Assume that you are working as a Regional Sales Manager in a pharmaceutical
company. In your current position, you need to communicate to Doctors, Pharmacy
Owners and your sub-ordinates. List out the barriers in communicating with these
people and also suggest ways to overcome these barriers.
Various barriers to effective communication and how to overcome them to make communication more effective.
Communication is one of the basic functions of management in any organization and its importance can hardly be overemphasized. It is a process of transmitting information, ideas, thoughts, opinions and plans between various parts of an organization.
You cannot have human relations without communication. However, good and effective communication is required not only for good human relations but also for good and successful business.
You can use softwares like business writing software for writing effective business communication, which is required at various levels and for various aspects in an organization such as -
Importance of communication for manager and employee relations:
Effective communication of information and decision is an essential component for management-employee relations. The manager cannot get the work done from employees unless they are communicated effectively of what he wants to be done? He should also be sure of some basic facts such as how to communicate and what results can be expected from that communication. Most of management problems arise because of lack of effective communication. Chances of misunderstanding and misrepresentation can be minimized with proper communication system.
For motivation and employee morale:
Communication is also a basic tool for motivation, which can improve morale of the employees in an organization. Inappropriate or faulty communication among employees or between manager and his subordinates is the major cause of conflict and low morale at work. Manager should clarify to employees about what is to be done, how well are they doing and what can be done for better performance to improve their motivation. He can prepare a written statement, clearly outlining the relationship between company objectives and personal objectives and integrating the interest of the two.
For increase productivity:
With effective communication, you can maintain a good human relation in the organization and by encouraging ideas or suggestions from employees or workers and implementing them whenever possible, you can also increase production at low cost.
It is through the communication that employees submit their work reports, comments, grievances and suggestions to their seniors or management. Organization should have effective and speedy communication policy and procedures to avoid delays, misunderstandings, confusion or distortions of facts and to establish harmony among all the concerned people and departments.
Importance of written communication:
Communication may be made through oral or written. In oral communication, listeners can make out what speakers is trying to say, but in written communication, text matter in the message is a reflection of your thinking. So, written communication or message should be clear, purposeful and concise with correct words, to avoid any misinterpretation of your message. Written communications provides a permanent record for future use and it also gives an opportunity to employees to put up their comments or suggestions in writing.
Barriers to Effective Communication
There are a wide number of sources of noise or interference that can enter into the communication process. This can occur when people now each other very well and should understand the sources of error. In a work setting, it is even more common since interactions involve people who not only don't have years of experience with each other, but communication is complicated by the complex and often conflictual relationships that exist at work. In a work setting, the following suggests a number of sources of noise:
1 Language: The choice of words or language in which a sender encodes a message will influence the quality of communication. Because language is a symbolic representation of a phenomenon, room for interpreation and distortion of the meaning exists. In the above example, the Boss uses language (this is the third day you've missed) that is likely to convey far more than objective information. To Terry it conveys indifference to her medical problems. Note that the same words will be interpreted different by each different person. Meaning has to be given to words and many factors affect how an individual will attribute meaning to particular words. It is important to note that no two people will attribute the exact same meaning to the same words.
2 defensiveness, distorted perceptions, guilt, project, transference, distortions from the past
3 misreading of body language, tone and other non-verbal forms of communication (see section below)
4 noisy transmission (unreliable messages, inconsistency)
5 receiver distortion: selective hearing, ignoring non-verbal cues
6 power struggles
7 self-fulfilling assupmtions
8 language-different levels of meaning
9 managers hesitation to be candid
10 assumptions-eg. assuming others see situation same as you, has same feelings as you
11 distrusted source, erroneous translation, value judgment, state of mind of two people
12 Perceptual Biases: People attend to stimuli in the environment in very different ways. We each have shortcuts that we use to organize data. Invariably, these shortcuts introduce some biases into communication. Some of these shortcuts include stereotyping, projection, and self-fulfilling prophecies. Stereotyping is one of the most common. This is when we assume that the other person has certain characteristics based on the group to which they belong without validating that they in fact have these characteristics.
13 Interpersonal Relationships: How we perceive communication is affected by the past experience with the individual. Percpetion is also affected by the organizational relationship two people have. For example, communication from a superior may be perceived differently than that from a subordinate or peer
14 Cultural Differences: Effective communication requires deciphering the basic values, motives, aspirations, and assumptions that operate across geographical lines. Given some dramatic differences across cultures in approaches to such areas as time, space, and privacy, the opportunities for mis-communication while we are in cross-cultural situations are plentiful.
