The importance of communication skill cannot be denied nowadays. The communication skill has now become even more important in case of the contemporary workplaces. Lack of sound communication skill can prevent one’s career growth. Therefore, it is necessary to assess the communication skill, identify the weaknesses and taking the corrective actions and improving the skill. The current report includes assessment of various areas of the communication and identification of the areas to improve. The report also includes discussion on the action plan.

Diagnosis and reflection:

Diagnosis of the communication skill is important to identify the weaknesses. Different areas of the communication can be diagnosed with different tools. Here, the communication skill is assessed using a number of diagnostic tools and key communication issues are identified on basis of the findings.
Assessing the communication skill with diagnostic tools: 
The verbal communication skill depends upon various other skills such as the listening skill, assertive perception and the non-verbal communication ability. A five point scale can effectively find out the behavior of an individual during communication (McCroskey & McCroskey, 1988). 
Voice is an important part of the communication. The tone and pitch of the voice, volume and speed at which messages are delivered reflect a number of things and make the communication interesting. For instance, a rising voice at the end of speech often indicates that the speaker is willing to hear questions from the audience whereas use of a monotonous tone throughout the communication makes it boring (Richmond et al. 2003). Eye contact is another important part of the communication. Making an eye contact with the audience shows confidence of the speaker. Eye contacts between the two communicating parties also reflect their concentration on the content of communication. In addition, the eye contact also indicates that the communicating parties are interested in each other (Dixson et al. 2017).
Understanding what others are trying to convey is important for every communication. Presence of excellent listening skill facilitates individual to comprehend the other messages expressed by other parties in the communication. Therefore, while assessing the communication akill of an individual, it is important to assess the listening skill also, as it is an important part of the communication. Physical gestures and touching the others is another critical part for the communication. Gesture reveals thoughts of the speakers and therefore, makes the messages conveyed by the speaker easier to understand (Park & Chung, 2015). The gesture is often considered as the building block for the languages. Communicating with assertiveness proves to be more effective w hen an individual wants to reflect the self-image or want to attain a position in the audience. Thus, measuring the level of assertiveness is important when assessing communication skill of an individual.
Assessing the feelings of the speakers during communication is an excellent way to analyze the level of planning and practice of an individual for making the communication better (Jackson, 2014). The assessment of the feelings also indicates the approach of the speaker to address the audience. Self perceived communication competence (SPCC) is another excellent tool to understand what an individual perceives about own communication skill in the meetings or in casual environments. The Business communication skill reflects the ability of an individual to communicate in formal environment (Hardianti et al.2017). The non-verbal immediacy self report (NIS-S) indicates use of the non-verbal components during a communication by an individual. Use of eye-contacts and gestures make communication more interesting to the audience. The NIS-S tool provides the speaker with a framework to assess the use of these tools and hence gives an idea how effective the communication skill of an individual is.
Findings of the tools:
Use of different tools is effective to assess different areas of communication,. Use of multiple tool also facilitates an individual to get a holistic idea on own communication skill which in turn, helps the individual to know own weakness in a better way. Use of different assessment tools indicates how an individual uses different components of communication and so, gives a clear idea on how to improve the communication skill. The current assessment indicates that the researcher uses gestures and makes eye contact frequently during communication. The use of touch is also high in this case. It indicates that the researcher employs non-verbal components of communication effectively and it makes the communication more interesting to the parties involved. As stated by Rasipuram & Jayagopi, (2016), use of facial expression is an important part of the communication. The facial expression helps the speaker to convey the message with more clarity (Brown et al.2016). In this case, findings of the assessments are indicating that the researcher uses limited facial expression while communicating with others. It can be stated that the communication would be better if the researcher used more facial expression. A smiling face makes the communication more efficient whereas delivering messages with a dull expression makes the communication boring for the audience (Zentner, 2016). The current assessment indicates that both the situations occur frequently for the researcher. Hence, to maximize the effectiveness of communication, the researcher needs to show friendly facial expression all the time while communicating with others.
