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This is a complete research on Effective Communication with

more emphasis on workplace.
Yousef AlMulla
© 2008 YAM
Table of Contents
• What is Communication?
• Importance of Effective Communication
• Communication Process
• Non Verbal Communication
• Positive Feedback
• Active Listening
• Barriers to Effective Communication
• Recommendations on How to Improve Communication
• References

Communication is an
exchange of feelings, ideas,
and information, whether by
speaking, writing, signals,
or behaviors.
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Definition of Communication from
Merriam-Webster Dictionary
• to convey knowledge of or information
• to reveal by clear signs
• to transmit information, thought, or
feeling so that it is satisfactorily
received or understood
• to open into each other

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Definition of Communication from
The American Heritage® Dictionary
• The exchange of thoughts, messages,
or information, as by speech, signals,
writing, or behavior.
• The art and technique of using words
effectively to impart information or

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When does it happen?
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• When a person sends or receives
information, ideas and feelings with
others not only using spoken or
written communication but also
nonverbal communication.
Communication is more
than merely keeping the
employees updated as to
what may be going on in
your organization or in
the company at large. To
do that, all you need is an
e-mail message and a
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Communication is more than information!
Real communication is far more than a few words
strung together and delivered to your employees.

The concept that communication is
the effective exchange of meaning or
understanding applies to both formal
and informal communication. It
applies to communication up, down
and across the organization.

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What level of communication?
Everyone in the organization is
accountable for the effectiveness of
their own communication. This
especially applies to those who
manage others.
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Who’s accountable?
it is important to remember that
communication with an employee is
not a matter of one sender and one
receiver, but rather an exchange in
which you and your employee are
both sender and receiver.



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Communication is not one way
This means that for real communication to take
place, there must be interaction, with each player

Is it possible to NOT
That's because communication does not involve
just words, but it also is related to behavior, and
unless one is dead, one always "behaves". Even
staying still is a behavior. Silence communicates.
Our bodies communicate non-verbally. So, so long
as there is life there is communication, even if the
person is intentionally trying to cease all
Why do we communicate?
• We communicate with ourselves and other
people to fill current inner tensions, or needs.
• The six current needs we each try to fill are...
– to feel respected by Self and others; and...
– to give or get credible information; and/or ...
– to cause or prevent inner and/or interpersonal change
- including changing or maintaining the emotional
distance between us and others; and/or...
– to vent - i.e. to feel deeply understood and accepted
(vs. to get "fixed"); and/or...
– to create excitement (reduce numbness or boredom);
– to avoid something uncomfortable, like silence or a
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• People in organizations typically spend over 75% of
their time communicating.

• Effective communication is an essential component of
organizational success at all levels.
• Numerous employee surveys have found that many
problems in any organization can be traced back to one
primary cause: poor communication.
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Poor communication results
in poor performance
When there is poor communication in an
organization, there can be any number of
negative outcomes, including errors,
productivity declines, distrust, lower morale,
confusion, absenteeism, and general
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Important skill for bosses

As a boss, you are constantly
advising, informing, explaining,
discussing, reviewing,
counseling, guiding, suggesting,
persuading, convincing,
coaching, humoring, and

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Employees seek and deserve a
boss who is open, accessible,
and responsive
By having frequent direct contact with your
employees, listening to what they say, and
having honest two-way communication with
them, you are far more likely to be the boss
they deserve, respect, and trust. And you are
far more likely to identify issues before they
become problems, and solve problems
before they become crises.

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Receive message

Decode and
Convert to



Start with a
message to send

Encode (verbal
and nonverbal)

Send message

Interact with


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Continuous process of
encoding and decoding
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Elements of Communication Process

