Effective Business Communication Skills

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					Business Communication: A Framework for Success



CHAPTER 1                 Understanding Business Communication

PRETEST

Answer the following questions to see how well you understand the material. Re-take it after you review
to check yourself.


1. Define business communication




2. List four reasons why developing communication skills are essential to your personal and
   professional success.




3. What are three common reasons often cited to justify unethical communication practices?




4. List four business responsibilities and list communication skills necessary to fulfill each
   responsibility.

    Business Responsibilities                     Communication Skills

    _____________________                         ___________________________

    _____________________                         ___________________________

    _____________________                         ___________________________

    _____________________                         ___________________________


5. What are three common barriers to effective communication?




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6. List three different communication barriers that may impact global business transactions?




7. Explain the communication process.




8. Define communication media.




A BRIEF OVERVIEW


This Chapter reviews why it is so important to your career to develop strong communication skills.
Effective communication creates opportunities for promotions, leads to greater job satisfaction and
increases productivity. Barriers to effective communication include mismanaging information, providing
inadequate feedback, possessing inadequate communication skills, allowing anxiety to interfere in the
communication process, and selecting inappropriate means of conveying messages. The communication
process is explained, beginning with the method through which messages are developed than transferred
through a loop of encoding, decoding, feedback, and understanding.




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LEARNING OBJECTIVES

1        Describe how effective communication skills lead to personal and professional success.

         Effective communication improves your ability to present your ideas to other people.
         Communication skills are also necessary for getting noticed so that promotion opportunities come
         your way. When you communicate effectively you will also find more satisfaction with your
         work, and will see a greater degree or productivity in your job.

2        List the special challenges facing business communicators.

         Communicators must include cultural diversity as a key element in communicating with others on
         the job. International communication is becoming more prevalent, requiring business
         communicators to remain sensitive to global conditions. Advanced technologies present
         challenges and opportunities for the business communicator. Communicators must conduct
         critical analyses in preparing messages for communication contexts. These include information
         management techniques, critical thinking skills, and goal setting.

3        List the most common communication barriers in business

         Communicators must remain aware of the problems associated with a lack of information and
         poor quality information. Inadequate feedback can cause problems for communicators by failing
         to complete the communication process. All too often communication media/channels are poorly
         selected for conveying messages to others. Communicators must deal with the anxiety that
         accompanies communication performances.

4        Explain the different parts and their relationships in the model of communication.

         Encoding refers to the process of producing and sending messages through various media.
         Decoding refers to the process of intentionally processing the communication signals that carry
         messages. Perception is the process of assigning meaning to the signals sent by communicators.
         Message interpretation and evaluation serve to assign meaning to messages so that appropriate
         responses can be made. Mutual understanding is the process where communicators recognize the
         relative knowledge each person has of the messages sent in the communication process. Feedback
         is any response that a receiver provides to a sender of a message. Noise is anything that adversely
         affects the communication process.


KEY TERMS

Communication skills                              Encoding
Information management                            Decoding
Cultural diversity                                Messages
Globalization                                     Mutual Understanding
Technology                                        Feedback
Ethics                                            Noise
Communication media




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CHAPTER OUTLINE

1        Describe how effective communication skills lead to personal and professional
         success.

I.       What business experts say about developing communication skills

         A.       American corporations are critical about employees' lack of communication skills, saying
                  that interpersonal, written, and oral skills are the most difficult to find in job applicants.

         B.       Communication skills are critical for a successful career
                  1. Your potential for a successful career is limited if you cannot communicate
                     effectively.
                  2. Four related consequences of effective business communication directly affect the
                     success of your career.
                         a.       Self-presentation skills are improved
                                  1.      Make a positive impression on your superiors and coworkers
                                          with effective communication skills
                         b.       Effective communication creates opportunities for promotion
                                  1.      Most supervisory and managerial positions require skills that are
                                          demonstrated through oral, nonverbal, and written
                                          communication activities.
                         c.       Effective communication leads to increased satisfaction
                                  1.      Becoming proficient in writing, speaking, reading, and listening
                                          will make you more successful in exchanging information with
                                          others, reporting on projects, and leading task forces.
                         d. Effective communication leads to increased productivity
                                  1.      Individually and as a member of a group, your communication
                                          skills enhance your job productivity and value within an
                                          organization


2        List the special challenges facing business communicators.

II.      Special Challenges Facing the Business Communicator

         The dynamic nature of information, cultural diversity, globalization, technology, and ethics all
         require a greater focus on communication effectiveness

         A. Information Management

         The global economy and information age requires that employees constantly communicate to
         handle a volume of information that doubles each year.

