PARA 13.2 HRM (IC90) One Liner: Communication (Chapter 8)

PARA 13.2 HRM (IC90) One Liner: Communication (Chapter 8)

Insurance exams offered by the Insurance Institute of India (III), consist of various papers either in Life or Non Life or Combined. Here we are providing ONE LINER IC 90, HRM Chapter 8: Communication for para 13.2 and III exam . These questions will be very helpful for upcoming promotional exam in 2020.

IC 90, Human Resource Management is a very important topic in insurance promotional exam. This IC 90, Human Resource Management paper comes in all GIPSA exams which makes it very important.

IC-90-Chapter 8: Communication

  • Understanding Communication
  • Barriers to Effective Communication
  • Principles of Good Communication
  • Communication in Organisations
  • Interpersonal Skills
  • Adoption of Technology

Understanding Communication

1.Introduction

1.1)Everybody communicates

Two activities that everybody does always are:

  • Decision making and
  • Communication

1.2) Communication in organisations: When people meet, communication takes place. Organisations have people. In organisations, a lot of communication takes place.

  • A lot of messages go around, sometimes explicitly stated, sometimes implicitly understood.
  • Expectations and demands are communicated.
  • Authority is exercised through communication.
  • Relationships are built because of communication.

1.3) Role of communication in management: Communication plays an important role in the effectiveness of a manager. The competence of a manager will be enhanced if he understands the process of communication and acquires adequate communication skills.

2.What is Communication: Communication is the process of exchanging (sharing) thoughts, information, interpretations, ideas, opinions and decisions between persons, to create common understanding.

3.Effective communication: When understanding is shared or is common, the communication is effective.

4.Miscommunication: When the understanding is different, there is said to be miscommunication or communication gap.

5.The process of communication: In the process of communication, the idea (or information) in the mind of one person, who is called the sender, is being transferred to another person, who is called the receiver.

5.1)Clothing or coding of ideas: Ideas are abstract thoughts or concepts, which cannot be seen or contacted except by telepathy experts and mind readers – unless it is suitably clothed or coded and conveyed. Such clothing or coding may be in:

  • Words(oral or written, using language),
  • illustrations (as in pictures, graphs or cartoons),
  • histrionics (tonal variations, facial expressions),
  • symbols or gestures (as in dance or mime)

5.2) How the process of communication occurs: Communication occurs, not when the receiver receives the message sent by the sender, but when he understands the thought of the sender. The meaning that the receiver makes of the message received, is the communication. The communication is not the idea that the sender coded and sent but is the meaning that the receiver made of what he received.

5.3)Barriers to effective communication: If the idea in the sender‟s mind and the idea created in the receiver‟s mind are the same, communication is effective. In practice, several things happen during the process of communication, because of which, the meaning created in the receiver‟s mind is different from what was in the sender‟s mind. The reasons are many. They are called Barriers to effective communications.

5.4)How Meanings are made: Meanings are made of totalities. When one looks at a picture, one does not see every stroke of the painter, but only the total picture. Meanings are not made by logically arranging the contents of the various symbols received during the Communication process.

5.5) Body language: The aggregate of signals emanating from the body is called the “body language”. The meaning (of the smile) is specific in the context of

  • The particular situation
  • The particular receiver and
  • The particular sender

Barriers to Effective Communication

  1. Map Vs Territory: The first problem can occur in the coding. Language is the most common mode of coding. Language has limitations. It is not easy to capture the fullness of one‟s thought within the limited confines of words. That is why there are few great litterateurs and cartoonists, although there are many writers and sketchers.
  2. Semantics: Secondly, problems are created by the choice of symbols. Words do not mean the same to all persons
  3. Gestures: also do not have universality in meanings. The meaning of a smile was referred to earlier. A nod may mean agreement in some communities, but disapproval in some other communities. These differences are problems of Semantics.
  4. Noise: Problems of communication may be caused because of “Noise” or disturbances in the medium of transmission.