Input. The sender has an
intention to communicate
with another person. This
intention makes up the
content of the message.
Channel. The message is
sent via a channel, which
can be made of a variety
of materials. In acoustic
communication it consists
of air, in written
communication of paper
or other writing materials.
Sender. The sender
encodes the message,
e.g. the idea of "piece
of furniture to sit on."
Thus he gives
expression to the
Noise. The channel is
subjected to various sources
of noise. One example is
telephone communication,
where numerous secondary
sounds are audible.
Receiver. The receiver
decodes the incoming
message, or expression.
He "translates" it and thus
receives the output
Output. This is
the content
decoded by the
Fields of Response. In the process, the relevance of a code
becomes obvious: The codes of the sender and receiver must
have at least a certain set in common in order to make
communication work. That frame of reference is the sum of
experiences in the form of each person's knowledge, beliefs
and values. Our frame of reference is also greatly influenced
by the culture to which we belong. On the basis of that body of
personal knowledge, each member of the audience decodes
the message. As members of the audience differ, so will their
interpretations of what they hear.
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• Sender: Initiate meaning, encode, send, interacts with
• Message: the meaning that sender transmits (words, ideas,
body language, …)
– Encoding: put the meaning in codes including words, voice and
body language.
• Noise or Interference: Things which change the meaning
– Physical: external noise such as the car horns or the high
sound of radio. It also includes unpleasant smell, the annoying
weather, strong perfume smell or distracting behavior of the
– Mental: In the human mind, mental models impact or block the
meaning of the message.
– Linguistic: the different interpretations of words.
– Technical: noise in communication channels such as telephone
or GSM.

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Elements of
Communication Process
• Channel: The medium by which the message is
transmitted. Normal channels include sound and light
waves. Other channels include books, newspapers,
magazines, movies, radio and TV broadcast,
cassettes, photos, phones and computers.
• Receiver: Analyzes and translates it to meaning. He
basically receives message, decodes and responds.
– Decoding: Since the message contains codes (verbal
and nonverbal), every receiver will interprets and
translates it based on his background and previous
• Feedback: The response that receiver sends to the
sender. It shows if the message has been received
and understood as intended to be.

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Elements of
Communication Process
Communication Channels
• Written/paper-based (books, newspapers, letters….)
• Verbal/spoken (radio, satellite, …)
• Electronic (e-mail,…)
• Image/visual (TV, Cinema,…)
Communication Types
• Intrapersonal Communication: It is the thinking that precedes the
communication or the communication with self. It includes the
internal voice, retrieval and storage of information, and problem
• Interpersonal Communication: It happens when two people or
more communicate in an informal way to exchange information or
build relationships.
• Public Communication: In group communication, the message is
sent from one person (speaker) to a group of people (listeners).
This type is called lectures.
• Mass Media Communication: It happens through electronic means
such as radio, TV, Internet and books. (little or no feedback or
• Intercultural Communication: Culture is the collection of values,
habits and verbal & nonverbal coding that a group of people have in
common. This communication happens when one person or more
communicates with another from different culture.
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• Continuous process.
• Complete system.
• Interactive, timely and ever-
• Mostly irreversible.
• Intentional or unintentional.
• Multi-directional.

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• Communication will solve all problems: It may
result in creating new problems.
• More communication is better: more negative
communication will result in more negative results.
Quality is more important than quantity.
• Communication is always positive: It may be
positive or negative.
• Words carry meanings: nonverbal communication
will carry most of the meanings.
• Communication is natural ability: You can
develop and sharpen communication skills.
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How Meaning is Conveyed?
spoken or
written words
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A "majority" of the meaning we attribute to
words comes not from the words
themselves, but from nonverbal factors such
as gestures, facial expressions, tone, body
language, etc.
Face and body:
communication or
face and body
voice dynamics:
tone + inflection +
volume + accent
+ non-word
sounds; and...
Non-verbal communication or face
and body language constitutes
93% of message
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Non-verbal communication is
two-way communication

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Reading Nonverbal
Communication Cues
A large percentage of the
meaning we derive from the non-
verbal cues that the other person
gives. Often a person says one
thing but communicates
something totally different
through vocal intonation and
body language.
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Reading Nonverbal
Communication Cues
• These mixed signals force
the receiver to choose
between the verbal and
nonverbal parts of the
message. Most often, the
receiver chooses the
nonverbal aspects.
• Mixed messages create
tension and distrust because
the receiver senses that the
communicator is hiding
something or is being less
than candid.
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Nonverbal communication
is made up of the
following parts:

• Visual
• Tactile

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• Vocal
• Use of space
and image

