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					Communications
CHAPTER OVER VIEW

   One of the important human relations skills
    supervisors need is the ability to
    communicate effectively.
   The communication process occurs when
    people send and receive information.
   The process begins when someone encodes a
    message.
   The message is then transmitted either verbally or
    nonverbally.
   The receiver decodes and interprets the message.
   The message is shaped and filtered by personal
    experience, perceptions, and beliefs by both the
    sender and the receiver.
   Effective communication depends on a
    number of factors.
       The receiver can hear a message, or register
        sound in the brain, but not listen.
           Listening occurs when the person who hears sounds
            also pays attention and tries to understand.
   Effective communication is most likely to
    occur
       when the parties communicate from the receivers
        viewpoint, learn from feedback,
       use strategies for effective listening, and
       overcome barriers to communication.
   Barriers to communication include
       information overload,
       misunderstandings,
       perceptions and prejudices, and
       biases in paying attention to messages.
   Ways to avoid these barriers include
       encoding messages carefully and simply
       observing feedback,
       avoiding name-calling,
       being aware of inferences and prejudices, and
       phrasing messages to appeal to the receiver.
   Messages may be sent through a variety of
    ways.
       Verbal messages may be oral or written.
           Oral messages can be
               face-to-face or
               use an electronic device such as a telephone or voice mail.
           Oral messages have the advantage of including the
            additional information transmitted by
               tone of voice and
               phrasing of the message.
   Face-to-face and phone communications have the
    additional advantage of
       immediate feedback and
       provide the opportunity to ask questions to clarify meaning.
   Verbal messages are also transmitted in written
    form.
       Letters, memos, and reports take longer to encode and
        transmit, but they have the advantage of leaving a record
        for the file.
           This is important for taking disciplinary action and ordering
            materials.
       Written communications also reduce the potential
        misunderstanding of complex messages.
   Nonverbal messages include things like
       looks,
       gestures,
       body position,
       laughter.
       body position, and
       noises such as laughter
   The combination of verbal and nonverbal
    messages provides a clearer message than
    either type used separately.
   The effective managing of an organization
    requires that communication flows in all
    directions:
       upward,
       downward, and
       lateral.
   For supervisors, this means they will receive
    information from all directions and be
    responsible for sending messages in all
    directions.
        For example, they will receive directions and orders from
         their boss, and be responsible for sending information to
         their boss.
        They will also receive messages from their employees,
         and be responsible for informing and passing
         information to employees.
   Coordination of the organization takes
    cooperation among departments, which is
    accomplished by lateral communication.
   Organizations have both formal and informal
    channels of communication.
       Formal communication is work related.
           It usually follows the chain of command.
           Policies, procedures, and directives follow the formal
            communication lines.
    
   Informal communication is directed toward
    personal needs and interests.
       It is not necessarily work related.
       Informal communication includes gossip, rumors, and
        personal information.
       It is transmitted by the organization’s grapevine.
The Process of Communication

   Key terms.
    1. Communication: The process by which people
       send and receive information.
      –   Information may include opinions, facts, or feelings.
          •   The intended audience should be receiving and
              understanding the same message sent for communication
              to take place.
   Sending does not assure receiving.
   Receiving does not assure the message is
    the intended one.
   Talking or writing does not guarantee that
    communication will occur.
2. Noise: Anything that can distort a message
  by interfering with the communication
  process.
    Includes distractions such as
        having a headache,
        feeling too cold or too hot,
        sitting in an uncomfortable chair;
        ambiguous words; and
        worn equipment to transmit message.
3. Feedback: The way the receiver of a
  message responds to the message.
    Feedback may take the form of words or behavior.
    Failure to respond is also a feedback response.
   Communication is at the heart of the supervisor’s
    job.
       Supervisors must communicate in order to work with
            their boss,
            employees, and
            other supervisors
       by
            sending and receiving ideas,
            giving instructions,
            submitting progress reports, and
            processing many kinds of information.
   The successful communication process
    includes:
        The sender encodes, or thinks up and formulates the
         message.
        The sender then transmits or sends the encoded
         message by writing, speaking, or other personal contact.
        The intended audience receives the message.

