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Communication is lifeblood of every organization

Speaking and writing effectively across all areas of business

including management, technical, clerk and social positions

The ability to speak and write in ways that are sensitive to and
mindful of the factors in different cultural context

Achieving Success Today

Component pf communication




Understanding or feedback



Effective Communication

Quicker problem solving

Stronger decision making

Increased productivity

Steadier work flow

Stronger business relationships

Clearer promotional materials

Enhanced professional image

Improved stakeholder response

What Employers Expect

Organizing and presenting ideas

Listening effectively

Communicating across cultures

Using communication technologies

Practicing business etiquette

Communicating ethically

Characteristics of Effective Messages

Practicality - quality of being suitable

Factual basis- based on or containing facts

Clarity and conciseness

Precision - Clarity and conciseness giving only information important

Persuasion - quality of being exact accurate and careful

Persuasion - particular set of belief

Recommendations suggestion about best things

Internal Communication

Official structure

Chain of command

Formal lines of power

The grapevine (informal)

Informal networking

Unofficial lines of power

Internal communication refers to the exchange of information and ideas within an

organization. Internal communication helps employees do their jobs, develop a clear sense
of the organizations mission, and identify and react quickly to potential problems.
The official structure (formal communication network) is typically shown as an
organization chart that summarizes the lines of authority; each box represents a link in the

chain of command; each line represents a formal channel for the transmission of official
messages. Information can flow in three directions.
Downward flow. Organizational decisions are usually made at the top and then flow down
to the people who will carry them out.
Upward flow. To solve problems and make intelligent decisions, managers must learn
whats going on in the organization.
Horizontal flow. Communication also flows from one department to another, either
laterally or diagonally.
The grapevine (informal communication network) supplements official channels. People
have casual conversations at work. Most deal with personal matters, but about 80 percent of
the information on the grapevine pertains to business. Some executives are wary of the
grapevine, possibly because it threatens their power to control the flow of information.
Savvy managers tap into the grapevine, using it to spread and receive informal messages.

External Communication

Formal contacts


Public relations

Informal contacts



External communication carries information into and out of the organization.

Formal communication is the first step in creating a favorable impression. Carefully

constructed letters, reports, memos, oral presentations, and websites convey an

important message about the quality of your organization. Messages such as

statements to the press, letters to investors, advertisements, price increase
announcements, and litigation updates require special care because of their delicate
nature. Such documents are often drafted by a marketing or public relations teama
group of individuals whose sole job is creating and managing the flow of formal
messages to outsiders.

Informal contacts with outsiders are important for learning about customer needs.
As a member of an organization, you are an important informal conduit for
communicating with the outside world. Many outsiders may form their impression of
your organization on the basis of the subtle clues you transmit through your tone of
voice, facial expression, and general appearance. Top managers rely heavily on
informal contacts with outsiders to gather information that might be useful to their
companies, either by networking with fellow executives or talking with customers and
frontline employees.

The Communication Process

Sender has an idea

Sender encodes the idea

Sender transmits the message

Receiver gets the message

Receiver decodes the message

Receiver sends feedback

Communication is a dynamic, transactional (two-way) process that can be broken into six
phases. The communication process is repeated until both parties have finished expressing
1. The sender has an idea. You conceive an idea and want to share it.

2. The sender encodes the idea. When you put your idea into a message that your
receiver will understand, you are encoding it: that is, deciding on the form, length,
organization, tone, and styleall of which depend on your idea, your audience, and
your personal style or mood.
3. The sender transmits the message. To physically transmit your message to your
receiver, you select a communication channel (verbal or nonverbal,
spoken or
written) and a medium (telephone, letter, memo, e-mail, report, face-to-face
4. The receiver gets the message. For communication to occur, your receiver must
first get the message.
5. The receiver decodes the message. Your receiver must decode (absorb and
understand) your message.
6. The receiver sends feedback. After decoding your message, the receiver responds
in some way and signals that response to you.

Why Is Business Communication Unique?

