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Addressing the most common workplace relationship challenges, this manual shows how to use the principles of nonviolent communication to improve the workplace atmosphere.Offering practical tools that match recognizable work scenarios, this guide can helpall employeespositively affect their work relationships and company culture, regardless of their position. Addressing the most common workplace relationship challenges, this manual shows how to use the principles of nonviolent communication to improve the workplace atmosphere. Offering practical tools that match recognizable work scenarios, this guide can help all employees positively affect their work relationships and company culture, regardless of their position. Problems with communication occur when the way in which we express ourselves is not fully understood and appreciated by those we want to communicate with. Communication often takes place in a complex and uncertain environment; understanding how to minimize such difficulties will have a direct impact on how effective our communications are.
Every organization you come into contact with in your role has its own ethos and set of acceptable behaviors. You will be able to identify in your senior management the sort of behavior that is deemed appropriate for the organization. These behaviors will determine the type of environment your organizational communications occur in.
Often within organizations confusion and obstacles to communication result from poor definition of individual roles within the structure and of their working relationships and interactions. Many organizations' communication problems can be directly attributed to poor operational skills. Without this level of appreciation and comprehension unrealistic demands can be placed on others.
Organizational barriers can also occur if you use an inappropriate communication tool to send your message. Selecting the best communication tool to send your message is an essential component of excellent communication skills. This relates to the physical attributes of the environment the communication takes place in. Many individuals operate in open plan offices, which whilst offering easy access to other members of the team when working within a group, can make other tasks more time consuming than necessary. Organizations generally conduct a wide variety of tasks, and management need to provide environments to suit different tasks if their workforce are to operate and communicate effectively. Organizations, with their global markets and operations, need to be conscious of what they say and of the interpretations different nationals working for them may give to their messages. For example, Spanish is much more formal when communicating in writing than it is verbally. When thinking about cultural differences it is important not to pay too much attention to stereotypes. Cultures also have different interpretations of what is meant by something being 'urgent' and what level of work is considered stressful. Your message needs to clearly state your definition of terms such as 'afternoon,' and you should make sure the date you require the task to be completed by is accurate for the time zone of the recipient.
With the increase in specialist language and jargon within the workplace, ensuring that what you are saying is interpreted as you want and expect is an essential aspect of communication.
This is especially important when communicating with a wide variety of industries because each one may have their own expressions and acronyms for terms, as shown in the diagram above. In your communications you should never assume your meaning is the same for all those you are interacting with.
Some barriers to communication result from the interpersonal skills of the individuals involved. An aggressive attitude that may be intended by the communicator to display confidence may be interpreted as arrogance. To be an effective communicator you must also be conscious of your own bias, which can influence how you respond in an exchange. Developing your own questioning, analytical, and listening skills is essential if you want to communicate successfully and will have a direct impact on your career development. Barriers to communication can be classified as organizational, physical, cultural, linguistic, and interpersonal. Cultural barriers include differences in the interpretation of word meanings in different cultures even though they may be using a common language.
Linguistic barriers include jargon and acronyms that mean different things to different groups.
Interpersonal barriers include the many nonverbal signals that can easily be misinterpreted. With a focus on outcomes-based education, this business communication manual caters to the needs of students of business communication at universities, technikons, and private colleges with updated information on writing e-mail messages and using the Internet. This tool can help you to improve your communication skills and become an effective communicator regardless of the situation you are in. All communication must be for a reason and the most effective dialogues will have a sole purpose or objective that the instigator wants to achieve as a result of the communication.
The most productive communications have a single objective ensuring clarity and ease of comprehension.
Once you have established the reason why you want or need to communicate you can structure the format of your message according to the principle's other components. In your management role you will find yourself needing to communicate in a wide variety of situations - for example, with your team, colleagues, management, stakeholders, suppliers, etc. Having defined your reason for communicating and the type of environment it will take place in you must now specify exactly what it is you want or need from the other person. In some contexts you will need to break down your supporting information into manageable chunks. Being specific is not just related to the message itself; it is also about who needs to informed.
If you select only those who have a real need to know the contents of the message you will have more effective communications. Whatever form of communication you need to conduct, an essential part of the process is ensuring that the recipient actually understands correctly the message you want to give them.
You can't afford to make any assumptions: you need to get confirmation from the recipient that they have the same understanding as you about what a situation may be and what the required action plan is.
You will only gain this level of 'true' understanding if you actively listen to what is being said and observe the behaviors of those involved in the communication.
Remember, use your observation skills throughout the exchange to gauge the attitude and acceptance of your audience. If you do this you will avoid any unnecessary confusion and misinterpretations that often occur when someone does not take the time to listen properly. The final aspect of the RESULT principle is concerned with the amount of time you have to prepare for and conduct the actual communication. Frequently you will find that the time you have to prepare is very limited and you will have to adjust your preparation to fit what time you have at your disposal.
