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Chapter 14 Communication and interpersonal skills

Presentation prepared by

Lucy Miller Macquarie University

Communication and interpersonal skills


Study questions: What is the communication process? How can communication be improved? How does perception influence communication? How can we deal positively with conflict? How can we negotiate successful agreements?

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Communication and interpersonal skills


Without communication, all I manage is my desk (Quote Some American bigwig whose name I forgot).

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Video: Monitoring employee communication

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The communication process


Communication is an interpersonal process of sending and receiving symbols with messages attached to them. The communication process can be viewed as a series of questions: Who? (sender) says what? (message) in what way? (channel) to whom? (receiver) with what result? (interpreted meaning).
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The communication process

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Effective communication
Effective communication When the intended message of the sender and the interpreted meaning of the receiver are one and the same. Efficient communication Occurs at minimum cost in terms of resources expended (for example time). Not always effective, but effective communication may not always be efficient.
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Barriers to effective communication


Effective communication is a two-way process that requires effort and skill on the part of both the sender and the receiver. Noise: Anything that interferes with the effectiveness of the communication process. Communication channel: The medium through which a message is conveyed from sender to receiver. Written channels are best for simple messages requiring extensive dissemination. Oral channels are best for complex messages where immediate feedback in valuable.
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Barriers to effective communication


Semantic barriers occur as encoding and decoding errors, and as mixed messages. The use of jargon can be a barrier to effective communication. Both written and oral communication require skill.

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Barriers to effective communication


Non-verbal communication includes hand movements, facial expressions, body posture, eye contact and the use of interpersonal space. A mixed message occurs when a persons words communicate one message and body language communicates something else. Physical distractions to communication include telephone interruptions and lack of privacy. Filtering is the intentional distortion of information to make it appear more favourable to the receiver.
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Improving communication: Active listening


Active listening The process of taking action to help the source of a message say exactly what he or she really means. 1. Listen for message content. 2. Listen for feelings. 3. Respond to feelings. 4. Note all cues. Be sensitive to non-verbal and verbal messages; be alert for mixed messages 5. Paraphrase and restate. State back to the source what you think you are hearing.
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Improving communication: Body language


Effective body language is SO CLEAR: S show you sit or stand or use space. O openness of your movements and expression C centre your attention on the other person L lean towards the other person E eye contact A how appropriately you respond to the speaker R how relaxed you appear during communication.

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Improving communication: Constructive feedback


Feedback The process of telling someone else how you feel about something that person did or said. Constructive feedback is: Given directly and with real feeling Specific using clear, recent examples Given at a time when the receiver is willing or able to accept it Valid and limited to actionable tasks Given in small doses.
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Improving communication: Use of channels

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Improving communication: Proxemics


Proxemics The use of interpersonal space. The distance between people conveys varying intentions in terms of intimacy, openness and status. The proxemics or physical layout of an office is an often-overlooked form of non-verbal communication.

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Improving communication: Technology


Technology use is encouraging fast and regular communication, to provide up-to-date information for problem solving and work implementation. Recent developments include: Increasing use of intranets Internet voice technology, e.g. Skype Smartphones

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Spotlight on Email
E-mail has revolutionised the workplace replacing the hand or typewritten note and memo. Note telephone call, chat in corridor are transitory but an e-mail message is permanent. Leads to legal and other problems. Avoid sending potentially damaging or harassing e-mails and employees to use the net and e-mail for work only (Refer office romance emails video).
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Video: Utilising technology to overcome barriers to communication

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Simon Bottomley, General Manager, HaveStock Manufacturing


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Improving communication: Valuing culture and diversity


Communicating under conditions of diversity, where the sender and receiver are part of different cultures is a significant challenge. Ethnocentrism The tendency to consider your culture superior to others. It may cause someone not to listen well, to alienate others or use inappropriate stereotypes. Communications issues also arise because of gender differences.
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Perception
Perception: The process through which people receive, organise and interpret information from the environment.