• This often called body
language and includes
facial expression, eye
movement, posture,
and gestures. The face
is the biggest part of
this. All of us "read"
people's faces for ways
to interpret what they
say and feel.
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• Of course we can easily misread these
cues especially when communicating
across cultures where gestures can
mean something very different in
another culture. For example, in
American culture agreement might be
indicated by the head going up and
down whereas in India, a side-to-side
head movement might mean the same
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• We also look to posture to
provide cues about the
communicator; posture can
indicate self-confidence,
aggressiveness, fear, guilt,
or anxiety. Similarly, we
look at gestures such as
how we hold our hands, or
a handshake. Many
gestures are culture bound
and susceptible to
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Tactile (Physical)
• This involves the use of touch to
impart meaning as in a
handshake, a pat on the back or
an arm around the shoulder.
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• The meaning of words can
be altered significantly by
changing the intonation of
one's voice.
• Think of how many ways
you can say "no“
• you could express mild
doubt, terror, amazement,
anger among other
emotions. Vocal meanings
vary across cultures.
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say it in a way that indicates that the
employee is doing a rather average job.
say it in a way that clearly indicates that
the employee is doing a great job.
“You are doing a good job”
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Have you noticed the difference?
Physical Space
• For most of us, someone standing
very close to us makes us
uncomfortable. We feel our "space"
has been invaded. People seek to
extend their territory in many ways to
attain power and intimacy. We tend to
mark our territory either with
permanent walls, or in a classroom
with our coat, pen, paper, etc. We like
to protect and control our territory.
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Public Zone

Social Zone
Personal Zone
Intimate Zone
Physical Space

• The "intimate zone" is about
two feet. This zone is
reserved for our closest
• The "personal zone" from
about 2-4 feet usually is
reserved for family and
• The “social zone” (4-12 feet)
is where most business
transactions take place.
• The "public zone" (over 12
feet) is used for lectures.
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Physical Space
• At the risk of stereotyping, we will
generalize and state that Americans
and Northern Europeans typify the
non-contact group with small amounts
of touching and relatively large spaces
between them during transactions.
Arabs and Latin normally stand closer
together and do a lot of touching
during communication.

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• We use "things" to
communicate. This can
involve expensive things,
neat or messy things,
photographs, plants, etc.
We use clothing and
other dimensions of
physical appearance to
communicate our values
and expectations.

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The use of gestures, movements, material
things and space can clarify or confuse the
meaning of verbal communication.
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Nonverbal cues can play five roles:

• Repetition: they can repeat the message the person
is making verbally
• Contradiction: they can contradict a message the
individual is trying to convey
• Substitution: they can substitute for a verbal
message. For example, a person's eyes can often
convey a far more vivid message than words and
often do
• Complementing: they may add to or complement a
verbal message. A boss who pats a person on the
back in addition to giving praise can increase the
impact of the message
• Accenting: non-verbal communication may accept or
underline a verbal message. Pounding the table, for
example, can underline a message.
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Skillful communicators understand
the importance of nonverbal
communication and use it to increase
their effectiveness, as well as use it to
understand more clearly what
someone else is really saying.

A word of warning: Nonverbal cues can
differ dramatically from culture to culture.
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This supervisor is struggling with
one of the most important yet
trickiest and most difficult
management tasks: providing
constructive and useful feedback
to others.
"I don't know how to turn his
performance around; he never used
to have these attendance problems
and his work used to be so good; I
don't know why this is happening
and what to do."

Effective feedback is absolutely essential to organizational
effectiveness; people must know where they are and where
to go next in terms of expectations and goals-yours, their
own, and the organization.
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Lack of constructive feedback is like
sending people out on a dangerous
hike without a compass.
This is especially true in today's fast
changing and demanding workplace

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How to do it?
• Maintain a high degree of
feedback throughout the
communication process.
Feedback is a constant
barometer to let you know if the
message you are sending is the
same one that your employees
are receiving.

• To get feedback, It is far more
effective to ask open-ended
questions, such as, “How would
you approach this?” or “What
questions do you have?”

