Communication in Meetings Essay Assignment
Professional reputations are frequently harmed by the errors people make with e- mail messages. Everyone makes an occasional mistake, but consistent errors in punctuation
n, grammar, spelling, and sentence structure create negative impressions among people who read your e- mails, as these errors can be signs of poor judgment, lack of care, sloppiness, or laziness. Sending personal messages such as jokes or chain letters, using biased or offensive language, and including abbreviations that may not be understood by others are other common e- mail problems that can affect an employee’s professional reputation. Sending inappropriate messages on work computers can be harmful to your career as well; they are usually a violation of organizational policies.
Misunderstandings are also frequent in e- mail because the tone of the communication is often difficult to determine. The short, infor mal style of many e- mail messages can be interpreted by a recipient as terse or rude. It is best to carefully proof read each e- mail that you send to your professional recipients and ensure that its content is clear and easily understood. E- mails are also more efficient and more likely to be understood when the sender provides a clear, descriptive title for their content and starts a new e- mail chain when the topic has changed. Such small e-mail- related actions can go a long way in moving all parties on the e- mail chain toward achieving shared meaning, one of our competent interpersonal communication principles from Chapter 1.
Communication in Meetings
When you communicate in workplace meetings, you must be sensitive to the organizational culture, or how an organization’s mission, values, and attitudes are translated into communication policies and practices (Eisenberg & Riley, 2001). Similar to societal cultures, work place cultures dictate what an organization’s workers perceive as appropriate, normal, and accepted. In your next meeting, observe the practices of the other participants using what y ou have learned thus far in this course as a guide. For example, how is the power distance b etween managers and subordinates communicated? Do managers sit at the head of the tabl e to emphasize the distance, or do they mix in at different spots with subordinates to flatten out the power distance? When beginning at an organization, it is wise to seek answers to th ese questions.
In meetings, follow cultural norms, know when it is prudent to speak up or to remain silent, and know how much information to share. When the meeting leader asks, “That’s about it. Any questions?”, it might be an invitation to ask about anything you did not understand. However, it might also be a ritual to end the meeting, and no response is expec ted or appreciated, depending on your organization’s culture. Knowing these cues and how to respond to them comes with observation and experience. New employees are often ambitious or eager to make an impression and may think that the y will be judged negatively if they sit through a meeting without saying anything. To be usef ul, however, contributions in meetings need to be thoughtful and relevant and have a stron g foundation (Wolgemuth, 2010). When you are in a meeting, be attentive and ask question s when critical issues need clarification, but be wary of interjecting unless you have someth ing important to add. In a new work environment, analyze the responses of others to deter
mine the type of response that is effective and appropriate in each situation. Some organiza tions encourage open and honest dialogue about issues; others do not. Knowing they expect ations of your workplace will help you assess how to behave in meetings.
Interrupting others, embarrassing them, or focusing on issues that are relevant just to you i n a meeting can also negatively affect your professional reputation. It is crucial to support y our boss and coworkers in public settings. Make sure your loyalty is thoughtful and deliber ate, however, not just blind allegiance (Wolgemuth, 2010).
Our professional success not only depends on how professional we are to others, but on ho w we feel about our jobs. One way to assess your perception of your job is via job satisfacti on, which is your personal evaluation of how much you enjoy and are content with your em ployment situation (Wheeless, Wheeless, & Howard, 1984). Any number of factors can cont ribute to how satisfied you are with your job, including the number of hours you work, the amount of money you make, and the number and type of job responsibilities you have. In a ddition, research has found that a major component of job satisfaction is the BPC in which y ou take part, including both verbal and nonverbal messages. We explore how some of these messages are related to job satisfaction in the next sections.
What is said in business and professional settings can increase or decrease an employee’s j ob satisfaction. In general, organizations that stress open communication and that are willi ng to share information have more satisfied employees. In addition, communication betwee n superiors and subordinates is one major verbal communication contributor to subordinat es’ job satisfaction. For example, Teven (2007) found that when supervisors used positive o r prosocial messages— such as being friendly and showing that they like their subordinates— to convey their power, subordinates were more satisfied than when antisocial power mess ages, such as those that control or punish the subordinate, were employed.
Conflict is also an influential element in the workplace (De Dreu, van Dierendonck, & Dijkst ra, 2004). For example, unresolved conflict and how it is expressed has an impact on the or ganizational climate (Hample & Allen, 2012) and is a major reason that employees leave th eir jobs (Chen, Zhao, Liu, & Wu, 2012). The following lists specific research findings about e mployee job satisfaction.
- Job satisfaction is higher in companies that encourage employees to cooperate and collabor ate in conflict situations (Choi, 2013).
- Job satisfaction is lower in businesses where conflict is dealt with via active confrontation ( Choi, 2013).
- Compromising when in conflict is positively related to job satisfaction (Chen et al., 2012). • Constructive conflict cultures may reduce employee burnout, making employees more satis
fied with their jobs (Choi, 2013).
- Employees are less satisfied with their jobs in destructive conflict cultures, which may incr ease employee burnout (Choi, 2013).
