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Module 1: Understanding the Communication Process

Discuss about the Lessons from Effective Business Communication.

For many people, it always sounds simple to communicate with one another. However, in many cases, misinterpretation of information is experienced as what we tend to communicate gets lost in translation despite the best intention of the speaker. As we say one thing, the listener hears something else resulting in misunderstanding, frustration, and at times even conflicts arise. It is hence important to understand the fact that communication is more than just the exchange of information as it requires the listener or receiver to grasp the intentions and the emotion behind the information. More importantly, the success in the professionalism of different aspects requires a clear understanding of exactly what the message was intended to communicate. Professionals should learn to communicate clearly and effectively so as to efficiently connect with people, build respect and trust, and be understood well. This paper presents a personal reflection on the lessons learned while studying Effective Business Communication as a course. The analysis is done upon in-depth analysis from different articles provided in the modules of study as well as across other relevant literature.

Understanding the process of communication requires an effective communicator to understand the ethical communication skills and paralanguage behind the process. Paralanguage the concept of non-verbal communication that helps in emphasizing body language as well as voice nuances as a means of expressing feelings and thoughts. Understanding the paralanguage behind the process of communication has enabled to understand and interpret information correctly and has improved my professional and personal effective communication. Even though body language tends to convey as much meaning as the spoken words, I have learnt that a good communicator should as well have the ability of gauging how their paralanguage can affect the audience. As a result, I have learnt how paralanguage can be altered so as to affect the listeners in a manner that will gain their trust and confidence as an essential component of effective business communication.

The article by Senescu et al. (2014) also contributed greatly towards the concept by identifying the different aspects of paralanguage. These include hand gesture, eye contact, tone of voice, and posture among others. In case a speaker changes any of the qualities such as tempo or volume, he can create a different meaning to the listeners. In my current job as well as the future professional career, I have learnt that it is essential to consider the paralanguage of communication process to be an effective communicator.  I should thus be able to adjust my non-verbal language depending on the needs of different situations to be effective in diffusing troublesome interactions like arguments, a skill that is understood as a metacommunicative competence. From the module, I also learnt the effectiveness of ethical communication and the need to regularly communicate the concept of ethics to the employees. The article also identifies that ethical communication is helpful in setting ethical standards in a business.

Module 2: Oral Presentations While Communicating with an audience

From the article and the module, I have learnt that my current and future job performance requires me to ensure that an organization adopts a written ethical policy that directly deals with the expectations from the employees.  It should clearly explain what the business or organization believes to be the ethical standards. The article also identifies the ethical standards to be honesty in communication, fair treatment of customers and employees, and reporting any ethical violation witnessed by the employees among others. As an effective business communicator, it is essential that I observe all the above factors.

In the module of oral presentation and communication to an audience, the two major concepts studies were the process of analysing the audience and communication apprehension. In the oral presentation module, I learnt that effective communication is a two-way-traffic that depends not only on how one conveys the message so as to be received and correctly interpreted by the audience exactly as intended. It as well involves how one listens so as to gain the full meaning of what has been communicated so as to make the full meaning that can be clearly understood. For instance, the business environment involves many presentations and communications to audiences of different levels of understanding. However, the major goal tends to be the successful sell of the business idea to all the categories of the audiences so as to influence the customers towards purchasing a particular product or service. The success of this goal majorly relies on the business communication skills of the presenters as well as the listening skills of the receivers. It is hence vital to know how to balance the strategy of communication in a manner that all the levels of the listeners can buy the idea being passed.

A study from the article by White (2015), I learnt that more than just the words we use in communication, effective professional communication needs to combine sets of skills that will promote effective interpretation. These include engaged listening, the ability of assertive communication, nonverbal communication, and stress management during communication. Also important is the capacity of recognizing and understanding personal emotions as well as that of the listeners. Professional communication hence needs to be very effective as it is the glue that helps one to deepen communications with other people so as to improve decision-making, teamwork, good working relationship, as well as problem solving. Most importantly, business requires one to communicate effectively without destroying the trust or creating a conflict as it is vital to keep good connections and trust with customers. Inconsistent or negative body language also contradicts the information flow instead of reinforcing the message.

Module 3: Academic Writing

In my current job, I will be able to use the skills learned in the class module to understand my audience and strategize on the best method of communication to use while communicating with them. In doing this, I will need to avoid major challenges that can affect communication. These include lack of focus towards the main information, always be composed and avoid stress as much as possible so as to be effective in the information am passing to the audience. From the article, I also learnt that the audience tends to be characterised by different levels of understanding depending on several factors. Some of these include the age (kids and adults), level of understanding, academic or professional qualification, language, and culture among others as identified by White (2015). As a result, analysing the audience require a clear understanding of these concepts so as to be relevant while communicating to a particular group of audience. Analysing the audience is as well essential especially in my future career as a business manager, a position that requires effective business communication skills to the employees, customers, and sponsors and donors among other stakeholders of a business organization. It was an essential module that greatly contributed to my current and future communication skills as a business professional.

