Y/506/1910communicate in a business environment
Y/506/1910communicate in a business environment
1.1In our organisation we deal with internal and external stakeholders. Internal stakeholders are colleagues that I work with in the same team, other teams or other departments within the ESFA and Department of Education and they can be colleagues of different grades within the organisation. External stakeholders are people from external organisations so in my case this would include people I work with in different organisations ie. Homes England that shares the building, visiting contractors, suppliers and learning providers. I need to communicate with each of these groups of people and different factors need to be considered depending on the information that needs sharing, if the information needs to be recorded, formal or informal communication or the urgency of the communication for example. There are a variety of communication methods – face-to-face, telephone, email, paper based, internet, television and social media – and different methods need to be considered. If I am based in the office, I am sitting with my team and can talk to each of them on an individual basis or as a group as in a team meeting. I am available at my desk so that people can approach me and ask questions or ask for help. If I am working in another office or at home, I mostly communicate through email, instant messaging (Skype) or telephone. When we are communicating with external stakeholders ie. providers we mostly use postal letters and electronic copies of these are kept for reference. The organisation uses the Internet as a way of communicating and sharing accessible information for external stakeholders so information is on the DfE/Gov.uk website. Information is shared social media ie Facebook and Twitter as this is regularly updated, easily accessible to the public and gives the most up to date information.
Models of communication are conceptual models used to explain the human communication process. Communication is the process of sending and receiving messages or transferring information from one part (sender) to another (receiver) source Wikipedia CITATION Mod18 l 2057 (Anon., 2018).
1.2The first major model for communication was developed by Claude Shannon and Warren Weaver in 1949. The process for this is that the message transmits from Sender–Encoder–Channel–Decoder/Receiver–Receiver/Destination. The sender encodes the message and sends via a channel so that he message is sent in codes The receiver has to decode the message to understand and interpret it. This is the method of communication used in telephone systems and is a two way process. Source: Businesstopia CITATION Sha18 l 2057 (Anon., 2018)
In 1960, David Berlo expanded Shannon and Weaver’s model and created the Sender-Message-Channel-Receiver (SMCR) Model of Communication. This focuses on encoding and decoding which happens before the message is sent and before it is received. The Sender is the source of the message, the Message is the communication being sent, the Channel the medium used to send the message and the Receiver is the person or object that receives the message. This is the method of communication used from person to person when speaking or via the internet or email and is a one way process. Businesstopia CITATION Ber18 l 2057 (Anon., 2018)
Wilber Schramm originated his model of communication in 1954. According to Schramm’s model, a response or feedback is necessary for the receiver to let the sender know that the communication was received and understood. This model is a Sender-Message-Receiver-Message-Sender process and relies on the message being interpreted by the Receiver in the way that the Sender intended. This method of communication is used in all systems that require messages to be sent and acted upon. Source: MSG CITATION Sch18 l 2057 (Anon., 2018)1.3In communication studies, organisation communication systems are the methods used for communication within an organisation or for an organisation to communicate with external stakeholders. There are some frequently used methods of communication:
1167765158750Vertical Network – this is usually between two people and is a two way communication. An example of this is me and my line manager speaking to each other and giving each other feedback and comments in the conversation. This type of communication is usually with a superior and subordinate and is a formal network. The advantage of this is that my line manager can give me instructions that she knows I will follow. The disadvantage is that this is usually used when I am being told to follow instructions without me having any input.
00Vertical Network – this is usually between two people and is a two way communication. An example of this is me and my line manager speaking to each other and giving each other feedback and comments in the conversation. This type of communication is usually with a superior and subordinate and is a formal network. The advantage of this is that my line manager can give me instructions that she knows I will follow. The disadvantage is that this is usually used when I am being told to follow instructions without me having any input.
