Communication Skills

A Ranting Hub for Improving Communication Skills


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Entrepreneurs Face Serious Communication Barriers

University of Manchester, home of Emeritus Professor of Management, Derek Torrington (photo: Wikipedia)

Most startup mentors tell me that the single biggest problem they have to deal with in small companies is the lack of open, honest, and effective communication, both from the top down and from the bottom up. Some entrepreneurs forget that talking is not communicating. Fortunately these skills can be learned, and the barriers to communication can be overcome one by one.

Founders have to communicate their ideas and products to investors, business partners, and the rest of the team. Then, hopefully, come customers, distribution channels, and going public or merging with an attractive buy-out candidate. Communication is not just talking, but also listening, writing, body language, and “actions speak louder than words.”

According to a new management guide by Professor Derek Torrington, “Managing to Manage: The Essential Guide to People Management,” it is the listener who determines the extent to which a message is understood, and that is shaped largely by their own experience and background. From an entrepreneur perspective, here are the understanding barrier categories:

Unclear frame of reference. Whenever you discuss any startup matter, the receivers will view it from their particular frame of reference, including their values, their priorities, and their background. The responsibility is on you the entrepreneur to decipher the receiver reference, and do the “translation” of your message to them.
Stereotyping and biases. This is the other end of the spectrum, where the entrepreneur defaults to an extreme extrapolation of the listener reference base. Common problem stereotypes relate to age constraints, gender roles, and cultural performance implications. Effective communication requires compensating for language barriers, no stereotyping, and first focus on performance here and now.
Cognitive dissonance. Psychologists use this term to describe the genuine difficulty the people have in understanding, remembering, and taking action on inputs that they find irreconcilable with the current reality, or with strong existing beliefs. The message heard may be unintentionally distorted, and you must repeat and rephrase often to be effective.
Failure to build relationships. When people are listening to someone with confidence and trust, there is a predisposition to hear the message and agree. On the other hand, if the source is unknown or un-trusted, the message may be ignored or minimized. The solution is to work on relationships first, before attempting persuasive communication.
Technical semantics and jargon. Jargon only has meaning if the symbols are already understood. If an abbreviation or phrase is not commonly used outside a specific group, or experts, it becomes negative communication, with people reading it as presumptive, insulting, or an attempt to deceive. The remedy is to use clear and concise language.
Not paying attention and forgetting. We all have the human predilection to be selective in attention. Attention spans seem to be getting steadily shorter. Add the problem of noise, external and internal, which can blank out whole messages. Pick the right time and place for each message type, to maximize attention and retention.
Information withheld. Sometimes an entrepreneur or executive tries to communicate without full disclosure, perhaps to minimize impact, or due to company policy. This is readily recognized by most constituents, negates the message, and erodes trust. In startups, the best policy is transparent honest disclosure across all levels of the team.
It’s important to remember that communication only happens when the other person really hears what you mean to say. It’s not a one-way street, and there are often barriers on both sides. To be successful, the entrepreneur has the responsibility of overcoming all of these barriers to make the interaction effective. The alternative is a lose-lose situation for both sides.

A climate of open, two-way communication is also the only way to ensure that those who do not understand feel free to ask for clarification. No questions does not always mean that everyone heard the message. How often do you ask for feedback to make sure your communication has been effective?
http://www.forbes.com/sites/martinzwilling/2013/07/07/entrepreneurs-face-serious-communication-barriers/


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10 Tips on How to Write a Professional Email

10 Tips on How to Write a Professional Email

Despite the popularity of texting and social media, email remains the most common form of written communication in the business world–and the most commonly abused. Too often email messages snap, growl, and bark–as if being concise meant that you had to sound bossy. Not so.

Consider this email message recently sent to all staff members on a large university campus:

It is time to renew your faculty/staff parking decals. New decals are required by Nov. 1. Parking Rules and Regulations require that all vehicles driven on campus must display the current decal.

Slapping a “Hi!” in front of this message doesn’t solve the problem. It only adds a false air of chumminess.

