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The interpersonal transfer of information and understanding from one person to
another is called Communication.

Large organizations and even multi-nationals have been always massive concerns
about communication conflicts, communication barriers, carrying out the communication
process as efficient and as fast as possible and the right choice of communication
channels. There is also another implication in communication which is the term which is
called "effective communication".

ñc t links social process of sender, encoding, medium, decoding, receiver, and


‰c ˜ 

ñc Translating internal thought patterns into a language or code the intended receiver
of the message will likely understand and/or pay attention to.
ñc Choice of words, gestures, or other symbols for encoding depends on the nature
of the message.
c Technical or nontechnical

c Emotional or factual
c Visual or auditory

ñc Cultural diversity can create encoding challenges.

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‰c Æ

ñc Æoise is any interference with the normal flow of communication.

ñc Ýnderstanding decreases as noise increases.
ñc ealing with noise
ñc "ake messages more understandable.
ñc "inimize and neutralize sources of interference.


ñc ¯uccessful decoding depends on the receiver having

Vc a willingness to receive the message

Vc Ability to overcome perceptual ³screening in´ and ³screening out´).

Vc Knowledge of the language and terminology used in the message.

ñc An understanding of the sender¶s purpose and background situation is also known

as decoding.

‰c ë

ñc The choice factors for the form to provide feedback are the same factors
governing the encoding process.

ñc ëeedback affects the form and content of follow-up communication.

ñc Effective feedback is timely, relevant, and personal.

‰c ¯ 

ñc "oving between low- and high-context cultures can create appropriate media
selection problems.

Vc n low-context cultures, the verbal content of the message is more

important than the medium through which it is delivered.

Vc n high-context cultures, the context (setting) in which the message is

delivered is more important than the literal words of the message.
ñc ëace-to-face conversations
ñc Telephone calls
ñc E-mails

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ñc "emorandums
ñc Letters
ñc Computer reports
ñc Œhotographs

ñc <ulletin boards
ñc "eetings
ñc rganizational publications
ñc Æews releases
ñc Œress conferences
ñc Advertising,

ñc Etc.

Õc    

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the words we choose


how we say the words

our body language





ur use of language has tremendous power in the type of atmosphere that is created at the
problem-solving table. Words that are critical, blaming, judgmental or accusatory tend to create a
resistant and defensive mindset that is not conducive to productive problem solving. n the other
hand, we can choose words that normalize the issues and problems and reduce resistance.
¯ending effective messages requires that we state our point of view as briefly and
succinctly as possible. Listening to a rambling, unorganized speaker is tedious and discouraging
- why continue to listen when there is no interchange? Lengthy dissertations and circuitous
explanations are confusing to the listener and the message loses its concreteness, relevance, and
impact. This is your opportunity to help the listener understand Y Ý perspective and point of
view. Choose your words with the intent of making your message as clear as possible, avoiding
jargon and unnecessary, tangential information.



The power of nonverbal communication cannot be underestimated. n his book, ¯ilent
"essages, Œrofessor Albert "ehrabian says the messages we send through our posture, gestures,
facial expression, and spatial distance account for 55% of what is perceived and understood by
others. n fact, through are body languages we are always communicating, whether we want to or


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Æonverbal messages are the primary way that we communicate emotions:

 ˜ : The face is perhaps the most important conveyor of emotional
information. A face can light up with enthusiasm, energy, and approval, express confusion or
boredom, and scowl with displeasure. The eyes are particularly expressive in telegraphing joy,
sadness, anger, or confusion.

   : ur body postures can create a feeling of warm openness or
cold rejection. ëor example, when someone faces us, sitting quietly with hands loosely folded in
the lap, a feeling of anticipation and interest is created. A posture of arms crossed on the chest
portrays a feeling of inflexibility. The action of gathering up one¶s materials and reaching for a
purse signals a desire to end the conversation.

1. Account for about 55% of what is perceived and understood by others.
2. Are conveyed through our facial expressions as well as our postures and gestures.

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Œaraverbal communication refers to the messages that we transmit through the tone,
pitch, and pacing of our voices. t is ’     ’
 not ’   Œrofessor
"ehrabian states that the paraverbal message accounts for approximately 38% of what is
communicated to someone. A sentence can convey entirely different meanings depending on the
emphasis on words and the tone of voice. ëor example, the statement, " didn't say you were
stupid" has six different meanings, depending on which word is emphasized.

¯ome points to remember about our paraverbal communication:

When we are angry or excited, our speech tends to become more rapid and higher

When we are bored or feeling down, our speech tends to slow and take on a monotone
When we are feeling defensive, our speech is often abrupt.