1167765205105Circuit Network – this is similar to a Vertical network except that it is between two people but it is more of a message/feedback communication that goes in a circle and is not necessarily between superiors and subordinates, so could be between myself and my team colleagues. The advantage of this that it is more of a discussion where we can each have input and ideas. The disadvantage is that there is not necessarily a leader or decision maker and no one to take responsibility.
00Circuit Network – this is similar to a Vertical network except that it is between two people but it is more of a message/feedback communication that goes in a circle and is not necessarily between superiors and subordinates, so could be between myself and my team colleagues. The advantage of this that it is more of a discussion where we can each have input and ideas. The disadvantage is that there is not necessarily a leader or decision maker and no one to take responsibility.
1189990108585Chain Network – this usually follows a hierarchy and chain of command where all subordinates receive instructions from their superior. So this would be instructions given from my manager to my line manager and on to me. The advantage of this is that is a good way of cascading information to the team to ensure it is reached at all levels. The disadvantage is that it is dependent on the manager having the information to cascade and everyone in the chain passing it on.
00Chain Network – this usually follows a hierarchy and chain of command where all subordinates receive instructions from their superior. So this would be instructions given from my manager to my line manager and on to me. The advantage of this is that is a good way of cascading information to the team to ensure it is reached at all levels. The disadvantage is that it is dependent on the manager having the information to cascade and everyone in the chain passing it on.
right5080Wheel Network – this method is where all subordinates receive instructions from one superior, for example my line manager giving instructions to me as well as others that she line manages. The advantage is that my line manager shares information with everyone at the same time. The disadvantage is that it is more for cascading information and instructions rather than discussion.
00Wheel Network – this method is where all subordinates receive instructions from one superior, for example my line manager giving instructions to me as well as others that she line manages. The advantage is that my line manager shares information with everyone at the same time. The disadvantage is that it is more for cascading information and instructions rather than discussion.
1176655346075Star Network – this communication is where all members of the group communicate with each other and exchange information. This type of communication is what is used in our team meetings where everyone participates and exchanges information and ideas. The advantage of this is that everyone gets the opportunity to have their say and participate in decisions. The disadvantage is that it can sometimes turn in to a long discussion without any decisions being made.
00Star Network – this communication is where all members of the group communicate with each other and exchange information. This type of communication is what is used in our team meetings where everyone participates and exchanges information and ideas. The advantage of this is that everyone gets the opportunity to have their say and participate in decisions. The disadvantage is that it can sometimes turn in to a long discussion without any decisions being made.
source: YourArticleLibrary CITATION Vic18 l 2057 (Vicky, 2018)
1.4Communication Media is the means of delivering and receiving data or information, the means of transmission and storage tools or channels for data storage and transmission. This includes telephone, television, email, websites and video conferencing. source: techopedia CITATION Wha18 l 2057 (Anon., 2018) It can use electronic means but also include written/email and oral/telephone methods as a way to communicate the message.
There are factors to take in to account when deciding on the method of communication. For example email is a useful tool as it is received quickly, provides a record of the communication that can be re-accessed, it’s cost effective and can be used to send messages and documents securely. However, if an immediate response is required then the telephone may be more suitable as a request and response can be given immediately. The advantage of mobile phones is that they can be used for conversations and messages, so if a message or email needs sending this can be done immediately from a mobile and it also means people on the move are more accessible with a mobile phone. However, if a long message is to be transferred it is preferable to use email rather than text messages for mobile phones. When people are based in the same place ie the office, then there are advantages to a face-to-face meeting as it can be quicker to speak to someone then send them a message and it is also easier to judge someone’s reaction by their body language which can not be conveyed by electronic means. However, face-to-face and telephone meetings can be intrusive as people don’t want to be interrupted when they are trying to concentrate on work or meet deadlines. Within our organisation we are encouraged to use video conferencing or Skype for meetings as a way of cutting down on travel expenses and time out of the office. This is effective for presenting webinars that can be shared amongst a group of people but can be difficult to participate when one person is video conferencing in to a large group as it is difficult to follow who is speaking and there can be interruptions from background noise which means that important information can be missed.
