Analysethe communication needs of internal and external stakeholdersCommunication within business is always purposeful;whether it is to inform, to teach, to persuade or to request action. It is aprocess that must be understood by both the sender and receiver of the messagein order to be successful.The communication needs of internal and externalstakeholders may differ slightly due to their position in relation to theorganisation. Stakeholders are any individuals or groups that are involved withan organisation. Internal stakeholders include people who work from within theorganisation, such as employees, volunteers, managers and owners. In myorganisation, these would include members of staff, line managers anddepartmental managers, as well as the current CEO. Internal stakeholders needto know the type of business the organisation is in, specific details regardingthe products and/or services offered, and the correct procedures to follow incase of a problem.
In my position, I need to know a certain number of proceduresspecific to my admin role, as well as general staff procedures; these includeprocedures regarding the production of minutes/letters etc, as well as codes ofconduct as a member of staff working for the council, such as appropriate dressand adhering to data protection. These procedures are communicated through theuse of the staff handbook and updates are given verbally or via e-mail.External stakeholdersare the people who are affected by the work and activity of the organisationsuch as; shareholders, investors, customers, clients and suppliers. Thesegroups need to know information regarding the branding, sale and publicity of aproduct, as well as any events and sponsorship involved. In the council, thesewould include; the local community, other local authorities and localbusinesses. The community will need to be notified of any changes to publicspaces or council services this could include bin collection changes etc.
Interms of contact with other authorities within my role this is important as thetransfer of information about clients is a regular occurrence.2. Analyse thedifferent communication models that support administrationThere are a number of different patterns of communicationthat take place in business. They differ due to the direction and flow of theinformation.
Communication within administration can involve letters, meetings,e-mails, presentations, and memos. The quality of communication influences manydifferent areas of the business, such as working relationships betweencolleagues and effectiveness within a team.The most ideal model, and the one my workplacecurrently uses is the star model. In this model, each member of the team canfreely share information with each other. This encourages participation andcommunication within a team, and also helps build healthy working relationshipsbetween colleagues.Other models ofcommunication include the wheel, which is used in autocratic leadership styles,where an individual in a managerial role takes charge of communication betweenall other individuals. The chain model represents a hierarchical pattern ofcommunication which can sometimes be found in military organisations whereinformation is passed down the chain of command.
A more unusual model ofcommunication is the called Y model. This model is similar to the wheel;however there are 3 individuals/groups who communicate through the person inthe managerial role.3. Evaluate theeffectiveness of different communications systemsCommunication within business can be done in anumber of different ways; the method depends on the information beingdelivered, its importance and the individual receiving it.Effective communication relies on how clear themessage is and making sure the appropriate method is used. It is also importantto consider any potential barriers, and know how to reduce them. When selectingan appropriate method of communication, it is important to adapt and meet theneeds of the audience in order to overcome barriers.
Factors to considerinclude: age range, background and culture, status of the audience, healthissues, language differences, learning difficulties, breakdown of technologyand prejudice. Barriers may also include human error, such as poor listeningskills, lack of discussion and misinterpretation.Communication inbusiness can be divided into three different categories verbal, written andonline. Verbal communication includes face-to-face meetings, over the phone,voicemail messages etc. Communicating verbally can be very effective and hasits advantages as information can be transmitted and discussed straight away.
However, it can be very easy to face barriers over the phone as individualscannot rely on body language or visual cues. This may make it hard to speak tosomeone of a different language or someone with a learning disability. In myrole, verbal communication is key.
I make sure to speak clearly and directlywhen talking on the phone and to ask the caller to repeat should I not be sureof what they said the first time around. This is especially important when itcomes to arranging any meetings or booking a room for use, as well as whentaking details such as names and phone numbers.Written communication (letters, e-mails, memos,agendas) is a very effective way to communicate formally as messages can beedited and revised before they are sent, as being edited to suit the needs ofthe audience, e.g. larger print changed font and/or background colours, Brailleetc.
This means the chance of misinterpreting the information is reduced, and awider audience can be reached by modifying the text. Written communication,whether it is in a letter or an e-mail, also provides a permanent record,whereas a verbal conversation will be lost unless it is recorded. Whilstletters are professional and formal, they are time-consuming to send and couldtake a while to be received; this is not ideal if information needs to bereceived as soon as possible. Producing letters for a large audience could alsobe very expensive.
To overcome barriers regarding letters, importantinformation should be given either over the phone or in person. E-mails are avery effective way of communicating because they are easy and quick to use, canbe both formal and informal, and can contain detailed information, as well asattachments and documents. In my organisation, e-mails are regularly sent outto all staff, or to specific groups of people. E-mails can be quickly repliedto, and saved for future use.In my team, the most used method of communicationto clients is via phone calls and face-to-face conversations duringhome-visits. These phone calls are carried out to check if the client is anyemployment or education at the moment and if not to offer them support from ourservice. The home-visits are carried out when the client cannot be contacted byother means (Phone or e-mail) or by their assigned engagement worker if theyhave accepted support. It is important that during these communications thatthe person delivering them is professional at all times so as to maintain thehigh standard expected from the local authority.
For widercommunication, online methods such as a website or social media can be used.Social media websites such as Twitter are very effective as messages can berelayed to a large number of people rather quickly. This has been seen to beespecially useful for making short announcements to the wider community on thecouncil’s official Twitter account.
In a similar sense this same informationcan also be displayed on the councils website with added depth; thisinformation could be regarding local events, news, recognizing achievements anddirection towards the correct supportive area.4. Explain thefactors that affect the choice of communication mediaRefer to abovequestion – Question 3 5.