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How to do it?
positive question-and-answer approach

helps create an atmosphere in which asking
questions is entirely acceptable. In addition,
your behavior demonstrates some productive
feedback techniques, and this can help your
employees learn and apply them.
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Develop your skills in
constructive feedback
• Feedback taps basic human needs-to
improve, to compete, to be accurate;
people want to be competent.
• Feedback can be reinforcing; if given
properly, feedback is almost always
appreciated and motivates people to
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Develop your skills in
constructive feedback
• Be aware of the many reasons why
people are hesitant to give feedback.
• It is crucial that we realize how critical
feedback can be and overcome our
difficulties; it is very important and can
be very rewarding but it requires skill,
understanding, courage, and respect
for yourself and others.
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Why supervisors are often
reluctant to provide feedback
• fear of the other person's reaction; people
can get very defensive and emotional when
confronted with feedback and many
supervisors are very fearful of the reaction
• the feedback may be based on subjective
feeling and the supervisor may be unable to
give concrete information if the other person
questions the basis for the feedback
• the information on which the feedback is
based (eg. performance appraisal) may be a
very flawed process and the supervisor may
not totally trust the information
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Other factors may get in the way
of effective feedback sessions:
• defensiveness, distorted perceptions, guilt, project,
transference, distortions from the past
• misreading of body language, tone
• noisy transmission (unreliable messages,
• receiver distortion: selective hearing, ignoring non-
verbal cues
• power struggles
• language-different levels of meaning
• supervisors hesitation to be candid
• assumptions-eg. assuming others see situation same
as you, has same feelings as you
• distrusted source, erroneous translation, value
judgment, state of mind of two people
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• Part of the feedback process involves understanding
and predicting how the other person will react. Or in
the case of our receiving feedback, we need to
understand ways that we respond to feedback,
especially threatening feedback.
• People often react negatively to threatening feedback.
This reaction can take a number of forms including:
– selective reception and selective perception
– doubting motive of the giver
– denying validity of the data
– rationalizing
– attack the giver of the data
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Other factors may get in the way
of effective feedback sessions:
– Specific: "You wrote a thorough analysis on the
Anderson project," rather than "You've been doing a
good job lately."
– Timely: Give feedback as soon as possible. Excellent
feedback presented at an inappropriate time may do
more harm than good.
– Descriptive: Give facts. Talk about your observations,
rather than what you'd concluded from your
observations. Focus on the behavior not the person.
– Sensitive: When emotions run high, allow a cooling-off
period before talking.
– Helpful: When feedback is negative, explore alternatives
for improvement so the employee has goals to aim for.
Use the "sandwich technique" by saying one positive
statement followed by the negative feedback and then
another compliment.
Characteristics of effective feedback
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• Effective communication will only
come if communicators at all
organizational levels seek out
feedback and take appropriate
action to ensure that the intended
meaning is passed on to the
relevant audience.
Feedback is crucial for
effective communication
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What is Active Listening?
By definition, listening to your employees
means that you are truly paying attention to
what they are saying.
It is not a passive process in which you nod
and raise an occasional eyebrow. Rather,
listening is an active and involved process
in which you use several specific strategies
to be absolutely certain that the message
you are receiving is the one your
employees are sending.

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• Good communication is
a two-way street, a
process of give and take
between individuals.
What is Active Listening?
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Statistics support Active
Developing Active Listening Skills
– interviewing candidates
– solving work problems
– seeking to help an employee
on work performance
– finding out reasons for
performance discrepancies.
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• There are a number of situations when
you need to solicit good information
from others; these situations include:
• When you initiate conversations with employees,
greet them personally and listen sincerely.
• Ask friendly questions, such as "How's the family?"
and "What's going on with you?" Listen for hidden
messages in words and actions.
• The speaker may not want to say certain things out of
fear of a negative reaction. Be aware of the other
person's body language and tone of voice. Attend to
non-verbal cues, body language, not just words; listen
between the lines

Developing Active Listening Skills
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• Look at the person; listen openly and with empathy.
• State your position openly; be specific, not global
• Respond in an interested way that shows you
understand the problem and the employee's concern
• Use multiple techniques to fully comprehend (ask,
repeat, rephrase, etc.).
• Ask the other person for as much detail as he/she can
provide; paraphrase what the other is saying to make
sure you understand it and check for understanding.
Ask the other for his views or suggestions
Developing Active Listening Skills
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• Communicate your feelings but don't act them out (eg.
tell a person that his behavior really upsets you; don't
get angry)
• Judge the content, not the messenger or delivery;
comprehend before you judge
• Be validating, not invalidating ("You wouldn't
understand"); acknowledge other's uniqueness,
• Realize that when people feel threatened they will try
to protect themselves; this is natural. This
defensiveness can take the form of aggression, anger,
competitiveness, avoidance among other responses.
Be aware of the potential for defensiveness and make
needed adjustment.

