The Art of Communication
Major trends in the economy require appropriate changes in management. Organizations must be flexible to respond quickly to market needs and competitors’ actions, speedily implement new technologies and new ideas into the daily lives. Moreover, they to incessantly evolve to be competitive. Such organizations need managers-architects who will create the future, anticipate changes and implement them in a timely manner, employing others in these processes, skillfully communicating and interacting with them. Under these conditions, managers should treat communication culture as a tool of their professional activities. Warren Bennis, a leading expert in inter-ethnic culture and business leadership issues stated in one of his interviews that communication skills, which are very important for a manager can be learned (Penrose, 2015). They require inner desire, motivation and appropriate rate of mental abilities.
Managers do not only have to take care of their improvement of communicative competence, but also have to create in the organization where they work, an atmosphere that will encourage others to interact and communicate on a humanistic level, that is to promote in the organization a corporate culture.
Aim: To teach not only the science of business communication, but also encourage people to use the art of communication through active cognitive activity; the formation of appropriate motivation, self-improvement, the use of various exercises and tasks. A global goal is the disclosure of beauty, harmony of human relations, in particular in the field of business communication, encouraging the formation of moral and ethical principles that would become the foundation of all employment activity of the manager, organizer, and leader.
Objective: To investigate the role and place of communication in management, business communication features, its nature, functions, types, levels of communication, and the nature and level of communication culture; to investigate the reasons and results of lack of communication in the work place.
The object of the paper is the study of communication, because it depends on the worldview and the abilities of the individual. The management issue discussed in the paper deals with the problem of lack of communication in the work place.
The relevance of this topic is that the communication today is one of the most reliable tools for joint search for the optimal solution of economic and social problems. If workers are lacking communication in the work place or do not know how to communicate effectively, the organization will eventually experience failure. Accordingly, the paper will also concentrate on the negative effects lack of communication has on the organization and its workers and provide most relevant and most effective solutions on the issue.
The art of communication, knowledge of psychological characteristics and application of psychological methods are also important for professionals whose work involves regular contact with people (e.g. politicians, businessmen, managers and others). Therefore, every good worker has to possess the ability to build relationships with people, find an approach to them, and win favor on their behalf. This ability is the basis of life and professional success.
Communication as a Tool for the Professional Work
Communication is one of the main elements of human existence. Its absence or lack can distort human personality. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry wrote that the greatest luxury on Earth is the luxury of human communication.
Most people think they can and know how to communicate. However, the experience shows that few individuals, including people of power, executives, and managers, communicate effectively. Approximately 90% of time managers must spend on communicating reports, meetings, discussions, debates and negotiations, which are the different forms of business interactions (Penrose, 2015).
Management definitely includes a method and manner of communicating with people. Interaction ability is a power and an art of an executive. Communication is correlated with the ability to organize efficient work of management systems, build an organization, and influence human resources (International Journal of Business Communication Special Issue: Leadership Communication, 2015). Additionally, management is an art to organize and motivate people, the ability to achieve the goals by using labor, intelligence, and motives of others’ behavior (Strathausen, 2015).
Communication is an important component of management. However, management specialists apply it without revealing the rules and mechanisms of its action. Also, some organizational managers fail to account for the culture of communication, which creates the ethical and psychological mechanisms. Also, experts say that management is a function of people guidance and a branch of human knowledge rooted in the understanding of communication mechanisms and the combination of psychology and ethics (Ashforth, Schinoff & Rogers, 2015). A manager has to be a psychologist, who opens the internal strength and abilities, warns against mistakes, and supports in moments of doubt and failure.
Approximately 78% of the time a manager is communicating with other people (Ashforth, Schinoff & Rogers, 2015). Rockefeller argued that the ability to communicate with people is a commodity that can be bought like sugar or coffee (Ashforth, Schinoff & Rogers, 2015). Rockefeller admitted that he was willing to pay for communication skills. Lee Iacocca wrote that a manager has to cooperate with people regularly. Moreover, if a manager is unable to build relationships with others, there is no use of him/her in the company (Ashforth, Schinoff & Rogers, 2015). The manager’s purpose is to encourage and push employees to act and achieve (Strathausen, 2015). Consequently, communication is the best way to direct the energy, skills, and abilities of people to achieve the organizational goals.
