1 Overview and Intention
The chapters in this module include:
- Introduction to Communication
- Getting to Know Your Audience
- Choosing a Communications Channel
- Crafting Your Message with Plain Language
- A Picture Is Worth 1,000 Words: Using Visuals
- From Shotgun to Boomerang: Using Feedback
The focus of this module is on establishing important foundational skills to address the complexities of communicating in the modern-day professional environment. Although work contexts and technology are continually changing, the key principles of communication remain the same and as relevant as ever.
By completing this module, you should understand how audience characteristics and choice of words and | or images affect the crafting of meaningful messages. You should learn how to choose an appropriate delivery method for your message and how to use feedback to measure and improve its success. This module will stress key principles of professional communication.
You can apply the knowledge and skills developed in this module to a variety of communication contexts.
Relevance to Practice
Communication is key to your success—in relationships, at work, as a citizen of your country, and throughout your lifetime. Your ability to communicate comes from experience, and experience can be an effective teacher. This module, and the related communication course it is part of, will provide you with some experiences to help you communicate effectively in a professional context where change is rapid and you are expected to keep up. Whether you are (re-)entering the workforce or feel the need to brush up on your communication skills, this module should help you understand professional communication fundamentals that you can apply to your own context.
You did not learn to text in a day and did not learn all the shorthand—from LOL (laugh out loud) to BRB (be right back)—right away. In the same way, learning to communicate well requires you to observe and get to know how others have expressed themselves, then adapt what you have learned to your current task—whether it’s texting a brief message to a friend, presenting your qualifications in a job interview, or writing a business report.
Effective communication takes preparation, practice, and persistence. There are many ways to learn communication skills. The school of “hard knocks” is one of them. But in the business environment, a “knock” (or lesson learned) may come at the expense of your credibility through a blown presentation to a client.
This module contains a compilation of information and resources, such as readings, articles, activities, videos, and infographics, offering you a trial run that allows you to try out new ideas and skills before you have to use them in “real life.” Listening to yourself or perhaps the comments of others may help you reflect on new ways to present or perceive thoughts, ideas, and concepts. The net result is your growth; ultimately, your ability to communicate in business will improve, opening more doors than you might anticipate.
Chapters within module centre on overarching learning goals. Goals are further described in terms of (a) specific knowledge, skills, and attitudes required to achieve the goals, and (b) specific learning outcomes that serve as evidence of achieving learning goals. The learning goals in this module are at an introductory level and are relevant to introductory communication tasks.
The learning goals for this module are that upon completing the readings and activities presented in this module, you should be able to do the following:
- Analyze an audience for an intended message
- Select an appropriate communication channel by analyzing the purpose of your message and the characteristics of your audience
- Demonstrate the use of plain-language principles
- Select and use/insert visuals to enhance communication
- Use feedback to evaluate the effectiveness of a message
Upon successfully completing this module, you should:
Understand the following:
- That good communicators choose a form and organizational pattern based on audience and purpose
- That the choice of words, images, and medium sets a tone and defines a message
- That feedback loops help communicators convey their message and clarify their thinking
Know the following:
- Key principles of plain language communication
- The characteristics that define an audience
- The similarities and differences between several communication channels
- Principles that influence visual style
- The forms and function of message feedback
Be able to do the following:
- Tailor messages to the level, experience, and expectation of an audience
- Express and organize ideas clearly, concisely, and logically
- Incorporate graphics to help convey the intended message
- Select the channel(s) that best suit(s) the message
- Elicit feedback to measure the success of the message
Learning Outcomes for this Module
Upon successfully completing this module, you should be able to:
- apply principles of plain language to produce professional communication that is effective and concise;
- select appropriate types of visual aids to enhance the purpose or function of messages;
- describe conditions for appropriate use of different feedback types and related tools;
- outline characteristics of an audience using an audience analysis tool;
- select appropriate channel(s) for workplace communication based on the audience and intended message.