9.1)The following may result in vagueness and confusion:

  • poor choice of words and phrases,
  • lack of coherence,
  • poor organisation of ideas,
  • awkward structure of sentences,
  • inadequate vocabulary,
  • unnecessary repetition,
  • failure to clarify the implications of the words used, and
  • long complex sentences

9.2) Mannerisms (actions like adjusting the tie or repetitive use of words like „and all that‟) of speakers that are repetitive and not related to the talk, distract attention and create „noise‟.

10.Frame of reference: The context or background in which an idea exists is important to understanding the idea properly. If the context is not transmitted along with the idea, there would be a difference in meaning. The receiver will assume a different context.

11.Lack of attention: In big organisations, there are often complaints that letters, circulars, etc. do not reach the concerned persons. Dispatch and distribution problems may cause this, but not always. Failure to pay attention to bulletins, notices, minutes and reports is quite common.

  1. Unclarified assumptions: All messages make certain assumptions about the content of the message and the addressee.

13.Different experiences and backgrounds: One can make meanings only within the limitations of one‟s experience.

14.Stereotypes and beliefs: All of us have stereotype ideas about other people and tend to behave on that basis. „Women are poor drivers‟ is one such common stereotype. There are similar generalisations about ethnic and other distinct groups like some are thought of as more intelligent, some are less reliable, some are very loyal, some are very self-centred, and so on none of these generalisations are valid, but they do colour our views of people and affect the interpretations of what they say or do.

15.Impressions of the communicator: Our prior impressions of the person who is sending the communication tend to distort the meaning.

16.Our own state of mind: A worried, nervous employee finds a threat in everything that is said to him. A person who prefers to be alone, is very suspicious of a colleague who tries to establish social contact. People become nervous in the presence of very senior managers.

17.Perception: This refers to what one sees. (This has been discussed in some detail earlier in this book). One does not see the world and the realities as they are. Each one of us has his own images and visions and viewpoints.

18.Filtering: Filtering refers to the selective omission or selection of some information, with a view to create a particular impression.

19.Psychological distance: This refers to how much people feel close to or distant from each other.  This is determined by positions in organisational set up, or social factors like background, caste, life styles, living standards, etc. The lesser the psychological distance, the better the chances of effective communication.

Principles of Good Communication

  1. Clarity of thought: The first step in any good communication is to be clear about what one needs to communicate and what the receiver should do as a result of the communication. The communicator should anticipate the doubts that the receiver may get after receiving the communication and the way he may respond to the same. Otherwise, the receiver will fill up the gaps with his own assumptions.
  2. Clarity of language: The language used should be simple, keeping in mind the knowledge levels of the receivers. Simple words, direct statements and short sentences communicate better. Avoid jargons. Jargons are technical and professional words, including abbreviations, which have different meanings in different contexts.
  3. Amount of communication: Too much communication may lead to confusion. Too little communication may not convey the message adequately. Both create problems.
  4. Appropriate media or channel: Communication may be oral, written or visual. Options will depend on the matter to be conveyed and the audience. Wherever possible, charts and diagrams may be used. The effect depends on how far the different messages reinforce each other.
  5. Avoid mismatches in communication: It is not only the words which are important. The tone, the voice, the facial expression also communicate. Smiles, frowns, or a bored look are equally important. Sometimes, the words may be interpreted differently than intended, if the expressions and voice do not match. There should be no conflict between words, deeds and thoughts.
  6. Make communication a two-way process: Effective communication implies that the message conveyed has been received and understood, as expected. To ensure that the understanding of the message by the receiver is right, the communicator must check by asking questions and give the receiver an opportunity to ask questions.
  7. Be sensitive to receiver‟s response: The receiver‟s responses including his facial expressions and body movement, may give some clue as to how he may be receiving the message.
  8. Communicate directly: Every communication has problems. If the communication is relayed through intermediaries, every intermediary is a potential source of distortion. Therefore, as far as possible communicate directly and not through someone else.

Communication in Organisations

28.Communication takes place among different individuals, groups, departments and within the organisation as a whole.

29.Communication may be called “upward” when a sub-ordinate communicates to his superior.

30.”Downward” when the superior communicates to his sub-ordinates.

31.Communication may also be “lateral” when the people of the same hierarchical level communicate with each other.

