The Seven Deadly Skills Of Communicating by apadma


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									                          WISDOM IN A NUTSHELL

 The Seven Deadly Skills
   Of Communicating

                                 Ros Jay
                 International Thomson Business Press 1999
                             ISBN 981 4040 44 4
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The Seven Deadly Skills Of Communicating                                        Page 2

The Big Idea
       Communication, as always, is one of the most important tools to make an
organization productive and successful. Communicating with your co-employees,
staff and superiors cannot be avoided. Though indirectly relayed, your actions
give out unconscious messages. If you keep some information to yourself, lack
of trust could be the meaning of this action, which is one of the causes of poor
communication. Having poor communication in an organization develops low
morale and negative attitudes among the people in it. In this case, productivity is
affected. Communication is very important because it becomes an essential tool
to convince management to provide what the organization needs. This will in turn
produce successful and motivated people. Good and proper communication will
nurture happy employees that would lead to a productive and motivated
environment. And this will give the manager an easier and rewarding job that
would reflect his management skills.

Why Is Communication Important?
Will it really make a difference with the way you communicate with other
members? Would there be changes? Would members’ loyalty, motivation, and
productivity increase? The answer to all these questions is yes.
Everyone involved will benefit from this.
• The Organization – would make them loyal, productive and motivated.
• The Manager – open communication between managers and management
    will make the job easier for him and he could give the support that the
    department needs. Open communication with staff will also bring out the best
    potential in his people.
• The Department or Team – a team, who knows all the information that would
    affect it, can work more effectively and would be able to make changes
    needed to fit in with the organization.
• The Individual Staff – staff asked of his/her views and opinions by
    management feels important and needed in the organization. It develops
    his/her work and stay with the company longer.

Above this: What is Communication?
•   From the Latin word “to share”. To be more effective, this is a two-way
    process. Listening is as equally important as speaking. You may have
    relayed a message effectively, but if the listener can’t respond,
    communication fails.
•   People must be able to reply, and give their opinions to make them feel that
    they are a part of the communication process and not just an information
•   You should have something to say. You should know what to say and not to
    say.                             © 2001 - 2003 Copyright
The Seven Deadly Skills Of Communicating                                         Page 3

Information that is confidential – There are things that should not be discussed
with the staff. But there are times that management finds it inevitable not to follow
this rule. In some cases, you need to let them know some confidential
information so as to avoid speculation. Encourage and allow them to ask
questions for you to know their concerns.

Confidential information has two categories:
1. Personal Information – You should NOT pass on information about the lives
   of the staff.
2. Commercial Information – You should NOT pass on information about the
   company that would lead to damage if others (specifically competitors) would
   know about it.

Also, have a good reason why you can’t tell them yet. Let them know the
importance of confidentiality and why you can’t give them the full details.

This is not just for the managers but the staff as well. As previously stated,
productivity, motivation and also loyalty can be achieved among the members of
the organization if they know what is happening around. However, telling them
the details is not necessary because it is time consuming. And if you tell them
only what is important, you will eliminate the possibility of speculation.
3 important rules also are:
1. Tell them as much as you can.
2. Tell them as soon as you can.
3. Never lie to your staff.

They would remember that for the longest time. And remember, people have
long memories.

With these, seven core skills of good communication are given. These will lead to
a productive and motivated member of an organization.

Companies do always have a corporate personality. This is often seen in the
external image of it, but the internal image is also equally important.
• The corporate personality is reflected by the personality of the people in the
• Apathy and unhelpfulness are just two things that make corporate personality
   fail. If these happen, people from the organization can either adapt the
   attitude or they leave the company. People who chose to stay will be capable
   of working the same way as others, though obstruction and apathy is not
   really their working style.                              © 2001 - 2003 Copyright
The Seven Deadly Skills Of Communicating                                          Page 4