        The message is decoded, or interpreted as intended.
   The sender encodes, or thinks up and formulates
    the message.
       The sender wants someone to know or do something.
           For this to happen, the sender first decides what it is he or she
            wants to pass along.
           These thoughts are translated into verbal and nonverbal
            messages.
           The specific words, expressions, and gestures depend on the
            sender’s knowledge and skills with the language and
            knowledge and understanding of the situation that directs the
            message.
           The encoding process may not be a recognized activity in all
            communications.
   The sender then transmits or sends the
    encoded message by writing, speaking, or
    other personal contact.
       Transmitting the message may include either
        written or spoken words or gestures.
   The intended audience receives the
    message.
       The receiver can hear the words, read lips, read
        the signing, hear the tone of voice, hear the
        emphasis on specific words, and see facial
        expressions and gestures.
   The message is decoded, or interpreted as
    intended.
       The message will be interpreted by the receiver.
       Interpretation depends on what the receiver has
        heard and previous experience, perceptions,
        biases, and so forth.
Hearing and Listening

   The receiver must decode the message.
       Both the sender and the receiver have an active
        role in communication.
       If the receiver is not active, communication is not
        occurring.
   Hearing the message means that the brain is
    registering sound.
   Listening, in contrast, means paying attention
    to what is being said and trying to understand
    the message fully.
Communicating Effectively

   Active Listening: Hearing what the speaker
    is saying, seeking to understand the facts
    and feelings the speaker is trying to convey,
    and stating what the listener understands that
    message to be.
   Effective communication is most likely to
    occur when the parties
       communicate from the receiver’s viewpoint,
       learn from feedback,
       use strategies for effective listening, and
       overcome barriers to communications.
The Receiver’s Viewpoint

   Communicate from the receiver’s viewpoint.
       People do not share
           experiences,
           views,
           priorities, and
           interests
   Lack of shared experiences may lead to the
    intended audience ignoring or misunder-
    standing the message sent.
   If you want the receiver’s attention, interest,
    and understanding, you must communicate
    from his or her viewpoint.
       This means
           using a vocabulary the receiver will understand,
           referring to experiences shared with the receiver, and
           addressing the receiver’s interests.
   The supervisor should ask what the message
    means
       to himself or herself, and
        to the employee.
   The supervisor should try to imagine the
    message from the employee’s experience
    and interest.
Learn from Feedback

   Feedback can help the supervisor
    communicate effectively.
   When a message is sent, a certain kind of
    response is usually expected.
       One type of response is what the receiver says or
        facial expressions.
       Another type of response comes from employees’
        behavior later on.
For Example

   When the supervisor says the lunch break is
    between 11:00 and 1:00, the employee may
       respond “OK,”
       shake his head “yes,”
       look puzzled at getting two hours for a one-hour lunch
        period, and
       return to the work station at 1:15.
   All of these are examples of possible feedback to
    the supervisor’s lunch break definition.
   A supervisor can clarify the message, or
    check for understanding, by asking
    questions.
       For example, the supervisor might ask when the
        employee is planning to take his or her lunch
        period.
Use Strategies for Effective Listening

   Effective listening begins with the
    commitment to listen carefully.
   Supervisors
       should avoid assuming a message will be boring
        or irrelevant, and
       should listen carefully, trying to identify important
        information and tune out distractions.
   When an employee complains often about
    seemingly petty matters, the complaints may
    hide a broader concern the employee has not
    stated directly.
       If there is no time to listen when someone wants
        to talk, a time should be scheduled later to
        continue the conversation.
   The supervisor should be aware of the
    context of the comments, and the urgency or
    frustration an employee may display at the
    time.
       The employee may feel that the supervisor is not
        interested or is trying to put him or her off if the
        talk is to be continued later.
       Later may be too late if the employee makes a
        decision based on the comment.
   If the speaker uses words or phrases that stir
    an emotional reaction,
       control the emotions and
       don’t let them interfere with the understanding.
   The best response is to listen and
    acknowledge the emotions without agreeing
    or disagreeing.
       Ask questions that look for the facts underlying an
        emotional statement.
   A technique called active listening involves
    not only hearing what the speaker is saying,
    but also seeking to understand the facts and
    feelings of the speaker.
       Active listening can help supervisors
           understand employees’ situations,
           get them to take responsibility, and
           gain their cooperation.
   To communicate effectively, the supervisor
    must actively listen with genuine respect for
    employees and believe in their ability to take
    responsibility.
Be Prepared for Cultural Differences

   Effective communications with limited people who
    have limited understanding of English may require
       sticking to simple and basic words,
       talking slowly and pronouncing words carefully,
       seeking feedback,
       learning about the communication styles used by people
        from different cultures and trying to match them when
        appropriate.
Barriers to Communication

   Communications may fail because
       the sender fails to encode the message properly,
       the transmission is poor, or
       the receiver misinterprets the message.
   Some communications barriers include:
       Information overload
       Misunderstandings
       Word choices
       Cultural differences
       Inferences vs. facts
       Perceptions and prejuices
       Biases in paying attention
Information overload

   People often respond to information overload by
    tuning out the message.
       To avoid this possibility, supervisors should give
        employees information only that will be useful to them.
       They should give information in an environment conducive
        to communicating
         an environment that has minimum distractions.

