EMPL4004 Communication Skills
Good communication skills are priceless in a working scenario. To human resources or the manager if given a choice to pick a candidate during interview among one who is very technically savvy but low on communication and another who has good communication skills but lesser technical skills, the latter would always get the preference. Every team manager wants to build a strong team who are also sound communication wise. This report shall highlight the importance of good communication skills at workplace. The project shall cover important points like why proper communication is essential at workplace, different kinds of communication happening at work, usual barriers in communication, some tips on improving communication, how important are listening skills, how nonverbal communication is important and some tips on improving them, advantages and disadvantages of good and poor communication respectively.
The project aims at presenting the importance of good professional communication.
Good communication skills at workplace translates to effective engagement in communication be it listening, interpretation, responses, and positive body language and professional at the same time (Kurtz et al. 2016). A good communicator can conduct productive interaction which is efficient to an organization.
Good communication will embody-
- Good writing skills
- Excellent reading skills
- Good listening skills
- Good verbal communication skills
- Professional conduct
- Professional dressing
Writing skills at workplace means written/typed communication which is precise, to the point, professional and neutral in tone. It is effective in sending across the message/request. Reading skills would imply proper interpretation and summarize the text appropriately to communicate further on it. Good active listening is considered a proper listening skill. A good communicator wins conversations and gains more out of every interaction with peers and management. He/she is liked by virtue of all these skills. Such people are also able to gain success comparatively quicker than others (Wright, 2016).
On the other hand, if we consider example of poor communicators, people find it difficult to understand what they are trying to say/mean. They eventually decrease productivity in team as time needs to be spent to understand them and make them understand as well. Their work may also call for rework as they did not produce the desired result because their interpretation was not right. Eventually, people tend to avoid such people and they get alienated (Allen et al. 2016, p. 24) It is important for such people to be trained appropriately by the organization in business communication. With proper efforts by self and participation as well as assistance from managers and peers their situation could be reversed and manager will be able to utilize the resource at a desired level. This cannot be denied however that the process is time consuming (Besley et al. 2016, p. 358).
At workplace, there would usually be 4 major communication patterns of communication. They are:
- Verbal/In-person communication – all spoken communication shall fall in this category. Such communication takes place in daily interactions both formal and informal, team meetings etc.
- Written – anything that is typed/written shall fall in this category. Emails, memos etc. fall under this category
- Non-verbal communication – this covers a person’s dressing style, communication style, tone of voice, gestures or body language
- Visual – any representation of organization that takes place which may be inside the organization or outside the organization is counted as visual communication. Signboards, digital signatures, business cards etc.
Usually, a mix and match of all four is present at any given time in a working environment. It is essential for the organization and people at all levels to constantly strive for better and effective communication at all times for stronger working relationship. Allowing the problem of poor communication to continue for long in a working environment eventually leads to lower morale, dissatisfied employees, unhappy customers and even low profits (Slof et al. 2016, p. 53).
While it is essential to be self-aware or put proper training in place to improve the workforce’s soft skills, it is equally important to put attention to common communication errors which may be occurring and leads to misutilization of time and money at workplace (Henderson and Mathew Byrne, 2016, p. 18). Some of the common communication errors which may be prevalent and are usually common are:
- Improper use of methods – using incorrect medium to send across a message is a common blooper. It may result in upset subordinate or irritated customer. It is vital to using proper medium to send messages
- Incorrect audience – this may happen owing to carelessness. This may lead to dissatisfaction and cause conflicts
- Too much or too little information – along with selection of proper medium and appropriate audience, it is crucial to send the message across appropriately so that the information is complete. It should not be huge data which was not required in the situation nor should it be less in information when details are required (Zerfass et al. 2017, p. 99).
- Unclear/inaccurate – information which needs to be sent across should be coherent and usable. The meaning should come out clearly and not be confusing
- Distracted audience – so that important info is not missed out it is important to be a good listener and avoid distractions. Also, being distracted when delivering message sends out incorrect notions, both; of the speaker and the message (Ameen, 2017, p. 99).