1.5It is important to take care to use correct grammar, punctuation and spelling when communicating in business as it helps convey the professionalism and standards expected from an organisation. It maintains the organisation’s reputation and upholds the impression that is given. There are tools available to help ensure that correct grammar and sentence structure is used. Examples of this are spellchecking tool on Microsoft Word and internet tools such as Sentence Checker that can be used to check sentence structure and assist with wording. The most important tool is proofreading as this is the most effective way to pick up on any grammatical or spelling mistakes as errors in names and addresses for example are not picked up by spell checkers. Incorrect grammar and spelling can also lead to confusion as the message can be misinterpreted by the reader. This is especially important in legal documents which in our organisation’s case can be provider contracts or letters outlining changes to funding.
It is important to use the correct terminology in documents but also not to over use jargon, acronyms or abbreviations that is not always understood outside of the organisation. The ESFA provide a document outlining the layout and format of letters and provide templates to use for agendas and minutes. It is also important to gauge the style of communication to ensure the document is not over formal or informal.
1.6Communication media is the means of delivering and receiving information or data. There are two types of communication media:
Analog – radio, telephone, television
Digital – computer and computer networking technology
A communication plan can be implemented using the PACE methodology which is
Primary – the best method of communication
Alternate – another alternative, but not as beneficial, method for accomplishing the task
Contingency – a method that will not be as efficient as the first two methods but will accomplish the task
Emergency – the ‘last resort’ method that is used when all other methods fail.
Planning communication media is taking in to account the audience, objective, message, channel, timing and preparation. These questions should be taken in to account when planning a communication:
Audience – who do I want to communicate to?
Objective – what is the purpose of my communication?
Message – what is it that is want to communicate and what do I want to say?
Channel – what method shall is use?
Timing – when would be the most appropriate time for the communication?
Preparation – what do I need to prepare in advance and how will I go about this?
Structuring a communication needs to take in to account the three elements of opening/introduction, body/main part of communication, close/conclusion of communication. This applies to any kind of communication for example phone call, email, letter, presentation or webpage. Take in to account the audience whether it is one person or a group of people and consider the best way to communicate with that audience.
Opening – the opening allows the audience to quickly understand what the communication is about and gives a short summary of what will be covered.
Body – this is the main part of the communication that includes all of the information that needs to be transmitted.
Close – this is the summary of the communication with the key points of what the communication was about, where to go next for information or how to follow up on the information shared.
1.7There are many barriers to communication that can stop or restrict the message getting across and hinder the audience’s understanding of the communication:
The use of jargon by using too many technical phrases, acronyms and abbreviations can limit people’s understanding of the topic and it may alienate them.
A lack of interest or relevance can cause the communication to be disregarded or dismissed as the recipient may think the communication as not relevant to them and so doesn’t read the letter or listen to the conversation.
If there is a distraction during a telephone conversation or presentation, it can be off putting for the communicator or recipient and may divert their attention and make them lose track of the communication.
Some people can let their emotions get the better of them during presentations as they may suffer from nerves when presenting, find the subject matter emotive or get argumentative during heated conversations.
People with physical disabilities may find it difficult to get their communication across as their disability may restrict their presenting style or hinder their speech. Alternatively people with disabilities may find that they are restricted by access to partake in a communication or use the necessary equipment.
If there is a lack of understanding of language this can cause a confusion of the subject. The style of speech may be confusing, there may be an accent that is difficult to understand or the style of writing may need to be clarified.
However, there are ways of overcoming the barriers to improve the communications
Jargon – try to limit the use to phrases that are commonly used and understood. In written communication, use the full name then use the abbreviation or acronym so that the reader can refer to this ie. Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) or Further Education Risk Assessment Tool (FERAT).
