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Communication

Theory
Faculty of Medicine Sriwijaya University

Effective
Communicator:

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I. Introduction
Understands what needs to
be communicated and the
best way to deliver it;
develops strategies to
influence and build
relationships to gain the
respect and trust of others
by adjusting the style and
method of communication
to specific audiences.
communication

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Introduction
Definition-1

Communication is the process of


exchanging information.
Information is conveyed as words, tone
of voice, and body language.
Words account for 7 percent of the
information communicated. Vocal tone
accounts for 55 percent and body
language accounts for 38 percent.

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Introduction - Definition-2

Interpersonal communication is the


process that we use to communicate our
ideas, thoughts, and feelings to another
person.
Our interpersonal communication skills
are learned behaviors that can be
improved through knowledge, practice,
feedback, and reflection.

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Introduction - Definition-3

Intra-team communication is a process


through which team members
communicate with one another.
It is made up of the communication
strategies and styles of each member of
the team.
Like interpersonal communication skills, a
team can improve its intra-team
communication skills through knowledge,
practice, feedback, and reflection.

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Introduction

To be effective communicators, team


members must be aware of these forms
(words, vocal tone, and body language),
how to use them effectively, and
barriers to the communications process.

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Introduction (cont.)

People in organizations typically spend


over 75% of their time in an interpersonal
situation.
Thus, it is no surprise to find that at the root
of a large number of organizational
problems is poor communications.

Effective communication is an essential


component of organizational success whether it is
at the interpersonal, inter-group, intra-group,
organizational, or external levels.

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II
THE COMMUNICATION PROCESS

All of us have been


communicating with others
since our infancy.

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The sender-message-channelreceiver model


The SMCR model describes the
communication process. The model is
described pictorially below.

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Fig. SMCR Model

Sender

Message

Channel

Receiver

Feed forward and Feedback

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The Communication Process (cont.)-3

encoded
Message
decode by receiver message
to be sent some error some error received
likely
likely

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SMCR- The Message

1.

The Message
The message has three components:
Content, Context, Treatment

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SMCR model The Message - content

Content is simply communicating what


you desire to communicate.
Don Miguel Ruiz, author of The Four
Agreements, would ask, Are you being
impeccable with your words?
Sometimes, in our enthusiasm to speak,
we do not think about what we are
saying.
Note: impeccable = cannot be faulted, excellent, perfect.

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SMCR model The Message - context

Context involves adapting your


presentation of the content to your
audience.
If you are speaking to a linear thinker, do
not add a lot of fluff to your dialogue. If
you are speaking to a person who wants to
understand the whole picture, add more
detail to the context presentation.
Note: fluff: material

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SMCR model The Message - Treatment

Treatment

is the arrangement or
ordering of the content by the
speaker.
The treatment directly supports the
context and content of the message.

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2.

The Sender
The sender has to be aware of six variables
when communicating with another person:
Senders communication skills
Senders attitudes
Senders knowledge level
Senders social position
Senders culture
Feedback received by sender

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The senders communication skills, attitudes

1)

2)

The senders communication skills


involve listening, speaking, writing,
reading, nonverbal communication,
thinking, and reasoning.
The senders attitudes are defined as
ones generalized tendency to feel one
way or another about something.

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The senders attitudes (cont.-2)

A typical unconscious internal process that


an individual might use when
communicating is:
1) I ask if the person is judging me.
2) Is the person judging my issue, belief,
idea, goal, etc., that I am trying to
communicate?
3) Is the person worth listening to from my
life perspective (biases)?
4) I decide to listen to the person from
his/her perspective.

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The senders knowledge

3)

Senders knowledge level


If we are knowledgeable and confident in
our knowledge, then we convey our
message far differently than if we do not
know the content or are not confident in
knowing the content.

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Senders social position

4)

Senders social position


What is the hierarchy of the team? Do
people value what I have to
communicate? If the team views the
sender as a valuable team member,
then the team will listen more earnestly.

