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Communication Skills Lesson One Part A Reading assignment and test.

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1 Communication Skills Lesson One Part A Reading assignment and test

2 Instructions You will be required to read through the following presentation carefully. When you reach the end there will be an assessment test/survey that you will be required to send the results to a designated address. Total time to complete will be one hour.

3 Introduction Communication is a two-way street. Not only do you have to convey your own ideas clearly, but you must be able to listen closely and understand the ideas of others as well. Many people can communicate well either in writing or speech, but often they can’t do both.

4 Moving forward Whether we are talking procedures, work requests, or daily logs...whether we are talking about applying for a new position, making a suggestion for an in-house improvement, or asking for a raise...whether we are talking customer service responses, marketing details, or client offers...ALL of it is accomplished through written or verbal communication.

5 This would mean the important part and secret is to transfer what you do well from one to the other. For some this may be quite easy while for others transferring what you know can be so simple they just don’t see the need and importance. This would mean a discussion of some of the qualities are needed, since written and verbal communication skills are similar in this relationship.

6 Such Qualities Are: 1: Listen or read carefully To some this may sound strange, but a good plan to follow when communicating with someone is the Golden Rule, that is, treat others the way you want to be treated. This is actually the single most important element of good communications. When you are speaking or have written a document, you want others to give their full attention and efforts to politely understanding the information and opinions you are trying to express. The same applies when you are listening or reading (Money Instructor, 2005).

7 Often it can help to keep a scratchpad or notebook handy to jot down highlights and key points the other person is making. Not only will this help you remember the encounter (written OR verbal), but it will also help you formulate questions that might arise from the communication.

8 2: Clarity and Coherence In relation to boardroom meetings a confusing, unorganized presentation of even the most accurate information is going to reduce your credibility and, your reputation. The more time someone has to spend wading through the “fluff” to get to the “meat” of your information, the less likely they will be to take what you have to say seriously.

9 It may be helpful to use few words to say much by jotting down an outline of what you want to say. There is no need to go into detail by using roman numerals for headings in trying to make it official. Just list the main points you want to make, and list the supporting ideas or information for each point. Organize the outline, make sure you haven’t forgotten anything, and then, stick to it (Money Instructor, 2005)!

10 3: Consistency This follows with the previous point and might involve the formatting of a document, and for employees of APAC there is the updating of the Ops daily, the standard words and terms you use to provide information, or even the attitude you present with your own personal style. If you want your manager, coworkers, and/or clients to see you as a valuable and professional part of your organization, then you need to consistently present that professional quality.

11 This also applies to phone calls from a disgruntled client – you want to present that same professional image every time. That is, you must be consistent in the WAY you communicate. This also means that your grammar and punctuation (or grammar and pronunciation) are correct. Again, your image is reflecting back on everything and everyone related to your company as well as reflecting upon back on you – and you don’t want to present an image of someone too lazy to learn the basic conventions of the English language!

12 4: Accuracy The previous point related to the WAY you communicate. Here you must look at WHAT you are communicating. Make sure that any information, facts, and figures you provide are completely correct and make sure those facts and opinions are clearly distinguishable. Nothing ruins your image quite as quickly as inaccurate information, whether it’s accidental or intentional.

13 5: Thoughtfulness Most of us, at some time or another, write or speak without thinking much about what we are trying to say, much less how we say it. But taking the time to think before you write or speak can make a world of difference in the above points.

14 The key is to consider both the purpose of and the audience for your communication. If you are speaking to a coworker about a technical glitch, standard industry jargon can be helpful. However if you are trying to write a web page giving information to customers about the glitch, chances are that same jargon is only going to confuse them. So think, first, about the person with whom you are communicating, and combine that with some thought about why you are communicating with them in the first place. Stay on the same wavelength and use words the other person will understand. And then move on to the next point!

15 Conclusion of Part A Although the two types of communication have many similarities, they also have one big difference: Written communication does not usually have a sense of urgency to it – it’s not required immediately, while verbal communication is often quick, even unanticipated at times. Each of these qualities has its own pros and cons.