 

Instead, consider how much nicer and shorter–and probably more effective–the email would be if we simply added a “please” and addressed the reader directly:

Please renew your faculty/staff parking decals by November 1.

Of course, if the author of the email had truly been keeping his readers in mind, he might have included another useful tidbit: a clue as to how and where to renew the decals.

 

Ten Quick Tips on Writing a Professional Email

  • Always fill in the subject line with a topic that means something to your reader. Not “Decals” or “Important!” but “Deadline for New Parking Decals.”
  • Put your main point in the opening sentence. Most readers won’t stick around for a surprise ending.
  • Never begin a message with a vague “This”–as in “This needs to be done by 5:00.” Always specify what you’re writing about.
  • Don’t use ALL CAPITALS (no shouting!), or all lower-case letters either (unless you’re e. e. cummings).
  • As a general rule, PLZ avoid textspeak (abbreviations and acronyms): you may be ROFLOL (rolling on the floor laughing out loud), but your reader may be left wondering WUWT (what’s up with that).
  • Be brief and polite. If your message runs longer than two or three short paragraphs, consider (a) reducing the message, or (b) providing an attachment. But in any case, don’t snap, growl, or bark.
  • Remember to say “please” and “thank you.” And mean it. “Thank you for understanding why afternoon breaks have been eliminated” is prissy and petty. It’s not polite.
  • Add a signature block with appropriate contact information (in most cases, your name, business address, and phone number, along with a legal disclaimer if required by your company). Do you need to clutter the signature block with a clever quotation and artwork? Probably not.
  • Edit and proofread before hitting “send.” You may think you’re too busy to sweat the small stuff, but unfortunately your reader may think you’re a careless dolt.
  • Finally, reply promptly to serious messages. If you need more than 24 hours to collect information or make a decision, send a brief response explaining the delay.

By 

http://grammar.about.com/od/developingessays/a/profemails.htm


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Concord/Subject Verb Agreement

Basic Rule

The basic rule states that a singular subject takes a singular verb, while a plural subject takes a plural verb.

NOTE: The trick is in knowing whether the subject is singular or plural. The next trick is recognizing a singular or plural verb.

Hint: Verbs do not form their plurals by adding an s as nouns do. In order to determine which verb is singular and which one is plural, think of which verb you would use with he or she and which verb you would use with they.

Example:
talks, talk

Which one is the singular form?
Which word would you use with he?
We say, “He talks.” Therefore, talks is singular.
We say, “They talk.” Therefore, talk is plural.

Rule 1

Two singular subjects connected by or or nor require a singular verb.

Example:
My aunt or my uncle is arriving by train today.

Rule 2

Two singular subjects connected by either/or or neither/nor require a singular verb as in Rule 1.

Examples:
Neither Juan nor Carmen is available.
Either Kiana or Casey is helping today with stage decorations.

Rule 3

When I is one of the two subjects connected by either/or or neither/nor, put it second and follow it with the singular verb am.

Example:
Neither she nor I am going to the festival.

Rule 4

When a singular subject is connected by or or nor to a plural subject, put the plural subject last and use a plural verb.

Example:
The serving bowl or the plates go on that shelf.

Rule 5

When a singular and plural subject are connected by either/or or neither/nor, put the plural subject last and use a plural verb.

Example:
Neither Jenny nor the others are available.

Rule 6

As a general rule, use a plural verb with two or more subjects when they are connected by and.

Example:
A car and a bike are my means of transportation.

Rule 7

Sometimes the subject is separated from the verb by words such as along with, as well as, besides, or not. Ignore these expressions when determining whether to use a singular or plural verb.

Examples:
The politician, along with the newsmen, is expected shortly.
Excitement, as well as nervousness, is the cause of her shaking.

Rule 8

The pronouns each, everyone, every one, everybody, anyone, anybody, someone, and somebody are singular and require singular verbs. Do not be misled by what follows of.

Examples:
Each of the girls sings well.
Every one of the cakes is gone.

