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Overcoming Communication Barriers in Organisations

Overcoming Communication Barriers in Organisations

Martin Hahn
Although all communication is subject to misunderstandings, business communication is particularly difficult. The material is often complex and controversial. Moreover, both the sender and the receiver may face distractions that divert their attention. Further, the opportunities for feedback are often limited, making it difficult to correct misunderstandings. The following communication barriers in organizations and ways to overcome them will be the main topic of this article.
1. Information Overload. Too much information is as bad as too little because it reduces the audiences ability to concentrate effectively on the most important messages. People facing information overload sometimes try to cope by ignoring some of the messages, by delaying responses to messages they deem unimportant, by answering only parts of some messages, by responding inaccurately to certain messages, by taking less time with each message, or by reacting only superficially to all messages.
To overcome information overload, realize that some information is not necessary, and make necessary information easily available. Give information meaning rather than just passing it on, and set priorities for dealing with the information flow. Some information isn't necessary.
2. Message Complexity. When formulating business messages, you communicate both as an individual and as representative of an organization. Thus you must adjust your own ideas and style so that they are acceptable to your employer. In fact, you may be asked occasionally to write or say something that you disagree with personally. Suppose you work as a recruiter for your firm. You've interviewed a job candidate you believe would make an excellent employee, but others in the firm have rejected this applicant. Now you have to write a letter turning down the candidate: You must communicate your firms message, regardless of your personal feelings, a task some communicators find difficult.
To overcome the barriers of complex messages, keep them clear and easy to understand. Use strong organization, guide readers by telling them what to expect, use concrete and specific language, and stick to the point. Be sure to ask for feedback so that you can clarify and improve your message.
3. Message Competition. Communicators are often faced with messages that compete for attention. If you're talking on the phone while scanning a report, both messages are apt to get short shrift. Even your own messages may have to compete with a variety of interruptions: The phone rings every five minutes, people intrude, meetings are called, and crises arise. In short, your messages rarely have the benefit on the receivers undivided attention.
To overcome competition barriers, avoid making demands on a receiver who doesn't have the time to pay careful attention to your message. Make written messages visually appealing and easy to understand, and try to deliver them when your receiver has time to read them. Oral messages are most effective when you can speak directly to your receiver (rather than to intermediaries or answering machines). Also, be sure to set aside enough time for important messages that you receive. Business messages rarely have the benefit of the audiences full and undivided attention.
4. Differing Status. Employees of low status may be overly cautious when sending messages to managers and may talk only about subjects they think the manager is interested in. Similarly, higher-status people may distort messages by refusing to discuss anything that would tend to undermine their authority in the organization. Moreover, belonging to a particular department or being responsible for a particular task can narrow your point of view so that it differs from the attitudes, values, and expectations of people who belong to other departments or who are responsible for other tasks.
To overcome status barriers, keep managers and colleagues well informed. Encourage lower-status employees to keep you informed by being fair-minded and respectful of their opinions. When you have information that you're afraid you boss might not like, be brave and convey it anyway. Status barriers can be overcome by a willingness to give and receive bad news.
5. Lack of Trust, Building trust is a difficult problem. Other organization members don't know whether you'll respond in a supportive or responsible way, so trusting can be risky. Without trust, however, free and open communication is effectively blocked, threatening the organization's stability. Just being clear in your communication is not enough.
To overcome trust barriers, be visible and accessible. Don't insulate yourself behind assistants or secretaries. Share key information with colleagues and employees, communicate honestly, and include employees in decision making. For communication to be successful, organizations must create an atmosphere of fairness and trust.
6. Inadequate Communication Structures. Organizational communication is effected by formal restrictions on who may communicate with whom and who is authorized to make decisions. Designing too few formal channels blocks effective communication. Strongly centralized organizations, especially those with a high degree of formalization, reduce communication capacity, and they decrease the tendency to communicate horizontally thus limiting the ability to coordinate activities and decisions. Tall organizations tend to provide too many vertical communication links, so messages become distorted as they move through the organization's levels.
To overcome structural barriers, offer opportunities for communicating upward, downward, and horizontally (using such techniques as employee surveys, open-door policies, newsletters, memo, and task groups). Try to reduce hierarchical levels, increase coordination between departments, and encourage two-way communication.
7. Incorrect Choice of Medium. If you choose an inappropriate communication medium, your message can be distorted so that the intended meaning is blocked. You can select the most appropriate medium by matching your choice with the nature of the message and of the group or the individual who will receive it. Face-to-face communication is the richest medium because it is personal, it provides immediate feedback, it transmits information from both verbal and nonverbal cues, and it conveys the emotion behind the message. Telephones and other interactive electronic media aren't as rich; although they allow immediate feedback, they don't provide visual nonverbal cues such as facial expressions, eye contact and body movements. Written media can be personalized through addressed memos, letters, and reports, but they lack the immediate feedback and the visual and vocal nonverbal cues that contribute to the meaning of the message. The leanest media are generally impersonal written messages such as bulletins, fliers, and standard reports. Not only do they lack the ability to transmit nonverbal cues and to give feedback, they also eliminate any personal focus.
To overcome media barriers, choose the richest media for no routine, complex message. Use rich media to extend and to humanize your presence throughout the organization, to communicate caring and personal interest to employees, and to gain employee commitment to organizational goals. Use leaner media to communicate simple, routine messages. You can send information such as statistics, facts, figures and conclusions through a note, memo or written report
8. Closed communication climate. Communication climate is influenced by management style, and a directive, authoritarian style blocks the free and open exchange of information that characterizes good communication.
To overcome climate barriers, spend more time listening than issuing orders.
9. Unethical Communication. An organization cannot create illegal or unethical messages and still be credible or successful in the long run. Relationships within and outside the organization depend or trust and fairness.
To overcome ethics barriers, make sure your messages include all the information that ought to be there. Make sure that information is adequate and relevant to the situation. And make sure your message is completely truthful, not deceptive in any way.
10. Inefficient Communication. Producing worthless messages wastes time and resources, and it contributes to the information overload already mentioned.
Reduce the number of messages by thinking twice before sending one. Then speed up the process, first, by preparing messages correctly the first time around and, second, by standardizing format and material when appropriate. Be clear about the writing assignments you accept as well as the ones you assign.
11. Physical distractions. Communication barriers are often physical: bad connections, poor acoustics, illegible copy. Although noise or this sort seems trivial, it can completely block an otherwise effective message. Your receiver might also be distracted by an uncomfortable chair, poor lighting, or some other irritating condition. In some cases, the barrier may be related to the receiver's health. Hearing or visual impairment or even a headache can interfere with reception of a message. These annoyances don't generally block communication entirely, but they may reduce the receiver's concentration.
To overcome physical distractions, try to prepare well written documents which are clear, concise, and comprehensive. When preparing oral presentations try to find a setting which permits audience to see and hear the speaker clearly.
Martin Hahn PhD has received his education and degrees in Europe in organizational/industrial sociology. He grew up in South-East Asia and moved to Europe to get his tertiary education and gain experience in the fields of scientific research, radio journalism, and management consulting. For more info visit
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Effective Communication - The Key to Successful Time Management