Globalization and diversity

Information value

Pervasiveness of technology (existing in all parts)

Reliance on teamwork

New corporate structures

Communication barriers

Globalization and Workforce Diversity

Products and markets

Business partnerships

Employees and executives

Increasing Value of Business Information

Knowledge workers

Competitive insights

Customer needs

Regulations and guidelines

Pervasive Technology

Voice systems

Virtual agents

Mobile communication

Networking advances Pervasive

Evolving Organizations

Tall structures

Flatter structures

Flexible structures

Corporate cultures

Reliance on Teamwork

Employee satisfaction

Overall flexibility

Responsiveness to competition

Communication Barriers

Perception and language

Restrictive environments

Distractions (interruption)

Information overload

Deceptive tactics

Interference in the communication process is called noise which can be caused by a variety
of communication barriers. Each person has a unique mental map that represents his
perception of reality.

Senders use selective perception to choose the details that seem important to them.
Receivers can distort details that do not fit into their perception patterns. Language is
an arbitrary code that depends on shared definitions. There is a limit to how
completely any two people share the same meaning for a word.

A restrictive environment can be a formal communication network that limits the flow
of information, so communication becomes fragmented. Also, a directive and
authoritarian leadership style, can block the flow of information.

Physical distractions such as bad connections, poor acoustics, or illegible copy can
block an otherwise effective message. Emotional distractions can also get in the way
of your message.

Deceptive communicators may exaggerate benefits, quote inaccurate statistics, or

hide negative information. Unscrupulous communicators may seek personal gain by
making others look better or worse than they are.

People constantly receive messages via e-mail, express couriers, fax machines, voice mail,
websites, regular mail, pagers, and cell phones. Information overload caused by the sheer
number of messages can be distracting, making it hard to discriminate between useful and
useless information.

Overcoming Barriers

Effective communicators work hard at perfecting the messages they deliver. When they
make mistakes, they learn from them.
The coming chapters present and analyze real-life examples of both good and bad
communication. After a while youll begin to see that four themes keep surfacing: (1)
adopting an audience-centered approach; (2) fostering an open communication climate; (3)
committing to ethical communication; and (4) creating lean, efficient messages. Following
these guidelines will help you overcome barriers and improve your communication.

Effective Communication

Minimize distractions

Consider the audience

Improve your skills

Give and get feedback

Apply business etiquette

Audience-Centered Approach

Adopting an audience-centered approach means focusing on and caring about your

audience, making every effort to get your message across in a way that is meaningful to
Learn as much as possible about the biases, education, age, status, and style of your
audience to create an effective message. When you address strangers, try to find out more
about them; if thats impossible, try to project yourself into their position by using your
common sense and imagination. By writing and speaking from your audiences point of view,
you can to help them understand and accept your message.

Using Business Communication Technology

Maintaining perspective

Improving productivity

Investing wisely

Reconnecting with people

Observing Business Communication Ethics

Unethical practices


Selective misquoting

Misinterpreting numbers

Distorting visuals

Efficient Messages

A good way to make your messages more effective is to send fewer of them. Think twice
before sending one. Holding down the number of messages reduces the chance of
information overload.
The key to overcoming distractions is control. For physical barriers, exercise as much control
as possible over the physical transmission link. For emotional barriers, recognize the feelings
that arise in yourself and in others as you communicate and try to control these emotions.
You can overcome listening barriers by paraphrasing what youve heard, viewing the
situation through the speakers eyes, and resisting jumping to conclusions. When speaking,
you can help the audience by connecting the subject to their needs, using clear vivid
language, and relating the subject to familiar ideas.
Many companies provide employees with opportunities for communication skills training.
Even though you may receive training on the job, dont wait. Start mastering business
communication skills right now, in this course.
Lack of experience may be the only obstacle between you and effective messages, whether
written or spoken. People arent born writers or speakers. Their skills improve the more
they speak and write. Perhaps the best place to begin strengthening your communication
skills is with an honest assessment of where you stand. Try to figure out what youre doing
right and what youre doing wrong. Then, as you progress through this course in the months
ahead, focus on those areas in which you need the most work.