NOTE: Everyone is one word when it means everybody. Every one is two words when the meaning is each one.

Rule 9

With words that indicate portions—percent, fraction, part, majority, some, all, none, remainder, and so forth —look at the noun in your of phrase (object of the preposition) to determine whether to use a singular or plural verb. If the object of the preposition is singular, use a singular verb. If the object of the preposition is plural, use a plural verb.

Examples:
Fifty percent of the pie has disappeared.
Pie is the object of the preposition of.
Fifty percent of the pies have disappeared.
Pies is the object of the preposition.
One-third of the city is unemployed.
One-third of the people are unemployed.

NOTE: Hyphenate all spelled-out fractions.

All of the pie is gone.
All of the pies are gone.
Some of the pie is missing.
Some of the pies are missing.
None of the garbage was picked up.
None of the sentences were punctuated correctly.
Of all her books, none have sold as well as the first one.

NOTE: Apparently, the SAT testing service considers none as a singular word only. However, according to Merriam Webster’s Dictionary of English Usage, “Clearly none has been both singular and plural since Old English and still is. The notion that it is singular only is a myth of unknown origin that appears to have arisen in the 19th century. If in context it seems like a singular to you, use a singular verb; if it seems like a plural, use a plural verb. Both are acceptable beyond serious criticism” (p. 664).

Rule 10

The expression the number is followed by a singular verb while the expression a number is followed by a plural verb.

Examples:
The number of people we need to hire is thirteen.
A number of people have written in about this subject.

Rule 11

When either and neither are subjects, they always take singular verbs.

Examples:
Neither
of them is available to speak right now.

Either of us is capable of doing the job.

Rule 12

The words here and there have generally been labeled as adverbs even though they indicate place. In sentences beginning with here or there, the subject follows the verb.

Examples:
There are four hurdles to jump.
There is a high hurdle to jump.

Rule 13

Use a singular verb with sums of money or periods of time.

Examples:
Ten dollars is a high price to pay.
Five years is the maximum sentence for that offense.

Rule 14

Sometimes the pronoun who, that, or which is the subject of a verb in the middle of the sentence. The pronouns who, that, and which become singular or plural according to the noun directly in front of them. So, if that noun is singular, use a singular verb. If it is plural, use a plural verb.

Examples:
Salma is the scientist who writes/write the reports.
The word in front of who is scientist, which is singular. Therefore, use the singular verb writes.
He is one of the men who does/do the work.
The word in front of who is men, which is plural. Therefore, use the plural verb do.

Rule 15

Collective nouns such as team and staff may be either singular or plural depending on their use in the sentence.

Examples:
The staff is in a meeting.
Staff is acting as a unit here.
The staff are in disagreement about the findings.
The staff are acting as separate individuals in this example.
The sentence would read even better as:
The staff members are in disagreement about the findings.


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The 10 Worst Communication Mistakes For Your Career

 

“How do you signal to the world you’re leadership material?” asks Sylvia Ann Hewlett, an economist and the founding president of the Center for Talent Innovation (CTI) in New York. “You don’t get a shot at being a leader unless you signal right.”

According to a new year-long study of over 4,000 college-educated professionals and 268 senior executives, conducted by CTI and in partnership with Marie Claire magazine, you must be viewed as a leader in order to get promoted into top jobs. That takes “executive presence,” which is defined as having gravitas, excellent communication skills and a polished appearance.

These skills are required, but that doesn’t mean you rack up bonus points for having them. Instead, you get demerits for your mistakes, as superiors silently cross you off their good lists. So what are the pitfalls to avoid? The study uncovered the 10 worst communication mistakes that will instantly derail your promotion hopes.

No. 1: Racially Biased Comments

Of executives surveyed, 72% said racially biased comments are a major blunder for men and 70% said the same for women. This is the top offense for good reason. These remarks easily offend or insult, reflect poor judgment and reveal low emotional intelligence, according to the researchers.