•    Organization wherein backstabbing is present produce a non-team player.
•    Organization with a positive environment produces the same kind of people.
•    Certain as it is, corporate personality starts from the top. People from the top
     create an image that would eventually make the other members of the
     organization follow or leave.
•    People from the top have the power to influence the working style of the
     people in the organization.
•    Treat your people with importance; they would give the same to your
     consumers. Treat them dismissively; they will also give the same, most likely.
•    Your internal image does not differ much from your external image.
•    Your external image follows your internal image, not the other way around.
     You can’t correct a poor external image without working on your internal
     image first. For example, you can’t be caring to your consumer, if you will not
     care for your people/staff first. Your internal image would definitely reflect in
     your external image.
•    You need to identify your own corporate personality. Find out what your
     people think of you. How? Ask them by making a survey.
•    Explain to them the purpose of your survey.
•    Survey everybody from the organization and make sure to make it
     anonymous – people would not like to be identified. If possible, make the
     survey in a form wherein your people’s handwriting would not be identified
     either (e.g. by checking boxes; comments should be optional). After which,
     analyze the results in large groups.
•    After analyzing results, identify your preferred personality based on the
     people’s responses to the survey.
•    Changes in the organization depend on how you will change the attitude of
     the people in it.
•    Remember: Change starts from the top!
•    Managers should give the reason for the proposed change.
•    To make changes, announce it to your people why you are using such to
     show that you mean business. Train your managers and be aware that
     miracles don’t happen overnight. Change takes time to make it more lasting.

Though it is much better to speak to your people directly, there are times when
written communication is inevitable.
• Written communication is more formal, authoritative but is not always
• Written communication can be of advantage because you can communicate
    with a number of people, give exact information and avoid lengthy discussion.
    Choose words carefully, make it more formal, and have a permanent record
    of information.                               © 2001 - 2003 Copyright
The Seven Deadly Skills Of Communicating                                         Page 5

•   There could also be some disadvantages. People can’t ask questions from
    you; facts are not established promptly; leakage of the information given in
    writing; and, you wouldn’t know if it would upset the recipient.

• It can be informal and less weighty, but still, information was given.
• Though information was given, memos can be either thrown away after
   reading or regarded as a non-confidential information;
Notice boards:
• Some people don’t read what’s in it.
• Some people just pass by without noticing it.
Letters to Staff:
• Formal and Personal
• Private
• Recipient will know that the matter was given importance
• Seriously treated
• Can keep a record of the information
E – mail:
• Very personal but in a less formal manner
• Not kept permanently
• For public reading (non-confidential)
• Can be kept permanently
Internal Newsletters:
• Rarely used though it is an equally important way of communication.
• People do not take internal newsletters seriously.
• In producing a newsletter: identify what you really would like to achieve
   (objectives) and think and decide of the topics and the mode of the
• Give your people a reliable person to run the newsletter.
• Motivate your people by setting a good example that the newsletter is equally
   important as the other methods of written communication.
• Newsletter is not the method to disseminate important matters to your people.

Situation – states the position for the recipient to know what is it all about.
Complication – states the reason why the situation is complicated and what
made you decide to write.
Resolution – when there is complication, you need resolution to solve it.
Action – a good step for you to make the other person do what you want them
Politeness – end every communication with a polite manner.
• For newsletter articles, it is better to start with the punch line. State what the
    article is all about and give the rest of the details. Who, where, when and
    why.                              © 2001 - 2003 Copyright
The Seven Deadly Skills Of Communicating                                        Page 6

•   4 different styles:
    Keep it short – make it as brief as possible without leaving any important
    Keep it simple – use simple words, sentences and paragraphs.
    Beware of appearing rude – check it first. There might be some sharp
      words that could make the reader think that you are rude.
    Beware of being ambiguous – reading information is different from hearing
      it. People may read with different emphasis and may get the message
      differently from what you want to give if read aloud.

Some people find it easier to relate verbally. It could be easy but at the same
time be less effective. Because we find it easy, we just don’t think about what we
are saying, we also don’t say things the way that we intend them to be.
Compared to Written Communication:
• More informal
• Can get a prompt response
• Can ask question, clarification
When is it not appropriate?
• When you want formality
• If it needs permanent record
• If it is for legal reasons
• Don’t want long discussion
Different Methods:
• Telephone – though informal, it could be private. You can get prompt
   reaction and can adjust words and tone with phone conversation. You can
   control your temper compared when talking face-to-face. However, using the
   telephone may not be appropriate if you want to keep a record of your
• One on one meeting – as private as the telephone but you talk to the person
   face-to-face. Also considered a formal method because you take the time to
   schedule it, which means, importance is given to it. Conversation is
   confidential because it is just between two people and can make a permanent
   record by following it up with a letter.

