Business communication


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, let’s 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 can’t come to the agreement because of being unable to listen! It is no sense trying to convince a person if you don’t 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 wasn’t a novelty for me, but the communication training showed that it is no limits for improvement. To finish with the first skill I’ll 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. Let’s 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 person’s 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.