1. Diagnosis and reflection
Effective business communication is important for business success and the employees need to have good communication to make efficient business communication within and outside the office premises. As stated by Adnan et al., (2017), business communication should be concise and complete with management and employees’ end. Business communication within the workplace must be clear and the employees must show confidence while conversing with others. In this study, I am going to test my business communication skills by identifying two key areas of personal capability.
I have selected five diagnostic tools that can help me out to understand the communication issues and strengths. These five diagnostic tools are as follows:
1. Soft skills test
Soft skills are a combination of social skills, people skills and communication skills that help people in shaping the characters. Soft skills in communication are necessary to manage the people within the workplace (Berger, 2014). In order to manage the people, emotional intelligence and social intelligence both are important. Soft skills of an employee are also referred to as people skills as controlling and managing the people are needed. In soft skills test, there are 16 statements are there and each of the state has five scale rating like Likert scale. For each statement, the participant has to colour the column or scale he/she likes to choose. After answering all the questions, the participants need to calculate the score of the test. The statements are related to the feedback, decision-making, collaboration and speaking ability.
2. Verbal communication skills test
Verbal communication in the workplace is needed to quickly communicate with people in order to build the rapport with the co-workers. Verbal communication is the speaking ability in front of others that help the employees to gain influence, respect and become likeable among people within the workplace (Couldry & Hepp, 2013). Verbal communication self-assessment test has 20 statements and each of the statement has 7 point scale. The participants of the test need to respond in an honest way as possible. The participants of this test need to choose 1 to 7 point based on the statement where 1 means ‘very little’ and 7 means ‘a lot’. After taking the test, the participants need to calculate the score to understand the weaknesses and strengths in verbal communication.
3. Non-verbal communication skill test
Non-verbal communication among the people is done through the body language without words. Non-verbal communication is included the use of visual clues like body language, physical environment, distance and touch or voice. As stated by DeVito (2015), in working environment, wordless clues signal more than words through nonverbal communication. In the workplace, the leaders or managers use consciously or unconsciously use their facial expressions to make the opposite persons understand the meaning of the communication. In this test, there are 8 questions and each question has four alternatives. The participants have to answer correctly from the given alternatives. The participants can calculate the score after the test is done.
4. Presentation skill test
An effective presentation can reduce the conflict of communication. Presentation skills are associated with the confidence, relax and performance of the presenter. According to Fussell & Kreuz (2014), employees can learn how to be comfortable and relaxed during the presentation and to increase the level of confidence during the presentation. Presentation skill test has 14 statements and each of the statement has five-point scales. The participants need to answer the statement accurately and five-point scales reflect ‘not at all’, ‘rarely’, ‘sometimes’, ‘often’ and ‘very often’. After taking the test, the participants need to calculate the score.
5. Self-perceived communication competency scale (SPCC) test
Employees within a workplace try to communicate effectively with the fellow employees. As stated by Ganguly (2017), one employee can be more competent in one situation in communicating than other situation. On the contrary, one employee is competent in one situation and another employee is not at all competent in the similar situation. Self-perceived communication competency scale test has 12 statements. The participants need to give a score based on the statement from 0 (completely incompetent) to 100 (competent). After taking the test, the participants need to calculate the percentile of the sub-score through computer or calculator.
b) Findings of the tools
1. Soft skills test
Soft skill is also referred to as people skill that can help me to communicate effectively with the employees. Soft skills test comprised 16 questions and this test score ranges from 16 to 80. Fortunately, I scored 56 out of 80. Soft skill is important to me as this skill is helpful to manage the communication from leaders’ or managerial level. At the managerial level, soft skills are important in communication to navigate the workplace environment, to work efficiently with others and to achieve the goals of the organisation. The result of the soft skill test showed me that I can identify the work process and I like to work with co-workers. My first priority is my needs; however, I like to work in collaborative. This test showed that my old habits of taking stress and tension during the work pressure.
2. Verbal communication test
Managers and leaders need to build the verbal communication in order to verbally motivate the people to become friendly, clear in speaking, thinking before speaking and authentic self-respect for the fellow people. This verbal communication test’s score ranges from 20 to 140. Verbal communication is significant to perform effectively within a team. The result of the verbal communication came with 76. There are four slabs in the results category. My score fell into the category of second group (between 51 and 80) as my score was 76. This result showed that I have communication skills, but these communication skills are not well-developed. I am aware of my limits and I need personal development to improve my verbal communication skills.