16 Pros and Cons The slower response factor for written documents usually allows you time to think about what, how, to whom, and why you are writing. Thus, written communication often allows you to plan ahead, to revise, and to get all of the points listed above right, BEFORE you send it. However, written business documents have more usage conventions relating to grammar and punctuation, and they often depend upon just what type of document you are creating (Money Instructor, 2005).

17 On the other hand, verbal communication is much more forgiving – no punctuation! And you can immediately explain anything that is misunderstood. Because of that same immediacy, you might need to plan ahead for anticipated responses and questions whenever you are planning a business discussion. If you can anticipate a possible question and develop its answer ahead of time, you will be that much better prepared!

18 All in all, remember that communication, whether written or verbal is a two-way street. In order to communicate, you must not only convey information, thoughts, and ideas, but you must listen to them as well, which brings us to part B in the lesson.

19 Lesson One Part B Even though some areas of this lesson may feel like a repeat of Part A I feel that this area of listening while communicating is very important. As mentioned previously one must listen in order to communicate. Listening is an essential skill for making and keeping relationships, whether at home or while working.

20 Listening It can also be dangerous not to listen. Important information can be missed and problems are not seen until to late. Listening is a commitment to understanding how other people feel and how they see their world. This is the one time one has to put aside their own prejudice feelings, beliefs, anxieties, and self-interest, so that you can step behind the other person’s eyes. You try to look at things from their perspective.

21 Listening is a compliment because it sends a message to the other person by saying: “I care about what is happening to you, your life and experience are important.” The person responds in a favorable manner by liking and appreciating you. Because of this there would be things that can block one from listening. Being aware of these can help one to really listen well (McKay, Davis, and Fanning, 1995).

22 Blocks to Listening # Comparing: this makes it hard to listen because you are always trying to assess who is smarter, more competent, more emotionally healthy—you or the other person. 2.Mind Reading: allows one to not pay attention to what people say and often distrusts it. Instead the person is really trying to figure out what the other person is really thinking and feeling. 3.Rehearsing: gives no time to listen because you are working on what to say, going over and over it in you head. Your whole attention is focused on the preparation of your next comment. You try to look interested but your mind is moving a mile a minute.

23 Blocks # Filtering: allows listening to some things and not to others. Enough attention is given to see if someone is angry, or unhappy, or if you are in any emotional danger. Once assured that none of the above is included the mind is allowed to wander. 5. Judging: shows the effects of negative labeling, which can have enormous power. If you prejudge someone as stupid or nuts or unqualified, you don’t pay much attention to what they say, possibly tuning them out or written them off. 6. Dreaming: sets a certain type of stage. A person may be half- listening and something the person says suddenly triggers a chain of private associations. You are more prone to dreaming when bored or anxious. An Herculean effort on the listeners part may be needed. If this occurs frequently it may indicate a lack of commitment to knowing or appreciating the speaker (McKay, Davis, and Fanning, 1995).

24 Blocks # 7 and 8 7. Identifying: takes you back into time as you take everything a person tells you and refer it back to your own experience. You quickly launch into your story before they can finish theirs. You are so busy telling your tale there is no time to really hear or get to know the other person. 8. Advising: sets the pace for being ready to help and offer suggestions. Once you have heard the basics of just a few sentences you begin searching for the right advice. While doing this you miss the person’s feelings or acknowledge their pain, not just listening and being their.

25 Blocking # 9 9. Sparring: allows you to argue and debate with people and the other person never feels heard because you are quick to disagree. A lot of the focus centers on finding things to disagree with, making it very clear about your beliefs and preferences. A subtype of sparring is the put- down. You use acerbic or sarcastic remarks to dismiss the other person’s point of view. Discounting: Is another type of sparring. This person can not stand compliments, revealing the basic technique of discounting is to run yourself down when you get a compliment. The other person never feels satisfied that you really heard his appreciation (McKay, Davis, and Fanning, 1995).

