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What is Communication?

How does one talk so that another person listens and understands? How does one listen? How does one know
if he has been heard and understood?
These are all points about communication that have never before been analyzed or explained.
People have known that communication is an important part of life but until now no one has ever been able
to tell anyone how to communicate.
Until Scientoloy! the sub"ect of communication had received no emphasis
or study. #ny attention iven to it was mechanical and the province of
enineers. $et all human endeavor depends utterly on a full knowlede of
the real basics of communication.
To master communication! one must understand it.
%n Scientoloy! communication has been
defined & an accomplishment that has led to a much deeper understandin
of life itself.
'ommunication! in essence! is the shift of a particle from one part of space
to another part of space. # particle is the thin bein communicated. %t can
be an ob"ect! a written messae! a spoken word or an idea. %n its crudest
definition! this is communication.
This simple view of communication leads to the full definition(
Communication is the consideration and action of impelling an impulse or
particle from source-point across a distance to receipt-point, with the
intention of bringing into being at the receipt-point a duplication and
understanding of that which emanated from the source-point.
Duplication is the act of reproducin somethin exactly. Emanated means
)came forth.*
The formula of communication is cause! distance! effect! with intention! attention and duplication with
understanding.
The definition and formula of communication open the door to understandin this sub"ect. +y dissectin
communication into its component parts! we can view the function of each and thus more clearly understand
the whole.
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. . . a written message. . .
. . . a spoken word. . .
. . . or an idea.
Any successful communication contains all the
elements shown here. Any failure to communicate can
be analyzed against these components to isolate what
went wrong.
Barriers to Effective Communication
There are a wide number of sources of noise or interference that can enter into the communication process.
This can occur when people now each other very well and should understand the sources of error. %n a work
settin! it is even more common since interactions involve people who not only don/t have years of
experience with each other! but communication is complicated by the complex and often conflictual
relationships that exist at work. %n a work settin! the followin suests a number of sources of noise(
0anuae( The choice of words or lanuae in which a sender encodes a messae will influence the
1uality of communication. +ecause lanuae is a symbolic representation of a phenomenon! room for
interpreation and distortion of the meanin exists. %n the above example! the +oss uses lanuae 2this
is the third day you/ve missed3 that is likely to convey far more than ob"ective information. To Terry it
conveys indifference to her medical problems. 4ote that the same words will be interpreted different
by each different person. 5eanin has to be iven to words and many factors affect how an individual
will attribute meanin to particular words. %t is important to note that no two people will attribute the
exact same meanin to the same words.
defensiveness! distorted perceptions! uilt! pro"ect! transference! distortions from the past
misreadin of body lanuae! tone and other non6verbal forms of communication 2see section below3
noisy transmission 2unreliable messaes! inconsistency3
receiver distortion( selective hearin! inorin non6verbal cues
power strules
self6fulfillin assupmtions
lanuae6different levels of meanin
manaers hesitation to be candid
assumptions6e. assumin others see situation same as you! has same feelins as you
distrusted source! erroneous translation! value "udment! state of mind of two people
Perceptual +iases( People attend to stimuli in the environment in very different ways. 7e each have
shortcuts that we use to oranize data. %nvariably! these shortcuts introduce some biases into
communication. Some of these shortcuts include stereotypin! pro"ection! and self6fulfillin
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prophecies. Stereotypin is one of the most common. This is when we assume that the other person
has certain characteristics based on the roup to which they belon without validatin that they in fact
have these characteristics.
%nterpersonal 9elationships( How we perceive communication is affected by the past experience with
the individual. Percpetion is also affected by the oranizational relationship two people have. :or
example! communication from a superior may be perceived differently than that from a subordinate
or peer
'ultural ;ifferences( <ffective communication re1uires decipherin the basic values! motives!
aspirations! and assumptions that operate across eoraphical lines. =iven some dramatic differences
across cultures in approaches to such areas as time! space! and privacy! the opportunities for mis6
communication while we are in cross6cultural situations are plentiful.
Developing Communication Skills: Listening Skills
There are a number of situations when you need to solicit ood information from others> these
situations include interviewin candidates! solvin work problems! seekin to help an employee on
work performance! and findin out reasons for performance discrepancies.
Skill in communication involves a number of specific strenths. The first we will discuss involves
listenin skills. The followin lists some suests for effective listenin when confronted with a
problem at work(
0isten openly and with empathy to the other person
?ude the content! not the messener or delivery> comprehend before you "ude
Use multiple techni1ues to fully comprehend 2ask! repeat! rephrase! etc.3
#ctive body state> fiht distractions
#sk the other person for as much detail as he@she can provide> paraphrase what the other is
sayin to make sure you understand it and check for understandin
9espond in an interested way that shows you understand the problem and the employee/s
concern
#ttend to non6verbal cues! body lanuae! not "ust words> listen between the lines
#sk the other for his views or suestions
State your position openly> be specific! not lobal
'ommunicate your feelins but don/t act them out 2e. tell a person that his behavior really
upsets you> don/t et anry3
+e descriptive! not evaluative6describe ob"ectively! your reactions! conse1uences
+e validatin! not invalidatin 2A$ou wouldn/t understandA3> acknowlede other>/s uni1ueness!
importance
+e con"unctive! not dis"unctive 2not A% want to discuss this reardless of what you want to
discussA3>
;on/t totally control conversation> acknowlede what was said
Bwn up( use A%A! not ATheyA... not A%/ve heard you are noncooperativeA
;on/t react to emotional words! but interpret their purpose
Practice supportive listenin! not one way listenin
;ecide on specific follow6up actions and specific follow up dates
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# ma"or source of problem in communication is defensiveness. <ffective communicators are aware
that defensiveness is a typical response in a work situation especially when neative information or
criticism is involved. +e aware that defensiveness is common! particularly with subordinates when
you are dealin with a problem. Try to make ad"ustments to compensate for the likely defensiveness.
9ealize that when people feel threatened they will try to protect themselves> this is natural. This
defensiveness can take the form of aression! aner! competitiveness! avoidance amon other
responses. # skillful listener is aware of the potential for defensiveness and makes needed ad"ustment.
He or she is aware that self6protection is necessary and avoids makin the other person spend enery
defendin the self.
%n addition! a supportive and effective listener does the followin(
Stop Talkin( #sks the other person for as much detail as he@she can provide> asks for other/s
views and suestions
0ooks at the person! listens openly and with empathy to the employee> is clear about his
position> be patient
0isten and 9espond in an interested way that shows you understand the problem and the
other/s concern
is validatin! not invalidatin 2A$ou wouldn/t understandA3> acknowlede other>/s uni1ueness!
importance
checks for understandin> paraphrases> asks 1uestions for clarification
don/t control conversation> acknowledes what was said> let/s the other finish before
respondin
:ocuses on the problem! not the person> is descriptive and specific! not evaluative> focuses on
content! not delivery or emotion
#ttend to emotional as well as conitive messaes 2e..! aner3> aware of non6verbal cues!
body lanuae! etc.> listen between the lines
9eact to the messae! not the person! delivery or emotion
5ake sure you comprehend before you "ude> ask 1uestions
Use many techni1ues to fully comprehend
Stay in an active body state to aid listenin
:iht distractions
2 if in a work situation3 Take 4otes> ;ecide on specific follow6up actions and specific follow
up dates
A Short Example of Effective Communication
Example:
Maria( My proect coordinator, !udy, is in a slump" she#s ust not producing her usual caliber of
work. $ need to find out what the problem is.
Bn the surface! it would seem that ettin ood information is easy. +ut like other forms of
communication! it takes plannin and experience to develop skills in this area
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e! "echni#ues
$ocus the %iscussion on the information nee%e% !udy, $#%e noticed in the past month that you#%e
fallen behind on keeping the proect schedule current. $#d like to figure out with you what we both can
do to get it back on track.
&se open'en%e% #uestions to expan% the %iscussion &ou#%e always kept the schedule up to the
minute-until about a month ago. 'hy the change(
&se close% en%e% #uestions to prompt for specifics )'hat proects are you working on that take
time away from your work on this proect *warning+ closed ended ,uestions are often disguised as
open ended as in )Are you going to ha%e trouble finishing this proect(-
Encourage %ialogue through e!e contact an% expression .his in%ol%es nodding in agreeemnt,
smiling, leaning toward the speaker, making statements that acknowledge the speaker is being heard.
State !our un%erstan%ing of (hat !ou are hearing .his can be done by restating briefly what the
other person is saying but don#t make fun of it
)/o it sounds like these phone calls ha%e ended up taking a lot more time than you or !ay e0pected"
you think the three of us should talk about priorities" is this your position()
Wh! )s )t So *ar% "o Listen?
5ost of us can make our point without too much difficulty. #ny time :S#P counselors work with two or
more people! both are usually expert at describin everythin that is wron with the other person. +ut it is
rare to find someone who truly knows how to listen. 7hy is this so difficult? 5ost of us don/t listen!
especially when we are involved in an arument! because we are formin our response! waitin to pounce on
the speaker the minute they take a breath. 7e may be waitin to display our brilliance and make our point by
takin thins out of context. 7e may also be listenin for cues so that we can direct the conversation in our
direction. 4one of these actions communicates to the listener that we are truly interested in hearin them!
thereby communicatin respect. People often seem shocked when the conversation ends after utilizin these
Ahalf6listeninA techni1ues.
#nother Aconversation enderA is our desire to "ump riht in and fix the problem. This difference in
communication style has been spelled out very clearly in ;ebra Tannen/s A$ou ?ust ;on/t UnderstandA where
ender differences in communication styles are described. #s she points out! sometimes people want to talk
"ust to talk. Talkin is therapeutic! even when an AanswerA is not forthcomin.
0istenin is not easy and re1uires a certain set of skills. #n active listener(
concentrates on what is bein said 2doesn/t read! shuffle papers or otherwise non6verbally
communicate a lack of interest3
listens to all facts and tries not to interrupt until the speaker has concluded his@her statements. 7hen
someone is talkin for a lon period of time! it is sometimes helpful to either take notes or ask them
to stop so that you can feed back to them what you have heard.
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listens for key words of interest on which to comment and ask 1uestions
2communicatin that % am really interested and want to hear more or better
understand what you are sayin.3
is ob"ective> hears people as they are! not the way you/d like them to be.
holds back personal "udments until the speaker has presented his@her ideas.
0istenin re1uires courae because we may hear thins that we/d rather not 2especially about ourselves3.
#ctive listenin means stayin in the Ahere and nowA! focusin on the current issues and not ettin
sidetracked on what happened previously or the way we/d like thins to be.
7here the maic starts to occur in a conversation is when you are able to let the speaker know that you are
really payin attention to them. How does one do this? +y acknowledin what you heard the other person
say. This can be accomplished in different ways(
A%t sounds like you are sayin...A
A;o % understand you to mean...?A
A0et me make sure that % understand your point. ;o you mean...?A
Ackno(le%ging (hat !ou hear% is in no (a! agreeing (ith (hat !ou hear%+ The reason that many of us
skip this step is because we believe that if we state what we heard the person say! then we have areed with
them. Providin feedback simply communicates that % respect you and am showin that respect by tryin
hard to understand your point! even if % do disaree with it .
There is nothin as powerful as bein understood by another person! especially when it involves somethin
important and entails an emotional content. The above statements are ways to make that happen.
*o( Can ) Make M! ,oint in a More Effective Manner?
0earnin how to communicate assertively allows you the freedom to know that you have a riht to speak and
be heard in most situations and the confidence to know that you can present yourself in such a fashion that
people will want to hear you.
#ssertive communication is difficult to teach in a short pararaph. There are excellent books and articles
listed at the end of this section! but here are some of the main principles(
:irst and foremost! assertive speakers demonstrate attentive listenin behavior. 7hat you
communicate is A% am showin you the respect by listenin to you! and assume that you will show me
the same courtesy.A
;emonstrate an assurin manner! communicatin carin and strenth
To the extent possible! remain as relaxed as you can. %t is physioloically impossible to be both
relaxed and anxious at the same time! so focus on bein relaxed and develop skills that will help in
these situations
State clearly what it is that you want
State honestly how you feel about the topic
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+oth of the above recommendations are more effective whenever you use A%A statements! e.. A% would like to
speak with you about the fiht we had last niht in the restaurant. % feel very anry about the scene we made
and % would like very much for us to work thins out.A Usin A%A statement allows you to take responsibility
for your behavior and your feelins. %t also ets you out of the habit of blamin others! a sure recipe for
defensiveness from the listener.
#n assertive speaker also reconizes that there is someone else with whom you are havin the
conversation. 9econizin their side and their concerns shows respect and usually results in
reciprocal behavior.
#n assertive speaker always communicates a desire for a Awin6winA outcome! aain reconizin the
needs of the other person
$our eyes should be makin ood contact! but not starin. $our posture should be well balanced!
straiht! erect and relaxed. $our voice should be firm! warm! well modulated and relaxed.
Puttin all of these tips toether takes practice but is worth the time and effort to improve your ability to et
your point across. 7hen employees ask us for help in addressin a colleaue! we usually ask them to do two
thins( ,. imaine the worst thin that can happen when you speak to this person and be confident that you
can handle it> and 8. practice the conversation with the :S#P counselor or some trusted individual so that
you will be prepared for most continencies.
Effective Communication
Performance
Element
Master Advanced Developing Beginner
Clarity Consistently
provides a clear
main idea supported
by rich, vivid, and
powerful details.
Consistently
provides a clear
main idea supported
by sufficient details.
Occasionally
provides a clear
main idea supported
by sufficient details.
Rarely provides a
clear main idea
supported by
sufficient details.
Audience Adjustments Adjusts tone and
style to appeal to a
wide range of
audiences.
Adjusts tone and
style to appeal to
different audiences.
Adjusts tone and
style to appeal to
specific and familar
audiences.
Uses the same tone
and style regardless
of audience.
Purposes Can consistently
identify and adjust to
specific purposes of
communication i.e.
entertain, inspire,
motivate,
understanding,
accurate recall,
persuasion, decision
ma!ing".
Can occasionally
identify and adjust to
specific purposes of
communication i.e.
entertain, inspire,
motivate,
understanding,
accurate recall,
persuasion, decision
ma!ing".
Can rarely identify
and adjust to specific
purposes of
communication i.e.
entertain, inspire,
motivate,
understanding,
accurate recall,
persuasion, decision
ma!ing".
#oes not e$hibit the
ability to identify
different purposes
and types of
communication.
%ariety Uses a variety of
approaches to
achieve desired
purpose or audience
impact.
Relies upon &'(
approaches to
achieve desired
purpose or audience
impact.
Relies upon two
major approaches to
achieve desired
purpose or audience
impact.
Uses one approach
in most or all
situations.
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)elf'*valuation )tudents evaluates
own effectiveness
using predetermined
audience response
criteria.
)tudent evaluates
own effectiveness
using own
performance criteria.
)tudent evaluates
own effectiveness
without specific
performance criteria.
)tudent does
evaluates own
effectiveness.
+itle Page ,ncludes title, name,
many colors, and
attention grabbing
ideas.
,ncludes title, name,
and many colors
,ncludes title, name,
and & or ( colors.
,ncludes title and
name.
#rawings #rawings contain all
information and are
easily understood.
#rawings contain all
information and are
easily understood.
#rawings contain
most of the basic
information and are
easily understood.
#rawings is missing
basic information - is
difficult to
understand.
10 Tips For Successful Public Speaking
.eeling some nervousness before giving a speech is natural and healthy. ,t
shows you care about doing well. /ut, too much nervousness can be
detrimental. 0ere1s how you can control your nervousness and ma!e effective,
memorable presentations2
3. no! t"e room# /e familiar with the place in which you will spea!.
Arrive early, wal! around the spea!ing area and practice using the
microphone and any visual aids.
&. no! t"e audience# 4reet some of the audience as they arrive. ,t1s
easier to spea! to a group of friends than to a group of strangers.
(. no! $our material# ,f you1re not familiar with your material or are
uncomfortable with it, your nervousness will increase. Practice your
speech and revise it if necessary.
5. %ela&# *ase tension by doing e$ercises.
6. 'isuali(e $ourself giving $our speec"# ,magine yourself spea!ing,
your voice loud, clear, and assured. 7hen you visuali8e yourself as successful, you will be successful.
9. %eali(e t"at people !ant $ou to succeed# Audiences want you to be interesting, stimulating, informative, and
entertaining. +hey don1t want you to fail.

:. Don)t apologi(e# ,f you mention your nervousness or apologi8e for any problems you thin! you have with your
speech, you may be calling the audience1s attention to something they hadn1t noticed. ;eep silent.
<. *oncentrate on t"e message ++ not t"e medium# .ocus your attention away from your own an$ieties, and
outwardly toward your message and your audience. =our nervousness will dissipate.
>. Turn nervousness into positive energ$# 0arness your nervous energy and transform it into vitality and
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enthusiasm.
3?. ,ain e&perience# *$perience builds confidence, which is the !ey to effective spea!ing. A +oastmasters club can
provide the e$perience you need.
'-S-T A T.ASTMASTE%S */0B1 +oastmasters clubs meet in the morning, at noon, and in the evening in
appro$imately :? countries worldwide. @o matter where you live, wor!, or travel you are more than li!ely to find a club
nearby. ,f you1d li!e to learn more about joining +oastmasters, follow the 0ow to /ecome a Aember lin!.
Sa$ )2o) to %esponsibilit$ .verload
An interesting fact is that many Bstressed outB people are not poor stress managers' they are simply overloaded with
commitments and responsibilities. ,n this case stress arises from an overboo!ed schedule or a greater number of
responsibilities than one can reasonably handle.
Perhaps you recogni8e the signs of Bresponsibility overloadB in your own schedule. #espite a major upcoming deadline
and long hours, you find yourself agreeing to organi8e the office holiday party. Although your afternoons are already
pac!ed, you end up coaching your daughter1s soccer team. =ou1re president of your tenants1 association because you
did it last year and hate to let your neighbors down. Aost of us !now the feeling of wondering why we ever agreed to
ta!e on yet one more responsibility. *ven school'age children can e$perience stress from an overloaded
e$tracurricular schedule.
.inding things to eliminate and to decline, in the future" in a too'busy schedule can help you not only to reduce stress,
but also provides you with more time for yourself and more energy to deal with your remaining commitments. Coo!
closely at how you spend your non'wor!ing, non'sleeping hours. *$amine your social, family, and community
commitments and as! yourself2 ,s this a true obligation for meD ,t1s up to you to decide which activities you feel are
most important and cannot be missed. #o , want to do thisD 7ill this activity or event bring me joyD 7ill my
participation bring joy or happiness to someone important to meD Coo!ing at your schedule with a critical eye will help
you to target areas in which you can ma!e cutbac!s.