Proximity to the audience is another important component of the communication (Zhang et al.2017). Maintaining proximity with the audience reflects interest of the speaker in communication. The current assessment indicates that the researcher maintains proximity while communicating with the audience. It, in turn, helps the researcher to communicate with the audience in a more efficient manner. Use of multiple tones helps the audience to retain their interest in a communication. From the assessment, it is evident that the researcher never delivers the message in a single monotonous tone and brings variety in the style of delivering the message quite often. This also indicates that the communication style of the researcher is effective enough to keep the audience interested to take part in the communication process. The effectiveness of communication depends significantly on the vocal variety. However, findings of the assessment clearly states that the researcher does not have extensive amount of vocal variety. Instead, the researcher uses limited amount of vocal tones. The communication could be better if the researcher used more vocal variety.
Making gestures and touching others is necessary to interact with the audience in a better way. Use of gesture makes the communication more interesting whereas touching the parties involved with the communication in a socially acceptable manner indicates the willingness of speaker to communicate (Winoto et al.2016). From the current assessment, it is evident that the researcher uses both of it rarely. It can be stated that the lack of physical interaction is reducing the effectiveness of communication done by the researcher. 
The overall assessment of the communication skill indicates that the researcher is aware of the verbal and non-verbal components of the communication and utilizes the components while interacting with others. However, in some cases, the verbal and non-verbal elements are not being used to the maximum level. As a result the communication is not giving the optimum results. The researcher needs to focus on some areas for betterment of the communication skill.
Key communication issues: 
The assessment of the communication skill brings out two areas that the researcher needs to improve. The key issues faced by the researcher during communication are -- not using friendly facial expression every time and lack of gesture and touching during communication.
Lack of facial expression:
The human face can express thousands of expression and they play a major role in the communication. The facial expressions can reflect the thoughts of the persons communicating without using a word. The emotions like happiness, sorrow, willingness and surprise can be easily communicated using the facial expressions (Brown et al.2016). The most advantageous fact about the facial expressions is that these expressions are universal, unlike many other elements of non-verbal communication. The style of communicating with others varies significantly with the culture. As the facial expressions are universal, they can be used while communicating with any type of audience, irrespective of their culture. 
In case of the contemporary business communication also, facial expression is critical to interact with the audience. In the modern organizations, messages are often delivered in a formal tone. Understanding the meaning of the content delivered through a formal message can become difficult. However, use of facial expressions, during communication makes the messages easy to understand. It, in turn, makes the communication more effective. Therefore, lack of facial expression affects the communication in two ways. Firstly, it restricts the individual to remove the cultural barriers for communication. Secondly, it reduces understandability of the messages delivered.
Lack of gestures:
Gestures or the visible physical movements are often used with the communication. The gestures can serve two purposes -- either they can replace the words or the gestures can be used as conjunction in the communication. The gestures include a number of movements, including the movement of hand, face and other parts of the body. The gestures convey an array of expressions, including the affection, approval and contempt (Sabee, 2016). For speakers, gestures are often used as a tool of thinking also. The current discussion indicates that lack of gestures can reduce understandability of the messages. Lack of gesture can make the messages dull also.
Analyzing professional interactions: 
Presentation and business meetings are two types of professional interaction s that the individuals often experience at the workplaces. 
Presentation: In a presentation the speaker needs to retain attention of the audience attentive for a long time. Use of facial expressions and gestures help the speaker to express the message clearly (Srivastava, 2014). Lack of the expressions and gestures in this case prevent the researcher from keeping the audience attentive throughout the presentation. In the current case due to lack of expressions and gestures, the presentation seemed dull to the audience and it was evident from their feedback.
Business meetings:
In a business meeting, it is necessary to get attention from the audience and presenting own message in a concise and attractive way (Rasipuram, 2016). Hence, in case of business meetings prevent individuals from conveying their messages. In the present case, lack of facial expressions and gestures prevented the researcher from expressing all the messages.