1. Account for about 38% of what is perceived and understood by others.
2. nclude the tone, pitch, and pacing of our voice


n all of our communications we want to strive to send consistent verbal, paraverbal and
nonverbal messages. When our messages are inconsistent, the listener may become confused.
nconsistency can also create a lack of trust and undermine the chance to build a good working

When a person sends a message with conflicting verbal, paraverbal and nonverbal
information, the nonverbal information tends to be believed. Consider the example of someone,
through a clenched jaw, hard eyes, and steely voice, telling you they¶re not mad. Which are you
likely to believe? What you see or what you hear?

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The key to receiving messages effectively is  

 Listening is a combination of
hearing what another person says and psychological involvement with the person who is talking.
Listening requires more than hearing words. t requires a desire to understand another human
being, an attitude of respect and acceptance, and a willingness to open one's mind to try and see
things from another is point of view.
Listening requires a high level of concentration and energy. t demands that we set aside
our own thoughts and agendas, put ourselves in another¶s shoes and try to see the world through
that person¶s eyes. True listening requires that we suspend judgment, evaluation, and approval in
an attempt to understand another is frame of reference, emotions, and attitudes. Listening to
understand is, indeed, a difficult task!
ften, people worry that if they listen attentively and patiently to a person who is saying
something they disagree with, they are inadvertently sending a message of agreement.
When we listen effectively we gain information that is valuable to understanding the
problem as the other person sees it. We gain a greater understanding of the other person¶s
perception. After all, the truth is subjective and a matter of perception. When we have a deeper
understanding of another¶s perception, whether we agree with it or not, we hold the key to
understanding that person¶s motivation, attitude, and behavior. We have a deeper understanding
of the problem and the potential paths for reaching agreement.

1. equires concentration and energy
2. nvolves a psychological connection with the speaker
3. ncludes a desire and willingness to try and see things from another¶s perspective
4. equires that we suspend judgment and evaluation
Learning to be an effective listener is a difficult task for many people. However, the
specific skills of effective listening behavior can be learned. t is our ultimate goal to integrate
these skills into a sensitive and unified way of listening.

Giving full physical attention to the speaker;

<eing aware of the speaker¶s nonverbal messages;

Œaying attention to the words and feelings that are being expressed;

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Ýsing reflective listening tools such as paraphrasing, reflecting, summarizing, and
questioning to increase understanding of the message and help the speaker tell his story.

Attending is the art and skill of giving full, physical attention to another person. n his
book, Œeople ¯kills, obert <olton, Œh.., refers to it as "listening with the whole body".
Effective attending is a careful balance of alertness and relaxation that includes
appropriate body movement, eye contact, and "posture of involvement". ëully attending says to
the speaker, "What you are saying is very important.  am totally present and intent on
understanding you". We create a posture of involvement by:
Leaning gently towards the speaker;
ëacing the other person squarely;
"aintaining an open posture with arms and legs uncrossed;

"aintaining an appropriate distance between us and the speaker;

"oving our bodies in response to the speaker, i.e., appropriate head nodding, facial

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When we pay attention to a speaker¶s body language we gain insight into how that person
is feeling as well as the intensity of the feeling. Through careful attention to body language and
paraverbal messages, we are able to develop hunches about what the speaker (or listener) is
communicating. We can then, through our reflective listening skills, check the accuracy of those
hunches by expressing in our own words, our impression of what is being communicated.

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n order to understand the total meaning of a message, we must be able to gain
understanding about both the Ñ
and the 

 of the message. We are often more
comfortable dealing with the content rather than the feelings (i.e., the relationship), particularly
when the feelings are intense. ur tendency is to try and ignore the emotional aspect of the
message/conflict and move directly to the substance of the issues.

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This can lead to an escalation of intense emotions. t may be necessary to deal directly
with the relationship problem by openly acknowledging and naming the feelings and having an
honest discussion about them prior to moving into the substantive issues. f we leave the
emotional aspect unaddressed, we risk missing important information about the problem as well
as derailing the communication process.

eflective listening or responding is the process of restating, in our words, the feeling
and/or content that is being expressed and is part of the verbal component of sending and
receiving messages. <y reflecting back to the speaker what we believe we understand; we
validate that person by giving them the experience of being heard and acknowledged. We also
provide an opportunity for the speaker to give us feedback about the accuracy of our perceptions,
thereby increasing the effectiveness of our overall communication.


a brief, succinct statement reflecting the content of the speaker¶s

  ëa statement, in a way that conveys understanding, of the feeling

that the listener has heard.
 a statement of the main ideas and feelings to show understanding.
" # asking open questions to gain information, encourage the speaker to tell
her story, and gain clarification.