Aany people report that they assume too many responsibilities because they do not want to be perceived as la8y or
unhelpful, or because they do not want to be seen as letting others down. .or many, learning to say no to others1
reEuests is the most difficult time management tas!. Although it seems li!e a simple step, a large number of people
admit that they often agree to reEuests because they have difficulty refusing them. ,n this case it is helpful to actually
rehearse how you will react ne$t time you are as!ed to ta!e on a responsibility you don1t want to accept. Practice the
following responses if you need help saying BnoB2
B,1m not ta!ing on any more charityFvolunteerFcommunityF projects right now.B
B)orry, ,1m just not able to plan that far ahead now.B
B,1ve got so much on that ,1m not scheduling anything new right now.B
B7e1re having a Euiet holiday with just the family this year.B
B, really don1t feel that ,1d be able to provide the reEuired commitment level to do justice to the project.B
Remember, you do not owe others an e$planation or defense of your choices. #eliver your answer with a friendly smile
and refuse to be drawn into a debate or discussion. .or more practical tips on saying 1no,1 psychologist #r. Cinda #.
+illman writes about B+he Power of )aying 1@o1B and gives advice for those Bpeople pleasersB who readily agree to any
reEuest.
As with all changes and improvements, learning to free yourself from overloaded and unwanted responsibilities is a
s!ill you can improve with time, leading ultimately to a more balanced life and better stress management.
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/istening Skills
True /istening *an be a *"allenge
Cac! of communication in a marital relationship is one of the main reasons couples end up in divorce. 7hen spouses
don1t listen to one another, the result is often frustration, anger, misunderstandings, and hurt. *ven your health can be
compromised. )ome studies on heart disease have shown that poor communication can result in rapid fluctuations in
blood pressure which isn1t good for your heart.
Poor communication s!ills can be an inherited family trait. ,f a person is raised in an environment where people don1t
listen or can1t e$press their feelings, they will probably bring that inability to communicate into their marriage and other
relationships. 0owever, you can change the habit of being a shallow listener.
+o become a more effective listener, try some of these techniEues2
3. /e aware that you need to listen. Aa!e eye contact. Pay attention by not loo!ing at the +% or glancing at the
newspaper or finishing up a chore.
&. #on1t interrupt. Cet your spouse finish what they are saying. ,f this is a problem and you interrupt a lot, place
your hands over your mouth, or you chin in your hands to remind you to !eep Euiet.
(. +ry not to jump to conclusions. ;eep an open mind and don1t judge. Put yourself in your spouse1s shoes. /e
loving as you listen and don1t overly react. +hin! before you say anything in response, especially if it is an
emotional reaction.
5. #on1t loo! for the BrightB or BwrongB in what your spouse is saying. Gust listen.
6. 7hen responding, let your partner !now that you heard what they said by using a feedbac! techniEue and
restating what was said. )ay something li!e You are saying you ....
9. /e open to hearing that you didn1t hear what your spouse was saying.
:. /e aware of non'verbal signs and clues ' both yours and those of your mate. +hese include shrugging your
shoulders, tone of voice, crossing arms or legs, nodding, eye contact or loo!ing away, facial e$pressions
smile, frown, shoc!, disgust, tears, surprise, rolling eyes, etc.", and mannerisms fiddling with papers, tapping
your fingers".
<. Remember that feelings are neither right or wrong.
>. Coo! out for these bloc!s to listening2 mind reading, rehearsing, filtering, judging, daydreaming, advising,
sparring, being right, changing the subject, and placating.
3?. Remember, that you can1t listen and tal! at the same timeH
33. +ry to stay focused on the main points that your spouse is tal!ing about. #on1t be distracted if your mate
digresses onto another topic.
3&. ,t1s o! to as! Euestions to clarify what you thought you heard.
3(. #on1t give advice unless as!ed for it.
35. Cisten without planning on what you are going to say in response. Cet go of your own agenda
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Chapter -
Attri.utes of /oo% Listening

)listening in%ol%es hearing, sensing, interpretation, e%aluation and response)
=ood listenin is an essential part of bein a ood leader. $ou cannot be a ood leader unless you are a ood
listener. $ou as a leader must be very aware of the feedback you are receivin from the people around you. %f
you are not a ood listener! your future as a leader will be short. % miht add that bein a ood listener is a
skill important in many other settins. :or example! bein a ood listener will enhance your social
relationships of all types! marriae! datin! parties! work! etc.
Have you ever stopped to think that we re1uire courses and trainin in our education in speakin and writin!
but not in listenin? 7hy not? #re such skills important? $esI 'an you or % improve our listenin capacity
throuh purposive efforts? #ain! the answer is clear( yesI ;o we know what it takes to be a ood listener?
#nother! yes. 7hy do we leave the learnin of ood listenin skills to hard6earned experience or chance?
Probably! the only answer is tradition. The people who established Areadin! writin and arithmeticA as the
content of #merican schools did not reconize the need for other skills such as listenin. #nd even today!
how many parents will insist that their child develop ood listenin skills throuh trainin in schools or
elsewhere? #ll to fewI
=ood listenin includes a packae of skills! which re1uires knowlede of techni1ue and practice very similar
to ood writin or ood speakin. 5any people believe that ood listenin skills are easy to learn or
automatically part of every person/s personality. 4either is correct. The difference is that poor listenin skills
are often not as obvious to other people. %f we cannot speak effectively! it is immediately obvious! but it may
take a little time for other people to become aware that you or % are poor listeners.
Poor listenin habits are very common. %ndeed! poor listenin skills are more common than poor speakin
skills. % am sure that you have seen on many occasions! two or more people talkin to 2by3 each other at the
same time. People cannot talk and be an effective listener at the same instance. 7hat is not so obvious is
when you and % are only payin partial attention or don/t fully understand. % am fre1uently amused and
bemused in my classes! % can ive a lecture on a complex topic and all too often very few 1uestions are
asked! but brin up a topic such as tests and hands will o up all over the room. 7hy? %s it that they listened
to and understood the lecture! but not the announcement about a test? Bbviously! not. The test has immediate
relevance called rades! while the material in the lecture? 7ell! maybe some time in the future. % stronly
suspect that the same conclusions can be drawn about many or most other conversations or other listenin.
There are some ames that we use in the classroom and elsewhere in which we start some information
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throuh a line of people. <ach one passes the information to the next. The end result is usually very different
than what was started. Some of the differences are the result of poor listenin skills.
There is shallow listenin and deep listenin. Shallow or superficial listenin is all too common in classes
and many other settins. 5ost of us have learned how to ive the appearance of listenin to the professor
while not really listenin. <ven less obvious is when the messae received is different from the one sent. 7e
did not really understand what the messae is. 7e listened! but we did not et the intended messae. Such
failed communications are the conse1uences of poor speakin! poor listenin and@or poor understandin.
=ood listenin skills will vary from one communications situation to the next. :or example! what is effective
feedback will vary from one person to another. Some people to whom you are listenin may need more
feedback than other people.
0istenin skills can always be improved. Perfection in listenin! "ust as in other communications skills! does
not exist.
There are several ood books and many articles on ood listenin. The followin skills and attributes are
taken from the literature.
There are three basic listenin modes( combative! attentive and reflective. 5ost of us would describe our
listenin as attentive! that we are interested in the other person/s point of view. % have had many students
come up to me in a combative mode when discussin rades. They clearly did not want to hear my
explanations! but wanted to promote theirs. #ll to seldom do we take the reflective mode in which we take an
active roll in the communications process. 7e are not "ust passive vessels into which information is poured!
but we think critically about the topics! the messaes we receive. This when real learnin occurs.
The followin attributes of ood listenin are suestive of the skills needed. There is some overlap between
the various attributes! but each suests somethin different.
,. Concentration. =ood listenin is normally hard work. #t every moment we are receivin literally
millions of sensory messaes. 4erve endins on our bottom are tellin us the chair is hard! others are
sayin our clothes are bindin! nerve endin in our nose are pickin up the smells of cookin :rench
fries! or whatever! our ears are hearin the buzzin of the computer fan! street sounds! music in the
backround and dozens of other sounds! our emotions are remindin us of that fiht we had with our
mate last niht! and thousands more sinals are knockin at the doors of our senses. 7e have to
repress almost all of these and concentrate on the verbal sounds 2and visual clues3 from one source 6
the speaker. #nd this concentration! if somethin that most of us have not been thorouhly trained in
how to do.
:ocus your attention 6 on the words! ideas and feelin related to the sub"ect. 'oncentrate on the main
ideas or points. ;on/t let examples or frine comments detract you. #ll of this takes a conscious
effort.
8. Attention. #ttention may be defined as the visual portion of concentration on the speaker. Throuh
eye contact 2see below3 and other body lanuae! we communicate to the speaker that we are payin
close attention to his@her messaes. #ll the time we are readin the verbal and nonverbal cues from
the speaker! the speaker is readin ours. 7hat messaes are we sendin out? %f we lean forward a
little and focus our eyes on the person! the messae is we are payin close attention.
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C. E!e contact. =ood eye contact is essential for several reasons( :irst! by maintainin eye contact!
some of the competin visual imputs are eliminated. $ou are not as likely to be distracted from the
person talkin to you. Second! most of us have learned to read lips! often unconsciously! and the lip
readin helps us to understand verbal messaes. Third! much of many messaes are in non6verbal
form and by watchin the eyes and face of a person we pick up clues as to the content. # s1uintin of
the eyes may indicate close attention. # sliht nod indicates understandin or areement. 5ost
<nlish lanuae messaes can have several meanins dependin upon voice inflection! voice
modulation! facial expression! etc. :inally! our eye contact with the speaker is feedback concernin
the messae( $es! % am listenin! % am payin attention. % hear you.
9emember( a person/s face! mouth! eyes! hands and body all help to communicate to you. 4o other
part of the body is as expressive as the head.
D. 0eceptive Bo%! Language. 'ertain body postures and movements are culturally interpreted with
specific meanins. The crossin of arms and les is perceived to mean a closin of the mind and
attention. The noddin of the head vertically is interpreted as areement or assent. 2%t is worth notin
that nonverbal clues such as these vary from culture to culture "ust as the spoken lanuae does.3 %f
seated! the leanin forward with the upper body communicates attention. Standin or seated! the
maintenance of an appropriate distance is important. Too close and we appear to be pushy or
aressive and too far and we are seen as cold.
E. &n%erstan%ing of Communication S!m.ols. # ood command of the spoken lanuae is essential
in ood listenin. 5eanin must be imputed to the words. :or all common words in the <nlish
lanuae there are numerous meanins. The three6letter word! ArunA has more than one hundred
different uses. $ou as the listener must concentrate on the context of the usae in order to correctly
understand the messae. The spoken portion of the lanuae is only a fraction of the messae. Joice
inflection! body lanuae and other symbols send messaes also. Thus! a considerable knowlede of
nonverbal lanuae is important in ood listenin.
-. 1.2ective 7e should be open to the messae the other person is sendin. %t is very difficult to be
completely open because each of us is stronly biased by the weiht of our past experiences. 7e ive
meanin to the messaes based upon what we have been tauht the words and symbols mean by our
parents! our peers and our teachers. Talk to some one from a different culture and watch how they
ive meanin to words. Br another listenin challene is to listen open and ob"ectively to a person
with very different political or reliious beliefs. 'an you do that? 9eally? %t is wonderful if you can!
but relatively few people can listen! understand and appreciate such messaes which are very
different from their own. %f you cannot! it is time to start because as a leader you will need to
understand a wide rane of opinions on often6controversial sub"ects.
.. 0estating the message. $our restatin the messae as part of the feedback can enhance the
effectiveness of ood communications. # comment such as( A% want to make sure that % have fully
understood your messae....A and then paraphrase in your own words the messae. %f the
communication is not clear! such a feedback will allow for immediate clarification. %t is important that
you state the messae as clearly and ob"ectively as possible.
F. 3uestioning4Clarif!ing. Kuestions can serve the same purpose as restatin the messae. %f you are
unclear about the intent of the messae! ask for more information after allowin sufficient time for
explanations. ;on/t ask 1uestions that will hurt! embarrass or show up the other person.
Bnly part of the responsibility is with the speaker. $ou have an important and active role to play also.
%f the messae does not et throuh! two people have failed the speaker and you as an active listener.
G. Empath! ' not s!mpath!. <mpathy is the Athe action of understandin! bein aware of! bein
sensitive to! and vicariously experiencin the feelins! thouhts! and experience of another....A
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Sympathy is Ahavin common feelins...A 25errian 7ebster/s 'olleiate ;ictionary! ,Hth edition3 %n
other words as a ood listener you need to be able to understand the other person! you do not have to
become like them.
Try to put yourself in the speaker/s position so that you can see what he@she is tryin to et at.
,H. Strategic ,auses. Pauses can be used very effectively in listenin. :or example! a pause at some
points in the feedback can be used to sinal that you are carefully considerin the messae! that you
are AthinkinA about what was "ust said.
,,. Don5t )nter2ect. There is a reat temptation at many times for the listener to "ump in and say in
essence( Aisn/t this really what you meant to say.A This carries the messae( A% can say it better than
you can!A which stifles any further messaes from the speaker. Bften! this process may deenerate
into a ame of one6upmanship in which each person tries to out do the other and very little
communication occurs.
,8. Leave the Channel 1pen. # ood listener always leaves open the possibility of additional messaes.
# brief 1uestion or a nod will often encourae additional communications
,C. 6ou can not listen (hile !ou are talking. This is very obvious! but very fre1uently overlooked or
inored. #n important 1uestion is why are you talkin( to ain attention to yourself? or to
communicate a messae?
7 e!s "o Better Listening
The purpose of this report is to focus on . key aspects of listenin that deserve closer attention. 7hile % can/t
promise that understandin these keys will always make you successful! % can tell you that inorin them or
not payin attention to them will definitely lead to trouble.
So here we o...
E6 89 Listening is not a passive activit!:
0istenin is anythin but a passive! neutral activity. 7hile it may appear that this is all that/s oin on! many
active processes are takin place within the listener66if they/re listenin well! that is.
$ou see! listenin is not "ust hearin the words people utter. %f that/s all there was to it! we could train
computers to do the "ob.
+ut listenin to human beins involves much! much more 2which computers will never do3. %t involves not
"ust accurately hearin what people say! but ettin a sense of who they are! how they view life! what they
want to accomplish! what concerns they have! what they/re afraid of! how they/re feelin! what they want
from you! and more. %t even involves AlisteninA to what people aren/t directly sayin! or what they miht be
too reluctant to say! or what they definitely don/t want you to do in response to their communications. Show
me a computer that can do all thatI
Thus! in order to become a very ood listener! we can/t "ust stop with hearin the words people say. 7e/ve ot
to attend to many other details and many other dimensions that don/t meet the eye! but that are crucial
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nonetheless. 2This is why it/s so difficult to reconize what ood listeners do that makes them successful66it/s
all oin on invisibly inside their heads and the rest of their body.3
E6 8; Listen for unspoken fears4concerns4moo%s4aspirations
7hen people speak! they always reveal their deepest thouhts! ambitions! and concerns. 5ost of the time!
neither the speaker! nor the listener! pick up on these subtle! underlyin issues...but they are always there.
=ood listeners! on the other hand! fre1uently attend to these backround! unspoken emotions and concerns.
#nd when they AhearA them and empathize with them 2either verbally or nonverbally3 the speaker often
remarks A+oy! you really know how % feelA or A=ee! you really understand exactly what/s oin on with me.A
Here are a few examples to illustrate this important point(
<L#5P0< M,( # youn father with a new son makes an appointment to see me 2as a doctor3 and asks me to
refer him to a support roup. He wants to resolve some linerin personal issues relatin to abuse that he
experienced throuh much of his childhood.
#s % listen to his re1uest! which on the surface seems straiht forward! % also AhearA other thins in the
backround. %n addition to his words! % AhearA unspoken concerns...A#m % oin to do the same to my
child?A...A7hat can % do to keep from damain him?A
;id % listen correctly? %n this case % did. Bnce % ently put words to his deepest fears and concerns! his body
relaxed and he acknowleded that he was secretly harborin these thouhts. <L#5P0< M8( #nother person
comes in to see me 2as a stress counsellor3 because she/s feelin increasinly tense! irritable! and anxious on
her "ob. She clearly relates to me numerous problems with her "ob. +ut as % listen to her carefully! % also
AhearA the followin unspoken concerns...A#m % oin to lose control and embarrass myself in front of my
co6workers?A...A#m % oin to look incompetent or not as stron as my male counterparts?A... A#m % oin to
o home and start takin out my frustrations on my kids and my husband?A
#nd the amazin thin about human communication is that she never said any of these thinsI +ut a ood
listener can pick up on them! and most of the time they/ll be interpreted correctly.
How do you know when you/re riht about such hunches? Sometimes you "ust know intuitively. Sometimes!
you can tactfully check out your assumptions by probin with a compassionate 1uestion or two! or by
restatin your hunch for the speaker to confirm. 5ost of the time! however! your intuition will be riht on.
7hich brins me to the next important key to ood listenin....
E6 8< /oo% listening re#uires great (is%om
$ou can/t be a ood listener if you don/t understand human beins. #nd % mean really understand human
beins. How do you obtain this wisdom? % really don/t know 2it/s probably part luck! part hard work and
dedication! and part findin the riht teachers or mentors3. +ut you know what? 7hen somebody/s ot it! you
can tell in an instant.
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5any psychiatrists! psycholoists! and other mental health professionals ain this type of wisdom with many
years of experience 2althouh you/d be amazed how many never do3. %/ve also found that radio talk show
hosts and television interviewers often have an abundance of such wisdom! as do most successful novelists!
playwrihts! and other creative writers.
Thus! the wiser you become about life in eneral! the better a listener you invariably will be. 4o matter how
many technical communication skills you master! if you don/t have extensive wisdom about people! you
won/t come across as truly understandin them.
Speakin for myself 2as if someone else could be speakin as % write this3! % know that the more %/ve learned
about human emotions! for example! the better % listen to and understand people when they/re emotionally
upset.
+y the same token! the more % learn about my own self6worth and inner strenths! the more % can AseeA and
AhearA these same 1ualities in others.
That/s why if you want to become a ood listener! it/s absolutely essential that you commit yourself to
becomin a life6lon student of human beins and human nature. Neep on learnin and expandin your
horizons. 9ead lots of books! both fiction and non6fiction. 0isten to tapes. #ttend various lectures! seminars!
and workshops. 4o matter how much you know! or how smart you are! keep pushin yourself to learn even
more. +ecause the more you know about life in eneral! the better a listener you will automatically become.
E6 8= Listen to others (ith respect an% vali%ation
Bne of the biest secrets to becomin an excellent listener is to take on the "ob of always findin somethin
to respect and validate about what others are sayin. This is a challenin purpose you can take on. +ut only
, out of ,HH realizes its importance and makes this a top priority.
5ost of the time when we/re listenin to others! we look for faults or weaknesses in what the other person
says. 7e often end up disareein 2either vocally or silently3 with the other person/s opinions! feelins!
attitudes! or points of views. +ut nobody likes to have others disaree with them. 7e all want people to aree
with our points of view! or at least we want our thouhts and feelins to be respected and considered e1ually
valid as anyone else/s. <ven if our opinions or attitudes are based on erroneous reasonin! we still want
people to appreciate that our ideas and feelins have reat personal meanin for us.
%f you don/t make people feel that you respect their points of view! they won/t feel AunderstoodA and will
consider you a bad listener.
How do you develop this ability to listen with respect? 7ell! first you/ve ot to realize that most people aren/t
oin to think! feel! and reason "ust like we do. They/re oin to do thins their own way! and they don/t
really care about what we think is riht.
