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Business communication training


I'm running a 1hr session for new graduate trainees on business communication - covering written, telephone, face-to-face.

Any ideas how I can make this participative and interesting?

Louise Cole

6 Responses

  1. interactive session for graduates
    Hi Louise
    1 hour is not a lot of time to both share information and gain buy-in from this group. I run many graduate management development programmes and generally spend more than a day on this topic (using interactive methods).

    The type of thing s you might consider however include:
    In groups, getting them to brainstorm as many methods of communications as they can.

    Then to list the pro’s and cons of each method

    That will take about 1hr

    Other articles covering simular material include:


  2. How people communicate
    TO pick up on the suggestion of pros and cons, you can delve a bit deeper & introduce the concept of body langauge 55%, tone of voice 38%, words 7%.

    Also visual, auditory, kinaesthetic, digital styles of communicating.

    Let me know if you require more info.


  3. often mis-understood research
    When looking at communication skills and tools be acreful as much research has been mis-represented in this area.
    Mehrabian used actors, photographs, recorded speech and other media. His conclusions relate to communications of feelings, specifically where there is “dissonance” between words and received message. It’s even more specific than that but there isn’t room to explain on a posting. In factual communication, words are vital – “I’ll meet you tomorrow at 2pm” for instance. Most communication has a high degree of factual content so shouldn’t be dismissed as just 7% of the message.

    This was discussed in depth on UKHRD some time ago and the man himself responded with:

    My findings on communication and body language, as well as those of many
    other investigators, are summarized in my book, Silent Messages. The
    latter deals with many facets of nonverbal communication, including
    individual communication styles and the important topic of combinations
    of verbal and nonverbal messages.

    Here are a few examples of important aspects of communiation
    described in Silent Messages:

    1. Inconsistent communications and the relative importance of verbal
    and nonverbal messages. This work of mine has received considerable
    attention in the literature. Silent Messages contains a detailed
    discussion of my findings on inconsistent and consistent messages of
    feelings and attitudes (and the differential importance of verbal vs.
    nonverbal cues) on pages 75 to 80.

    Total Liking = 7% Verbal Liking + 38% Vocal Liking + 55% Facial Liking

    Please note that this and other equations regarding differential
    importance of verbal and nonverbal messages were derived from
    experiments dealing with communications of feelings and attitudes (i.e.,
    like-dislike). Unless a communicator is talking about their feelings or
    attitudes, these equations are not applicable. Also see references 286
    and 305 in Silent Messages — these are the original sources of my

    2. Persuasion — what are the important nonverbal messages for
    effective persuasion of others, e.g., in a supervisory role or in

    3. Deceitful behavior — how can one detect that another is being
    deceitful or not overly forthcoming?

    4. Individual communication styles — how do we describe a person’s
    general communication style and what are the basic elements of a
    person’s style? How can one identify problem elements in one’s own
    nonverbal communication and improve one’s communication effectiveness?

    Albert Mehrabian, Ph.D.
    My new email address for your future use: [email protected]
    Telephone: 831 6495710

    Some sites that may be of interest include:


  4. Arian Associates Ltd
    Two way communication is obviously very important in business. We have a ‘bit of fun’ excercise called ‘Who Thinks They Are A Good Communicator Then?’ You are welcome to a copy.
    Just email us :-
    [email protected]

  5. Really participative
    The best session I ever received as a youngster new to the office environment was not done as a training session but as a series of communication tasks done at the desk.

    Training Manager had arranged for a series of phone calls, emails and in-company memos to be sent over a period of time to the new starters (about 8 of us). We then had to ensure that we dealt with the communication as per policy (i.e. customer communication had to be logged on a certain database, your phone manner was recorded etc.).

    The communication got gradually more complex and pressured. The aim was part communication, part induction, part realisation that you needed to network within the company to find out who could help with which issue.

    It takes a bit more planning than a one hour session, but the advantages are that it is not seen as “training”, it highlights certain aptitudes which are hidden in the training environment, and gets people thinking for themselves – surely key to business communcation.

  6. Business communication
    I have a small set of powerpoint slides illustrating examples of poor communication – they can act as an amusing introduction to the topic. Let me know ([email protected]) if you would like a copy.
    Happy Days!


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