This is a concise statement of the content of the speaker¶s message. A
paraphrase should be brief, succinct, and focus on the facts or ideas of the message rather than
the feeling. The paraphrase should be in the listener¶s own words rather than "parroting back",
using the speaker¶s words.
"You believe that Jane needs an instructional assistant because she isn¶t capable of
working independently."
"You would like <ob to remain in first grade because you think the activities would be
more developmentally appropriate."
"You do not want <eth to receive special education services because you think it would
be humiliating for her to leave the classroom at any time."
"You want to evaluate my child because you think he may have an emotional disability.

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 ëThe listener concentrates on the feeling words and asks herself, "How
would  be feeling if  was having that experience?" ¯he then restates or paraphrases the feeling
of what she has heard in a manner that conveys understanding.
"You are very worried about the impact that an evaluation might have on Lisa¶s self
"You are frustrated because dealing with <en has taken up so much of your time, you feel
like you¶ve ignored your other students."
"You feel extremely angry about the lack of communication you have had in regards to
Joe¶s failing grades."
"You¶re upset because you haven¶t been able to get in touch with me when ¶m at work."

 The listener pulls together the main ideas and feelings of the speaker to show
understanding. This skill is used after a considerable amount of information sharing has gone on
and shows that the listener grasps the total meaning of the message. t also helps the speaker gain
an integrated picture of what she has been saying.
"You¶re frustrated and angry that the assessment has taken so long and confused about
why the referral wasn¶t made earlier since that is what you thought had happened. You are also
willing to consider additional evaluation if you can choose the provider and the school district
will pay for it".
"You¶re worried that my son won¶t make adequate progress in reading if he doesn¶t
receive special services. And you feel that he needs to be getting those services in the resource
room for at least 30 minutes each day because the reading groups in the classroom are bigger and
wouldn¶t provide the type of instruction you think he needs."

# the listener asks open ended questions (questions which can¶t be answered with a
yes or a no) to get information and clarification. This helps focus the speaker on the topic,
encourages the speaker to talk, and provides the speaker the opportunity to give feedback.
"Can you tell us more about Johnny¶s experience when he¶s in the regular classroom?"
"How was it for ¯usie when she rode the special ed. bus for those two weeks?"
"Tell us more about the afterschool tutoring sessions."
"What kinds of skills do you think it¶s important for Jim to learn in a social skills class?"
"Could you explain why you think it¶s difficult for <en to be on the playground for an
"¶m confused - are you worried that the testing may mean time out of the classroom for
Jim or is there something else?"

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Listed below are certain barriers to communication:


The structure of a communication is an essential factor in how well a business
communication is received by an audience.

t doesn't matter whether that audience is an audience of one or one million, good structure is
essential if a communication is to be 'heard' amongst the advertising and marketing 'noise' of
today's business environment.

¯o a poor structure to your message or delivery is therefore a major barrier to effective


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t doesn't matter how important or impressive the subject of your communication is, if you
deliver it without any 'punch' you will not get as many people to take your desired action as
you would like.

A weak delivery is like the very funny joke with the badly-told punch line --- it is not as
funny or as memorable as you remember the original to be.

t is important to not get confused between delivery and presenter.  know of one English
businessman, ichard <ranson, who is a shy and reticent public speaker. Yet  have seen
audiences hang on his every word.

<ranson may not be a powerful orator, but his message and its structure are very sound.

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You have to announce a temporary hold on non-essential stationery spending in your
department. How do you communicate this?

<elieve it or not,  know of one company who were seriously considering holding a major
public meeting about this, with the department head having to get up in front of the entire
department in the staff restaurant and explain why her staff couldn't order disposable fountain

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pens for a while.

 know of one group that was thinking of rolling out a small internal initiative via an
expensive multi-media cd-rom, one to be given to each member of staff.

n the first case a simple memo would have sufficed; in the second a simple announcement
on their intranet would equally have gotten the message across.

¯imilarly, an advertising campaign on local radio would be a highly ineffective way of

reaching the desired audience if the message was complex and really intended for a narrow
niche audience.

