Communicating Effectively

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Tools and Techniques to Promote Workplace Communication, Boost Productivity, and Increase the Effectiveness of Every Message You Send

Cell phones, e-mail, and pagers have made connecting with others in the workplace easier than ever. But real communication—saying what you mean and using your words to produce results—remains as challenging as ever. Communicating Effectively provides hands-on, no-nonsense techniques and strategies for improving your ability to communicate—and ...

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Communicating Effectively

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Tools and Techniques to Promote Workplace Communication, Boost Productivity, and Increase the Effectiveness of Every Message You Send

Cell phones, e-mail, and pagers have made connecting with others in the workplace easier than ever. But real communication—saying what you mean and using your words to produce results—remains as challenging as ever. Communicating Effectively provides hands-on, no-nonsense techniques and strategies for improving your ability to communicate—and manage conflicts—in today’s relentless and demanding business environment.

Look to this easy-to-use book for:

*Proven methods to raise employee morale—and productivity—through everyday conversation and interaction

*Guidelines and ground rules for conducting participative, results-driven meetings and presentations

*The 5 fundamental factors of e-communications—how to use e-mail, voice mail, and others—and which method to use for specific situations

From handling minor disagreements between co-workers to giving crucial make-or-break presentations, managers who gain the most respect and achieve the greatest success are consistently the best, most effective communicators. Learn the workplace-tested tools of communication, some seemingly obvious, others somewhat less apparent, but all crucial for day-to-day success—in Communicating Effectively.

Briefcase Books, written specifically for today’s busy manager, feature eye-catching icons, checklists, and sidebars to guide managers step-by-step through everyday workplace situations. Look for these innovative design features to help you navigate through each page:

*Clear, concise definitions of important terms and concepts

*Tips and tactics for being smart in your communications as a manager

*How-to hints to make your communications more effective

*Practical advice to minimize the chance of misunderstandings

*Warnings of where communication could backfire in various situations

*Case studies and examples of effective communication in action

*Procedures and techniques for on-the-job communication situations

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780071364294
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Professional Publishing
  • Publication date: 9/25/2000
  • Series: Briefcase Books Series
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 338,241
  • Product dimensions: 0.51 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 6.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Lani Arrendondo (Rio Vista, CA) presents seminars on practical skills for improved performance. Her work has been featured in publications from Success to The Wall Street Journal.

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Read an Excerpt

Communicating Effectively

By Lani Arredondo

The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

Copyright © 2000The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-07-136429-4



It's All About Communication

You arrive for work bright and early, ready for a productive day. No sooner have you entered the building than you're accosted by an employee who has a complaint. "Well," she demands, "what are you going to do about it?" You promise to get back to her later in the day.

You head down the hall toward your office. An employee greets you cheerfully. Another glares and grumbles. "I've got to talk to him about that attitude," you think.

Stopping by the break room for coffee, you notice a few of your staff seated around a table in the corner. "What's up?" you ask pleasantly, meaning to strike up a friendly conversation. "Nothing," one of them mumbles. You surmise something is up, considering how their conversation stopped abruptly when you entered the room.

At your desk, you power on the computer to check your e-mail. The usual: 37 messages and it's only 8:15. You'll attend to them later. First, you need to check with the human resources department about getting the new hire through orientation.

As soon as you pick up the phone to call human resources, your boss appears. "Need you in a meeting at 9 about the Jones account. It'll only take fifteen minutes." You know better. These "only" meetings go on longer than that.

With less than 45 minutes until the meeting, you do a quick mental calculation. Should you jot down notes for your presentation to the staff tomorrow? Meet with Jane to give her instructions on the next project phase? Call Joe in to talk about that attitude problem you've noticed? Get together with the manager of quality control about those defects in the gizmos? Review the Jones file? Check on that employee's complaint? Reply to the e-mails, voice mails, memos, letters, faxes, ad infinitum? Brrriiing ... your telephone rings. Saved by the bell.

Nobody told you it would be like this!

What You Do

Call to mind a typical week at work. Of the activities listed below, place a checkmark next to those you do on a regular basis. Estimate, on average, the percentage of time you spend on each.

All of these activities involve communicating in one form or another. Chances are, you spend the bulk of your time involved in such activities. No matter what your "official" title—team leader, supervisor, manager, director, business owner, or the like—if you manage people, communication is a critical part of what you do.