The main purpose of any communication process is to ensure that it results in understanding of shared information. Information sharing in business plays crucial role; thus partners attempt to develop a general sense and common understanding of the situation (Tost, Gino & Larrick, 2013). The communication process should ensure adequate understanding of the transmitted information.
Manager should remember that the exchange of information causes its losses. –The complete information is 100%, 80% is submitted in verbal form-, 60% is heard and understood, and only 24% remain in memory (Penrose, 2015). Often, the basic information is lost, and minor is perceived. Information distortions, when perceived content is transmitted in one’s own interpretation and information supplement, which is adding own information, significantly decrease the value of communication (Tost, Gino & Larrick, 2013). Even Herodotus noted that the human ear is less reliable than the eye (Tost, Gino & Larrick, 2013).
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Specialists suggest the following crucial factors to transfer information without error (Strathausen, 2015). Firstly, the message should be simple and focus on the main ideas. Secondly, it is important to use different means to transfer the idea, such as assembly, newspapers, posters, informal conversations, etc. (Strathausen, 2015). It is better to repeat the same message constantly to ensure that receives remember it. Thirdly, the leader has to be an example of the transmitted information. The information will be perceived faster if one talks openly about weaknesses and the unsolved problems. Finally, it is important to listen to people.
In the formulation of the problem, the manager has to ensure that the colleagues understand the sender correctly. It is a good option to use questions like: “If I have understood you correctly, you meant that …?” The information provider should use known terms, clear and understandable words, and take into account the companion’s intellectual level.
Communication can be performed using various means. The term implies the ability of a person to realize the meaning and purpose of communication. One distinguishes the verbal (speech) and nonverbal (wordless) communication (Sardana & Hothi, 2011). The means of verbal communication is the language, while of non-verbal – gestures, facial expressions, pantomime, intonation, pauses, and the “eye contact” (Sardana & Hothi, 2011). This communication tool is less known, but not less important.
On the one hand, it is important for the manager to be able to control his/her movements and facial expressions, while on the other hand, it is important to understand facial expressions and body language of the interlocutor. Knowing body language and facial expressions, one can easily recognize whether the interlocutor approves or ignores your words, is interested or bored with a conversation, is sincere in his/her words and or is trying to deceive you.
Speech or verbal communication is a means associated with the use of language (Strathausen, 2015). With the help of speech one may transmit information, thoughts, and even feelings. Accordingly, lack of communication in the work place creates a distance between the workers and deprives them of the opportunity to effectively share their ideas, useful information, and some personal things that disturb them.
A great importance in the effect of convincing impact belongs to the character of situation and the personality of the message sender (Walker, 2015). If the intention towards the information sender is positive, then the relationship to his/her speech will also be positive, if negative – then the ratio will be negative.
There are disadvantages of speech that prevent the establishment of contact between people: when the words are ambiguous, and there is a “verbal mess” in the mouth; when a person coughs all the time or abuses words-parasites. Improperly placed emphasis, the use of jargon, confusion of words similar in sound but different in meaning may also be the reason that the communication partner does not understand the partner and does not want to have more business with him/her (International Journal of Business Communication Special Issue: Leadership Communication, 2015). The purity of language is not only a sign of proper, high-quality education, but is also one of communicative qualities of speech. In order to be successful in one’s work, people should constantly monitor themselves to get rid of certain defects in speech. Famous American manager Lee Iacocca wrote that business success often depends on the culture of language (Ashforth, Schinoff, Rogers, 2015). Accordingly, the worker’s language must always meet the situation, cultural and professional level of their interlocutors (Ashforth, Schinoff, Rogers, 2015). At the same time, the use of proverbs, sayings, aphorisms, jokes (of course, appropriate), evokes interest and a desire to communicate in the future (Ashforth, Schinoff, Rogers, 2015).
Another means of communication is nonverbal (wordless) communication. This type of communication includes different body movements (gestures, facial expressions, pantomime), and other means of nonverbal transfer of external emotional state (e.g., redness, pallor, changes in respiratory rhythm, etc.), which serve as means of information exchange between people (Walker, 2015). Psychologists found that in the process of interaction approximately 80% of communication is carried out by non-verbal means (Raina, Roebuck, 2014). Establishing the business contact often depends not so much on what is said but on how the person keeps himself/herself. Therefore, the signals human’s body sends is an extremely important phenomenon that need to be known and controlled.
