Business communication

Introduction


To communicate with others, to convince  and  to  find  the  compromise,  to
listen and speak - those are what the life consists  of,  and  the  business
life especially. Without those important skills no success may  be  reached,
and people gain these skills and improve them during their whole life.

This year we were given a lucky opportunity to have some sort  of  training.
The Communication, to my mind, is one of the subjects we apply to  our  life
not once, and studying  interpersonal  skills  maybe  the  most  interesting
occupation I can imagine.  I think, nobody can  remain  indifferent  to  the
relations between people, their behaviour and their  individuality.   It  is
no matter who are you - the manager of giant corporation or,  lets  say,  a
low-paid employee in a small office - if you are involved into some kind  of
 business activity and have some goals and wishes -  you  are  compelled  to
have a  deal  with  others,  without  possibility  to  stand  out  from  the
communication.

Surely, some of the basic communication skills we learn in a childhood.  But
it is a common mistake to consider them stable and  sufficient.  To  make  a
progress in communication skills means to succeed. That is  why  to  prepare
for a hard task to be managers we must estimate our present abilities,   and
then compare them with those  necessary  to  achieve  desired  result.  Even
having a high opinion of your own communication level you would better  seek
for the plenty of self-confidence. (It is not so bad but there is  always  a
room for improvement).

The purpose  of  this  report  is  to  analyse  changing  in  my  experience
concerning communication skills  taking into account my  previous  behaviour
and  what  have  I  learned  this  semester.  I  am  going  to  describe  my
impressions  after  participation  and   observing   role-play   situations,
critically estimate my weak and strong points. The contents  of  report  are
divided in accordance with plan of our course in order to summarise it.


1. What have I learned during the course

            1. Effective listening


A wise ancient Greek philosopher said once, We have two ears and one tun  -
to listen more than to speak, and as the most of the philosophers  are,  he
is absolutely right. However, still  not  the  most  of  people  apply  this
wisdom in their lives. Even speaking one language, using the same words,  we
can rarely understand what an other person says. This thing happens  because
people during a conversation are too attentive to what  they  are  going  to
say to create a good impression. Sometimes we forget about the simplest  way
to move the feelings of interlocutor - about effective listening.

Frankly speaking, the skill of listening is one  of  those  I  am  proud  of
possessing. While being a schoolgirl I have understood that it is easier  to
concentrate during the lesson and asking teachers to explain,  than  to  see
into books after school instead of spending a free time.  Little  by  little
all the teachers got used to see I am  interested  in  their  subjects,  and
sometimes  explained  me  personally  what  I  wanted  to   know.   May   be
subconsciously I used those techniques for effective  listening,  and  I  am
sure they are really effective.

In teacher - student communication, I  think,  the  listening  skill  is
very important, but  also it is necessary for conducting business talks  and
different interviews. How  often  we  see  people  who  cant  come  to  the
agreement because of being unable to listen!  It  is  no  sense  trying   to
convince a person if you dont  show  interest.  It  is  impossible  to  see
another point of view if you only hear it but not listen.

 Up to my mind, this basic communication skill  is  rather  easy  to  learn,
except the ability to be objective in all the cases. Every  one  of  us  has
hidden prejudices and only really talented interviewer can confront  his  or
her biases completely.

So, the effective listening wasnt a novelty for me, but  the  communication
training showed that it is no limits for improvement.  To  finish  with  the
first skill Ill quote once more the words by ancient sages:  If  I  listen
I have an advantage, if I speak  - others have it.


             2. Feedback as an interpersonal skill

I will continue the tradition of citing authorities. Treat  people  as  you
want to be treated - anyone,  I  think,  knows  this  common  truth.  Lets
consider it in sense of providing feedback. When  talking  or  acting  in  a
certain way I expect the information about some  aspects  of   my  behavior.
Both me and person  giving  this  information  are  mutually  interested  in
truthfulness and timeliness of  feedback  to  make  the  communication  more
effective. If my way of behavior corresponds with expectations the  feedback
is positive and both sides are likely to give / accept it  enthusiastically.
But such a consonance rarely happens.

The problem is to provide person with negative feedback. In that  case  both
sides feel  themselves  uncomfortable,  especially  if  a  person  providing
feedback cares about results trying make another person not feel offended.

As for me, I always avoid hurting people, may be even when they deserve  it.
That is why the techniques of  providing  the  negative  feedback  are  very
useful.

The progressive management, I think, must apply these  methods  to  motivate
workers, but former soviet people still prefer the straight judgement  not
the careful analysis of their performance.


