OFFICE ADMINISTRATION 1 ( SSC 131)
The importance of business communication:
4 elements of communication: the transmitter, the message, the medium & the receiver.
Effective communication requires all the elements to be clear and precise to operate efficiently and to create a good public good image.
Expensive aspect of a firm’s operation, need to decide the most effective method (used in economic manner).
E.g. pie chart, bar chart, histogram, line graph and pictogram
When you know how to communicate effectively, you are able to:
The non-verbal element speaks as loudly as the verbal element.
Managers should understand other’s non-verbal cues and learn to use these cues to maximise the effectiveness of communication.
Non-verbal cues can affect the communication process by:
1. Confirming a verbal message – when a person to an object while mentioning it in a conversation
2. Replacing – replace spoken words. E.g. negative nod replacing a verbal negative response.
3. Contradicting – give element of confusion, non-verbal cues are more reliable. E.g. facial expressions in pain, but he is feeling fine
4. Emphasising – support the verbal message, e.g. slowing down in speech and pounds the podium to stress the key words.
The most common way is through body language, paralanguage and proxemics & time.
a. Body Language - gesture, posture, facial expression, eye contact & touch
Gesture – cues about emotional state; occurs with certain facial expressions, e.g. as people become more excited, their gestures tend to become more expansive.
Anger & hostility – signalled through clenched fists
Nervousness – finger & foot tapping
Uneasiness or disinterest – folding one’s arms across the chest
Openness & receptivity – opened arms & hands
Head nodding – affirmative & negative nod from the listener shows agreement & disagreement with the speaker’s message and signals.
Posture – signals about individual mood
Facial expressions – face is the most expressive.
Anger – through jaw, lips, eyes & forehead
Happiness – through lips & eyes
Disgust – through lips, eyes & forehead
Sadness & fear – through eyes & forehead
People often use facial expressions to hide their true feelings. Facial expressions inconsistent with the message add an element of confusion. Therefore it’s difficult to believe the verbal or the non-verbal.
Maintain eye contact – signals the channel is open & continue listening
Touching – handshake when greeting people, a pat on the back indicates solidarity, approval & support.
The way people express themselves. It gives more meaning than verbal.
Range - speaking in a monotone gives impression of disinterest, while more variable range give impression of commitment & enthusiasm
Rate of speaking – change in rate is used to emphasise the importance of ideas & thoughts.
Pitch - high-pitched signals excitement & enthusiasm while low-pitched signals seriousness.
Volume - the loudness & softness of voice
Pauses - indicates contemplation & recapture the listener’s attention.
Intrusions - “ah” or “um” signal tension, a feeling of pressure or lack of certainty.
It is the way people structure their territory & space. When their space is inhibited, employees tend to become less comfortable & more inhibited. E.g. when a boss wants to discuss with an employee, find a neutral place. Informal conversation is better done in the office rather than around manager’s desk.
Warm & cheerful room creates more cordial communicating atmosphere.
Cold & unfriendly ambience may detract
Nature of the seating arrangements – sitting beside one another makes communication more difficult than those sitting across one another.
Provide insight into the importance of the message. E.g. Late for an appointment – is the negative non-verbal message interpreted as undependable, unreliable & unorganised.
What are barriers to effective communication?
1. Taking certain things or people for granted. E.g. we thought that a person can solve problem because he has the background, actually he knows very little & vice versa.
2. Mistakenly believe. E.g. subordinates are believed reluctant to interact with their superiors, actually subordinates have all the time to see the supervisors.
3. Downward communication (management to subordinates) Uncertain whether the message was received, understood or interpreted correctly. What management believes is a reasonable rationale for a certain course of action, subordinates may think that management wants to manipulate them.
4. Upward communication. E.g. they tend to transmit only the information that enhances their standing with their superiors. Subordinates provide information they believe the management wants to hear.