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Perceptual tendencies and distortions


Perceptual distortions can influence human behaviour in the workplace. Stereotype When someone is identified with a group or category, and then oversimplified attributes associated with the group or category are linked to the individual. Common stereotypes include those of young people, old people, teachers, students, union members, males and females.
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Perceptual tendencies and distortions


Halo effect When one attribute is used to develop an overall impression of a person or situation. Selective perception The tendency to single out for attention those aspects of a situation or person that reinforce or appear consistent with ones existing beliefs, values or needs. Projection The assignment of personal attributes to other individuals.
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Informal Communication
The grapevine: An informal communication network among people in an organisation. The two most common patterns are: The gossip chain (one person tells many). The cluster chain (many people tell a few). The grapevine is quick. It is almost impossible to control. While it is often perceived as more reliable than formal communication, research is mixed about its accuracy
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Informal Communication
Management by wandering around: an approach to communication that involves the manager literally wandering around and having spontaneous conversations with others. Related to this is communication received outside of the normal work setting.

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Informal Communication
Peters and Waterman famous book: In Search of Excellence states: Successful companies: are vast networks of informal, open communications. The patterns and intensity cultivate the right peoples getting in contact with each other.

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Interpersonal skills
Active Listening Conflict Management Disciplining Delegating

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Interpersonal skills Active Listening


SKILL % USED TRAINING

Writing Reading Speaking Listening

9% 16% 35% 40%

8-12 years 6-8 years 1-2 years 0-6 months


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Interpersonal skills Active Listening


Most people listen, not with the intent to understand, but with the intent to reply, Stephen R. Covey Active Listening is much more than just hearing. It requires: Empathy Attention and Interest Feedback Energy and Effort Positive Attitude
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Communication and conflict management


Conflict A disagreement over issues of substance and/or an emotional antagonism. Substantive conflicts involve disagreements over goals, resources, rewards, policies, procedures and job assignments. Emotional conflicts result from feelings of anger, distrust, dislike, fear and resentment as well as from personality clashes.

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Consequences of conflict

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Causes of conflict
Conflicts in organisations may arise due to: Role ambiguities Resource scarcities Competing objectives Structural differentiation Unresolved prior conflicts. Unless a conflict is fully resolved, it may remain latent in the situation as a lingering basis for future conflicts over the same or related matters.
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How to deal with conflict


Conflict resolution The removal of the substantial and/or emotional reasons for a conflict. Conflicts can either be resolved, in the sense that the sources are corrected, or be suppressed, in that the sources remain but the conflict behaviours are controlled. True conflict resolution eliminates the underlying causes of conflict and reduces the potential for similar conflicts in the future.
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Conflict management styles


People respond to conflict through different combinations of cooperative and assertive behaviours. Five interpersonal styles of conflict management: 1. Avoidance 2. Accommodation or smoothing 3. Competition or authoritative command 4. Compromise 5. Collaboration or problem solving
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Alternative conflict management styles

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Communication and conflict management


Loselose conflict: No-one achieves his or her true desires and the underlying reasons for conflict remain unaffected. Winlose conflict: One party achieves its desires and the other party does not. Winwin conflict: The conflict is resolved to everyones benefit.

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Negotiation
Negotiation The process of making joint decisions when the parties involved have different preferences. Distributive negotiation Focuses on winlose claims made by each party for certain preferred outcomes. Principled/integrative negotiation Uses a winwin orientation to reach solutions acceptable to each party.
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Avoiding negotiation pitfalls


By considering the frames of ourselves and others, we may more easily achieve an acceptable outcome to both sides of the negotiation. Mediation A neutral party tries to help conflicting parties improve communication to resolve their dispute. Arbitration A neutral third party issues a binding decision to resolve a dispute.
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Cross-cultural negotiation
Negotiating in other countries can bring particular challenges traced to cultural differences, e.g.: Awareness of status differences Communication differences Relational differences The importance of time The effective manager is well prepared for such differences.

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Ethical issues in negotiation


The motivation to behave unethically sometimes arises from an undue emphasis on the profit motive or a sense of competition. High standards of ethical conduct should be maintained in negotiations.

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Disciplining
Influencing behaviour through reprimand: - Actions taken by a manager to enforce the organisations standards and regulations. - Hot Stove Rule: Discipline should immediately follow an infraction, provide ample warning, be consistent, and impersonal.

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Delegating
Is the assignment to another person of authority and responsibility to carry out specific activities. What to delegate? Not all tasks can or should be delegated EASILY DELEGATED routine and non critical tasks DELEGATE AS NEEDED when there are higher priority tasks, during crisis etc CANNOT DELEGATE Your core job tasks
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Chapter 14 Communication and interpersonal skills


Summary: What is the communication process? How can communication be improved? How does perception influence communication? How can we deal positively with conflict? How can we negotiate successful agreements? How can we discipline and delegate successfully?

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