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The Basics of Effective

Interpersonal Communication
Welcome!
 This program is intended for anyone who
would like an overview of the basic verbal
and non-verbal communication skills
needed for success in the workplace.

 The Professional Development Program


classes are offered to Macomb Community
College employees only.
Before you begin…
 Get the most from this program by
answering these questions for yourself
before you begin. You will evaluate your
growth at the end.

 What do I already know about interpersonal


communication?
 What are my learning goals for this program?
 What are my supervisor’s expectations, if any,
for my participation in this training?
 How do I think I will be able to apply my
learning on the job?
Course Content
 This program will cover:
 What communication is
 Why and how we communicate
 Barriers to communication
 Sharing ideas
 Getting information from others
 Giving constructive feedback
 Body language
Course Objectives
 The objectives of this program are to:
 provide a basic overview of verbal and
non-verbal interpersonal communication
processes
 identify personal obstacles to effective
interpersonal communication
 define some strategies for improving
individual and group communications
What is communication?

 What
do you think communication is?
How would you define it?

Take a few moments to


write down some of
your thoughts…
Communication
 Communication is defined as the
interchange of thoughts or opinions
through shared symbols; e.g. language,
words, phrases

 Some synonyms of the word


communication are: message, directive,
word, contact, commerce, communion,
intercommunication, converse, exchange,
interchange, conversing, discussing,
talking; conversation, discussion, talk,
advice, intelligence, news, tidings
Four facets of communication

 Three
are four facets in all types of
communication:
 Sender

 Receiver

 Information

 Behavior
Four facets of communication

 In any communication:
 The Sender is the person trying to
communicate a message
 The Receiver is the person at whom the
message is directed
 A message is sent to convey information

 Information is meant to change behavior


Shared symbols
 Sometimes when we communicate we
assume we are using shared symbols
when we might not be

 Think about the term “ASAP”, “as soon as


possible”. What does it really mean?

 Think about how the meaning might


change in the situations on the next slide…
Shared symbols
 How might your meaning of “ASAP”
change in these situations?…
1. Someone from another department calls. He
needs some detailed information ASAP; but
you are already rather busy.
2. A coworker comes to you for help with an
assignment. She needs you ASAP; but you
have another job to finish before lunch.
3. Your immediate supervisor, whom you like to
please, asks you to type a memo for her
ASAP; but you already have a stack of other
jobs to finish.
Interpretation
1.Someone from another department calls. He
needs some detailed information ASAP; but
you are already rather busy.

 In this situation, you might interpret “ASAP” as


“when I have finished all of my own work and
have a chance to get to it. It might be tomorrow
or the next day.”
Interpretation

2.A coworker comes to you for help with


an assignment. She needs you ASAP;
but you have another job to finish before
lunch.

 Inthis situation, you might interpret


“ASAP” as “after I have finished my own
work, I will help out after lunch”.
Shared symbols

2.Your immediate supervisor, whom you


like to please, asks you to type a memo
for her ASAP; but you already have a
stack of other jobs to finish.

 In
this situation, you might interpret
“ASAP” as “I’ll do this now and finish my
other work afterwards”.
Analysis
 In the previous examples, we’ve seen the
meaning of “ASAP” change from “in a few
days” to “immediately”.

 Many other words and phrases are also


vague and have different meanings for
different people.

 Shared symbols are not always completely


shared. The message intended is not always
the message received.
Missed communication

As Purchasing As Marketing
As the Manager
ordered it. wrote it up.
Requested it.

As the Art Dept. As the Supervisor What the


designed it. implemented it. Employee really
wanted!
Why do we communicate?

 What do you think?

Take a few moments to


write down some of
your thoughts…
Reasons

• We communicate to:
• Share our ideas and opinions
• Provide feedback to others
• Get information from others
• Gain power and influence
• Develop social relationships
• Maintain self-expression and our culture
• and other ideas you may have thought of
How do we communicate?

 Think
of the many ways in which you
communicate…

Take a few moments to


write down some of
your thoughts…
Means of Communication
 We communicate and build
interpersonal relationships through:
 Speech

 Writing

 Listening

 Non-verbal language
 Music, art, and crafts
Choosing your medium
 Depending upon the situation, one method
of communication may be better than
another.
 In person: one-to-one
 In person: meetings, small groups
 In person: presentations, large groups
 Letter
 Memo
 Note
 Email
 Voice mail
Choosing your medium
 To determine the best medium for your
message determine:
 What you as the sender need to achieve
 What the receiver needs to know. What the
receiver wants to know
 How detailed, important, and or personal the
information in the message is
 Which behavior you want to influence and how
Choosing your medium
 How would you communicate…
 an organizational change in your unit
 the introduction of a new employee
 a change in someone’s job duties
 a reprimand
 notice of a meeting

Take a few moments to write down some of


your thoughts…
Choosing your medium
 The best way to communicate…
 an organizational change in your unit by
memo and small group meetings
 the introduction of a new employee by group
and one-on-one meetings
 a change in someone’s job duties by
memo and one-on-one meeting
 a reprimand in a one-on-one private meeting
 notice of a meeting by memo and email
Barriers to communication

 What are barriers to communication


that exist in any work setting?