Effective Communication - The Key to Successful Time Management - HK Training Courses

Jono Johnson
It's no surprise one of the biggest time-wasters on company time involves talking to colleagues. But it's not gossiping that takes up a lot of time: it's the never ending weekly staff status reports, updates on projects that have no conclusion and sales presentations that could be only a few minutes, but take up to an hour or more.
You can bring these unproductive meeting to a quick close by a few well-placed remarks. Or you may want to bring the discussion back to track in order to be able to have a productive ending.
There are other interruptions that can ruin your whole day: you will always have colleagues who step into your office with the usual "Got a sec?" question. Then you will have phone calls, useless e-mails, administrative tasks, or hall conversations that can be heard from your office.
A lot of people interrupt themselves by trying to do too many things at the same time: there are many studies with the conclusion that multitasking is not as effective work style as people generally believe. If you have to stop and restart the project you are working on, you will need a startup time every time you turn back to the task.
Sometimes you can feel that you could use the interruptions as an excuse to leave a project undone. If you get always interrupted, you can always say that it was somebody else's fault you could not finish your task. The problem with this kind of attitude is that you will still have to finish the project sooner or later: so you can do it on time, or you can do it under pressure, after working hours.
Your can have the task of writing a 400-page report in 10 months: this means 40 pages a month, or little more than one page per day. It seems easy, so you think you can put it off for a few months. Then you will need to produce 50 pages a month: that is not very hard either. But there will be one point when the doable starts to be impossible.
Deciding something is one of the easiest things to put off. However, the smallest indecision can cost you a lot of time consumption. If you leave one e-mail unanswered, and you get more mails from the sender, you may find yourself in the situation of spending up to five times more with that single issue, that you would have spent if you answered the e-mail on the first day.
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4 Communication Traits Shared By Masterful Managers - Negotiation Skills Training Course Hong Kong (HK)

4 Communication Traits Shared By Masterful Managers

- Negotiation Skills Training Course Hong Kong (HK)
Bill Lampton, Ph.D.
When you read about the habits and styles of well-known managers, you realize that they don't all fit the same mold. Some are workaholics with no outside interests, while others live balanced lives by reserving time for family, hobbies, and community service. Some flaunt their wealth by living in mega mansions, while others live so conservatively that they become the invisible millionaires Thomas J. Stanley profiled. Yet despite the variations in personal behavior, when you analyze professional actions you discover several striking similarities. Definitely, masterful managers share four communication traits that help them succeed as leaders.


Denny F. Strigl, a renowned CEO in the telecom industry, said: "I learned early in my career that the worst place to be as a manager was behind my desk." In fact, Strigl noted, "The best and easiest tools to use in creating an open work environment are the manager's own two legs." What's the impact of venturing from your office and mingling with your staff and employees? Among the numerous advantages, managers instantly "demonstrate they are open to new ideas, want to learn about issues, are eager to find solutions to problems, and are engaged and interested in the people within their organizations." Additionally, mobile managers illustrate to people on the front lines that they are important and that the boss is interested in their contributions.
Novice managers tend to remain office bound. For one thing, they feel overwhelmed by the paperwork that demands their attention and authorization. Also, they feel comfortable there, as they won't be challenged while isolated. However, as Strigl and many other outstanding leaders demonstrate, mixing and mingling with the work force strengthens morale and increases productivity.

Informal presentation style

In his formative years as a public servant, Rudy Giuliani prepared his speeches as methodically as he prepared his law cases. He would write drafts, and then share them with his colleagues who would "slave over the exact language." Eventually, though, he decided that his memorization and careful emphasis held him back. So in a breakthrough moment, as New York City's mayor he stepped away from the podium when he gave the all-important State of the City speech. Following the advice of a speech coach who told him to "deliver from the heart," he moved from mechanical to folksy in giving speeches.
Veteran communication coach Roger Ailes observed that the most famous clients he worked with used exactly the same vocal style in speaking to thousands that they would use during lunch with friends.

Open to fresh ideas

Louis V. Gerstner, Jr. gained international respect in the computer industry, not as a dictatorial CEO but as a manager who welcomed good ideas, radical as they might seem, from the grass roots level of his company. While there must be a necessary hierarchy, he practiced bringing "people together for problem solving, regardless of where they are positioned within the organization."
This approach, of course, would drive a micro-manager crazy. Micro-managers insist on "my way or the highway," as Harry E. Chambers titled his report about supervisors and CEOs who refuse to consider ideas other than their own.
Progressive managers reward employees who stimulate thinking and challenge set procedures.