- Missing follow-up – leadership is the binding force at workplace and everyone looks up to good leaders for guidance. Missing feedback sessions or follow ups leave the subordinates confused as they are not able to gauge their progress. This may lead to dissatisfaction among peers and could lead to attrition eventually (Umashankar and Charitra, 2016, p. 24).
It is hence important at an organizational level to put strategies in place to improve communication aspects and avoid misses of this nature. Leadership programs to be effective management of team through communication may become beneficial for team leaders (Skinner et al. 2016, p. 25).
Along with hearty participation, leaders also need to practice the following to improving workplace communication:
- Focus – paying attention to any form of communication addressed to self by focusing sends across a positive image and people usually receive such people properly. Simple ways to communicate to people that they have attention is by maintaining eye contacts, verbal nods or simple nods, asking contextual questions in right places or providing appropriate answers
- Giving time – people expect themselves to be heard as much as they hear. Communication works only if it is two way
- Proper follow ups – showing to team members or peers that their performance is crucial to success of the task at hand sends a message of importance of the team member in the team. This also keeps subordinates motivated and result focused (Moore and Morton, 2017, p. 593).
- Common platform for communication – with the rise of technology there are many social platforms to communicate for a workplace. Having such a system in place keeps the environment friendly and quick doubt clearances or bouncing off ideas pass freely without the fear of being highlighted
- Have regular meetings – periodical monitoring and having a check on progress keeps the team tuned to task and helps bond the team members and the manager properly. Such meetings act as platforms to inform and learn which is good for any positive environment the team manager may be intending to have for his team and beneficial for the organization as well (Sousa, 2017, p. 401).
Amidst all the communication, listening skills are important to apply. This is because its impact on job productivity is highest. Active listeners are also able to influence others and avoid/manage conflicts efficiently. Listening skills helps us gain knowledge. More observant we are in our listening skills, better we absorb. It is always good to hear people out and allow two-way communication, more than being courteous, it can also up the fun element in peer to peer networking and strengthen relationships (Charlier et al. 2016, p. 747). Active listeners could interpret a situation better as they are able to extract the important gist out of the conversation and use it in productive ways.
Similarly, body language is as powerful a communication tool. Most of the time that interaction happens, brain constantly processes the eye movements, hand gestures, body position, smile, tone of the voice as well as hand movements as important information related to what the person is trying to communicate (Krumm et al. 2016, p. 131). This process is continuous and happens at every contact. Positive nonverbal communication establishes trust, mutual respect, creates rapport and acquaintances.
Some simple ways which assist in maintaining a professional nonverbal front are:
- Identifying weaknesses – by being self-aware and understanding people behavior can be helpful
- Match what you mean – eye contact, hand gestures, space, voice etc. should be in coordination with what the message is
- Controlling emotions – it is important to stay professional and control emotions. Venting out on subordinates or giving the boss the cold vibes does not yield productive results. Communication is a winning game and focus should be on what is beneficial to get the work done (Hamrin et al. 2016, p. 217).
- Staying professional – by managing stress and staying emotionally aware.
- Stay neutral – to jump clear thinking and acting on impulse could portray an unstable professional. At work, people expect each other to stay neutral and sort issues maturely
- Dress professionally – human nature inclines them to remember what they see and compartmentalize them in minds. At workplace, dressing professionally goes a long way in keeping thoughts professional, brings about confidence and even influences other to keep the approach work restricted
- Maintain professional distance – depending on the culture at workplace and diversity of workforce, maintaining space when interacting with colleagues is helpful
Some advantages to effective communication are that positive communication build a positive workforce. Workers are energized and feel good at work. It helps strengthen their working relationships. More approachable and ‘open-door’ the policies are helps keep relationships and rapports cordial as well as transparent. Transparency helps avoid conflicts. Even though, there may occur a friction, people trust the culture of the organization to sort it amicably and still maintain healthy acquaintances (Thomas et al. 2016, p. 263) Good leadership with strong sense of responsibility and motivation acts as an inspiration to give the best to good and productive work.
