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FIRE STATION ADMINISTRATION

CONTENTS Training Session

PERSONNEL COMMUNICATION IN THE FIRE SERVICE


Introduction Communication as a process Personnel Communication 1 Personnel Communication 2 Personnel Communication 3 The Counseling Interview Check List Revision Notes Learning Outcome 3 Explain the Communication Process. Assessment Criteria: 3.1. 3.2. 3.3. 3.4. Describe the Interviewers preparation before an interview. List the necessary steps to be taken before a counseling session.

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Describe the purpose, advantages and disadvantages of conferences. Describe the types of Personnel Presentations and the occasions on which each of their presentations is used.

3.5. 3.6.

List the main parts of Personnel Presentation. List the functions of an individual if he is to contribute towards the success of a conference.

REFERENCES a. b. c. The Operational Communicator By Cal W Downs / David M Berg / Wil A linkugel Fire Department Company Officer by IFSTA Company Leadership & Operations by Anthony R Granito (NFPA)

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PERSONNEL COMMUNITATION IN THE FIRE SERVICE


INTRODUCTION 1. Communicating in organization is a complex process, and to a large extent, people control their own communicative behavior. 2. This lesson will explain that a competent communication is a good strategist who takes into account as many relevant is a good possible, and that he is a tactician who employs various methods to counter the complex issues in personnel interaction. COMMUNICATION AS A PROCESS 3. The following are important aspects of personnel communication:a. b. c. d. e. f. g. h. It is a joint process. Each person performs several communication functions. There is always a purpose. Feedback is essential. Each person is a unique communication filter. Communicators often differ in their meaning for the same massage. The channel influences the interpretation of the massage. Each communicator will have many stimuli completing for his attention.

4. Effectiveness of communication is judged in terms of th e communicators expectations and purpose. 5. The most basic principle of communication is that it is a process. This process notion is important because it emphasizes the fact that communication is dynamic interaction, forever changing. People are never completely predictable, and there is something potentially unique about each new communication encounter. Moreover, there are many variables that interact over a period of time, and therefore one can never produce the formula that is going to guarantee success in communicating. At best one can indentify some of the contingencies that seem to be responsible for different kinds of communication effects. This means that the competent communicator is a good strategist who takes into account as many relevant factors as possible, and he is also a tactician who adapt readily when he encounters problems. PERSONNEL COMMUNICATION 1 INTERVIEW 6. Interviewing is an important part of the communicative life of any organization. Every fire fighter at some time or the participates in an interview. For Senior Officers, interviewing is a crucial aspect of the their job. Nearly everyone, of course, has an initial job interview, and when we hear the word interview this is what we some sometime think of. But there are many other types too. An employee seeks information from others in order to do his job; a boss gives instructions to his subordinate; a salesmen tries to find out the need of each client; subordinates receive appraisals, counseling and discipline from their immediate superior; the personnel representative seeks out certain people to find out how things are going. Each of these situations is difference from the other in important ways, but all of them are interview situations. FCS M1 LO3 20

7. An interview is basically a specialized pattern of verbal interaction. It is specialized in that there is a specific purpose for initiating the interaction and there are specific content areas to be explored. The interview differs from ordinary conversation in that we expect more control to be exerted in the interaction, that extraneous matters be excluded, and that the interviewer-interviewee role relationship be maintained. THE INTERVIEWERS ROLE 8. The interviewer has definite responsibilities in planning an interview, conducting it. And measuring the result. 9. The interviewers primary role is that of a strategist, and his plans must involved all of the following: Clarify the purpose Identify content objective Prepare initial questions Decide how to structure the interview Arrange the seating

10. Plans are helpful because they represent the interviewers best thinking about all the alternatives available to him. However, they serve best as guides and not as inflexible rules. 11. First, the interviewer is the initiator, the strategist, and the planner. The reason for the interview is associated somehow with his position or purposes. Consequently he can and should make what-ever plans are necessary for effective interaction. He should, for example, do each of the following before the interview: a. b. c. d. e. Clarify his purpose for himself; Identify his content objective; Translate these objectives into preliminary questions; Decide how he will structure the interview; Arrange an appropriate setting for the interaction.

12. Second, during the interview the interview is the controller of the interaction, the tactician. He conducts the interview by adapting in whatever ways are necessary to maximize communication. He is the principal actor, and the interviewee is expected to react to him. One of the most damaging criticisms that can be applied to an interviewer is that he lost control of the situation. 13. Third, during and after the interviewer the interviewer is the judge, the measurer of result. He determines what topic to discuss how the information is interpreted, and how it is to be used. 14. As this discussion role implies, effectiveness as an interviewer calls for considerable expertise in a number of communication skills. However, success in interviewing should not be equated with mastering certain techniques. At its most basic level, the key to conducting a good interview is real sensitivity to other people and to conducting a good interview is real sensitivity to other people and to what is taking place between you and them in the interview situation.

