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Business Communication Essay

Q 1. Describe any situation that you experienced where the communication went wrong because the listening was faulty. Analyze the situation by explaining the type of listening barrier. . How could this barrier be overcome? (10 marks).

The following example illustrates an organizational barrier to communication. By the time the message is passed down from the Chief to the lower level Executives, it is distorted completely, so much so that the original message is interpreted differently by each level in the organization.

Memo from CEO to Manager: Today at 11 o’clock there will be a total eclipse of the sun. This is when the sun disappears behind the moon for 2 minutes. As this is something that cannot be seen every day, time will be allowed for employees to view the eclipse in the parking lot. Staff should meet in the lot at ten to eleven, when I will deliver a short speech introducing the eclipse, and giving some background information. Safety goggles will be made available at a small cost.

Memo from Manager to Department Head: Today at ten to eleven, all staff should meet in the car park. This will be followed by a total eclipse of the sun, which will appear for 2 minutes. For a moderate cost, they will be made safe with goggles. The CEO will deliver a short speech beforehand to give us all some information. This is not something that can be seen everyday.

Memo from the Department Head to Floor Manager: The CEO will today deliver a speech to make the sun disappear for 2 minutes in the form of an eclipse. This is something that cannot be seen everyday so staff will meet in the car park at ten or eleven. This will be safe, if you pay a moderate cost.

Memo from Floor Manager to Supervisor: Ten or eleven staff are to go to the car park, where the CEO will eclipse the sun for 2 minutes. This does not happen everyday. It will be safe, and as usual it will cost you.

Memo from Supervisor to Staff: Some staff will go to the car park today to see the CEO disappear. It is a pity this doesn’t happen everyday.

Communication was filtered or misinterpreted because of the following barriers:

Organizational Barriers – In organizations that are too hierarchical, that is, where there are multiple “layers”, messages may have to pass through many levels before they finally reach the receiver. Each level may add to, modify or completely change the message, so much so that it becomes distorted by the time it reaches the intended receiver. In other words, there is likely to be loss of meaning and the message may not reach the receiver in the same way as it was intended by the sender.

Another type of organizational barrier is a departmental barrier. This means that each department in an organization functions in isolation and there is no co-ordination or communication between them.

This barrier could be overcome by the following methods:
1. Encourage Feedback – Organizations should try to improve the communication system by getting feedback from the messages already sent. Feedback can tell the managers whether the message has reached the receiver in the intended way or not.

2. Create a Climate of Openness – A climate of trust and openness can go a long way in removing organizational barriers to communication. All subordinates or junior employees should be allowed to air their opinions and differences without fear of being penalized.

3. Use Multiple Channels of Communication – Organizations should encourage the use of multiple channels of communication, in order to make sure that messages reach the intended receivers without fail. This means using a combination of both oral and written channels, as well as formal (official) and informal (unofficial) channels of communication. The types of channels will be discussed in detail later, in a separate unit.

Q 2. Select a business article from any business publication. Evaluate it in terms of : a) Appropriate level of readability b) Use of jargon, slang and metaphors c) Use of simple vs. complex words. Is it well or poorly written, in your opinion? Attach a copy of the article with your response. (10 marks)

World Markets Rise As Double-Dip Fears Ease: World stock markets advanced modestly Monday as investors rode momentum from Friday, when an upbeat U.S. jobs report eased fears that the global economy could slip back into recession.

With Wall Street closed for a holiday, however, trading was expected to remain light. Markets took heart after official data last week showed private employers in the U.S. added 67,000 jobs in August, more than analysts expected.

The figure bolstered optimism that the U.S. will maintain a slow but steady recovery from last year’s recession and avoid another economic contraction later this year.

By mid-afternoon in Europe, Britain’s FTSE 100 index was up 0.3 percent at 5,446.17, Germany’s DAX was 0.3 percent higher at 6,153.31 and France’s CAC-40 was up 0.3 percent at 3,684.20. Asian indexes closed higher and trading on Wall Street was to remain shut for Labor Day weekend after closing higher on Friday.

With most major governments reining in economic stimulus measures and many pushing through austerity spending cuts to reduce deficits, investors worry the global economy would be pushed into a double dip recession, particularly as the U.S. slows down quickly. Because the U.S. economy is the world’s largest and consumer spending there accounts for a fifth of global economic activity, the stronger-than-expected jobs data on Friday helped calm investors’ frayed nerves after weeks of worrying indicators.

“The renewed flight to safety we have witnessed over the past month is overdone and risks an equally large reversal when the worries over a double dip subside,” analysts from Rabobank said in a report.

“As the unexciting, steady and below-trend global recovery continues, it’s important not to confuse it with a double dip recession.”

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 stock index climbed 2.1 percent, or 187.19, to 9,301.32 and South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.7 percent to 1,792.42.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index added 1.8 percent to 21,355.77. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.8 percent at 4,575.50. Markets in mainland China, Taiwan, India, Indonesia and Singapore were also higher.

The Dow Jones industrial average jumped 1.2 percent to close at 10,447.93 on Friday. The broader Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose 1.3 percent to 1,104.51.

