PR Department

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Domenii: Comunicare, Engleza, Marketing

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We forget that our personal and professional success depends as much on the quality of these relationships as it does on how effectively we perform our tasks.

Self-awareness is one of the most important qualities that effective leaders and manager can possess. Asking others to hold a mirror up for you lets you see the flaws and blind spots that keep you from creating effective relationships at work.

"Communication is a skill that you can learn. It's like riding a bicycle or typing. If you're willing to work at it you can rapidly improve the quality of this very part of your life."

This report is based upon two kinds of research: First, research in the social sciences such as psychology, sociology, and communication studies. Second, 25 years of observation by the author of people engaged in conversation in many settings: couples, families, business talk, meetings, mixers, informal small talk, professional consultations - a wide range.

These five items are distilled from what I have observed and what the research reveals. Adopting even one of these will make a positive difference in improving your conversational skills. Each will have an immediate positive effect. Adopting them all could transform your experience of conversation.


Show interest in and be curious about those you talk with.

In conversation, to be curious is a definite plus. Being curious about another person helps to engage us and to validate that person as interesting. On the other hand, if we seem bored by or indifferent to the person, they feel invalidated, as if we are saying "You hold no interest for me. You are not interesting."

Not to be curious can be troublesome in life. As human relations speaker and author Dale Carnegie wrote:

"It is the individual who is not interested in his fellow men who has the greatest difficulties in life and provides the greatest injury to others. It is from among such individuals that all human failures spring."

Consider the spouse who shows no curiosity about what his partner is thinking or feeling, or the parent who does not wonder about the thoughts and inner lives of the children. Consider the manager, thinking s/he knows everything about the business and who expresses no interest in the employees' ideas. We know the results: Distance and negative feelings between the people.

The good news is that we can choose to be interested or curious. This is an act of intention. For example, who has not taken a required course of study that "held" no interest at the outset but then, when you saw that being uninterested in the subject resulted in poor learning and grades, you decided

to be interested in order to learn better.

The same is true for our interest in other people. For example, a husband whose marriage is troubled and who faces separation and even divorce because he expresses so little interest in his wife may choose to "become interested" about his wife and what she has to say. When he changes his thinking and his attitudes, his conversational behavior also changes. He pays close attention. He asks questions. He listens carefully.

I notice that many people try to appear interesting themselves instead of being genuinely interested in others. When we show interest in others, they usually begin to show interest in us. However, when we try to be interesting, we often look self-conscious or even vain, whereas being genuinely interested in other people makes our conversations and life experience a rich adventure.

2. Balance the talking and listening. Take turns.

We Americans tend mainly to be out-going, extraverts, talkative. That's probably a plus, because we are an optimistic, "can-do" society. However, for relationships, lots of talking and too much talking can be harmful to personal and business relationships.

The scientific evidence suggests that balancing our conversation so that everyone gets a turn who wants a turn is supportive of social relations. In informal conversation, balance requires that speakers monitor themselves so that they do not dominate by talking too much. It is also important for more quiet people to speak up from time to time so that the talkative ones don't think you are giving up any interest in sharing your ideas.

Having balance in a conversation suggests safety and fairness and creates a supportive climate for honest ideas to be expressed and heard.

Balancing the talk doesn't require a strict 50-50 distribution. The ratio can be 80-20 and still be balanced, as when one person is mainly interviewing the other who of course will do most of the talking. The key here is not so much the actual time each one talks. It is the taking turns that matters. One person may ask a brief question that requires a long, detailed answer.

Having balance in a conversation suggests safety and fairness and creates a supportive climate for honest ideas to be expressed and heard. In large groups, a chairperson or a facilitator can monitor and direct the talk and make certain everyone has a chance to speak fully. In casual conversation, we must manage ourselves to make sure we have balance.

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