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Доклад: Business communication

     Introduction  
To communicate with others, to convince and to find the compromise, to listen
and speak - those are what the life consists of, and the business life
especially. Without those important skills no success may be reached, and
people gain these skills and improve them during their whole life.
This year we were given a lucky opportunity to have some sort of training.  The 
Communication, to my mind, is one of the subjects we apply to our life not
once, and studying interpersonal skills maybe the most interesting occupation I
can imagine.  I think, nobody can remain indifferent to the relations between
people, their behaviour and their individuality.  It is no matter who are you -
the manager of giant corporation or, let’s say, a low-paid employee in a small
office - if you are involved into some kind of  business activity and have some
goals and wishes - you are compelled to have a deal with others, without
possibility to stand out from the communication.
Surely, some of the basic communication skills we learn in a childhood. But
it is a common mistake to consider them stable and sufficient. To make a
progress in communication skills means to succeed. That is why to prepare for
a hard task to be managers we must estimate our present abilities,  and then
compare them with those necessary to achieve desired result. Even having a
high opinion of your own communication level you would better seek for the
plenty of self-confidence. (It is not so bad but there is always a room for
improvement).
The purpose of this report is to analyse changing in my experience concerning
communication skills  taking into account my previous behaviour and what have
I learned this semester. I am going to describe my impressions after
participation and observing role-play situations, critically estimate my weak
and strong points. The contents of report are divided in accordance with plan
of our course in order to summarise it.
     1. What have I learned during the course
     1. Effective listening
A wise ancient Greek philosopher said once, «We have two ears and one tun -
to listen more than to speak», and as the most of the philosophers are, he is
absolutely right. However, still not the most of people apply this wisdom in
their lives. Even speaking one language, using the same words, we can rarely
understand what an other person says. This thing happens because people
during a conversation are too attentive to what they are going to say to
create a good impression. Sometimes we forget about the simplest way to move
the feelings of interlocutor - about effective listening.
Frankly speaking, the skill of listening is one of those I am proud of
possessing. While being a schoolgirl I have understood that it is easier to
concentrate during the lesson and asking teachers to explain, than to see
into books after school instead of spending a free time. Little by little all
the teachers got used to see I am interested in their subjects, and sometimes
explained me personally what I wanted to know. May be subconsciously I used
those techniques for effective listening, and I am sure they are really
effective.
In ‘’teacher - student’’ communication, I think, the listening skill is very
important, but  also it is necessary for conducting business talks and
different interviews. How often we see people who can’t come to the agreement
because of being unable to listen! It is no sense trying  to convince a
person if you don’t show interest. It is impossible to see another point of
view if you only hear it but not listen.
Up to my mind, this basic communication skill is rather easy to learn, except
the ability to be objective in all the cases. Every one of us has hidden
prejudices and only really talented interviewer can confront his or her
biases completely.
So, the effective listening wasn’t a novelty for me, but the communication
training showed that it is no limits for improvement. To finish with the
first skill I’ll quote once more the words by ancient sages: «If I listen  I
have an advantage, if I speak  - others have it».
     2. Feedback as an interpersonal skill
I will continue the tradition of citing authorities. «Treat people as you
want to be treated» - anyone, I think, knows this common truth. Let’s
consider it in sense of providing feedback. When talking or acting in a
certain way I expect the information about some aspects of  my behavior. Both
me and person giving this information are mutually interested in truthfulness
and timeliness of feedback to make the communication more effective. If my
way of behavior corresponds with expectations the feedback is positive and
both sides are likely to give / accept it enthusiastically. But such a
consonance rarely happens.
The problem is to provide person with negative feedback. In that case both
sides feel themselves uncomfortable, especially if a person providing
feedback cares about results trying make another person not feel offended.
As for me, I always avoid hurting people, may be even when they deserve it.
That is why the techniques of providing the negative feedback are very
useful.
The progressive management, I think, must apply these methods to motivate
workers, but ‘former soviet’ people still prefer the straight judgement not
the careful analysis of their performance.