This RESULT Principle Checklist will help you to properly prepare and approach your communications so that your all your exchanges are effective. The acronym stands for Reason, Environment, Specific, Understanding, Listen, and Timeframe.


Mehrabian's research, conducted in 1967, was concerned with the relative importance of verbal and nonverbal signals when communicating feelings and attitudes, rather than general everyday or workplace communications. This misinterpretation of Mehrabian's findings has been repeated so many times that it has become widely believed that nonverbal elements are more important than the actual words used to communicate a message. The ability to explain and get across complex ideas, messages, and instructions is paramount for a manager. In your management role you need to express your requirements, approach, ideas, and strategies clearly so all who hear understand. It is important to remember when selecting your words to make sure that your choice portrays the level of authority and respect your communication requires. The next level of signals you give to those you speak to are the para-verbal or vocal signals.
It is this group of signals that will convey your exact meaning or help you to modify it to suit your audience or circumstances. Shouting at someone who isn't doing what you want them to do is not the way to correct such behavior. Your dominant emotion when communicating is easily discernible in the speed of your delivery. Being able to influence the para-verbal signals you use when communicating is a significant skill, and directly relates to how effective your communications are. In writing, the para-verbal signals are communicated by your use of punctuation, grammar, spelling, and the structure of your sentences. This group of signals, often referred to as body language, plays a key role in how effective your communications will be, but it must not be your sole focus. Your nonverbal signals, or body language, provide your audience with the clues they will use to determine your attitude and feelings towards the communication. These cultural differences are also noticeable in the gestures and element of touch used in an exchange.
They also are quite tactile when communicating and may perceive you as being less approachable or more authoritarian in your communications if you avoid touching. An open posture generally shows you are more supportive of what is being said than a closed one. The other aspect posture communicates during an exchange is how comfortable the other person is with the distance there is between you.
You need to quickly pick up on such signals when communicating and if you are too close to the other person then you need to subtly move away from them until you see them relax. If you are observing a conversation you will also be able to identify how close or personal the relationship between these individuals is from the distance they stand or sit apart. The more experience you have of communicating in all sorts of situations - at work, at home, formally, informally, with friends, etc. The more you are able to master your own emotions during communications the more effective you will be and the more aware you will be of your own nonverbal signals and how they could be interpreted. Whilst it is important to be aware of the nonverbal signs people exhibit during this process, using and developing your emotional intelligence is far more beneficial than worrying unnecessarily about decoding all of the subtleties of people's body language. One of the most-cited pieces of research into communication - Albert Mehrabian's '7%-38%-55% rule' - does NOT apply to workplace communication.
The words you use are the most important part of a workplace communication and you should choose them carefully. You must make sure that your message is backed up by the appropriate para-verbal and nonverbal signals. This handbook displays proven communication skills for effectively handling difficult conversations, reducing workplace conflict and stress, improving individual and team productivity, having more effective meetings, and giving and receiving meaningful feedback, thereby creating a more enjoyable work environment. Some of these differences are within our control, others are not, and being forewarned about such obstacles influences how successful your communications will be.
Those who are seen as good communicators have the ability to adapt their communication style to overcome barriers to understanding and to maximize the impact of their message. To be a successful communicator you need to understand the beliefs and values of your own organization. You will also have the opportunity through the example you portray to influence the behavior and beliefs of those who report to you or interact with you.
How many times have you found several people believing that a task is the responsibility of someone else? This confusion and misinterpretation can be avoided be taking the time to learn about other departments and external bodies and listen to what they say in response to your communication. Is the sending of an email or text an appropriate way to inform someone of a major disruption to service that will have serious financial implications if not addressed immediately?
Much of this comes from experience and observing how senior management and personnel in external organizations communicate their messages.
For example, in the situation above you may want to speak to the person face-to-face first and then confirm that conversation in an email, copying in only those who need to be kept abreast of the situation. Developing ideas or strategies, for instance, may require a quieter, more private environment, with few or no interruptions. For example, providing access to private rooms as well as open plan offices, and being willing to allow people to work from home, offers a choice of environment to best suit the task at hand.
This is especially significant if your message needs to be translated into other languages. Conversational Spanish is more colloquial and direct, supported by appropriate gestures and eye contact. A stereotype is 'a widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person or thing.' However, some stereotypes do have their roots in observable behavior. This may result from different working hours in certain countries, and the fact that operations are taking place in different time zones. For example, Friday 20th actually occurs on different days if you are based in London and the recipient is in Hong Kong. You need to actively listen to and observe your audience to ensure that your message is received in the way you intend.
Each person's level of self-esteem and their degree of confidence will be portrayed to others by the communication signals they display. This may not be an informed bias: it may be based merely on your own experiences or knowledge base. Adopting the premise that poor communication can cost an organization business and competitive status in the marketplace, this text focuses on refining and clarifying the products of communication within the company and with the public.