The most effective way of direct communication—information can be immediately
gathered and debated upon through interactive discussion.
To achieve goal of the meeting:
• INFORM – for clarification, recognition of importance.
• DISCUSS –argue, debate, and interact to come up with a solution.
• DECIDE – decision-making process on what has been discussed.
Group meetings make a person feel that he is important and that he is part of the
team.                             © 2001 - 2003 Copyright
The Seven Deadly Skills Of Communicating                                        Page 7

When you need to say something by informing or persuading people, this is
called presentation.
• Unlike other media, wherein two or more people speak, this medium could be
• Good medium when you do not want any interruptions because you can tell
    when they will react.
• Can relay clear information without interventions from listeners.
• Medium wherein you like the whole organization to hear what you have to
• Can be used when you have important news to impart.
• Can be used to make your people know that they are equally important.
    (Some people are sensitive if they are one of the last to know).

When you have chosen what medium to use, now is the time to relay your
message as effective as you can by considering the following.
• Keep it simple and understandable.
• Choose frequently used words.
• When you need to say something that could upset the listener, think of kind
  words and ways to explain it.
• Think about the matter in advance, so that when words come naturally, you
  would have said in an appropriate way.
• Make your tone appropriate to the occasion.
• People can misunderstand you because of your tone. They might not even
  participate in the discussion.
• An abrupt tone can make a person feel upset or may sound not sincere.
• A relaxed and friendly tone can develop a good conversation. It could
  encourage them to participate and share their views, and criticism could be
  dealt with less seriously.
• Tone of voice can change the meaning of what you really want to say. Your
  words may be nice, but your delivery contradicts it.
• Should mean the same as your words and tone.
• Confidence is noticed on your eye contact and movement.
• Relax. Always make a mental check-up on your movements.

• It is not just hearing what the other person is saying, but absorbing and
   understanding what has been said that is important.
• Pay attention and keep eye contact to make the person feel that the message
   comes across effectively.                             © 2001 - 2003 Copyright
The Seven Deadly Skills Of Communicating                                        Page 8

For a manager, having an open and clear communication with top management
is one of the important factors for a successful department.

All things in the department will be manifested if the communication with top
management is effective and clear.
• Identify the problem – you can’t give a solution to something until you
    identify it. Identify its nature.
• Deal with the problem – solution will depend on the nature of the problem.
    Make a permanent record of it.
• Clearing the blockage – things are sometimes inefficient because of
    communication blockage. Remind people, put it in writing and have a word
    with the person.
• Getting past the obstruction – Try talking to other people, you can also give
    a copy of your report to others if the topic is relevant to them so that there
    would be others to back you up.
    Remember: you should not be the cause of the blockage, hear out others’
    opinion, it’s one way of motivating your people.

For your point to be heard and understood, you need to prepare on what you
need to say in each agenda and express it well.
• Less is more – less talk, more listeners. You can get people’s attention by
   not manipulating the meeting.
• Practice eye contact
• Talk slowly, if possible pause from time to time
• Stress your points
• If needed, ask for the chairperson’s support- they could be of help in
   stressing your points.

This is one of the duties of a manager - though some of them have the fear of
speaking in front of top people because they are aware that they are being
evaluated. To overcome these fears, confidence is the key. And to exude
confidence, there should be:
• PLANNING – set your objectives. Know the subject, participants, what you
   want to impart and set your schedule.
• RESEARCH – gather data, talk to people who could give relevant information
   and then put them in writing.
Position – prepare your audience for your presentation. Guide them of what they
can expect and stress out your ideas.
Problem - identify and state the problem. Explain why resolution is needed.                             © 2001 - 2003 Copyright
The Seven Deadly Skills Of Communicating                                         Page 9

Possibilities- not often used in a presentation because some problems need
direct solution. But in some cases, you need to think of options to resolve the
Proposal – the final stage wherein you state the decision. But be sure to explain
first why you chose that decision over the other options.
Writing - speaking in front of a group is a no-no. It could be irritating and
Creating notes- write your speech and summarize it in the way that you want to
say them. Write it in a small paper for easy handling while speaking in front of the
Visual Aids – can help you add impact for better understanding of what you are
saying. If the visual is not appropriate to what you are saying, don’t use it. It can
be distracting. When you make a visual, it should have impact that would
reinforce the subject, should be clear, easy to remember, and could support your
 Delivery- can be practiced in front of a mirror. Use a microphone.
Remember: when delivering a speech, don’t mumble, hesitate, swallow your
words and avoid eye contacts.

Having an impressive and effective report is just like giving a brilliant
• Planning, research, structure - set your objectives, gather data and
   information and design your presentation
• Don’t use jargon words - use words that they can understand
• Use active and simple words
• Be sure of your English accuracy

After completing the report, include the following:
• Title page (w/ author’s name and date)
• Table of contents
• Number in each page
• Summary – these are for people who want a short explanation of the topic;
    because they don’t have the time to read it. This is also for someone who
    wants to get the facts immediately.
• Appendices

To communicate effectively with a team, you need to develop a strong and
positive identity and a consistent attitude.