TO OVERCOME BARRIERS AND TO BE EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION IN BUSINESS
Face-to-face meetings can result in awkward pauses and initial shyness for those who are not brimming with confidence. To help you over this hurdle, you can approach the meeting fully prepared and well armed if you have a look at the following factors.
In order to get your message across, think about what you are trying to achieve during the dialogue:
1 What information do you wish to convey?
2 What do you want the other person to do as a result?
Organise yourself beforehand. Jot down notes about your major points. Be positive and keep the message simple.
Clarity is Paramount for Effective Communication
What is communication? In short, it's signalling. The transmission, by speaking, writing or gestures, of information which evokes understanding.
That's simple enough, isn't it? Straightforward in theory but in practice it's fraught with dangers - particularly if you have high expectations from these important business connections.
Communication is not just speaking, writing or gesticulating. It's more than the transmission of information. Something else has to occur for the communication to be complete. The other party in the communication process has to engage their brain and receive the message.
There are some points to remember when considering the various methods of communication and some hazards to be aware of when dealing with business relationships:
1 Only 7% of the impact you make comes from the words you speak.
2 The rest is visual - your appearance, the sound of your voice and your body language.
3 You can break that 7% further down into sections:
4 the type of words you use
5 the sort of sentences you use
6 how you phrase them.
Voicing Your Thoughts
Pay attention to your voice. Tone, inflection, volume and pitch are all areas to consider. Most people don't need to develop their speaking voice, but there are many who do not understand how to use it effectively.
The simplest way is to compare the voice to a piece of music - it is the voice that is the instrument of
interpretation of the spoken word.
Those who have had some training in public speaking sometimes use mnemonics as memory joggers for optimum vocal effect. One simple example is R S V P P P:
Key Techniques FOR OVERCOMING BARRIERS IN COMMUNICATION
Focus the discussion on the information needed
Judy, I've noticed in the past month that you've fallen behind on keeping the project schedule current. I'd like to figure out with you what we both can do to get it back on track.
Use open-ended questions to expand the discussion
You've always kept the schedule up to the minute-until about a month ago. Why the change?
Use closed ended questions to prompt for specifics
"What projects are you working on that take time away from your work on this project (warning: closed ended questions are often disguised as open ended as in "Are you going to have trouble finishing this project?)
Encourage dialogue through eye contact and expression
This involves nodding in agreeemnt, smiling, leaning toward the speaker, making statements that acknowledge the speaker is being heard.
State your understanding of what you are hearing
This can be done by restating briefly what the other person is saying but don't make fun of it
"So it sounds like these phone calls have ended up taking a lot more time than you or Jay expected; you think the three of us should talk about priorities; is this your position?"
Summarize the key points;
try to get some agreement on the next steps and show appreciation for the effort made so far. "So let's call Jay right now and set up a time when we can meet and iron this out; keeping the schedule updated is a high priority and I'd like to get this settled by Wednesday.
THE BARRIERS CAN ALSO BE OVERCOME WITH
Characteristics of Effective Feedback
Effective Feedback has most of the following characteristics:
1 descriptive (not evaluative)(avoids defensiveness.) By describing one's own reactions, it leaves the individual fee to use it or not to use it as he sees fit..
2 avoid accusations; present data if necessary
3 describe your own reactions or feelings; describe objective consequences that have or will occur; focus on behavior and your own reaction, not on other individual or his or her attributes
4 suggest more acceptable alternative; be prepared to discuss additional alternatives; focus on alternatives
5 specific rather than general.
6 focused on behavior not the person. It is important that we refer to what a person does rather than to what we think he is. Thus we might say that a person "talked more than anyone else in this meeting" rather than that he is a "loud-mouth."
7 It takes into account the needs of both the receiver and giver of feedback. It should be given to help, not to hurt. We too often give feedback because it makes us feel better or gives us a psychological advantage.
8 It is directed toward behavior which the receiver can do something about. A person gets frustrated when reminded of some shortcoming over which he has no control.
9 It is solicited rather than imposed. Feedback is most useful when the receiver himself has formulated the kind of question which those observing him can answer or when he actively seeks feedback.