Developing Active Listening Skills
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• Be descriptive, not evaluative. Describe objectively,
your reactions, consequences
• Be conjunctive, not disjunctive (not "I want to discuss
this regardless of what you want to discuss");
• Don't totally control conversation; acknowledge what
was said
• Own up: use "I", not "They"... not “They have heard
you are non-cooperative"
• Don't react to emotional words, but interpret their
• Practice supportive listening, not one way listening
• Decide on specific follow-up actions and specific follow
up dates
Developing Active Listening Skills
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Approaches that Facilitates
Active Listening
• Use various feedback techniques:
– rephrase what your employee has said. For example,
after your employee presents his thoughts, you can say,
“What you are saying is....”
– summarize what your employee has said. For example,
when he has concluded a thought, you can say, “Let me
recap what I’ve heard and you tell me if I’ve got it right.”
– interject questions in supportive and constructive tone
whenever your employees’ points are unclear to you
such as, “I’m not certain what you mean. Can you clarify
that for me?”

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Miscommunication happens!
In any communication at least some
of the "meaning" lost in simple
transmission of a message from the
sender to the receiver.

In many situations a lot of the true
message is lost and the message that is
heard is often far different than the one
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Miscommunication happens!
The key point is that everything you do
during the communication process is
sending a message to your employees.

As a result, there are countless
opportunities for miscommunication and
confusion, particularly as the messages
go through your employees’ filter

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Types of Barriers
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• Interpersonal Barriers
• Organizational Barriers

• Perception and perceptual selection
• Semantics (language)
• Channel selection
• Inconsistent verbal and nonverbal

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Interpersonal barriers
Interpersonal Barriers
• Communication depends on our perception, or how we perceive
people, their motives, and intentions. We consciously and
unconsciously choose from streams of sensory data, we
concentrate on some bits, and we ignore others. We call this
process "perceptual selection". Perceptual selection affects what
we hear and how we hear it, and whether and how we are willing to
respond (Buchanan and Huczynski, 1997).
• Perceptual Biases: People attend to stimuli in the environment in
very different ways. We each have shortcuts that we use to
organize data. Invariably, these shortcuts introduce some biases
into communication. Some of these shortcuts include stereotyping,
projection, and self-fulfilling prophecies. Stereotyping is one of the
most common. This is when we assume that the other person has
certain characteristics based on the group to which they belong
without validating that they in fact have these characteristics.
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Interpersonal Barriers
• Interpersonal Relationships: How we perceive
communication is affected by the past experience with
the individual. Perception is also affected by the
organizational relationship two people have. For
example, communication from a superior may be
perceived differently than that from a subordinate or
• Assumptions-eg. assuming others see situation same
as you, has same feelings as you affects the
• Receiver distortion: selective hearing, ignoring non-
verbal cues.

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How to minimize this barrier?
• improve our self-awareness of our own
values, beliefs, and attitudes and how they
affect our perception; and also improve our
understanding of, and sensitivity to, others.
Examples include recommendations to avoid
stereotyping and to improve listening skills.
While this advice helps minimize the barrier,
it is primarily sender-focused; i.e. it is the
supplier of information who is to be more
aware and empathic.

Interpersonal Barriers
Semantics/ Language:

• Semantics is the study of the meaning of
words or other symbols. Typically, we view
semantics as a barrier to effective
communication in organizations because
words can be used imprecisely, inaccurately,
or may mean different things to different
• The choice of words or language in which a
sender encodes a message will influence the
quality of communication.
How to minimize this barrier?
• pay careful attention to the choice of
words and language so that confusion
or offence is avoided.
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Interpersonal Barriers
Channel Selection

• When improving communication in
organizations, attention is rightfully given to
how to send the message, or the selection of
a channel (oral or written media). Selecting a
channel that does not fit the message can
lead to a breakdown in communication.
• For example, we know that emotional or
complex messages are usually most
effectively communicated face-to-face.
How to minimize this barrier?
• To date, research has shown that matching
characteristics of the message (how clear vs
ambiguous, how rational vs emotional, and
how routine vs non-routine) to the channel
can improve the effectiveness of
communication. A complicated message
should be sent through a "rich" channel, such
as a face-to-face meeting (e.g. Lengel and
Daft, 1988).