7hen % listen to others! % fre1uently have to force myself to remember this basic truth about life. % have to
consciously choose to look for somethin meaninful and worthwhile in whatever someone is sayin! no
matter how blatantly wron or insipid it may initially appear to me. #nd you know what? %f you look hard
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enouh for these hidden kernels of merit or validity in what others are sayin! you will almost always find
them lurkin there somewhere.
%t also helps to realize when you own style of thinkin and reasonin is fundamentally different from the
people you are interactin with. :or example! parents often make the mistake of listenin and communicatin
with their kids as if they were Alittle adults.A +ut kids don/t think! feel and reason like adults. Their thouht
processes and reasonin processes are very! very different. Nid/s don/t respond to the same types of
motivators we do. They don/t relate to future oals and payoffs as we do. #nd they don/t always want to be
educated or enlihtened as we miht value these opportunities. %f you don/t remind yourself of these essential
differences66 which are very! very easy to foret66you won/t be able to communicate with children
successfully. 24ext time you meet a first or second rade teacher at a party! take a few moments to talk with
them about this sub"ect66they live this stuff everydayI3
#nother ood example of this point is the fre1uent problems that arise when men and women communicate
with each other as if both are 2or should be3 exactly the same. The truth about men and women! however! is
that when it comes to communication styles and needs66they are very! very different. :or example! men are
brouht up in our culture to listen in certain habitual ways. They listen to problems from the standpoint of
identifyin a verbalizin effective solutions. 7omen! on the other hand! also are interested in solutions! but
they are much more prone to empathize with the speaker/s internal feelins and to spend much more time
Atalkin aboutA the problem before divin into solutions. This applies to sexual foreplay as wellI 29emember!
% warned you this newsletter was about ettin people to follow you anywhere.3
This crucial difference between the speakin and listenin styles of men and women has been the sub"ect of
several popular best sellin books. The two best %/ve seen are A$ou ?ust ;on/t UnderstandA by ;eborah
Tannen 27illiam 5orrow! ,GGH3 and A5en #re :rom 5ars...7omen #re :rom JenusA by ?ohn =ray 2Harper
'ollins! ,GG83. +oth books say exactly the same thins! but ?ohn =ray/s book does it a little better and in a
much more entertainin fashion.
%f you haven/t read A5en #re :rom 5ars...7omen #re :rom JenusA yet make sure you do. +elieve me!
you/ll thank me many times over.
E6 8> Listen (ithout thinking a.out ho( !ou5re going to respon%
%t/s very hard to be a ood listener66at any level66if you/re not fully attendin to what others are sayin and
feelin. 5uch of the time when people are speakin to us! our heads become filled with our own personal
thouhts and aendas...thinkin how we/re oin to respond...thinkin neative thouhts about the other
person...thinkin how we would think or feel in a similar situation.
+ut to listen well! you must put these thouhts aside and Abe withA the other person. $ou/ve ot to fully
attend to their words and inner emotions. $ou/ve ot to actively work to Aput yourself in their shoesA and you
listen to them speak. #nd you/ve ot to keep your mind open to discover the value or merit in whatever the
other person says.
4one of these thins can be easily accomplished when you/re listenin to your own inner thouhts instead of
focusin on the other person. $ou may not always be able to stop such thouhts from occurrin! but you can
learn to put them aside for the moment! and focus your attention elsewhere.
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Here/s an example of how powerful a principle this is. Several years ao! % helped lead a weekend
communication seminar for a roup of experienced physicians on staff at a well6known midwest hospital.
Bne exercise we desined involved pairin up with a partner! where one person played the role of a patient
with a problem! and the other person played the role of a physician@helper. The only catch was the helper
wasn/t allowed to say or do anythinI Their "ob was to "ust sit there and listen! while the ApatientA first
described his@her complaints and then continued to talk as they attempted to work out a solution on their
own. 4ow if you know anythin about doctors! you know that "ust sittin there and listenin66without
thinkin of what we need to do66 is very! very unusual for us.
7ell! there was one physician in the audience who wasn/t too happy about bein in the seminar. His hospital
department head was promotin attendance very aressively! and he only showed up because he felt
pressured to do so. ;urin this one simple exercise! however! he experienced a ma"or! ma"or breakthrouh.
#t the end of the exercise! when everyone was sharin their insihts and experiences! he raised his hand and
announced to the roup A7hat % learned from this exercise was that % #05BST 4<J<9 0%ST<4 TB 5$
P#T%<4TSI %/m mostly payin attention to the thouhts in my own head! and % never fully appreciated this
until todayIA
0et me tell you! this uy was so enthused and excited that every time we had a ,E68H minute break in the
seminar! he would rush upstairs 2the course was held at the hospital3 to practice listenin to his patients. He
would sit on their bed and ask a few 1uestions and then listen intently to whatever they had to say. He was so
A"uicedA by this new found power! which he possessed all alon! that he was consistently ,H6,E minutes late
for the start of the next session.
0istenin without thinkin is also a re1uirement for listenin to people respectfully and keepin an open
mind to the merit or value they brin to the interaction. $ou can/t really listen to others respectfully when you
attention is mostly on yourself.
This also includes not pre"udin or pre6evaluatin the value of what others are oin to say. 5any times!
due to previous experiences! we bein listenin to someone with the preconceived notion that we/re not oin
to hear anythin valuable or worthwhile. 7e close down our listenin and merely pretend to be payin
respectful attention.
:or example! my dauhter Tracie often senses when %/m about to launch into one of my fatherly detailed
explanations of some particular life event. 7hen she senses %/m oin to do this! she immediately shuts off
her listenin. She has pre"uded what/s comin and has decided to view it neatively 2unlike adults! children
let you know when they aren/t interested66they haven/t yet mastered the social skill of feinin pretenses3.
The point here is that we all lose contact and intimacy when we close our listenin down. 7hether it/s
because we/re focused on our own thouhts and aendas! or whether we pre"uded the value of the
interaction! or what have you....in order to be a ood listener! you must learn to put these common tendencies
aside and focus your awareness on the potential value of what others have to say.
E6 8- Listening for tell'tale signs of impen%ing trou.le
#nother important secret to ood listenin is to train yourself to AlistenA for clues of impendin trouble or
disaster. Unfortunately! most people won/t come out and directly tell you if they are upset with you or if they
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have little or no intention to fulfill your expectations. They often are too embarrassed to tell you or they
miht want to avoid a direct confrontation. +ut they often will ive you little tell6tale clues of their
displeasure. Some will even believe that they are communicatin with you directly! so when you fail to pick
up on these clues! they will use this as further proof that you aren/t really interested or that you don/t really
care.
This principle often comes up in our business and personal relationships. %n business! we are always
communicatin with people who make us various promises. # salesperson hihlihts certain features of a
product. # contractor promises to build somethin in a specified period of time. # co6worker is assined a
task and acts as if they/ve truly taken it on.
%n personal relationships! our partners may drop subtle hints that we/ve done somethin wron or that they
are rowin displeased with some aspects of the relationship. They miht not come out and say this directly!
but they will expect you to interpret their clues and take remedial action.
The more you train yourself to AlistenA for these subtle sins of trouble! the better you will appreciate what/s
oin on for other people. 0istenin for people/s level of commitment! interity! and character is a very
useful skill. 0istenin for sincerity is also fre1uently handy.
These skills are not difficult to develop. +ut they do take practice and a considerable deree of effort to
master. Sometimes it/s simply a matter of not passin over obvious clues or inconsistencies because you don/t
want to hear them or because you/d prefer them not to be there.
E6 87 Listen (ith optimism an% positive human regar%
5any people fall prey to neative thinkin and feelins. 7hen they communicate with others! these neative
states come throuh! and they may even want others to sympathize with them and aree with their neative
points of view.
=ood listeners! however! often have the ability to listen to people Apositively!A despite their immediate
neative state. ABh! a tornado hit and destroyed your home and all your possessions66 what a traedy66but at
least you/re still aliveIA Br A=ee! that/s awful! but don/t worry66six months from now you won/t even
remember it happened.A
$ou can listen to people communicate about a traedy with a reat deal of compassion. +ut you also can
listen optimistically and with positive human reard for their inner strenths and human capabilities.
Sometimes people are so entrenched in their neativism of the moment that they fail to focus on their
positive human traits. #s a listener! however! you can remind them of this positivity! provided you do it with
tact! timin and sensitivity.
9eachin throuh all the dominant neativity to acknowlede people/s positive core will often make them
appreciate your support. 0ettin people know you know how couraeous and capable they are! even in the
face of extreme emerencies! is another way in which listenin can be viewed as an active! purposeful
process. Sometimes people will not be totally happy when you point to their positive potential. +ut many will
appreciate the esture of love and support and will be lad to have people like you in their lives. They will
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feel you connect with somethin deep within them! and they will value you for standin up for them! whether
they consciously thank you or not.
+esides! when you make it a habit to stand up for people/s positive potentials and 1ualities! you reinforce
your own human capabilities. So the next time you fall prey to overwhelmin neatively! you/ll be able to
listen to yourself with much more optimism and positive human reard.
Summar!
7ell! there you have them666seven keys to better listenin that will win you friends! improve your marriae!
boost your profits! and make people want to follow you anywhereI
7 e!s to Better Listening
,. 0istenin is 4BT a passive activityI
8. 0isten for unspoken fears! concerns! moods! and aspirations.
C. =ood listenin re1uires reat wisdom.
D. 0isten to others with respect and validation.
E. 0isten without thinkin about how you/re oin to respond.
-. 0isten for tell6tale sins of impendin trouble.
.. 0isten with positive reard for people/s strenths O abilities.
4ow! "ust because you know these seven keys doesn/t mean you/re always oin to remember to use them.
0ord knows! % foret them all repeatedly 2so you don/t have to call me to point this out3.
Leadership - Communication
Managers are people who do things right, while leaders are people who do the right thing. -
Warren Bennis, Ph.D. "On Becoming a eader"

No one would talk
much in society if
they knew how
often they
misunderstood
others. - Johann
Wolfgang Von
Goethe
-ntroduction
Aany of the problems that occur in a organi8ation are the direct result of
people failing to communicate. .aulty communication causes the most
problems. ,t leads to confusion and can cause a good plan to fail.
Communication is the e$change and flow of information and ideas from
one person to another. ,t involves a sender transmitting an idea to a
receiver. Effective communication occurs only if the receiver understands
the e$act information or idea that the sender intended to transmit.
)tudying the communication process is important because you coach,
coordinate, counsel, evaluate, and supervise through this process. ,t is the
chain of understanding that integrates the members of an organi8ation
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from top to bottom, bottom to top, and side to side.
7hat is involved in the communication processD
-dea .irst, information e$ists in the mind of the sender. +his can be a
concept, idea, information, or feelings.
Encodes @e$t, a message is sent to a receiver in words or other
symbols.
Decoding +he receiver then translates the words or symbols into a
concept or information.
#uring the transmitting of the message, two processes will be received by
the receiver. Content and conte$t. Content is the actual words or symbols
of the message which is !nown as language ' spo!en and written words
combined into phrases that ma!e grammatical and semantic sense. 7e all
use and interpret the meanings of words differently, so even simple
messages can be misunderstood. And many words have different
meanings to confuse the issue even more.
Conte$t is the way the message is delivered and is !nown as
Paralanguage ' tone of voice, the loo! in the sender1s eye1s, body
language, hand gestures, state of emotion anger, fear, uncertainty,
confidence, etc.". Paralanguage causes messages to be misunderstood as
we believe what we see more than what we hear- we trust the accuracy of
nonverbal behaviors more than verbal behaviors.
Aany leaders thin! they have communicated once they told someone to do
something, B, don1t !now why it did not get done..., told Gim to it.B Aore
than li!ely, Gim misunderstood the message. A message has @O+ been
communicated unless it is understood by the receiver. 0ow do you !now it
has been properly receivedD /y two'way communication or feedbac!. +his
feedbac! will tell the sender that the receiver understood the message, its
level of importance, and what must be done with it. Communication is an
e$change, not just a give, as all parties must participate to complete the
information e$change.

Nothing is so
simple that it
Barriers to *ommunication
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cannot be
misunderstood.
- Jr. eague
Anything that prevents understanding of the message is a barrier to
communication. Aany physical and psychological barriers e$ist.
*ulture3 background3 and bias + 7e allow our past e$periences to
change the meaning of the message. Our culture, bac!ground, and
bias can be good as they allow us use our past e$periences to
understand something new, it is when they change the meaning of the
message then they interfere with the communication process.
2oise + *Euipment or environmental noise impede clear
communication. +he sender and the receiver must both be able to
concentrate on the messages being sent to each other.
.urselves + .ocusing on ourselves, rather than the other person can
lead to confusion and conflict. +he BAe 4enerationB is out when it
comes to effective communication. )ome of the factors that cause this
are defensiveness we feel someone is attac!ing us", superiority we
feel we !now more that the other", and ego we feel we are the center
of the activity".
Perception + ,f we feel the person is tal!ing too fast, not fluently, does
not articulate clearly, etc., we may dismiss the person. Also our
preconceived attitudes affect our ability to listen. 7e listen uncritically
to persons of high status and dismiss those of low status.
Message + #istractions happen when we focus on the facts rather than
the idea. Our educational institutions reinforce this with tests and
Euestions. )emantic distractions occur when a word is used differently
than you prefer. .or e$ample, the word chairman instead of
chairperson, may cause you to focus on the word and not the
message.
Environmental + /right lights, an attractive person, unusual sights, or
any other stimulus provides a potential distraction.
Smot"ering + 7e ta!e it for granted that the impulse to send useful
information is automatic. @ot trueH +oo often we believe that certain
information has no value to others or they are already aware of the
facts.
Stress + People do not see things the same way when under stress.
7hat we see and believe at a given moment is influenced by our
psychological frames of references ' our beliefs, values, !nowledge,
e$periences, and goals.
+hese barriers can be thought of as filters, that is, the message leaves
the sender, goes through the above filters, and is then heard by the
receiver. +hese filters muffle the message. And the way to overcome
filters is through active listening and feedbac!.
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C1MM&?)CA")?/ AC01SS C&L"&0ES @,A0" 9A
by 1orhayati $smail
)/he#s so cold and uncommunicati%e. /he ne%er shows any emotion.)
)'hy does he talk like that( $ wish he would get straight to the point instead of beating
around the bush that way.)
)2e#s so direct and brash.)
)Doesn#t he know that it#s rude to keep people waiting like this( 2e#s an hour late3)
)/he talks so much. $ get tired ust listening to her talk.)
7e often hear remarks like the above made by people around us. %n fact! we may even have
made some of these remarks ourselves. Sometimes these remarks are "ustifiable> at other times
they may not be so. +ut what actually triers such remarks? Usually we make such remarks
about other people when they display behaviors that we consider inappropriate or
unacceptable in our culture. +ut what is deemed acceptable in our culture may be considered
strane or totally inappropriate in other cultures. So when the taret of the above remarks are
people who come from cultures different from ours! there may actually be no "ustification at
all for makin such remarks because the behaviors displayed may be perfectly acceptable in
their cultures.
7ith more and more companies oin lobal in today/s chanin business environment! it is
not at all uncommon to walk into an office and to find ourselves lookin at a multinational
multicultural workforce. %n fact! this is becomin more and more the norm these days. =one
are the days when developin intercultural communication skills was relevant only to business
executives who had to cross national borders for overseas assinments. Today! you don/t even
have to leave your own country to find yourself in face6to6face contact with people whose
cultures are markedly different from yours. So! in order to succeed at the workplace today! it
is important for you to develop effective intercultural communication skills.
Culture %efine%
+efore we delve further into the sub"ect of intercultural communication! let us first take a look
at what we mean by culture. %ris Jarner and 0inda +eamer! in $ntercultural communication in
the global workplace, define culture as Athe coherent! learned! shared view a roup of people
has about life/s concerns that ranks what is important! instills attitudes about what thins are
appropriate! and prescribes behavior! iven that some thins have more sinificance than
others.A
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There are a couple of thins about this definition the writers feel we should take note of. :irst!
Aculture is not somethin we are born with! but rather it is learnedA! imparted to us throuh
our upbrinin and exposure to the practices and rules of conduct of the culture of which we
are a part. 4ext! Aculture is shared by a society. 5embers of the society aree about the
meanins of thins! and why.A They aree about what/s important and what/s not. 4ext!
Acultures rank what is important. %n other words! cultures teach values or priorities.A #nd these
in turn shape attitudes. 7e usually behave in ways that we think are appropriate or acceptable
in our culture. #ny deviation from what is thouht of as appropriate may in fact invite scorn
from members of that culture. Havin mentioned that! it is important for us to remember that
what may be deemed as appropriate in one culture may be unacceptable in another culture.
To make the above point clearer! let me brin in an example from the movie /e%en &ears in
.ibet. #t one point in the movie! Heinrich Harrer! the main character in the film was asked by
the ;alai 0ama to build a kind of movie theatre in 0hasa! the holy city of Tibet. #nd there/s
this one scene when he and a roup of Tibetans were diin this piece of land where the
theatre was oin to be built. :or readers who have seen the film! could you remember the
Tibetans/ reaction when their shovels and spades uncovered earthworms in the round? They
made such a fuss about the whole thin because the Tibetans who were larely +uddhists
believed that these worms could be reincarnations of their ancestors and so must be treated
with reat care. They couldn/t "ust let the worms die.
=oin back to the definition of culture we have seen earlier! we can see here that the Tibetans!
as a community shared the view that the worms must not be allowed to die because they
believed in reincarnation. This influenced their behavior in treatin the worms with care and
makin sure that no harm was inflicted on them.
:or Heinrich Harrer! who was oriinally from #ustria! the belief in reincarnation was
somethin he was not familiar with and as such could not relate to very well! so the Tibetans/
insistence on treatin the worms with care was 1uite incomprehensible to him. %n his view! if
the worms had to die in the process of their diin the round! then that/s "ust too bad> it was
not their intention to kill the worms. So! what you see here is people operatin and
interpretin situations differently usin different mental representations shaped by different
experiences! different belief systems! different cultures. 7hat is viewed as appropriate in one
culture may be viewed as inappropriate or even strane by people comin from a different
culture.
+ecause people of different cultures differ in the way they do thins! in the way they view
thins! and in the way they communicate! it is important for us to develop an awareness of
what it means to come from our own culture and make the effort to achieve a better
understandin of how thins may operate differently in other cultures. This % feel is the first
important step to help us achieve effective interpersonal communication across cultures.
$actors affecting communication across cultures
The sub"ect of intercultural communication is however one that is very broad and fairly
complex so in this short article! % will "ust provide you with a very brief introduction to some
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easily identifiable aspects of culture that may have an impact on intercultural communication
and often discussed in various books on the sub"ects. Specifically! we will look at five key
aspects of culture( 2,3 0evel of formality> 283 0evel of directness and explicitness> 2C3
Perception of time> 2D3 Perception of the individual versus that of the roup> and 2E3 Show of
emotion.
+efore we look at each of these aspects more closely! % would like to stress that statements
made in subse1uent sections about particular roups of people are "ust broad eneralizations.