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Senders culture

5)

Senders culture.
Different cultures foster different
communication styles, e.g., linear
communicator (sequential order from start to
finish) communicator, a circular
communicator (context is within broader
dialogue/story), or a spiral communicator
(start from a broad perspective and narrow
down to the point).

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Senders culture (Cont.)

There is no wrong communication style,


but team members must learn that
different cultures communicate differently.
Without this realization, team members
might mistakenly assume a member is not
an effective communicator when the team
member just communicates differently
than expected.

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Feedback

6)

Finally, the sender must be aware of


feedback throughout the process of
sending the message. Feedback allows
us to determine the effectiveness of the
communication. Does the receiver
understand the message I am sending?

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3.

The Channel

There are two types of channels: Sensory


Channels and Institutional Channels.
Sensory channels are based on the five
senses of sight, sound, touch, smell, and
taste. Social scientists have found the
sender is more likely to gain the receivers
attention if the sender uses two or more
sensory channels to send information.
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The Channel-cont.
.

Institutional channels are the chosen


methods of disseminating information
face-to-face conversation, printed
materials, and electronic media.
o

Each institutional medium requires one or


more of the sensory channels to carry the
message from the sender to the receiver.
For example, when we have a face-to-face
conversation (an institutional medium), we
use sight (gestures, expressions), sound
(voice), and possibly touch, smell, and taste.

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4. The Receiver

The receiver of the information has to use


the same skill set as the sender (The six
variables).
The receiver has an additional variable:
credibility of the speaker. If the receiver
perceives the sender as credible,
objective, and having expertise in the topic
being discussed, then the receiver is more
likely to accept the message being sent.

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The Receiver (Cont.)3

Remember the goal of communication is


for the receiver to accept an accurate
message from the sender.
This does not mean the receiver will
agree with the message, rather that the
receiver accurately understands the
message.

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The Receiver (Cont.4)

The receiver accepts a message through


attention and comprehension.
Attention is tuning in to the message
being sent, and comprehension involves
understanding the message and
accepting or rejecting it.
Accepting a message involves both a
cognitive acceptance of the message
and an affective acceptance of the
message

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The Communication Process potential Errors

At each step in the communication


process there is major potential for error.
There is usually a 40-60% loss of meaning
in the transmission of messages from
sender to 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
intended.

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The Communication Process (cont.)-5

This is most
obvious in crosscultural situations
where language is
an issue. But it is
also common
among people of
the same culture.

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The Communication Process the case of Terry - (cont.)-2

Consider the simple example:


Terry: "I won't make it to work again
tomorrow; this pregnancy keeps me
nauseous and my doctor says I should
probably be reduced to part time.
Boss: Terry, this is the third day you've
missed and your appointments keep
backing up; we have to cover for you
and this is messing all of us up.

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The Communication Process (cont.)-6

Terry has what appears to be a simple


message to convey - she won't make it
to work today because of nausea. But
she had to translate the thoughts into
words and this is the first potential
source of error.
Was she just trying to convey that she
would be late; was she trying to convey
anything else. It turns out she was.

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The Communication Process (cont.)-7

She was upset because she perceived


that her co-workers weren't as
sympathetic to her situation as they
should be.
Her co-workers, however, were really
being pressured by Terry's continued
absences, and her late calls. They
wished she would just take a leave of
absence, but Terry refuses because she
would have to take it without pay.

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The Communication Process (cont.)-8

Thus what appears to be a simple


communication is, in reality, quite complex.
Terry is communicating far more than that she
would miss work; she is conveying a number of
complex emotions, complicated by her own
complex feelings about pregnancy, work, and
her future.
She sent a message but the message is more
than the words; it includes the tone, the timing
of the call, and the way she expressed herself.
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The Communication Process (cont.)-9

Similarly, the boss goes through a


complex communication process in
"hearing" the message.
The message that Terry sent had to be
decoded and given meaning.
There are many ways to decode the
simple message that Terry gave and the
way the message is heard will influence
the response to Terry.