Ability to use tasteful humor

Picture this scene. The CEO of a large medical center walked into the traditionally somber annual meeting that would set the budget for the next twelve months. Each of the twenty department heads he faced looked nervous, fearing their requests would not be met and they would have to downsize their staff and eliminate ambitious programs. Anticipating the anxiety, the CEO walked around the room with a big smile as he silently distributed a towel to each attendee. He prompted a much-needed outburst of laughter as he explained: "I know when I start responding to your budget pleading, it's likely that you'll want to shed a few tears. That's why I've given each of you your personal crying towel. Now that you are all prepared to begin, let's have David go first by summarizing his departmental proposal."
In government circles, think back to how President John Kennedy transformed press conferences into jovial sessions, using spontaneous quips to break the tension that surrounded his administration's critical concerns.
So whether you are a new manager or a veteran manager, increase your visibility, reshape your presentation style until your colleagues forget you are giving a speech, assure every employee you will consider recommendations from every level, and use humor to relieve tension and help people enjoy their job in ways they wouldn't in a stodgy atmosphere. Make these communication traits your trademarks, and you'll be well on your way to becoming a masterful manager.
Bill Lampton, Ph.D., President of Championship Communication, is known for "Helping You Finish in First Place!" His career includes twenty-three years in management at the vice presidential level, giving him solid preparation for his role as a leading business consultant. In serving clients, he first identifies an organization's major barriers to communication, by starting with the DISC Personal Style Analysis instrument, and then holding confidential follow up interviews. Next, he works with the corporation's leaders to design a customized communication training program, often spanning a year or more, to address the identified needs. His top-tier client list includes Gillette, Duracell, Procter & Gamble, Celebrity Cruises, Ritz-Carlton Cancun, British Columbia Legal Management Association, CenturyTel, and the National Pest Management Association. He wrote a popular book, The Complete Communicator: Change Your Communication, Change Your Life! Visit his Web site and sign up for his newsletter, "Winning Words and Ways": Call him: 678-316-4300 Subscribe to his weekly podcast, "Communication Consulting Radio":
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Using Communication Styles That Entertain, Inform, Convince and Persuade Effectively - HK Negotiation Skills Training Course Workshop Hong Kong, HKSAR, China, Asia Using CommunicatioN Styles That Entertain, Inform, Convince and Persuade Effectively - HK Negotiation Skills Training Course Workshop Hong Kong, HKSAR, China, Asia

Using CommunicatioN Styles That Entertain, Inform, Convince and Persuade Effectively -

HK Negotiation Skills Training Course Workshop Hong Kong, HKSAR, China, Asia
Nigel Brooks

Effective communications

are essential for building both personal and professional relationships with others. First impressions count so it is important to choose words that others can relate to quickly.
Every industry and function has its jargon. For example, talking to bankers about interest rate sensitivity, to product developers about time-to-market, and to manufacturing enterprises about overhead costs builds rapport. Salespeople prefer words that convey energy and excitement; medical practitioners prefer words that suggest care and well being; accountants and attorneys prefer precise language; and technologists prefer words that convey solutions.
Because people often make decisions on emotion, and then justify them rationally, it is essential to use motivational language. Whereas ultimately that means using persuasive language, the entertaining, informing, and convincing styles are useful for raising emotion.

Successful salespeople

claim that it takes multiple interactions with a prospect to make a sale - at least five is not uncommon. Unsuccessful salespeople usually give up before they have reached the threshold required to close. Many interactions are required to build trust, which is based upon communications and the accompanying actions.

Large transactions between enterprises

, such as long-term contracts, or mergers and acquisitions may require field trips and site visits over multiple days. These events require discussions and presentations in meetings, and over breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. Eventually the parties meet across the table to negotiate the deal. Minimizing the amount of face time with counter parties reduces the risk of something being said that is out of place. So face time should be reserved to those situations where messages can be powerfully transmitted with anticipation and deliberation.

During negotiations,

the parties must never be off guard, and all language to entertain, inform, convince, and persuade should be chosen carefully by understanding the needs of the audience and their backgrounds. Therefore, it is necessary to determine what motivates an audience and what it aspires to - their industry and functional backgrounds provide clues.
It is important to understand whether the audience prefers the "analytical" approach (findings followed by conclusions followed by recommendations), or "bottom-line" approach (recommendations based upon conclusions based upon findings). "Process-oriented" people, such as accountants, attorneys, and engineers, usually want to build the case, whereas "people-oriented" people, such as those in entertainment, health care, and sales, usually want to get straight to the point.

The four communications styles

can be used to inspire the audience accordingly:

Entertaining style

- appropriate as an "ice breaker" at a formal meeting or presentation:
  • Start with an example of a relevant event or situation, made humorous if possible
  • Describe images of the event or situation in vivid words, using poetic license if appropriate
  • Relate to personal experiences with examples
  • Make a transition to the current event or situation
  • Make relevant points of comparison
  • End with a memorable statement related to the most important point

Informative style

- appropriate at larger "town hall" style meetings:
  • Start with an example of a relevant event or situation
  • Describe images of the event or situation with vivid words
  • Discuss what the complicated the situation, what the problems were, and how solutions were reached
  • Make a transition to the current event or situation
  • Talk about the presentation - give an overview
  • Discuss complications, problems, and potential or actual solutions
  • Be fact based, using examples where possible based upon observations and experience
  • Summarize key points
  • Talk about the presentation - what it was about
  • End with a memorable statement related to the most important point

