Research Proposal: Effective Personal Skills in Business and Professional Communication

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¶ … Personal Skills in Business and Professional Communication

The objective of this work is to demonstrate an understanding of communication at work and interpersonal skills and to integrate both of these and demonstrate how they are applicable to both the personal and organizational life. Finally this work will show how the concepts described can be effectively applied in the workplace.

"Developing Effective Team Communication Skills" Be it a personal or professional affair, the foundation of all successful interactions is based on effective communication skills." Through use of effective communications skills one may inspire others and influence others and enables the individual to develop an "edge over his/her fellow colleagues/acquaintances...to carry out his/her job with a lot of confidence, ease and perfection." (nd)

Margaret McLaren and Phillip Hills work entitled: "Communication Skills" states that communication skills has been an important field of study since the beginning of history and this is stated to include "facial expression and hand movements, Morse code and may-day signals, - these and many others are part of the communication process through which people interact in complex and interesting ways." (1991)

In today's world "technical communication has become increasingly important, keeping pace with the enormous leaps in computer technology." (McLaren and Hills, 1991) Effective communication was referred to by Di Salvo (1977) as 'interpersonal competence" which is defined by the individual's:

1) General understanding of the process of communication;

2) a grasp of those specific skills of communication which are needed on the job;

3) the ability to engage in communication in vocational and non-vocational contexts and situations;

4) the ability to discriminate between effective and ineffective strategies in conflict and stress management;

5) a general understanding of the relationship between personal communicational effectiveness and organizational climate; and 6) the ability to apply effective observational and participatory interview techniques in negotiation, appraisal, correction and selection situations. (McLaren and Hills, 1991)

I. IMPORTANCE of EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION

Effective communication is important because communication "is a basic life skill, as important as the skills by which" the individual progresses through school or earns a living. The individual's ability to communicate "largely determines" the level of that individual's happiness. Effective communication enables the individual to both "make and keep friends" and causes the individual to be "valued at work" as well as allowing others to "respect and trust" that individual. (McKay, Davis, and Fanning, 2009)

II. LISTENING a CRITICAL FACTOR in EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION

According to McKay, Davis and Fanning (2009) in the work entitled: "Messages - the Communication Skills Book" the individual that lacks effectiveness in communicating will find their life "deficient in one or more areas: Work may be all right, but your family shouts at the dinner table." There are stated to be four steps to effective listening:

1) Listening actively;

2) Listening with empathy;

3) Listening with openness; and 4) Listening with awareness. (McKay, Davis and Fanning, 2009)

Listening actively is stated to be inclusive of:

1) Paraphrasing;

2) Clarifying; and 3) Providing feedback. (McKay, Davis and Fanning, 2009)

Paraphrasing involves stating in ones' own words what it appears that someone has stated. McKay, Davis and Fanning (2009) state that paraphrasing is "absolutely necessary to good listening." One example of paraphrasing is stated to be effectuated through stating "Do you mean..." The varying effects of paraphrasing are noted to result as follows:

1) Deep appreciation of those who feel they are being heard;

2) Ending of escalating anger and cools down crisis;

3) Ending of miscommunication correcting false assumptions, errors and misinterpretations immediately; and 4) Helping to remember what was said. (McKay, Davis and Fanning, 2009)

McKay, Davis and Fanning state that paraphrasing cuts out the sparring, judging, and other ineffective forms of communication and is the "antidote to most listening blocks." (2009) When one asks for clarification of what another is stating this lets the person who is speaking know that they are being listened to carefully. Providing feedback is the process in which the individual "in a nonjudgmental way..." shares their thoughts and feelings about what is being discussed.