No. 2: Off-Color Jokes

This second worst communication mistake is similar to the first. Telling inappropriate jokes makes people uncomfortable, revealing an inability to properly read the audience and environment. On the flip side, 61% of executives believe being able to sense the mood of others and effectively adjust your language, tone and content is one of the top skills required to advance.

See Also: Top 6 Communication Skills That Will Get You Promoted

No. 3: Crying

Rightly or wrongly, workplace tears do not communicate leadership potential—especially if you’re a man. While 59% of executives say crying makes a woman look bad, 63% believe it’s a top mistake for men. “You have to be able to control your emotions,” a male banking executive told researchers.

No. 4: Sounding Uneducated

Executives say it’s important for leaders to portray gravitas, worldliness and intellectual horsepower. Thus, sounding uneducated will immediately undermine your chances of ascension. One IT manager told the researchers, “I’ve been with bosses who look like they would be competent, and then they blow it when they open their mouths and sound like complete buffoons.”

No. 5: Swearing

Cursing is a gender-neutral faux pas. It’s generally considered unprofessional and unfitting of a leader. Interestingly, it’s also a major mistake online, which in itself is a communication minefield. Those polled said the top three online communications blunders are posting unflattering messages about colleagues, posting unprofessional photos and being too personal.


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5 Must-Have Soft Skills for Engineers’ Career Success

Technical acumen alone is insufficient for engineering career success. “Soft skills” play an increasingly important role in differentiating STEM professionals for employment and advancement.

renjith krishnan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
renjith krishnan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

In the day-to-day work of engineers and technical specialists, soft skills are as important as technical skills. These skills, or emotional intelligence, are often not learned in school and enable professionals to navigate smoothly and effectively through a wide variety of social and professional situations with a wide variety of people. Such skills include communication, cooperation, creativity, leadership, and organization.

A mid-2012 study from Millennial Branding showed that soft skills topped the list of must-haves for employers, with 98 percent of them saying communication skills are essential and 92 percent teamwork skills. Following are five key soft skills that engineers and other STEM professionals should develop for career success.

Soft Skill 1: Communication

While speaking, writing, and listening are everyday actions, many professionals underestimate the importance of communication skills. Engineers tend to prioritize technical skills over communication skills, not realizing that they cannot be fully effective in their jobs if they are inadequate speakers, writers, and listeners. Yet it is particularly in the engineering fields that effective communication skills are crucial to success.

In a recent survey conducted by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers of both society members and nonmembers in engineering-related positions, respondents said they believe communication skills — such as business writing, technical writing, public speaking, and presentation preparation — are “crucial” for success as engineers work in and among more varied groups.

The interaction between stakeholders, whether it is internal in an organization or external with partners or clients, is fraught with opportunities for misunderstanding. That is why effective communication also involves listening, which is itself an essential soft skill. Without actively listening to customers, clients, or project partners, problem-solving becomes much more difficult and time-consuming.

Soft Skill 2: Creativity

Creativity is arguably the driving force behind innovation and therefore increasingly gaining recognition as the new capital in uncertain and challenging economic times. Innovation thrives on breakthrough thinking, nimbleness, and empowerment. Organizations often depend on big ideas and creative employees to develop innovative products and services.

In the mid-aughts, IEEE Spectrum noted the frequent accusation that engineers are uncreative — a myth that persists today. Yet, as IEEE Spectrum explained, “every engineer’s core mission is to try to improve the utility of things, to design products or processes that will solve problems better, faster and cheaper.” This mission would rarely be achieved if not for engineers’ ways of thinking, which often lead to problem-solving opportunities that would otherwise remain hidden.

In the engineering fields, creativity can be as valuable to solving a problem as the technical skills to identify and troubleshoot the source of the problem. As such, creative thinking is a soft skill that engineers, scientists, and others in the STEM fields should cultivate in order to become invaluable members of their organizations.

Soft Skill 3: Adaptability

There is no shortage of challenges and issues that arise on any given workday. Having the ability to identify solutions to unforeseen problems requires being able to modify and adjust accordingly to the environment and situation.

