Personal And Professional Development Communicating Effectively English Language Essay

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As effective communication is my weakness, I feel uncomfortable to communicate with the people. I then realised, effective communication skills are essential in every aspect of my life and thereby I have chosen "Communicating Effectively" as my personal development objective.

In this report, I have presented the areas at which my communication has an effect in my life and how I understood the importance of communication and the changes in my approach and behaviour.

I have selected several rules of face-to-face and email communication and was implementing them in my day-to-day personal life and professional career. Rules of planning and body language are my favourites. After applying these rules, my thinking and behaviour have an immense change and I have achieved better success.

I have been performing the exercise of using emails (See Appendix 3) in thrice a week and also preparing my action plan every month. All these effective communication techniques improved my confidence, strengthened my relationship with others, reduced stress and resulted in achieving success in my organisation.

Due to immense change and satisfaction, I have been eagerly waiting for the success in all my future endeavours.

CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION AND RATIONALE

APPLICATION OF THEORY

CHANGES IN THINKING AND BEHAVIOUR

APPENDICES

APPENDIX 1: Rules for communicating effectively

APPENDIX 2: Email communication - Rules For How To Do It Effectively

APPENDIX 3: Exercise Of Using Email

APPENDIX 4: My action plan focusing on the development of communication skills

REFERENCES

BIBLIOGRAPHY

INTRODUCTION AND RATIONALE

Effective Communication is an important aspect in my life as it played a major role for both personal and professional developments of mine.

The benefit of effective communication to my personal development:

Effective Communication has been a weakness from schooling. Sometimes my communication with others used to be without planning. During my college days (at graduation), I was always busy with work and never planned to improve my communication skills and there by suffered from a number of setbacks. Though my intentions were positive, but due to poor communication, my ideas and views were taken negatively which spoiled my relationships with friends and family. I then realised that how I communicate in an effective manner is more important than what I communicate while expressing my ideas and views.

The benefit of effective communication to my professional development:

After my graduation, I received many e-mails regarding interviews and I used to attend all of them. One day suddenly I realised that I haven't attended one 'job interview' and I was upset. Later I have examined the reasons for missing the interview and I realised that I haven't used the e-mail effectively from last week.

In one of the interviews, I was tensed and even didn't listen to the questions what the interviewer had asked and I requested him to repeat the question. This happened thrice in the same interview and I was rejected for the job. I then realised that it is always important to listen carefully in communication and that was the chief reason for not getting selected for the job.

All these constraints like failing to attend the interview, no prior planning while communicating with others and not listening carefully etc. had a significant effect in my life and I understood the importance of effective communication (especially face-to-face communication and e-mails as a communicating channel). There by I have chosen "Communicating Effectively" as my key personal development objective since I intend to develop my personality and professional career.

And also communicating effectively is very important in my career to secure professional job and to maintain good relationships with everyone in the organisation. Having effective communication skills will help me to improve both my personal and business relationships and makes my life more pleasant.

APPLICATION OF THEORY

"The way we communicate with others and with ourselves ultimately determines the quality of our lives" (Deverell, 2001, P.69). From this quotation I realised the importance of communication and I have selected "Rules for Communicating Effectively (face-to-face communication)" (Brennan, 2008) to develop my communication skills as these rules address my core weakness than any other.

"Rule 1: Organisation" (See Appendix 1), before communicating the message I want to convey, I started to organise my thoughts so that my message will be clear and become easy to understand for the listener. After applying this rule, I have found that misunderstandings and confusions are avoided and the message that I want to convey was exactly understood by the listener.

One of the most important rules for me i.e. "Rule 2: Planning" (See Appendix 1), I have been planning the important conversations before one day so that I can communicate more effectively and receive positive response. I was not only planning what and how to communicate but also thinking about the person's behaviour and reaction. For the most important conversations, I am thinking the scenario with different reactions and preparing the solutions as well so that I can guess how the person will respond and so planning accordingly.

"Rule 3: Body Language" (See Appendix 1), which I usually do at the start of communication but forget to maintain it till the end. Realising the importance of this rule, I was practising daily to maintain my facial expressions and gestures and also my body language to match with my words for the message to be clear. While I communicate at home or with my close friends, I used to ask for the response whether my body language matches with my words. whether I maintain my facial expressions till end? and I received better response than before.

"Rule 4: Simple and Concise" and "Rule 5: Respond" (See Appendix 1), I have been conveying my message in a clear and concise way for the receiver to understand and also respond for the questions that arise from the recipient in a simple way maintaining the body language.

"Rule 6: Common Ground" and "Rule 7: Stay Positive" (See Appendix 1), in complicated scenario's I would like to work together with the person and find a common ground which is comfortable for us and always stay positive which creates the receiver to react in a kindly manner.