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SELECTION INTERVIEWS 15. The selection interview has received more attention than any other kind because almost everyone participates in at least one while hunting for a job. Despite their universal use, however, such interviews are not without critics. Some even argue that selection interviews are not useful because they have been shown to be too subjective, as most of our social and communicative relationships are. But being subjective is not synonymous with being useless. 16. The fact remains that most organizations will not consider hiring someone without a job interview. In recognition of the interviews subjectivity, however, information from the interview is weighed along with information from application forms, academic record, resumes, tests, and letters of recommendation. Nevertheless, the interview perform and important function because interviewers and interviewees alike feel that the interview allows them to accomplish things that could be accomplished in any other way. Some of the interviews main contributions are the following: a. The interview offers an opportunity to exchange information about the candidate that might not be answered otherwise. Being able to probe also gives more depth to the information. Moreover, a face-to-face encounter is desirable because if the candidate is hired he will enter a face-to-face work relationship. b. On the basis of the interview, judgments can be made about the candidates personality, appearance, compatibility with others, and ability to communicate orally. c. The interview offers an opportunity to exchange information about the AFRS and the job, eliminating the ambiguity and generalities of brochures. The AFRS become more personalized through the interviewer, and the interviewee has the opportunity to ask specific questions about the organization. PERSONNEL COMMUNICATION 2 COUNSELLING 17. Most people want o know they are doing in their job and where they stand in the organization. Surveys have shown that is kind of personal feedback is desired at every level in the organization. It is absolutely necessary for people who are self-motivated achievers, for they like to keep score and need to have some evaluation of their performance in order to measure improvement. Because the Senior officer of some organization feel that differentiates successful Senior Officer from less successful one, the counseling services a vital role in management development we well as organization effectiveness. 18. The counseling process varies among organization, but it commonly includes the following stages: a. Preliminary discussions are held among several superiors for the purpose of evaluating the performance of a given subordinate. b. c. These discussions are summarized I a report; and The subordinates immediate supervisor meets with him to discuss the report.

19. During the final stage the fire fighter himself has an opportunity to make some input to the evaluation. In fact, in the management by objective, the objective set by the employee and his supervisor would be the criteria by which his performance is evaluated.

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20. Ideally, a fire-fighter should get feedback throughout the year, but in practice the counseling is a special time to set aside for taking over job problem and further plans more broadly than is possible in the normal course of work relationships. The counseling taps nearly all of the counselors communication skills; in addition to giving and getting information, he will need to evaluate the respondent, counsel him, perhaps discipline him, and at the same time motivate him to perform better. 7.1 From the counselors standpoint there are two important guidelines that should be implemented. The counseling should be as concrete as possible and whenever possible the firefighter should be made award to the exact criteria on which he is being evaluated. Also, it is necessary to let the firefighter vents some of this own emotions during the counseling in such a way as to permit the counselor to maintain control over the situation. 8. ACHIEVING THE DESIRED RESULT IN COUNSELLING

8.1 Counseling is a complex process; therefore the planning a stages are crucial. There are three areas in wish planning is particularly important. a. Analyze the fire fighter to be counseled. The counselor needs to anticipate as much as possible. This may include learning something about the fire-fighters experiences and personal history, his motives and assumptions, and particularly his value orientations, that is, what he thinks is really important. Two of the best pieces of information to have are: i. How the fire fighter generally reacts to the counselors comments and proposals. ii. The nature of the relationship between the counselor and the fire fighter. 8.2 While we often say that the ideal in persuasion is the acceptance of an idea on its own merits, we know that people very frequently accept or reject an idea because of the person associated with it. In addition, it may be very important to know the fire-fighters attitude toward decision making in the organization. Some people like to be told what to do; others like to be asked. These two types must be approached quite differently. a. Have a through knowledge of the topic of problem. It is good to know not only the basic rationale for the idea but also the possible criticisms and negative reactions. Learning all this make take valuable time, but it could prove well worth while. A vague development of an idea may arouse unnecessary suspicious or irrelevant objections; beside, the respondent will want answers to is questions. Moreover, through knowledge of the topic will permit anticipation of, and preparation for, some of the chief objections that might be raised. b. Pick a time and setting conductive to the discussion of ideas. Whenever possible, it is desirable to schedule appointments ahead of time because many fire fighters feel pressure and irritation when take off the job unexpectedly. Moreover, scheduling ahead may permit a choice among physical conditions.