10 Feedback is useful when well-timed (soon after the behavior-depending, of course, on the person's readiness to hear it, support available from others, and so forth). Excellent feedback presented at an inappropriate time may do more harm than good.
11 sharing of information, rather than giving advice allows a person to decide for himself, in accordance with his own goals and needs. When we give advice we tell him what to do, and to some degree take away his freedom to do decide for himself.
12 It involves the amount of information the receiver can use rather than the amount we would like to give. To overload a person with feedback is to reduce the possibility that he may be able to use what he receives effectively. When we give more than can be used, we are more often than not satisfying some need of our own rather than helping the other person.
13 It concerns what is said and done, or how, not why. The "why" involves assumptions regarding motive or intent and this tends to alienate the person generate resentment, suspicion, and distrust. If we are uncertain of his motives or intent, this uncertainty itself is feedback, however, and should be revealed.
14 It is checked to insure clear communication. One way of doing this is to have the receiver try to rephrase the feedback. No matter what the intent, feedback is often threatening and thus subject to considerable distortion or misinterpretation.
15 It is checked to determine degree of agreement from others. Such "consensual validation" is of value to both the sender and receiver.
16 It is followed by attention to the consequences of the feedback. The supervisor needs to become acutely aware of the effects of his feedback.
17 It is an important step toward authenticity. Constructive feedback opens the way to a relationship which is built on trust, honest, and genuine concern and mutual growth.
Part of the feedback process involves understanding and predicting how the other person will react. Or in the case of our receiving feedback, we need to understand ways that we respond to feedback, especially threatening feedback.
People often react negatively to threatening feedback. This reaction can take a number of forms including:
1 selective reception and selective perception
2 doubting motive of the giver
3 denying validity of the data
5 attack the giver of the data
Following the guidelines to effective feedback can go a long way to limit these kinds of reactions but we need to be conscious of them nonetheless and be ready to react appropriately.
When we are on the receiving end of feedback we should be careful to avoid these pitfalls. Try to keep these points in mind.
1 try not to be defensive
2 check on possible misunderstanding ("Let me restate what I am hearing")
3 gather information from other sources
4 don't overreact
5 ask for clarification
A method of communicating with an audience by explaining or discussing on particular subject(s) aided by different tools
PREPARING THE PRESENTATION
1 Collect and collate data regarding the subject and related
2 Speak to experts in that subject for their ideas
3 Incorporate related practical examples, role plays etc
4 Identify the target audience
5 Prepare the transparencies and arrange for the tools/aids
6 Check for errors and correct them
MAKING EFFECTIVE PRESENTATION
Points to be kept in mind
1 Be clear about the subject and the purpose of the same
2 Collect accurate data and information on the subject
3 Collect data on related topics and areas
4 Use language understood by the audience
5 Frame your presentation around the target audience
6 Involve the audience by asking questions or games
7 Do not remain fixed at one position, move while speaking
8 Use gestures and expressions to drive the point home
9 Use presentation aids to generate interest and present data
10 Note critical points on a small note pad for ready reference
11 Provide a list of reference books, articles etc and handouts
12 Take a feedback at the end
MAKING AN EFFECTIVE PRESENTATION
Transparencies Overhead projector
Audio Visual facilities Handouts
Computer aided presentation - Power Point, CD ROM
ELECTRONIC WHITE BOARDS, with color markers.
Flip charts are quick, inexpensive visual aids for briefing small groups. The charts, felt-tip markers and graphic materials are readily available, and with a modest ability at lettering, the presenters can compose the desired visual aid in-house.
1 Help the speaker proceed through the material
2 Convey information
3 Provide the audience with something to look at in addition to the speaker
4 Can be prepared prior to, as well as during, the presentation
5 Demonstrate that the speaker has given thought to his or her remarks
6 Can be used to record audience questions and comments
7 Can be converted to slides
1 May require the use of graphics talent
2 Are not suitable for use in a large audience setting
3 May be difficult to transport
When Developing Flip Charts:
1 Each sheet of paper should contain one idea, sketch, or theme.
2 Words, charts, diagrams, and other symbols must be penned in a large enough size to be seen by people farthest from the speaker.
3 In general, make each letter at least 1/32" high for each foot of distance from the material. For example, a 1-inch letter is legible from 32 feet, and a 2-inch letter from 64 feet. Divide the distance from the back of the room to the visual by 32 to determine the minimum size of letters.