Making Business Choices

Ethical dilemma


Conflicting loyalties

Difficult tradeoffs

Ethical lapse

Business pressures

Illegal choices

Unethical choices

Ensuring Ethical Communication

Individual employees

Corporate management

Policies and procedures

Ethics are the principles of conduct that govern a person or a group. Ethical
communication includes all relevant information, is true in every sense, and is not
deceptive in any way. By contrast, unethical communication can include falsehoods and
misleading information (or withhold important information).
Every company has responsibilities to various groups. However, whats right for one group
may be wrong for another. When people must choose between conflicting loyalties and
weigh difficult trade-offs, they are facing a dilemma. An ethical dilemma involves choosing
among alternatives that arent clear-cut (perhaps two conflicting alternatives are both
ethical and valid, or perhaps the alternatives lie somewhere in the vast gray area between

right and wrong). An ethical lapse is making a clearly unethical or illegal choice. How do you
decide between whats ethical and what is not? You might ask yourself:

Is this message legal?

Is this message balanced?

Is it a message you can live with?

Is this message feasible?

Some companies lay out an explicit ethical policy by using a written code of ethics to help
employees determine what is acceptable. In addition, many managers use ethics audits to
monitor ethical progress and to point up any weaknesses that need to be addressed.

Communicating in Teams and

Mastering Listening and Nonverbal
Chapter 2

Working in Teams
A team is a unit of two or more people who work together to achieve a
goal. Members share a mission and the responsibility for working to
achieve it.

A team is a unit of two or more people who work together to achieve a goal. Team members
share a mission and the responsibility for working to achieve it.

Workplace Teams

A team is a unit of two or more people who work together to achieve a goal. Members share
a mission and the responsibility for working to achieve it.
The type, structure, and composition of individual teams varies within an organization.
Companies can create formal teams that become part of the organizations structure, or
they can establish informal teams, which arent part of the formal organization but are
formed to solve a problem, work on a specific activity, or encourage employee participation.
Problem-solving teams and task forces are informal teams that assemble to resolve specific
issues and then disband once their goal has been accomplished. Team members often
include representatives of many departments so that those who have a stake in the outcome
are allowed to provide input.
In contrast to problem-solving teams and task forces, a committee usually has a long life
span and can become a permanent part of the organizational structure. Committees
typically deal with regularly recurring tasks.
Virtual teams bring together geographically distant employees to interact, share
information, and accomplish goals. Virtual teams can use computer networks,
teleconferencing, e-mail, video conferencing, and Web technology to build teams that are as
effective as those in organizations functioning under a single roof.

Improving Your Performance in Teams


Permanent committees


Task forces and problem-solving teams

Overview of Teams

Team Communication

Select members carefully

Agree on project goals

Take time to bond (link)

Clarify individual responsibilities

Team Communication

Set clear processes

Select tools and techniques

Avoid group writing

Check progress often

Group Dynamic
The interactions and processes that take place in a team are called group

The interactions and processes that take place in a team are called group dynamics. Some
teams are more effective than others simply because the dynamics of the group facilitate
member input and the resolution of differences. To keep things moving forward, productive

teams also tend to develop rules that are conducive to business. Often these rules are
unstated; they just become standard group practice, or normsinformal standards of
conduct that members share and that guide member behavior.
When a team has a strong identity, the members observe team rules religiously: Theyre
upset by any deviation and feel a great deal of pressure to conform. This loyalty can be
positive, giving members a strong commitment to one another and highly motivating them
to see that the team succeeds. However, an overly strong identity could lead to negative
conditions such as groupthink.

Team-Member Roles

Members of a team can play various roles, which fall into three categories.
The following are self-oriented roles:

Controlling or dominating others.

Withdrawing from the group by becoming silent or refusing to work.

Attention seeking and demanding recognition.

Diverting discussions to topics of personal interest.