Convincing style

- appropriate for smaller meetings where the audience needs to be convinced of an idea or condition in order to modify behavior:
  • Start with an example of a relevant event or situation
  • Make a transition to the specific idea or condition
  • Answer the "why?" - initial benefit statement regarding the idea or condition
  • Answer "what is it?" - a summary of the idea or condition
  • Answer "what's in it for the audience?" - benefits of the idea or condition in detail
  • Describe the rationale of the idea or condition with facts, statistics, and metrics
  • Respond to objections as suggestions
  • Summarize the idea or condition
  • Call to action - describe the behavior modification as a consequence of convincing the audience
  • End with a memorable statement related to the most important point

Persuasive style

- appropriate for small meetings where the audience needs to be persuaded to do something based upon an opportunity or threat:
  • Start with an example of a relevant opportunity or threat
  • Make a transition to the specific opportunity or threat
  • Answer the "why?" - initial benefit statement regarding the action required to respond to the opportunity or threat
  • Answer the "status" - what is the current situation, and what complicates it
  • Answer "what is it?" - describe the problem
  • Answer "where does the audience want to go?"- describe the alternative solutions
  • Answer "how does the audience get there from here?" - use either the "analytical" approach or the "bottom-line" approach supported by facts, statistics, and metrics
  • Respond to objections as suggestions
  • Confirm the opportunity or threat with the recommendations and the principal benefit
  • Call to action - describe what the audience must do
  • End with a memorable statement related to the most important recommendation

Every individual operates within their own world from which they perceive events, situations, ideas, conditions, opportunities, and threats. Their personal style determines what they aspire to and what inspires them. It is important to understand the personal style of each individual member of an audience so as to use a communication style that gets results.
...and to understand personal styles in thirty minutes or less, claim your opportunity for instant access when you go to
From Nigel A.L. Brooks - Management Consultant and Motivational Speaker
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Business Presentation Skills: Lessons From Public Speaking Contestants - PresentatioN Skills Course Hong Kong HK

Business Presentation Skills: Lessons From Public Speaking Contestants - PresentatioN Skills Course Hong Kong HK
Helen Wilkie
It was a public speaking contest for high school kids. It was held in a big room, in a big hotel, in a big city. The judges were professional speakers who make their living at this. The audience was full of parents, each thinking nobody could touch their child for speaking prowess. Lots of pressure on these young shoulders, but they rose to the occasion.
Presentation skills are vital to career success today, no matter what field you are in. No longer are presentations restricted to senior level people - today anybody could be asked to present at any time. But too many folks have just not developed the level of presentation skills they need to be successful.
The young people in this contest have already built competence in a skillset that will give them career advantages over their peers no matter what they do. Here's why.
- They were highly articulate. The ability to express a thought clearly and concisely so that listeners understand it immediately will give them an advantage in a workplace world where this skill is not nearly as widespread as one might think.
- They were confident without being arrogant. When you speak confidently, people are more likely to buy into your message, but arrogance will turn your audience off. This fact seems to have escaped many adults as they make their presentations to management.
- They were enthusiastic. Whether the subject was funny or serious - and there were some of each type - they showed just the right degree of enthusiasm or intensity. Too many business presentations are boring, because the presenters deliver them in the same tone no matter the subject or whether the news is good or bad.
- Finally, they spoke clearly - they didn't mumble! There seems to be a mumbling virus out there in the workplace today. People run their words together and drop the endings, so that what comes out is a meaningless jumble of sound. If your prospects are struggling to understand what you are saying, how likely are they to buy what you're selling? Not very.
These kids were outstanding. They were judged on subject matter and delivery, and given points for tone of voice, volume, pitch and pace, humour and even audience response. It was hard to pick a winner.
I just hope these great kids don't lose the skills and enthusiasm they have now, or they'll sink to the level of way too many business presentations. And that would be a shame.
Helen Wilkie is a professional speaker specializing in presentation skills and other forms of
workplace communication. For more business presentation skills tips, visit
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Clear Communication Brings Enhanced Career Performance - HK Presentation Skills Training Courses in Hong Kong

Clear Communication Brings Enhanced Career Performance - HK Presentation Skills Training Courses in Hong Kong

