Diagnosis and Reflection On Business Communication

How do you feel when you have to make a presentation? 

Introduction:

Delivering a presentation has become one of the regular features of a corporate setting in the modern era. The modern requirements of work life make it necessary for an employee to be extremely good at verbal and non-verbal communication. Therefore, identification of self-communication skills is necessary to identify the strengths and weaknesses and improve accordingly.
The thesis for this essay is as follows:
It is extremely important for an employee to possess high level of communication skills to succeed in preparing and delivering corporate presentations. Therefore, analysis of own communication skills is of prime importance to succeed in this domain.
For the purpose of this essay I have used 5 self-communication analysis tools as follows:
  • Self-Perceived Communication Competence Scale (SPCC)
  • Non-Verbal Immediacy Scale Self-Report (NIS-S)
  • Compulsive Communication or Talkaholic Scale
  • Personal Report of Communication Apprehension (PRCA-24)
  • Willingness to Communicate (WTC)

Diagnosis and Reflection:

In this section of the essay I will reflect upon the results of the diagnosis through the 5 selected communication tools. The details of the diagnosis and respective reflections are presented categorically as follows:
Self-Perceived Communication Competence Scale (SPCC)
In this scale there are 12 situations which are provided which might be encountered in real professional life. The main purpose of this scale is to determine how a person reacts in different situations. It is evident that the ways in which persons react to the same scenario varies. This scale has revealed by own assessment of competency as to how I believe that I react to each of the 12 situations. The results show that in Public criterion I have scored moderate which is in between 51 and 86. Thus, it depicts that I am reasonably good in public speaking. This is a more or less satisfactory result because I have found that on interacting with the public such as clients, stakeholders, management personnel and colleagues I have been able to deliver the speeches or presentations confidently. This has been possible because of my dedication and sincerity which I put in behind the preparation of each presentation. I have to deliver presentations as a part of my job before various individuals and therefore the public communicating skill is of high importance (J C & McCroskey, 1988).
In Meeting I have scored moderate that is between 51 and 85. Thus, it shows that I think that I am moderate in communicating in meetings. In the domain of Group I have scored low which is below 61. It shows that I need to be a better performer in group communication like presentation. In Dyad I have scored high that is between 68 and 93. This is a good score. In respect of the Stranger attribute I have scored moderate which is between 31 and 79 which means that I communicate well with strangers and with confidence. In the domain of Acquaintance I have scored moderate which is between 62 and 92. This indicates that I communicate will with acquaintances. In the attribute of Friend I have scored moderate that is a score between 76 and 99 which indicates that I communicate moderately well with friends. My final score appears to be 77 which indicate that I have a moderately high SPCC score which indicates that I am good in communicating in different situations including delivering presentation.
Non-Verbal Immediacy Scale Self-Report (NIS-S)
This scale depicts the degree of positive feelings for others through behaviours and attitudes. It is a self-report and I have utilized this tool to identify the degree of positivity for the others with whom I interact. This tool has more face validity than those of the previous ones because of the diversified elements it has. This tool also has better predictive validity and that is why I chose it for self-analysis. The results in this scale account for the gender of the persons who are assessing themselves. Thus, the scale can be considered as much realistic. The score is 88 which is in the moderate level. It shows that I have a moderately positive feelings for the persons with whom I interact. This is a good factor when I am going to deliver presentation amongst so many people. Having a positive feeling towards the others will help me in presenting with confidence. It is very important for me to be able to feel positive about the attitude of the persons I am interacting with. The non-verbal behavioural cues are extremely significant even at the timed of delivering a presentation. This is because, if a person is not able to feel positive about the ambience where he is delivering the presentation and is apprehending a lot, then it becomes difficult for him to deliver the presentation with effectiveness as he would feel apprehensive that all the persons in the audience will criticize his presentation or will harass him with unsolicited questions. Therefore, I feel contended that I have scored moderately high in this area (Wilson & Lawrence Locker, 2008).
Compulsive Communication or Talkaholic Scale