A public presentation, with 'obligatory' ŒowerŒoint slideshow full of complex charts and
data, would be the wrong medium if the message you were trying to communicate would be
better served by a white paper, or some similar print-based format that allowed the audience
to digest the complexities at their own pace.


t is very hard for an audience -- whether an audience of 1 or 1 million -- to understand your

communication if you unnecessarily obfuscate.


f you deliberately, or otherwise, confuse them. A HÝGE barrier to business communication

is the ability of 'business-speak' to confuse and alienate its audience.

t does this in two ways:

1. <y using terms and phrases that are 'jargon', the meaning of which are possibly recognized
but probably not fully understood

2. <y trying to 'save time/paper' by rolling several different communication messages into

An example of the latter is where a business communication mentions, in the one

communication, two or more completely separate events. ¯uch as, for example, a memo that
talks about what management expect you to do to conform to the latest departmental
stationery budget cuts alongside an events list of the up-coming staff picnic.

Another barrier arising from mixed messages is when a previously-held stance is lightly
overturned to meet some political or business expediency, then upheld again.

An example of this would be where the acceptance of corporate gifts is not allowed, but then
allowed if it a brand new client who has contracted a large amount of money to your
business, then not allowed again after the gift-giving and receiving season is over.

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r a company-wide budget cut that stops all business-class travel, but the very senior
management is found to be travelling first class.

<e very careful of mixing your messages, as mixed messages are a very real barrier to
effective business communication.

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 once attended a conference in Edinburgh, ¯cotland, of the <ritish Œsychological ¯ociety.

ëortunate to have been presenting a paper there,  was nevertheless distracted by the very
large number of other presenters, many of whom were presenting papers that, on reading
their paper's titles in the Œroceedings, looked really interesting.

With a couple of hours to spare before  was due to present,  picked what appeared to be an
interesting presentation, and sauntered casually into the lecture room.

¯o you can imagine my dismay when  found, about five minutes into the presentation, that
the title was a 'trick' title, a play-on-words by the author that no doubt struck him as funny
and clever, but struck me as dastardly.

As obert Cialdini would say, the presenter was a 'smuggler' of influence. That is, he used a
'hot' topic of the day to entice an audience in, only to then present to them something that had
VE Y little relevance to that 'hot' topic.

 was not alone (and not the first) in walking out of the lecture theatre and heading for a
'second choice' presentation (which, incidentally,  did thoroughly enjoy!)

 also remember a very large and cumbersome booklet being left on my desk overnight by a
then employer. The booklet went to great lengths to inform me of the latest company
initiatives in a particular H area. Whilst the time and expense the company went to create
and publish the booklet was considerable, the actual initiative itself affected perhaps less than
a fifth of the total employees in the company. Even then, from talking to colleagues in that
'fifth' group,  doubted that more than a few of the fifth would have been interested in it, too.

The company had its own intranet (it was one of the pioneers in the computing industry)
before business really understood the power and potential of internet publishing, so it could
have just as easily and far more cheaply just emailed everyone with a link to specially-
written pages on their intranet.

<ut these were the days when it was the T department that controlled access to and
publishing on the intranet, not individual business groups.

At least these days the H epartment could have published their own WebŒages on the
intranet and sent an email out to individually affected employees.

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Œresenting your message to the wrong audience for your business communication is a
complete waste of your time and money. on't do it -- pick your audience then pick the
medium that will best find them.


There's nothing worse than trying to communicate your message to a group of people who
cannot 'hear' you.

Whether their inability to 'hear' you is because of:

* your voice not being strong enough

* too many others talking in the room at the same time
* police and ambulance sirens outside the venue
* too many phone calls coming in to their office while they're trying to
read your memo
* interruptions while they try to read your report
* incoming emails keep popping up while they are reading your web-
based communication
* their minds are full of other pressing matters
* they are supposed to be somewhere else at that moment
* their mobile phone keeps ringing, or vibrating if they've set it to 'silent'
instead of switching it off
* their internet connection is slow
* their internet connection keeps dropping out
* there are too many interesting people to look at
* the room's air-conditioning is not working and the room is hot and
* the room's heating is not working and the room is cold and clammy

Well, there are of course a thousand possible distracting reasons why they cannot or will not
attend to your business communication.

The point is to do whatever you can, whilst acknowledging that this might be next to nothing,
to reduce the number of distractions your chosen audience might be subjected to.


The barriers to effective business communication are many, but with care and attention the
majority of them can be overcome.

The fewer the barriers, the greater the chance that your business communication will be
heard, understood and your "A ('"ost esired Action' you wish them to take) will
actually occur.