- Employees with close friends at work have 50% higher job satisfaction (Rath, 2006). • Teamwork (as opposed to just collaboration or cooperation) promotes decreased turnover
and burnout in health and social care workers (Kaiser, Patras, & Martinussen, 2018). Based on these findings, how we verbally engage in conflict with our colleagues— using positive, constructive messages versus negative, destructive ones— is associated with job satisfaction.
Thomas Barwick/Stone/Getty Images
Nonverbal immediacy and chronemics are two specific nonverbal communication concepts related to job satisfaction.
In addition to verbal communication, a variety of nonverbal messages have been associated with job satisfaction. Nonverbal immediacy involves a collection of specific nonverbal mes sages such as eye contact and smiling that together increase your feelings of closeness with another person. We tend to be drawn to those who use nonverbal immediacy, and this can contribute to job satisfaction. For example, Teven (2007) found that when superiors comm unicated higher nonverbal immediacy to their subordinates, the job satisfaction of subordi nates increased. Superiors who are viewed as nonverbally immediate by subordinates are a lso seen as trustworthy, caring, and competent (Lybarger, Rancer, & Lin, 2017).
Time, or chronemics, is another nonverbal message that is related to job satisfaction. Dawn a Ballard and David Seibold (2006) found that multiple elements of time predicted employe e job satisfaction. Specifically, individuals with more of a future time focus, where future de velopments and long- term goals were emphasized, and employees with higher punctuality experienced greater j ob satisfaction. In contrast, employees who were expected to keep a faster pace were less s atisfied with their jobs. Together, time orientations combine to help employees feel as if the y are capable of meeting the demands of their jobs, thus contributing to their job satisfactio n (Ballard & Seibold, 2006). Ballard and Seibold (2004) also note that organizational memb ers create norms for time through their interactions with one another. How flexible, fast- paced, formally scheduled, and precise time is perceived as being in a particular workplace is typically determined by the cultural norms of the organization. To maintain positive relat ionships at work, it is important to understand the cultural norms related to time as well as the meaning assigned to time by your boss and close coworkers.
6.3 Types of Workplace Relationships
Americans work an average of 35 to 40 hours per week, so forming personal relationships with work colleagues is inevitable; in turn, these workplace relationships can contribute to an organization’s effectiveness. We examine different categories of workplace relationships in this section.
The primary relationship in business and professional settings is the formal relationship, w hich involves the many associations and networks that are designed and dictated by the bu siness or organization. The formal relationships in a business setting should be clear to eve ry employee, whether there are three employees or 300,000. Formal relationships allow e mployees to know who they need to communicate with to accomplish a particular task and who is responsible for which other employees. These relationships are defined by each em ployee’s job title or position and can be depicted visually in an organizational flowchart. Th e interactions that occur in formal relationships are what keep an organization going; they could be considered the lifeblood of an organization. These formal relationships can be further broken down according to the power differential s between each employee, or whether the work- related communication is vertical (downward and upward) or horizontal (lateral) in nature . In a business or professional context, vertical formal communication occurs between indiv iduals at different power levels. When a business’s CEO sends an e- mail to all of her employees about a new company policy or when a professor talks to a stu dent about a grade, vertical communication is happening. Vertical formal communication c an be broken down further based on who initiates the interaction. When a superior begins an interaction with a subordinate (someone lower in the company hierarchy), this is an exa mple of vertical downward communication. This type of communication could occur in the scenario at the beginning of the chapter if Suzanne initiated a conversation with Patrick an d Dominique about their workplace friendship. Conversely, when a subordinate starts com municating with a superior, they engage in a vertical upward communication interaction. In
the scenario, for example, Patrick and Dominique could communicate their concerns direct ly to Suzanne. Horizontal formal communication, in contrast, takes place between employees at identical or similar levels in a business or professional context. Two students talking to each other a bout a class assignment or a group of salespeople discussing their monthly quotas are exam ples of horizontal formal communication. Work interactions between Patrick and Dominiqu e also constitute horizontal communication because they are both lawyers at the same firm at a similar hierarchical level. Whether there is a power differential dictated by the organiz ational structure determines whether formal communication is vertical or horizontal. Both types of formal communication can also occur simultaneously, such as in a classroom settin g or a meeting where superiors and subordinates are both present. Employees need to seek and share information. Thus, formal communication in business an d professional settings helps employees accomplish the professional tasks that a business n eeds to exist and thrive. The importance of formal BPC also goes beyond such tasks. In one study, employees’ satisfaction with how much they interacted with their superior strongly predicted their commitment to the organization (Postmes, Tanis, & de Wit, 2001). In other words, vertical, formal relationships, such as those between superiors and subordinates, st rongly contributed to how much the subordinates identified with, felt involved in, and were emotionally attached to their organization. In addition, verbal formal communication was a better predictor of employees’ organizational commitment than horizontal, informal wor kplace interactions (Postmes et al., 2001). Thus, formal relationships are not only importan t for accomplishing the tasks that comprise one’s job description, but they also influence e mployees’ attachment to and involvement with the organization.