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9.

PERSONNEL COMMUNICATION 3 CONFERENCE

9.1 The conference is one of managements most fundamental tools. Sensitivity to group potential is thus vital to the organizational communicator. Shortcomings of group conferences: Groups take time Group diffuse responsibility Group cause conformity

Advantage of group conferences Group produce better decisions Group produce stronger commitment Group increase understanding 9.2 Group conferences are integral to almost all organization. The individual executive can hardly escape committee meetings, informal work-related discussions, or formal group conference. Supervisors at all levels of management will find themselves attending more and more conferences in this age of a teamwork and the application of democratic group process to business. Recognizing the existence of group and assuming that the first vital decision for any manager concerning groups is when to used and when not to use the conference method, this chapter initially sets forth some through about what group discussion can do and what it cannot do. 9.3 In the first place, groups are unable to handle all tasks efficiently, initial drafts of reports are best written by one person, with the committee polishing the final draft, and scientific demonstrations and dissemination of information can best be handled by a single speaker. Other undesirable characteristics often associated with group are that they take more time than an individual acting alone; that they diffuse responsibility, often resulting in inefficiency; and that they cause conformity. 9.4 yet in todays world group discussion is inevitable. Living in the age of participatory democracy, people want to be part of the decision -making process. Discussion is viewed as an essential aspect of a democratic society. Moreover, organizations tend to be so large and complex today that it is hard to conduct the necessary business without some committees and group interaction. Staff meetings, for example, seem absolutely essential from time to time. 10. PLANNING A CONFERENCE

10.1. Preliminary planning by the senior officer concerned is the key to productive group conferences. Factors to plan for are: Group size Purpose of conference Agenda Physical arrangements Notifying the participants

10.2 The success or failure of many conferences depends directly on their advance planning. Large groups tend to be ineffective and dissatisfying to their members unless special format are used. The show-types discussion, the buzz session, and nominal groupings have been suggested as ways of participant satisfaction and for the purpose of efficiency, five to ten would appear to be the best number of people in small-group discussions. FCS M1 LO3 24

10.3 Once the senior officer has concerned himself properly with group size, he should clarify the groups purpose - both in his own mind and to the participants. 10.4 in additional, the senior officer should prepare an agenda for the meeting, make all necessary physical arrangement, and be sure to notify the participants. 10.5 with the preliminary planning completed, the organizational communicator is ready to conduct the conference. 11. THE CONFERANCE

11.1 productive conferences are a result of good leadership and skillful member participation. Three types of skills are particularly important is a general sense: a. b. c. Human relations skills Critical-thinking skills, and Communication skills.

11.2 conference leader should begin by setting the overall tone of the meeting and introduce the task in a manner conductive to its accomplishment. As the conference progresses, the leader has the further responsibility of stimulating the participants, using probing questions and drawing silent members into the discussion. It is also vital that he controls the group process and clarify the discussion, using internal summaries from time to tome, the leader should also state what seems to be the final outcome, allowing members to check the statement with their perception of the outcome. The leader should end the conference by explaining what is to happened next. 13. FROM PREPARATIONS TO PRESENTATION

13.1 Preparing for a speech can be a rich learning experience because research adds to ones store of knowledge. 13.2 Visual aids reinforce verbal massages, and audiences generally appreciate them. Excellent visuals are a trademark of a really professional organization communicator. 13.3 A well-development outline helps give the audience a sense of progress. Notes can be used, depending in the speakers sty le:

Extemporaneous speech Manuscript speech

Even certain aspects of the delivery can be planned: Voice Body

13.4 As our chapter title indicates, the processes of preparing and presenting a speech are indissolubly linked. While he is searching for ideas and materials, and while he is designing his presentation, the speaker should always keep in mind the audience he is to address, mentally testing his ideas and material as to their probable effectiveness. Conversely, when he is delivering the speech he must be alert for needed adjustment, adding data when extra proof or additional clarity is needed, subtracting perhaps whole points when time is running short or if he is in danger of overextending his line of reasoning. FCS M1 LO3 25