The intention is not to invite readers to form stereotypical imaes of different roups. Bn the
contrary! it would be wise to acknowlede the uni1ueness of the individual in all our
interpersonal communication.
4e%el of formality
0et us bein by lookin at the first key aspect & the level of formality.
%n some companies! employees address their bosses by their first names! for example! AHi
TomIA. %n some other companies! this would be totally inappropriate. +osses have to be
addressed as 5r L! 5rs $! or 5s P. Jery often! the latter scenario is one that we would
encounter in a culture in which the workplace is characterized by a reater deree of
formality. %f the level of formality is seen as a continuum! then most #sian cultures will be on
the hih end of this continuum. %n contrast! the 4orth #merican culture will be one of those on
the low end of this continuum.
#t this point! %/m reminded of an incident that a friend of mine encountered while he was
workin abroad. He/s a =erman who was sent to the United States for a six6month postin. %n
the first month of his stay there! he was asked to ive a presentation at a meetin with his
4orth #merican colleaues so he ot himself all prepared for the presentation which for him
was very important as it was his first one in the US office. +ut while ivin his presentation!
he ot himself 1uite flustered because he noticed some of his #merican colleaues were
chewin um. To a =erman! chewin um while one is ivin a presentation may indicate that
you are not payin attention! translatin into lack of respect and appreciation for the speaker.
%n fact! there are times when such a behavior may even be construed as rude. That of course
may not be true as the #mericans can sometimes be 1uite casual at work and the display of
such behaviors in the above context does not in any way indicate any lack of attention or ood
manners on the part of the audience. However! even thouh my friend/s colleaues were
behavin in a way that may be acceptable in the 4orth #merican culture! that behavior was
unacceptable to a =erman as the =ermans are usually more formal and serious in their
approach to work. This is in fact reflected in how the =ermans usually address their bosses
and colleaues. %t is always 2err 5 or 6rau & and the formal pronoun Sie is used instead of
the informal ;u. 24ote( %n the =erman lanuae! a distinction is made between informal and
formal pronouns. The former is used usually with friends and family members and the latter is
used with bosses! colleaues! and new ac1uaintances.3 %n this particular example! my =erman
friend was interpretin the #mericans/ behavior usin his mental filter! shaped by his own
culture! and this of course was different from that of the #mericans.
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'learly then! to avoid such misunderstandins and feelins of animosities! it is important for
us to develop an understandin of how thins may operate differently in other cultures.
4e%el of directness and e0plicitness
4ext! dependin on the culture we come from! some people may appear very direct and
explicit in their communication or very indirect and vaue. #ain the level of directness and
explicitness we display in our communication is determined to a lare extent by culture.
5ost people from the #sian and 5iddle <astern cultures place a hih reliance on shared
experience! non6verbal cues! and the context in which the communication takes place in their
communication with others. 'onse1uently! they can appear as rather indirect and vaue in
their verbal communication. However in some countries! like the United States! Switzerland
and =ermany! people are very direct! precise and explicit in their communication because they
rely heavily on the spoken word for meanin. 9eliance on context here is low> so is reliance
on non6verbal cues. +ecause of their style of communication! they may appear as too direct
and overly talkative.
#llow me at this point to relate to you another story related by %ris Jarner and 0inda +eamer
in %ntercultural communication in the lobal workplace. The story is about a very
distinuished .E6year old 'hinese scholar and statesman who was bein honored by a
university in the United States. He had "ust made a 8,6hour fliht from +ei"in and was met at
the airport by some friends! who exclaimed! A$ou must be very tiredIA. His response was! A%t/s
possible QA with the implication it was not really so. Bf course he was tiredI He was an old
man who had sat on airplanes or in airports for 8D hours straiht. +ut the context 6 the meetin
in an airport at niht! the fact of his lon "ourney! his ae! his slihtly lazed eyes 6
communicated the obvious 6 that he was tired. %t was unnecessary to put into words. 4ow let/s
imaine the situation in reverse 6 an #merican travelin to +ei"in and ettin off the plane
after 8D hours of fliht. %n response to the comment! A$ou must be tiredIA! it isn/t hard to
imaine the response to be somethin like this! ATiredI %/ve never been so tired in my whole
entire lifeI %/ve been sittin on planes or in waitin rooms for 8D hours and wondered if my
les would ever work aainI 5y eyes are so ritty with sleep they feel like the =obi desert
was in that planeIA and so forth. 4otice! how everythin was explicitly stated in words.
9eliance on context here is very low.
Under certain circumstances! the indirectness that characterizes the communication in some
cultures is to a lare extent a stratey to avoid causin another person to lose face. %t can be
viewed as consideration for another person/s sense of dinity. However! in cultures that are
direct and explicit in their communication! this indirectness may be seen as dishonesty!
suestin that the speaker may have somethin to hide.
How would awareness of the above help you with your communication across cultures?
Here/s how. %f you are communicatin with people who come from a culture that is on the low
end of the directness and explicitness scale! you need to exercise extra care in what you say
and how you say somethin so as not to unintentionally offend them by bein too direct. $ou
also need to pay very careful attention to non6verbal cues! shared experience! and the
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circumstances within which the communication takes place as the true or more accurate
meanins of messaes may actually reside in some of those factors rather than in the words
uttered. Bn the other hand! if you are communicatin with people who come from a culture
that is on the hih end of the directness and explicitness scale! say exactly what you mean.
#lso! do not be easily offended when your ideas or opinions are attacked with a deree of
directness you are not used to. +ear in mind that in some cultures! this directness is a
techni1ue members use to achieve clarity in what they mean. So! "ust be ob"ective in hearin
what they have to say and remember that attacks on ideas are not personal and are not voiced
to deliberately embarrass you. #lso! remember that in such cultures! reliance on context is
low! so be especially attentive to the spoken word as this would usually serve as your main
source of information in your communication with them.
7erception of time
4ext! cultures also differ in their perception of time. <dward Hall! a prominent researcher in
the field of intercultural communication! made a useful distinction between monochronic6time
and polychronic6time cultures. #lthouh the terms may sound very technical to you! let me
assure you that the explanation is fairly simple and easy to understand. %n monochronic6time
cultures! members place a hih emphasis on schedules! a precise reckonin of time and
promptness. %n such cultures! schedules take precedence over interpersonal relations. #lso!
because of this urency to keep to schedules! members try to et to the point 1uickly when
communicatin and as such may appear rather rude or brash. %n polychronic6time cultures!
time is viewed as more fluid and members do not observe strict schedules. %n such cultures!
preset schedules are subordinate to interpersonal relations. 5ost 7estern countries and 1uite a
number of <uropean countries are monochronic6time cultures whereas most #sian countries!
and some 0atin #merican and 5iddle <astern countries are polychronic6time cultures.
Nnowin how cultures view time will also help you to adapt better to the lobal business
environment. %f you are someone from a monochronic6time culture! you must learn patience
when communicatin with people from a polychronic6time culture. %f they fail to turn up for
an appointment at a scheduled time! this should not be immediately interpreted as rudeness or
callousness on their part. 'onversely! if you are someone from a polychronic6time culture and
are dealin with people from a monochronic6time culture! try to stick to schedules as much as
you possibly can.
7erception of the indi%idual %ersus that of the group
0et us now move on to another aspect of culture where we look at how the individual and the
roup are viewed. 'ultures can be characterized as either more individualist or collectivist in
orientation. =eert Hofstede! another prominent researcher in the field! defines the individualist
culture as one in which Athe ties between individuals are loose( everyone is expected to look
after himself or herself and his or her immediate family. %n a collectivist culture! people from
birth onwards are interated into stron! cohesive roups! which throuhout their lifetime
continue to protect them in exchane for un1uestionin loyalty.A
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%n an individualist culture! the individual takes center stae and independence is hihly
valued. %n a collectivist culture! an individual is rearded as a part of the roup and a hih
deree of interdependence amon individuals prevails in the same roup.
%ris Jarner and 0inda +eamer point out that in an individualist culture! Aa sinle person can
earn credit or blame for the success or failure of an oranizational pro"ectA. %n a collectivist
culture! however! Acredit or blame oes to the roupA. %n such a culture! Aindividuals do not
seek reconition and are uncomfortable if it is ivenA.
% once had a conversation with a 4orth #merican uy who at that time was workin in
%ndonesia as a consultant to banks on disaster recovery. He related to me an incident that
happened to him while he was there which struck him as rather odd. This was how he told the
story to me( A#t one of my presentations to a client 6 a bank! % made one suestion that
individual employees who did a ood "ob ouht to be iven reater reconition by which %
meant ivin them face in front of their colleaues! not monetary reward. <veryone at the
presentation was horrified. %/m not sure but % think it/s probably "ust not the %ndonesian way to
seek reconition or stand out from the crowd. This is very different from the situation in the
States.A The difference here is a difference between a more collectivist orientation 2the
%ndonesian culture3 and a more individualist orientation 2the 4orth #merican culture3.
/how of emotion
:inally! cultures also differ in their expression of emotion. %n another interestin book on
intercultural communication! :ons Trompenaars! in 8iding the wa%es of culture, notes that
members of some cultures tend to be more expressive with their emotions and Ashow their
feelins plainly by lauhin! rimacin and scowlinA. However! in some cultures! members
tend to be more repressive and do not show their feelins openly but rather keep them
Acarefully controlled and subduedA.
Bbviously! in work environments where people from these two cultures are in contact!
misunderstandins can occur. People from the more expressive culture may view people from
the repressive culture as cold or unfeelin. Bn the other hand! people from the repressive
culture may view their more expressive colleaues as immature and eccentric.
"ips for effective interpersonal communication across cultures
#s you can see! interpersonal communication across cultures can be rather complex because
of cultural differences. So in order to help you become a more effective communicator at the
lobal workplace! here is a list of thins that you should do(
De%elop a sense of cultural awareness. :irst of all! be aware of what it is to be from
your own culture. Then! learn all you possibly can about the culture of the people with
whom you need to communicate.
Do away with ethnocentrism. 7hen communicatin with people across cultures! you
need to ive up any sentiments of ethnocentrism! that is the tendency to "ude all other
roups accordin to your own roup/s standards! behaviors and customs and to see
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other roups as inferior by comparison. This is because different cultures have
different ways of behavin and interpretin behaviors so you must learn to(
o 8ecognize differences. ?ust because people do thins differently from you! that
does not mean that they are inefficient or stupid. +ein different should not
always be seen as neative.
o /how respect for your counterparts.
4earn to adapt. +e flexible and ready to adapt and ad"ust your behavior! but do not
overdo your ad"ustment as then you risk bein perceived as insincere. ?ust try to act in
a way appropriate to the taret culture! be yourself and show sincerity.
9e more tolerant. +ecause people of different cultures do thins differently from one
another! you must be tolerant of deviations from the norms 6 what you are used to in
your own culture. 9emember that what may be the norm for you may not be the norm
for other people comin from a different culture.
Communicating across cultures @,art ;A
by 1orhayati $smail
7hen we discuss the sub"ect of communication across cultures! lanuae is somethin that we
cannot inore because lanuae is so much a part of culture and for most of us is the main
medium we use to transmit messaes. However! because of its central importance! factors
pertainin to lanuae can also be the source of many misunderstandins in intercultural
communication.
%n this short article! we will look at some of the problems that could arise when we
communicate with one another cross culturally that are caused by lanuae6related factors.
5ore specifically! we will look at the problems with translation! the problems with
pronunciation! the problems with word choice and meanin! and the problems with slan and
idiomatic expressions. Hopefully! with a reater awareness of these potential problems! we
could take some steps to use lanuae more effectively for improved communication across
cultures.
,ro.lems (ith translation
7hen we communicate with people of a different culture! it is always ood to be able to utter
a few words or phrases in their lanuae to establish affinity. However! when we are not
proficient in the taret lanuae! there is a stron tendency for us to translate messaes from
our native lanuae to the taret lanuae. Sometimes this techni1ue works very well.
Unfortunately! at other times! we may land ourselves in some very embarrassin situations.
To illustrate the above point! let me "ust cite two examples taken from 9ichard 0ederer/s very
entertainin book Anguished English. The first involves President ?ohn :. Nennedy who made
a blunder while makin a speech at the +erlin 7all! =ermany! in ,G-C. The President had
wanted to say A% am a +erlinerA in =erman and came up with the translation )$ch bin ein
9erliner). However! in the =erman lanuae! words for nationalities are not preceded by
articles so he should have said )$ch bin 9erliner). )$ch bin ein 9erliner) actually means A% am
a "elly douhnutA. The second example involves Pepsi6'ola at the time when it invaded the
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hue 'hinese market. %ts product/s sloan A'ome #live with PepsiA was translated into
'hinese and the e1uivalent meanin of that translated sloan in <nlish was APepsi brins
back your dead ancestorsA. % don/t know about you but % certainly wouldn/t want to drink
somethin that/s oin to brin back my dead ancestorsI
So! as you can see! translation of messaes from one lanuae to another is somethin not to
be taken lihtly. $ou have to be careful that the resultin meanins are what you intended.
#ll riht then! if you think that misunderstandins in intercultural communication can only
arise when two cultures are usin different lanuaes! then % hate to tell you that you are
wron. <ven when two cultures are usin the same lanuae for communication! problems
may still be encountered when communicatin with one another cross culturally. AHow is
that?A you may ask. 7ell! let us "ust take the <nlish lanuae as an example.
,ro.lems (ith pronunciation
<ven thouh <nlish is used widely throuhout the world! reional differences exist in
pronunciation thus makin it difficult sometimes for speakers of <nlish from two different
countries to understand one another. % have "ust ot back from a holiday in <nland durin
which time % had the ood fortune of takin the much talked about Thames 9iver 'ruise. %t
was a very pleasant cruise down the river except that! for the life of me! % could not understand
what the uide was sayin in his commentary because of his heavy 'ockney accent. He was
speakin <nlish but the difference in pronunciation "ust made it impossible for any
communication to take place.
%n Sinapore! my home country! many of us use the <nlish lanuae for communicatin with
one another and usually we have no serious problems understandin each other. +ut when we
communicate with a foreiner! it is not unusual for the foreiner to have difficulty
understandin us. Bne of the reasons is aain the difference in pronunciation. 5ost
Sinaporeans do not make a distinction between the words AairportA and AairpotA! for example.
4either is there a clear distinction made between words like AtreeA and AthreeA and ApenA and
ApanA. %t is easy to imaine how these pronunciation differences can lead to
misunderstandins when communicatin across cultures.
So! when we are communicatin with people cross culturally! we ouht to be especially
careful with our pronunciation in order to achieve mutual understandin.
,ro.lems (ith (or% choice an% meaning
%n discussin this! we will look at the potential problems that could arise with the use of
ambiuous words and unfamiliar words.
Ambiguous words
4ext! the same word may have different interpretations in different cultures. 0et/s take the
word AfamilyA as an example. A:amilyA in most parts of #sia refers to parents! siblins!
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randparents! uncles! aunts! cousins! and so on. +ut AfamilyA to an #merican or <uropean
refers to the immediate family that essentially includes husbands and wives or parents and
siblins. So! if two colleaues! an #sian and an #merican! were to carry on a conversation
about their families! they may think that they are talkin about the same thin but actually
they are not.
:nfamiliar words
%n business! the use of unfamiliar words could sometimes lead to an expensive loss of
business. 0et me illustrate this with a story related by 9oer #xtell in Do#s and taboos of
using English around the world. The story involves a business discussion between an
#merican businessman and a ?apanese customer. The #merican concluded his business
discussions with his ?apanese customer with! A7ell! our thinkin is in parallel.A They bid
oodbye! but weeks and then months passed with no further word from the customer. :inally!
frustrated! the #merican phoned and in1uired what had happened. A7ell!A the ?apanese
replied! Ayou used a word % didn/t understand. Parallel. % looked it up in my dictionary and it
said parallel means /two lines that never touch/A. The ?apanese had concluded that the
#merican thouht their thinkin was apart.
%n order to avoid miscommunications like the above from takin place! there are simple
measures you could take to achieve reater clarity in what you mean. :or a start! choose your
words carefully! makin sure that they are not ambiuous in meanin and are 1uite commonly
used so they are easily understood. 4ext! provide 1ualifications and definitions to terms that
are likely to cause misunderstandins. :inally! ask for feedback to ensure that the messae has
been clearly understood.
,ro.lems (ith slangB i%iomatic expressions
4ext! cultures may develop their own slan and idiomatic expressions that may be forein to
other cultures usin the same lanuae. 0et me illustrate this with an oft6cited ad by
<lectrolux that worked very well in <urope but was unusable in #merica. The sloan in the ad
reads! A4othin sucks like the <lectrolux.A :or the #merican reader! % am sure you could see
immediately why the ad will not o down well with the #merican audience. 7hen an
#merican says! Asomethin sucksA! it means that that somethin is bad. The slan expression
Ait sucksA has very neative connotations in the States. However! in <urope and perhaps in
many other parts of the world! the word AsucksA has a literal interpretation so the sloan is
perfectly all riht.
0et/s now move on to idiomatic expressions. Suppose you were havin a conversation with a
colleaue who isn/t a native speaker of <nlish and who isn/t very proficient with the
lanuae. Then! he said somethin to you that you couldn/t 1uite believe. So! in response to
this! you said! A$ou/re pullin my le! riht?A 2A$ou/re pullin my leA is of course "ust an
idiomatic expression for Ayou/re bluffinA.3 However! if your colleaue is not familiar with
this idiomatic expression! he would really be puzzled by what you meant because obviously
he had not touched you! let alone pulled your leII
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So there you o. Problems that could arise when communicatin with people across cultures
brouht about by differences alon the lanuae dimension. 7orkin in today/s lobal
business environment! what could you do to ensure effective communication with people
whose cultures differ from yours? Here are some tips you may find useful(
,. Speak slowly and clearly! ensurin accurate pronunciation.
8. Use simple! fre1uently used words.
C. +e very careful with translation.
D. #void slan! collo1uialisms and idiomatic expressions.
E. 5ake one point at a time.
-. #dapt tone of voice! style and behavior to what is culturally acceptable to your
audience.
.. 7atch the other person for misunderstandin and be ready to provide feedback.
Make 6our Dail! )nteractions More Satisf!ing C
Suppose a colleaue ives you a compliment as you meet her in the
hallway and then another person accidentally bumped you in passin. $ou
will respond more 1uickly and stronly to bein bumped than to bein
complimented! even if the person who knocked into you immediately
apoloizes. $ou have little power over those instinctual reactions. %n fact!
your mood will be altered loner from a bump than a compliment and you
will remember it loner.
7hy? 4ot because you are a neatively inclined person! but because your stronest! most
primal instinct is for survival. That instinct is hardwired into your brain so that! even in
modern circumstances! your swiftest! most pervasive reactions are to protect yourself from
any sin of Adaner.A #ll of your anry feelins are the visible surface of an underlyin
neative feelin such as hurt or irritation that stem from some early circumstance in your
life where you felt in daner. The current source of your aner looks similar to that earlier
time.
7hen you react neatively! even with a briefly hardened face or a sharp tone in one word!
the other person instinctively escalates in a pin pon reaction back and forth. %t/s easier for
an interaction to deenerate into a difficult time from one AbadA action than it is for the
experience to rise from a positive action.