Literature Review:

Facial expression and gestures are two important parts of communication and the researcher needs to improve these areas. This part of the report deals with analysis of the key concepts associated with these two issues.
Facial expression:
Facial expressions are crucial to express the thoughts of a person. Although while communicating, the people involved into it, often tries to control the facial expression to some degree, but often the expressions become visible naturally. The facial expressions make the messages easy to understand. Therefore, learning the facial expressions which are used in communication and using those in proper way, can help the individuals to express their thoughts more effectively.
According to the Albert Mehrabian’s Communication model, the non-verbal components constitute about 38% of the communication process whereas the visual components constitute 55% of the entire process (Ariyani et al.2017). It indicates that the visual components control effectiveness of the communication to a great extent. The visual components of communication include facial expression, gesture and eye contact. Therefore, the communication is impacted majorly by the facial expression.
Universality of facial expressions: The way of communication varies significantly with the culture. The variations are observed in the non-verbal cues also. However, in case of facial expressions , no significant variation among the people of different culture is observed (Gelfman et al.2014). Arterberry, (2014) also stated that the facial expressions are universal. It means, people from different culture uses the same type of facial expressions to convey similar feelings, irrespective of the other differences in communication style. The facial expressions convey several thoughts without using a single word. The feelings that can be expressed through facial expressions are surprise, happiness, and contempt .
Due to the universal nature, in a communication, the facial expressions are trusted to a great extent. The non-verbal communication including the facial expressions help the individuals to communicate more than 80 percent of the content to be delivered (Rasipuram & Jayagopi, 2016). It indicates that the facial expressions need to be chosen carefully so that they express the right message to the audience.
Interpreting facial expressions in public speaking: The facial expressions primarily convey 7 emotions. The emotions that are expressed widely with the help of facial expression are joy, anger, disgust, fear , surprise, sadness and contempt (Ting et al 2017).
During a communication, it is necessary to make the audience comfortable. Stress reduces the effectiveness of communication (Zentner, 2016), If the parties involved in a communication are stressed, the communication session may not provide the desired outcomes. However, the words always may not be effective to grow interest among all the parties. However, the non-verbal cues such as facial expressions help the individuals a lot to communicate in a more relaxed way.
Showing willingness to communicate is necessary for efficient interaction (Brown et al.2016).. Use of verbal communication skill only may not be effective to express the willingness to communicate. Use of facial expressions such as starting the communication with a smile is effective in this case. The expressions of happiness show that the speaker is interested to communicate with others.
Confidence adds value to message that the speaker wants to convey. Delivering a message confidently makes it more reliable to the audience. Starting the communication with a smile indicates that the speaker is confident and relaxed as well. It helps individuals to get attention from others easily.
Controlling the facial expression: Although the facial expressions occur naturally, it is necessary to control those for making the communication more effective. When an individual becomes aware of the facial expressions he/she makes during the communication, controlling those becomes easier (Maitra & Gopalram, 2016). In the modern business world, it is necessary to maintain a neutral position. Therefore, hiding then emotions with a smile can help individuals to be in a neutral position and communicate more effectively.
Understanding own facial expressions is another way to gain control over those during communication (Yoo & Park, 2015). The better one can understand own facial expressions, using the cues in communication becomes easier. Practice is important to make communications more effective. The practice to control the facial expressions also is effective to gain control over those.
Ways to use facial expressions more effectively:
The facial expressions enhance the effectiveness of communication to a great extent when used in the right way. 
Smiling eyes:
Smiling is an instant expression that often occurs during communication. However, it is necessary to ensure that the smile that the speaker is using at the start of communication looks authentic. Expressing the happiness to meet the audience through eyes is a great way to set a relaxing environment for communication. As stated by Zentner, (2016), during a presentation of public speaking, the speakers need to ensure that they are reflecting a positive image through the facial expressions. Expressing the joy through eyes helps the individuals to project positive feelings to the audience.
The communication becomes the most effective when all the parties involved with it participate equally (Srivastava, 2014). Asking for feedbacks from the audience gives the better result during a communication. However, it is also important to show that the speaker is interested to hear from the audience as it increases their participation to a great level. Nodding is an excellent way to show that the speaker agrees with the audience. Keeping the eyes slightly wide also indicates that the speaker is listening to the words of the audience attentively (Yoo & Park, 2015).
Looking upwards:
At the time of public speaking or during presentations making eye-contacts with each one of the audience is necessary. However, Struchen, (2014)argued that looking continuously into the eyes of a number of people can make the communication difficult for the speaker, Instead, looking upwards while finding answers for the queries raised by the audience , keeps the speaker more relaxed and boosts effectiveness of the communication.
The importance of gesture in communication is described in different models. 
The Berlo’s communication model indicates that the message conveyed by the source is transmitted through the channel which is constituted by the elements like hearing, seeing and touching (Struchen, 2014). The gestures made by the source influence the way of seeing for the receiver and hence impact the communication. 
The communication model suggested by Albert Mehrabian also indicates that the visual components impact the communication significantly. Therefore, the messages can be conveyed more clearly if the visual components like gestures are used in the proper way.
Types of gestures used in communication:
The gestures or movement of hands and arms deliberately facilitate individuals to convey their messages without using a single word. The widely accepted gestures include pointing, waving and using fingers to snow any particular object (Kraut, 2017). However, the communication components vary significantly with the cultures and the gestures are also not an exception. Some gestures change with the culture. It indicates that knowing the cultural features of the audience is necessary to use the right gestures and make the communication effective. The other components of non-verbal communication are used for reflecting a number of emotions. However, the gestures can be used in place of the words.
The gestures are used in three phases. The phases are preparation, stroke and retraction. The actual message that the source wants to convey are expressed through the stroke (Maitra & Gopalram, 2016). The other two phases such as the preparation and the retraction indicates moving the arm from the rest position and bringing it back to the rest position after conveying the message. The emblem type gestures reflect specific messages (Struchen, 2014). For instance, the V sign indicates victory. The iconic gestures are used to express the physical objects (Yoo & Park, 2015). For example, the size of an object can be expressed during the speech using hands. The regulator type gestures can change the turn during a conversation. Raising hand in a meeting indicates that the speaker wants attention from the rest of the parties involved in the communication.
The current discussion indicates that lack of proper gesture usage may restrict the individuals from expressing the message in an efficient way. Lack of using the right gestures may also restrict the speaker from attaining attention in a meeting.