       Also, supervisors should be sure the employee is paying
        attention.
Misunderstandings

   To avoid misunderstandings, messages
    should be simple.
   Supervisors should make sure that they
    understand what they are going to say before
    they create the message.
   When the supervisor is the receiver of a
    message, he or she needs to be careful to
    understand the true meaning of that
    message, asking questions about unclear
    points when necessary.
   The supervisor must also keep in mind that
    sometimes the sender prefers that the
    receiver not understand the message.
       The supervisor needs to recognize when people
        have reason to be intentionally vague or
        misleading.
           On those occasions, the supervisor should interpret
            messages with particular care.
   One of the times messages may be vague is when
    an organization is undergoing significant change.
       For example, the message may be that top management is
        keeping communication lines open.
       They want to take into consideration all detail and everyone
        will have a say.
           Unfortunately, the important decisions have already been
            made.
           But to keep the organization functioning, the sender has
            determined the message would be the best strategy for
            orderly operation.
Word choices

   Make appropriate word choices when
    encoding the message.
       Choose simple words and avoid words that could
        be ambiguous.
   Avoid using words that attribute
    characteristics to another person.
       Instead, describe specific behaviors and your own
        feelings, such as,
           “That is the second time this week you’ve made that
            mistake. I get annoyed when I have to explain the same
            procedure more than once or twice.”
Cultural differences

   The supervisor must be familiar with the
    communication styles of the various cultures
    of people with whom he or she works.
   Text examples include:
       (1) The Japanese.
             In Japan, harmony is a key value. The Japanese say “yes
              (hai, pronounced hi) as a way of signaling that they hear
              what the speaker is saying.
             Americans generally say “yes” to mean they agree with the
              speaker.
   (2) Women.
        Assertiveness in women is often viewed as aggressiveness
          so women tend to use a less assertive style of
           communication than men do.
          They tend to speak less and use phrases such as “Don’t
           you think?”
   Word choice is also a concern when dealing
    with cultural differences.
   Supervisors must seek to understand the
    communication style and meaning of their
    employees to reap the benefits and to avoid
    unnecessary conflict of a diverse work force.
Inferences versus Facts

   Inference: A conclusion drawn from the
    facts available.
       It is an assumption made based on the facts on
        hand.
       An inference may be true or false.
   Inferences often go beyond the actual data.
       That is, a decision may be made or the the
        interpretation is generalized to a more complex
        situation from a very small amount of factual
        information
   Or the facts may be too skimpy to make a
    specific inference.
       For example, because you know several people
        with a specific habit or behavior does not mean
        that all people have the behavior.
Perceptions and Prejudices

   Perceptions: The ways people see and
    interpret reality.
       Perceptions are filters that keep some information
        from getting in and make us supersensitive to
        other information.
   Prejudices: Broad generalizations about a
    category of people.
       Prejudices can have either a negative and positive
        influence, and both interfere with the ability to
        make sound decisions
           A positive prejudice may be called a halo effect.
   Based on experiences and values, the
    sender and receiver of a message make
    assump-tions about each other.
       When these perceptions are false, the message
        may get distorted.
   Prejudices are broad generalizations about a
    category of people.
       It is common, in our culture to attribute certain
        characteristics to
           women,
           African-Americans,
           Asians,
           blue-collar workers, and
           many other groups.
   In order to overcome communication barriers
    due to perceptions and prejudices, the
    supervisor must be aware of the assumptions
    made about people.
       Is the supervisor responding to what a person is
        saying or to his assumptions about that person or
        category of persons?
Biases in Paying Attention

   People have biases about the sender or
    receiver of the message and about the
    message itself.
       People tend to pay more attention to a message
        that seems to serve their self-interest and to
        ignore messages that contradict their viewpoint.
Nonverbal and Verbal Messages

   Verbal Message: A message that consists of
    words.
       Verbal messages can be spoken or written.
   Nonverbal Message: A message conveyed without
    using words.
       Nonverbal messages include such things as gestures,
        facial expressions, body position, and leaving the
        conversation.
       Many nonverbal messages are referred to as body
        language.
Nonverbal messages

