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This report has been requested as part of Unit 1 of my BTEC course headed by Mr. Osman and a draft of this report should be submitted by November 1st 2010. The task of this research report is based on the coherent understanding of the principles of effective communication in relation to Information Technology. The approach has been to analyze and discuss the trends in employability skills, the potential risks and the strategies that companies should adapt. Moreover, this report illustrates the complexity of the nexus between Information technology and individuals who are aiming to work in such environment.
This paper will discuss some of these new technologies and their impact on the workplace by specifically focusing on Information Technology, its implementation, its pitfalls, and its future.
This report has been divided into several parts, namely; In the first part the general communication skills are discussed, in the second part the topic of interpersonal skills is looked at together with some findings, and the third topic indicates the Communication in Writing.
The report ends with all the links of the sources being used. In preparing this report the only resource the Internet- which is sufficient enough as the Internet has a vast of information available, with a little guidance from the book- BTEC National IT Practitioners by Steve Farrell
What is Effective Communication?
New technology has been injected into the workplace at an exponentially increasing rate over the last few decades. As Information and Communication Technology becomes more widely used in education, businesses, almost the whole variety of jobs available, attention is being focused on the ability to communicate effectively. This is critical to one's success at work as well as in one's personal life. Effective communication is a two-way process - sending the right message, which is also being correctly received and understood by the other person/s.
2.1 General Communication Skills
Communication is essential for effective functioning in every part of an organization. The importance of effective communication for managers cannot be overemphasized for one specific reason: everything a manager does, involves communicating. Communication is needed to increase efficiency, satisfy customers, improve quality, and create innovative products.
The communication process consists of two phases:
the transmission phase
the feedback phase
3. Effective Communication In Details
3.1 Cultural differences
Across the world there is a whole array of different languages, delivery methods, cultures, customs and traditions that can impact on general communication. It is important that within organizations there is a general awareness and respect of cultural differences. This could be demonstrated by:
Acknowledging a range of festivals, ceremonies, and important dates throughout the year from different religions and cultures.
Being respectful of employees' religions and cultures, such as the wearing of head coverings or the need to pray at certain times of the day.
Adapting Content And Style To Audience
Showing different ways to keep the audience attention on one- like modulating oner voice, using appropriate terminology keywords and the format of the communication (written content in formal cases to meet the needs of the audience, or graphic presentation when promoting a product such as an electronic showcasing its features)
Providing accurate information
Information which are relevant, has validity, and consistency (predominantly statistics and facts), because it gives the audience assurance in what is being delivered.
Differentiating between facts and opinions
Facts- anything that has valid evidence.
Opinions- based on one's views.
As an employee one would need to remain impartial and deliver the facts and not one's personal opinions as sometimes it can lead to a controversy.
Techniques for engaging audience interest
Ways to capture the audience interest- changing one's intonation and presenting information in the form of multimedia elements and animations in presentations.
Question and answer sessions
Asking questions to the audience and them responding/ vice-versa (audience asking questions) ensures that they have been engaged to oner lecture/presentation as this allows clarifying doubts. Pausing in between presentations to ask/answer questions also helps as the host/presenter is confident enough to move to a further discussion.
3. Effective Communication in a Working Environment
3.1 Interpersonal Skills
Methods for communicating interpersonally
Verbal exchanges are any form of dialogue between two or more people and this is helpful when negotiating an agreement, enquiring about directions, debating a topic or simply greeting a friend. If a person has impairment then sign language can be used to communicate with a person/people.
Techniques and cues
Body language expresses information and supports verbal communication: the way one stand, move or fold oner hands/arms during a conversation provides ideas about how one are feeling.
The use of smileys/emoticons in electronic communication or capitalization of text in emails can be used to indicate oner thoughts, for instance, NO - can indicate that one's upset and demanding a "no" in a serious note, or, :-) shows that the person is happy.
Positive and negative language
Positive and negative (poor behavior and people skills) effects can be portrayed through intonation, word choice, and facial/body language like smiling when talking to someone.
Paying attention and active engagement
The following are some of the ways to know that a person is engaged in interpersonal communication: the way they nod in agreement, smile and use hand gestures to acknowledge a point of information. In addition to that- a few even summarizes or paraphrase to show that they have paid attention. All this mentioned above proves evidence that one have created an effective relationship.
Background noise, distractions, lack of concentration- all these contributes to not proceeding in further communication.