The two major concepts that were studied in the module are the professional or academic writing, as well as demonstrating the knowledge in academic communication. In the concepts of demonstrating the knowledge of professional and academic writing and communication in business profession, there are a number of academic writing that involves or requires effective communication so as to initiate clear understanding and good communication. It is hence necessary that a good professional communicator observes the 7C’s of communication while doing either written or verbal communication with the audience. The 7C’s helps in creating effective communication so that once can be effective at all levels and make customer interaction more effective. Effective business communication needs to be concise, complete, conversional, clear, and considerate, be in check and confident as denoted by Anders. (2016).

Being concise helps an individual to quickly get to the point and hence requires a straight forward language that completely gets the points across in a manner that can lead to efficient action. The communication needs to be complete and requires one to get the information to the recipient in the first time. Leaving out initial information in the initial correspondence can cause serious challenges that can take time to repair. While communicating, a confrontational tone can cause arguments and emotions. As a result, it is vital to present the information in a conversational tone that can initiate interaction rather than confrontation (Anders, 2016). Effective business communication hence presents the information in a manner that is professional and not emotional. In business communication, one may only get one chance to make a point as any misunderstanding may leave one without the opportunity for correction before the issue escalating into a problem. Be considerate especially when speaking to customers or associates through questions for clear clarifications and ensure the information is understood before proceeding with the next conversation. At the same time, it is vital to present the data with a commanding and clear tone as indicates that the speaker is confident of the topic and its importance. Similarly, once may have very useful ideas which can lose power if the data is not checked to ensure the facts are right before doing a presentation. 

As denoted by the article, it is vital to understand the 7C’s of communication in any professional academic writing. For instance, the business environment involves communication through emails, letters, business reports, proposals, etc. The human resource services as well involve selection, recruitment, training, and development of employees, a vital position that hence requires effective communication skills as denoted by the article. As a result, both the article and the lessons learnt from the module are very vital in the essence of improving or sharpening my skills in my current job as well as my future career positions. Observing the seven Cs of communication will sharpen my communication skills to ensure it is effective and the customers, customers, business professionals, and stakeholder among others clearly apprehend and interpret my information.

From the module of interpersonal communication, it came to my realization that many scholars have come up with different ideas. As some scholars suggest that interpersonal communication is a mere too used to express social reality, others argue that it is similarly a tool of creating a positive social environment. As business requires communication between two or more customers to be effective, both the concepts taught me that an effective professional communicator needs to adjust his social relationships in a positive manner that will promote positive working relationships. I have also leant that effective professional interpersonal communicator needs to adjust the style of communication depending on the person they are speaking to. For instance, it is not right for me to use the same communication style with my co-workers or my boss as well as with kids or elders even if the topic of discussion was the same. As a result, it is vital to put other people’s perspectives in mind in trying to get a message across the board.

 When communicating with others not necessarily in a presentation to a specific audience, the module of interpersonal communication has enabled me to achieve different objectives. I have got a clear understanding and recognition of the differences between interpersonal and intrapersonal communication. Currently, I can confidently define aggressive communication and effectively identify the types of verbally aggressive messages in communication.  I have understood how to define and use assertive communication as a western construct and effectively use it in finding solutions to different problems.

The article by Manning (2014) in the constitutive approach to studying interpersonal communication, I learned some of the issues that one needs to avoid so as to become an effective communicator for the success of business. For instance, it is vital to avoid stress and other emotions that make us lose control especially while communicating with an individual. Interpersonally communicating while overwhelmed or stressed can make one misread other people or even create confusion that may lapse into unhealthy and unprofessional communication behavior. Taking a moment to calm down is hence necessary. Multitasking and lack of focus also result in ineffective communication. For instance, planning what you are going to communicate to others while daydreaming, chatting, checking messages, or thinking about other issues makes once to miss the essential nonverbal cues during the conversation. It is hence necessary to stay focus every moment you are preparing to communicate any business idea.

In the module, we studied different concepts on business documents as well as effective communication through the documents.  I learned that a company uses documents for communication, as well as transaction and analysis of the business productivity. The examples of business documents are essential in communicating business ideas and concepts to different business stakeholders. These include business proposals, business reports, data analysis and interpretation, and presentation of business ideas among others. For instance, employment letter and resumes need to be clear so as to communicate the qualification of the candidate in a clear manner.

