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Communication

Understanding non-verbal communication

Understanding non-verbal communication

By on Jun 29, 2016 in Blog, Communication | 0 comments

Non-verbal communication is an exchange that is absent of words. In the business world today, non-verbal communication is highly regarded. However, it is widely misunderstood. Non-verbal communication relies on gestures, body movement, physical contact, facial expressions, and the physical environment. Approximately 55% of a message is conveyed via body posture and facial expressions. Nearly 38% is conveyed by inflection and tone of voice. The remaining 7% is the actual verbal message. It is generally understood that there are three kinds of non-verbal communication frequently practiced in the workplace: body language, images, and environments. Body language – can be as simple as the distance that you stand away from someone. Standing close indicated either aggressive behavior or friendliness. In some cultures it is appropriate to stand further apart, while in other cultures is acceptable to stand closer together. Extended eye contact can demonstrate either interest or hostile feelings. Crossed arms generally indicate disinterest. Images – are the mental pictures that develop in a person’s mind, based on the words chosen by the speaker. The words used may convey more than the literal meaning of the words. Environment – in which communication occurs also plays a role in non-verbal communication. Communication may be hindered when physical “power” barriers exist. Several factors convey power, such as the size/type of furniture in an office, how accessible/inaccessible the office resident may be, or the location and square footage of the office itself. You should always be aware of the impact of non-verbal communication when conversing with customers and employees. Positive feedback delivered with inappropriate non-verbal “messages” can have a negative impact. The message you are delivering can be strengthened or weakened depending on the non-verbal behavior demonstrated. Watch for new postings on workforce strategy here on our blog, as well as Facebook, LinkedIn,...

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Developing effective listening skills

Developing effective listening skills

By on Jun 27, 2016 in Blog, Communication | 0 comments

Listening is another key management skill and is the companion to speaking. Listening involves hearing and understanding the message the speaker is conveying, then confirming to the speaker that the message was received as intended. Before you can assess if you are an effective listener, you must determine if you have any listener shortcomings. Do you: Demonstrate impatience as you wait for others to finish speaking? Offer solutions before the concerns have been completely described? Interrupt the speaker? Indicate boredom with your body language? Find your mind wandering, resulting in missed information? Hear only what you want to hear? If you are guilty of any of these poor listener habits, you should improve your listening skills. Listening is more than hearing spoken words. It includes the mental processing of the entire message. You may consider: Listening for key ideas. Determining the basis of the information provided. Viewing the information conveyed from the speaker’s perspective. When you are listening effectively, you process information, ask questions, remain focused and active, keep an open mind, and pay attention. When you are not listening effectively, you disregard information, do not ask questions, are passive, have preconceived notions, and are easily distracted. Next time an employee is speaking with you, focus to make sure you are really listening to what they have to say and fix any bad listening habits. Watch for new postings on workforce strategy here on our blog, as well as Facebook, LinkedIn,...

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Speaking with energy

Speaking with energy

By on May 11, 2016 in Blog, Communication | 0 comments

Your speaking manner impacts your ability to be persuasive. A monotone voice will alienate your listeners quickly. The best way to determine your level of enthusiasm when speaking is to use a recording device. Use the recordings to hear how others hear you. You may learn from the recordings by: Listening to the recordings approximately five to seven days later. Determining if your tone of voice was appropriate for the content and importance of the information conveyed. Assessing the presence or absence of a monotone voice. Reviewing your communication to determine if it was engaging and relevant. Based on speech patterns revealed by the recordings, outline your areas of opportunity. Create an action plan and incorporate into future discussions or meetings. To ensure your message is not lost because of wordiness, express main points clearly, organize supplementary information as lead-in and/or wrap-up statements, and solicit listener feedback to validate clear understanding. If miscommunication or a misunderstanding occurs, you should determine if: Sufficient information was provided. Unclear information was conveyed that possibly clouded your points. Slang or poor grammar was used. Certain employees always seem to misunderstand you. Any other modifications could be made to enhance the clarity of the message. Costly errors can be minimized when clear communication occurs between managers, employees, and customers. You may develop the ability to incorporate spontaneity in your speaking style by: Using anecdotes or examples to enhance the message. Relaxing mentally while speaking. Imagining you are conversing with only one person. Using clear, simple words. Speaking in short sentences. Enjoying yourself. Information presented in a natural manner is more likely to captivate the listener. Watch for new postings on workforce strategy here on our blog, as well as Facebook, LinkedIn,...