Certain ill effects of poor communication on the other hand are that unclear objectives, instructions lead to poor morale amongst employees and breaks their confidence in the system. There may occur conflicts which remain unresolved and leads to high ration employee turnover. Unimpressive behavior and communication skills only distances people till they see some efforts.
Good communication leads to effective interaction which delight people. People can understand the objectives properly and willingly assist to reach them. Relationships are better and stronger and managers get more out of their employees by maintaining clarity in policies, instructions, targets. By maintaining good eye contact, positive body postures, smart dressing and tailored talk which suits the situation and targeted audience, it is easy to build good image at work. By being emotionally aware and understand others point of view by giving equal opportunity to present their views, employees become cherished at workplace. Everyone likes them. Active listening, if practiced sincerely helps build trust that you are approachable and can empathize. Clear communication avoids conflicts and clearly presents the views logically acceptable. The organization must make all efforts necessary to keep their workforce in good shape in terms of strong business communication skills. Good workers create good and productive work environment which becomes essential to growth of any organization.
Kurtz, S., Silverman, J. and Draper, J., 2016. Teaching and learning communication skills in medicine. CRC press.
Wright, M. ed., 2016. Gower handbook of internal communication. CRC Press.
Allen, M., Carpenter, C., Dydak, T. and Harkins, K., 2016. An Interpersonal Project Leadership Model. Journal of Information Technology and Economic Development, 7(2), p.24.
Ameen, K., 2017. The need and impact of learning “Personality Development & Communication Skills” in LIS education: a case study. Malaysian Journal of Library and Information Science, 18(1).
Besley, J.C., Dudo, A.D., Yuan, S. and Abi Ghannam, N., 2016. Qualitative interviews with science communication trainers about communication objectives and goals. Science Communication, 38(3), pp.356-381.
Charlier, S.D., Stewart, G.L., Greco, L.M. and Reeves, C.J., 2016. Emergent leadership in virtual teams: A multilevel investigation of individual communication and team dispersion antecedents. The Leadership Quarterly, 27(5), pp.745-764.
Hamrin, S., Johansson, C. and Jahn, J.L., 2016. Communicative leadership: Fostering co-worker agency in two Swedish business organizations. Corporate Communications: An International Journal, 21(2), pp.213-229.
Henderson, K. and Mathew Byrne, J., 2016. Developing communication and interviewing skills. Skills for social work practice, pp.1-22.
Krumm, S., Kanthak, J., Hartmann, K. and Hertel, G., 2016. What does it take to be a virtual team player? The knowledge, skills, abilities, and other characteristics required in virtual teams. Human Performance, 29(2), pp.123-142.
Moore, T. and Morton, J., 2017. The myth of job readiness? Written communication, employability, and the ‘skills gap’in higher education. Studies in Higher Education, 42(3), pp.591-609.
Skinner, K.L., Hyde, S.J., McPherson, K. and Simpson, M.D., 2016. Improving Students' Interpersonal Skills through Experiential Small Group Learning. Journal of Learning Design, 9(1), pp.21-36.
Slof, B., Nijdam, D. and Janssen, J., 2016. Do interpersonal skills and interpersonal perceptions predict student learning in CSCL-environments?. Computers & Education, 97, pp.49-60.
Sousa, M.J., 2017. Human Resources Management Skills Needed by Organizations. In Leadership, Innovation and Entrepreneurship as Driving Forces of the Global Economy (pp. 395-402). Springer International Publishing.
Thomas, A., Piquette, C. and McMaster, D., 2016. English communication skills for employability: the perspectives of employers in Bahrain. Learning and Teaching in Higher Education: Gulf Perspectives, 13(1).
Umashankar, K. and Charitra, H.G., 2016. Enhancing Interpersonal Competency through Soft-Skills Training with Reference to FIRO-B. Adarsh Journal of Management Research, 9(1), pp.21-28.
Zerfass, A., Verčič, D. and Volk, S.C., 2017. Communication evaluation and measurement: skills, practices and utilization in European organizations. Corporate Communications: An International Journal, 22(1).
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