Lack of interest – ensure that relevant information is sent to the appropriate people and ensure that the content is interesting enough to gain and keep their attention.
Distractions – try to ensure that there is no background noise or disruptions during conversations and that mobile phones are turned off or silent.
Emotions – there are various ways of dealing with nerves or stressful situations, for example deep breathing and preparation. If a conversation starts to get emotional then there are strategies that can used to keep calm and not take the criticism personally.
Disabilities – ensure that there is inclusion and put in to practice Equality and Diversity strategies to ensure that everyone can be included.
Understanding of language – speakers should talk clearly and slowly to ensure that recipients understand what is being said and written language should be clear and uncomplicated. source: SkillsYouNeed CITATION Ski18 l 2057 (Anon., 2018)1.8There are three main types of non-verbal communication theories:
Albert Mehrabian studied the importance of non-verbal communication in the 1970s and the effects of conflicting messages. His “silent messages” theory was that 7% of what we communicate is the literal content of the message. The voice, as in tone, pitch and volume takes up 38% and the remaining 55% of communication is body language. This is the 7-38-55 model and so consists of three elements: verbal, vocal and visual. This model theorises that communication is more about the non-verbal elements than about the verbal content and how body language and tone of voice can give conflicting messages to the listener.
source: toolshero CITATION Pat18 l 2057 (Mulder, 2018)
Ray Birdwhistell founded the Theory of Kinesics. The term kinesics means “facial expression, gestures, posture and gait and visible arm and body movements”. This is generally known as body language but this is a term the Birdwhistell didn’t like to use. He estimated that 30-35% of the meaning of a conversation is carried by the words with the remainder as non-verbal communication.
source: Wikipedia CITATION Wik18 l 2057 (Anon., 2018)
Michael Argyle’s communication cycle consists of six stages – initial idea, message coded, message sent, message received, message decoded, message understood. His theory was that this enabled the message to be thought out and understood and really is only applicable between two people.
Mehrabian and Birdwhistell’s theories are based on non-verbal communication which they stated is more about body language than the spoken word. Body language can be interpreted and can give a different meaning to what is being verbally communicated. For example, facial expressions can give away feelings and can contradict what someone is saying: “I’m fine” when they visibly aren’t. Making eye contact with a person can put a person at ease by making the other person seem more reliable and paying attention. Being animated with arm gestures can be interpreted as confident and outgoing. Gestures such as arm folding and crossed legs can make a person appear ‘cut off’ and defensive, in the same way that a person leaning forward when they are talking can make them seem interested in what is being said. Gestures can be cultural too, so what is acceptable in one society can be interpreted as rude in another.
1.9Business Communication is information sharing between people within and outside of an organisation. It is performed for the benefit of the organisation and includes marketing, brand management, customer relations, advertising, public relations, corporate communication and event management.
Proofreading is important because it is the final opportunity to correct errors in spelling, grammar and punctuation, to check on the way the sentences are constructed and the language used. It is the opportunity to pick up on mistakes within the text but also an opportunity to check on addresses and names in letters, correct usage of diagrams, the calculations with numbers and the overall document layout.
The first concern of proofreading is to check on spelling, punctuation and grammar as this can completely change the meaning of a sentence and therefore will not convey what the writer is trying to say. It is important for the writer to know their weaknesses too so that if they are not proficient at spelling they can use a spell check or dictionary.
Proofreaders generally check for two kinds of errors – language related errors (spelling, tense, style) and non text formatting errors (spacing, font type, font size). Proofreaders will often use a proofreading checklist and some of the things included are:
Are the sentences clear and easy to understand
Do sentences and paragraphs connect and not jump between topics abruptly
Is the writing economical or waste too many words
Is the style of writing too formal or over casual
Is the verb tense consistent throughout the document
Are there words included or missed out that should or shouldn’t be there
Is the font consistent where it needs to be
Are the paragraphs, indents, page numbering and bullet points constant throughout