Take a few moments to


write down some of
your thoughts…
Barriers to communication
 Some common barriers to interpersonal
communication include:
 Unclear process: The receiver and sender may not share
the same language, slang, jargon, vocabulary, symbols
 Chain of command: There may be too many layers that
a message passes through between sender and receiver
 Large size of an organization, geographic
distance: Large numbers of receivers require good message
sending methods
 Personal limitations: Physical and mental disabilities,
and differences in intelligence and education may interfere with
mutual understanding
Barriers to communication
 Additional
common barriers to
interpersonal communication include:
 Human nature: Peoples’ egos, prejudices, and
traditions can get in the way
 Conflicting feelings, goals, opinions: If
people feel on opposite sides of an issue they may not share
 Power: The idea that knowledge is power can lead to
information hoarding
 and other ideas you may have thought of
Sharing your ideas

 Why and when is it necessary to


share your ideas?

Take a few moments to


write down some of
your thoughts… …
Share your ideas to…
 State an opinion or position
 Give instructions or directions
 Announce a change
 Make presentations
 Participate in meetings
 Give information in emergencies
 Communicate the organizational mission,
vision, and values
 and other ideas you may have thought of
Obstacles to sharing ideas

 What can make sharing ideas


difficult?

Take a few moments to


write down some of
your thoughts…
Obstacles to sharing ideas…
 Your own shyness
 Fear of rejection
 Peer pressure
 Unorganized thinking
 Others possibly becoming defensive
 Physical disabilities (impaired sight, hearing, speech)
 Having to deal with aggressive people
 and others you may have thought of
Speak for yourself…
 Toensure your messages are clear,
speak for yourself, not for others:
 Speaking for yourself sounds like:
 I, me, my…
 I think, I feel, I want to know that…

 Speaking for no one sounds like:


 It, some people, everyone, they decided…
 Speaking for others sounds like:
 We, you, John, Mary said…
SHARE your ideas – a model

 State the main point of your message


 Highlight other important points
 Assure the receiver’s understanding
 React to how the receiver responds
 Emphasize/summarize your main
ideas
SHARE – an example
State the main point of your message
“I’d like to talk to you about the new employee welcome program”.
Highlight other important points
“We need to discuss the new schedule, locations, and presenters”.
Assure the receiver’s understanding
“Do you need me to further clarify how we are making invitations”?
React to how the receiver responds
“I understand your concern about parking”.
Emphasize/summarize your main ideas
“To wrap-up, I’ll develop the schedule and make the room
reservations, if you can line up the guest speakers”.
Getting good information
 Why is it necessary to get good
information from others?

Take a few moments to


write down some of
your thoughts…
Get good information to…
 Find out facts and details
 Get directions or instructions
 Try to understand another’s point of view
 Help someone solve a problem
 Resolve a team conflict
 Solve work problems
 and other ideas you may have thought of
Obstacles to getting good
information
 What can make getting good
information difficult?

Take a few moments to


write down some of
your thoughts…
Obstacles to getting good
information
 Lack of trust
 Assuming you already know it all
 Jumping to conclusions
 Not valuing diverse opinions
 Weak reading skills
 Weak listening skills
 Weak questioning skills
 and other ideas you may have thought of
The power of listening

The philosopher Epictetus stressed the


power of listening in this quote:

“Nature gave us one tongue and two ears


so we could hear twice as much as we
speak.”

Epictetus (55 AD - 135 AD)


Roman (Greek-born) slave & Stoic philosopher
Listen actively
 Prepare to listen by focusing on the speaker
 Control and eliminate distractions so that
you can focus on the message. Don’t do
anything else (writing, reading, email) but listen
 Establish appropriate eye contact to show
interest
 See listening as an opportunity to get
information, share another’s views, and
broaden your own knowledge
Listen actively
 Create a need to listen by thinking about what
you can learn from the speaker
 Set aside the time to listen so that you won’t
feel rushed or become distracted by other
responsibilities
 Don’t prejudge the message based on who is
delivering it. Focus instead on the content of the
message.
 Monitor the way you listen by asking yourself
questions such as “Did I really pay attention or
was I thinking about what I was going to say
next”? “Was there information I missed because I
allowed myself to become distracted”?
That’s a good question!
 Close end questions limit the answer to yes or
no
 Open end questions allow the responder total
freedom in answering
 Direct questions ask for specific information; limit
answers to brief fact statements
 Probing questions follow up other questions to
solicit additional information
 Hypothetical questions present a theoretical
situation to which receiver responds

