Interpersonal Communication Skills
Business communications in the twenty-first century
We were told in a book (Haigh, Gerbner & Byrne (1981)) by this title that the potential of the new communications technology is far-reaching and poses the valid question as to how we can integrate these advances into our lives. Our experience shows that technological progress does not always lead to human progress.
The new tools of communication have as much power to alienate people as to bring them together. In fact the former would result from the 'Don't commute- communicate' prediction (Clarke (1978)). There will be no more of the 'huddling' or the 'manage by walking around'.
Hear with your ears, listen with your mind
Communications are vital in management; in fact, they are the essence of management. We have shown that our communications skills are poor, and the poorest of these is listening. Managers spend a great deal, over half, of their time listening, or at least hearing, and yet they have never had any formal training in this discipline.
Any wonder, then, that the listening efficiency is very low-of the order of 25 per cent. Negotiation is also what management is about, so we discuss this in order to achieve the 'win-win' situation. Some of the recent works on 'huddling' and 'manage by walking around' have been found to be most effective in business situations.
A complete revolution in communication technology has and is still under way, but while it is making a most useful contribution, there is an urgent need to stay with the 'basics' of human nature vis-a-vis communications.