         B. Cultural Diversity

         With cross-cultural communication becoming more prevalent, you will need to recognize and
         respond to the diverse background and needs of your co-workers.

         C. Globalization and International Communication



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         In today's global economy, your ability to communicate with diverse cultural groups will become
         an essential challenge.

         D. Technology

         Fax machines, the Internet, and the World Wide Web all present new challenges and
         opportunities for the business communicator.

         E. Ethics

         Ethical communication is not only morally correct, but highly profitable in the business world.


3        List the most common communication barriers in business

III.     Common Communication Barriers

         A.       "Wiio's Laws" demonstrate where and how ineffective communication leads to business
                  and personal shortcomings.
                  1. Mismanaging Information
                          a.      A major communication shortcoming, mismanaging information refers to
                                  an ineffective quality or quantity of information to match the
                                  communication task.
                  2. Inadequate Feedback
                          a.      The response that a receiver of communication makes to the sender is
                                  called feedback.
                  3. Inadequate Communication Skills
                          a.      Poor communication skills result in material that is overwritten, poorly-
                                  organized, and full of stylistic, grammatical, and spelling errors.
                  4. Mistakes with Communication Media
                          a.      Selecting an inappropriate means or systems to convey your verbal or
                                  written messages would be an example of a mistake with communication
                                  media.
                  5. Communication Anxiety
                          a.      Fear or stress associated with communication -- such as writer's block or
                                  stage fright -- is common is the business world, but also controllable.


4        Explain the different parts and their relationships in the model of communication .

IV.      The Communication Process

         A.       Stimulus
                  1. Anything that causes you to consider the communication process.

         B.       Analysis
                  1. Information management is the first step of the analysis stage
                  2. After you evaluate your information you can engage critical thinking processes.
                  3. Goals are developed out of critical thinking and represent what a communicator is
                     attempting to accomplish.

         C.       Developing Messages

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                  1. Decision making is the first step in developing messages.
                  2. Next, conduct a context analysis to determine if the message is appropriate to the
                     audience and occasion.
                  3. Design the message by selecting which properties are most appropriate for your
                     context.
                  4. Media selection involves picking which communication channel is most suitable to
                     the message.
                  5. Evaluation of messages is based upon their level of competency.
                     a. Message competence is determined by six factors:
                         1. The message must arrive at its destination (reception).
                         2. The receiver must understand the message (comprehension).
                         3. The message must hold value for the receiver.
                         4. The message must be appropriate fitting for the context.
                         5. The message must be credible.
                         6. The message must be influential.

         D.       Encoding
                  1.     The process of sending a message through a media destined for a receiver.
                     a. Steps in this process include:
                         1. An idea is analyzed and elevated to a communication goal.
                         2. The goal is developed into an organizational format.
                         3. The message is developed.
                         4. The message is transmitted through the most effective media.

         E.       Decoding
                  1. Decoding refers to the receiving and processing of messages.
                     a. Three elements are at work during the decoding process:
                         1. Messages must be received before they can be decoded.
                         2. All of your senses are used in the decoding process
                         3. Perception, which is affected by attitudes, anxiety, or apprehension, is the
                            part of the process where you assign meaning to a stimulus.

         F.       Analysis
                  1. Analyzing a message involves interpretation and evaluation.
                     a. Message interpretation allows you to use criteria and different communication
                         media to identify essential messages
                     b. Message evaluation helps determine if the message was received, understood,
                         appropriate, timely, credible, of any benefit and influential.

         G.       Mutual Understanding
                  1. The concept of mutual understanding means that not only do you understand the
                     message as communicated, but that your communication partner also understands it
                     as well.
                     a. There are four levels of mutual understanding:
                         1. Receiver understands the message.
                         2. Sender believes that receiver understands original message.
                         3. Receiver believes that sender understands receiver's level of knowledge of
                              original message.
                         4. Continuous process if desired or warranted.

         H.       Developing Feedback



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                  1. Feedback is any response that you make to the sender of a message.
                     a. Feedback can be verbal or nonverbal, and occur across any communication
                        media.

         I.       Noise
                  1. Noise is anything that interferes, detracts, or adversely affects the message.
                      a. Internal interference refers to your psychological, mental, emotional and physical
                         conditions.
                      b. External distortions come from the outside environment and include loud sounds,
                         poor room lighting or heating, or mis-routed messages.


VOCABULARY PRACTICE

Fill in the blank(s) with the appropriate term or phrase from the alphabetized list of chapter key terms.