4 Use block lettering, since it is easiest to read. Use all capital letters, and do not slant or italicize letters.
5 Use and vary the color. Also, check from a distance to make sure the color works well and is not distracting.
Overhead transparencies are useful for audience settings of 20 to 50 people and can be produced quickly, easily, and inexpensively. Any camera-ready artwork, whether word charts, illustrations, or diagrams can be made into transparencies using standard office paper copiers.
1 Most manufacturers of paper copiers offer clear and colored acetate sheets that run through copying machines like paper, but transfer a black image into acetate for use as overhead transparencies.
2 The standard transparency size is 8=" x 11''. The only piece of hardware required is an overhead transparency projector.
3 Overlay transparencies provide a good cumulative presentation.
4 Speaker can use an overhead projector with significant light in the room, thereby enabling the speaker to maintain eye contact with the audience.
1 The projected image size is sometimes too small to be seen from the back of a large room.
2 Often, the image does not sit square on the screen, as the head of the projector is tilted to increase the size of the image.
3 It is difficult to write on the transparency while it is on the projector.
4 Sometimes the projector head gets in the audience's way.
5 Some speakers feel captive to the machine, because they must change each transparency by hand.
When Developing Overhead Transparencies:
1 To add color, simply cut a piece of colored acetate gel, available at art stores, to the shape and dimensions needed to highlight a particular part of a transparency. The second (or third) color is taped to the edges of the transparency with clear tape, or glued over an area with clear invisible adhesive such as spray adhesive.
2 Permanent and/or water-soluble ink color marker pens are available for use in hand-coloring parts of an overhead transparency.
3 Overhead transparencies can be developed during a presentation by marking on acetate sheets with water-soluble or permanent transparency pens. The same approach can be used to add information to existing transparencies. In both cases, a damp tissue can be used to wipe information off a transparency that has been marked with water-soluble ink.
4 When removing a transparency from the machine during the presentation, slide the next immediately underneath it to achieve a smooth transition. Don't leave the screen blank with the light on.
5 A 45-degree angle to the audience is the most effective location for an overhead projector and screen. This provides for the least obstructed view. Ideally, set the projector on a table lower than the surrounding tables or platforms to make it less imposing.
6 Transparencies with too much information - especially typed pages designed for a printed piece and transferred to acetate - are confusing. Keep transparencies simple.
7 When typing words for transparencies, use bold typing elements such as HELVETICA and capitalize.
8 Consider making use of a laser printer that can produce good quality transparencies in a variety of bold type styles. These printers, coupled with desktop or portable personal computers are widely available, and prices have dropped significantly. The quality of type and variety of type styles make this a superior option when compared with transparencies done on an office typewriter. If resources permit, color printers are also available.
Posters are prepared graphic devices that can be made of a variety of materials and media - photographs, diagrams, graphs, word messages, or a combination of these. Posters work best in smaller audience sizes.
1 Posters are permanent and portable.
2 Posters can be simple or very elaborate.
3 Posters can be used alone or in a series to tell a story.
1 Posters tend to contain too much detail.
2 Transporting them can be difficult.
3 The more elaborate posters require extensive preparation and can be quite costly.
When preparing posters:
1 Each poster should contain one message or theme.
2 Words, charts, diagrams, and other symbols must be penned in a large enough size to be seen by everyone in the room.
3 Use all capital letters, and do not slant or italicize letters.
4 Use and vary the color. Also, check from a distance to make sure the color works well and is not distracting.
35 Millimeter Slides
35 mm slides enliven a presentation for virtually any size audience. They can project a professional image, are relatively inexpensive to produce, and if necessary, can be produced quickly.
1 Slides have high credibility with audiences because viewers looking at photographic slides taken in the field often feel that seeing is believing.
2 The only hardware required is a slide projector and a screen. Slide programs are easy to package in slide trays.
3 Changes in slides or in their sequencing can be done rapidly to meet changing conditions or audiences.
1 Slides cannot be made using a photocopying machine. Therefore, they require more time and money to produce than overhead transparencies.