Since you can/t re6wire your brain to chane your ut instinctual reactions! you can
compensate by appearin AsafeA when you first meet and re6meet people. Here/s two
valuable ways. :irst! move and speak slower! lower and less at first so the other person can
ain comfort and familiarity with the situation! even if he already knows you and has had
positive past experiences with you. %n the beinnin! don/t talk loud and 1uickly or move
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fast and fre1uently! especially with hih! 1uick arm estures.
Such estures also rob you of the appearance of power. %f your voice is lower and slower!
your sentences shorter and your estures are spare! then the other person will accept your
more 1uick and direct body motions and verbal suestions later on.! even thouht they
probably won/t be conscious of why.
Second! since people instinctively like people who are somehow like them! demonstrate the
part of you which is most like them. 9efer to common experiences! backround or places.
#d"ust your voice level and rate and amount and kind of body motion to become more like
theirs. 'hildren do this instinctively. Bnly as we et older do we lose the instinct to adapt to
another/s behavioral style.
*ere are some other suggestions for gaining an% hol%ing another5s attention+
,. +e vividly specific. # specific detail or example proves a eneral conclusion! not the
reverse. # vivid! specific detail is memorable! while a eneral statement is less credible and
easily forotten. %ronically! most adult conversation and advertisin is eneral. 'hildren are
more likely to be vividly specific and thus more memorable. 7hen you want to be heard
and remembered! characterize your information or re1uest with a vivid! specific detail!
example! story or contrastin options. %nvolve words that relate to the senses. :or example
Abeautiful colorA is not as vivid as AblueA which is not as vivid as Acobalt blue.A
8. +e Aplainly clear.A #void wearin patterned clothin or other detail on your clothin!
especially on the upper half of the body! because it will shorten the attention span of the
person with whom you are speakin.
C. 0ook for the underlyin issue. 7hen you are aruin for more than ten minutes! you are
probably not discussin the real conflict and are thus unlikely to et it resolved in the
discussion. 0ook for the underlyin issue. 9ead 9obert +romson/s idea6packed book!
;ealin 7ith ;ifficult people!e for ideas about how to reconize specific difficult
behaviors and adopt behaviors to protect yourself from them.
D. ;eepen their commitment before you ask for more. The more time! actions or other effort
someone has put into somethin! someone or some course of action! the more deeply they
believe in it! will defend it and will work on it some more. %f you want more from the other
person! wait until he has invested more time! enery! money or other resources to ask for it.
E. +rin out their best side. %f a person likes they way he acts when he is around you! he
often sees the 1ualities in you that he most admires. The opposite is also true. Pick the
moments when someone feels most at ease and happy! to move the relationship forward.
;on/t make suestions or re1uests when they are actin in an unbecomin way. $our
efforts will only backfire. Praise the behavior you want to flourish.
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-. 5ove to motivate. 5otion activates emotion and makes experiences more memorable.
5otion attracts attention and causes people to remember more of what/s happenin and feel
more stronly about it! for better or for worse. =et others involved in motions with you that
create oodwill( walkin! sharin a meal! handin or receivin a ift! shakin hands!
turnin to face a new scene. $ou are more likely to literally et Ain sync.A That is! your vital
sins become more similar( eye pupil dilation! skin temperature and heart beat.
*o( can email communication affect !our .usiness?
<mail is now one of the fastest ways to ain or lose potential customers because of it/s
ability to deliver information fast to an enormous amount of people. #fter sendin an email
you are no loner in control of the affects of the messae and can only wait in suspense.
#n employee of your company started off his@her day in a bad mood. # potential customer
emails them with a trivial 1uestion and they reply with a brash tone. ;o you think that the
recipient will use your company. Bn the %nternet word travels fast. %t takes me C minutes to
send email to EH6,HH people. Therefore your company can lose ,HH current or potential
customers with the brash email sent out by your employee. This can happen in a matter of
minutes. Speakin from personal experience % sent out what % considered a helpful messae
concernin a virus on the %nternet. Bne person thouht it was 1uite annoyin because they
knew that some of these messaes are merely hoaxes. The messae % received! without a
doubt! shot lihtnin bolts at me. 7hat did % do? % apoloized. % visited their site to see what
kind of business they were in and % new that if someone had ever asked me to ive them
information about products relatin to what they sold! % would most likely say. ;o not use
Athis company.A
% find that it is most helpful to search newsroups for my company name to see if ood or
bad thins are bein said about me. Try searchin for 5icrosoft! 4etscape or #B0 in
;e"a4ews 2http(@@www.de"anews.com3 and see what results are presented to you.
9emember newsroups are simply meetin places on the %nternet where people exchane
information. 5ost people know that the best business comes from word of mouth or Aword
of email.A
+ack to the story. #fter % sent my apoloy! % received a reply the next day statin that they
were sorry for what they had said. Problem solved. % now do not have a problem
recommendin that company to a friend. Bn some occasions a brash answer is responded to
with a brash reply. Those are the lucky ones. +e careful! there are many vindictive people
who will reply to brashness by breakin into your entire site and demonstratin how anry
they are with you. % cannot and will not try to break into someone/s website! but people who
are more knowledeable can and do.
However! the lack of body lanuae! tones of voice! and shared environment! email is not
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as rich a communication method as a telephone conversation or face6to6face. %t may be
difficult for your correspondent to tell if you are serious or kiddin! frustrated or euphoric!
happy or sad. Sarcasm has the most potential to offend and can be particularly danerous to
use in email. #void sendin email that miht be upsettin to the recipient.
<xpressin human emotions! moods and personalities is difficult to convey when usin
email. <moticons have been developed as shorthand to help communicate feelins!
emotions and show some personality where desired. +elow is a short list of emoticons. To
find more simply o to your favourite search enine and enter! Aemoticons.A
Symbol Translation Symbol Translation Symbol Translation
( 63
smiley
face@happy
F63 eye6lasses (6R indifference
(6e disappointment (6P wry smile (6I
foot in
mouth
(6O tonue tied >63 wink (6B yell
(6@ perplexed (6S
devilish
rin
(6K smoker
(6T mustache (6 male (62 frown@sad
(6U scream >6V leer (6;
shock or
surprise
'W(63 chef d(63
baseball
smiley
S6 female
%t is up to each individual! takin into consideration corporate policies to decide the level of
professionalism one wishes to represent within correspondence. # person must take into
account who the recipient of any correspondence will be.
%t pays to be nice and it/s not difficult.
)%entif!ing Communication St!les $or Business Success
:axes! teleconferences! the 7orld 7ide 7eb! and other technoloical advancements
uarantee that we can communicate with virtually anyone! anywhere. However! it/s up to us
to ensure that the messaes we send are clearly understood by the recipient.
7hether it/s a face6to6face meetin or an overseas transmission! communication is a
complex process that re1uires constant attention so that intended messaes are sent and
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received. %nade1uate communication is the source of conflict and misunderstandin. %t
interferes with productivity and profitability. Jirtually everyone in business has experienced
times when they were frustrated because they "ust couldn/t Aet throuhA to someone. They
felt as if they were speakin an unknown lanuae or were on a different Awave lenth.A
'ommunicatin effectively is much more than "ust sayin or writin the correct words.
How we communicate is affected by frame of reference! emotional states! the situation! and
preferred styles of communication.
Bur perceptions are directly related to the senses 66 visual! auditory! or kinesthetic@tactile
2movement! touch! taste! and smell3. #lthouh everyone uses all three styles or modes to
interact with the world! most people have a primary one. 9esearch indicates that most
people are visually6oriented! whereas the fewest number of people are auditorially6oriented.
To ensure that messaes are conveyed! it/s important to learn how to communicate in
another/s particular style. To discover someone/s primary mode( 2,3 0isten to the verbs they
use> 283 7atch their eye movements durin a discussion> 2C3 Bbserve their behavior> 2D3
#sk how they prefer to receive new information> and 2E3 +e aware of your own
preferences. 0et/s consider each mode.
"he Disual Mo%e. Jisually6oriented people interact with the world by creatin mental
pictures. They/ll often make statements such as A% don/t see it that wayA or A%t looks ood to
me.A 7hen respondin to 1uestions or makin comments! their eyes will o up to create a
picture. They also may blink to Aclear the screenA in their mind/s eye! or they may look
directly at you in response to your 1uestions. They will use verbs such as look! see! picture!
and imagine. 7hen presentin new information to them! use colorful pictures! charts! or
displays.
"he Au%itor! Mo%e. A% hear what you/re sayingA or A%t doesn/t sound that way to meA are
typical statements made by those whose primary way of interactin with the world is
auditory. They like to discuss and listen to recorded information and music. 7hen
respondin to 1uestions or makin comments! their eyes will o over to the side! often
repeatin out loud or in their mind/s ear the 1uestion or statement made. They will use verbs
such as hear! listen! debate! and talk. 7hen presentin new information to them! take the
time to discuss it and answer all of their 1uestions.
"he inesthetic4"actile Mo%e. 5any people are doers and are 1uite demonstrative!
preferrin movement in their interactions. They often make statements such as A% feel this is
the best solutionA or A% "ust can/t grasp the idea.A 7hen respondin to 1uestions or makin
comments! their eyes will o down to et in touch with emotions and the motion involved
in the statement or 1uestion. They will use action6oriented verbs such as feel! touch! run!
hold! and mo%e. 7hen presentin new information! use hands6on activities! such as actually
oin throuh the motions of a new procedure.
%n these times of doin more with less and increased use of technoloy! it/s imperative to
remember to do whatever we can to foster effective communication. +y lookin at the
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world from another/s point of view! your employees! co6workers! customers! and vendors
will feel that you/re really listenin to them. 0istenin and respondin in a way that makes
sense to them will improve relationships! enhance performance! increase productivity! and
positively impact the bottom line.
EE'mail: "he ,henomena 6ou Can5t )gnore in Customer
CommunicationE
'ustomer Service is the number one concern of every business today and e6mail is probably
the sinle biest source of chane in how it has breen provided over the past three years. %t
presents reat daners and opportunities to any kind and size of business. How can you
ensure that you are usin it to its fullest! and will not be abused in its use? There/s no
uarantees with e6mail! but there are steps you can take.
<mail is one of the fastest ways to attract or lose customers because of it delivers
information fast to a sinle person or a mass of people. 'ompany news and ossip!
customer praise! complaints! and mis6representations can all zi6za several ways over the
internet in minutes! where in the past such communication would take days or months! if
ever. The sheer volume of exchaned information has exploded since e6mail use has shot up
over the past three years. The capacity to respond to 1uickly and easily has inspired many
business owners and many customers to offer and ask for information and feedback that
they miht not even have attempted to provide before.
<mail is not a replacement for your reular postal service! phone or fax but a
complimentary tool to your daily business activities. %t saves paper! postal fees and provides
you with the ability to 1uickly respond to your present and prospective customers.
<6mail facilitates two6way communication with your customers! any time! anywhere! with
an ease and cost6savins that is transformin the ways companies communicate
everywhere. 'ustomers can in1uire! complain! send referrals! suest improvements and
even buy. How easy are you makin it for your prospects and customers to work with you?
E'mail can .enefit !ou in several (a!s:
:ast response to problems provin that your business is incorporatin suestions
by customers
Update your most important customers about chanes in product direction
Show your newest product to existin customers first offerin advice involvin
related vendors
#nnounce price chanes
Send the latest literature
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;eliver software uprades and bu fixes
Send your latest press releases
%f you offer on6line customer service facility your customers can send and receive
information when they want! if you/ll provide the e6mail and@or web site capacity to
do so. They can ask 1uestions about the products! confirm an order or 1uery the
shipment details at a time that suits them. $ou provide new flexibility and
convenience that is obvious for them to experience! in comparision! perhaps to your
competitors. $ou can make specific offers and uarantees that build comfort and
trust! even when they do not need the standard you offer! such as A7e will respond
to your in1uiry within three hours!A or A7e will send the products you order within
8D hours of your order.A $our specific offers encourae their brain rihts to
others about your standard of service. Such brain rihts are the e1uivalent of
priceless referrals.
0espon% to in#uiries an% pro.lems #uickl!
'ustomer service is the way company employees serve the customers in a! friendly!
timely and speedy delivery with uarantees or warranties on a consistent basis.
<veryone within an oranization is responsible for thouhtful customer service from
the supervisors and manaers to the administrative staff.
&se E'Mail as a "ool to Buil% Customer Lo!alt!
,. 'hoose how you act! don/t let others choose your behaviour.
%f a past or current customer emails you with a complaint that
you know isn/t your fault! it is more beneficial to work
towards a solution rather than decide who is wron.
8. ;o not sent a messae you do not want read on television or printed in
tomorrow/s newspaper.
C. 7hat you practice pro"ectin you are pro"ectin.
D. 9emember that the most important thin for a person to talk about is
themselves. Neep that in mind when correspondin with a past! present or
future customer. They want to know what/s in it for them. They do not want
to know about you or your company. 9elate to them usin their style of
lanuae. There are common themes that people use in their lanuae to tell
you how they are thinkin. Jisual thinkers use phrases such as! A% see what
you meanA! or A% et the picture.A #uditory thinkers use phrases such as! A%
hear what you/re sayinA! or A0isten to me.A Ninesthetic thinkers use phrases
such as! A%/ve ot a ood feelinA! or AThat/s a solid proposal.A
E. =o slow to o fast. 4ever rush to the solution but first reflect on the
problem. $ou must acknowlede the customers/ feelins before attemptin to
propose a solution.
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-. $our first response to a 1uery is the most important. %t may set the tone for
the entire email conversation. %t will determine how they react to you form
here on out. ;on/t approach aressively. =o slow to o fast.
.. 7hen findin a solution to customers/ 1uestions or concerns! ask open6ended
1uestions. #void 1uestions that will provide a yes or no answer. 'ustomers
may feel bullied by these 1uestions. ;on/t narrow the information you
receive. $es or no 1uestions do this.
F. <mail is the perfect tool to use for honin your non6verbal communication
skills. 9emember to use the same lanuae unless there is profanity
included. +y wary about the tone you are usin. %n response to the tone of
customers! mirror their tone briefly in a positive way and finally slow down
the tone. People like people who are like themselves. 7hen replyin to a
customer relate to their interest or backround 2life!work!family3
G. 7hen makin a sales call to remind a past customer of your company! use
this method. Start your email with a focus on their interest! move onto both
of your interests and end with a focus on your interest. +ride from their
interest to yours with a common round.
%f your employees handle complaints throuh email with
unpleasant or condescendin replies! this will be perceived as
a reflection of your company. 9emember you are what you
eat. $our employees are a reflection of your company.
,H. %n handlin 1uestions throuh email you must step into your customers
shoes. +y seein the situation from their perspective you will et a better
insiht.
,,. %f you must send an unpleasant messae to a customer by email! sandwich
the bad news. :or example! AThank you for in1uirin about our new product!
unfortunately it is unavailable at this time. 7e will however keep you posted
as to its availability and upon purchasin the product we will ive you a
,EX discount. 7e call this sandwichin neative information.
,8. 7hen receivin an email from a disruntled customer try to focus on the
ood aspects of the situation. 'ompliment them for brinin the problem to
your attention and for allowin your company the opportunity to make the
situation better. #ct as if they meant well. 0ook for their positive intent.
9eciprocate for survival.
,C. 'ommunicatin by e6mail is no different from writin on your company
letterhead. # business communication is business! period. # certain deree of
formality is re1uired. ?ust because e6mail tends to be more immediate and
personable! it doesn/t need to et personal.
,D. %f your correspondent uses your first name! then by all means use his. 5any
people do not want such immediate informality in a business situation!
especially in the international arena.
,E. 'orrespondents fre1uently try hard to be brief. This is desirable! but business
messaes are usually loner than personal notes. %t is important! also! to
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communicate 6 don/t kill understandin with brevity.
,-. 7hen replyin! you will often be replyin to only part of the received
messae. Save space by not returnin the whole messae! only the part to
which you are replyin.
,.. Short! plain sentences are easier for someone readin in a lanuae other
than their mother tonue. %n some parts of the world! the written lanuae is
very formal and 1uite different from the spoken lanuae. Therefore! there is
an expectation that your written communication will be formal. :or
international business e6mail! err on the side of caution and write in a formal
tone. %t/s easy and natural to proress from formal to friendly! but it weakens
your position to have to step backwards from friendly to formal.
,F. %t has been proven that people will tell more people about their bad
experiences then their ood onesI That/s 4BT the kind of word of mouth
you want.
,G. =et to the point. #void lenthy emails if necessary. %n problem situations do
not attempt to confuse but rather make your messae short and clear. $ou
risk losin the attention of your customer if your messae is too lon. Neep
emails succinct. ;o not let your customers o on a mental vacation or they
will 1uickly delete your messae.
8H. #sk for suestions and feedback about your services or products. Use this
feedback or suestions to hone your business skills. %t may be beneficial to
post these suestions and feedback your site for all visitors to read. 5any
are customers may inadvertently solve problems for you! ive you free
ideas@enhancements for free and sometimes for a discount on merchandise.
8,. Plan what you want out of the situation before you o into it.
88. Third party endorsements. ;on/t be afraid to include a couple of sentences
by a satisfied customer in any sales letters you email to potential customers.
8C. ;on/t inore customer complaints or re1uests for refunds. Some of the best
customers % have are people who initially complained about my product or
service. 7hen % et a complaint! % immediately contact the customer and
assure them that % will have an answer for them within 8D hours. %f the
mistake was mine or my fulfillment company! % let the customer know and
bend over backwards to correct the problem. % have one as far as shippin
the product and tellin the customer to send me a check after they receive
the order.
&se e'mailB even (hile a(a! exhi.iting
<LPB 5ail is desined to allow attendees and exhibitors to send and retrieve their
reular e6mail from the show floor without havin to lu their notebook computers
or return to their hotel rooms. Users simply walk6up to one of multiple kiosks to
check for any messaes. # number of services and software are interated into the e6
mail kiosks includin #B0! 'ompuServe! <udora 0ite! Telnet! 4etscape
'ommunicator and 5icrosoft %nternet <xplorer.
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Customers want your attention. Sending an e-mail is the quickest, most thorough
way they can contact you -- or your competitor. Don't let them click away from
you.
*o( "o Write 0ight
.! /erar% M Blair
'riting is an essential skill upon which all engineers and managers rely. .his article outlines simple design
principles for engineering#s predominate product+ paper.
Wh! Worr!?
7ritin is the ma"or means of communication within an oranisation> paper is thouht to be the ma"or
product of professional enineers> some estimate that up to CHX of work6time is enaed in written
communication. Thus it is absolutely vital for you as a Professional <nineer to actively develop the skill of
writin> not only because of the time involved in writin! but also because your pro"ect/s success may depend
upon it. %ndeed! since so much of the communication between you and more senior manaement occurs in
writin! your whole career may depend upon its 1uality.
"(o 0oles
%n an industrial context! writin has two ma"or roles(
it clarifies 6 for both writer and reader
it conveys information
%t is this deliberate! dual aim which should form the focus for all your writin activity.