   The major types of nonverbal messages are:
       gestures,
       posture,
       tone of voice,
       facial expressions, and
       even silences.
   Nonverbal communications are culture-
    specific.
       A look or gesture will give a specific kind of
        message in one culture and an entirely different
        message in another culture.
   They will also have different meanings or
    interpretation depending on the gender of the
    person.
       Looking down for a woman in the Anglo-American culture
        may be interpreted as a sign of modesty;
       for a man, the behavior may be interpreted as a sign of
        dishonesty or guilt.
       In another culture, looking down may show a sign of
        respect.
   Failure to recognize different interpretations
    of nonverbal communications can lead to
    misunderstandings of supervisors or
    employees, or both.
   A supervisor needs to send nonverbal signals
    that communicate he or she is businesslike
    and professional.
       This is done by
       the way you sit or stand,
       the use of gestures such as open-hand gestures,
        and
       readily shaking hands to indicate enthusiasm and
        interest.
   Dressing conservatively signals that the
    supervisor commands respect and has self-
    control.
Verbal messages

   Verbal messages are sent by speaking or by
    writing.
   Supervisors usually depend on oral
    communication.
       This type of communication gives the supervisor
        the opportunity to send and receive many
        nonverbal cues along with the verbal ones.
   Most oral communications occur face-to-face.
   They can also take place
       on the telephone,
       at meetings, and
       at formal presentations.
   Oral messages are best for sensitive issues.
       Sensitive discussions should be held in private to
        give both parties a chance to air their feelings.
       When there is anger or hostility, face-to-face
        communication allows for immediate feedback to
        diffuse the anger or clarify misconceptions.
   Speaking before a group is a type of
    communication that may be necessary, but
    stressful, for the supervisor.
   The following steps can help the supervisor
    prepare:
        (1) Learn about the audience.
            What are their values and interests and what do they
             already know about the topic?
            If you are unaware of this information before the
             presentation starts, spend the first few minutes talking with
             the audience about their interests, expectations, and
             knowledge base.
   (2) Start the presentation with a summary of the main
    points or the objective of the meeting.
       If the presentation is formal or includes people from areas
        outside the work unit, it may be useful to present a written
        outline of main points or objectives on a flip chart.
   (3) Have a clear plan for what to say.
       Use note cards or an outline.
         Avoid having a script that is read to the audience.
         It is much more effective to speak naturally to a group.
   (4) Finally, practice the speech until it is easy to deliver.
       It is useful to get feedback, if possible, from a mirror, tape
        recorder, video camera, or friend.
Written Communications