The more thought you put into why you want to open up this process the more objective and focused your purpose will be. Any conversation, discussion, or meeting can have many exchanges but focusing on a single objective will ensure your success. For your communications to be effective it is essential that you define the nature of each situation and adapt your message to fit what you see. You must make sure that you have any supporting information, background, or data that guarantees that your message and exchange will have clarity.


Many people gloss over this aspect of communication and cause themselves problems by sending inappropriate messages to the wrong audience, resulting in unnecessary interruptions and diversions.
Technology such as emails and texts make it all too easy to copy in unnecessary and inappropriate people. You also want to be sure that resulting action by an individual or group is what you want and expect so that you achieve your communication objective.
Ensure that you are totally focused on what is being said and feed back your own understanding of what you are being told. However much time you have, make sure that you use it effectively by following these principles. However, it has been cited as applying to all forms of communications and has been interpreted as stating that over 80 percent of all communications is nonverbal. Using all the three types of signals - verbal, para-verbal, and nonverbal - to ensure that your message is comprehended and received in a positive way is an essential aspect of your communications skills.
How you phrase your message and the actual words used can totally alter the meaning of your message. In the majority of cases you will want to use positive language, telling people what you want or can be done, rather than what you don't want or cannot be done. It is essential that your words convey the same meaning to all your audience regardless of their level of knowledge.
Also your words need to present a logical description of the action you need to take place to achieve your objective or perform your role. This is because your reader or audience only has the words in front of them to ascertain your meaning and the required action. These are important aspects because often without realizing it you will convey meaning in how you deliver what you say. You may need to offer further instructions or information so that they review how they are conducting the task.
Those who are nervous or anxious will tend to talk more quickly, often giving the impression of a lack of confidence or knowledge. Each of the three signal areas has a role to play in how effective your communications are, and the proportion assigned to each will vary according to the circumstances of each exchange.
People from the southern Mediterranean, for example, are known to be more expressive in their hand and arm gestures than many other cultures. If you do not reciprocate in a way that reflects the behavior of the person you are communicating with, the emphasis or empathy you want to express may be misinterpreted.
This is because it informs those involved in the exchange how attentive you are and how interested you are in what is being said. But if your posture appears too relaxed, and you maintain little eye contact, you may portray the attitude of someone uninterested in the topic. Each individual's level of personal space is unique and is a reflection of their culture and character. To be an effective communicator you need to be aware of these unconscious and unintentional nonverbal signals and respond accordingly in order to achieve your objective.
The more you actively observe those you communicate with the greater your skill will become in ensuring that your words have a 'perfect' correlation with your para-verbal and nonverbal signals.
Whatever atmosphere your day-to-day activities occur in, you will need to adapt your style and signals to best suit the environment. Rather than take the trouble to ensure someone accepts ownership, some people will simply sweep the task under the carpet on the assumption that someone else will perform it! Or it can be the result of little or no understanding of other operations within the organization or its external suppliers. So when you are making organizational communications you need to have a native speaker translate your message to make sure that it communicates what you want it to mean. For example, many people from the British Isles use understatement in their everyday speech and would describe something as 'not bad' when in fact they thought it was good or even very good. The aggressive attitude might also be a way of showing how stressed they are in their current role and that any further demands on that person's time is just too much for them to cope with. If you don't open your mind to listen carefully to what is being said and objectively assess what you hear your bias will persist and could become a barrier to the communication process. Not only do you need to know that others in the communication process understand you, but you also need to confirm that you have understood what they have told you. Making sure your grammar and spelling are correct is essential in this type of communication. Or does it come across as a suitably authoritative request for information about how the task is progressing?
If your voice is naturally quiet or soft you will have to develop your delivery technique so that your voice has the appropriate ring of authority for the situation. When you feel strongly about an issue you may find that your voice rises, but this level and pitch may not reflect the right attitude for your communication. You may need to clarify that their understanding of what you want done matches what you want them to do. Being able to control your emotions when communicating indicates an effective communicator. Poorly spelt or phrased sentences can be as detrimental to the communication of your message as shouting or excessive use of jargon.
Presenting your argument in a logical manner is also a significant factor in communicating well in writing.
Different cultures focus on different aspects of the face when assessing the emotional reaction of the person they are speaking to.
It is important to remember that many of your own and others' nonverbal signals are intuitive and as such are hard to control. A personal call or going to the office of the senior executive will portray the correct level of urgency and importance for such a message. This type of cultural difference can confuse people who speak the same language but who are not used to hearing understatement used in this way. Examples of all mentioned tools are provided along with the theory and practice of their use.
The questions are endless, but by asking just a few simple questions you will gather the necessary intelligence to communicate effectively. This preparation enables you to adopt the best style of communication to suit your approach and prepare for potential arguments or problems.



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