There are many uses for paper within an oranization> some are inefficient 6 but the power of paper must not
be inored because of that. %n relation to a pro"ect! documentation provides a means to clarify and explain on6
oin development! and to plan the next staes. 5emoranda are a simple mechanism for suestions!
instructions! and eneral oranisation. The minutes of a meetin form a permanent and definitive record.
7ritin is a central part of any desin activity. Kuality is improved since writin an explanation of the
desin! forces the desiner to consider and explore it fully. :or instance! the simple procedure of insistin
upon written test6plans forces the desiner to address the issue. ;esins which work "ust Abecause they doA
will fail later> desins whose operation is explained in writin may also fail! but the repair will be far 1uicker
since the 2documented3 desin is understood.
%f you are havin trouble expressin an idea! write it down> you 2and possibly others3 will then understand it.
%t may take you a lon time to explain somethin Aoff the cuffA! but if you have explained it first to yourself
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by writin it down 6 the reader can study your loic not "ust once but repeatedly! and the information is
efficiently conveyed.
$orget the ,ast
Professional writin has very little to do with the composition and literature learnt at school( the ob"ectives
are different! the audience has different needs! and the rewards in enineerin can be far reater. #s
enineers! we write for very distinct and restricted purposes! which are best achieved throuh simplicity.
<nlish at school has two distinct foci( the analysis and appreciation of the reat works of literature! and the
display of knowlede. %t is all a 1uestion of aim. # novel entertains. %t forces the reader to want to know(
what happens next. Bn the other hand! an enineerin report is primarily desined to convey information.
The enineer/s "ob is helped if the report is interestin> but time is short and the sooner the meat of the
document is reached! the better. The novel would start( AThe do rew ill from howlin so ...A> the enineer/s
report would start 2and probably end3( AThe butler killed Sir ?ohn with a twelve inch carvin knifeA.
%n school we are tauht to display knowlede. The more information and arument! the more marks. %n
industry! it is totally different. Here the wise enineer must extract only the sinificant information and
support it with only the minimum6necessary arument. The expertise is used to filter the information and so
to remove inessential noise. The enineer as expert provides the answers to problems! not an exposition of
past and present knowlede( we use our knowlede to focus upon the important points.
$or the $uture
7hen you approach any document! follow this simple procedure(
,. <stablish the #%5
8. 'onsider the 9<#;<9
C. ;evise the ST9U'TU9<
D. ;9#:T the text
E. <;%T and 9<J%S<
That is it. :or the rest of this article! we will expand upon these points and explain some techni1ues to make
the document effective and efficient 6 but these five staes 2all of them3 are what you need to remember.
Aim
$ou start with your aim. <very document must have a sinle aim 6 a specific! specified reason for bein
written. %f you can not think of one! do somethin useful instead> if you can not decide what the document
should achieve! it will not achieve it.
Bnce you have established your aim! you must then decide what information is necessary in achievin that
aim. The reader wants to find the outcome of your thouhts( apply your expertise to the available
information! pick out the very6few facts which are relevant! and state them precisely and concisely.
"he 0ea%er
Pae D8 of -.
# document tells somebody somethin. #s the writer! you have to decide what to tell and how best to tell it to
the particular audience> you must consider the reader.
There are three considerations(
7hat they already know affects what you can leave out.
7hat they need to know determines what you include.
7ha
t they want to know suests the order and emphasis of your writin.
:or instance! in a products proposal! marketin will want to see the products differentiation and niche in the
market place> finance will be interested in pro"ected development costs! profit marins and risk analysis> and
9O; will want the technical details of the desin. To be most effective! you may need to produce three
different reports for the three different audiences.
The key point! however! is that writin is about conveyin information 6 con%eying> that means it has to et
there. $our writin must be riht for the reader! or it will lost on its "ourney> you must focus upon enablin
the reader/s access to the information.
Structure
7ritin is very powerful 6 and for this reason! it can be exploited in enineerin. The power comes from its
potential as an efficient and effective means of communication> the power is derived from order and clarity.
Structure is used to present the information so that it is more accessible to the reader.
%n all comes down to the problem of the short attention span. $ou have to provide the information in small
manaeable chunks! and to use the structure of the document to maintain the context. #s enineers! this is
easy since we are used to performin hierarchical decomposition of desins 6 and the same procedure can be
applied to writin a document.
7hile still considerin the aim and the reader! the document is broken down into distinct sections which can
be written 2and read3 separately. These sections are then each further decomposed into subsections 2and sub6
subsections3 until you arrive at simple! small units of information 6 which are expressed as a pararaph! or a
diaram.
<very pararaph in your document should "ustify itself> it should serve a purpose! or be removed. #
pararaph should convey a sinle idea. There should be a statement of that key idea and 2possibly3 some of
the followin(
a development of the idea
an explanation or analoy
an illustration
support with evidence
contextual links to reinforce the structure
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#s enineers! thouh! you are allowed to avoid words entirely in places> diarams are often much better than
written text. 7hole reports can be written with them almost exclusively and you should always consider
usin one in preference to a pararaph. 4ot only do diarams convey some information more effectively! but
often they assist in the analysis and interpretation of the data. :or instance! a pie chart ives a 1uicker
comparison than a list of numbers> a simple bar chart is far more intelliible than the numbers it represents.
The only problem with diarams is the writer often places less effort in their desin than their information6
content merits 6 and so some is lost or obscure. They must be iven due care( add informati%e labels and
titles! hihliht any key entries! remove unnecessary information.
DraftB 0evise an% E%it
7hen you have decided what to say! to whom you are sayin it! and how to structure it> say it 6 and then
check it for clarity and effectiveness. The time spent doin this will be far less than the time wasted by other
people strulin with the document otherwise.
The followin are a few points to consider as you wield the red pen over your newly created opus.
La!out
The main difference between written and verbal communication is that the reader can choose and re6read the
various sections! whereas the listener receives information in the se1uence determined by the speaker. 0ayout
should be used to make the structure plain! and so more effective( it acts as a uide to the reader.
Suppose you have three main points to make> do not hide them within simple text 6 make them obvious.
5ake it so that the reader/s eye "umps straiht to them on the pae. :or instance! the key to effective layout is
to use(
informative titles
white space
variety
#nother way to make a point obvious is to use a different font.
St!le
People in business do not have the time to marvel at your florid turn off phrase or incessant illiteration. They
want to know what the document is about and 2possibly3 what it says> there is no real interest in style! except
for ease of access.
%n some articles a summary can be obtained by readin the first sentence of each pararaph. The remainder
of each pararaph is simply an expansion upon! or explanation of! the initial sentence. %n other writin! the
topic is iven first in a summary form! and then successively repeated with reater detail each time. This is
the pyramid structure favoured by newspapers.
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# really short and simple document is bound to be read. This has lead to the Amemo cultureA in which every
communication is condensed to one side of #D. 0oner documents need to "ustify themselves to their readers/
attention.
"he Beginning
0et us imaine the reader. 0et us call her 5s L.
5s L has a lot to do today( she has a meetin tomorrow mornin with the reional JP! a call to make to the
=erman desin office! several letters to dictate concernin safety reulations! and this months process6data
has failed to reach her. She is busy and distracted. $ou have possibly 8H seconds for your document to "ustify
itself to her. %f by then it has not explained itself and convinced her that she needs to read it 6 5s L will
tackle somethin else. %f 5s L is a ood manaer! she will insist on a rewrite> if not! the document may never
be read. action3.
Thus the beinnin of your document is crucial. %t must be obvious to the reader at once what the document
is about! and why it should be read. $ou need to catch the readers attention but with reater subtlety than this
article> few enineerin reports can bein with the word sex.
Unlike a novel! the enineerin document must not contain Ateasin elevations of suspenseA. Take your
AaimA! and either state it or achieve it by the end of the first pararaph.
:or instance! if you have been evaluatin a new software packae for possible purchase then your reports
miht bein( AHavin evaluated the 5c+lair ;esin Suite! % recommend that ...A.
,unctuation
Punctuation is used to clarify meanin and to hihliht structure. %t can also remove ambiuity( a cross
section of customers can be rendered less frihtenin simply by addin a hyphen 2a cross6section of
customers3.
<nineers tend not to punctuate 6 which deprives us of this simple tool. ;espite what some remember from
school! punctuation has simple rules which lead to eleance and easy interpretation. %f you want a summary
of punctuation! try .he Concise ;0ford Dictionary *<==>-> and if you want a full treatise! complete with
worked examples 2of varyin derees of skill3! read &ou 2a%e A 7oint .here by <ric Partride.
:or now! let us look at two uses of two punctuation marks. %f you do not habitually use these already! add
them to your repertoire by deliberately lookin for opportunities in your next piece of writin.
The two most common uses of the Colon are(
,3 To introduce a list which explains! or provides the information promised in! the previous clause.
A manager needs two planning tools+ prescience and a prayer.
83 To separate main clauses where the second is a step forward from the first( statement to example!
statement to explanation! cause to effect! introduction to main point.
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.o err is human+ we use computers.
The two most common uses of the /emicolon are(
,3 to unite sentences that are closely associated! complementary or parallel(
'riting is a skill" one must practise to impro%e a skill.
Engineers engineer" accountants account for the cost.
83 to act as a stroner comma! either for emphasis or to establish a hierarchy
.he report was a masterpiece" of deception and false promises.
.he teams were .om, Dick and 2arry" and Mandy, Martha and Mary.
Spelling
:or some! spellin is a constant problem. %n the last analysis! incorrect spelin distracts the reader and
detracts from the authority of the author. 'omputer spell6checkin prorammes provide reat assistance!
especially when supported by a ood dictionary. 'hronic spellers should always maintain a 2preferably
alphabetical3 list of corrected errors! and try to learn new rules 2and exceptionsI3. :or instance 2in +ritish
<nlish3 advice6advise! device6devise! licence6license! practice6practise each follow the same pattern( the
6ice is a noun! the 6ise is a verb.
Simple Errors
:or important documents! there is nothin better than a ood! old6fashioned proof6read. #s an example! the
followin comes from a national advertisin campain@1uiz run by a famous maker of 'hampane(
?uestion @+ 'hich Country has one the .riple Crown the most times(
7on understands the error! but is not impressed by the 1uality of that company/s product.
Sentence Length
#void lon sentences. 7e tend to associate Aunit of informationA with Aa sentenceA. 'onse1uently when
readin! we process the information when we reach the full stop. %f the sentence is too lon! we lose the
information either because of our limited attention span or because the information was poorly decomposed
to start with and miht! perhaps! have been broken up into smaller! or possibly better punctuated! sentences
which would better have kept the attention of the reader and! by doin so! have reinforced the oriinal
messae with reater clarity and simplicity.
Wor% Length
%t is inappropriate to utilize verbose and bombastic terminoloy when a suitable alternative would be to( keep
it simple. Bften the lon! complex word will not be understood. :urther! if the reader is distracted by the
word itself! then less attention is paid to the meanin or to the information you wished to convey.
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Fargon
% believe that a diital human6computer6interface data6entry mechanism should be called a keyboard> % don/t
know why! but % do.
Wor%iness
7hen one is tryin hard to write an impressive document! it is easy to slip into randiose formulae( words
and phrases which sound sinificant but which convey nothin but noise.
$ou must exterminate. So( Afor the reason thatA becomes AbecauseA> Awith reards toA becomes AaboutA> Ain
view of the fact thatA becomes AsinceA> Awithin a comparatively short period of timeA becomes AsoonA.
Bften you can make a sentence sound more like spoken <nlish simply be chanin the word order and
ad"ustin the verb. So( Aif the department experiences any difficulties in the near future reardin attendance
of meetinsA becomes Aif staff cannnot attend the next few meetinsA. #s a final check! read your document
aloud> if it sounds stilted! chane it.
Conclusion
7ritin is a complex tool! you need to train yourself in its use or a lare proportion of your activity will be
rossly inefficient. $ou must reflect upon your writin lest it reflects badly upon you.
%f you want one messae to take from this article! take this( the writin of a professional enineer should be
clear! complete and concise. %f your document satisfies these three criteria! then it deserves to be read.
C1?DE0SA")1? AS C1MM&?)CA")1?
.! /erar% M Blair
Communication is best achie%ed through simple planning and control" this article looks at approaches which
might help you to do this and specifically at meetings, where con%ersations need particular care.
5ost conversations sort of drift alon> in business! this is wasteful> as a manaer! you seek communication
rather than chatter. To ensure an efficient and effective conversation! there are three considerations(
you must make your messae understood
you must receive@understand the intended messae sent to you
you should exert some control over the flow of the communication
Thus you must learn to listen as well as to speak. Those who dismis this as a mere platitude are already
demonstratin an indisposition to listenin( the phrase may be trite! but the messae is huely sinificant to
your effectiveness as a manaer. %f you do not explicitly develop the skill of listenin! you may not hear the
suestion@information which should launch you to fame and fortune.
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AMB)/&)"6 AD1)DA?CE
#s a manaer 2concerned with ettin thins done3 your view of words should be pramatic rather than
philosophical. Thus! words mean not what the dictionary says they do but rather what the speaker intended.
Suppose your manaer ives to you an instruction which contains an ambiuity which neither of you notice
and which results in you producin entirely the wron product. 7ho is at fault? The answer must be( who
cares? $our time has been wasted! the needed product is delayed 2or dead3> attributin blame may be a
satisfyin 2or defensive3 exercise but it does not address the problem. %n everythin you say or hear! you
must look out for possible misunderstandin and clarify the ambiuity.
The reatest source of difficulty is that words often have different meanins dependin upon context and@or
culture. Thus! a AdryA country lacks either water or alcohol> AsuspendersA keep up either stockins or trousers
2pants3> a AfunnyA meetin is either humorous or disconcertin> a AcoupleA is either a few or exactly two. %f
you reconize that there is a potential misunderstandin! you must stop the conversation and ask for the valid
interpretation.
# second problem is that some people simply make mistakes. $our "ob is not simply to spot ambiuities but
also to counter inconsistencies. Thus if % now advocate that the wise manaer should seek out 2perhaps
humorous3 books on entomoloy 2creepy crawlies3 you would deduce that the word should have been
etymoloy. 5ore usual! however! is that in thinkin over several alternatives you may suffer a momentary
confusion and say one of them while meanin another. There are ood scientific reasons 2to do with the
associative nature of the brain3 why this happens! you have to be aware of the potential problem and counter
for it.
:inally! of course! you may simply mishear. The omission of a simple word could be devastatin. :or
instance! how lon would you last as an explosives enineer if you failed to hear a simple neative in(
Awhatever happens next you must YnotZ cut the blue wi...A?
So! the problem is this( the word has multiple meanins! it miht not be the one intended! and you may have
misheard it in the first place 6 how do you know what the speaker meant?
0ule 9: ,LA6 BAC for confirmation
Simple! you ask for confirmation. $ou say Alet me see if % have understood correctly! you are sayin that ...A
and you rephrase what the speaker said. %f this Aplay backA version is acknowleded as bein correct by the
oriinal speaker! then you have a reater deree of confidence in you own understandin. :or any
viewpoint@messae@decision! there should be a clear! concise and verified statement of what was said>
without this someone will et it wron.
0ule ;: W0)"E BAC for confi%ence
+ut do not stop there. %f your time and effort depend upon it! you should write it down and send it to
everyone involved as a double check. This has several advantaes(
:urther clarification 6 is this what you thouht we areed?
'onsistency check 6 the act of writin may hihliht defects@omissions
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# formal stae 6 a statement of the accepted position provides a sprin board from which to proceed
<vidence 6 hindsiht often blurs previous inorance and people often fail to recall their previous
errors
0ule <: /)DE BACgroun% for context
7hen speakin yourself! you can often counter for possible problems by addin information! and so
providin a broader context in which your words can be understood. Thus! there is less scope for alternative
interpretations since fewer are consistent. 7hen others are speakin! you should deliberately ask 1uestions
yourself to establish the context in which they are thinkin. 7hen others are speakin! you should
deliberately ask 1uestions yourself to establish the context in which they are thinkin.
,0AC")CAL ,1)?"S
#s with all effective communication! you should decide 2in advance3 on the purpose of the conversation and
the plan for achievin it. There is no alternative to this. Some people are proficient at Athinkin on their feetA
6 but this is enerally because they already have clear understandin of the context and their own oals. $ou
have to plan> however! the followin are a few techni1ues to help the conversation alon.
Assertiveness
The definition of to assert is( Ato declare> state clearlyA. This is your aim. %f someone arues aainst you!
even loses their temper! you should be 1uietly assertive. 5uch has been written to preach this simple fact and
commonly the final messae is a three6fold plan of action(
acknowlede what is bein said by showin an understandin of the position! or by simply replayin
it 2a polite way of sayin A% heard you alreadyA3
state your own point of view clearly and concisely with perhaps a little supportin evidence
state what you want to happen next 2move it forward3
Thus we have somethin like( yes! % see why you need the report by tomorrow> however! % have no time
today to prepare the document because % am in a meetin with a customer this afternoon> either % could ive
you the raw data and you could work on it yourself! or you could make do with the interim report from last
week.
$ou will have to make many personal "udement calls when bein assertive. There will certainly be times
when a bit of 1uiet force from you will win the day but there will be times when this will et nowhere!
particularly with more senior 2and unenlihtened3 manaement. %n the latter case! you must aree to abide by
the decision of the senior manaer but you should make your ob"ection 2and reasons3 clearly known. :or
yourself! always be aware that your subordinates miht be riht when they disaree with you and if events
prove them so! acknowlede that fact racefully.
Confrontations
7hen you have a difficult encounter! be professional! do not lose your self6control because! simply! it is of no
use. Some manaers believe that it is useful for AdisciplineA to keep staff a little nervous. Thus! these
manaers are slihtly volatile and will be willin Ato let them have itA when the situation demands. %f you do
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this! you must be consistent and fair so that you staff know where they stand. %f you deliberately lose your
temper for effect! then that is your decision 6 however! you must never lose control.
%nsults are ineffective. %f you call people names! then they are unlikely to actually listen to what you have to
say> in the short term you may feel some relief at Aettin it off your chestA! but in the lon run you are
merely perpetuatin the problem since you are not addressin it. This is common sense. There are two
implications. :irstly! even under pressure! you have to remember this. Secondly! what you consider fair
comment may be insultin to another 6 and the same problem emeres. +efore you say anything! stop!
establish what you want as the outcome! plan how to achieve this! and then speak.
:inally! if you are oin to criticise or discipline someone! always assume that you have misunderstood the
situation and ask 1uestions first which check the facts. This simple courtesy will save you from much
embarrassment.
Seeking )nformation
There are two ways of phrasin any 1uestion( one way 2the closed 1uestion3 is likely to lead to a simple runt
in reply 2yes! no! maybe3! the second way 2the open 1uestion3 will hand over the speakin role to someone
else and force them to say somethin a little more informative.
Suppose you conduct a review of a recently finished 2?3 pro"ect with =retchen and it oes somethin like
this(
AHave you finished pro"ect L =retchen?A
A$esA
A%f everythin written up?A
A4earlyA
ASo there is documentation left to do?A
ASomeA
A7ill it take you lon?A
A4o! not lonA
+efore your finers start twitchin to place themselves around =retchen/s neck! consider that your 1uestions
are not actually helpin the flow of information. The same flow of 1uestions in an open format would be(
what is left to do of pro"ect L! what about the documentation! when will that be completely finished? Try
answerin $es or 4o to those 1uestions.