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Interpersonal Barriers
Inconsistent verbal and
non-verbal communication

• We often find in organizations that
inconsistent verbal and non-verbal
communication can lead to a communication
breakdown. Inconsistency confuses a
receiver who tries to figure out the "true"
message of the sender and then relies
heavily on the non-verbal actions to decode
How to minimize this barrier?
• Minimize any inconsistencies between words
and manner of speaking, facial expressions,
and posture.

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Organizational Barriers

• Physical distractions
• Information overload
• Time pressure
• Technical and in-group language
• Status differences
• Task and organization structure
• Absence of formal communication

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Organizational Barriers
Physical distractions
• Physical distractions in
organizations include
interruptions, noise, and
equipment breakdowns. The
reality of organizational life is that
at best we can try to minimize
distractions instead of eliminating
them altogether.
How to minimize this barrier?
• advise supervisors to minimize these
distractions whenever possible.
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• Information overload can be a by-
product of the sheer volume of
information and data that managers
deal with on a daily basis. A large part
of a manager's job is information-
processing (Mintzberg, 1973). One off-
cited study has estimated that
managers spend up to 80 per cent of
every day communicating (Luthans
and Larsen, 1986).
Organizational Barriers
Information overload
How to minimize this barrier?
• Reduce the amount of information that
requires processing or to develop
time-management skills to cope with
higher amounts.
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Organizational Barriers
Time pressure
• Time pressure is another barrier to
communication that is ever-present in
organizations. We have advised
managers to recognize that the timing
of a message can affect whether the
message influences the receiver in the
way intended.
How to minimize this barrier?
• Recommend sensitivity to
organizational time periods. Select the
best time when you communicate
important messages.
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Organizational Barriers
Technical and in-group language
• Technical and in-group language is
another barrier to communication in
organizations, particularly when
organizational subunits are highly
differentiated or when organizational
members are highly professionalized.
Technical and professional
vocabularies make it hard for one
individual or group to communicate
with another.
How to minimize this barrier?
• have prescribed recognizing and
minimizing specialist vocabularies
whenever possible.
• Simplify terms and consider the
technical level when communicating.
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Organizational Barriers
Status differences
• Status differences can be large or
small in an organization. Large status
differences are thought to contribute to
problems with communication.
How to minimize this barrier?
• Advocate minimizing status differences
with the responsibility on the higher
status person to reduce the distance
(Hunt, 1985).
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Organizational Barriers
Task and organization
structure requirements

• Task and organization structure requirements
can provide barriers to effective
communication. The tasks people perform
will affect who talks to whom, the urgency
and speed of messages, and what
information people need to share. As a direct
consequence of hierarchy, we can find
filtering (intentionally or unintentionally
leaving out parts of a message), distortion (to
serve individual goals), and refusal to
communicate (either because of oversight or
deliberately not sharing information) (Hunt,
How to minimize this barrier?
• Use structural devices such as
multifunctional teams, task forces, or
integrating supervisors, or decentralize
decision making and access to
information so that authority is aligned
with responsibility.
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Organizational Barriers
Absence of formal
communication channels

• When there is an absence of formal
communication channels, it is difficult to get
information from employee to manager, from
manager to employee, from subunit to
subunit, and from customer to supplier. In
organizations we need channels to transmit
information about performance, goals and
goal achievement, procedures and practices,
and to foster coordination and problem
solving across the organizational boundaries.
How to minimize this barrier?
• Develop many ways to improve upward
communication (e.g. suggestion systems,
performance reports, attitude surveys),
downward communication (e.g., videos,
newsletters, briefings and meetings) and
horizontal communication (e.g. electronic
networks and intranets, and quality circles).

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Internal Noise
• These are the internal noise going on
in your own head that can distract you
and distort what you are saying and
hearing including your expectations,
biases, wandering mind, or attention
focused on other matters.
• How to overcome?
– When you are communicating with your
employees, the best approach is to give
them your undivided attention.