This flexibility is one of the soft skills that increasingly more employers look for in employees. The way professionals demonstrate their adaptability is by showing they are able to think on their feet, assess problems, and find solutions. The ability to develop a well-thought-out solution within a given time is a skill that employers value greatly.

At the same time, today’s tech frontier is rapidly reshaping industries, which means that organizations often must implement change internally to keep up. Here, adaptability also means a willingness to face the unexpected.

“Are you the first to complain if plans change? Do you sulk and brood when things don’t go your way?” AOL Jobs recently asked. “If that’s you, think about how you can be a little less rigid. It will make you a more marketable job seeker.”

Soft Skill 4: Collaboration

A 2007 study from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management used almost 20 million papers over five decades and 2.1 million patents to demonstrate that teams increasingly dominate solo authors in knowledge production. The days of single-inventor innovations have been replaced with team research across nearly all fields.

Whether you call it cooperation, collaboration, or teamwork, an engineer’s ability to work with other people from different backgrounds is essential.

“For example, when designing a transformer for high-voltage transmission lines … it takes more than one engineer to complete the project,” the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD) recently explained. “It requires a team of engineers and other professionals — drafters, project managers, and administrative staff — working together and potentially interfacing with clients, regulatory agencies, subcontractors, and even public advocacy groups.

“What would be the likelihood of success if team members could not communicate together?” the ASTD continued. “What if they could not share responsibilities and accountability in working as a team? What if there was no leadership present in the project?”

Soft Skill 5: Leadership

Leadership, in and of itself, is not one skill but the blending and integration of a variety of skills. By its very nature, leading people is about successfully interacting with them and convincing them to follow. This makes leadership a key soft skill for STEM professionals who intend to make a difference.

“In an engineering context, leadership incorporates a number of capabilities which are critical in order to function at a professional level,” according to the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE). “These capabilities include the ability to assess risk and take initiative, the willingness to make decisions in the face of uncertainty, a sense of urgency and the will to deliver on time in the face of constraints or obstacles, resourcefulness and flexibility, trust and loyalty in a team setting, and the ability to relate to others.”

While much of leadership is character-based, engineers can develop or hone certain leadership skills or attributes to foster personal and professional success.

“Leadership skills are also important to allow engineers later in their careers to help develop and communicate vision for the future and to help shape public policy,” the NSPE continued. “These leadership capabilities are essential for the professional practice of engineering and for the protection of public health, safety and welfare.”

by David Butcher | March 18, 2013
– See more at: http://www.thomasnet.com/journals/career/5-must-have-soft-skills-for-engineers-career-success/#sthash.EIOj0Nl0.dpuf


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Some Useful Links

GENERAL COMMUNICATION
1. Effective Communication Skills http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FljoEitkIeM
2. How to communicate effectively http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZqZQdr_hY7U
3. How to Improve English Communication Skills – 6 Secret Tips

NON-VERBAL COMMUNICATION
4. Communication Skills Training: body language secrets http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gaj3Xl9vasc
5. Nonverbal Communication Skills http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8CL2npjSXMc
6. Nonverbal Communication – Tip #51

7. Communication Basics – Body Language

8. Power of Non Verbal Communications (You are the message)

9. Nonverbal Communication, Body Language Expert Jan Hargrave

10. History Channel Secrets of body language 720p http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dW9ztSUGY_Q
11. Advanced Body Language and Nonverbal Communication Skills Training

12. Body Language Can Undermine Your Message—Expert Mark Bowden

13. The Power of Body Language – Obama Romney http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_h_-X9hnYps

PRESENTATION SKILLS
14. How to Start a Speech http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w82a1FT5o88
15. Killer Presentation Skills http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=whTwjG4ZIJg
16. Dealing with a Hostile Audience http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8oWX1Q1dbiE
17. Presentation Opening Lines http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NXqUWHgBrCE
18. How To Begin Your Presentation With A Strong Start http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ztbTCIXvWr4
19. How to Start a Presentation Using an Attention Grabbing Question http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ndrIvSw1xTc
20. Best presentation opening http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j3vifO4dI1E
21. Become a Master Presenter! What do Master Presenters Do Differently? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dIGT6benUww
22. 5 Tips For Delivering A Great Presentation http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x9E8yaFCX0Y
23. Top 10 Presentation Mistakes (and How to Avoid Them) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HUpI6ROwRAE
24. Make a Presentation Like Steve Jobs http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RHX-xnP_G5s
25. What to do with your hands when you’re presenting! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ooOQQOQdhH8