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The Communication Process (cont.)-10

In this case the boss heard far more than


a simple message that Terry won't be at
work today.
The boss "heard" hostility from Terry,
indifference, lack of consideration,
among other emotions. Terry may not
have meant this, but this is what the
boss heard.

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III. Barriers to Effective


Communication

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Barriers to Effective Communication


There are a wide
number of sources
of noise or
interference that
can enter into the
communication
process.
The following
suggests a
number of sources
of noise:

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Barriers to Effective language

1.

Language:
o The choice of words or language in
which a sender encodes a message
will influence the quality of
communication.
o Language is a symbolic representation
of a phenomenon, room for
interpretation and distortion of the
meaning exists.

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Barriers to Effective language -(cont-2)

In the above example, the Boss uses language


(this is the third day you've missed) that is likely
to convey far more than objective information.
To Terry it conveys indifference to her medical
problems.
o Note that the same words will be interpreted
different by each different person. Meaning has
to be given to words and many factors affect
how an individual will attribute meaning to
particular words.
o

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Barriers to Effective (cont)-5

2.

3.

4.

defensiveness, distorted perceptions,


guilt, project, transference, distortions
from the past
misreading of body language, tone and
other non-verbal forms of communication
(see section below)
noisy transmission (unreliable messages,
inconsistency)

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Barriers to Effective (cont)-6

5.
6.
7.
8.
9.

receiver distortion: selective hearing,


ignoring non-verbal cues
power struggles
self-fulfilling assumptions
language-different levels of meaning
managers hesitation to be candid

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Barriers to Effective (cont)-7

10.

11.

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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Barriers to Effective - Perceptual biases (cont)-8

12.

Perceptual Biases:
o 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.

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Barriers to Effective - Stereotyping (cont)-9

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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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Barriers to Effective Interpersonal relationship (cont)-10

13.

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 peer

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Barriers to Effective - Cultural differences (cont)-11

14.

Cultural Differences:
o
Effective communication requires
deciphering the basic values, motives,
aspirations, and assumptions that operate
across geographical lines.
o
Given some dramatic differences across
cultures in approaches to such areas as
time, space, and privacy, the opportunities
for miscommunication while we are in crosscultural situations are plentiful.

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Fig. communication barriers

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Fig. overuse of abstract

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Reading Nonverbal Communication Cues

Over 90% of the meaning we derive from


communication, we derive from the nonverbal 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 (cont.)-2

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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Reading Nonverbal Communication Cues (cont.)-3

Nonverbal communication is made up of


the following parts:
Visual
Tactile
Vocal
Use of time, space, and image

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1.

Visual:

This often called body language


(facial expression, eye movement,
posture, and gestures).
(In American culture agreement might be
indicated by the head going up and down
whereas in India it might be indicated by a
side-to-side head movement).

Posture can indicate self-confidence,


aggressiveness, fear, guilt, or anxiety.
Many gestures are culture bound and
susceptible to misinterpretation

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2.

Tactile:

This involves the use of touch to impart


meaning as in a handshake, a pat on the
back, an arm around the shoulder, a
kiss, or a hug.

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3.

Vocal:

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.
Intonation in one culture can mean
support; another anger

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Use of Time as Nonverbal Communication:

Use of time can communicate how we


view our own status and power in
relation to others. Think about how a
subordinate and his/her boss would view
arriving at a place for an agreed upon
meeting.

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Physical Space:

For most of us, someone standing very close


to us makes us uncomfortable.
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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Physical space (cont-2)

For Americans, the "intimate zone" is


about two feet. This zone is reserved for
our closest friends. The "personal zone"
from about 2-4 feet usually is reserved
for family and friends. 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 (cont-3)

At the risk of stereotyping, we will


generalize and state that Americans and
Northern Europeans typify the noncontact group with small amounts of
touching and relatively large spaces
between them during transactions. Arabs
and Latinos normally stand closer
together and do a lot of touching during
communication.

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Developing Communication Skills: Listening


Skills

Some suggests for effective listening:


1.
2.
3.
4.