     3.  Appraising performance 
«The praise is pleasant even for a cat». This phrase is not so sophisticated
and philosophical as previous were, but it is rather closely tied with
following part of my report. At first sight it is similar to giving feedback,
but it turned out to be the usual approach in foreign companies to evaluate
employees’ performance. As I know, the majority of our domestic companies
have no idea about systematising their relations with subordinates in such a
way. They conduct a some sort of performance-appraisal interviews
spontaneously, and it seems quit natural to them.
If speaking about the approaches to performance appraisal, some of them I
think are absolutely unavailable for our reality. For instance, the Critical
Incident Method, which is supposed to be more effective because of full
information, may create a misconception of person’s performance due to
possible subjective evaluation. Other two methods - Rating and Management By
Objectives - are more likely to fit the real life, but it will take a time to
inculcate such techniques.
     4. Skill of oral persuasion
Nobody  will deny the importance of this aspect of communication. It is, I
would say, a quintessence of communication training, which includes all those
above mentioned skills.
A manager may reach a success using persuasion, not authority, even when
having authority. The fact, that the power does not means the motivation is
obvious for the democratic society. If you want to impose your views on
another person or on a group of people it is not enough to order them
thinking in certain way. If it were a kind of dictatorship  it would be
enough, but we study the conditions of democracy.
Now, knowing the theoretical base, I can conclude that my attitude to oral
persuasion was a little bit passive and it was my blind spot. I feel I must
improve this skill and I am encouraged to do well, because some of my
classmates turned out to be the outstanding persuaders.
     2. The usefulness of communication training: how to deal with
“real” businessmen and with classmates
Now I would like to say a few words about our practice in communication role-
plays. Participating both as actors an observers we had a possibility to
imagine the real situations. Sometimes the role-plays were successful,
sometimes there was a lack of preparation. I wish I should more actively
participate, but it is my fault that I hesitated to show my view and to
compete.
I found it more difficult than it seemed  to be natural. Some situations were
rather unusual for me: knowing how I had to behave, I tried applying theory,
but rarely imagined myself in similar situations.
Due to these difficulties during the communication training I learned my weak
points and the ways to improvement. But to use all the skills we must make
the adjustment to reality, which is more competitive than studying
conditions. As the famous Russian general Suvorov said, if it is hard in
exercise, it is easy  in action.
The most interesting and useful part of training for me were Persuasion and
Performance Appraisal. By the way, observers all the time used some sort of
appraisal, and observing was the item I really was in favour of.
The role-plays prepared under scenarios I think were a little bit far-
fetched, and it is more natural to use our own names and individual traits in
performances. Therefore the improvisations like those played  while
discussing Persuasion Skills were more useful.
     Conclusion 
The course of Communication Training was one of significant theoretical
and practical importance for me. The communication skills are necessary if you
wish to success in business activity or in any other sphere of life.
The effective listening skill is very important in relations with people.
Some of us can hear what others say, but can not listen.  It is matter of
common sense: to listen is the simplest way to create a good impression.
Providing feedback gives the possibility to inform a person about some
aspects of his/her behavior ant it’s effect on you. The real difficulty is to
provide person with negative feedback. To avoid hurting a person we should
use several techniques, and their main idea is to keep it impersonal and
nonjudgmental.
The performance appraisal skill is used systematically by foreign managers
and has a great impact on the career of employees. During performance-
appraisal interview managers make decision concerning promotion or dismissal
of his subordinates.
The skill of persuasion is also one of the basic communication skills. To
motivate people do what you want them to do it is not enough to have the
power. Being persuaded people feel they are acting on their own accord.
Improvement of persuading techniques means using facilitative tactics and
tailoring your approach to different people.
The participation in role-plays was  interesting and useful both for the
actors and observers. However some situations hardly corresponded  with life
and performances played on spot were much more vital. Due to this
communication training I investigated my weak and strong points and found the
ways to improve.
Thus, my general impression about the course is very good, and I wish we had
more time for such a subject to master the skills of communication.