Action Plan:

An action plan helps to improve the areas of weaknesses in a systematic way. In this report, an action plan is presented to get rid of the communication weaknesses. A Gantt chart helps individuals to achieve the goals within specific time (McCroskey, 2015). Here, the action plan is presented using a Gantt chart.
SMART goals are effective for developing new skills within a short-time. Here, the goals for improving communication skill are as follow:
•Ensuring no communication is being carried out in a bland expression and being proficient to use 7 primary types of facial expressions during communication within 6 months
• Knowing the meanings of universally accepted gestures and using all of them in communication within 6 months .
The current action plan indicates that the goals for improving facial expression and gestures are divided into a number of shorter goals and the schedule is developed to achieve the goals. Having the conceptual knowledge on the elements on communication is necessary to use them effectively in real-life scenario ((Maitra & Gopalram, 2016). Therefore, the first task to undertake is gaining knowledge on the facial expressions and widely used gestures and understanding how to use those. Undertaking the skill development courses is effective to acquire specific skills. In this case, two short courses will be undertaken to improve the communication skill. The course, designed for enhancing employability, is effective for improving the basic communication skill at workplace (Yoo & Park, 2015). The next course, offered by CQU emphasizes on making the communication more effective. Presence of a mentor facilitates individuals to address the areas that needs to be improved effectively and developing new skills faster (Srivastava, 2014). In this case, help from the university guide would be taken to develop the communication skill. The key to effective communication is practicing. The newly learned skills will be applied daily and the progress will be noted in a journal. It would help the researcher to assess own performance and take corrective actions.


Discussion in the current report includes that the researcher has issues to use facial expressions and make gestures during communication. These shortcomings restrict the researcher from presenting messages in an interesting way and also to communicate in business meetings. The issues will be addressed using the books and undertaking specific trainings.


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