfortable distance for interaction with others. You should look for signals of discomfort caused by invading the other person's space. Some of these are: rocking, leg swinging, tapping, and gaze aversion.
Vocal: Speaking can signal nonverbal
communication when you include such vocal elements as: tone, pitch, rhythm, timbre, loudness, and inflection. For maximum teaching effectiveness, learn to
vary these six elements of your voice. One of the major criticisms of many speakers is that they speak in a monotone voice. Listeners perceive this type of speaker as boring and dull. Speaking Hints Speak comfortable words! - William Shakespeare
When speaking or trying to explain
something, ask the listeners if they are following you.
Ensure the receiver has a chance to Try to put yourself in the other person's
comment or ask questions.
shoes - consider the feelings of the receiver.
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Be clear about what you say. Look at the receiver. Make sure your words match your tone
and body language (Nonverbal Behaviors).
Vary your tone and pace. Do not be vague, but on the other
hand, do not complicate what you are saying with too much detail.
Do not ignore signs of confusion.
On Communication Per Se (a few random thoughts) On Discussing Communication Trying to speak of something as messy as communication in technical terms seems to be another form of the "math and science" argument, that is, math and science and technology are the answer to all of our problems. Anonymous But what forms of human behavior are not messy? Learning is not "antiseptic," yet it is discussed all the time - we do not leave it to the academics, such as Bloom, Knowles, Dugan, or Rossett. Leadership and management seems to be even messier, yet we categorize it, build models of it, index it, chop it and slice it and dice it, build pyramids out of it, and generally have a good time discussing it. But when it comes to "communication," we call it too messy to play
with and leave it up to Chomsky, Pinker, and others to write about so that we can read about it. Yet we all communicate almost every single day of our lives, which is much more than we will ever do with learning or leadership. Paul Ekman In the mid 1960s, Paul Ekman studied emotions and discovered six facial expressions that almost everyone recognizes world-wide: happiness, sadness, anger, fear, disgust, and surprise. Although they were controversial at first (he was booed off the stage when he first presented it to a group of anthropologists and later called a fascist and a racist) they are now widely accepted. One of the controversies still lingering is the amount of context needed to interpret them. For example, if someone reports to me that they have this great ideal that they would like to implement, and I say that would be great, but I look on them with a frown, is it possible that I could be thinking about something else? The trouble with these extra signals is that we do not always have the full context. What if the person emailed me and
I replied great (while frowning). Would it evoke the same response? Emotions Trust your instincts. Most emotions are difficult to imitate. For example, when you are truly happy, the muscles used for smiling are controlled by the limbic system and other parts of the brain, which are not under voluntary control. When you force a smile, a different part of the brain is used - the cerebral cortex (under voluntary control), hence different muscles are used. This is why a clerk, who might not have any real interest in you, has a "fake" look when he forces a smile. Of course, some actors learn to control all of their face muscles, while others draw on a past emotional experience to produce the emotional state they want. But this is not an easy trick to pull off all the time. There is a good reason for this - part of our emotions evolved to deal with other people and our empathic nature. If these emotions could easily be faked, they would do more harm than good (Pinker, 1997).
So our emotions not only guide our decisions, they can also be communicated to others to help them in their decisions - of course their emotions will be the ultimate guide, but the emotions they discover in others become part of their knowledge base. Mehrabian and the 7%-38%-55% Myth We often hear that the content of a message is composed of:
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55% from the visual component 38% from the auditory component 7% from language
However, the above percentages only apply in a very narrow context. A researcher named Mehrabian was interested in how listeners get their information about a speaker's general attitude in situations where the facial expression, tone, and/or words are sending conflicting signals. Thus, he designed a couple of experiments. In one, Mehrabian and Ferris (1967) researched the interaction of speech, facial expressions,
and tone. Three different speakers were instructed to say "maybe" with three different attitudes towards their listener (positive, neutral, or negative). Next, photographs of the faces of three female models were taken as they attempted to convey the emotions of like, neutrality, and dislike. Test groups were then instructed to listen to the various renditions of the word "maybe," with the pictures of the models, and were asked to rate the attitude of the speaker. Note that the emotion and tone were often mixed, such as a facial expression showing dislike, with the word "maybe" spoken in a positive tone. Significant effects of facial expression and tone were found in that the study suggested that the combined effect of simultaneous verbal, vocal and facial attitude communications is a weighted sum of their independent effects with the coefficients of .07, .38, and .55, respectively. Mehrabian and Ferris also wrote about a deep
limitation to their research: "These findings regarding the relative contribution of the tonal component of a verbal message can be safely extended only to communication situations in which no additional information about the communicator-addressee relationship is available." Thus, what can be concluded is that when people communicate, listeners derive information about the speaker's attitudes towards the listener from visual, tonal, and verbal cues; yet the percentage derived can vary greatly depending upon a number of other factors, such as actions, context of the communication, and how well they know that person