Australian expert on “language gestures” A. Pease claims that using words transmits only 7% of information while with sound assets (including tone of voice, intonation, etc.) a person transmits 38%, and with facial expressions, gestures, postures – 55% (Sardana, Hothi, 2011).
Non-verbal tools have a specific classification. Scientists consider 16 non-verbal communication tools such as body movements, gestures (movements of the arms, legs), spatial field between the interlocutors, the expression of the eyes and view orientation, facial expression, acoustic tools (associated with language and not related with it) , tactile means (shaking hands, kissing), smile, cosmetics, skin reactions (redness, pallor), smells (perfume, alcohol), clothes and its color, mannerisms (e.g., hold a cigarette) and others (Walker, 2015). Accordingly, if one considers all of the above-mentioned tools as a means of communication, even the silent presence of the workers in the work place can be understood as a specific type of communication.
First place among non-verbal communication belongs to kinetics, or optical-kinetic system, which includes gestures, facial expressions and pantomime, body movements and looks. According to D. Fast, body language is any movement of the body or its parts, whereby a person transmits an emotional message to the outside world (Raina, Roebuck, 2014). The study of body language is the study of its movements – from the conscious to the unconscious, from those that are characteristic of certain ethnic and social cultures to those in which all cultural barriers are overcome.
In order to determine whether the interlocutor is frank and honest, it is important to look at the position of his/her hands. When a person does not hide anything, he/she keeps the palms disclosed (fully or partly). Anyone who extends his hand to greet and keeps it open up shows his/her goodwill and trust. If the palm is facing down when greeting, the man who serves his hand experiences the feeling of dependence, perhaps even hostility.
A great role in the communication process is devoted to the human eyes. It is because of eyes that the first contact between the strangers is established. The orientation and the length of the glance, the frequency of glances – all this has implications for the interlocutors. When a person speaks, he/she more rarely looks at his/her companion, than when the person listens. If two interlocutors confidently and calmly watch each other’s eyes, they begin to feel trust and mutual sympathy. Aversion to some extent appears because people do not see each other and rarely communicate face-to-face or eye-to-eye (Matta, Scott, Koopman, Conlon, 2014). It is unpleasant to talk with someone who is not looking at his/her companion, and all the time turns the eyes. If a person wants to reach an understanding with others, he/she looks them into the eyes.
Another system of non-verbal means includes shaking hands, patting shoulders, kiss, and smile. A separate system comprise non-verbal means, related to voice and its vocalization – intonation, loudness, tempo, timbre, tone and interspersed in voice – laughing, crying, coughing, diction, etc. (Harvard Business Review, 2013). These features allow the human voice penetrate the interlocutor’s soul, transmitting him/her the desired point. High timbre is extremely tiring and annoying. It is preferably not speak very fast and very slow. Experts believe that the average rate of speech should be 100-120 words per minute (Matta, Scott, Koopman, Conlon, 2014).
Great semantic load is owned by pauses in speech. This seems a paradox: a man is silent, and the audience receives information. Cicero noted that the strongest cry is in silence (Harvard Business Review, 2013). However, often pause is an indication that the idea falls behind the language and that a person does not know what to say in certain situations (Harvard Business Review, 2013). In order to have a successful professional career, managers need to learn to read nonverbal cues.
Collective Communication and Lack of Communication
Collective forms of communication include meetings, gatherings, conferences, talks, presentations and others. It is believed that every great deal begins from a small meeting to find a collective view on the issue. Not coincidentally, one of the Town Hall of Denmark says: “No one knows as much as all of us together.” (Johansson, Miller, Hamrin, 2014) The meeting is one of the most effective ways to discuss important issues and make decisions in all spheres of production, public and political life. The survey among managers showed that they, depending on the level of management, spend 50-70% of their time on meetings (Lam, 2015). Unfortunately, according to the research, 80% of meetings are spent on identifying the causes of problems and finding the perpetrators (Lam, 2015).
In order for a meeting to be effective, a manager who will lead it must possess not only organizational talent, but also be able to focus on the course of the debate, reflect and adopt sensible questions, organize different views, timely come to important conclusions (Raina, Roebuck, 2014). Undoubtedly, anyone who holds a meeting takes responsibility, making a proposal about who, how and what has to do. Once the decision is taken, it is important to ask the participants to share their doubts, and to discuss them in case there are any.
