Unit 1 questions 1.2 and 1.4
1.2 Describe the communication requirements of different audiences
There are many things to think about when considering the communication requirements of your target audience, such as, whether they are an internal or external audience. When communicating with an internal audience, you may not have to be so formal and can afford to use office jargon and abbreviations that your colleagues will be familiar with. You would need to be more formal with an external audience to ensure you keep to a high standard of professionalism, using abbreviations with an external audience would not be appropriate as their level of experience and knowledge would not be the same. Your audiences level of knowledge and experience will impact on how you choose to communicate also, people with a low level of knowledge on the subject, such as new colleagues or potential clients would require you to start at a low level and go into more detail than you would have to for experienced colleagues.
Understanding the aim of your communication is also something you should consider; as well as the impact you are hoping to have on your target audience. Is your aim to sell a product, implement a new strategy, educate new colleagues, all these various aims will require different methods and styles of communication.
Deciding which is the most appropriate and effective method of communication will determine how you deliver your message, deciding if is it going to be a written communication in the form of a letter, email, note or report or delivered verbally via a phone call, a face to face meeting, small group discussions or giving a presentation. Considering the tone and style of your communications is also important, this will depend on the message you want to convey to your audience. A relaxed and informal tone and style would involve the use of more relaxed and casual language and may not require formal planning. If the message is of a more serious nature, and you want to get it across with maximum impact, more formal language and a structured, planned meeting would be more appropriate.
1.4 Explain the importance of using appropriate body language and tone of voice when communication verbally
A large part of face-to-face communication is of non-verbal and is expressed by body language and tone of voice. It is important to be mindful of the impact body language can have on your communications, in both a positive and negative way. Body language and tone of voice are very powerful parts of the communication process and often can convey how somebody is feeling more than their verbal communications. It is estimated that behavioural communication can account for over 90% of the message being communicated, especially on the first contact with someone.
Key elements of non-verbal communications include: posture, gestures, eye contact, facial expressions and your tone of voice.
Posture can often be the most noticeable of all non-verbal communications, especially when trying to create a positive first impression. How you position yourself while communicating sends a message to audience. Positive posture would include standing upright, with your arms by your side, at a comfortable distance away from the other person. This shows you are engaged in the conversation. Slouching, encroaching on somebody’s person space, folded arms or standing away from somebody are off-putting postures to adapt when trying to engage positively with them; it can show you are disinterested and standing too close to somebody can feel intimidating.
Head and hand gestures are also important, used in a positive way, they can show you are engaged and actively listening to what the other person is saying. Nodding from time to time shows you understand and identify with what they are saying. However, pointing at or having your hands in the face of your colleagues can come across as intimidating.
Maintaining eye contact while you are being spoken to shows you are actively listening, although maintaining eye contact for too long or without blinking can come across as though you are staring at them and can be seen as confrontational.
Facial expressions can also have a positive and negative impact on your communications. Frowning whilst somebody is speaking to you can seem as though you do not agree with or are doubting what are saying and can negatively impact your communications. A smile shows you’re are positively engaged and taking on board what they are saying and smiling while you speak helps to convey a positive attitude.
The tone of your voice is often noticed more than the words you are saying, so it is always important to consider the tone you are using when trying to get your message across effectively. Tone of voice is about the quality of someone’s voice, such as pitch and volume. The way words are delivered and the manner of speaking also make up the tone. The tone you adopt plays a large part in how your message will be received by your audience. You can use your tone to convey many different emotions, such as anger, happiness or agreement. A strong and clear tone helps to convey confidence and ensure people stay engaged while you speak. Speaking quietly and with hesitation, can show a lack of confidence which can be seen as you are not confident in the message you are delivering to your audience.
When used effectively body language can be a very positive and powerful tool in helping to build a rapport with your audience. Building a strong rapport with your audience is vital in ensuring you are listened to, and they feel they are being listened to when giving feedback.