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"ost companies are good at planning changes in reporting structure, work area placement,
job responsibilities, and administrative structure. rganizational charts are commonly revised
again and again. Timelines are established, benchmarks are set, transition teams are appointed,
etc. ëailure to foresee and plan for resultant cultural change, however, is also common. When the
planning team is too narrowly defined or too focused on objective analysis and critical thinking,
it becomes too easy to lose sight of the fact that the planned change will affect people. Even at
work, people make many decisions on the basis of feelings and intuition. When the feelings of
employees are overlooked, the result is often deep resentment because some unrecognized taboo
or tradition has not been duly respected.

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Œeople have an inherent fear of change. n most strategic organizational change, at least some
employees will be asked to assume different responsibilities or focus on different aspects of their
knowledge or skill. The greater the change a person is asked to make, the more pervasive that
person's fear will be. There will be fear of change. "ore important, however, there will be fear of
failure in the new role. nvolving employees as soon as possible in the change effort, letting them
create as much of the change as is possible and practical is key to a successful change effort. As
employees understand the reasons for the change and have an opportunity to "try the change on
for size" they more readily accept and support the change.

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deal communication strategies in situations of significant organizational change must attend
to the message, the method of delivery, the timing, and the importance of information shared
with various parts of the organization. "any leaders believe that if they tell people what they
(the leaders) feel they need to know about the change, then everyone will be on board and ready
to move forward. n reality, people need to understand why the change is being made, but more
importantly, how the change is likely to affect them. A big picture announcement from the CE
does little to help people understand and accept change. Œeople want to hear about change from
their direct supervisor. A strategy of engaging direct supervision and allowing them to manage
the communication process is the key to a successful change communication plan.
There are other barriers, some listed below, but the above outlined are extremely common
and highly likely to create havoc in the organization. <y planning and dealing with these three
areas thoroughly, carefully, and sensitively, people will be most likely to get on board and help
implement the change and adapt to organizational change far more readily and supportively.
¯ome more barriers are:
×c "isreading body languages
‡ efensiveness
‡ nconsistent messages
‡ ¯ocial differences

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Employees are looking for straightforward, truthful answers to their questions. A common
element in most successful communication strategies is conducting employee meetings that are
frank and open discussions. These regularly scheduled events provide an opportunity for the
leadership to keep employees current on programs, progress, and the general business

n the end, the effectiveness of these meetings hinges on developing opportunities to answer
employees' questions and address their concerns. To solicit employee participation, companies
use a variety of approaches ranging from an open forum to question boxes where employees can
submit questions confidentially. egardless of the particular format used, in an informal survey
of CE s, the level of straightforwardness and honesty correlate highly with the effectiveness of
these sessions.

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"We try to schedule time in remote offices that don't correspond to any other activities like
trade shows or customer events," "This lets our leadership team be seen by our employees
without other distractions."
¯ome CE s suggested one way to increase face time around the office: locate executive offices
in different parts of the building. This simple strategy requires leadership team members to walk
the halls much more frequently on their way to meetings.

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Knowing that communications are passed informally between employees is a key to
successful strategy. They are the key communication influencers in the office and/or
manufacturing floor.


Œeople read newspapers, watch television and are generally knowledgeable about what is
going on with the economy. A marketing manager from Georgia recently told me: "Just tell me
the truth. Tell me what  can expect, and let me help be part of the solution." The more the
employees know about the state of the business, the more they understand why certain decisions
are necessary. The employees were able to provide input that helped the leadership team reach
their decision.

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An effective communication strategy takes investment. <ut whether it is increasing face time
in remote locations or investing in capital equipment such as video conferencing technology, the
effort does not go unnoticed by employees.

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While some employees wondered what was afoot, the company proved to be ahead of the
curve once the economy started to decline. The company is committed---whether through video
conferencing, increased face time with all locations or other means---to a consistent and regular
messaging in a variety of methods.

"t helps my employees to know that at any time they can speak to me on ¯kype video
conferencing even if it is just for a few minutes to resolve an issue or to strategize, "says
company CE .´Œeople appreciate the time and enjoy using the medium."
Ýnfortunately, some companies have had to pursue staff reductions, pay cuts, furloughs and
shortened work weeks to survive the current downturn in the economy. While necessary or even
critical in the short term, companies with long term vision and an eye on recovery have focused
on developing an effective communication strategy. They know it is critical in building
confidence and keeping their employees focused on moving the business forward.
¯ome more resolution to communication barriers are:

×c "ediation/Counseling

‡ Create a motivation cycle

‡ Establish Empowerment Expectations
‡ Communicate Æeeds

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