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Developing effective speaking skills

Developing effective speaking skills

By on May 9, 2016 in Blog, Communication, Speaking | 0 comments

Long-term research has shown that speaking to more than one person at a time is a widely held fear by most people. To comfortably convey the spoken word to others requires considerable practice in many key areas. People usually possess one of three common speaking habits, which include: Avoiding public speaking – would rather write a memo or note to others. Providing no background information – does not want to bore anyone. Using big words – wants to impress everyone. Without the ability to communicate confidently and effectively, you may lose respect. The biggest source of listener boredom is when the speaker is long-winded! Important points of the conversation are lost due to wordiness. Some people will actually shift their attention completely away from the speaker and begin concentrating on anything but the meeting. If you have ever perceived that your audience has lost interest during a weekly meeting or during other conversations, perhaps they are victims of verbosity. You may become a more concise speaker by Narrowing the focus of your discussions. Editing out non-essential information. Noting how others are responding during your meetings or discussions; lost eye contact indicates you are drifting off the subject. Privately asking a reliable friend or co-worker if you are too wordy; use pre-established signals to subtly indicate that you are drifting. Keeping answers to questions as brief and clear as possible. Asking audience members to summarize key points to verify that you have communicated clearly. Established habits are hard to break. Use every occasion to rehearse speaking more concisely. Watch for new postings on workforce strategy here on our blog, as well as Facebook, LinkedIn,...

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The importance of interpersonal communication

The importance of interpersonal communication

By on Apr 20, 2016 in Blog, Communication | 0 comments

Interpersonal skills are also known as “people skills”. By forming interpersonal relationships with customers and employees, you are able to acknowledge the feelings of others and convey respect. You can also focus on the positive outcomes of varied viewpoints, while nurturing professional growth. Your ability to realize optimum performance from employees is greatly enhanced by “just being nice”. Communicating appropriately is an essential factor. Seeing yourself as others see you is the first step to improving your interpersonal communication skills. Here are some other ways to improve your interpersonal communication skills. Be more approachable – implement an open door policy; determine if you are perceived as unapproachable and work to resolve; become more involved in your employees’ daily functions. Build rapport – take an interest in your customers and employees; engage in periodic, casual conversations; discuss mutual non-business interests; share your personal interests. Strive to make others comfortable with you – refrain from being overly serious; control your intensity; smile frequently while speaking; use appropriate humor; monitor sarcasm. Develop your ability to make “small talk” – prepare opening statements about current events; discuss the weather; listen for “free” information while others speak; ask questions about the “free” information you heard. Treat others fairly – offer recognition to everyone as appropriate; monitor and avoid favoritism; remain neutral in workplace disputes; explain the rationale behind decisions you or the organization makes. Become more social – widen your group of acquaintances; speak up in group situations; network whenever possible. Be sure to request feedback from a trusted source to determine if you have any areas of opportunity. Watch for new postings on workforce strategy here on our blog, as well as Facebook, LinkedIn,...

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Barriers that inhibit effective communication

Barriers that inhibit effective communication

By on Apr 18, 2016 in Blog, Communication | 0 comments

Several challenging communication issues exist in today’s business environment. A clear understanding of these issues will enable you to overcome these challenges and communicate more effectively. The words you choose can mean the difference between retaining or losing an employee or a valued customer. You must be sensitive to the feelings and perceptions of others. As diversity in the workplace increases, you must avoid words that might stereotype, insult, or intimidate another person. Intercultural communication also presents a big challenge. It becomes challenging when communicating with people from another culture because the same words may have different meanings between cultures. There are three specific barriers associated with intercultural communication are tone differences, word connotation, and perceptions. Tone differences in formal and informal languages generate a message of indifference if used in an inappropriate setting. Word connotations create issues when the same word has a different meaning in another culture. Both speakers are challenged if they do not understand the meaning held by the other person in the conversation. Perceptions are held by people who speak different languages or come from varying backgrounds within the same language. Any given situation can be viewed differently, based on the language used or the cultural background. As a manager, it is your responsibility to be aware of any other possible barriers that inhibit communication between you and your employees. Watch for new postings on workforce strategy here on our blog, as well as Facebook, LinkedIn,...

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