This is the End… but I’ll be back!

Well, here we are at the end of this blog assignment for Communication in Professional Contexts.  

I mentioned in my introductory blog that professional communications are usually presented in a formal writing style.

But in that first blog, I also wrote that communication must be tailored to suit its context and target audience.  

My target audience for these posts includes CQU lecturers and fellow students.  Therefore I wanted to fulfil the criteria for the task, while also informing and entertaining my peers. 

As this assignment involved a blog, rather than a more formal report, I allowed my own more informal voice to be heard occasionally (Not at the expense of my final mark, I hope). 

In “Punctuation Matters” this took the form of a couple of semi-humorous asides in brackets.  

I did the same in “Technology: The New “Face” Of Communication”, as well as using a little wordplay, noting that with technology becoming the new “face” of communication, we need to “face” the real world sometimes and indulge in “face-to-face” conversation.   

In “Exercising Emotional Intelligence”, I played up the “exercise” angle, describing the “anatomy” of EQ, and suggesting “workouts” to make a person’s EQ stronger.

These little additions hopefully made the blog posts more enjoyable to read, without detracting from the information provided.  They definitely made the posts easier for me to write!


References

Anastasiou, L. (Photographer). (2017). Nick at paintball [digital image].  Anastasiou Family Private Collection.

EXERCISING EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE

Emotional intelligence (EQ) is the ability to identify, use, understand, and manage your own emotions in positive ways to relieve stress, communicate effectively, empathize with others, overcome challenges and defuse conflict. (Segal, Smith & Shubin, 2017)

And just as lifting weights in the gym builds muscles, exercising your emotional intelligence will make you a stronger person.

The “Anatomy” of Emotional Intelligence

 

Emotional Intelligence
Image 1: Emotional Intelligence

An American psychologist, Daniel Goleman, developed a framework of five elements that define emotional intelligence (Cenere, Gill, Lawson & Lewis, 2015, p. 221).  These are:

  • Self-awareness. A person’s ability to identify and analyse their emotions, and the way these can affect thoughts and behaviour. (Segal et al, 2017)
  • Self-regulation. Being able to think before acting on feelings, manage emotions, and to adapt your emotional state to changing circumstances.
  • A drive to achieve, and take the initiative.
  • Understanding the emotions and needs of others, and how to respond appropriately to those emotions (Goleman, as cited in Glick, 2016).
  • Social skills. The ability to effectively develop and maintain relationships with others.

Although not everyone is born with competence in these elements, they can be learned, and strengthened throughout life (just like those muscles).

The Workout

Mayer, Salovey and Caruso (2006) proposed strategies which can be used to improve proficiency in emotional intelligence (Cenere et al, pp.208-209).

  • Recognise: To learn to accurately identify motions, warm up by analysing the verbal and non-verbal cues of others, then checking back with them to see if you were right.
  • Use: Visualise yourself practising desired behaviours. High repetitions of positive self-talk will boost your mood, which improves your ability to find solutions, and produce ideas.
  • Understand: Build up your emotional vocabulary to reflect on basic emotions. Make a conscious effort to recognise these emotions in others, and view situations from the other person’s point of view (Goleman, as cited in Glick, 2016).
  • Manage: Start an emotional journal. List how particular events made you feel. Work out how to prevent disruptive emotions. Stretch yourself.

Use it or Lose it

Now, just like those muscles need regular exercise to maintain their strength, so do your emotional intelligence skills.

So go out and start flexing that EQ!


References

Anastasiou, N. (Photographer). (2017). Brain and owl [digital image].  Anastasiou Family Private Collection.

Anastasiou, N. (Illustrator). (2017). Emotional intelligence anatomy [digital image].  Anastasiou Family Private Collection.

Cenere, P., Gill, R., Lawson, C., & Lewis, M. (2003). Communication skills for business professionals. Melbourne, Australia: Cambridge University Press.

Glick, D. (2016).  Emotional intelligence: secrets from the experts [Kindle Edition]. Retrieved from http://www.amazon.com.au

Segal, J., Smith, M.,  & Shubin, J. (2017). Improving emotional intelligence (eq). https://www.helpguide.org/articles/emotional-health/emotional-intelligence-eq.htm

TECHNOLOGY: THE NEW “FACE” OF COMMUNICATION

Look around. Technology is everywhere. It has influenced our lifestyle, for better or worse, and totally transformed the way people communicate.

There are two schools of thought on how technology has impacted communication.

There are the people who feel that it has broadened their horizons, and helped them stay in touch with family and friends, particularly those at a distance.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Image: “N” multitasking          Source: Anastasiou Private Collection

Case Study 1.  (Let’s just call him N.)

N. is a Gen Y university student. He studies via distance education, and interacts with lecturers and fellow students mostly through online forums or email.

N., like all his friends, has a mobile phone.  He rarely makes calls though, preferring to make contact by text or Facebook. He keeps in touch with out-of-town friends through Skype.

His days are spent studying, or surfing the net on his laptop, listening to music through his headphones, and watching TV… all at the same time.

Although he expresses himself well in written form, he is uncomfortable in situations where he actually has to speak to people, particularly strangers.

For him, communicating via technology is the norm. 

And then there are those who think technology has reduced face-to-face contact, and could result in social awkwardness, even social isolation. (Kazmeyer, n.d.)

Case Study 2.