III. TOTAL LISTENING

McKay, Davis and Fanning describe 'total listening' and states that the following are characteristics of one who is 'totally listening':

Maintains good eye contact;

Leans slightly forward;

Reinforces the speaker by nodding or paraphrasing;

Clarifies by asking questions;

Actively moves away from distractions; and Is committed to understanding what was said, even if angry or upset. (McKay, Davis and Fanning, 2009)

McKay, Davis and Fanning (2009) state that effective communication makes a requirement of messages being "direct, immediate, clear, straight, and supportive." Direct messages are messages which are without assumptions having first been made an expression of what the individual thinks or feels and stated clearly. Immediate messages are those required in effective communication when the individual is hurt or angry or wants or needs something to be changed. The two primary advantages to 'immediate communication' are:

1) Immediate feedback increase the likelihood that people will earn what you need and adjust their behavior accordingly;

2) Immediate communication increases intimacy because you share your responses now instead of waiting. (McKay, Davis, and Fanning, 2009; paraphrased)

Clear messages are those that are "complete and accurate reflection[s]" of ones' thought. One should not "ask questions when..." they "need to make a statement." (McKay, Davis and Fanning, 2009) as well, it is important to keep messages congruent" or in other words the message content and the individuals "tone of voice and body language should all fit together." (McKay, Davis and Fanning, 2009)

It is important as well to "avoid double messages" and "be clear about your wants and feelings." (McKay, Davis and Fanning, 2009) McKay, Davis and Fanning (2009) state that it is additionally important to 'distinguish between observations and thoughts' and to 'separate what you see and hear from your judgments, theories, beliefs and opinions." (McKay, Davis and Fanning, 2009)

IV. BARRIERS to EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION

The work of Barry (nd) entitled: "The Importance of Effective Communication" states that barriers to effective communication includes the following barriers: (1) Language - choice of words or language in which message is encoded by sender to influence the communication quality; (2) Defensiveness - distorted perceptions, guilt, project, transference, distortions from the past; (3) Misreading of body language, tone and other non-verbal forms of communication; (4) Noisy transmission (unreliable messages, inconsistency); (5) Receiver distortion - selection hearing, ignoring non-verbal cues; (6) Power struggles; (7) Self-fulfilling assumptions; (8) Language - different levels of meaning; (9) Managers hesitate to be candid; (10) Assumptions - assuming that everyone views the situation in the same way; (11) Distrusted Source - erroneous translation, value judgment, state of mind of two people; (12) Perceptual biases - people attend to stimuli in the environment differentially and this can insert biases into communication; (13) Interpersonal relationships - communication perception is impacted by the experiential past of the individual; and (14) Cultural differences - required in effective communication is deciphering of the basic values, motives, aspirations, and assumptions that operate across geographical lines. (Barry, nd)

V. NONVERBAL CUES in COMMUNICATION

Barry (nd) reports that a great many studies hold that more than ninety percent of the meaning derived from communication is derived "from the non-verbal cues that the other person gives." This is because the individual, while stating "one thing...communicates something totally different through vocal intonation and body language. 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." (Barry, nd) There are four types of nonverbal communication including:

Visual;

Tactile

Vocal

Use of time, space, and image. (Barry, nd)

Visual nonverbal communication is stated to be represented by 'body language' and 'facial expression' including 'eye movement, posture, and gestures.' (Barry, nd) Barry states that the 'face' is the "biggest part of this." (Barry, nd)

Tactile refers to "the use of touch to impart meaning as in a handshake." (Barry, nd) Vocal - this refers to spoken words and how their meaning can be "...altered significantly by changing the intonation of one's voice." (Barry, nd)

The use of nonverbal communication refers to the use of time and its ability to communicate how one's status and power in relation to others is viewed and the individual has the feeling that their 'space' has been invaded. Space is characterized as follows in the work of Barry:

Personal zone: two to four feet;

Social Zone: four to twelve feet; and Public Zone: over twelve feet. (Barry, nd)

Barry states that a 'majority' of the meaning attributed to words comes not from the words themselves but as well from "nonverbal factors such as gestures, facial expressions, tone, body, language, etc." (nd) "majority" of the meaning we attribute to words comes not from the words themselves, but from nonverbal factors such as gestures, facial expressions, tone, body language, etc. Nonverbal cues can play five roles:

Repetition: they… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Effective Personal Skills in Business and Professional Communication.  (2009, February 9).  Retrieved May 21, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/effective-personal-skills-business/547560

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