   Written communications are often used in
    organizations.
       A written record may be useful to the organization and the
        supervisor.
       A written record is also useful as a follow-up to an
        important verbal message.
           For example, if you have agreed verbally to a purchase order,
            customer request, delivery date, or disciplinary action, a
            written message will reaffirm the agreement.
   Written messages are useful in
    communicating complex messages.
   A disadvantage of a written message is that it
    will take a relatively long time to prepare and
    deliver.
   A supervisor may be required to submit
    written reports.
       A report may be necessary
           to describe a department need or problem,
           to summanze a meeting,
           and to inform upper management about information
            learned on a business trip or other tasks performed by a
            supervisor.
   Reports should begin with a summary of the
    contents.
       Charts may be used to summarize data and to
        make a point through visual impact.
           For example, a line graph can be used to illustrate an
            increase in productivity following the purchase of new
            equipment
   Bulletin board messages can be used to reach a
    large number of people.
       These messages can include the need-to-know-type
        messages such as
       the overtime work schedule,
       safety advisories, and
       the nice-to-know-type messages
           the progress of a quality improvement team or
           the investigation of a new-equipment purchase.
   Bulletin boards can also be used to recognize
    employees and work team successes.
   A problem today for many supervisors is
    communicating in a workplace in which many
    employees do not have adequate reading
    skills, but are required to read work
    instructions, procedures, and other
    documentation.
   Some companies are teaching reading and
    other skills to their employees.
   Supervisors must be aware of potential
    problems when written information may not
    be understood by all employees.
       Supervisors need to be sure all employees have
        the information necessary to do a good job.
       Since people who have difficulty reading may be
        embarrassed by the problem, they may try to hide
        it.
   Supervisors need to be sensitive to the
    feelings of employees while trying to assure
    good quality and productivity of the
    department.
   Downward Communication: Organizational
    communication that involves sending a message to
    someone at a lower level on the organizational
    chart.
       The supervisor is receiving a downward communication
        when he or she receives instructions or an evaluation from
        the boss, or a message describing the company policy.
       The supervisor sends a downward communication when he
        or she discusses a problem with or instructs an employee.
   Upward Communication: Communication
    that involves sending a message to someone
    at a higher level on the organizational chart.
       A supervisor receives an upward communication
        when an employee asks a question or reports a
        problem.
   To be well informed and to benefit from
    employees’ creativity, the supervisor should
    encourage upward communication.
       One way to do this is to listen well, applying the
        strategies for effective listening.
           A suggestion box is a method used by some
            organizations as a way for employees to send
            messages up.
   Supervisors should be aware that suggestion boxes
    can be problematic.
       Employees who make suggestions have expectations of
        seeing their suggestions implemented.
       There must be resources devoted to the review and
        implementation of suggestions and feedback to the
        employees, or they will stop making suggestions.
   In some companies, for example General Motors
    Corporation, suggestions have been rewarded with
    a portion of the saving that results from the
    suggestion.
   When teamwork is expected, rewarding individuals
    for suggestions may undermine the team effort.
   Lateral Communication: Organizational
    communication that involves sending a message to
    a person at the same level on the organizational
    chart.
       Supervisors send and receive lateral communication when
           they discuss their needs with coworkers in other departments,
           coordinate their group’s work with that of other supervisors,
            and
           socialize with their peers at the company.
   Lateral communication is a way for new supervisors
    to learn the methods and expectations of their job,
    and to get help when problems arise.
   Why should a supervisor know about the
    directions of communication?
       Awareness will help a supervisor be sure that he
        or she is participating in communication in all
        directions.
       All directions of communication are necessary to
        keep all people informed and to keep work
        coordinated.
   Changes in companies today include
    reorganization and downsizing, which is
    taking out layers of management.
   One of the reasons for these changes is to
    increase flexibility and speed
    communications.
   The supervisor who is used to sending a
    message up the chain of command and
    waiting for an answer will find in the new
    reorganized company both faster
    communications and the responsibility for
    making more decisions formerly made at
    higher levels.
   Formal Communication: Organizational
    communication that is work-related and follows the
    lines of the organization chart.
   Formal communications are directed toward
    accomplishing the goals of the organization.
       Examples of formal communication from the supervisor to
        the employee include
           discussions of performance to help employees do higher-
            quality work,
           training on a new procedure that improves quality of service,
            and
           the distribution of production schedules to work teams.
   Formal communications are often related to the
    primary work of the organization and its employees.
       It includes
           policies and procedures,
           instructions and directions,
            requests for resources,
           work schedules,
           performance appraisals, and
           work summaries.
   These communications usually follow the
    chain of command.
   However, much of the communication in an
    organization is informal, such as personal
    discussions.
   Informal Communication: Organizational
    communication that is directed toward individuals’
    needs and interests and does not necessarily follow
    formal lines of communication.
   Informal communications include both topics
    about work and personal interests.
   Work-related informal communications may
    be an attempt to get necessary information
    faster than the prescribed method.
   Much of the informal communication takes
    the form of gossip and rumors.
       Gossip is small talk about people.
       People use gossip as a way to indicate
           what behavior is acceptable and
           what behavior is not acceptable.
   Rumors are what people say among
    themselves to try to interpret and make sense
    out of what is happening.
       When there is an absence of facts about what is
        happening in an organization, especially during a
        time of change, rumors are spread in an effort to
        get at the facts.
       Rumors tend to circulate most during crises and
        conflicts and are often false.
   Supervisors should not participate in the
    spreading of gossip and rumors.
       As a member of management, the supervisor is
        expected to know and report the facts about
        company business.
   Guidelines for keeping rumors and gossip
    under control include:
       Do not share any personal information about other
        employees.
           Discuss matters concerning others only when they truly
            need to know.
       Keep company information to yourself until the
        organization makes an official announcement.
   Grapevine: The paths along which informal
    communication travels.
       The grapevine is important to supervisors because
        employees use it as a source of information.
         Thus, the supervisor must expect that employees
          sometimes have information before the supervisor has
          delivered it.
         Rumors spread by the grapevine and the information
          may be incorrect especially in times of crisis or conflict.
   Managers usually have no control over the
    grapevine.
   Steps the supervisor can take to ensure that some
    of the messages in the grapevine are positive and in
    line with the organization’s objectives include:
     a. Regularly use the tools of formal

       communication to inform employees of the
       organization’s version of events.
   b. Be open to discussion, becoming someone
    employees will turn to when they want a rumoi
    confirmed or denied.
   c. Use performance appraisal interviews as a
    time to listen to employees as well as give their
    information.
   d. Have a trusted employee act as a source of
    information about the messages traveling thc
    grapevine.
   e. When necessary, issue a formal response to a
    rumor in order to clear the air.