Ken Schmitt
The term "label" carries with it a slew of images - both positive and negative. For those wounded veterans who proudly display the words "War Vet" on their license plate, the label brings respect and admiration. For those suffering from intense peanut allergies, a warning label on products produced without any peanut oil, can be life saving. The term "ADHD" (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) or "IEP" (independent education plan) on a student's school file allows the teacher to work more effectively with the student. In each case the goal remains the same: to provide information that allows others to better understand the person or item with which they are interacting in hopes of providing a more positive experience.
So what does this have to do with career management, recruiting or job search? Consider this email we've all received at some point in our professional lives: "I'm not interested in your services at this time." Or how about this one: "Got your message. Give me a call." Or one of my favorites: "I don't understand what you're asking."
While there are a number of ways to interpret these messages - rude, succinct, dismissive, respectful, blunt or inquisitive - wouldn't our jobs be easier if we had some insights about the person sending the message to help us interpret her words more accurately? Or put another way, wouldn't life be easier if we all had "labels" identifying our style of communication?
"Hello, my name is Ken - don't bore me with details"
Let's use TurningPoint as an example. Keep in mind we are a small, boutique firm with a virtual model and a combined 40+ years of experience in recruiting, HR and career coaching, so we are not new to communicating. However, even in our small firm, we each have our unique style of communicating. I am very honest with my team, letting them know that I speak and move very quickly, I tend to work on multiple things at a time - hence the typing in the background while I am talking to them on the phone - I have high expectations and I am a perfectionist when it comes to written communication. While details are important to me, my mind operates - and therefore I communicate - with a focus on ideas, vision, long term strategy, connectedness and the need to create solutions.
My team is comprised of a former teacher, a certified coach with a sociology degree and an HR/recruiter who grew up overseas and earned a degree in anthropology. Do you think we all communicate in the same manner - think again! Do you think it took some time to get accustomed to each other's styles - you'd better believe it!
While I'm not advocating that everyone walk around with an actual label on their shirt that reads "Hello, my name is Ken. I'm a visionary guy so don't bore me with details", it's imperative that we spend time in the workplace talking openly about our approach, our goals and our perspective. Absent this commitment to understanding each other's communication style, issues are bound to arise ranging from an inadvertent insult to an inaccurate financial arrangement.
About five years ago, I sat on a local board and the interaction between the various personalities was quite invigorating. I felt it was my responsibility as a board member and President to take advantage of our large cash reserve - which had been in place for many years - to provide some new services to our members. Being an "idea guy", I was not worried about decreasing our cash reserves by 15%-20% because these new programs were going to benefit the membership. Our Treasurer, however, had a different perspective and as an accomplished financial professional and fellow board member, was focused on the dollars. On one occasion, I sent an email outlining my expectations and plans to deploy this capital. Although I had no intention of insulting anyone, my seemingly benign message was met with the following: "Ken, I really don't understand what you want from me. If you want me to resign from the board, just say so!"
"Where did that come from?" I asked myself and several colleagues. I realized later - and this was a great learning experience for me - that my failure wasn't in the message. Rather, I had failed earlier on by not talking to the Treasurer 1-on-1 about my thoughts and the reasons behind my so-called "spending spree". I never took the time to recognize that this individual was a numbers person and as such, the primary goal was to preserve cash! Perhaps the Treasurer's label would read something like "Hello, I'm a CPA, CMA, Controller and Treasurer. My commitment is to producing accurate numbers & managing cash. New ideas are fine, so long as they're paid for."
It's easy to forget that each one of us brings different life experiences, biases, education and perspectives to every encounter. While you cannot be held responsible for interpreting the communication style of every person you come into contact with, it's up to
you to open the dialogue, providing those around you with a glimpse into your style.
"Hi, my name is Ken Schmitt and I'm a native of San Diego. I've been working since I was 14 years old, my dad was a Jack in the Box franchisee and my mom is an accountant turned real estate agent. From the age of 13 I knew I wanted to run my own business some day and as soon as I got into recruiting and started networking in 1998, I knew I had found my home."
These 75+ words, though short and to the point, provide a great deal of insight into who I am, what my priorities are, where I spend my time and most likely, how I communicate with those around me.
The more others learn about you, your preferences, your personality type and your style of interaction - both listening and speaking - the greater the chances that your interaction will be productive at work and home. Don't hesitate to share your "label" with your friends, colleagues, superiors, staff and family, and encourage them to do the same. I guarantee you will be impressed by the results.
What's your label and how will you use it to enhance your career?
Ken C. Schmitt is an Executive Recruiter, Career Coach, Expert Resume-Writer and Master networker. He has been coaching and placing mid-senior level professionals for 13 years. Having presented to nearly 1000 professionals and written more than 50 career-related articles, Ken is well positioned to provide valuable information about recruiting and career management. For more career management advice visit
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Hong Kong Management Communication Careers Site

Hong Kong Management Communication Careers Site

Improve your career in Business in Hong Kong with this site. The site specialises in providing excellent

4 Effective Written Communication Tips to Improve Your Business Skills - Training Courses in Hong Kong HK

4 Effective Written Communication Tips to Improve Your Business Skills

Ankitaa G. Dalmia

Strong written communication skills are necessary to succeed in your line of work. So the question is - how to make written communication effective? You have to be precise and your message should be concise.
Here are
4 effective written communication tips to help you convey your message successfully, whether it's in a memo, an email or a business letter.
Tip 1 - Choose the stationary correctly. To be taken seriously, written communication in business is best conveyed using your business stationery. This means your business letter should be printed/written on the company's letterhead. The same goes for memos and other forms of communication.
When using emailing, add your company's logo to the message. Use your discretion to include other company information like office address, contact numbers, email address, etc. to your message.
Tip 2 - Use simple language. Avoid complex words. Use simple words and short sentences to make your communication brief and to the point.
Use technical jargon only when necessary - like when you are discussing a system failure and asking the email's recipient for technical support.
Uppercase letters on your message conveys you are SHOUTING at the recipient. So, just avoid CAPS LOCK.
Tip 3 - Well-structured message. A well-structured message has an introduction, a body and then a conclusion, preferably one paragraph each.
You talk about the purpose of the communication in the introduction section.
You give the details in the body section, which is why it might be longer than one paragraph. But try to limit the entire communication to a single page.
And you wrap up with a summary and call-to-action in the conclusion. A call-to-action means you are asking the recipient to give you a call or email you a reply to your communication.
Tip 4 - Proofread. Your written communication skills can improve significantly if you just remember to proofread before sending out your communication. Read carefully and use the spell check tool in your email or word processor to correct any mistakes.
Spelling and/or grammar mistakes make a bad impression on your professional image, especially when it's written communication in business. If you are this careless to make mistakes in such simple matters, how can anyone trust you to be careful in the other aspects of your work?
With these tips, you can learn how to make written communication effective.
This concludes my series on Effective Communication Skills for Professionals, which included Business Presentation Tips, 4 Tips to Improve Body Language and finally this post, 4 Effective Written Communication Tips. Visit my website to read these posts on my blog.
Contact me now for a free consultation to improve your communication skills and be more successful at your workplace.
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Why Written Communication Skills Are Important - Training Courses in Hong Kong

Why Written Communication Skills Are Important
Krystalina Soash

As a writer and public speaker, I often ask myself "What is the purpose of writing and speaking?" And I answer, "It is to communicate a point effectively". So whether we speak, write a speech or memo, the whole purpose is to communicate effectively. Then we have to ask, "What is it that we are trying to communicate?"
Following are some important points to keep in mind when attempting to communicate your point:

  • State your most important point first. That is, what is the basis of your letter, memo, speech or email? State that point in the very beginning so your reader will know what to focus on.
  • When addressing your reader, think about your audience. Who are you actually directing your communication towards? Is it your "in group" that understands your lingo? Is it your professional comrade that understands your jargon? Be sure to only use terms and clichés that are understood by your professional insiders.
  • Use correct grammar and spelling. Your professionalism will carry a lot of weight when it comes to proper grammar and spelling. You will gain credibility among your listeners and/or readers when you communicate in an appropriate manner.
  • Use your 'active voice' not your 'passive voice'. For example, instead of saying "It's been found that our accounting..." Say instead, "Our accounting records reveal that..." In other words don't leave the reader hanging as to 'who' is doing the processing. Let them know from the start that 'you know' who is doing the action!
  • Last but not least, read your letter, email, recording, or speech out loud before you put it out. Check for emphasis on words and the intent of your message.

