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Effective communication is the key to success! This book is for anyone wishing to improve their communication skills and knowledge of the way in which communications function in organisations. * the third edition of this highly successful book has been fully revised to bring it fully up to date and incorporates latest electronic developments * covers the skills of speaking, writing, listening and effective reading * provides detailed guidance on telephoning, interviewing, meetings, speaking in public, letter and report writing, visual and non-verbal communication and the use of visual aids * contains useful sections on grammar and usage, checklists on spelling and commonly misused and confused words * activities, assignments, self-checks and exercises are included throughout

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

1. The Process of Communication

Human communication is fraught with problems and difficulties. How often do we say or hear statements like ‘I didn’t really mean that’ or ‘You still don’t see what I mean’, or ‘You don’t seem to have grasped the point’? Whatever we try to communicate, something often seems to get in the way and we are not understood in the way we intended. But even when we are understood we often fail to get people to think or behave in the way we would wish, since when we communicate we really have four main objectives.
Nicky Stanton

2. Speaking Effectively

Supposing someone did ask you to do this. How would you react? Would you go along and just trust to luck that the right words would occur to you when you needed them? Or would you plan your approach? If the boss didn’t give in easily to your request, would you become aggressive? Or would you keep calm? If Dave wasn’t presenting a very good case, would you butt in impatiently and take over? How do you estimate your ability at effective speaking? Not just the formal occasion but in face-to-face discussions and interviews, at meetings and on the telephone? but in face-to-face discussions and interviews, at meetings and on the telephone?
Nicky Stanton

3. Listening

We have all met them: the person who looks at you with glazed eyes, so intent on working out what they’re going to say next that they hear nothing you say and cut you off in mid-sentence to say something that bears very little relationship to what you have just been saying the manager who says: ’Never hesitate to come and see me if you’ve got any problems,’ and when you do make an appointment to see them they spend all the time talking about their own problems the student who complains about every lecture, switches off after about the first five minutes, barely stays awake and says everything is boring and a waste of time the person next to you at the conference who, as the last speaker sits down, says: ‘ Well that was pretty awful. The man didn’t know what he was talking about and anyway I can’t stand people who wear their handkerchief in their top pocket!’
Nicky Stanton

4. Non-Verbal Communication

Ian Baker had just had a flaming row with his wife and walked out of the house with the sound of his wife’s angry words echoing in his ears. While he sat impatiently in traffic jam after traffic jam, he went over in his mind what he would really like to have said to his wife (and to his mother-in-law, for that matter!) and arrived at work late, frustrated and angry. As he pushed open the swing doors he was met by the cheery smile and bright ’good morning’ of Jayne Pembroke, one of his most loyal and hard-working employees. He pushed past her, as if he hadn’t even seen her. Ian Baker had never cut her dead before! What had she done? She began to wonder …
Nicky Stanton

5. Talking on the Telephone

Nowadays, even with e-mail and the Internet, the telephone is still probably the most common means of communication in business, and used efficiently it has two advantages.
Nicky Stanton

6. Interviewing

For many people, ’interviewing’ means job-hunting. Indeed for many of us the job or selection interview is probably the most important interview we ever take part in. However, employment is only one of many reasons for participating in an interview. Every business day millions of interviews occur for purposes of giving and receiving instructions, selling ideas or products, appraising performance, handling complaints and grievances or solving problems. Add to that list the number of interviews that occur between doctors and their patients, lawyers and their clients, teachers and their students, police and the public, journalists and the public and so on, and it is easy to see that interviewing and being interviewed are something we are all involved in everyday – talking and listening to people, at home, at work and at leisure.
Nicky Stanton

7. Being Interviewed for a Job

Stuart Peat was a trainee civil servant in the fast stream for promotion to Principal grade. He was one of the oldest people still in the training grade, and felt he was ready for promotion; he had already been passed over two or three times, and had expressed his view that the promotion system was unsatisfactory. But when the next list for Promotion Board interviews came out, his name was missing. He was not even being considered. Stuart decided to exercise his right to demand an interview. It took place on the day he always met his sister, Sue, for a lunchtime drink. Stuart walked into the pub looking ashen. ‘I don’t have to ask how it went,’ said Sue. ‘No,’ answered Stuart, ‘it was a disaster. They didn’t ask a thing about why I thought the system was bad; as soon as I walked in, they kept on about it. What would I do if I were given a free hand to put it right? For a whole hour. I was at a loss for words- must have looked a complete idiot.’
Nicky Stanton

8. Communicating in Groups

A meeting brings together a group of the unfit, appointed by the unwilling to do the unnecessary for the ungrateful. A camel is a horse designed by a committee. A meeting is a group of people who keep minutes and waste hours. A meeting is a meeting of people to decide when the next meeting will take place. A meeting is a group of people who singly can do nothing and collectively decide that nothing can be done.
Nicky Stanton

9. Running and Taking Part in Meetings

We have already discussed the three major styles of leadership and examined the ways in which people contribute to meetings. In this chapter let’s look briefly at the responsibilities of group leaders and at the requirements for effective participation in group discussions, together with the requirements of conducting and recording fairly formal meetings.
Nicky Stanton