Bpen 1uestions are extremely easy to formulate. $ou establish in your own mind the topic@aim of the
1uestion and then you start the sentence with the words(
W*A" ' W*E? ' W*)C* ' W*6 ' W*E0E ' *1W
Let others speak
Bf course! there is more to a conversation 2manaed or otherwise3 than the flow of information. $ou may
also have to win that information by winnin the attention and confidence of the other person. There are
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many forms of flattery 6 the most effective is to ive people your interest. To et =retchen to ive you all her
knowlede! you must ive her all your attention> talk to her about her view on the sub"ect. #sk 1uestions(
what do you think about that idea! have you ever met this problem before! how would you tackle this
situation?
Silence is effective 6 and much under6used. People are nervous of silence and try to fill it. $ou can use this if
you are seekin information. $ou ask the 1uestion! you lean back! the person answers! you nod and smile!
you keep 1uiet! and the person continues with more detail simply to fill your silence.
"o finish
#t the end of a conversation! you have to ive people a clear understandin of the outcome. :or instance! if
there has been a decision! restate it clearly 2"ust to be sure3 in terms of what should happen and by when> if
you have been askin 1uestions! summarize the sinificant 2for you3 aspects of what you have learnt.
MEE")?/ MA?A/EME?" ' ,0E,A0A")1?
%n any oranization! AmeetinsA are a vital part of the oranization of work and the flow of information. They
act as a mechanism for atherin toether resources from many sources and poolin then towards a common
ob"ective. They are disliked and mocked because they are usually futile! borin! time6wastin! dull! and
inconvenient with nothin for most people to do except doodle while some opinionated has6been extols the
virtues of his@her last reat 2misunderstood3 idea. $our challene is to break this mould and to make your
meetins effective. #s with every other manaed activity! meetins should be planned beforehand! monitored
durin for effectiveness! and reviewed afterwards for improvin their manaement.
# meetin is the ultimate form of manaed conversation> as a manaer! you can oranize the information and
structure of the meetin to support the effective communication of the participants. Some of the ideas below
may seem a little too precise for an easy oin! relaxed! semi6informal team atmosphere 6 but if you manae
to ain a reputation for holdin decisive! effective meetins! then people will value this efficiency and to
prepare professionally so that their contribution will be heard.
Shoul% !ou cancel?
#s with all conversations! you must first ask( is it worth your time? %f the meetin involves the interchane
of views and the communication of the current status of related pro"ects! then you should be enerous with
your time. +ut you should always consider cancelin a meetin which has little tanible value.
Who shoul% atten%?
$ou must be strict. # meetin loses its effectiveness if too many people are involved( so if someone has no
useful function! explain this and suest that they do not come. 4otice! they may disaree with your
assessment! in which case they should attend 2since they may know somethin you do not3> however! most
people are only too happy to be released from yet another meetin.
*o( long?
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%t may seem difficult to predict the lenth of a discussion 6 but you must. ;iscussions tend to fill the
available time which means that if the meetin is open6ended! it will drift on forever. $ou should stipulate a
time for the end of the meetin so that everyone knows! and everyone can plan the rest of their day with
confidence.
%t is wise to make this expectation known to everyone involved well in advance and to remind them at the
beinnin of the meetin. There is often a tendency to view meetins as a little relaxation since no one
person has to be active throuhout. $ou can redress this view by stressin the time6scale and thus forcin the
pace of the discussion( Athis is what we have to achieve! this is how lon we have to et it doneA.
%f some unexpected point arises durin the meetin then realize that since it is unexpected( ,3 you miht not
have the riht people present! 83 those there may not have the necessary information! and C3 a little thouht
miht save a lot of discussion. %f the new discussion looks likely to be more than a few moments! stop it and
deal with the areed aenda. The new topic should then be dealt with at another AplannedA meetin.
Agen%a
The purpose of an aenda is to inform participants of the sub"ect of the meetin in advance! and to structure
the discussion at the meetin itself. To inform people beforehand! and to solicit ideas! you should circulate a
draft aenda and ask for notice of any other business. Still before the meetin! you should then send the
revised aenda with enouh time for people to prepare their contributions. %f you know in advance that a
particular participant either needs information or will be providin information! then make this e0plicitly
clear so that there is no confusion.
The aenda states the purpose of each section of the meetin. There will be an outcome from each section. %f
that outcome is so complex that it can not be summarized in a few points! then it was probably too complex
to be assimilated by the participants. The understandin of the meetin should be sufficiently precise that it
can be summarized in short form 6 so display that summary for all other interested parties to see. This form
of display will emphasize to all that meetins are about achievin defined oals 6 this will help you to
continue runnin efficient meetins in the future.
MEE")?/ MA?A/EME?" ' C1?D&C")?/
7hether you actually sit as the 'hair or simply lead from the side6lines! as the manaer you must provide the
necessary support to coordinate the contributions of the participants. The deree of control which you
exercise over the meetin will vary throuhout> if you et the structure riht at the beinnin! a meetin can
effectively run itself especially if the participants know each other well. %n a team! your role may be partially
undertaken by others> but if not! you must manae.
Maintaining Communication
$our most important tools are(
'larification 6 always clarify( the purpose of the meetin! the time allowed! the rules to be observed
2if areed3 by everyone.
Summary 6 at each stae of the proceedins! you should summarize the current position and proress(
this is what we have achieved@areed! this is where we have reached.
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:ocus on stated oals 6 at each diverence or pause! re6focus the proceedins on the oriinal oals.
Co%e of con%uct
%n any meetin! it is possible to bein the proceedins by establishin a code of conduct! often by merely
statin it and askin for any ob"ections 2which will only be accepted if a demonstrably better system is
proposed3. Thus if the roup contains opinionated wind6bas! you miht all aree at the onset that all
contributions should be limited to two minutes 2which focuses the mind admirably3. $ou can then impose
this with the full backin of the whole roup.
Matching metho% to purpose
The 2stated3 purpose of a meetin may suest to you a specific way of conductin the event! and each
section miht be conducted differently. :or instance! if the purpose is(
to convey information! the meetin miht bein with a formal presentation followed by 1uestions
to seek information! the meetin would start with a short 2clear3 statement of the topic@problem and
then an open discussion supported by notes on a display! or a formal brainstormin session
to make a decision! the meetin miht review the backround and options! establish the criteria to be
applied! aree who should make the decision and how! and then do it
to ratify@explain decisions! etc etc
#s always! once you have paused to ask yourself the 1uestions( what is the purpose of the meetin and how
can it be most effectively achieved> your common sense will then suest a workin method to expedite the
proceedins. $ou "ust have to deliberately pause. 5anae the process of the meetin and the meetin will
work.
Support
The success of a meetin will often depend upon the confidence with which the individuals will participate.
Thus all ideas should be welcome. 4o one should be lauhed at or dismissed 2Alauhed withA is ood!
Alauhed atA is destructive3. This means that even bad ideas should be treated seriously 6 and at least merit a
specific reason for not bein pursued further. 4ot only is this supportive to the speaker! it could also be that a
ood idea has been misunderstood and would be lost if merely re"ected. +ut basically people should be able
to make naive contributions without bein made to feel stupid! otherwise you may never hear the best ideas
of all.
#void direct criticism of any person. :or instance! if someone has not come prepared then that fault is
obvious to all. %f you leave the criticism as bein simply that implicit in the peer pressure! then it is diffuse
and eneral> if you explicitly rebuke that person! then it is personal and from you 2which may raise
unnecessary conflict3. $ou should merely seek an undertakin for the missin preparation to be done( we
need to know this before we can proceed! could you circulate it to us by tomorrow lunch?
0espon%ing to pro.lems
The rest of this section is devoted to ideas of how you miht deal with the various problems associated with
the volatile world of meetins. Some are best undertaken by the desinated 'hair> but if he@she is ineffective!
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or if no one has been appointed! you should feel free to help any meetin to proress. #fter all! why should
you allow your time to be wasted.
%f a participant strays from the aenda item! call him@her back( Awe should deal with that separately! but what
do you feel about the issue L?A
%f there is confusion! you miht ask( Ado % understand correctly that ...?A
%f the speaker beins to ramble! wait until an inhalation of breath and "ump in( Ayes % understand that such
and such! does any one disaree?A
%f a point is too woolly or too vaue ask for reater clarity( Awhat exactly do you have in mind?A
%f someone interrupts 2someone other than a rambler3! you should suest that( Awe hear your contribution
after =retchen has finished.A
%f people chat! you miht either simply state your difficulty in hearin@concentratin on the real speaker. or
ask them a direct 1uestion( Awhat do you think about that point.A
%f someone estures disareement with the speaker 2e.. by a rimace3! then make sure they are brouht into
the discussion next( Awhat do you think =retchen?A
%f you do not understand! say so( A% do not understand that! would you explain it a little more> or do you mean
L or $?A
%f there is an error! look for a ood point first( A% see how that would work if L $ P! but what would happen if
# + '?A
%f you disaree! be %ery specific( A% disaree because ...A
C1?CL&D)?/ 0EMA0S
The tower of +abel collapsed because people could no loner communicate> their speech became so different
that no one could understand another. $ou need to communicate to coordinate your own work and that of
others> without explicit effort your conversation will lack communication and so your work too will collapse
thouh misunderstandin and error. The key is to treat a conversation as you would any other manaed
activity( by establishin an aim! plannin what to do! and checkin afterwards that you have achieved that
aim. Bnly in this way can you work effectively with others in buildin throuh common effort.
P"one Skills + cutting do!n t"e lengt" of time on t"e p"one
%n a business environment the first contact you ever have with a customer is often over the phone. He or she
will be formin an opinion of you from this first contact. %t is very easy to ive a poor impression by bein
disoranised and unprofessional in the way you use the phone. 'onversely by usin it effectively you can
appear very sharp and competent.
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This article discusses the skills that allow you to present yourself in the most professional way possible.
*o( to .e effective on the phone
9ememberin these points will help you to be sharp and professional in the way that you talk on the phone(
2a%e an aim+
7hen makin an outoin call! always know what you want to discuss. #lways ensure that you have
all the documentation you need to achieve your aim. This saves both your time and the time of the
person you are talkin to.
.ailor your style to that of the person you are talking to+
+usy people often prefer a clean cut! direct approach with a bare minimum of social chat. Bthers may
prefer a more sociable approach. Tailor your approach to their style 2unless they are miserable or
rudeI3
4imit social con%ersation+
Social chat may be pleasant! but taken to extremes it wastes time. %t can be intensely frustratin if you
have a lot of work to do.
Ai%e concise answers to ,uestions+
0on ramblin answers are unprofessional! dull and confusin.
$f you don#t know an answer, say so+
%f someone relies on you when you are uessin! and you uess wron! then they will never trust you
aain. %f you do not know somethin! say you will et back to them with a firm answer.
At the end of a call, summarise the points made+
This ensures that both people aree on what has been said! and know what action will be taken.
Don#t talk to anyone else when on the phone+
This makes your oranisation look small. Put the other person on hold! then talk.
Making phone calls
+ear in mind the followin when a call has to be made(
.ake the initiati%e in making calls+
7here a call has to be made! make it. 0eavin it waitin "ust builds stress if it is unpleasant or
difficult.
Don#t make a call %ery early or %ery late+
=ive the person you are talkin to a chance to et a coffee and settle in before you rin them. ;on/t
take up peoples time when they want to leave the office.
$f calls are administrati%e, delegate them+
%t may be possible to deleate calls arranin times for meetins! findin out addresses! etc. to
assistants. $ou should! however! be careful not to ive the impression that you are playin power
ames.
$f you get an answering machine, ring off and ring back+
%f you are not prepared for an answerin machine! you can sound stilted and off6balance talkin into
one. %t is much better to han up! prepare a messae! and then deliver it smoothly.
Don#t harass people+
%f someone is doin a "ob for you! don/t rin them every few hours to find out how it is oin. This is
irritatin and stressful! and slows achievement of the "ob.
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"aking incoming calls
These points are important in the way your oranisation handles incomin calls(
.he phone should not ring more than @ times before being answered+
This is the norm for efficient business oranisations. $ou will appear seriously slack and
unprofessional if your phone rins many more times than this. %f you do not have the personnel to
answer all incomin lines! take the unanswerable phones off the hook. %f you pick up a phone that has
run many times! then apoloise to the other person.
E%eryone should ha%e responsibility for answering phones+
$ou will seriously annoy anyone who has to han on waitin for service( not only are you wastin
their time! you are also keepin them in a stressed condition where they are ready to talk at a
moment/s notice. <veryone within an oranisation should have responsibility for answerin phones( if
nothin else this will keep front6line people on their toes if they know their manaers are havin to do
their "obsI
Don#t answer the phone while eating+
This either sounds indistinct or sounds like havin your ear nibbledI
Always ring back+
There is nothin more frustratin than waitin for an important call that is not returned for many
hours. +y not returnin a call you are slowin the other person/s achievement of their oals.
5any of these points are simple courtesies. #lways bear in mind that the time of the person you are talkin to
is limited! and that they are formin an opinion of you and your oranisations efficiency while you are on the
phone.
Long Distance Relationships
The first key to success with lon distance relationships is effective communication. %t is important for both
parties to be able to feel that if they need to talk or write to the other person! communication will be
welcomed and met with active communication from the other. The 1uality of the relationship is more likely
to increase if both people develop the ability to share feelins openly with each other. The second key to
success is a demonstrated commitment to the relationship by both parties. 7hat kind of commitment!and
how serious or liht it is! will be different for different couples. +ein so far apart can be a scary and risky
endeavor for most couples! so the third and fourth keys are a willinness to take risks! and the presence of a
solid and secure trust between the two people. This doesn/t mean that each person needs to skydive from a
plane! but rather! that each will trust that the other person/s social life in his or her own town will not be a
threat to the relationship. Trust is so important that if it isn/t stron! you can make a conscious effort to work
on it! both on your own and toether.
This point leads to the fifth key! independence for each person! with a healthy level of dependence upon each
other. 7hen these are present! there is a balance of power in the relationship between both people! and each
person can be autonomous but still et emotional needs met by the other person. :urthermore! with an
appropriate balance of independence and dependence! each person is allowed! even encouraed! to row and
chane as an individual! which everyone needs. %t is! therefore! wise not to expect that your partner or
yourself will always stay exactly the same as when the relationship started.
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7hen these aspects of the relationship are healthy! the sixth key element tends to be naturally present! a
mutual respect. :inally! none of these other elements can offer the relationship success if the seventh key
element is not there! clear expectations on the part of both people. %t is so very important that you fiure out
your own personal expectations of the other person and the relationship! and then discuss them with the other
person so that both of you are clear and@or can work out differences in expectations. 7ithout this! each
person is workin on a very different relationship than the other! and problems are likely. Bne final point
about lon distance relationships is that you make time toether 1uality time! and build in some alone time
durin visits. ;o thins that draw the two of you closer! rather than emphasize the distance between you.
Strategies for Coping
Pro6active thins to be doin as on6oin maintenance for yourself(
=et involved in oranizations or causes that you personally believe in. Put meaninful thins in your
life other than your sinificant other.
Help those who have challenin life circumstances. :or example! volunteer at a nursin home or
orphanae.
5ake sure there are supportive people and places in your life.
<very once in a while! do somethin that is atypical of yourself! althouh not self6defeatin. :or
example! o to a movie on a weekniht or et your hair cut.
Tend to your spiritual needs.
Specific strateies to try when the depression of missin hits you(
0et out the emotions( cry! scream! sin
<xercise! o for a run! play a sport! take a walk
7rite a letter to the person! whether you send it or not! lettin her@him know how you are feelin
7rite poetry or a "ournal entry or both
=o watch a sportin event
'ome into the 'ounselin 'enter to talk about it
=o see a movie( comedy to make you lauh! adventure to take you away! tear"erker to help you cry
=o to the t.v. loune or study loune to have other people around you> don/t stay alone in your room
'all! visit! or study with a friend
Take homework to a restaurant and do it over coffee or a meal
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#s if relationships weren/t complicated enouh! havin them across a lon distance is extremely challenin.
However! throuhout time couples have had to be miles apart! and have been able to maintain a solid! happy!
successful relationship until they could be toether aain. %n order to find success! there are some key
elements that are necessary! which have been explained above. 7ithout these key elements! relationships
may endure! althouh they may not be healthy or fulfillin ones.
Phone )trategies
Anyone in business communication will tell you that ne$t to public spea!ing" ma!ing a phone call is the thing
most feared by even the most seasoned e$ecutives. +his phenomenon is called Btelephone reluctance.B +o help
you overcome this fear, we have assembled a list of telephone tips. Review these tips, plan your calls, practice
what you are going to say and start dialing.
#evelop a Bconversation outline,B but don)t tr$ to memori(e a script. /elow is a basic e$ample. Create
your own and don1t wait until it is perfect to try it out. +he more phone calls you ma!e, the better your
outlines will get, and the easier it will become to ma!e the calls.
Conversation Outline
3. )ay BhelloB and ac!nowledge and write down" the name of person you are spea!ing with.
B0ello, my name is .... And, your nameDB
&. +ell them why you are calling and who you wish to spea! with.
(. ,f you are conducting a follow up call, Euic!ly describe your previous communications.
B, am calling about the programmer position and , would li!e to spea! with the head of the
programming department, please.B
''or''
B, saw on the ,nternet that your firm offers some great programming positions, is there a specific
person who could tell me more about these positionsD 4ood. Could , have that person1s name,
email address, phone and fa$ number pleaseDB
5. Assess the status of your candidacy, as! if any documents you fa$ed or mailed were received,
and, focus on identifying the appropriate ne$t step. /e assertive about this '' reEuest an
appointment for an interview. ,f the person you are spea!ing with cannot schedule one, reEuest
suggestions for your ne$t step and additional resources or referrals.
B, e'mailed my resume to ... of your human resources office. Can , spea! with Ar.FAs. ...D ,
would li!e to confirm that my resume was received and clarify what my ne$t step should be.
6. As! to see the appropriate person
B,1d li!e to schedule an appointment with Ar.FAs. ...B
9. ReEuest an appointment for an interview or information conversation. Again, if the person you
are spea!ing with cannot schedule one, reEuest suggestions for your ne$t step and additional
resources or referrals.
B=es, , understand that decisions regarding formal interviews won1t be made for a few wee!s. ,n
the meantime could you refer me to someone in a programming positionD , would li!e to
informally learn about what it is li!e and as! Euestions about their e$periences. 7ho would you
suggest , spea! withDB
:. +han! the person you are spea!ing with and confirm spelling of all names, mailing and e'mail
addresses, phone and fa$ numbers.
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B+han! you so much. =ou have been very helpful. ,f , have additional Euestions would it be
appropriate to call you againD Again, Ar.FAs. .... is the best person to contact and their phone
and fa$ number is... ,s that correctDB
@ever be impolite, impatient, or pushy. =ou can always call bac! if you don1t get the results you e$pect.