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Managers participate the meetings, and the “round tables”, especially at the invitation of the media when it is necessary to debate with other participants in the presence of other listeners (Raina, Roebuck, 2014). This discussion provides an opportunity to familiarize people with different views of some experts on the issue and encourage the panelists to active thinking, and making independent conclusions (Harvard Business Review, 2013).
Often managers have to communicate simultaneously with a group of people. Number of people in the group can vary from a few people to large crowds (lecture, meeting). It depends on the goals of those who organize the meeting. However, in all cases people are united by a common interest in the purpose for which they were gathered. The purpose of this communication is the transfer of information, knowledge, estimates and impressions.
As it is proved in the paper, communication is the basis of successful existence of the organization and effective work of its employers. Unfortunately, many organizations experience failure because of lack of communication. First of all, the problem can be created either by the organization itself, or by the workers basing on personal preferences and dislikes. If the organization’s leaders fail to create a friendly atmosphere and encourage employers’ interaction, the effectiveness and speed of work is significantly decreased. Moreover, lack of communication causes discouragement and unwillingness to work on the employers’ behalf. Accordingly, some of significant issues that should be discussed and revised are simply missed out. Then, lack of communication deprives the company’s workers of self-development and communication culture. All in all, the main and most negative effect lack of communication can cause is the reduction of individual’s efficiency, and accordingly, the reduction of organization’s efficiency.
Among the most effective and relevant strategies for dealing with the problem one should mention the one applied by modern IT companies. Nowadays, all IT companies concentrate on the high-quality workers that love their work and do their work good. While communication is the main factor that increases the work effectiveness, reduces time needed for fulfilling a particular task, and improves the overall health and mood condition, IT companies thrive to group and set friendly relationships among its employers. In order to achieve their goal, such companies organize different thematic parties, informal meetings, corporative parties, joint trips where the workers have the opportunity to get to know one another better and enhance communication in the work place.
According to the research one can say that a business man, either an entrepreneur, a manager or a supervisor should necessarily be able to clearly articulate his/her views, to argue his/her position, to analyze the partner’s expression, and critically evaluate the proposals. A prerequisite for this is the ability to listen, to talk, to create a welcoming environment, the ability to make a positive impression, and the former preparation and training.
The leader should have a developed communicative capability, which finds its expression in the establishment of favorable working relationships between workers. Such organization of working process ensures successful collective activity and finding by every member of the organization his/her place in the labor process. If the individual’s communication skills match the skills of leadership, it is a prerequisite for the formation of a successful manager.
The feature, which is especially important for a worker at any level, is communication. In carrying out his/her functions, the manager interacts with colleagues, subordinates, executors, shareholders, suppliers, consumers, representatives of regulatory bodies and other people and organizations that are directly or indirectly related to the activities of the organization. In order to work with people who differ in their status and interests, any worker must have a specific set of personality traits that enhance trust and respect from those with whom they come into contact.
Communication skills are necessary to properly understand other people and interact effectively with them. Any person can not work effectively without these skills because his/her work is built on the ability to achieve specific goals through other people. A skilled worker always takes sensitive reaction to his/her words and listens to what the partner says in reply. The ability to communicate with people, and quickly and without stress come in touch with any person, to influence people, to speak publicly is a condition for management success.
To solve successfully business problems, any worker should know the features of a particular form of communication and consciously choose it and discuss methods to meet specific situations. Moreover, it is significant to prepare carefully the content and not to ignore certain stages of communication.
A skilled worker knows how to choose the most appropriate means of information or communication channels. The ability to behave properly and adequately during business communication is one of the main components of successful business person and leader. The ability to conduct efficiently a conflict-free working process is one of the necessary qualities for someone who wants to succeed in business. That is, any person must have knowledge of such areas as ethics and etiquette that will allow him/her to get out of any negotiations or business contacts with confidence and pride.
A good worker must also be able to manage the process, influencing people so that there appear no tense or conflict. To do this, there exist a number of points, with compliance of which one can most effectively negotiate with people, be able to persuade and achieve the same goals and objectives for which one began the process of discussions. Choosing the purpose of the conversation, one should be able to convince partners of the correctness of his/her point of view, without pressure and without imposing his/her point of view.
The ability to communicate with people quickly and without stress remove the distance between partners, to influence people to act publicly is a main prerequisite of a successful management. Lack of communication or absolute absence of it results in complete failure of working process, and management in general.