Communication skills                              Encoding
Information management                            Decoding
Cultural diversity                                Messages
Globalization                                     Mutual Understanding
Technology                                        Feedback
Ethics                                            Noise
Communication media


1        Describe how effective communication skills lead to personal and professional success.

1.       Promotion opportunities are more likely to come your way if you practice effective _________.

2.       Standards of _______ dictate many of the communication practices of managers, who are under
         increasing pressure to produce results and increase profits.


2        List the special challenges facing business communicators.

3.       As international communication becomes more prevalent, _______________ will become an
         increasingly important element in determining how to communicate with others in the workplace.

4.       E-commerce, or doing business on the web, is now commonplace thanks to dramatic advances in
         ___________________.

5.       Appreciating the norms and values of other cultures is critical for business communicators
         working for organizations involved with the ________________ of manufacturing and
         marketing systems.


3        List the most common communication barriers in business.

6.       Managers who successfully obtain, analyze, synthesize, and communicate large chunks of
         information from a variety of sources -- especially communication technology -- have mastered
         the skill of _________________


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7.       A mistake in the selection of the appropriate _______________may result in a message that is
         misinterpreted, inappropriate, or less effective than desired.


4        Explain the different parts and their relationships in the model of communication.

8.       The process of producing and sending a message to a receiver though a specific media is called
         ___________.

9.       Interference in the communication process, or _________________,                 can impede the
         understanding of the message and deter the ability or desire of the message recipient to respond in
         an appropriate manner.

10.      Good communication is not the same as effective communication. While a good communicator
         may understand the definition of words and sentence structure, an effective communicate
         appreciates that _________________ of the message must exist between the sender and receiver.

11.      Communicators rely heavily on non-verbal communication cues to accentuate their messages.
         Nodding, frowning, shrugging, or raising eyebrows all provide ________ to the sender to help
         establish your level of understanding of the message.

12.      Numerous stimuli compete for our attention each day. The ability to take in and process messages
         -- even when external forces compete for our attention -- is referred to as _____________.

13.      Much like currency is the backbone of any economy, _______are the means through which
         communicators function, using a five-step process to formulate their thoughts.


Check your answers to these questions before proceeding to the next section.




TRUE/FALSE QUESTIONS

Mark the statement T if it is true and F if it is false

1     Describe how effective communication skills lead to personal and professional success.

_____ 1. Overall, American corporations are satisfied with communication skills demonstrated by their
         employees.

_____ 2. Approximately 10 percent of all business failures result from poor communication practices.

2     List the special challenges facing business communicators.

_____ 3. Challenges facing business communicators in the industrial age are very similar to those
         facing communicators in the information age.

_____ 4. The workforce of the 21st century will consist of more workers who are older, foreign-born
         disabled, and illiterate.


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_____ 5. A direct, no-nonsense style to presentations, negotiations, and bargaining is the best
         approach for communicating in a global economy.

3 List the most common communication barriers in business.
_____ 6.      Finnish business consultant Oslo Wiio believes communication efforts are usually successful.

_____ 7. Familiar and trusted sources of information can be counted on to provide the most accurate
         and timely data.

_____ 8. Feedback is fragile yet an essential component to the communications process

4 Explain the different parts and their relationships in the model of communication.
_____ 9. Some stimuli need time to develop before they are communicated, while others are instantly
         transferred into messages.

_____ 10. When you develop a creative solution to a business problem you are engaging in critical
          thinking.

_____ 11. Encoding a message requires the selection of a communication media.


_____ 12.Communication anxiety is not a factor in the decoding of messages.

_____ 13. The mutual understanding of a message works independently from the process of message
          evaluation.



Check your answers to these questions before proceeding to the next section.




AGREE/DISAGREE QUESTIONS

For the following statements, indicate reasons why you may agree and disagree with the statement.

1. Only people who work in communication fields such as public relations or corporate communications
   need to develop strong communication skills.

    Reason(s) to agree:




    Reason (s) to disagree:




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2. With increasingly sophisticated levels of technology, it is less important for professionals to be
   concerned with effective information management, as so many functions are now "programmed."

      Reason(s) to agree:




      Reason(s) to disagree




3. The high levels of cultural diversity in the workplace, coupled with the increasing trends toward
   globalization, will make communication easier because more role models, customs, and examples of
   communication (written, verbal, and nonverbal) will emerge.

      Reason(s) to agree:




      Reason(s) to disagree




4. There's a point at which ethical communication is no longer cost effective.

     Reason(s) to agree:




     Reason(s) to disagree:




5. The most important elements used in the communication process are the visual and auditory senses.

     Reason(s) to agree:




     Reason(s) to disagree:




Check your answers to these questions before proceeding to the next section.

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MULTIPLE-CHOICE QUESTIONS

Select the response that best answers the question, and write the corresponding letter in the space
provided.