Create additional outlines and rehearse them with friends and family. Cet common sense be your guide,
but start nowH
,hone Strategies
+hat ;iller Call
Once you have developed your conversation outline , you need to !now how to use it effectively. 0ere are some
tried and true tips2
4et Past the Receptionist
,n some cases, receptionists and secretaries will try to screen out your call. ,f they find out you are
loo!ing for a job, they may transfer you to the Personnel #epartment or as! you to send an application
or resume. 0ere are some things you can do to !eep from getting screened out2
3. Call /ac!
Call bac! a day later and say you are getting ready to send some correspondence to the person
who manages such and such. =ou want to use the correct name and title and reEuest that they
give you this information. +his is true since you will be sending them something soon. And this
approach usually gets you what you need. )ay Bthan! youB and call bac! in a day or so. +hen
as! for the supervisor or manager by name.
&. Call 7hen the )ecretary ,s Out
=ou are li!ely to get right through if you call when that receptionist is out to lunch. Other good
times are just before and after normal wor! hours. Cess e$perienced staff members are li!ely to
answer the phones and put you right through. +he boss also might be in early or wor!ing late.
4et the @ame of a Person
,f you don1t have the name of the person you need to spea! to, as! for it. .or e$ample, as! for the name
of the person in charge of the programming department if that is where you want to wor!. Usually, you
will be given the supervisor1s name and your call will be transferred to him or her immediately. 7hen you
do get a name, get the correct spelling and write it down right away. +hen you can use that person1s
name in your conversation.
4et to the 0iring Authority
=ou need to get directly to the person who would hire you. Unless you want to wor! in the Personnel
#epartment, you wouldn1t normally as! to tal! to someone who wor!s in the Personnel #epartment.
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#epending on the type and si8e of the organi8ation you1re calling, you should have a pretty good idea of
the title of the person who would hire you. ,n a small business you might as! to spea! to the Bperson in
charge.B ,n a larger one, you would as! for the name of the person who is in charge of the department
that you would be wor!ing in.
7hen Referred by )omeone
,t is always better to be referred by someone. 7hen a friend of the employer recommends that you call,
you usually get right through.
,f the receptionist as!s what your call is regarding, say2
BA friend of Ar.FAs.III suggested , give himFher a call regarding a personal matter.B
Once you are connected to Ar.FAs.III, immediately give the name of the person who suggested you
call. .or e$ample2
B0ello, Ar.FAs.III. Goe )chmoe, suggested , give you a call.B
7hen Calling )omeone =ou ;now
,f you are calling someone you !now, you would normally begin with some friendly conversation before
getting to the purpose of your call. +hen, you could use your phone script by saying something li!e this2
B+he reason , called is to let you !now , am loo!ing for a job, and thought you might be able to help. , am
loo!ing for a position as. . . B Continue with the rest of your phone script here".
+here are many other situations where you will need to adapt your basic script. Use your own judgment.
+he more you practice, the easier it getsH
=our 4oal ,s to 4et an ,nterview
+he primary goal of a phone contact is to get an interview. +o succeed you must be ready to get past the
first and even the second rejection.
As! +hree +imes for an ,nterview
4ou must practice asking t"ree times for t"e intervie!1 0ere is an e$ample2
4ou5 7hen may , come in for an interviewD
Emplo$er5 , don1t have any positions open now...
4ou5 +hat1s O;, ,1d still li!e to come in to tal! to you about the possibility of future openings.
Emplo$er5 , really don1t plan on hiring within the ne$t si$ months or so.
4ou5 +hen ,1d li!e to come in and learn more about what you do. ,1m sure you !now a lot about the
industry, and , am loo!ing for ideas on getting into it and moving up.
Although this approach does not always wor!, asking t"e t"ird time !orks more often t"an $ou
!ould believe1 ,t is important to learn how to do this, since overcoming re6ections is possibl$ t"e
most important part of getting to 74es#7
Arrange a +ime
,f the person agrees to an interview, arrange a specific date and time. ,f you are not sure of the correct
name or address, call bac! later and as! the receptionist.
)ometimes you will decide not to as! for an interview
+he person may not seem helpful or you may have caught him or her at a busy time. ,f so, ta!e another
approach2
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3. 4et a Referral
As! for names of other people who might be able to help you. .ind out how to contact them.
+hen add these contacts to your job search networ!H
&. As! to Call /ac!
,f your contact is busy when you call, as! if you can call bac!. 4et a specific time and day to do
this, and add the call to your to'do list for that day. /e sure to call bac! at the specified time, the
employer may give you an interview just because you didn1t push when they were busy and
called bac! at the appointed time.
(. As! to Call /ac! .rom +ime to +ime
As! if they would mind if you !eep in touch. Aaybe they will hear of an opening or have some
other information for you. Aany people get their best leads from someone they have chec!ed
bac! with several times.
.ollow UpH
,t is important to follow up with each person you contact. +his can ma!e a big difference in their
remembering and helping you in the future.
0ere is the best way to follow up2
Send t"ank+$ou notes1 ,t is just good manners to send a than!'you note to someone who helped you.
People will also be more li!ely to help you in the future if you let them !now that you appreciate their
help. Send $our t"ank+$ou note rig"t after t"e p"one call so $ou don)t forget. ,f you arranged for an
interview, send a note saying that you are loo!ing forward to your meeting. ,f a someone gave you a
referral or suggestion, send them a note telling them how things turned out.
Following are some tips for interviewing well over the phone:
Get your thoughts in order. Be prepared to tell the prospective employer why you want the job,
and why you are qualified for it. Use the opportunity to gather more information about the
opening and the company.
o your homewor!. "a!e time to conduct preliminary research on prospective employers. "his
will allow you to as! targeted questions during your conversation and give you a competitive
edge when it comes to securing an opportunity to interview in person.
Be prepared. #reate a $hot sheet$ for every job for which you apply, and !eep it close to the
phone for easy accessibility. %our list should include the name of the hiring authority, questions
you want to as! and points you&d li!e to ma!e during the interview. 'lso, have a copy of your
resume on hand.
(pea! formally. 'pproach the phone interview with the same business etiquette as you would a
face)to)face interview. 'nd smile as you answer questions, so that you come across as friendly
and enthusiastic.
0isten carefully. $ou/ll show the interviewer you have ood communication skills! and it will ive
you time to decide how you want to answer a iven 1uestion.
*ellular P"one Eti8uette
Pae -, of -.
#mericans are rowin increasinly frustrated with the behavior of some wireless phone
users. #s more and more people o wireless! the chance of these devices to intrude and
interrupt others/ privacy increases. Here are some tips to remember.
,. 7hen ridin on public transportation! avoid loud and animated conversations by
keepin your voice low or to a conversational level. +e sure to avoid extended calls.
8. Turn the riner as low as possible to avoid disturbin others.
C. 9arely! if ever! is it appropriate to have phone conversations at social atherins such
as concerts! plays! movies! funerals 2yes! it happensI3! lectures! church services 2here
tooI3! and many other events.
D. 9emember that the people you are with usually take priority over a phone call. Havin
a conversation in their presence can be viewed as bein rude and make the person feel
unimportant! and make you look bad.
E. %f you have to make a call! make sure to take it to another location that will be less
disruptive.
-. %nform the person that you are callin that you are usin a cellular phone! then if the
connection fades or drops! the person will know to wait to see if the clarity returns or
that you will be callin back.
.. :ocus on safety first. ;o not use cellular phones when they impede your ability to
drive or walk. =et a hands6free kit or phone cradle holder for your vehicle or a Awalk
aboutA kit for your phone when out of the car.
F. Use caller %;! voice messaes! or if you must have the phone on! et a vibratin
battery or universal belt clip mechanism.
7e offer this information not to offend you but to assist you. # recent survey conducted
showed that Aphone raeA is about to 1uickly become the top contender of Aroad raeA.
#lready! the masses are atherin to eliminate the use of cellular phones in vehicles and even
some public places if folks do not act more responsibly on their own. 0eislation has already
been introduced into our leislative branch to consider a study on the use of cellular phones in
cars. 7e need for all cellular phone users to be aware of safety.
;+ Dolume ' Speak softl!+
The cell savvy user is careful to speak in hushed tones! knowin that a mobile phone has a sensitive
microphone capable of pickin up a soft voice.
The cell savvy user also sets the rin tone at a low level with a tune that is soft! entle and not annoyin.
The more crowded the situation! the 1uieter and softer the volume of voice and rin.
The cell savvy user moves to vibrate in any situation like a church! a workshop or a meetin where a rinin
sound would prove disturbin to other people.
The cell savvy user tries to ain as little phone attention as possible. The oal is to communicate effectively
without anybody else noticin or carin.
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The cell phone bore speaks loudly and employs loud! obnoxious rin tones at all the wron times and in all
the wron places. The cell phone bore calls attention to herself or himself.
Some people seem incapable of speakin on their cell phone in a normal tone of voice. Perhaps they are
subconsciously worried that the party on the other end cannot hear them very well! so they double and triple
their volume. Sometimes it seems as if they are shoutin.
7atch the reactions of people near the cell phone bore when the voice or the riner are too loud. The cell
phone bore is not a popular person. +ack to Top
<+ ,roximit! ' eep !our %istance+
<ach person is surrounded by a personal space. This space provides feelins of safety and calm! especially in
crowded places.
7hen straners come into our personal space! it can make us feel uncomfortable.
The smart cell phone user respects the personal space of other people and tries to speak in places ,H68H feet
or more away from the closest person.
%f there is no private! separate space available! the smart cell phone user waits to speak on the phone until a
ood space is available.
Sensitivity to other peoples/ needs and comforts is a sin of ood character.
'rowded rooms! lines and tiht hallways are not ood places to carry on phone conversations.
4ext time you find yourself in a crowded space! watch the reactions of non mobile phone users to those who
speak loudly into their phones while standin next to them.
The cell phone bore inores the private personal space of others and seems oblivious to the discomfort
caused by such behavior. Unconscious! unconcerned and unaware! the cell phone bore acts as if no one else
matters. +ack to Top
=+ Content ' eep .usiness private+
5any personal and business conversations contain information that should remain confidential or private.
+efore usin a mobile phone in a public location to discuss private business or issues! the cell savvy user
makes sure that there will be enouh distance to keep the content private. Some stories! some issues and
some conflicts should be saved for times and locations that will allow for confidentiality.
The cell phone bore does not think strateically about content and handles a full rane of issues and topics in
a wide variety of settins without payin much attention to the surroundin audience. This lack of
discrimination can have danerous conse1uences as business deals! relationships and future plans may all be
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endanered by leaks and loose tonues. +ack to Top
>+ "one ' eep a civil an% pleasant tone+
The cell savvy user knows that others miht overhear a conversation! so they are careful to maintain a public
voice that will not disturb others. #t the same time! the cell savvy user knows that certain types of
conversations may re1uire or inspire some touh talk or emotional tones. They reserve these conversations
for more private settins. They do not fire employees! chastise employees! arue with a boss or fiht with a
spouse or teenaer on their mobile phones in public settins.
The cell phone bore will sometimes air dirty laundry in public and share emotionally intense conversations
with nearby straners. The cell phone bore will speak in loud and anry tones that often cause other people to
move away if they can. +ack to Top
-+ Location ' ,ick !our spot+
Some locations are better for conversations than others. They offer more privacy and less noise. +y keepin
the mobile phone turned off much of the time! the smart cell phone user is able to handle incomin calls
under ood conditions rather than strulin aainst interference of various kinds such as fliht
announcements in the hallways of an airport.
The cell savvy user learns which spots will offer the best sinal and the best conditions. 9ather than hold an
important business discussion or neotiation under poor conditions! the cell savvy user waits for ood
conditions in order to make the best impression and provide a professional communication experience.
The cell phone bore is an anywhere! anytime phoner! takin and makin calls in public rest rooms! durin
church services and ridin alon in the rental shuttle while s1ueezed alonside of others. The cell phone bore
sacrifices effectiveness and professionalism for convenience and immediacy. +ack to Top
7+ "iming ' ?o cell phone .efore it5s time+
The cell savvy user thinks about when to turn the phone on or off. There are many situations where it would
be rude if a phone ran! interruptin the transaction at hand.
Steppin up to a service counter! enterin a restaurant or "oinin a meetin! the cell savvy user turn off the
phone and relies upon voice mail to take incomin calls.
There may be sometimes when a particular incomin call or messae re1uires an exception! but the vast
ma"ority of callers do not re1uire immediate access.
The cell phone bore leaves the phone on all the time in all places reardless of the situation. The cell phone
bore answers the phone no matter what else is happenin and expects others to sit and wait while they chat
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with the caller. +ack to Top
G+ Multi'"asking ' 1ne thing at a time+
Some folks are better at "ulin many tasks at the same time than others! but there are some thins in life
that deserve your full attention. The busy person multi6taskin at a desk can be a wonderful model of
efficiency! handlin! phone! keyboard! coffee cup and remote control all at the same time! but at other times!
multi6taskin can be hazardous! rude and inefficient.
The cell savvy user reserves multi6taskin for situations and times when it is safe! convenient and
appropriate. #pproachin a counter to work throuh a problem with an airline ticket! the cell savvy user turns
off the phone or its riner to protect the comin transaction from interruption. Bne thin at a time. :ocus.
<fficiency. 5anners.
The cell savvy user often stops other activities such as typin when a call comes throuh in order to ive the
caller! full attention. :ree of distraction! the cell savvy user makes the most of the call.
The cell phone bore often "ules multiple tasks at the wron times in the wron places and often drops a ball
or makes someone else anry.
Steppin to the counter to work out a problem with a ticket! the cell phone bore takes an incomin call riht
in the middle of the transaction and holds up the employee as well as all the other customers lined up waitin
for service. Bblivious to the inconvenience and inefficiency caused! the cell phone bore allows a mobile
phone to interfere with the performance of the employee and the needs of the other customers. The cell
phone bore puts personal wishes ahead of civility.
*onference *all Eti8uette
Make sure $ou are in a 8uiet location !"ere $ou !ill not be disturbed#
0se appropriate e8uipment#
a. ,f possible, always use a phone with a handset that is hard'wired into the phone lines. /e sure to
+*)+ the wor!ing condition of your eEuipment before an important meetingH
b. Cellular or cordless phones are more li!ely to cause static or other distracting noise that they pic! up
on the airwaves.
c. )pea!erphones pic! up lots of bac!ground noise, and sometimes cause BclippingB because of the
limitations of the eEuipment. ,f you are using a spea!erphone, try to find one that is Bfull digital
duple$B''this will allow all parties to spea! at the same time with no clipping. And if no one in your
room needs to spea!, use the BAuteB button on the phone to prevent bac!ground noise from disrupting
the meeting. 7hen someone needs to spea!, simply release the BAuteB.
Turn off $our call !aiting#
)ome of our conferences are set to play a tone as an announcement of a new person entering the
conference. ,f your line starts beeping with call waiting, it can be very confusing and disrupting to the meetingH
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Aost call'waiting features can be deactivated by dialing :?J before dialing. Chec! with your local phone
service provider if you are unsure how to deactivate this function on your phone.
Be on time or earl$1
,t is especially helpful for the host or chairperson of the call to arrive a few minutes early to greet each of the
participants, and let them !now whether everyone is ready to start yet. =our presence in these opening
minutes will also help you head off any premature discussions the participants might begin before you1re readyH
-ntroduce $ourself !"en $ou begin speaking#
Others may not !now your voiceH
Don)t put $our p"one on 9./D to do somet"ing else#
=our hold music will play into the conference call, and ma!e it impossible for the other participants to continue
the meeting in your absenceH
,f you are using !"" #eady-Call, you may use the J9 function to mute your individual line, and O@C= that way
can you avoid playing your hold music into the conference. Remember to un'mute yourself when you come
bac!H"
Tr$ to sta$ on sc"edule#
)tic! to the minutes per topic laid out in your agenda, and be respectful of others1 timeH
End t"e call clearl$#
Aa!e sure all the participants !now that that meeting is formally over, and stay on the line to ensure that
everyone hangs up. ,f they stay on the call, it will show up on your billH
,f you are using !"" #eady-Call, any chairperson may use the JJ function to terminate all connections to the
conference.
TeleConference Etiquette
"here are several things elements of teleconference etiquette, please review these before you
call. "hey include:
1. Mute Button
Use your mute button, if there is one. Bac!ground noise, the dog bar!ing, radio, etc., could be a
problem for the other participants. *f you don&t have a mute button, don&t worry. +ust try to call
from a quiet location.
2. Breathing
(ome people breathe &heavier& than others. ,ost of the heavy breathers don&t reali-e it. ./ho,
,012 (o, we as! everyone to hold the mouthpiece or telephone headset away from their mouth
and nose, until they are spea!ing. "his sounds pretty silly, but when you&re on a call with a heavy
breather, you&ll !now why3
3. 2-line phones
*f you have a two)line phone, please turn the ringer off of the second line. *f you don&t, and you
get a call during the "ele#lass, it can really be a shrill noise that everyone hears.
4. Pets
*f you&re on a smaller "ele#onference .li!e 45)65 callers2, your dog will probably woof at e7actly
the time needed for some comic relief, so it&s not usually a problem. But if you&re on a larger
"ele#onference .65)455 callers2, please put pets in another room.
. !pea"erphones# Cell phones an$ Cor$less phones
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8lease don&t use them. (pea!erphones are wonderful things, but we as! that you not spea! into
them when sharing. 8ic! up the handset when you share and put the mute button on when
you&re just listening. "he clarity9quality simply isn&t good enough on any of these phones.
%. !haring
"he leader will usually as! for callers to share or respond, throughout the call. :owever, please
wait to be prompted )) don&t just spea! up, unless invited. *f9when you do share, say something
li!e, $"hom .or the leader&s name2, this is Fran! from ;maha.$ "he leader will say, $%es, Fran!,
go ahead.$ "hen you can say whatever you&d li!e to. 'lways use the leader&s name and wait until
they respond, indicating that you can proceed. ;n smaller calls this formality isn&t usually needed
and there is a natural flow to people sharing and discussing.
&. CrossTal"
*f another caller says something that you want to comment on or as! more information about, go
through the leader, don&t spea! to the person directly, at least at first. <et the leader play traffic
director. %ou could say something li!e, $(ara, can * as! that 8at rephrase the point she just
made1$ 'gain, on smaller calls, this isn&t as necessary, but on the large calls, it really is.
'. Earl()*ate
8lease don&t call the teleconference number before the scheduled time )) another conference
may be in session. *f you&re late to the call, no problem, just dial in and be silent until you catch
on to what&s being discussed. "he leader may or may not officially welcome you )) but probably
won&t so as not to disturb the flow of the call. "hat doesn&t mean you&re not welcome3 'nd,
finally, if you&re more than 45 minutes late, be really careful about as!ing questions, as they may
well have been as!ed earlier.
Conclusion :
Ensures t"at team members are completel$ informed on all tec"nical and administrative matters3
!it"out :filtering; t"e information#
9as an open door polic$ !"ere all team members feel comfortable to freel$ discuss an$ issue#

Takes steps to ensure t"at our ideas are "eard3 implemented3 or passed to management for furt"er
revie!#

Follo!s up on all suggestions and ideas3 and informs t"e team as soon as "e receives an$ ne! information#
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