Shares in the U.S. ended the week in the positive, the first time that has happened in a month. The early gains in September mark a stark turnaround from August trade, when shares fell on doubts about the global economic recovery.

The dollar fell to 84.24 yen from 84.27 yen on Friday. The euro was slightly lower at $1.2880 from $1.2895.

Benchmark oil for October delivery was down 40 cents at $74.20 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 42 cents to settle at $74.60 on Friday.

Jargon refers to technical terms or specialized vocabulary. Some of the technical terms mentioned above are “rode momentum, Kospi, FTSE, CAC, DAX, calm investors’ frayed nerves, etc.” More complex words and phrases are written in the above article and this reduces the level of readability when read by a common man. The above article is well written, however, the reader of the article should have a certain amount of knowledge in the field of stock trading and world financial markets.

Q 3 List out and briefly explain five “do”s and “don’t’s” for each of participants and chairperson of a meeting. (10 marks).

Before the Meeting

As pointed out earlier, meetings need to be planned in advance, so that they are successful. Before any planning can be done however, a basic question to be asked is whether to hold a meeting at all. The answers to the following questions would help to decide whether a meeting is necessary in the first place – -Can the matter be decided or discussed over the telephone?

-Can the matter be expressed in writing, in the form of a memo, or an email message? -Are key people available to attend the meeting and are they prepared? -Is the time allotted for the meeting sufficient?

If the answers to the first two questions are yes and the answers to the other two questions are no, there is no purpose in calling a meeting.

Once the need for a meeting has been determined, the next step is to start planning the meeting. First of all, the type and number of participants should be decided. A problem solving meeting should include representatives from all departments, since the decision would otherwise be incomplete. Shareholders, who are the owners of the company, should also be included. In terms of numbers, the size of the group could be anywhere between seven and eleven members. An exception to this is an information sharing meeting, where the numbers could be larger, so that a maximum number of people benefit from the information.

The second and most important step in planning a meeting is to indicate the purpose or agenda of the meeting to the participants in advance. An agenda is essentially a list of topics that will be discussed during a meeting. In the words of Adler and Elmhorst, “A meeting without an agenda is like a ship at sea without a destination or compass: no one aboard knows where it is or where it is headed.” An agenda is prepared by the Chairperson of the meeting, or the person who calls the meeting.

During the Meeting:

The task of conducting and moderating the meeting rests with the chairperson. He or she must be well versed with the procedures for opening the meeting, encouraging balanced participation, and solving problems creatively, concluding the meeting and managing time efficiently. We shall discuss each of these procedures in detail.

1. Opening the Meeting – The manner in which the meeting is opened is important, since a good opening will ensure that the rest of the meeting will proceed smoothly. There are different ways of opening a meeting. Generally, it is best to sum up what has been stated in the agenda – including the goals, background information and expectations of the participants. It is also a good idea to provide an outline of how the meeting will proceed, as well as a time budget.

2. Encouraging Balanced Participation – It is also the responsibility of the chairperson to encourage silent members to contribute to the meeting and to moderate the dominant members, so that they do not “hijack” the meeting. There are several techniques to encourage participation –

· Encourage Participation in the Reverse Order of Seniority – This means getting the junior members to speak or air their opinions first. If the senior people speak first, they may feel suppressed or be afraid to disagree with their superiors.

· Nominal Group Technique – In this method, the meeting participants are encouraged to work and contribute their ideas independently

3. Managing Time – There is no prescribed length for a meeting. The duration of a meeting will depend on the type and purpose of the meeting. Generally, problem-solving meetings will take longer than other routine meetings. In any case, the chairperson should set a time budget for the meeting, depending on the agenda and ensure adherence to the time limit.

4. Keeping the Meeting Focused – Often, a lot of time is wasted during meetings by going off track and by discussing topics that are irrelevant. In such situations, it is the responsibility of the chairperson, or the person moderating the discussion to make sure that the discussion remains focused on the topics mentioned in the agenda.

5. Ensuring “Convergence” – Convergence means hearing the points of view of all the members and then arriving at a decision. It is again the responsibility of the chairperson to bring the meeting to a point where an opinion emerges on each item of the agenda.

6. Summing Up – This means summing up the different points of view, the decisions and the actions to be taken. This should be done by the chairperson, identifying the role of each person on each item of the agenda, along with a specified deadline.

Example – Chris will take the responsibility of contacting the media and sending material for advertisements and press releases by March 13th.

7. Concluding the Meeting – The way a meeting is concluded is as important as the opening, since it will influence the follow-up action taken on decisions made during the meeting. The chairperson should know when and how to conclude the meeting.

The meeting should normally be concluded at the scheduled closing time, unless important issues still remain to be discussed and members are willing to extend the meeting. Sometimes meetings may be concluded before the closing time, when key decision makers are not present, or when important information such as cost figures are not available.

8. Keeping “Minutes” of the Meeting – Since meetings are called to take important decisions concerning the organization, it is important to maintain a permanent written record of the proceedings, which can be referred to at a later stage, or serve as a guide for action. Such a record is known as “minutes” of the meeting and may be done in an informal or formal manner, depending on the type of meeting.

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