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Internal Noise
• They are also the internal noise of the people with
whom you are communicating (can be detected by
their questions, their distracted appearance, or their
off-target comments.)

• How to overcome?
– When this occurs, run a reality check to find out what the
blockages may be. The best way to do this is to ask a
few questions based on what you are observing, such
as, “Have I missed something?”. By focusing the
question on your own actions, you make it much easier
for your employee to answer honestly.
– Depending upon what you learn from your positive
questioning approach, you can then adjust your
comments to increase the likelihood of having real two-
way communication.

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The Johari Window
• The open (public) area contains things that
are openly known and talked about - and
which may be seen as strengths or
weaknesses. This is the self that we choose
to share with others
• The blind area contains things that others
observe that we don't know about. Again,
they could be positive or negative behaviors,
and will affect the way that others act towards
• The unknown area contains things that
nobody knows about us - including
ourselves. This may be because we've never
exposed those areas of our personality, or
because they're buried deep in the
• The hidden (private) area contains aspects
of our self that we know about and keep
hidden from others.

A Fact
Communication skills and
effectiveness can be
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The following Slides show some
recommendations on
Have a Clear Message
• your message should be clear
in your own mind before you
ever send it. If your thinking is
a little vague, or if your
objectives are rather sketchy,
that is exactly how your
message will be
communicated and received.

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Understand Your Employees
• The fact is that your employees have a vast
array of motivations, expectations, values,
and styles that need to be recognized if you
want to communicate effectively with them.
By understanding as much as possible about
your employees, you can then select the best
style, channel, vocabulary, volume, sentence
structure, content, format, and timing to
communicate successfully with them.

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Getting out of the e-mail box
Some bosses tend to rely excessively on e-
mail, with some believing that once they
have sent a particular message, the
communication process is complete.

This is merely one-way communication of the most limited
form, because matters of intonation, volume, pace, and
inflection are missing.

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Getting out of the e-mail box
E-mail can be very helpful and productive
for transmitting specific facts or data

but all sorts of problems can arise when the issues are even
slightly complex, and that describes most business issues


Because e-mail is one-dimensional and lacks so many of the
elements present in face-to-face communication, there is a
tremendous potential for conflict and confusion. The main
reason is that neither the sender nor the receiver picks up
sufficient cues to really know what the other is trying to say. As
a result, even the most basic e-mail communication has the
potential to quickly escalate into a war of words.

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Getting out of the e-mail box
When your employees ask you to
intervene electronically to
resolve a misunderstanding, do
not do it.

Rather, pick up the phone to discuss the
situation, or, preferably, set up a face-to-face
meeting. It’s rather amazing that many of these
meetings actually involve people who work just
down the hall from each other.