In his article, Massaro (2015), I learned that these documents are vital as they provide proofs to the dealings of the organization. They can hence be used as points of future references, and hence they need to be well written in a manner that they can be clearly understood. For the benefit, if my future career, I learned that business concepts range from brief email messages to even more complex legal standard requirements. Others are also drafted by external professional such as lawyers and accountants. From this concept of the article as well as the concepts from the modules, I have realized that it is beneficial to balance between the documents and correctly identify what to use at certain processes of communication and business transactions.

The organizational communication module helped me in the understanding of the theory and professional Practice about effective business communication skills. In my understanding of the theories of communication and professional practice, I learned that effective communication is a learned skill and tends to be effective when spontaneous rather than being formulaic. For instance, a speech that is read cannot have the same impact as that which has been delivered spontaneously. Developing such skills hence requires time so as to become an effective communicator. As a result, communication theories have it that the more practice and effort one puts in professional communication, the more spontaneous and instinctive the communication skills become.

The article by Christen et al. (2014) that presents a study to explore the communication needs of business students was essential in understanding the social presence for effective online especially in the current world where technology is the order of the day. The discussion of their studies enabled me to learn that professional practice for effective communication also depends on a clear understanding of the organizational characteristics such as the resources, structure, the experience of the audience, time availability, and the current needs of the organization. The business audience tends to be characterized by differences in educational levels, media familiarity, interaction history, norms of interaction, and knowledge of communication. All these factors affect communication in different ways and hence require a well business communication organizational structure, effective media of communication, as well as relevant formal or informal networks. For this reason, Christen et al. point out that professional communication needs to be very effective and ethical as it helps in connecting different professional communicators such as journalists, PR exponents, media professionals, and writers among other people in the dynamic business environment. It is hence a vital concept that will not only benefit from communication skills in my current job but even my future professional practice.

From the modules and the whole unit, I have learned how to become an engaged listener who values body language during communication. I pay very keen attention to nonverbal signals, and I have as well learned to keep my stress in check. I have learned to assert myself and to be more persuasive so as to boost my confidence in communication. In many cases, I used to be very talkative and wanted to be heard more than I was willing to listen to others. However, I have learned that effective professional communication is required small talk and more listening as well so as to master the business environment and plan effectively. I have as well learned that one needs to be very composed and to ask questions where necessary while engaging the person I am communicating with according to Archee et al. (2013).

Effective communication skills are essential to the effectiveness and success of many life aspects. Different jobs require strong and effective communication skills to promote good working relationships and teamwork. Besides, individuals with good communication skills tend to enjoy good interpersonal relationships with not only co-workers but even friends and family. In his study, White (2015) denotes that effective professional communication skills are key interpersonal skills which require every individual to learn how to improve for better performance. It is hence vital that both written and verbal communication maintains the familiarity with both the professional written and verbal communication. For instance, it is vital to understand the generic features of emails, reports, resumes, and application letters as they are vital in the business profession to enhance competence.

As a strategy of improvement, I will ensure that I regularly attend ethical training programs to increase my awareness of effective, ethical communication skills for effective performance. As a future business manager, I will ensure that my employees are educated towards effective, ethical standards so as to boost their ethical communication skills and behavior. I have realized that I should always be the role model to the employees and I will always ensure I practice ethical behavior in both verbal and non-verbal forms.  I should also be able to practice all the aspects of communication so as to be an effective communicator in my business profession.

Conclusion

Learning from the module lessons and the articles was an essential process in improving my effective communication professional skills. I learnt different concepts from both the articles and the modules. The concepts learnt will not only improve my skills in my current business responsibilities but even my future business management career. It was a successful learning process that made me learn new ideas towards sharpening my business communication skills.

References 

Anders, A. (2016). Team Communication Platforms and Emergent Social Collaboration Practices. International Journal Of Business Communication, 53(2), 224-261. doi:10.1177/2329488415627273

Archee, R., Gurney, M., &Mohan, T. (2013). Communicating as Professionals. (3rd ed.), Australia: Cengage.

Christen, H., Rae, J., Walker, M., & Williams, J. (2014). Critical evaluation as an aid to improved report writing: A case study. European Journal of Engineering Education, 39(3). 272-281. 

Manning, J. (2014). A Constitutive Approach to Interpersonal Communication Studies. Communication Studies, 65(4), 432-440. doi:10.1080/10510974.2014.927294

Massaro, D. M. (2015). Two Different Communication Genres and Implications for Vocabulary Development and Learning to Read. Journal Of Literacy Research, 47(4), 505-527.

Senescu, R. R., Haymaker, J. R., Meža, S., & Fischer, M. A. (2014). Design Process Communication Methodology: Improving the Effectiveness and Efficiency of Collaboration, Sharing, and Understanding. Journal Of Architectural Engineering, 20(1), 1-14. doi:10.1061/(ASCE)AE.1943-5568.0000122

White, A. V. (2015). Writing for the Real World: Business Communication for College Students. Journal Of Higher Education Theory & Practice,15(4), 73-84.

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