This scale is a measure of the compulsive communication skills of the individual. Compulsive communicators refer to those people who are extremely outspoken and driven to talk. They are not willing to wait for the other persons to give their personal views and opinions. In front of these people, it is extremely difficult for others to speak about something. They are persons those talk sense and to the point. So, there is a subtle difference between the ones those talk too much and the talkaholics. The people those talk too much are the ones those generally do not always talk on point and lose the way and try discussing about something that is irrelevant or immaterial. On the other hand, the talkaholics are people who talk relevant but they talk more than the requirement.  In this regard it can be said that I have utilized the tool for a self-analysis and found that I have scored above 40 which depicts that I am a talkaholic. This is a result that indicates that I need to work on my tendency to speak. I should not talk too much even though I am confident about the topic or the subject. Especially, during the time of delivering a speech or presentation, it is extremely negative for the speaker to speak too much as it takes the attention of the audience away from the presentation. Thus, this is an area of negativity for me and I need to work on this so that I am able to curb my tendency to speak too much. In my professional career I have been often warned by my seniors and colleagues that I have the tendency to say too much. I have been working on it and need to improve it fast such that I am able to deliver the future presentations in a better manner and impress the audiences much more through talking to the point and making them able to counter-question me by allowing them some time.
Personal Report of Communication Apprehension (PRCA-24)
It is used to measure the apprehension in communication. The tool has a high predictive validity. There are 24 statements that encompass the various feelings in communicating with the others. It mainly helps in the determination of the level of confidence that the person has while communicating with others during a meeting or group discussion. Basically, it helps to determine the degree of apprehensiveness of the person. Thus, I have chosen this tool in order to identify whether I am too much apprehensive of others before communicating with them. It is an extremely important factor to consider as the degree of apprehension has a direct impact on the delivery of the speech during the presentation session. If I am too much apprehensive of what the audience will think about my presentation or whether they would react negatively or not, then it will create undue pressure on me and I will lose my focus and confidence while delivering the speech. I have scored between 51 and 80 that signify the range where I have average CA score. It represents that I am neither too little nor too much apprehensive of communicating with others. This is a good area that will help me in my presentation.
Willingness to Communicate (WTC)
This is a scale that helps to determine the willingness to initiate a communication. Every person behaves differently when it comes to communicating with others. While there are some those like to start a conversation or to continue with it when there are other persons those initiate a conversation. The scale measures this effectiveness as to how much desire the person has to initiate a conversation. I have chosen this scale as it will help me to measure my intent to start a communication process. This is extremely important in a presentation if I had to start the presentation session. There are 20 given situations where the person needs to choose whether he should communicate or not. I have scored between 52 and 82 that depicts that I am at a moderate stage when it comes to the desire for communicating with others (McCroskey J. C., 1992).
So, my two identified areas of weaknesses in communication have been by Talkaholic nature or Compulsive Communication and the lack of skills in Group communication. In my professional career also, I have faced situations which highlighted these two weaknesses. In the first case I would discuss about the incident that happened 1 year ago in my professional career. In my organization there was a debate before which all the employees needed to participate in a group discussion. One topic relevant to the industry was given and every team needed to discuss the issue among them and there was an observer. I was not able to communicate very well in the group discussion session as I was confused and little low in confidence as I did not understand what to say and when to say. In another case, I was on a client meet, where my senior and I needed to convince the client about our product and services. But, when we met the client and my turn to communicate appeared, I talked so much that the client lost the interest and criticized me so much that we missed the deal. These were the two of the most disastrous incidents in my communication skills those I need to change, the sooner the better.

Literature Review:

In the opinion of McCroskey and Richmond (1993), several researches have been conducted over the years on the variations in talking behaviour of people in the domain of psychology as well as communication. The quantity different people talk tends to vary from person to person. There are some people those talk in large volumes and for larger span of time. They do not like to offer opportunity to others for speaking. These people are not the ones those talk meaningless or out of context. Rather, the compulsive communicators also known as the Talkaholics like to go on speaking what they feel like but they are not easily diverted from the main theme or subject of the communication process. These individuals involuntarily like to go on discussing about a topic. It creates problems for the other parties to the communication process as they do not get the adequate opportunity to speak or they began to lose their interest in the communication process because of the unnecessary long conversation. These people have the tendency to take the communication process beyond the required threshold. The content of such communication is relevant and contains good quality of information but such form of communication leads to excess sharing of good quality of information, a major part of which is wasted because after a certain point of time, the audience starts to lose interest and attention. Thus, the intent of the speaker is wasted due to the excessive flow of information. But, compulsive communicators are persons those will indulge in such conversations naturally and they will have to be specially guided and intervened in order to alter their natural propensity to talk beyond the requirement. Thus, this quality can be harmful in the context of delivering a presentation (McCroskey & Richmond, 1993).
In the opinion of Croucher, Rahmani, Sakkinen and Hample (2016), the communication aspects are valued differently by different cultures. The various choices are made by human beings based on their self-perceived communication competence. This is a scale that denotes the degree of willingness to communicate or the fear to communicate under different situations. It measures how the individual measures his own communication competence. There are visible differences in the communication competence in between several cultures. In the opinion of the authors, it is extremely important to account for the cultural differences when measuring the self-perceived communication competence. As for example, the SPCC is likely to vary among the Americans and the East Asians. It has been observed that generally the university students of the US are more likely to communicate as compared to the students from the East Asian countries such as Thailand. Thus, the self-perceived communication competence is an extremely effective tool that helps an individual to ascertain the several areas of competence in communication. The scores reveal the degree of confidence in communication that the individual possesses based on his own perception. It is an effective tool to determine the confidence that the person has on his own communication skills and competences. Therefore, it can be considered as one of the key tools that can be used in order to determine the communication competence and this will help in identifying the strengths and weaknesses in delivering a speech during an office presentation (Stephen Croucher & Hample, 2016).
According to Richmind, McCroskey and Johnson (2009), the non-verbal immediacy scale is one of the key measures of instructional communication, organizational as well as interpersonal communication. The toll is applied extensively by many people all around the world for determining the non-verbal skills of communication. But, there are many eminent persons those believe that the reliability estimates of this scale are questionable. The authors have opined that this scale has been found to be highly reliable when it is used for the purpose of self-reporting or for measuring other report. The tool is also very useful when measuring the domains of the organizational, interpersonal and the instructional communications. The authors have also discussed about the content validity of the scale and they say that it is extremely good. Therefore, it is one of the most significant scales that can be used to measure the effectiveness of non-verbal communication. It can be said in this regard that, along with the verbal communication, it is extremely important in a presentation that the person showcases effective non-verbal communication also like attitude and body language. Therefore, this can be considered as one of the most effective self-analysis tools to measure the non-verbal communication skills that might help an individual to develop the skills of interaction through communication processes those encompass the non-verbal activities (Richmond, McCroskey, & Johnson, 2003).
In the words of Watson (1990), the Personal Report of Communication Apprehension is a tool that is used by an individual for the purpose of ascertaining his tendency towards personal communication apprehension. It encompasses the degree to which an individual tends to apprehend that the person or scenario in which he is going to communicate with the others is challenging or not. The apprehension refers to the understanding of the others’ behaviours or communications and thinking about how much positive or negative the behaviour from the others will be. A person who is extremely apprehensive about the communication with others will think that it is a big challenge for him to think that the others will communicate freely with him or her. He finds it a big challenge to communicate with others thinking that the others might not communicate positively with him or her in a given situation. In other words the tool helps a student to determine his degree of nervousness when they are about to communicate. This might help in the development of the strategies accordingly so that the nervousness can be controlled or curbed in future. Therefore, it can be considered as an extremely important tool when it comes to testing one’s own communication skills during a presentation. During a presentation scenario, there are various people in the audience and it is extremely important that the speaker does not become too much apprehensive of the communication response from them or else he will start to feel nervous. The lesser the degree of apprehension, the better it is for the individual (Watson, 1990).
According to Khare (2010), the modern corporate is incomplete without the need for presentations in the office. They have become an integral part of the modern workplace. Whether it is the sales pitch or to the reasons an employee expects a hike in his pay, the manager should effectively instruct his subordinates and must persuade them in the right direction. The other important area where an employee needs to showcase his presentation skills is during the process of job interview. Thus, the presentation skills can be divided into three categories such as: Business Presentation, Public Speaking and Communication Skills. The business presentations mostly occur in one to one scenarios. Here, the employee uses his skills of influencing very similar to trying to convince the customer about purchasing a product or service. The client or the customer has to be driven towards buying the particular product or service through this form of communication. The public speaking procedure consists of the scenario when the employee has to address a large section of people during a seminar, concert or workshop. It is also a situation where the presentation skills become important because the employee has to convince the large audience about the validity and justification of his claims. The third category consists of the communication skills of the employee. When delivering a presentation, it is extremely important that the employee shows high degree of communication skills. These skills are required in the daily lives when the employee is interacting with his colleagues, seniors and subordinates. The communication skills consist of oral and written communications. The oral communications or verbal communications are extremely important as are the non-verbal communications such as eye contact, tone of voice, gestures with the hands, etc. Thus, in order to be able to present successfully, an employee needs to be strong in the above-mentioned skills (Khare, 2010).