       3. Appraising performance

The  praise  is  pleasant  even  for  a  cat.  This  phrase  is   not   so
sophisticated and philosophical as previous were, but it is  rather  closely
tied with following part of my report. At  first  sight  it  is  similar  to
giving feedback, but it turned out to  be  the  usual  approach  in  foreign
companies to evaluate employees performance. As I  know,  the  majority  of
our domestic companies have no  idea  about  systematising  their  relations
with subordinates in such a way. They conduct a some  sort  of  performance-
appraisal interviews spontaneously, and it seems quit natural to them.

If speaking about the approaches to performance appraisal, some  of  them  I
think  are  absolutely  unavailable  for  our  reality.  For  instance,  the
Critical Incident Method, which is supposed to be more effective because  of
full information, may create a misconception of persons performance due  to
possible subjective evaluation. Other two methods -  Rating  and  Management
By Objectives - are more likely to fit the real life, but  it  will  take  a
time to inculcate such techniques.


          4. Skill of oral persuasion

Nobody  will deny the importance of this aspect of communication. It  is,  I
would say, a quintessence of  communication  training,  which  includes  all
those above mentioned skills.

A manager may reach a success using persuasion,  not  authority,  even  when
having authority. The fact, that the power does not means the motivation  is
obvious for the democratic society. If you want  to  impose  your  views  on
another person or on a group of people  it  is  not  enough  to  order  them
thinking in certain way. If it were a kind  of  dictatorship   it  would  be
enough, but we study the conditions of democracy.

Now, knowing the theoretical base, I can conclude that my attitude  to  oral
persuasion was a little bit passive and it was my blind spot. I feel I  must
improve this skill and I am encouraged  to  do  well,  because  some  of  my
classmates turned out to be the outstanding persuaders.

2. The usefulness  of  communication  training:  how  to  deal  with  real
businessmen and with classmates

Now I would like to say a few words  about  our  practice  in  communication
role-plays. Participating both as actors an observers we had  a  possibility
to imagine the real situations. Sometimes the  role-plays  were  successful,
sometimes there was a lack of preparation. I wish  I  should  more  actively
participate, but it is my fault that I hesitated to  show  my  view  and  to
compete.

I found it more difficult than it seemed  to  be  natural.  Some  situations
were rather unusual for me: knowing how I had to behave,  I  tried  applying
theory, but rarely imagined myself in similar situations.

Due to these difficulties during the communication  training  I  learned  my
weak points and the ways to improvement. But to use all the skills  we  must
make the adjustment to reality, which  is  more  competitive  than  studying
conditions. As the famous Russian general Suvorov said, if  it  is  hard  in
exercise, it is easy  in action.

The most interesting and useful part of training for me were Persuasion  and
Performance Appraisal. By the way, observers all the time used some sort  of
appraisal, and observing was the item I really was in favour of.

The role-plays prepared under scenarios I  think  were  a  little  bit  far-
fetched, and it is more natural to use our own names and  individual  traits
in performances. Therefore  the  improvisations  like  those  played   while
discussing Persuasion Skills were more useful.

Conclusion


The course of Communication Training was one of significant theoretical  and
practical importance for me. The communication skills are necessary  if  you
wish to success in business activity or in any other sphere of life.

The effective listening skill is very important in  relations  with  people.
Some of us can hear what others say, but can not listen.  It  is  matter  of
common sense: to listen is the simplest way to create a good impression.

Providing feedback gives the possibility  to  inform  a  person  about  some
aspects of his/her behavior ant its effect on you. The real  difficulty  is
to provide person with negative feedback.  To  avoid  hurting  a  person  we
should use several techniques, and their main idea is to keep it  impersonal
and nonjudgmental.

The performance appraisal skill is used systematically by  foreign  managers
and has a great impact on  the  career  of  employees.  During  performance-
appraisal  interview  managers  make  decision   concerning   promotion   or
dismissal of his subordinates.

The skill of persuasion is also one of the basic  communication  skills.  To
motivate people do what you want them to do it is not  enough  to  have  the
power. Being persuaded people feel they are  acting  on  their  own  accord.
Improvement of persuading techniques means using  facilitative  tactics  and
tailoring your approach to different people.

The participation in role-plays was  interesting and  useful  both  for  the
actors and observers. However  some  situations  hardly  corresponded   with
life and performances played on spot were  much  more  vital.  Due  to  this
communication training I investigated my weak and strong  points  and  found
the ways to improve.

Thus, my general impression about the course is very good,  and  I  wish  we
had more time for such a subject to master the skills of communication.



"Business communication"