A Model of Management

Suppose you signed up for a course entitled Management 101. During the first session, the instructor poses this question to the class: "What is management?" How would you answer the question?

After decisions are made about the results to be accomplished in the area you manage, you direct and coach employee performance toward achieving those desired results. You then monitor what's going on and report on progress or problems.

At every stage, you communicate. You interact with the boss, with employees, and with other departments. You may interface with entities outside of the organization, including suppliers, contractors, and government or community agencies.

At every stage, you encounter this challenge. You're accountable for seeing that results are achieved. But you don't produce them directly yourself. The results are produced by others (unless you're a "working supervisor" doing the jobs of both employee and manager). In other words, you're in the middle of it all (Figure 1-2):

For many managers, this realization requires a shift in mind-set and skills.

A Shift in Mindset and Skills

Think about the job you did before you were promoted to your first management position. What was your primary concern? Unless you were the office gossip, you were most concerned with your job. You concentrated your efforts on what you did.

What was the nature of the work you did? In all likelihood, it was mainly task-oriented. You did work of a technical or operational nature.

But when you occupy a management role, your frame of reference changes. Management requires a different mindset and skills.

The Managerial Mindset

As a manager, your primary focus is no longer on you. A manager's mindset shifts to them (or, perhaps more appropriately, us), the employees who do the tasks. Although you're still concerned with yourself in terms of doing your job well, you recognize your success depends in large part on how well you and your employees work together to accomplish goals. You concentrate on doing the things that will equip and encourage them to produce the desired results—and many of those things you do involve communication.

Management Skill

As a worker, you probably prided yourself on your technical or operational skills. It's likely one of the reasons you were promoted to management. You performed the tasks better than other employees.

Now, you don't do those same tasks anymore. You oversee the performance of others who do them. Your effectiveness as a manager isn't determined by your expertise with tasks or technicalities. Your effectiveness resides in your relational skills.

To be effective, you need to be a skillful communicator. You need to be especially skilled at interpersonal communications.

The Importance of Interpersonal Communication

Interpersonal skills are increasingly critical because of four factors of growing importance in most organizations these days: technology, time intensity, diversity, and liability.


Review what you do. How much of your workday is spent interacting with people face-to-face compared with interacting with technology? How do you think employees would answer the question?

In an edition of a respected dictionary dated 1987, the word "e-mail" doesn't appear. Now, e-mail is commonplace. So is voice-mail. Every year, the ranks of telecommuters grow. Technology has transformed the workplace, and its influence and impact are growing.

As early as 1982, social forecaster John Naisbitt cautioned in Megatrends (1982, p. 39), "Whenever new technology is introduced into society, there must be a counter-balancing human response—that is, high touch." When you skillfully interact person-to-person, you bring to an increasingly high-tech workplace the necessary high-touch. (That's a key theme in Chapter 9, "E-Communications.")

Time Intensity

The workplace is hurried. ASAP isn't soon enough. You need it NOW! (Or better yet, yesterday.) Rarely are documents sent by so-called "snail-mail." They're transmitted electronically in nanoseconds or expressed for overnight delivery. Like many other people, you've probably learned the modern method for getting more done in less time: multi-tasking.

You're pressed for time. But Joe has a problem he has to talk to you about. The clock is ticking. But Jane doesn't know the next step to take on that project until she gets further direction from you. In a rush, you "cut to the chase"—get right to the point—no time for idle chitchat. And Paul in human resources perceives you're rude. What about the employee who comes to you with a valid concern? You may miss it if you're multi-tasking because multi-tasking diverts your attention.

When time is at a premium, you can't afford to waste time through incomplete, inaccurate, or ineffective communication. Good interpersonal skills enable you to make the best use of the time you spend interacting with people.


Excerpted from Communicating Effectively by Lani Arredondo. Copyright © 2000 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents



1. It's All About Communication          

2. The Part Perceptions Play          

3. Profiles and Preferences          

4. Building Blocks of Effective Interactions          

5. Communicating So They Get It Right          

6. Dealing with Counterproductive Communications          

7. Making the Most of Meetings          

8. Steps to Successful Presentations          

9. E-Communications          

10. Finishing Touches          


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  • Posted December 23, 2011

    An excellent basic book on communication

    This is an excellent primer on how to communicate both professionally and personally. It contains many useful insights on how communication really gets done and focuses on everything from the role of perceptions to non-verbal and listening skills. It is a very, very good book and highly recommended.

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