Action plan for next 6 months:

The analysis of the various sources of literature has been instrumental for me to understand the essence of various forms of communication those are required at the time of delivering a presentation. I have identified some areas of strengths as well as those of weaknesses in my presentation skills. I have designed an action plan to work on two of my major communication weaknesses such as the lack of effective Group communication skills and being a Compulsive Communicator that can be harmful on many occasions in the professional life. The action plan is detailed as follows:
Weakness Identified     
         Action Plan 
Resource Required 
Timeline
Lack of skills in group communication 
 I will undertake more personal sessions of group discussions with my colleagues and try to interact more and raise my own perspectives even more. I will take the help of my reporting manager who will observe the proceedings and mentor me in developing this skill.  
 I will require using some sources over the internet for learning theoretical knowledge. I will also use the help and guidance of my mentor that is the reporting manager.  
 I will try to improve my communication skills effectively within the next 6 months. I will undertake mock group discussions with my colleagues and ask them to evaluate my group participation skills. I will also participate in more professional workshops where I have more opportunity to perform in a group and thereby develop my group communication skills.
Talkaholic or Compulsive Communicator  
I have planned to work on reducing my nature of being a compulsive communicator by observing my colleagues and superiors when they deliver a speech during a presentation. I will observe how they use their listening skills more along with using their speaking skills. I will take the help of my reporting manager in this domain also and will undertake mock communication sessions with him where he will observe my listening and speaking skills and guide me accordingly.  
 I will use the various sources available over the internet like various renowned articles and books on ways to reduce the compulsive communicative behaviour. I will also enhance my skills of listening and will try to be a patent listener first rather than being a prolific orator in a professional communication situation. 
 I will look to enhance this skill of mine significantly within a period of next 6 months. I will undertake weekly tests in order to monitor and evaluate my degree of improvement on this skill.

 

References:

J C, M., & McCroskey, L. L. (1988). Self-Perceived Communication Competence Scale (SPCC). Communication Research Reports, 5, 108-113.
Khare, S. (2010). Improve Your Presentation Skills. Retrieved from forbes: https://www.forbes.com/2010/08/02/presentation-skills-public-speaking-communication-forbes-woman-leadership-career.html#35a788971220
McCroskey, J. C. (1992). Reliability and validity of the willingness to communicate scale. Communication Quarterly; 40, 16-25.
McCroskey, J. C., & Richmond, V. P. (1993). IDENTIFYING COMPULSIVE COMMUNICATORS: THE TALKAHOLIC SCALE. COMMUNICATION RESEARCH REPORTS. Volume 10. Nuumber: 2, 107-114.
Richmond, V. P., McCroskey, J. C., & Johnson, A. D. (2003). Development of the nonverbal immediacy scale (NIS): Measures of self?and other?perceived nonverbal immediacy. Communication Quarterly; Volume 51; Issue 4, 504-517.
Stephen Croucher, D. R., & Hample, D. (2016). Communication Apprehension, Self-Perceived Communication Competence, and Willingness to Communication in Singapore. Journal of Intercultural Communication, ISSN, 1404-1634.
Watson, A. K. (1990). Helping developmental students overcome communication apprehension. Journal of Developmental Education, 14(1), 10-17.
Wilson, J. H., & Lawrence Locker, J. (2008). Immediacy Scale Represents Four Factors: Nonverbal and Verbal Components Predict Student Outcomes. Journal of Classroom Interaction Vol. 42.2, 1-10.

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