10. Giving a Talk

Claire had worked for the personnel department of Hossack Construction plc for three years and during this time she had learned a lot and was gradually being given more responsibility. The company had expanded recently and had won several large contracts. Each new contract involved recruiting hundreds of construction workers. The personnel department was beginning to feel the strain of taking on all these people. Little by little, Claire realised that her responsibilities were changing. She was being asked to speak on company induction and training courses. She had never minded talking to people on a one-to-one basis, but when faced with large groups, she became terribly nervous, her stomach churned, her mouth went dry and her voice either dwindled to an inaudible murmur, or became shrill and breathless … and she forgot what she had intended to say. She had always hated this sort of thing, even at school, and had managed to avoid reading or reciting in class.
Nicky Stanton

11. Using Visual Aids

Mark had been asked to give a 5 minute talk on one of the company’s products, to a group of new employees as part of their induction course. Aware that even a 5 minute talk requires careful preparation, he had been hard at work, on and off all week, writing his notes and getting his material together and now he was as confident as you can be when you have to stand on your feet and keep the show going on your own, even for five minutes. His subject was ‘the nose-cone of a satellite’- well, I think it was, but then I can’t really remember, because for the next 5 minutes we, the audience, worked extremely hard. In the space of the next 5 minutes, as well as talking at breakneck speed, he showed us eight overhead projector transparencies all beautifully drawn in minute detail (which we couldn’t have seen from the back of the room, even if he had given us time to look at them); he also directed our attention to two wall posters, both of which looked, from where I was sitting, like aerial views of London taken from the moon; and while all this was going on he circulated six photographs which we were expected to pass round the room.
Nicky Stanton

12. Faster Reading

I have to attend a meeting on Wednesday afternoon at which I gather there will be a discussion on the possibility of introducing a new performance management system. I gather there are several magazine articles reviewing the effectiveness of PM Systems, but I shan’t have time to read them as I shall be away at the planning conference and won’t be back until/ate on Wednesday morning. Can you read through them and let me have a summary of the main points and your comments so that I can read it through quickly just before the meeting? I’ll get Jo to give you copies of the articles.
Nicky Stanton

13. Better Reading

Imagine you are faced with an in-tray containing an assortment of letters, memos, articles, reports and so on. Some of it will be important, requiring urgent attention; some of it will be interesting but could afford to wait. Some of it will be easy to read; some of it will be difficult and very time-consuming. Or imagine that as a student you have been told to read a certain book and have just settled down to start the task. In both cases, particularly if time is short (and it usually is!), the temptation is to start reading and keep going until you run out of time or stamina, which is usually before you have finished the pile of paperwork or reached the end of the book.
Nicky Stanton

14. Writing Business Letters

Apart from using the products and services of a business organisation and reading advertisements, the only direct and individual communication contact many people have with a company is a business letter. You, as the writer of a business letter, have a tremendous opportunity to help your organisation to meet its objectives and help a customer or client, while at the same time building goodwill.
Nicky Stanton

15. Applying for a job

One of the most important letters you are ever likely to write is the one applying for a job. But sometimes in the excitement or desperation of the moment it is easy to grab a pen and paper and start writing without giving the matter too much thought, and without realising that writing the letter is only one part of the whole process – a process which although it is pretty demanding can actually be rather interesting, because it is like a detective hunt for clues to help you find out what kind of job your really want and to help you work out what kind of person they really want.
Nicky Stanton

16. Writing Reports

‘Write a report’ – the very thought fills people with horror. Reports seem to be the thing people dread writing more than anything else. If you feel like this then you are in good company. This chapter will: discuss ‘the report’ in general, the different types of report and the essentials of a good report show how reports, whether long or short, simple or formal, have the same fundamental structure describe the ‘signposting’ system that reports use to guide the reader along the route explain the topping and tailing of longer reports
Nicky Stanton

17. Other Writing Tasks

Letter-writing and report-writing tend to get a great deal of attention in most books on business communication- the one because it’s such a common activity both in and outside the workplace, and the other because it is regarded as a fairly onerous job by most people. However, the barrage of instructions above is fairly typical of the many writing tasks which you might very easily be called upon to tackle. Do you know how a memo differs from a letter? Have you ever sent an e-mail? Could you devise an effective questionnaire which creates goodwill rather than ill-will?
Nicky Stanton

18. Visual Communication

While it is true that there are occasions when pictures can stand alone, it is perhaps safer to regard visual communication as a complement to verbal communication. In this chapter we will look at the way we can use pictures of one kind or another to reinforce our message make it easier to take in and understand or simply to make the receiver’s task easier by providing variety
Nicky Stanton

19. Getting to Grips with Grammar

You may not know what a verb is, or for that matter what a noun, or a preposition, or an adverbial clause, is. Furthermore, you may feel that it is not necessary to know. Perhaps you feel that these things are the stuff of English lessons, English teachers and dusty grammar books. Or perhaps you feel that these words are just another kind of jargon: useful for the specialists in the field of English but unnecessary double-dutch to everyone else. And you may be right!
Nicky Stanton

20. Common Problems with English

Thu should now be aware of the basic framework of the English language and of some of the basic terms used to describe the various parts of speech and their functions. We now need to look at these in rather more detail in order to discover some of the typical problems which arise from not sticking to the accepted rules and conventions. It is not simply a case of obeying the rules for the sake of obeying rules. It is more a case of trying to obey the rules in order to avoid being unclear and ambiguous when we are communicating.
Nicky Stanton

Backmatter

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