We have very good intentions when we want to convey a message and the better we refine that message the better the results. You're encouraged to review the points above for a positive outcome on your next message, whether written, recorded, or spoken. Best to you!
Krystalina Soash is a public speaker, trilingual interpreter and author of "Your Positive Potential: Action Steps for Self-Empowerment"
You may visit Krystalina at (formerly known as
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Effective Communication Skills For Today's Managers - Life Lessons - Training Courses in Hong Kong HK

Effective Communication Skills For Today's Managers - Life Lessons
Charles Ainsworth

Effectively communicating to your employees will result in a more efficient operation and will help achieve the bottom-line objectives of any company, business, or basic interaction. As a manager, your communication skill is critical in directing the actions of your employees. This basic managerial skill course in communication will enable you to become a better manager for yourself, and for your organization. You will learn how to communicate effectively, which will help you to maximize "work through others" to get the job done.
There are many components to communication. Consider verbal communication skills, listening skills, written memorandums/email, telephone skills and non-verbal communication. Also, reflect upon all the people we communicate to: subordinates, peers, supervisors, customers, and groups of people. In addition, ponder some of the reasons, why we communicate: to get and give information, to discipline subordinates, to make assignments, and so on. 
We will not be able to explore every facet and component of communication. Rather, we will focus on the general principles of effective communication that apply to most situations and we will point out important things to remember for some specific situations.  We will use only as much "theory" as needed to gain basic understanding of communication problems. Primarily, we will discuss what you can do to become an effective communicator.
Our Objectives
Upon completion, you will be capable of:
1) Recognizing communication problems and barriers. 2) Implementing techniques to resolve communication problems and barriers. 3) Demonstrating the basic general rules of effective communication. 4) Using special techniques in specific communication situations.
This is designed to do more than just give you information on communicating. Rather, it is set up to teach you skills which you can apply in your day to day routine.
What is Communication?
Communication is simply the sending of a message to another person. The person sending the message first needs to formulate the message in his head. This involves determining the meaning that the sender intends to convey to the other person. To formulate the meaning of the message, the sender usually draws upon his background attitudes, perceptions, emotions, opinions, education, and experience. 
The message is then sent to the listener through both verbal talking and non-verbal gestures. The person receiving this message then interprets its meaning. To do this, the listener uses his background, attitudes, perceptions, emotions, opinions, education, and experience. 
Effective communication exists between two persons when the person receiving the message interprets it in the same way as the sender intended it. Sounds really simple doesn't it?  Well, it can be.
Who is Responsible for Communicating Effectively?
Managers share the responsibility in communicating effectively with the individual employees themselves. The manager is 100% responsible for communicating effectively with their employees.
This includes establishing an open and trusting climate for communication, as well as demonstrating good communication techniques to their employees. The employee is 100% responsible for taking advantage of the "climate for communication" to express what is important and relevant. For example,it is expected that a manager will ask "are there any questions?" after giving an employee an assignment, but it is also expected that an employee will say, "I have a question", if one should occur to the employee, without waiting for the manager to ask. 
Why Managers Need to be Effective Communicators?
o Communication is used so frequently that "we cannot afford to do it poorly". o Communication has a special power: to create interest, stimulate action, achieve agreement, foster enthusiasm. o Communication is the primary method that managers use to direct their employee's behavior. o Communication is the basis for almost all other managerial skills. It is involved in delegating duties to subordinates, motivating employees, demonstrating leadership  abilities, training new policies and programs, and counseling performance problems, etc.
Barriers to Effective Communication
o Supervisor inaccessible. o Supervisor buried in work. o Supervisor always in a hurry. o Supervisor maintains a pre-occupied expression; little eye-contact with employees. o Supervisor only informal with his peers or boss (never with subordinates). o Supervisor tells employees to "write it up" instead of promoting discussion. o Supervisor never asks, "How's it going?".
Where do Difficulties in Communication Arise?
The basic source of misunderstanding between two persons are communication failures that occur when the receiver understands the meaning of a message differently than it was intended. We do not always communicate what we intend.
Communication failures arise when there is a gap between what the sender meant and what the receiver thought the sender meant.
Communication failure can be caused by:
o Being so preoccupied that you do not listen to what other are saying. o Being so interested in what you have to say that you listen only to find an opening to work your way into the conversation. o Being so sure that you know what the other person is going to say that you distort what you hear to match your expectation. o Evaluating and judging the speakers, which makes the speaker guarded and defensive. o Not being able to "see past the words" and get the emotional message of the sender. o Not trusting the speaker and becoming suspicious of what is being said.
Setting the Stage for Effective Communication
Even before the first word is uttered, various factors are already at work that can affect the success or failure of our communications.  Let's examine these factors to see what role they play. 
Communicator's Appearance
Before we ever say a word, others have been receiving messages from us. We communicate to others just by the way we dress and groom. In the book Dressing for Success, the author notes that other people conclude about 17 different things about us just on the basis of how we appear.
Many businesses utilize a dress code to guide people to the appropriate type of attire. It use to be traditional within the business world for men to wear a coat and tie. This conveys to others that we are professionals. In addition, conservative colors are preferred to more outspoken colors. This communicates seriousness, stability, and a "down-to-business" attitude. Recent changes have occurred in this area, just always remember that people do make conclusions about you based on your appearance.  Understand the expectation as it relates to dress code and insure you are in tune with the company position. 
Communicator's Past Conversations