32.Upward communication“:  Upward communication is essential for senior levels to know what is happening at operational levels and to enable them to exercise appropriate controls. Upward communication may get distorted because:

  • The communication passes through several levels, and at every level some distortion unavoidably takes place,
  • The information will be filtered in such a way that unpleasant information may be kept back and only that information may go up, which reflects favourably on operations

33.Downward communication– Downward communication seeks to convey company policies and objectives. That is how directions and instructions are issued. Co-ordination and control depend upon both upward and downward communication.

34.Lateral communication– Lateral communication helps co-ordination between activities done at various departments or by various people, who are all dependant on one other.

35.Formal communication– Formal communications in organisations from the top downwards takes place through letters, emails, memos, notices, departmental meetings, internal bulletins and house magazines meant for internal circulation. Formal communication from the bottom upwards will be in the form of reports, requests, grievances, complaints, etc. Formal communication may be either oral or written.

36.Oral communication-In case of oral communication, there is a direct contact and face to face relationship between the sender and receiver. In case of telephones or intercom systems, face to face contact may not be present but messages do travel through tone and voice modulations, pauses, etc.

37.Written communication: Written communication is useful where oral communication is inadequate. For example, in those cases where the information is to be retained for a longer period of time or records are necessary for reference, such as research information reports, committee decisions or statements of policies, only written communication is appropriate.

37.1)Written communication has the following merits:

  • There is a lesser probability of being misunderstood. It provides a source of future reference
  • It is drafted (coded) more precisely than oral communication.
  • It can be made available to a larger number of people by printing and duplication.
  • It is more suitable for lengthy messages, such as production figures or financial data.
  • It can be kept as proof or evidence of past occurrences

37.2)Written communication suffers from the following disadvantages: Updating of written material is difficult.

  • It is expensive.
  • Checking of response is not possible.
  • It is less conducive to friendly relations.
  • There is a likelihood of written messages not being read.

37.3)Written communication is an important basis for organisational operations. Through letters and other written media:

  • Orders are placed,
  • Demands are made (for money or information or work),
  • Decisions are recorded,
  • Policies are communicated,
  • Sanctions are given,
  • Controls are exercised

37.4) Written communication should therefore, satisfy seven C‟s.

  • Completeness: Stating all essential facts, anticipating and answering all possible doubts.
  • Courtesy: Pleasantly worded, meant to gain goodwill, requesting instead of ordering. (For example, a sign near a snake pit in a museum read “Trespassers are likely to be poisoned” instead of the usual, “Trespassers are likely to be prosecuted”.)
  • Consideration: Keeping in mind the reader‟s interest and level of understanding.
  • Clarity: Using simple familiar words, short sentences, avoiding jargon and uncommon abbreviations.
  • Conciseness: Avoiding superfluous and redundant expressions
  • Concreteness: Avoiding complicated imagery and saying directly, leaving little room to imagine.
  • Correctness: Particularly with numbers, dates and references.
  1. Informal communication: Much communication takes place in organisations through informal communication channels. These channels do not recognise official levels of positions. The informal network connects persons who are socially affiliated, mostly through the medium of word-of-mouth. Known as the grapevine, these informal channels carry information with little distortion because the members share languages, perceptions and frames of reference (social affiliations bring about commonness of interest and outlook) and have little cause for defensiveness.

39.Communication gap

39.1)Reasons for communication gap

Communication gap is a “jargon” for “did not understand” or “understood differently”. There is said to be a communication gap when what is understood is different from what is meant to be understood. This gap may be because:

  • the sender did not say
  • the sender did not send properly
  • there was a problem in transmission
  • the receiver did not receive everything
  • that was sent or any of the other barriers in communication

39.2)Distortions also occur because there is too much information to be processed and communicated. The overload problem is sought to be met, often unconsciously, by omission (not processing the information at all), queueing (process in parts, missing the total picture), selectivity (choosing information that one considers more relevant), etc.

Listening: The word „listening‟ is used here to include all ways of receiving a communication, and not only through the use of the ear. When one reads a letter or a representation, one is „listening‟. One cannot receive a communication without listening. One may hear but not listen. One hears much more than one listens to.