Explain theimportance of using the correct grammar, sentence structure, punctuation,spelling and conventions in business communicationsIt is important in business communication thatthere is structure, use of the correct grammar and spelling and that the textis fit for purpose.Written communication must be suited to itsintended audience, presented in a way that is appropriate and should adhere toorganisational standards and formality. Sometimes communication also needs tobe completed within a deadline.In written communication, the first thing thatshould be considered is structure.
Structure refers to how the text is set outand formatted. It also refers to making sure the content is organisedappropriately and in a logical order. Grouping information about a topic, andusing subheadings and short sentences will all help improve how easy it is toread and understand the information. Typically, a letter or e-mail etc. shouldhave a strong introduction and a conclusive last paragraph.It is important to consider the audience withbusiness communication. For example, using any technical jargon and/orabbreviations won’t be effective if they audience won’t understand them; it isimportant all text is clear, direct and to the point.
Even when communicating informally to a colleague,it is important to ensure that spelling, punctuation and grammar is correct.Punctuation helps make it easier to read information by telling the reader whento pause etc. If the text is poorly punctuated, it might not make sense andread incorrectly.
The most important punctuation marks are full stops, commasand apostrophes. Grammar refers to making sure the correct word and tense hasbeen used in a sentence. For example, using “are” instead of “is” for plurals,or making sure the correct pronouns have been used. Most written communicationis completed on Microsoft Word where there is a built-in feature to spell checkthe document.Poor writing skills, especially when communicatingto customers and other organisations, will likely leave a bad impression anddiscourage any further and future custom. In my team, there are set conventionsto be followed when sending out an e-mail, letter or even a spreadsheet. Thiscan be as simple as the font used, positioning of any logos to theproof-reading and exact language and lay-out that should be used in a givensituation.Verbal communication,such as presentations, should be planned and rehearsed beforehand to ensurethey are professional.
It is important to consider the audience withpresentations as they need to able to see the presentation, as well as hear thespeaker. Any hand-outs produced with the presentation will also need to besuited to the audience in order to meet their needs.6. Explain thefactors to be taken into account in planning and structuring differentcommunication mediaRefer to abovequestion – Question 57. Explain ways ofovercoming barriers to communicationRefer to abovequestion – Question 38. Explain the use ofcommunication theories and body languageThis is the best model of communication between twopeople developed by Schramm. It suggests that communication is a two wayprocess where the sender (encoder) and receiver (decoder) take turns to relaymessages.
The theory suggests that communication is a continuous cycle and eachmessage needs interpreting before a new message can be sent. This model is dynamic as it suggests a circularprocess of communication and highlights that messages can be sent and receivedby the same person. It also takes interpretation into consideration with theuse of encoding and decoding.However, due to how basic this model is, it doesnot consider any interference or “noise” receive between messages. The Shannonand Weaver model of communication develops Schramm’s model to include thisaspect of communication.
This model follows the same style as Schramm’smodel as it includes a decoder and encoder, as well as information returning tothe sender. However it also takes notes of the fact that communication is notalways clear as “noise” may interfere with the message during the process. Thiscould be in the form of misunderstanding, messages being misconstrued along thechain of command, or physical noises/technical problems in the case ofcommunication over the phone/voicemail messages.As well as verbal, written and online,communication can also be non-verbal. This includes body language, facialexpressions, posture, tone of voice and physical space between individuals(this is known as proxemics). Studies have shown that the majority of verbalcommunication is made up of non-verbal cues; this is why it is important inbusiness communication that body language matches the professionalism andcontext of information being delivered. Body language primarily includes facialexpressions, gestures and tone of voice. The face can express many different emotions;smiling shows the individual is friendly and non-threatening, whereas raisedeyebrows show confusion.
Eye contact is also an important part of bodylanguage. Consistent eye contact can show confidence and awareness, whereasshifty eyes show dishonesty and uneasiness.A person’s posture also has a big impact on the waythey communicate themselves. For example, crossed arms may indicate that personis very defensive and disagreeable, looking down or hands on head may showguilt or shame.
Sometimes however body language can be ambiguous, for example atilted head may show interest or boredom. It depends on the culture and thecontext of communication.Voice is also another important part of bodylanguage, it includes tone of voice, timing, pace, rhythm, pitch andinflection. Speaking very quickly and quietly may indicate the individual isnervous, whereas a strong, clear voice suggests confidence and authority.When talking to aparent or visitor on reception, it is important to maintain eye contact and beas professional as possible. I make sure I pay attention to what they aresaying and have a friendly, approachable posture.
It is also important toensure my tone of voice is calm and clear, and to not speak over the visitor.9. Explainproof-reading techniques for business communicationsThe best way to proof-read a document is to ask acolleague to read through it; this is useful as they will pick up mistakes moreeasily. Alternatively, reading the text aloud will also highlight any mistakesmade with punctuation and/or grammar.When producing Word documents, it is important notto rely on a spell-check function as it will not pick up incorrect grammar, forexample words that are spelt correctly but in the wrong context; such as”their” and “there”. Similarly, it is important to check numerical values suchas dates and times, as spell-check will not highlight numbers if they are wrong.
A helpful technique when proof-reading is toreading sentences in the wrong order as this will highlight any mistakes withmissing words. Other techniques include double checking punctuation such asapostrophes, for example a common mistake is using an apostrophe for plurals;apostrophes should only be used for possession and contraction.