13.5 Briefly, this process involves finding the necessary speech materials drawn from your personal experience, from your speech file, or from careful library research, note taking, and outlining of ideas. On the assumption that the more communication channels the speakers cam employ the more effective the massage, it also involves the selection and preparation of extra-visual aids. Research indicated that the listener can recall more than six times as much about a massage when telling and showing are both employed as communication vehicle than if telling alone is employed. When delivering the massage, the speakers should maintain a strong sprit if communication through direct eye contact and an attitude of sharing ideas. Vocal delivery should be clear, laud enough to be heard, and pleasant. Bodily action should be viewed as an integral part of the natural code for communicating thought. The speakers body especially his face, reflects his thoughts, emotions and attitudes. Finally, beware of the unexpected. Microphones may stop functioning, audio equipment may be of the wrong kind, or a flight may break out in the audience. 14. 14.1 INFORMATION PRESENTATION Effective information presentation are judged in terms of: 14.2 Accuracy Completeness Unity Meaningfulness

Informative presentations are used extensively in organization. The basic types are: Explanations Reports Briefings

14.3 This section identifies three vital types of informative presentations: explanations, report and briefings. The AFRS senior officer frequently called upon to explain such things as sick-leave policy or the vital attributes of a new sales policy. Reports are statements of affairs or research finds. Financial reports, for example, are common types of presentation made by AFRS senior officers, the decision briefing, the staff briefing and the mission briefing. Briefing are usually given on a one-to-one or one-to-few basis; they do not involved large groups as explanations and reports commonly do. 14.4 Four criteria have been suggested for informative presentation: accuracy, completeness, unity and meaning. All organization thrives on vital information and the effective transmission of that information to key personnel. Informative thus plays an important role in managerial communication. 15. CEREMONIAL PRESENTATION

15.1 A ceremonial presentation generally has a strong emotional tone and attempt to fill the organizations integrative function. Basic types are: Introductions Welcomes and farewells Awards Nominations Inaugurations Tributes Celebrations FCS M1 LO3 26

15.2 They call for more eloquence than is normal for most other personal presentations. Often they are designed to impress by the speakers use of: Diction Imagination Metaphor Structure

15.3 Presentations are not integral to the work line of the average organization, but they do provide a valuable organizational functional. It has been suggested that it is at these moments that personnel are likely to feel pride in being part of the organization is a highly desirable goal. 16. 16.1 16.2 PERSUASIVE PRESENTATIONS Persuasion is an attempt to influence a listeners attitudes, beliefs, or behavior. A speaker has several different basic appeals from which to draw: His own credibility The acceptability of his ideas The emotional involvement of the audience

Persuasive speeches are used in organization to: Show good will Sell ideas and products Implement decisions

16.3 Persuasion involves attitude formation, strengthening, or changing and finds its end in belief and action. Often when we think of persuasion in an organizational contact we think only of salesmanship. However, there are many other persuasive contacts in organization communications. Managers are often called upon to give good-will speeches in behalf of their organizations; they sometimes need to sell their ideals to higher management. From time to time, too, they will be asked to give decision briefings to their immediate superiors, such as on Work Improvement Team presentations. 16.4 The art of persuasion involves many things, but communicator credibility, idea credibility and motive appeal seem to be central factors. The speaker must be personally believable, must present his ideas in such a way that they seem plausible to the listener, and must relate his position to the vital needs of those he trying to reach. 17. CONCLUSION

17.1 You would have realized by now, that communication is a complex process. Each one of us is a tool for communication. 17.2 You would also have learnt that interviewing is a specialised pattern of verbal interaction - with a specific purpose. The interviewer should be fully prepared before the interview. You should be able to explain the importance of a selection interview. 17.3 As counseling takes on a growing importance in the AFRS especially in the field or rating training, feedback and follow-up actions, it is important that you understand the purpose of counseling, and ways of achieving result in counseling.

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17.4 As senior AFRS officers, you are often called upon to conduct briefings and conferences. You should be able to explain by now, the shortcomings and advantages of conferences and how you can achieve the best results from conferences. 17.5 Senior AFRS officers are also often required to give personal presentations of various natures. Paragraphs 12 to 16 should have given you a clear guidance on the preparation of such presentations.

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THE COUNSELLING INTERVIEW CHECK LIST BEFORE COUNSELLING Set Up the Interview 1. 2. 3. Spot the need listen to the grapevine organize an uninterrupted period

WHEN COUNSELLING Encourage people to talk 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. Reassure Ask open ended questions Sit with, not opposite Show you are listening Ask non-threatening questions Play back what you hear. encourage them to say more

Help them to think the problem through 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Admit your fallibility Bal all opinions and criticisms Offer relevant information Ask questions to solicit ideas Suggest some ideas in the form of questions.

Let them their own solution 1. 2. 3. 4. Support their solution Agree a plan of action Plan a review date Leave your door open for their return

AFTER COUNSELLING 1. 2. 3. Carry on as if it had not happened Keep confidences to yourself Continue watching for signs of personal problems that effect peoples performance.

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