Presentation on theme: "Communication Processes in Public Services"— Presentation transcript:
1 Communication Processes in Public Services How we say it;not just what we say!
2 ‘Basque’ in Knowledge: Read It, Hear It, Know It @ Your Library NLA/MPLA Conference‘Basque’ in Knowledge:Read It, Hear It, Know Your LibraryNovember 7, 2003Incline VillageLake Tahoe
3 Why am I here?Specifically, what is it you want to know about communication?What aspect of communication do you want to improve in your library?What do you think are the causes of any communication problems in your library?
4 Effectively sending & receiving the message Communication means . . .Effectively sending & receiving the message
5 Effectiveness depends upon many types of variables Individual differencesOrganizational structuresCultural differencesA facility that helps or hindersNon-verbal messagesOther?
6 Variables include . . . Gender Culture Age Language Knowledge and/or educationBody languageSpecialized language(library speak!)Physical arrangement of spacePower relationships (real and/or perceived)Other variables?
7 Nonverbal communication Body Language: How we move and how we postureFacial Expressions: Gender differences especially in amount of smilingBody Posture: Amount of space, relaxed or formal, types of movements, restless or at restDecoding Abilities: The ability to figure out other’s feelings based on nonverbal clues
8 More Nonverbal Communication Touching: Who, when, how we touch othersPersonal Space: The individual “bubble” around an individual that must not be invadedGaze: Where our eyes are during communication
9 Verbal CommunicationTalkativeness: How much one talks, how long one holds the floorVoice Quality: Intonation, pitch, accentContent of speech: What we talk about & our vocabularies to do it
10 Passive Listening: Message sent (facts & feelings) & not fully acknowledged nor understood Sends messageReceives little feedback on message & problemMay be emotionalMay not be thinking clearlyReceives little empathy or helpFinds concentration difficultHas a cluttered mindIs one jump aheadMay be tense with emotionConcerned with replyHas a different perception
11 Active Listening: Message sent (fact & feelings) & it is acknowledged & understood Sends messageReceives feedbackBecomes relaxedIs able to think more clearlyFeels empathy of listenerIs helped to solve problemsFeels better about selfOwns problems & solutionsMakes commitment to solving problemHas clear mindInteracts with speakerIs relaxedDoes not make evaluationsSummarizes factsReflects feelingsHelps speaker to solve and own problems and solutions
12 We need to be aware . . .Be aware of messages we send ourselves & others through the way we behave, sit, stand, look.Be aware the message we send may not be the message others hear.Be aware that the message we hear may not be what the sender really intended to communicate.
13 Meetings & Gender Differences Men play meetings like this:Speak at lengthUse a declamatory voiceInterruptResist being influenced, especially in publicFacial expressions less likely to reveal feelings or thoughts
14 While women . . . Tend to play meetings like this: Speak briefly Phase comments as a questionWait turnSmiling (encouraging others, embarrassment, etc.) likely to be interpreted as “agreement with . . .”More likely to reveal self as a means of showing solidarity with or approval of others
15 What does this mean?How might knowing this help you understand what goes on in meetings?What can you do more successfully communicate in meetings?
16 The importance of relationship In our consumer environment, the emphasis has shifted to the quality of the relational interaction between client & staff. While the “answer” still matters, it matters less than the human element.
17 Relationship factor:Increasing body of knowledge indicating that the key to success in reference & other public service contacts is the relational factor but we are only successful 55% of the time.To judge the success of the relational factor the following are asked:Willingness to return to the libraryWillingness to return to this staff member
18 Users are different! They are not experts, we are. We know how the “system” works.As “experts” we have a hard time seeing things from the user’s viewpoint.We think differently about information.Users seldom present the context of the question or inquiry.
19 Common causes of failure: Not acknowledging the userNot listeningPlaying 20 questions – with yes & no answersInterrupting at inappropriate timesMaking assumptionsNot following up
20 What about the “bad-guy” user? There is no such thingWe are all “bad-guy” users of other systemsAttitude can greatly affect outcomes & user satisfactionAttitude, conscious or not, affects public relations
21 Being approachableBe poised and ready to engage users by not being engrossed in other workEstablish initial eye contact (cultural differences need to be recognized here)Smile, smile, smileHave open body languageAcknowledge the presence of the userFriendly greeting to initiate conversationStanding up, moving forward and/or closer to patron
22 Using inclusion makes you & the user both winners! Inclusion is a way of making the user a partner.Describe briefly what you are doingUse inclusive language -- “we” “our”Acknowledge user’s contributionRestate the problem or questionIndicate that you are listeningIf appropriate, indicate how much time the task will takeAssure the user that it is okay to ask more
23 Questioning skills Use open, not closed questions Avoid jumping to conclusionsPut the inquiry in contextUse sense-making questionsReflect content back to userHave clear closure – the art of the tactful ending
24 Points of service Think about one-stop shopping concept Consider labels/language used in signageConsider the furniture used at points of contactHold staff accountable for how they treat & communicate with patronsProvide customer service & communication training as neededWalk the talk model appropriate behavior
25 Being approachable . . . Acknowledge others waiting for help Remain visible to patrons as much as possibleRove through the area offering assistanceFollow-up with patrons whenever possibleInvite patrons to return with further/new questions or inquiries.Do you do these things?If not, why not?
26 Success in the first 30 seconds! NonverbalEye contactSmiling &NoddingPausingPostureTone of voiceOralAcknowledgementRepeating or paraphrasingListening
27 Turning off users Provide unmonitored referral Immediately refer the user to somewhere elseImply that the user should have done something else firstTell the user that the info does not existSignal nonverbally the end of the transactionWarn user to expect defeatGo away & do not return
28 Successful communication is a two-way street For organizational communication – remember “do unto others”Two wrongs do not make a right!In general, there is no such thing as too much communication.Individuals are free to accept or ignore what they do not want.You can lead a horse to water, but . . .
29 Setting goals for improving your communication skills By December 1st, I will improve my nonverbal communication clarity by:By December 1st, I will improve my verbal / listening communication clarify by:
30 Library Consultant & Educator Thank you!Mary C. Bushing, Ed.D.Library Consultant & EducatorBozeman, Montana(406) Home
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