26 Blocks # Being Right: reveals the lengths you would go to avoid being wrong. There is no listening to criticism, no willingness to be corrected, and not allowing yourself to take suggestions to change. The result is repeating your mistakes over and over again. 11. Derailing: occurs by suddenly changing the topic because of boredom or being uncomfortable with the subject. Some tend to use the joking it off method, which has the listener responding with a joke or quip to avoid the discomfort of anxiety in seriously listening to the other person. 12. Placating: shows you agree with everything, half- listening just enough to get the drift, but you are not really involved. You placate rather than tune in.

27 What to Do To avoid these blocks it may become necessary to use the four steps to effective listening.

28 Step One Active Listening Listening does not mean you have to sit still with your mouth closed but requires your participation. To fully understand the meaning of a communication, you usually have to ask questions and give feedback. Giving feedback helps the other person understand the effect of their communication. Three important rules for giving feedback are being honest, immediate, and supportive.

29 Step Two Listening With Empathy One requirement for this step is to simply realize that everyone is trying to survive both physically and psychologically, recognizing that you share the same struggle. Every thought, choice, and movement is designed to preserve your existence. Listening with empathy means saying to yourself, “This is hard to hear, but it’s another human being trying to live” (McKay, Davis, and Fanning, 1995).

30 Step Three Listening With Openness It is difficult to listen when you are judging or finding fault. The most important rule for listening with openness is to hear the whole statement, the entire communication, before judging. Premature evaluations can be prevented when all information is collected.

31 Step Four Listening With Awareness This consists of two components, the first comparing what is being said to your own knowledge of history, people, and the way things are, but without judgment. The second involves hearing and observing with congruence. Does the person’s tone of voice, emphasis, facial expression, and posture fit with the content being communicated. If body, face, voice, and words don’t fit, your job as a listener is to clarify and give feedback about the discrepancy. By ignoring it you could receive an incomplete or confusing message

32 Total Listening After reading the areas of listening and listening well we want people to listen to us as we communicate. This involves total listening and can be accomplish in six steps: 1) Maintain good eye contact 2) Lean slightly forward 3) Reinforce the speaker by nodding or paraphrasing 4) Clarify by asking questions 5) Actively move away from distractions 6) Be committed, even if you are angry or upset, to understanding what was said. (McKay, Davis, and Fanning, 1995)

33 Test Time The next slides contain the test/survey. You may print off each slide and take with you to answer. Each question is to be a short answer of at least one to two paragraphs. Once completed please send your responses to: com You may copy and paste your responses into the . com

34 Please answer the following questions “Communication” 1)Thinking over a 24 hour day, in what ways do you communicate? 2)How important is communication to you? 3)What qualities of communication can you list? 4)Which quality from your list do you feel is important? 5)How important do you feel communication is in a person’s life?

35 “Listening” 6. Listening is a part of communication. While at home take time out, at least ten minutes and just sit to listen. Write down everything you hear. This means arguments, one-sided phone conversations, etc. While at work do the same. If interrupted by an issue, no problem, just write down the time spent and return back to it later. 7. Once your list is collected compare and contrast with what you have learned.

36 “Blocking” 8. a. Review the 12 blocks to listening and identify by listing the ones that seem typical of the ways you avoid listening. b. Now list people in your life you may have used the listening blocks toward. Examples: work, relatives, home, and friends. 9. Now sit back and look for patterns by answering the following questions: Are you blocking more at home or at work, with same-sex or opposite-sex friends, etc.? Do certain situations trigger blocking? Do you rely mostly on one kind of blocking, or do you use different blocks with different people and situations?

37 Once you have completed your answers please compose them in a manner that allows you to send them via . Feedback on your responses will be given within the week. After you have posted your responses you may proceed to Part C of the lesson. I look forward to hearing from you.

38 References McKay, M., Davis, M., & Fanning, P. (1995). Messages: the communication skills book. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications, Inc.. Money Instructor, (2005). Job skills: communication skills lesson. Retrieved February 21, 2007, from Money Instructor Web site:


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