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Don’t Be Defensive
• A major source of problem in communication
is defensiveness. Effective communicators
are aware that defensiveness is a typical
response in a work situation especially when
negative information or criticism is involved.
Be aware that defensiveness is common,
particularly with subordinates when you are
dealing with a problem. Try to make
adjustments to compensate for the likely
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What does
effective communication require?
• Effective communication requires
awareness and a committed,
cooperative effort among all people
involved, so it is not always possible at
the moment - unless all people
voluntarily contribute these.
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• Some subjects should not be matters of
public discussion in the workplace. These
include an employee's work performance,
your feelings about company policy and
difficulties you have with your boss.
• It's also important to keep confidential any
personal problems employees bring to you
and anything anyone tells you in confidence.
The only exception to this practice would be
when keeping quiet involves breaking the law
or company policy.
Learn When It's Better to Keep Quiet
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• Ensure that one of your key values is open
• Unless told otherwise, supervisors are authorized to
• Management credibility and trust should only come
with a demonstrated track record of truthful, open
• Communication about significant happenings needs to
be thoroughly planned. Being too busy is not an
acceptable excuse for inadequate or ineffective
• Care should be taken to decide what requires formal
communication and by whom, and what can be
communicated informally.
• Significant information should show who has
authorized its release and be released in all locations
at the same time.
Open communication
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• In communicating, favour local issues, especially
serious business issues (such as business results,
customer feedback, and the future of the business).
• Communication issues which arise at local level (e.g.
cross-functional issues, rumours) should be addressed
by those involved without delay.
Local business issues
are favoured
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• Important information must be made available to team
leaders (Supervisors) in a timely manner to enable
team leaders to communicate it to their teams.
Information should be both cascaded down the
organization and communicated direct to team leaders
as appropriate.
• It is better to over-communicate than under-
communicate. Team leaders should make clear what
information is available and communicate as
• Effective team leaders should regularly communicate
with team members on a formal and informal basis,
and actively seek feedback from their teams on the
effectiveness of communication with them.
The team leader’s role is critical
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• Training in effective communication should
always be available to team leaders,
supervisors and managers.
• Communication materials and support should
be provided to managers, supervisors and
team leaders as appropriate.
Training should be provided
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• All communication must be truthful, and the impact and
consequences of communication determined in
advance and taken into account.
• It also means effective communication of job
requirements and standards, and keeping everyone
informed of how they are performing. There should be
"no surprises" when it comes to individual performance
• Information provided to any one person should be also
provided at the same time to all others involved or
likely to be interested.
• The special communication needs of shift employees
or employees located in remote locations should
always be considered.
• Mischievous communication (e.g. starting or spreading
rumours known to be untrue) should not be tolerated.
Communication must respect
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• Be committed to communicating both good
and bad news speedily, in advance if
possible, even if the full impact of the
decision or message are not yet clear.
Rumours in the workplace should be
addressed with effective communication as
soon as is practicable.
• Communicating on a "need to know" basis,
avoiding controversial issues, or delaying
communication "until all details are clear" are
contrary to this goal.
Communicate both positive and
negative news
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• Print, both hard copy and electronic, remains the
primary means of communication in most medium to
large organizations even though this is popular with
only about 10 percent of frontline employees.
Employees say they want face-to-face communication.
• E-mail is very popular as a source of timely news. But
employees typically think that this is "information not
• Only when communication is largely face-to-face with
the immediate supervisor will it stand any real chance
of being effective. Forget print. Communicate directly
from senior executives to supervisors face-to-face
(with printed support materials if appropriate) and get
supervisors to communicate with their people.
Increase Face-to-Face
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Ensure Supervisors'
• Obviously, supervisors need to be responsible for
effective communication in their teams. They need to
communicate face-to-face but not necessarily in
meetings. Some supervisors may be nervous of
speaking in public, and some employees do get
militant in meetings. If they prefer to communicate
one-to-one that's fine.
• Supervisors should consult with and involve their
people in decisions to do with their work as much as
possible. They also need to represent employees to
management, passing on employees' feedback, ideas,
questions and concerns.
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Ensure supervisors
• On one hand it's critical that supervisors have a good
knowledge of what's going on in the organization. On
the other hand it's important that supervisors'
effectiveness is measured. As Tom Peters reminds us
"what get measured gets done".
• This can be done with an upward or 360 degree
review (or appraisal) system, or with a simple
communication survey. This asks subordinates to rate
their supervisor's communication effectiveness in
terms of quality and frequency and to make comments
to help their supervisor improve their communication
skills. The results are fed back to the supervisors and
their managers.
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Measure communication
• If you're serious about internal communication, it's
important to measure your communication
effectiveness from time to time. This can be done by
way of a communication audit or employee survey.
• Your choices are to use a questionnaire or focus
groups, or both. Questionnaires are good for
measurement (especially longitudinally over time) and
for gathering the opinions of employees in far flung
locations (such as one of my recent surveys which
covered 15 countries in almost as many languages).
With questionnaire surveys it's usually cost effective
these days to survey all employees.
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Measure communication
• Focus groups are good for getting very detailed
feedback from employees when knowing exactly how
to improve is more important than measurement. They
are often used when it is easy to get to a
representative sample of employees in a few key
• Obviously it's best to use both a questionnaire to all
employees followed up by some focus groups to
investigate specific problems or areas where there are
especially good or bad results.
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• Several Internet Resources in Effective Communication
• Employee Communication & Surveys http://www.employee-
• Using vision to improve organizational communication (An
Emerald Article by Dawn Kelly)
• Be the Boss Your Employees Deserve (A book by Ken Lloyd)
• The Importance of Effective Communication (Research by HRD
Specialist Edward G. Wertheim)

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