3. Non-verbal communication skill test
Non-verbal communication is important as facial expression, eye-contact and gesture of the leaders or managers to understand the tone of the communication. Non-verbal communication skill test had eight questions and fortunately I managed to give all answers right. Therefore, I got the score between 35 and 40pts. This score showed that I am an excellent communicator. This score also showed the potentiality of me that my gesture can make people understand what I intend to communicate.
4. Presentation skills test
The presentation skill is part of the business requirements and the presenter needs to impact on the audiences. Presentation skill test had 14 statements to answer and I gave my responses. The result came with score 50. This score interprets that my presentation skill is just okay and the presentations are probably just average. I am an average presenter and I may not leave a good impression to the audiences. My message is essentially non-existent and my message is just likely to be soon forgotten. Therefore, I need to work on this skill in order to improve my presentation skill to become an excellent presenter.
5. Self-perceived Communication Competence Scale (SPCC) test
While doing this test, I was a little bit confused at first. There were 12 statements; I had to give my responses on the scale of 0 to 100 for each of the statement. I did the same’ however, I had to compute the sub score and I also had to add the percentages for the items. There are 7 subcategories in this test. I had to compute all the seven categories. In public, my score was 85. I calculated the other categories as well, meeting (75), group (83.3), dyad (90), stranger (73), acquaintance (86) and friend (90). My score is not higher, it was average. This score suggested that I have average self-perceived communication competence with basic communication context.
c) Two communication issues
In verbal communication self-assessment test, I managed to score less than 80. This showed that I have issue in verbal communication. Difficulties in communication and speech in public are common for many people and it is referred to as intellectual disability. I might face lack of stimulation in communicating verbally or I might face lack of confidence while I speak in public. Verbal communication is necessary while working within a team. Some people become excessive conscious when people work with people who are from different culture and language background.
Presentation skill test showed that I have issues with making a presentation and I am not a good presenter at all. In business, the presentation is needed to persuade the clients or customers outside the organisations. In inside the organisation, managers or leaders present the company’s financial matter, cast the vision of the organisation to the employees through the presentation. Presentation making skill as well as the good tone of voice, attitude, smile and audience attraction skill all are needed to be a good presenter. I need to be a good presenter as I lack in showing information through the presentation, I cannot persuade people properly and I may lack the motivation to persuade the people through oratory power.
d) Reflect on two recent professional interactions
In my previous organisation, I had to take the clients’ call sometimes when my co-workers were absent. I used face lack of verbal skills when my manager asked to take a call from the clients. The clients were of various nationality and they had different moods and tone. I became extremely conscious about my words and I faced lack of stimulation in communicating verbally. I listened more rather I answered them back and I felt difficulty in making proper professional tone during the calls. Choosing the right words and assembling them in the right order became a challenge for me.
I was an internship for two months and that time, I had to deliver a presentation in front of my colleagues and managers. I stepped on the stage and I saw almost 300 people were staring at me. I got nervous and tone became feeble. I could not deliver my presentation well even though I had prepared my presentation well. It was 10 minutes presentation and I ended up the presentation only after 7 minutes skipping some parts. During questions-answers session after the presentation, I felt terrible lack of confidence.
2. Literature review
a) Two communication issues
As opined by Ng & Bradac (2013), verbal communication is about sharing information among the people and the interaction must be made with spoken words. In staff meetings, telephonic discourse, meetings both formal and informal are conducted using verbal communication. Verbal communication is very important for an employee to work as a team and work as a team member. In addition, leaders and managers possess the verbal communication skill as their oratory motivates the subordinate to work properly. As suggested by Mundy et al., (2016), organisation’s image is portrayed through the employees’ communication process. Organisations can use top-down communication and it can also use horizontal communication as well. Lack of verbal communication fosters hampering in a business relationship with customers, suppliers and other stakeholders. Effective verbal communication leads to a good relationship between employers and employees for enhancement of job satisfaction.