26. How To Open Your Presentation Like A Professional In 6 Steps

27. HOW DO I START MY PRESENTATION http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2XFexzhDHxQ
28. Five Basic Public Speaking Tips http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AykYRO5d_lI
29. How to start a presentation with a quote http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-1R-VCC1UnU
30. Sample Presentation: When you don’t know an answer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KwAwldXDanw
31. How to avoid boring statistics in presentations

32. Overcoming Nerves When Giving a Presentation http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mbDipVRt5aE
33. How To End Your Presentation In A Memorable Way http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bGZXNW3aDOw
34. Overcome Fear of Public Speaking http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wNtXE_auuRw
35. Learn To Speak: Public Speaking Training, Attitude Is Everything

36. Get Their Attention Every Time You Speak

37. Speaking Tips – Stop Worrying and Start Presenting!

38. The importance of Body Language in Presentations

39. Working With Your Audience and Handling Q&A

40. Effective Presentation Skills: Using Vocal Energy

41. Don’t read from your PowerPoint slides

42. Bill Gates Speech at Harvard

43. 5 Key Presentation Skills – Inspired from Steve Jobs

44. Presentation Skills – Learn from the Best

45. Presenting & Public Speaking Tips – How to improve skills & confidence

46. How to add video to a PowerPoint presentation

47. The Most Effective Use Of PowerPoint

48. Creating effective slides: Design, Construction, and Use in Science

49. How to Give an Awesome (PowerPoint) Presentation

50. PowerPoint 2007- How to insert a YouTube Video into PowerPoint.mp4

51. Make animations in Powerpoint 2007

52. PowerPoint 2010 – Adding Animations

53. PowerPoint 2007- How to insert a YouTube Video into PowerPoint.mp4

54. English Communication Skill part 1-1


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Assignments

Assignments

  List of Assignments

 

 

Assignment 1

 

 Differentiate between the Technical communication and General Communication by giving various examples .

 

Assignment: 2  

 

Make a ppt on how to give an effective presentation

 

Assignment 3

 

Discuss the various components of body-language and demonstrate them with the pictures of political leaders ..

Assignment 4  

 

Write a short essay using narrative and cause and effect method.

 

Assignment 5

 

The students will be asked to prepare a case study on effective/ineffective response due to faulty listening.

 

Assignment 6

 

.Write the description of a process of a technical topic explained/experimented in the technical lab. (100 words)

Assignment 7

 

Write a letter to the Sales Manager enquiring about the price list of scanners                    along with terms and conditions.

Assignment 8

 

Write a letter of reply to the Purchase Manager informing him about the price of different mdels of smart phones along with terms and conditions.

 

Assignment 9 & 10

 

The students will prepare a job application (of a fresh engineering    graduate) – the cover letter and the résumé.


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Home

Welcome to this site!

Technical acumen alone is insufficient for engineering career success.

While speaking, writing, and listening are everyday actions, many professionals underestimate the importance of communication skills. Engineers tend to prioritize technical skills over communication skills, not realizing that they cannot be fully effective in their jobs if they are inadequate speakers, writers, and listeners. Yet it is particularly in the engineering fields that effective communication skills are crucial to success.

By the end of the course it is hoped that this course on Communication Skills will help students will be able to

• learn and understand the four major skills of Communication i.e. LSRW (Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing).

 • remove stage fear.

 • be enriched with good vocabulary and diction.

 •enhance comprehension skills.

 

For any query please contact 
Dr. Monali Chatterjee, Course Co-ordinator