Communication experts tell us that the credibility of the communicator, as determined by past conversations, is a critical factor in effective communication. Credibility refers to the attitude the listener has toward the truthfulness and trustworthiness of the sender's statements. When a listener views the sender as dependable, knowledgeable, reliable, warm and friendly, emphatic, and non-selfish, the message that is sent will be more likely to be received. Unless we seem credible to the receiver. our message will be discounted and we will not be able to communicate effectively with him.
Communicator's Personality
The personality of the communicator plays a part in both the formulation of the message and in how the message is communicated. Each individuals beliefs, opinions, prejudices, feelings, biases, and personal experiences enter into the development of a message. Most of the time this happens quickly, automatically, and out of habit. In addition to influencing what we think and say, our personalities also play a role in how we say the message. You may know of an instance where two managers sound completely different in conveying the same exact message to a listener. For example a result oriented manager may talk in short, concise, action-oriented sentences, while another manager may end up in a long discourse including many details and side points.
The Communication Situation
The situation and circumstances surrounding our communication plays a part in determining its success or failure. Although many types of situations affect the messages we send, one particular type that can easily distort our messages is communication under stress. Stress, by its very nature, makes it difficult for us to "think clearly". In a stress situation, the meaning of the message can be distorted; subtle shades of meaning can be confused; pieces of information can be forgotten; minor points may seem more important than major points. In addition, the wording of the communication may suffer. Uncertainty, nervousness, and confusion can creep into the speaker's voice, resulting in a less assertive statement. 
Communicating Effectively - Verbal Communication
Verbal communication means talking. The goal in communicating verbally is to convey a message to another person so that the other person understands it exactly as the person talking intended it. A well communicated message is one which the other person can accurately repeat back in his own words. Verbal communication can be made more effective by:
o Talking about specific rather than general situations. o Using concrete language, e.g., "merchandise" rather than "stuff". o Using words familiar to employees; explaining unfamiliar words. o Including an example to illustrate the point. o Giving sufficient detail to convey the point. o Giving details slowly and in order. o Making it a practice to address the five "W" questions in the  topic (if applicable).
Who is involved? What is the situation; how did it begin? When will it occur? Where is it taking place? What you think, believe, feel? Why will it happen? Why is this important?
 Nonverbal Communication
Nonverbal communication refers to the gestures and body positions that accompany ones speaking. All people display certain gestures or lack of them when talking. It is important to be aware of your nonverbal communication, for it plays a big role in making your total communication effective. 
Effective communication occurs when a person's verbal message and nonverbal message both "say the same thing". Problems in communication occur when the speaker's words say one thing, but his gestures and body language says something else.
Types of Nonverbal Communication
All of the following "says something". In the specific context, they should correspond and reinforce the spoken message.
o Eye contact. o Position of our arms and legs. o The distance we stand from others when talking to them. o Where we sit at a table or in relation to others. o Smiling. o Nodding or other head movements.
The manager can use nonverbal behaviors in two ways. First, when speaking, he can monitor his own nonverbal behavior and try to make sure it corresponds and emphasizes what he is verbally saying.
For example:
o When taking charge of a situation, the manager should have good eye contact with his subordinates, stand in a straight posture, use a firm but not overbearing voice,and point to what he wants done. 
o Upon noticing customers, the employee should smile to indicate friendliness, make eye contact to acknowledge the customer's presence, tun his body in the direction of the customer to indicate his willingness to help if needed.
The other way a manager can use nonverbal behavior is in "listening to what others are really saying". If the manager notices the employee saying one thing verbally but another thing non verbally, then the manager should suspect that the verbal message being said may be somewhat "incomplete".
Active listening skills is what separates the good from the great. Learn to listen with your ears, eyes and perception paying attention to both the verbal and nonverbal communication.
For example:
An employee who says that he would feel comfortable doing a task but who exhibits folded arms, crossed legs, and tensed neck muscles might not be feeling as comfortable as he thinks. The manager who suspects this might need to keep his eye on this situation.
Written Communication
In written communication, the simpler, shorter, and more direct the better. This can be remembered by the equation:
Effectiveness = Conciseness = Completeness
Try the following tips for achieving concise and complete communication.
o Use simple words; your goal is not to impress your reader with your vocabulary, it is to get the point across. o Make sure the words exactly express the thought; different words can slant the entire message of your point. o Make the sentence structure clear; poor grammar, run on sentences, etc., can distort the point you want to make. o Use a different paragraph for each complete unit of thought. o Make sure all of the necessary information is included. o Anticipate questions and include the answers in your message. o Use only essential words and phrases. o Make sure your facts, dates, times, etc., are correct. o Consider the tone of the memorandum. Make sure it doesn't contain antagonism or    preaching. I highly suggest that if you are upset about something, it is OK to    write out your thoughts and ideas for making the situation better.  Then make sure you do not send it, until you read it the next day. You will find in most cases that what you want to say does not change, but how you say it will change dramatically once you are over the emotions you attached to it. o Make sure it is neat in appearance.
Remember all written memorandums have a dual purpose: you want the reader to receive your message and you want to do it the shortest, quickest way possible without leaving out necessary information.
All memorandums written in this way will be a good reflection upon you.
Phone Conversations
Talking on the phone lies between face-to-face communication and written communication in regard to information we can receive from the other person. Phone conversations do not give us access to the body language of the other person, hence, we miss the nonverbal cues accompanying the words. On the other hand, phone communication does allow us to take into account the tone of voice the other person is using, unlike written communication/email. 
Voice tone can be used in two ways. First, we can vary our voice tone to reinforce what we are saying verbally. Managers can convey competence, sincerity, and trust through the tone of their voice when talking to customers or employees.