Managers within organisations need to deliver a presentation on the quarterly or monthly basis as they need to present the reports, accounts and departmental project updates. In addition, senior-level employees have to deal with clients where they need to deliver on product or service descriptions for selling. Business deals are done with a presentation where the orators need to be persuasive with motivation. According to Alberts, Nakayama & Martin (2015), preparing persuasive presentation can help to win the audiences’ heart and delivering this with proper tone, smile, smile and right attitude can win the brain of the audiences. Sometimes, business managers make a presentation to motivate the sales team and presentation celebrates some aspects of the culture of the business. As mentioned by Jolles (2017), no man is a born orator, each of the individual needs to learn how to present his offering in front of the audiences. Managers use their presentation skills to grab the attention of the audiences, stimulate the imagination, inspire the confidence of the audiences and develop the understanding.
b) Theoretical understanding of communication
Aristotle developed an exclusive linear model of communication, only for oral communication. This theoretical perspective of communication was the first and it was proposed in the year 300 B.C. This theory proposes the linear communication that starts with the speaker. As stated by Jensen (2016), Aristotle’s communication model is referred to as speaker centred model as the speaker has the most important role in the communication process and role of the audience is mere passive in this communication. The speaker needs to influence the audiences by the speech and target audience judge the situation. The speech of the speaker needed to be prepared beforehand, so that the audiences of the speech gets involved with this and persuaded accordingly. Communication theory follows the framework:
Mechanistic: This process attempts to make communication as a perfect transaction between sender and receiver of the message.
Psychological: This process considers the communication as the way to sending the message to the receiver and this process tries to navigate the feelings of the receiver when the receiver gets the message.
Social: This process is considered as the sharing and creating the meaning through information. The social process of communication is different as ideas and truths are constructed and invented through the social process of communication (Knapp, Vangelisti & Caughlin, 2014).
Shannon and Weaver’s model is the key concept of communication function. Their model initially consisted of four parts, sender, channel, message and receiver. They proposed this communication process while working in telephone and radio technology. The sender of the message was the telephone speaker, the channel was the telephone and receiver was on the opposite party who was listening. According to Liu & Fraustino (2014), communication can be termed as sending or receiving the information.
c) Models of communication
This model of communication was invented by Wilbur Schramm in 1954 and said that communication is a two-manner process. Each sender and receivers are responsible to receive and send the message. The message wishes to send after encoding, therefore, the sender of the message is referred to as Encoder. The encoded message desires to decode through the receiver, therefore, the receiver is known as Decoder (Writh et al., 2017). There are unique components of this version and sender is the person who sends the communication and this individual may be called transmitter as nicely. The encoder is the man or woman who converts the verbal exchange to be dispatched and decoder receives the message. The decoder converts the language of the message to a basic know-how. The function of the interpreter is sizable as the person attempts to make out and examine the message. Interpreter and receiver is the same character (Hybels, 2014). Encoding assumes to be an important part of beginning the manner of communication and changing the message into statistics is tough. Schramm’s version shows how the message is transferred to a group while interpersonal communication takes place and this version runs conversation as a never-finishing technique. As stated by McQuail & Windahl (2015), communication process includes the act of conferring the knowledge among the parties. The forms of communication may depend on abilities of group communicating and this process can be referred to as information transmission.
Berlo’s Communication model
David Berlo conceptualised this model of communication and this model is also referred to as Sender-Message-Channel-Receiver Model. Sender starts the communication process and sender’s message is related to the communication skills, attitudes, knowledge, culture and social systems. A communication skill of an individual affects the process of communication and sender’s attitude reflects on the receiver. Next, message is the core matter that is being sent to the receiver by the sender. Message can be audio, text, video or other media. The key elements of the message are content, factors, treatment, code and structure (McQuail & Windahl, 2015). Channels of the sending message can be like telephone, internet and five senses of the human beings. Five senses of the human beings are associated with hearing, seeing, tasting, smelling and touching to the people. At the last, receiver gets the message that is being sent by the sender and receiver believes that pattern of all factors must be mentioned to sync the communication process. Communication skills, knowledge and social systems may not create the same effects if the sender and receiver are not in the linear process. As argued by Patton et al., (2017), in the Berlo’s model, there is no feedback policy and it is a linear model communication, two way process cannot be possible.