"Rule 8: Listen" (See Appendix 1), before this, because of not listening to the speaker, I lost my job which realised me to listen any conversation with more attention. I now keep aside the temptation to push my own thoughts and opinions on others and allow them for real conversation. Now-a-days I am concentrating on the speaker and listening beyond the words. After applying this rule, I have found that my listening skills are more effective and I was responding to the message easily rather than requesting them to repeat the message. Below is one of my practical examples that intend me to learn communication effectively.

Example 1:

One of my good friends called 'Ramya'. Her work is aligned with communication skills. She is friendly and interested in whomever she is talking to. I have been watching her way of communication. She listens and asks questions. Her body language and behaviour is excellent. Through Observation I have been able to learn skills that I did not acquire. When I am free, I used to communicate with her and ask for feedback and work on it which helps me to improve my communication skills.

I have applied the rules of Email communication - Rules for How to Do It Effectively (Silva, 2007) (See Appendix 2) as it addresses my weakness and teaches me where to improve my email communication.

Applying "Rule 1 of sending messages i.e. Organisation" (See Appendix 2), while sending emails I now following "who-what-when-where-why" format and by applying "Rule 2, 3 and 4 of sending messages i.e. At a glance, Guide the reader and Include emotion" (See Appendix 2) respectively, at the start of the email I was mentioning the purpose of writing the mail and then for highlighting the key points I make use of headings, bullets, bold for key words and including emotions when ever required.

Applying "Rule 5 of sending messages i.e. Use Selectively" (See Appendix 2), I now using email communication for straight-forward messages and to maintain contacts with everyone and where as for complex issues using the face-to-face communication.

Using "Rule 1 and Rule 2 of reading messages i.e. Focus and Read the whole message" (See Appendix 2), I have been scheduling my time for the emails everyday and reading the whole message with more focus and by applying "Rule 4: Think before you respond" (See Appendix 2), responding for the mail in a concise manner with much more attention.

To utilise email communication more effectively I have been doing the exercise given by Young (2010) thrice in a week and now it became easy for me to categorise the emails and to decide what action to perform on it. I have attached the Exercise of Using Email that is performed by me in Appendix 3.

Based on learning journal by Young and soane (2010), I have been preparing my action plan every month and one of my action plans is attached in Appendix 4.

CHANGES IN THINKING AND BEHAVIOUR

I have been applying the rules of face-to-face and email communication (See Appendix 1 and Appendix 2) in my day-to-day life. Practising effective communication helped me to avoid misunderstandings and also to strengthen my relationships. After applying the rules, my thinking and planning has an immense change in communication. Now, I am more relaxed, confident and fluent in communication. It totally changes my behaviour and the way that I communicate. Below is one of my examples in achieving my part-time job after applying the rules.

Example 2:

In December 2010, I received an interview call from KFC. Due to short time, I could not prepare for the interview. Hence I was not selected and the reason given behind that was my poor communication skills. I then realised to improve my communication skills and started to practise and apply communication rules in my day-to-day life (See Appendix 1). Recently in March 2011, I got selected as customer service advisor in an interview conducted by Burger king at Thorpe Park. I am now dealing with all kind of customers in my job and was appreciated by my manager for my interaction and communication skills with customers. So, now I strongly believe in "The art of communication is the language of leadership" given by Deverell (2001, P.72).

Also, now I was able to utilise email communication in an appropriate manner. I was allocating 30 minutes every day for the emails as it is one of the communication channels that play a major role in applying professional jobs. Now, I was sending emails highlighting with the purpose, key points using bullets, headings, bold and underline fonts and emotions with much more attention. For this immense change, I was appreciated by my professors and colleagues.

Now, I am more confident in communicating effectively which reduces my stress and gives me more satisfaction. Also, I have started applying for my professional jobs and eagerly waiting for the success.

APPENDICES

Appendix 1: Rules for communicating effectively (face-to-face communication)

The following rules will help you learn to communicate more effectively and eliminate many misunderstandings.

Rule 1: Organisation - The first step is to know what message you want the listener to receive. Systematically organise your thoughts so that your message will be clear and easy to understand. Unorganized thoughts can lead to misunderstandings and confuse the listener. If you don't know what message you want to convey, how can you expect the recipient of the message to know what you are trying to convey?

Rule 2: Planning - Important conversations should be planned ahead of time. Think of several scenarios with different reactions and plan where you will go with each reaction. Think about the person with whom you will be communicating, taking into consideration that person's personality and behaviour. Prepare a solution for each reaction so that you know beforehand how you will respond.

Rule 3: Body Language - Non-verbal signals are a large part of the communication factor. Your facial expressions and gestures will play a role in determining the response that you will receive. Your body language must match your words for your communication to be clear. Sending mixed signals is one of the most frequent causes of miscommunication.