  1. Listening: The word „listening‟ is used here to include all ways of receiving a communication, and not only through the use of the ear. When one reads a letter or a representation, one is „listening‟. One cannot receive a communication without listening. One may hear but not listen. One hears much more than one listens to.

40.1)Obstructions in listening

Listening is important for effective communication. Listening is obstructed by a number of reasons, some of the important ones being as follows:

  • Mental dissipation or wandering (one is busy with own thoughts).
  • Perception that the topic of communication is boring or un-understandable Perception that the person communicating is not worth listening to
  • Evaluation of the contents of the communication as unimportant or irrelevant.
  • Impatience at the speed or manner of the communication. Pre-occupation with other concerns, like taking notes.
  • Disturbances from neighbours or other activities in the room (noise)

40.2) Listening helps to

  • Clarify inconsistencies and biases, like a lawyer, while cross examining witnesses, listens for contradictions and weaknesses
  • Avoid ignoring relevant cues that affect the configuration of the whole meaning. There is a tendency to start making meanings even on receipt of the first few symbols instead of listening for the whole identify “noise” or irrelevant materials that distort the meaning

Interpersonal Skills

41.Interpersonal skills are skills in relating to other people. The effectiveness of the skill is in avoiding to hurt the other person and to win his affiliation and co- operation, to avoid misunderstanding and to improve common understanding. It is essentially a skill in communication.

42.Avoiding an attitude of superiority: Dale Carnegie‟s book, “How to Win Friends and Influence People” is perhaps the finest book on interpersonal skills. The principles underlying that book are essentially the same as what is stated earlier. When one assumes a posture of superiority over another, the other is being belittled. It is not necessary to adopt such a posture even when one is instructing one‟s sub-ordinate. That is humiliating. Nobody likes to be humiliated.

43.Focus on the task / behaviour, not the person: It is necessary to advise a sub-ordinate that the way he does his job needs to improve. It can be done without suggestions and innuendos to the effect that he, as a person, is no good. Managers usually feel that such advice will be resented. Such advice is resented only when it is perceived to imply that he, as a person, is no good. He does not have to be made to feel guilty or ashamed for whatever he had done. If that happens, he will start defending himself.

44.Communication of caring: A very effective technique in interpersonal transactions is to convey messages that there is concern for the other person. If the interpersonal transaction is such as to focus on the interests of the other person, then there is a communication of “concern”, of caring. That is a very powerful message to strengthen relationships. Nobody fails to respond to one who cares.

45.Listen to people: Listening to people is very supportive of self-worth. Listen to what they say and also to what they do not say. Listen to their feelings. Try to know what is disturbing them. Give them information, if that is what they need. Offer them help, if it is within your capability.

46.Be considerate: If a person is doing something, do not rush him for something else. Wait till he is free. It is this timing that makes the difference between being seen as helpful or interference. Do not insist or demand that you are entitled to prior or immediate attention. Do not suggest that he does not know his priorities. Do not suggest that he does not know the proper ways of handling his job or responsibilities. These are statements that deny him his self-worth.

47.Criticise when alone: Do not contradict or criticise others when third parties are around. To lose face before others is very disturbing. Openness is necessary in a group. But not when outsiders are present. The open exchange between members of the group even if not critical may not be understood by outsiders.

 Adoption of Technology

48.Classification of various technologies available: Internet, emails, telephone / mobile phone, fax machine, computers / laptops, personal digital assistance, conferencing tools both for audio and video, intranet, blogs, podcasts, etc. the list is endless and ever evolving.

There are both advantages and disadvantages of using modern communications tools.

48.1)The advantages are:

  • Real time response
  • Cutting down on cost e.g. travel costs come down considerably Wide reach
  • Collaboration among the team members i.e. team members can simultaneously work on the same project and integrate the same later.
  • Distances have shrunk
  • Time zones have become immaterial.
  • Employees can work from their own space at their own pace and at a time convenient for them.

48.2) The disadvantages are:

  • There is an information over load Work-life balance is affected
  • Security of documents, correspondence, records, etc. is under Cyber Threat.
  • Connectivity issues still plague the globe
  • Change in technology happens at a very fast rate putting pressure on employees to keep updating their skills constantly.
  • The human touch is slowly vanishing.

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