5. Semantics – words mean differently to different people. E.g. Tomorrow means tomorrow to the US businesspeople but it means some time in the future to the Arabs.
6. Other communication barriers:
Difference in perception
Different in attitude
Different in status
Difference in Mental Learning’s (Bias / stereotypes)
Difference in Organisation Climates
Level of Education
Poor reading skills
Ensuring that the communication get a message back from the receiver which tells him how far understanding has take place.
The message may have to be presented in a number of different ways to get it across
Effective listening means that you get the most meaning from what you hear. Good listening skills are important to reduce mistake and misunderstanding.
1. Let speakers finish what they are saying before responding
2. Concentrate on what the speaker is saying
3. Try to eliminate outside distraction during the conversation
4. Study the speaker’s body language & tone as well as what is said
5. Pace your response with those of the speaker, repeating words they use, matching body language or leading them to change body language by changing your own.
6. Nod your head occasionally to show you are listening
7. Paraphrase what the speaker said to make sure you heard it properly and understood the meaning of his or her message.
This listening process is affected by:
1. INTERNAL ELEMENTS
a. To be effective, the listener not only has to hear the message & to attach meaning to the words that contribute the message.
b. It will break down when the listener does not hear or understand the message
c. Individual capacity for listening – the length time to listen and the amount information to absorb vary from person to person, hour to hour & day to day.
2. CONTEXTUAL ELEMENTS (Environment)
a. Present of noise
b. The constraints of time
c. The accessibility of the sender and receiver to one another
d. The communication channel used
3. RELATIONSHIP ELEMENTS
a. A cordial relationship enhance listening
b. A strained relationship destroys listening
1. Concentrate - clear your mind of other thought
2. Avoid playing with object.
3. Accept senders for whom they are, not how they express themselves or appear.
4. Avoid ‘tuning out’ senders even though it’s not interesting, dull, irrelevant or difficult to understand.
5. Listen to non-verbal component as well as verbal.
6. Keep your listening speed consistent with the sender’s conversation rate.
7. Clarify if you do not understand.
8. Learn to listen more objectively by not allowing your preconceptions, biases or prejudice to infiltrate the communication process.
9. Listen to unimportant message as you do to the important ones
10. Avoid listening between the lines in oral communication. In the same way that you avoid reading between the line of a written message.
Understanding Customers Needs
Most officers are designed to support customers or client, whether they are external or internal. Good customer relation skills are essential
It is important for anyone to know or to understanding of what customer’s want such as:
a. What your customers want?
b. What your customers think?
c. What your customers feel?
d. Whether your customers are satisfied!
e. Whether your customers will return!
Human common needs are variety from one another. Below are the needs of your customers, client or agent.
1. The needs of feel welcome
2. The needs for timely service
3. The needs for quality
4. The need to be understood
5. The need to feel comfortable
6. The need to receive help / assistance
7. The need of feel important
8. The need to be appreciated
9. The need to be recognised / remembered
10. The need for respect.
Customer is our guess that is important to our business. In order to make our customer happy and feel welcome, each individual, which involve in customer service should:
1. Encourage the office staff to develop:
There are 3 styles to deal with angry customers. They are:
I. PASSIVE RESPONSE
The customer rants and raves while a member of your office staff apologise profusely and accepts the blame for what went wrong.
II. AGRESSIVE RESPONSE
Your employee rants and raves & refuses to take responsibility for what happened
III. ASSERTIVE RESPONSE
Your employee listens carefully in order to understand the problem and then responds supportively and acknowledges how the customer feels without becoming a doormat or responding in kind.
Assertive response is the most effective and the one you want to encourage your employees. The following six steps can help your staff develop an assertive response to customer complaints:
i. Listen to the complaint
ii. Respect the complain & obtain acknowledgement that you heard it correctly
iii. Apologise if appropriate
iv. Acknowledge the person’s feelings
v. Explain what actin you will take to correct the problem
vi. Thank the person for bringing the problem to your attention.