Rule 4: Simple and Concise - The goal is to convey a certain message that creates a response. Keep your key points simple and easy to understand. If you state your point in a clear and concise manner without repeating yourself, your message will be easier for the recipient to understand.

Rule 5: Respond - Often times, it is hard to separate facts from feelings. You should always respond to the person you are communicating with rather than reacting to the person emotionally. Be sure to clearly answer any questions or concerns that the person may have, and again - keep it simple.

Rule 6: Common Ground - Try to find a common ground with the person you are communicating with. Don't place your focus on differences of opinion, but work together to find a common ground that all parties can be comfortable with.

Rule 7: Stay Positive - Staying positive will decrease the chance that the person you are communicating with will react to you rather than respond. Negative statements more often elicit a negative reaction. Positive statements will more often elicit a positive response.

Rule 8: Listen - The goal of effective communication is for all parties involved to come to an understanding about the topic of the conversation. It is very important that you listen to what the other person has to say and address any concerns that either of you may have. Many times, whether the person likes a change or not, they are more willing to make the change if they feel that the person communicating with them actually listens to their point of view.

Appendix 2: Email communication - Rules for How to Do It Effectively

Email often appears to be one-way communication. We either focus on sending a message or receiving a message. True communication, however, is never a one-way event - it's an exchange. Communication hasn't occurred unless at least two things happen: 1) a message is received and understood, and 2) a response is made.

As senders, it is our responsibility to make our messages as clear as possible. We want to pay attention to the information, the emotional tone, and the context. As receivers, it is our responsibility to read the message as carefully as possible - being careful not to jump to conclusions about what is being said.

Here are some rules for using email more efficiently and effectively.

SENDING MESSAGES

Rule 1. Organization. It helps to organize your message so that the reader can follow it easily. An update on a book club meeting might follow a who - what - when - where - why format. A recap of a business phone call might start, "Here are the three action items from today's phone call," then list the items in numbered format.

Rule 2. At a glance. Email readers read quickly and may need to refer back to an email for key information. Use headings, bulleted lists, and numbered items to help your reader follow your thoughts and find key points. Use of bold and underlined font can be useful for highlighting material.

Rule 3. Guide the reader. State the purpose of your email up front. This will help direct the reader's attention, and let them know what action is needed.

Rule 4. Include emotion. By nature, we fill in gaps in communication - often without realizing that we are doing so! Think for a moment of all the different emotions that you can use with the word "really." Really?? (curious). Re-e-ea-lly? (surprised, doubtful). REALLY!!! (indignant). Really. (matter of fact agreement). Sometimes, the meaning of the word can be found in the context of the message. Other times, we need nonverbal clues, such as tone of voice or facial expression. Misinterpretations of emotion are, perhaps, one of the biggest problems in communicating through email as they are often difficult to catch. The sender "knows" what was intended, and the reader "knows" what s/he read. It may be awhile before they realize that they have misread the situation. Adding emotions can be appropriate for some types of email messages; adding emotion words in parentheses, such as (wink), (grin), or (smile) can also be helpful.

Rule 5. Use selectively. It's easy to get in the habit of using email for all of our communication. Like any other communication medium, it is not always appropriate. Email is useful for straight-forward messages, providing written confirmation of a discussion, asking simple questions, and keeping in contact. When you need to have a complex discussion, come to a group decision, share emotion-laden information, or brainstorm solutions, phone calls and face-to-face meetings can be more effective.

READING MESSAGES

Rule 1. Focus. Trying to read email messages while talking with others, participating on a conference call, or watching TV rarely works. If messages must be read before another activity is completed, ask for a five-minute break. Equally important -- quiet your thoughts. Focus on the message in front of you. Think about the content, tone, and context of the message.

Rule 2. Read the whole message. One of the biggest complaints about email is the volume of messages. Many messages, however, are repetitive. Attempting to skim too quickly, readers often don't see that all the details they need are provided in the initial message.

Rule 3. Reorient yourself. It's important to put yourself into the mindset appropriate to the conversation at hand. Are you frustrated that your child just spilled his milk? Don't let that frustration inadvertently seep into an employee's request for a vacation day or purchasing suggestion that you need to revise your RFP.

Rule 4. Think before you respond (but respond!). In a quick pace society, it is natural for us to react to emails quickly, when a more mindful approach may serve us better. Perhaps the time is available on the schedule for a meeting, but is it the most appropriate use of a Thursday morning? Perhaps on first read I don't understand why you want to invite the engineers to the meeting, but upon reflection of our discussion yesterday, I may think it is a good idea.