Secondly, we can pay attention to other people's tone of voice, much like nonverbal behavior, to check on unspoken feelings and thoughts. To do this accurately, practice listening to both the words and the tone of the voice that carries the words.
When talking to someone you have spoken to before, pay attention to changes in their usual voice qualities. Some people speak slow, loud, or clear. When these people change their normal voice qualities, they are communicating something extra to us. It is up to us to look for cues to detect what these changes in customary
voice tones mean.  Remember, you can't talk to someone on the phone and someone in front of you both at the same time and do justice to either party.  
Communicating to a Group
Communicating to a group can be as simple as making an announcement r as complex as running a training program requiring much group participation. Much of what has been presented in this training applies to communicating to a group. Pre-communication factors, such as your appearance, credibility, and the specifics of the situation plays large part in establishing a successful presentation. Talking effectively and using nonverbal body language to correspond to the spoken words can all be used in group settings. A particularly skillful speaker can even "read" the nonverbal cues of the group as a whole and use this information to adjust his talk.
Why you Should Listen to Your Employees
o Employees might have helpful ideas. o Employees might know causes of problems in the workplace. o Employees might be able to warn me about potential problems I haven't yet recognized. o How employees feel about things can be a tip-of future problems.
Ways of Not Listening
o Signing routine papers. o Sorting papers. o Allowing long telephone interruptions. o Sneaking looks at the time. o Gazing out of the window, or at distractions passing by. o Maintaining pre-occupied facial expressions. o Calling orders to other employees in between sentences. o Fidgeting nervously, shaking foot, playing with gadgets, coffee cup, etc.
Inhibiting Communication from Your Employees
Avoid the following to prevent cutting off future communication from your employees:
o Blaming the employee who gave you bad news. o Getting angry. o "Falling apart". o Demanding the employee to justify work that is reported to be not going well.
How should you react to news: React to bad news by remaining objective; keep your emotions under control; switch to a "problem-solving", "let's get this situation corrected" approach. Respond to good news with praise, acknowledgment and appreciation.
Active Listening Active listening is comprised of three separate and important skills: attention skills, following skills, and responding skills. Attention skills are those actions you take to put the talker at ease, to non verbally show you are listening, and to best "pay attention to" what the other person is trying to say. Maintaining eye contact, eliminating distractions, and concentrating on both the verbal and nonverbal are examples of attention skills. 
Following Skills These are the skills we use to encourage the conversation along; to get the point the person is making. Nodding our heads, saying "uh-huh", "I see", and "go on" are following skills. Asking appropriate questions to bring out the point is a following skill as is allowing silences without jumping in. All following skills serve two purposes: to indicate to the speaker that you are "with him" and to help him get the point across.
Responding Skills This is where we determine if we received and interpreted the message as the speaker intended it. Say something like, "If I understand correctly, you are saying ... " and go on to paraphrase that we understand, using our own words. Check out the facts and ideas, the main point of what the speaker said. It is only after we are sure that we understood the message as intended, can we then evaluate, judge, take action, or supply an answer or comment.
Communicating on the Job - Who We Communicate To Before the message is formulated and communicated, we become aware of who we will be sending it to. How and what we communicate can change depending upon who is the intended audience.
Upward Communication If we will be communicating to our immediate supervisor, our message might be prepared, formulated, and presented in a specific manner. For example, if we need to seek assistance from our supervisor, asking an open-ended question will result in more information than a question that can be answered yes or no.
Peer Communication If the communication is intended for a peer, the message might be less "formally" prepared and presented. For example, less background information might need to be given since the peer can "easily relate" to the situation to be described.
Downward Communication The manager who is communicating to his subordinate may need to do so in a different way than to others. Clear, concise, directions might be the format for much of the messages the manager gives to his employees. In addition, the manager may follow-up many of his messages with, "Do you have any questions?".
Checking For Understanding When communicating with employees, it is always a good idea to check for understanding. Simply take a second and ask " recap for me what I have asked you to do." By doing this, you can clear up any missed communication that may have taken place.  This step is helpful for both parties as it allows them to communicate back to you that they heard and understood your direction. This is a critical step in delegation of tasks.
Communicating With Customers Communicating to a customer also affects how the message is formulated and delivered. Messages conveyed to customers need to be totally accurate and delivered in a professional and friendly manner.
Purpose of the Communication When we talk to someone, we usually have a purpose. The purpose of the communication differs depending on the situation and who we are addressing. A manager may communicate for any of the following reasons:
o To motivate employees. o To teach, instruct, or explain a task. o To counsel an employee. o To seek information or assistance. o To correct an employee's behavior. o To be persuasive. o To socialize.
With each of these purposes, the communication changes in order to accomplish our goal.
One of my favorite leaders use to say, that you will have  become a master of communication when you are able to tell someone where to go and to have them looking forward to the trip! 
Chuck Ainsworth, aka The Origami Warrior is a visionary writer who enjoys learning new topics and putting them into easy to understand terms. He brings 30 plus years of Senior Management experience and provides the insights needed to help others reach peak performance by improving their basic Management and Leadership Skills. He is CEO of Ainsworth Associates, Inc. He currently writes about topics he loves that include: Origami, Origami Warrior Wisdom, Motivation, Training, Management Skills Development, Leadership, Life Lessons, Core Values, Internet Marketing, Social Media, Life After Death - How To Overcome Life Changing Events and more. A published author who loves family, pets, community. While he has spent much of his life traveling, he now enjoys a much simpler life, living in his home town on a small quiet private lake with his family. Follow his Origami Warrior Wisdom daily quotes follow me at to get my tweets and be sure to check out other Life Lessons at:
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