The following are group-maintenance roles:

Encouraging others with verbal and nonverbal support.

Harmonizing or reconciling differences via mediation or humor.

Compromising on a point in order to reach a mutually agreeable decision.

The following are task-facilitating roles:

Initiating a line of inquiry.

Seeking or giving information relevant to the group.

Coordinating relationships, clarifying issues, summarizing activity.

Suggesting goal-oriented, decision-making procedures.

The roles that individuals assume often depend on whether they joined the group voluntarily
or involuntarily and their status in that group. Until roles and status have stabilized, a team
may have trouble accomplishing its goals.

Team Decision Making

Whenever teams tackle a decision-making tasks, they typically pass through five phases:
1. Orientation. Team members socialize, establish their roles, and begin to define their
task or purpose.
2. Conflict. Team members begin to discuss their positions and become more assertive
in establishing their roles. If members have been carefully selected to represent a
variety of viewpoints and expertise, disagreements are a natural part of this phase.
3. Brainstorm. Team members air all the options and discuss the pros and cons fully. At
the end of this phase, members begin to settle on a single solution to the problem.
4. Emergence. Team members reach a decision. Consensus is reached when the team
finds a solution that is acceptable enough for all members to support (even if they
have reservations). This consensus happens only after
members have had an
opportunity to communicate their positions and feel that they have been listened to.
Reinforcement. Group feeling is rebuilt and the solution is summarized. Members receive
their assignments for carrying out the groups decision, and they make arrangements for
following up on those assignments.

Conflict in Teams

Scarce resources



Attitudes and

Power struggles

Conflicting goals


Teams and individuals may believe they are competing for scarce or declining
resources, such as money, information, and supplies. Team members may disagree
about who is responsible for a specific task (usually the result of poorly defined
responsibilities and job boundaries). Poor communication can lead to
misunderstandings and withholding information can undermine trust. Basic
differences in values, attitudes, and personalities may lead to arguments. Power
struggles may result when one party questions the authority of another or when
people or teams with limited authority attempt to increase their power or exert more
influence. Conflict can also arise because individuals or teams are pursuing different

Types of Conflict

Conflict can be both constructive and destructive. Conflict is constructive if it forces

important issues into the open, increases involvement of team members, and generates
creative solutions. Conflict is destructive if it diverts energy from more important issues,
destroys the morale of teams or individual team members, or polarizes or divides the team.

Resolving Conflict






Fair play


Conflict Resolution Strategies




In a win-lose strategy, the only solution is for one party to win and the other party to lose.
The outcome will surely make someone unhappy. Some conflicts degenerate to the point
that both parties would rather lose than see the other party win (lose-lose strategy). The
idea that both parties can satisfy their goals at least to some extent is a win-win strategy,
where no one loses.

Overcome Resistance

Express understanding

Raise awareness

Evaluate others objections fairly

Hold your arguments until the other person is ready for them

Part of dealing with conflict is learning how to persuade other people to accept your point of
view. In a business situation, reason usually prevails. However, you sometimes encounter
people who react emotionally. When you face irrational resistance, try to remain calm and
detached so that you can avoid destructive confrontations and present your position in a
convincing manner.
Express understanding. Most people are ashamed of reacting emotionally in business
situations. Help the other person relax and talk about his or her anxiety so that you have a
chance to offer reassurance.
Make people aware of their resistance. When people are noncommittal and silent, they
may be tuning you out without even knowing why. Continuing with your argument is futile.
Deal directly with the resistance, without being accusing.
Evaluate others objections fairly. Focus on what the person is expressing, both the
words and the feelings. Get the person to open up so that you can understand the basis for
the resistance.
Hold your arguments until the other person is ready for them. Getting your point
across depends as much on the other persons frame of mind as it does on your arguments.
You cant assume that a strong argument will speak for itself. Address the other persons
emotional needs first.

Effective Teams

In effective teams, members recognize that each person brings knowledge and skills to the
team. They exchange information, examine issues, and work through conflicts that arise. In
short, effective teams:

Clear purpose. Team members clearly understand the task at hand, what is
expected of them, and their role on the team.