See examples of each on the next


slide…
Good questions – an example
Close end question
“Did you attend the staff meeting this morning”?
Open end question
“What was discussed at the staff meeting this morning”?
Direct question
“Which topics were listed on the meeting agenda”?
Probing question
“Can you tell me more about the first agenda topic”?.
Hypothetical question
“What would you have done, if you had not had the chance
to present your idea at the meeting”?
FOCUS on information – a model
 Focus the discussion on the specific
information you need
 Open-end question to expand the
discussion
 Close-end question to get specifics
 Use active listening skills to understand
what you are hearing
 Summarize and close the discussion
FOCUS on information – an
example
Focus the discussion on the specific information you need
“I need to ask you about the computer meeting you attended
yesterday”.
Open-end question to expand the discussion
“What kinds of decisions were made regarding expansion of our
departmental system”?
Close-end question to get specifics
“Did the committee decide to buy Dell computers”?
Use active listening skills to understand what you are hearing
“What I think I heard you say was that the decision was made”?
Summarize and close the discussion
“So to wrap up, the system will expand and we will be using Dells.
Thanks for keeping me up to date”.
Giving feedback

 Why is it necessary to give


constructive feedback to others?

Take a few moments to


write down some of
your thoughts…
Give feedback when…
 Someone asks for your opinion
 Work errors occur frequently
 A coworker’s habits disturb you
 A coworker’s behavior has negative
consequences
 There are unresolved problems
 and other ideas you may have thought of

Constructive feedback focuses on facts not people,


solving problems instead of placing blame, and
strengthening relationships instead of “being right”
Obstacles to giving
constructive feedback

 What makes it hard to give


constructive feedback?

Take a few moments to


write down some of
your thoughts…
Obstacles to giving
constructive feedback
 Separating the person from the problem
 Others becoming defensive or angry
 Fear of negative consequences (especially if the
other person is a supervisor)
 Dealing with potential conflict (especially if the
other person is aggressive)
 Avoiding hurt feelings
 Preserving relationships
 Not having all the facts and jumping to
conclusions
 Choosing the right time so that the other person is
most receptive
STATE feedback – a model
 State the constructive purpose of your
feedback
 Tell specifically what you have observed
 Address and describe your reactions
 Tender specific suggestions for
improvement
 Express your support and respect for the
person
STATE feedback – an example
State the constructive purpose of your feedback
“I’d like to give you some feedback about your training style so that
your evaluations will be more positive and you will enjoy it more”.
Tell specifically what you have observed
“I notice that you rely heavily on your notes”.
Address and describe your reactions
“I feel as though you are unsure of yourself when you read”.
Tender specific suggestions for improvement
“I can help you develop a PowerPoint presentation so that you can
use the screens as a cue instead of being tied to your notes”.
Express your support for the person
“You know a lot about the subject. With practice you can become a
good trainer”.
Body language
 Nonverbal communication, known as “body
language” sends strong positive and
negative signals. This is how much it
influences any message:

Words 8%
Tone of voice 34%
Non-verbal cues 58%
Message 100%
Body language includes…
 Face
 Figure
 Focus
 Territory
 Tone
 Time
Body language - face
 Face includes:
 Your expressions
 Your smile or lack thereof
 Tilt of the head; e.g., if your head is tilted to
one side, it usually indicates you are
interested in what someone is saying

What message are you sending if someone is presenting


a new idea and you are frowning?
Body language - figure
 Figure includes:
 Your posture
 Your demeanor and gestures
 Your clothes and accessories such as
jewelry

What message are you sending if you are


dressed casually at an important meeting?
Body language - focus
 Focus is your eye contact with others
 The perception of eye contact differs by
culture. For most Americans…
 Staring makes other people uncomfortable
 Lack of eye contact can make you appear
weak or not trustworthy
 Glasses may interfere or enhance eye contact

What message are you sending if you are looking


at other things and people in a room when
someone is speaking to you?
Body language - territory
 Territory focuses on how you use
space.
 The perception of territory differs by
culture. Most Americans are comfortable
with an individual space that is about an
arm’s length in diameter

What message are you sending if you keep


moving closer to a person who is backing away
from you?
Body language - tone

 Tone is a factor of your voice


 Pitchis the highness or lowness of voice
 Volume is how loud your voice is

 Emphasis is your inflection

What message are you sending if during a


disagreement you start speaking very loudly?
Body language - time
 Time focuses on how you use time.
It is also called chronemics.
 Pace is how quickly you speak
 Response is how quickly you move
 Punctuality is your timeliness

What message are you sending if you are


consistently late for meetings?
Ideas to walk away with…
 People are always communicating
 The meaning intended by the sender is
never exactly the message gotten by the
receiver
 We can help to overcome barriers to
communication by being aware of them
 Verbal and non-verbal communication is
important in sending our messages