Types of question
As stated before in "Question and answer sessions" questions keeps the presentation alive and going. Questions can be categorized by type: open, closed, and probing.
Open questions- answer is an open-ended answer rather than a simple "yes/no"
Closed questions- the answer is "yes/no"
Probing- answers are extended to further details.
Appropriate speeds of response
When communicating verbally, the speed of response is almost immediate, whereas in written communication, depending on the type of communication- like letters; the speed of response could be delayed for a brief moment.
4. Communication In Writing
Following organizational guidelines and procedures
Employees need to follow organizational guidelines and procedures in order to be officially part of an organization. This includes:
Health and safety
Codes of Conduct
Policies on using ICT or other working practices.
Identifying and conveying key messages in writing
Written documents are unique in features and its format styling, such as:
Letters- this is the most usual form of written communication. The content is divided according to its introduction, main section, and the enclosure.
Faxes- documents can be transferred electronically by means of a simple phone call.
E-mail- documents can be sent to numerous recipients at one time.
Using correct grammar and spelling
It is vital to make sure that one're using the correct terms of language, grammar, punctuation and spelling on oner written content as this makes the recipient understand what one are trying to convey.
Structuring writing into a logical framework
Body of text would be displayed here
The style and laonet of oner writing depends on oner target audience. For example- a memorandum may be used in a business office to record events and observations on a certain topic. Formal letters may be used if one're sending it to someone who's in a higher position like the Manager of Director.
Identifying relevant information in written communications
There are a number of ways of recognizing relevant information within a written document- this can be revealed by references made to a specific page number within a contents page or summary document. Footnote can also be used to indicate any important terminologies/jargons. Particular information may also be formatted in some way to characterize it from other text- like setting the word in bold or italics. Furthermore, one could highlight or underline certain text or paragraphs, annotate or make comments to draw user to key sections within the document.
Reviewing and proofreading own written workhttp://www.writingforward.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/11/proofreading-12.jpg
Reviewing and proofreading is elemental before submitting a completed document as this will give one an opportunity to make changes within the document.
Conveying alternative view points
This is helpful when one's trying to convey statements/theories particularly if the document is a research report. One will need sources to support and justify oner views/reasoning.
Reviewing and editing documents by others
If the document has been created electronically, it can highlighted, annotated, comments can be added and text can be stroked out using the strikethrough function in Microsoft Word- the same methods can be applied if its reviewed manually though hard copies of the document will need to be shared.
This is helpful especially if someone's giving a lecture, meetings, seminars and training sessions. One can't take down everything said by the speaker so one will need to be able to jot down important key facts which can help one prepare/remember what to mention in the content of oner passage.
(b) Describes potential barriers to effective communication
No matter how good the communication system in an organization is, unfortunately barriers can and do often occur.
Lack of subject knowledge
Physical barriers in an organization include large working areas that are physically separated from others. Other distractions that could cause a physical barrier in an organization are the environment, background noise.
The incapability to communicate in the same language as the sender and receiver is the greatest barrier to effective communication as well as using inappropriate words which could lead to misunderstanding.
Oner emotions (i.e. anger, depression, sorrow) can affect the way one perform in oner job- one can have trouble listening or concentrating an important lecture/meeting or even handling things around the organization.
Lack of subject knowledge
If the sender lacks the idea of the subject then the receiver would find it hard to understand what the sender is trying to say, hence this could lead to a barrier to effective communication.
When a person is under immense stress, he may find it difficult to be punctual and work appropriately- this is similar to the subheading explained in Emotions.
Mechanism/s that can be used to reduce the impact of communication barriers identified in P3
Effective communication is important in today's business environment because companies often operate in many countries and workforces are becoming more and more multicultural.
It can be anything that distorts or hinders information from its intended recipient(s).
Both the recipient and the sender should play a role in helping to reduce communication barriers. This can be done by:
The message should be brief and clear- having too many words in the presentation is not ideal when explaining a subject as the audience could easily get bored, or may have difficulty reading and listening at the same time to what one are saying.
The language should be easy - the language spoken should be understandable. Words that are not used/heard/spoken frequently like using difficult terminologies. The way one portray oner message- the intonation of oner voice should clear, moreover, eye contact/facing to the audience is significant in communication. Hand gestures
The most essential step is to gain feedback from the audience- And again, we can go back to what is mention in "Question and answer sessions". In addition, asking questions to the audience to clarify doubts and whatnots keeps the presentation alive. If a person doesn't understand do not be reluctant to explain oner message again and try using an alternative approach- like changing oner message in a way that seems more understandable.