Listen openly and with empathy to the other


person
Judge the content, not the messenger or
delivery; comprehend before you judge
Use multiple techniques to fully comprehend
(ask, repeat, rephrase, etc.)
Active body state; fight distractions

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Effective listening (cont.)-2

5.

6.

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
Respond in an interested way that shows
you understand the problem and the
employee's concern

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Effective listening (cont.)-3

Attend to non-verbal cues, body language,


not just words; listen between the lines
8. Ask the other for his views or suggestions
9. State your position openly; be specific, not
global
10. Communicate your feelings but don't act
them out (eg. tell a person that his behavior
really upsets you; don't get angry)
7.

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Effective listening (cont.)-4

Be descriptive, not evaluative-describe


objectively, your reactions, consequences
12. Be validating, not invalidating ("You
wouldn't understand"); acknowledge
other's uniqueness, importance
13. Be conjunctive, not disjunctive (not "I want
to discuss this regardless of what you want
to discuss");
14. Don't totally control conversation;
acknowledge what was said
11.

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Effective listening (cont.)-6

Own up: use "I", not "They"... not "I've


heard you are non-cooperative"
16. Don't react to emotional words, but
interpret their purpose
17. Practice supportive listening, not one way
listening
18. Decide on specific follow-up actions and
specific follow up dates
15.

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Fig. Steps to effective listening

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Ten Ways to Improve Your


Communication Skills
1.
2.

Develop your voice not too loud, not


too soft.
Slow down People will perceive you
as nervous and unsure of yourself if
you talk fast. However, be careful not
to slow down to the point where people
begin to finish your sentences just to
help you finish.

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Ten Ways to Improve Your Communication Skills

3.

4.

Animate your voice Avoid a


monotone. Use dynamics. Your pitch
should raise and lower.
Enunciate your words Speak
clearly. Dont mumble. If people are
always saying, huh, to you, you are
mumbling.

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Ten Ways to Improve Your Communication Skills

5.

6.

Use appropriate volume Use a


volume that is appropriate for the
setting. Speak more softly when you are
alone and close. Speak louder when
you are speaking to larger groups or
across larger spaces.
Pronounce your words correctly
People will judge your competency
through your vocabulary. If you arent
sure how to say a word, dont use it.

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Ten Ways to Improve Your Communication Skills

7.

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Use the right words If


youre not sure of the
meaning of a word, dont
use it. Start a program of
learning a new word a
day. Use it sometime in
your conversations during
the day.

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Ten Ways to Improve Your Communication Skills

8.

Make eye contact One technique to help


with this is to consciously look into one of
the listeners eyes and then move to the
other.
Another trick is to imagine a letter T on
the listeners face with the cross bar being
an imaginary line across the eye brows and
the vertical line coming down the center of
the nose. Keep your eyes scanning that
T zone.

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Ten Ways to Improve Your Communication Skills

Use gestures Make your whole body


talk. Use smaller gestures for individuals and
small groups. The gestures should get larger
as the group that one is addressing increases
in size.
10. Dont send mixed messages Make your
words, gestures, facial expressions, tone, and
message match. If you have to deliver a
negative message, make your words, facial
expressions, and tone match the message.
9.

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Indicators of Effective Communicator


1.
2.

3.

Accurately determines what needs to


be communicated
Capably delivers information in the
most appropriate way (e.g., on paper,
orally, electronically)
Adjusts style of communication (e.g.,
participative, humor, assertive) for
specific audience in order to influence
and build relationships

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Indicators of Effective Communicator

4.
5.

6.

Employs active listening techniques


to ensure understanding
Prepares written material that
facilitates an understanding of the
issues.
Ensures that lines of communication
remain open among all the parties
involved in an issue

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References
1.
2.
3.
4.

http://web.cba.neu.edu/~ewertheim/interper/commun.htm#introd,
July 23, 2006
http://www.foundationcoalition.org, July 23, 2006.
http://hwebbjr.typepad.com/openloops/2005/05/ten_ways_to_imp
html
Printed from the Technical Editor's Eyrie,
http://www.jeanweber.com/

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