Open and honest communication. The team culture encourages discussion and
debate. Team members speak openly and honestly, without the threat of anger,
resentment, or retribution. They listen to and value feedback from others. As a result,
all team members participate.

Consensus decision making. All decisions are arrived at by consensus. No easy,

quick votes are taken. Instead, all members express their opinions and engage in
debate. The decision that emerges is generally supported by all team members.

Creative thinking. Effective teams encourage original thinking, considering options

beyond the usual.

Focused efforts. Team members get to the core issues of the problem and stay
focused on key issues.

Conflict resolution. The ability to handle conflictclashes over ideas, opinions,

goals, or proceduresis a key contributing factor to a teams overall effectiveness.

Collaborative Writing
Team Members
Strong Leadership
Clear Goals
Solid Commitment
Clear Responsibility
Prompt (set time lines for Action
Appropriate Technology
Ensure technological compatibility, and apply technology wisely
Team members often jointly produce a single document or presentation known as a
collaborative message. The following nine guidelines will help team to produce messages
that are clear, seamless, and successful:

Select team members wisely. Choose team members who have strong interpersonal
skills, understand team dynamics, and care about the project.

Select a responsible leader. Identify a group leader who will keep members informed
and intervene when necessary.

Promote cooperation. Establish communication standards that motivate accuracy,

openness, and trust.

Clarify goals. Make sure team goals are aligned with individual expectations .
Elicit commitment. Create a sense of ownership and shared responsibility for the

Clarify responsibilities. Assign specific roles and clear lines of reporting.

Instill prompt action. Set timelines and deadlines for the project.

Ensure technological compatibility, and apply technology wisely.

Critiquing Writing

Clear assignment instructions

Purpose of the document

Correct factual material

Unambiguous language

You will sometimes need to critique the writing of another. When you do, be sure to provide
specific, constructive comments. To help the writer make meaningful changes, you must say
more than: This doesnt work or I dont see what youre trying to say. When critiquing a
document, concentrate on four elements:

Are the assignment instructions clear? Be sure to determine whether the directions
given with the initial assignment were clear and complete.

Does the document accomplish the intended purpose? Is the purpose clearly stated?
Does the body support the stated purpose? Is the conclusion supported by the data?
Are the arguments presented logically?

Is the factual material correct? A proposal to provide nationwide computer-training

services for $15 million would be disastrous if your intention was to provide those
services for $150 million.

Does the document use unambiguous language? If you interpret a message

differently from what a writer intended, the document must be revised.

Once these elements are deemed satisfactory, the question is whether to request other
changes. Minor changes can be made at any time. But if these criteria are in fact met,
consider these additional points before requesting a major revision: (1) Can the document
truly be improved? (2) Can you justify the time needed for a rewrite or revision? (3) Will your
request have a negative impact on morale?


The key to productive meetings is careful planning of purpose, participants, location, and
Most meetings have either an informational or a decision-making purpose. Informational
meetings allow participants to share information and perhaps coordinate action. Decisionmaking meetings involve persuasion, analysis, and problem solving.
Try to invite only participants whose presence is essential. The more people who attend,
the more comments and confusion youre likely to get, and the longer the whole thing will
take. But even as you try to limit participation, be sure to include key decision makers and
those who can contribute. Holding a meeting is pointless if the people with necessary
information arent there.
Decide where youll hold the meeting, and reserve the location. For work sessions, morning
meetings are usually more productive than afternoon sessions. Also, consider the seating
arrangements. Are rows of chairs suitable, or do you need a conference table? Plus, give
some attention to details such as room temperature, lighting, ventilation, acoustics, and
refreshments. You might also consider calling a meeting in cyberspace.
The success of any meeting depends on the preparation of the participants. An agenda will
aid this process by putting the meeting plan into a permanent, written form. Distribute the

agenda to participants several days before the meeting so that they will know what to
expect and can come prepared.