Don't interrupt the speaker- There will be question and answer sessions or a pause between the presentations to clarify doubts. Interrupting the speaker by asking a question in between lecture or distracting the speaker
Language- The company/organization should ensure that before registering an employee to a work field that the person should be able to speak in English fluently- verbal and written as it is an international language.
Analysis of at least 2 interpersonal and written communications skills of oner own.
Paying attention and active engagement (e.g. nodding, paraphrasing, summarizing) - These qualities are established and achieved in classrooms everyday during a subject. For instance- Yesterday at school during Sociology period, my teacher was giving a lecture on Feminism. The teacher, obviously, from experience knows whether the student is paying attention to her; nodding in agreement, wanting to ask a question and taking down notes are all signs of the student actually concentrating in class. She asked us to form groups of five to discuss the view points- to paraphrase and summarize what she has just said and whether any other points could be contributed that is related to the topic.
Understanding barriers (e.g. background noise, distractions, lack of concentrations)- It is common to every classroom that there has to be that one student in class who's the joker/trouble-maker, or it could be of a different effect depending on one's mood- if a student is sleepy, then this causes an inability to concentrate. If one student sees his/her classmate sleeping then this could cause an effect on the student itself by de-motivating the student (though that depends on how good and dignified the student is). Background noise- talking between each other, fidgeting oner chair a lot, making any sort of unnecessary noise will cause a barrier between the other students and the teacher. Distracting the teacher by asking questions at the wrong time (while she's talking) or talking out of turns could lose the teacher's focus.
Identifying relevant information in written communication- Sometimes it may not be obvious; like if a teacher hands out a study sheet and asks one to read it and briefly talk about it for her, one can identify on the important context of the passage- mostly it's the part where they stress more about it on. Highlighting the main points helps one to remember and can get easily back to it without having to read the whole passage over again. Usually, in text-books, important facts are either in bold/italic/underlined or in asterix.
Note-taking- This is helpful especially when a teacher is giving a lecture rather than waiting for oner teacher to give out notes. Especially if one's in Secondary High-School, like Grade 11 or 12 or even in University one need to make up oner own notes. Jotting down important key facts, even just one sentence could then me formed into a one paragraph.
My Personal Development Plan
Understand the concept of the study
My basic understanding of the study is at a good level, however there isn't complete assurance on certain topics and needs to be focused on.
I'd like to be able to have a coherent understanding of the study, and be confident enough to explain to my peers and teachers.
My weakness is that I understand the study but have a difficulty explaining it to others. I will try to improve this by testing it a few people at first, using techniques like flash cards.
To be able to stand up in front of the class and explain the study. Should improve on my intonation, body language and eye contact.
Complete and manage assignments on a time-frame
Procrastination is common to everyone.
If for example the deadline of an assignment is on the 15th of November, my hand-in date will be on the 5th of November. Though I have to ensure that the work has all the required information and the work is done consistently.
Have to balance study and leisure.
Date of receiving assignment: 5/11/2010
Date of submitting assignment: 7/11/2010
Date of me submitting my assignment 06/11/2010: Target on submitting the work earlier.
Develop my Interpersonal Skills (teamwork) with classmates, teachers, and in classrooms
Need to work on my interpersonal skills with the people I rarely talk to in class rather than my group of colleagues. I don't really work well in a team.
Working with a team will be helpful- ideas can be shared and will result to be a better outcome. "Two brains are better than one"
Socialize with everyone. Reliable and positive team member; competent team player.
14/11/2010: Participate in team activities.
Communication in Writing
I feel that my writing s kills is agreeable, though of course, there can I've done my IGCSE English as a Second Language and got an A, currently, I'm doing English as first language for AS Levels.
Prepare better essays. Take part in writing competition.
Good descriptive writing and satisfactory critical writing.
01/12/2010: Write an article on ICT and media, and its impact to the social world.
In conclusion, we can see that;
General Communication Skills talks about how communication is achieved in workplace.
Interpersonal Skills states how people communicate by means of verbal, body, sign language and so forth. Explaining information is also stated and how potential barriers can cause a pitfall in communication.
Communication in Writing indicates the different methods of how people use techniques to communicate - letter, fax, e-mail and whatnots and to ensure that one's grammar and punctuation is corrected.