d) Theory of interpersonal communication
Triandis’ theory of interpersonal behaviour
Significant behaviour of the people is related to the four factors, contextual factors, attitudes, personal capabilities and habits (Petersons & Khalimzoda, 2016). As opposed by Shockley-Zalabak (2014), in interpersonal behaviour, two factors play the major role, first is social factors and second one is emotions in the workplace by the employees. Significance of past behaviour is important in the present for the individuals in the workplace as it can shape the present motivation. Habits of the people can also mediate the behaviour of the people that influences by facilitating condition (Stread, 2013). Behaviour of the people is related to the intention of the individuals and partly the habitual response. The individuals cannot avoid the situational constraint as intention of the people in workplace can influence by effective behaviour and social factors. The behaviour in the workplace can be defined as deliberative, not fully automatic. Moral beliefs can impact on shaping the behaviour of the people and it drives the emotion of the people and it creates limitation to the cognitive factors. Social factors in the situation is related t the roles, norms and self-respect, on the other side, emotional responses are related to the decisions of the people (Thatcher & Evia, 2017). Rational-instrumental evaluations are included both negative and positive emotional responses. Individuals need to communicate properly and communication shapes the interpersonal behaviour as well.
3. Action plan
This part is based on my betterment plan for communication development. In the previous section, I have identified two of my communication issues that are verbal communication issues and presentation skills. For this, I am going to develop an action plan for 6 months (24 weeks) to improve my communication. Therefore, within this scheduled timeframe, I am going to achieve my desired goals.
a) Short courses
Short-communication courses can be very helpful for me to develop my communication and it will assist me in the workplace as well. These short courses on communication are mainly professional courses and I will complete these courses within 6 months of time frame. CQUniversity offers professional short courses to the young professionals to upgrade the skills and talents of the individuals. I would like to do courses on Assertiveness and Communication (3 months) and Adult Community Education (3 months). Individuals who are above 15 years of age can join in these courses and these six-eight week courses provide knowledge of communication that would further help in small business, automotive, IT and hospitality sectors. In addition, I would like to take a short course on Basic Computer Skills where I can learn about making a perfect presentation using Microsoft Office software and other upgraded software. In addition, I am going to enrol my name in academic masters’ degree on Masters in Communication from CQUniversity that would definitely help me to improve my verbal communication and face-to-face conversation. This course can be done in 2 years for full-time and 4 years of part-time and this course will help me to develop my professional communication with discipline-specific employers.
b) Reading plan
Reading books always provide a person with confidence and makes the person knowledgeable. The proper reading plan can improve my communication skills and I make a plan that I will complete a book within a week. I will read quality books from renowned authors. I will read ‘A Language of Life’ by Marshall Rosenberg and I will also read ‘TED Talks’ by Chris Anderson. Furthermore, my reading plan contains ‘Active Listening’ by Emilia Hardman and ‘The Power of Self Confidence’ by Brian Tracy.
c) Maintaining personal journal
I will keep a personal journal where I will keep my improvements in date basis. Keeping a daily journal helps me to keep the account of activities and it will also help me to monitor my improvements and growth. Personal journal assists an individual to stretch the IQ and it evokes the mindfulness. Maintaining personal journal boosts emotional intelligence and it also enhances the comprehension and memory. I will share my emotion in this journal and it will eventually improve my communication and strengthen my self-discipline.
d) Identification of mentor
Having a mentor can act as a catalyst to improve my communication skills. I will also provide benefits of solving my error while communicating. Tim Harley was my teacher when I was in my school days. He used to teach us English and he taught Communicative English in higher classes. He was an excellent orator and he has gift of the gab. He has his YouTube page where he shares his tips on communication improvement. I will join his class as he lives near our surrounding as well. I will join his training classes during the afternoon in a weekly basis. Tim Harley may help me to improve my verbal communication and he can inject me with motivation and self-confidence.
e) Gantt chart:
|Set of Activities||Week 1||Week 3||Week 6||Week 10||Week 16||Week 24|
|Proper Reading plans|
|Keeping a personal journal for communication improvement|
|Taking short crash-courses of communication|
|Training under a mentor (Tim Harley)|
|Starting implementation communication for professional|
|Taking admission for Post-graduation courses on communication|
Table1: Gantt chart
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