Rule 5. Use selectively. Just because someone has sent you an email message, it doesn't mean that you must respond by email. If the issue is complicated, requires scheduling, or is full of nuances and emotions, you may be better served to pick up the phone, schedule a meeting, or walk into the next room to talk!

Appendix 3: Exercise of Using Email

1.) Take the last 10 emails you received (or a sample of 10 typical emails).

Categorise these emails according to the following criteria:

importance (rate each email 1=unimportant, 2=fairly important or

3=very important)

urgency (1=very urgent, 2=quite urgent and 3=not urgent)

utility (1=useful to you/your work, 2=quite useful, 3=very useful)

identify the email according to their type and purpose:

Provision of information

Request for response/information

Work based discussion, problem solving, decision making analysis

Social and personal chat and gossip

Unsolicited mail, advertising, marketing mail

The last 10 emails in my inbox are as follows:

From Subject

New jobs on Trovit Alert: New internship .net developer jobs

Dealchecker This week's incredible hand-picked travel deals

CWjobs.co.uk Calls for more jobs for government IT workers

Rachel Smith New mini auction starts today!!

Friends photos New photos for you on Face book

Times jobs Find right opportunities with right companies

Fashion & You The Best Fashion Brands up to 80%* off retail

Alluri siva prakash Fwd: IT support jobs from IT jobs for graduates

Satyam (no subject)

Phani via Linked. Phani wants to stay in touch on LinkedIn

Categorising the above emails:

Email no.

Importance

Urgency

Utility

Type of email

1)

3

1

3

Work based discussion, problem solving, decision making analysis

2)

1

3

1

Unsolicited mail, advertising, marketing mail

3)

2

2

2

Provision of information

4)

1

3

1

Unsolicited mail, advertising, marketing mail

5)

1

3

1

Social and personal chat and gossip

6)

2

2

3

Provision of information

7)

1

3

1

Unsolicited mail, advertising, marketing mail

8)

3

1

3

Provision of information

9)

2

2

1

Social and personal chat and gossip

10)

1

3

1

Request for response/information

2.) Now examine these emails and their method of communication. Note down:

- The level of formality (1=informal, 2=quite formal, 3=very formal)

- Your emotional response to the email (did it make you feel interested,

Irritated, angry, upset, happy, etc.)?

Email no.

Level of formality

My emotional response

1)

3

Very happy

2)

1

Interested

3)

3

Interested

4)

1

Angry

5)

1

Interested

6)

3

Interested

7)

1

Interested

8)

3

Happy

9)

2

Upset

10)

1

Interested

3.) Look at the potential for misunderstanding in the emails and note down where this may take place and how.

Since the email no. 9) by satyam is a personal complex issue, misunderstanding may take place and instead of using email communication, I felt that face-to-face communication is the best to solve the problem.

4.) Look at what you decide to do with each email:

- Act on it

- File it

- Delete it

- Reply to it

Email no.

My decision

1)

File it and apply for the job

2)

Delete it

3)

Act on it

4)

Delete it

5)

Act on it

6)

Act on it

7)

Delete it

8)

File it and apply for jobs

9)

Reply and Act on it via face-to-face communication

10)

Act on it and delete

5.) Now re-examine each email and identify whether the mode of communication

Was the most appropriate for its purpose (i.e. Email versus leaflet, letter,

Telephone call, face-to-face, etc). Did it achieve its objective? If not why not?

The mode of communication of each mail is appropriate except the mail by satyam. There are more chances of misunderstanding since it is a personal complex issue and so it is better to solve it via face-to-face communication.

Appendix 4: My action plan focusing on the development of communication skills

Skill Action Resources Time scale

To communicate Read up on planning, Articles, Books, Two hours

With the people more body language and Internet

Effectively (face-to-face) listening skills

Practise communicating 30 minutes

In front of family and friends every day

Work on feedback Ask friends or family 10 minutes

About communication members for the feedback

To communicate via Read up on how to use Books, Internet Two hours

email email communication

effectively

Practise writing and Internet 30 minutes

reading emails with more every day

attention

REFERENCES

Brennan, B. (2008) 'Rules for Communicating Effectively', Journal of Communication, 4 November, PP.18-19.

Deverell, C.S. (2001) 'Effective Communication'. London: GEE and CO.

Koontz, H., Donnell, C. and Weihrich, H. (1999) Management. edn. London: McGraw-Hill.

Silva, P. (2007) 'Email Communication - How to Do It Effectively', 8 June, PP. 34-36.

Young, D.P. (2010) 'Personal and Professional Development'. Managing People and Organisations.

Young, D.P. and Soane, E. (2010) 'Learning Journals'. Managing People and Organisations [Online]. Available at: http://lms.kingston.ac.uk (Accessed: 27 February 2011).

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