1   Describe how effective communication skills lead to personal and professional success.


______ 1. Which of the following would not be considered an essential communication skill for
          the responsibility of operations planning?
              a. planning and conducting meetings
              b. goal setting
              c. writing reports and memos
              d. listening
              e. interviewing skills

______ 2. A message successfully communicated once rather than being repeated due to
          misunderstandings is an example of:
              a. information management
              b. feedback
              c. increased productivity
              d. increased satisfaction
              e. data mining

______ 3. Dr. Karl J. Krayer is a senior partner in Creative Communications, Inc, a full-service
          communication consulting business. His experience shows that which of the following is not
          an important quality of an effective business communicator?
              a. the ability to manage large amounts of information from multiple sources
              b. obtaining a bachelor's degree in some aspect of communications from a accredited
                  university
              c. an appreciation for the diverse communication styles of international colleagues
              d. skilled in expression across communication media
              e. adaptability to environment and circumstances


2        List the special challenges facing business communicators

______ 4. United Projects is a Chicago-based Web consulting firm that tracks trends and generates ideas
          for clients using Internet resources. The process they employ is called:
              a. information management
              b. data mining
              c. surfing
              d. e-commerce
              e. marketing




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______ 5. Sprint/United Telecom offers a flexible scheduling option to meet the needs of some
          employees. This benefit is a result of what workplace factor:
              a. telecommuting
              b. interpersonal communication
              c. ethics
              d. cultural diversity
              e. globalization

______ 6. Nonverbal communication presents challenges to the international business person. For
          example, direct eye contact is preferable in the United States, but less appropriate in Japan.
          What other gestures are prone to misinterpretation in the global marketplace?
             a. nodding
             b. shaking one's head
             c. shaking hands
             d. bowing
             e. all of the above

______ 7. Local telephone companies that expand their technological base by purchasing cellular
          communications companies as well as other telecommunications companies are called:
              a. internet service providers
              b. e-commerce hosts
              c. personal digital assistants
              d. baby bells
              e. webmasters


3        List the most common communication barriers in business.

______ 8. Which of the following is not an example of communication media?
              a. electronic mail
              b. television
              c. public speeches
              d. face-to-face meetings
              e. memos

______ 9. Which of the following is an example of message misunderstanding?
            a. inadequate communication skills
            b. gossip
            c. feedback
            d. noise
            e. tainted data

______ 10. Howell Associates is a human resources firm specializing in recruitment. Recently, it referred
           an applicant's resume to a major client, only to later learn that the applicant had since
           obtained a position and was no longer seeking employment. Howell Associate's action is an
           example of:
               a. inadequate feedback
               b. inadequate communication skills
               c. mistakes with communications media
               d. communication anxiety
               e. mismanaging information



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4         Explain the different parts and their relationships in the model of communication.

______ 11. Which of the following is not one of the factors used to determine message competence.
             a. value
             b. media selection
             c. credibility
             d. influence
             e. comprehension

______ 12. Which of the following does not impede the decoding process?
             a. feedback
             b. noise
             c. perception
             d. anxiety
             e. attitude

______ 13. Which step of the business communication process is defined by information management,
           critical thinking, and setting goals?
                a. analysis
                b. stimulus
                c. decision making
                d. encoding
                e. evaluation

______ 14. Context analysis refers to an examination of
              a. yourself
              b. the sender
              c. the receiver
              d. the setting
              e. all of the above

______ 15. Which step of the communication process is designed to promote unique and innovative
           ways of looking at issues or solving problems?
              a. stimulus
              b. message development
              c. critical thinking
              d. information management
              e. goal setting



Check your answers to these questions before proceeding to the next section.
______________________________________________________________________________




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ESSAY QUESTIONS
1.   Communication skills are crucial to your success in the workplace. In what four areas will improving
     your skills enhance your performance? What key communication skills are required to fulfill basic
     business functions and responsibilities?




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2.   Assume you are a human resources manager faced with the challenge of diversifying you office.
     What sort of issues will you need to consider as you complete this task? How might the structure of
     your office change once it displays a greater degree of cultural diversity?




3.   Name and describe five reasons often cited to justify unethical communication practices.




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4.   Define Wiio's Laws of Communication, providing a brief explanation and example for each law.




5.   Describe the four levels of mutual understanding, defining each of the levels in order and providing
     an example.




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CHAPTER NOTES
Use this space to record notes on the topics you are having the most trouble understanding.




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ANSWERS TO THE END-OF-CHAPTER DISCUSSION, WRITING, AND CASE QUESTIONS
Use this space to work on the questions at the end of the chapter.




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