• Key to a good communication
• For people to cooperate more                              © 2001 - 2003 Copyright
The Seven Deadly Skills Of Communicating                                       Page 10

• For teams to bond together
• Better understanding of staff on what is happening in the organization
• Loyalty for company increase
• Can help solve problems
• Increase morale of employees
Team briefings should be:
• Face to face
• Composed of 4-15 people
• Headed by a team leader
• On a regular basis
• Within team’s interest (relevance)
Progress - provide team results of performance
Policy - deals with the changes in the system etc.
People - briefing of members of the team
Points for Action - action of members on a certain action
• Questions are welcome but not to the point of debating
• Provide people with information
• Welcome comments and suggestions and take note of it
• Ask questions for clarification
• Finish on time
• Give schedule
• Brief absent members

Train your people on what you want them to do, how to do it, and what you want
to achieve. But before training them, be sure that you yourself is doing the right
thing. Training is essential for the system to run effectively.
• Monitor them after training
• Brief your people every so often
• Ask for their additional information
• Attend and observe briefing session
• Check them from time to time
• People will feel important, they will feel that you believe in them
• Motivates people because they learn new skills for better opportunity

• People develop feeling of commitment
• They give their own contribution in decision making
• Can gain respect if you have a formal meeting and they will demonstrate
• Make everyone involved and feel important especially on vital issues
• Designate different leaders every each meeting
• Motivate them to develop the same meeting guidelines as yours
• Have a consensus when making a decision
• Practice fair treatment. NEVER take sides                             © 2001 - 2003 Copyright
The Seven Deadly Skills Of Communicating                                        Page 11

•   Always stick to facts
•   Acknowledge people’s feeling

Loyalty and motivation of each staff is gained from the way you communicate
with them. And the attitude that they give you is the same as what they will give
the organization.

• The more they understand the job, the more they feel that they belong
• Meet with your team regularly and help them have attainable targets
• Keep them posted on what’s happening in the organization
• Give them opportunity to share their ideas. Listen to them
• Say what you mean. Your action should not contradict your words
• Trust them on their ideas and let them decide on what to do to meet your
• Always be positive - don’t just look at their mistakes. Praise for their good jobs
  and motivate them to correct their mistakes
• Be likeable - if they like you, they will be motivated to work hard

• Make a good first impression of the organization
• Exude professional image
• Give the right approach- be friendly and polite
• Also give positive approach to unsuccessful candidates

• This is for the employee not the organization
• This is to make them known of their performance
• Make them feel relaxed by creating a positive mood
• Be open to their views and opinions
• If criticism is needed, do it carefully
• Be open to their concerns. Be sincere and committed in hearing them

If you were able to motivate your people, there’s no need to discipline them.
• Give prompt attention if you are already aware of the problem
• Keep it confidential
• Be consistent – give fair treatment

• Don’t force someone who doesn’t want to talk, it’s ok
• Don’t decide for them
• Make them feel that their concern is important                              © 2001 - 2003 Copyright
The Seven Deadly Skills Of Communicating                                        Page 12

•   Encourage them to speak up
•   Be open for emotional responses
•   Be firm with your decision. Don’t let a tear change your stand

• The way you handle their first day will influence how they will treat the
   organization on the next months and years.
• You’ll need some paperwork for few safety procedures
• Introduce them to the group and show them to their desk
• Brief them with company history
• Brief them with their work
• Debrief them and encourage them to ask questions.

How you deal with pressure will also create an impression. If you handle it
negatively, they will most likely remember it for the longest time.

On the other hand, handling it positively will improve your relationship with your
• Keep everyone informed – make them understand what’s happening around.
• Gather everyone to give instructions – make sure everyone has the same
   information to avoid conflict and discussion.
• Encourage them to ask questions if needed – they will be cleared of
   misinformation and will help them resolve the problem
• Involve people in key decision – it would motivate them to be more
• Be available – they can be under pressure too, and they also need you to be
   with them.
• Your staff needs to know and feel that you are with and for them. That they
   have your support.
• Always have a sense of humor – as the saying goes .

“ Laughter is the best medicine” Laughter can minimize conflict and arguments.
It encourages everyone to work calmly and positively.                              © 2001 - 2003 Copyright

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