C. is a Baby Boomer and the father of a Gen Y.

Although he owns, and uses, a mobile phone, he avoids texting, choosing to make calls and speak to people instead.

At home, he prefers to use the land-line, which he keeps connected “in case of emergencies”.

He would prefer to have all electronic devices switched off at mealtimes, so that the family can talk to each other.  He is usually overruled.

For him, technology is a necessary evil, but is also a hindrance to what he considers “real” communication.

There is no escaping that using technology for communication is now an important part of our way of life.  It can save time, and reach out to a global audience quickly and efficiently.

Even official bodies such as the Queensland Police Service are using social media to communicate information and issue emergency updates to a wider population (Cenere et al, 2015, pp. 54 & 59).  

The possibility of physical social isolation could be a problem though, particularly with Generation Y and Z. Maybe we they need to “step away from the devices” more often, leave cyberspace, and “face” the real world.


References

Anastasiou, N. (Illustrator). (2017). Gen wifi [digital image]. Anastasiou Family Private Collection.

Anastasiou, L. (Photographer). (2017). N multitasking [digital image]. Anastasiou Family Private Collection.

Cenere, P., Gill, R., Lawson, C., & Lewis, M. (2015). Communication skills for business professionals. Melbourne, Australia: Cambridge University Press.

Kazmeyer, M. (n.d.). Negative Effects of Technology. Retrieved from https://www.techwalla.com/articles/negative-effects-of-technology-on-communication

PUNCTUATION MATTERS

“The writer who neglects punctuation, or mispunctuates, is liable to be misunderstood for the want of merely a comma.”
Edgar Allan Poe


Strong communication skills are important in both professional and personal relationships.  (Ask any married couple.)

In spoken communication different intonations of the voice can convey the meaning of what is said.

However, non-verbal communications must rely on the way a message is punctuated to help achieve that goal.

Punctuation is a powerful tool in preventing misunderstandings between the sender of the message, and its receiver.  It does this by joining or separating ideas in a meaningful way (Poley & Crocker, 2005, p.149).

Just as good punctuation can improve the readability of a written message, incorrect punctuation can distort the way a message is perceived.

Notice how the addition of a comma changes the meaning of the following sentence.

“Let’s eat Grandma!”   (Run, Grandma!)

“Let’s eat, Grandma!”  

Or consider the confusion caused when an advertisement to buy a bedside table includes an unnecessary hyphen,

Wanted: One-night stand


Cenere, Gill, Lawson & Lewis point out that “Mistakes in spelling, grammar and punctuation are enemies for the professional communicator”, as they create barriers to effective communication (2015, pp.60-61). These barriers are known as “noise”.

An example of this is shown in the following:

No commas

This initial workshop identified the work scopes and phasing generated several different sourcing strategies for those work scopes and proposed selection criteria to compare the sourcing strategies to best benefit the [project].

The lack of commas in the first sentence creates noise, and makes the message difficult for the receiver to read and interpret.

Commas added

This initial workshop identified the work scopes and phasing, generated several different sourcing strategies for those work scopes, and proposed selection criteria to compare the sourcing strategies to best benefit the [project] (Bracey, 2012, “On a more serious note”, para. 2).

With the addition of commas in the second example, the meaning is now easier to understand.

Misunderstandings in written communications can easily be avoided.  Edit and proofread each message before it is sent, and ensure the correct punctuation is used every time.


References

Anastasiou, N. (Photographer). (2017). Textbooks [digital image].  Anastasiou Family Private Collection.

Bracey, R. (2012). A light-hearted look at how punctuation can change meaning. Retrieved from https://cybertext.wordpress.com/2012/11/22/a-light-hearted-look-at-how-punctuation-can-change-meaning/

Cenere, P., Gill, R., Lawson, C., & Lewis, M. (2015). Communication skills for business professionals. Melbourne, Australia: Cambridge University Press.

Edgar Allan Poe. (n.d.). Quotes – authors – e – edgar allan poe. Retrieved from http://www.azquotes.com/quote/569988

Poley, M.F., & Crocker, D. (2005). Business communication style guide. Kansas, USA: SkillPath Publications

AND INTRODUCING…

Hi everyone, my name is Nicholas, and I live in Townsville.

I am a fan of anime and I enjoy playing video games.  Because of my interests, I would like to pursue a career in animation for television shows and video games.

I am studying a Bachelor of Digital Media at CQU, and this semester my courses include Communication in Professional Contexts, Motion Graphics and Visual Effects, and 3D Animation.

The unit Communication in Professional Contexts introduces students to elementary professional communication concepts. It has an emphasis on improving skills in research, referencing, writing and speaking clearly, and the use of appropriate mediums.

Communication is interaction between two or more individuals, and must be tailored to suit its context and target audience.  Professional communications are usually presented in a formal writing style.

As I am a distance student, I have no scheduled classes to attend, but participating in the regular Zoom conferences will be useful.  Important dates in this unit are the three assignment due dates:

Assignment One – 21 April

Assignment Two – 19 May

Assignment Three – 5 June 2017.

Blog posts must also be published at specified times.

As I have an informal writing style, and I’m uncomfortable with spoken communications, this unit will be a challenge.  However, I look forward to meeting that challenge.


References

Anastasiou, L. (Photographer). (2017). Nicholas at paintball [digital image].  Anastasiou Family Private Collection.