2 The lights must be dimmed more for slides than for overhead transparencies.
3 Slides require a great deal of preparation and rehearsal.
When Developing a Slide Presentation:
1 Use the outline or text of your talk to note places for appropriate visuals.
2 The best slide programs often mix field photographs with slides of charts, graphs, and other supporting images.
3 Catalog and categorize slides, and place a date, location, and other relevant information on each slide.
4 Vendors can make word slides and illustrations by computer, though they tend to be costly.
Audio-slide shows are self-contained programs having pre-recorded sound tracks that are coordinated with slides by use of electronic synchronizers. The recording tape includes electronic signals that activate a connected slide projector so that an image appears simultaneously with the appropriate voice message, music or sound effects. Audio-slide programs can serve audiences ranging from a handful to a couple of hundred people.
1 For a fraction of the cost of films, audio-slide programs can achieve many of the same program needs.
2 They can impart considerable information because color and a wide array of audio-techniques and visual images can be used.
3 If multiple projectors are used with dissolve units that allow images to "fold" into one another, even a sense of movement can be created.
4 They usually can be produces in-house, equipment is accessible, and they offer a presenter the flexibility of changing slides to meet the needs of specific audiences.
1 Time must be allotted for developing script, sound-track, title and credit slides, visuals, and for production.
2 Each presentation requires securing and assembling proper equipment synchronizer, tape recorder, projector(s), screen(s).
3 Good maintenance must be given to slides so that a warped slide doesn't malfunction and throw off an entire presentation.
When Developing a Program:
1 Identify all components to the program and possible resources to assist in developing these components (e.g., photo lab, recording studio, slide library, graphic artists, a person who has prepared similar programs).
2 Make an initial contact with resource personnel to see what services they can provide, time frames and their scheduling requirements.
3 Develop a tentative production schedule.
4 Prepare a script or a story board and carry this script with you.
5 Photograph or borrow slides of scenes that emphasize your points. Also, gather charts, drawings, books, or other resource materials pertinent to the subject which may be photographed or reproduced graphically as slides.
6 Keep images to one message per frame.
7 Test-run the slide-tape show with enough time to replace slides that are unclear.
8 Secure permission to use commercial or otherwise copyrighted music or material.
9 Keep credit slides to a minimum and use simple design for clarity.
Videotape electronically carries both a picture and a sound track. Its features of sound, movement, vivid image, color, and variety hold an audience's attention the way film does. Videotape can be used to program an entire presentation, or to support a speaker's remarks by highlighting certain topics.
1 Videotape productions can be expensive to create and require experienced production teams.
2 In large meetings, the audience may not be able to see the monitor. (If resources permit, video projectors are available.)
When Developing Videotape:
1 Practicing with the equipment by filming, as well as showing, is the best way to overcome hesitancies about its use.
2 To cover the basics if you are brand new to video use, budget yourself a one hour session with an experienced video producer, whether amateur or professional. University extension programs and the local cable T.V. station are good places to check for a no-cost session. Discuss your ideas. Your budget will determine whether you should tape on your own or have a professional make the videotape.
3 Composing and editing a 15-minute video production can easily consume dozens of hours whether you do all of the work or contract to have part of it done. In order for this kind of investment to pay off, it usually means that the final product should be viewed by a large audience or multiple audiences. Consider the facilities available before choosing to use videotape.
TESTING THE DESIGN OF YOUR PRESENTATION
When you have prepared the visuals you want to use in your presentation, you must practice using them. Do a practice run in full, preferably with someone you know well and with someone you do not know well. Alternatively, use a video or audio tape recorder, or a mirror.
If you are making a group presentation, do a complete practice run in full. A practice run will ensure that each presentation builds on the previous one and that all the points are covered. These colleagues can also provide valuable feedback. The tips below will help you make the most out of your practice runs:
1 Seek feedback at the point when you have your material well organized but not committed to memory. This will enable any needed changes to be incorporated easily.
2 This feedback should include an evaluation of the presentation's length, logic, clarity, and interest level; the speaker's rate of delivery, voice level, and conversational pattern; and the usefulness of the visual aids.
Once you are satisfied with the content of your presentation, make sure that the technical supports are in place or lined up:
1 Check with the meeting organizer to make sure the equipment you need will be there.
2 If at all possible, arrive at the location of your presentation an hour early to check your equipment and room arrangements. Practice using your visuals with the equipment provided. Make sure that you know where the on/off switch is and make arrangements to have the lights dimmed, if necessary.
Rehearsal is a fundamental step in developing and refining effective presentations. Practicing your presentation and working closely with the meeting organizer to secure the necessary technical supports will assist you in making a smooth performance.