Attributes and Barriers

By Jeffrey Nicholls M1301473

Specific Skills P1

Health and Safety

In order to create a safe and healthy working environment for all employees, health and safety laws must be followed. Simply put healthy and safety laws are regulations and procedures intended to prevent accident or injury in workplaces or public environments. Healthy and Safety can be considered an umbrella term for varying work regulations such as discrimination prevention, fire safety, recruitment and disabled people, smoking at work and workplace temperatures.

Technical Knowledge

Simply put, Technical Knowledge refers to the knowledge and abilities needed to accomplish engineering, mathematical, scientific or computer-related duties, as well as other specific tasks. Individuals who hold these skills are often referred to as "technicians" in their field i.e. computer technician.

Working Attitudes

Working attitudes (or job attitude) are a set of evaluations made by an individual that assesse how they are feeling towards the job, there beliefs about it and overall how attached they feel. This can also be broken down into Global job attitudes which are attitudes that are developed towards a job through the organization, affective disposition, working environment and the social environment. Overall they depend upon the working conditions.

General Attributes

Planning Skills

Planning skills are any skills that allow you to look ahead and accomplish goals or avoid emotional, financial, physical or social hardship. Overall they allow an individual to make and implement decisions. These particular set of skills can be broken down into further sub skills such as goal setting, organizing, analyzing, gathering data and predicting and forecasting.

Organisational Skills

Organisation skills can often be linked to planning skills, however are important as a single entity. Organisational skills can be broken down into two subcategories, Physical and Mental organisation. Physical organisation is responsible for keeping a clean work environment, such as tidying papers that are spread across a desk as well as disposing of unwanted documents. Mental organisation, is making sure multiple (or single) projects are kept at a stable running speed and to do lists (as an example) are used to keep yourself on track.

Time Management

Often linked with the two previous skills mentioned, this skill is responsible for taking conscious control over the amount of time spent on specific activities. This skill is exercised to increase productivity, effectiveness and efficiency. Ultimately this skill set is about effective scheduling of your time, goal setting, prioritizing and choosing what to do and what no to do, delegating tasks, analyzing and reviewing your spent time.

Team Working

An important skill to hold within a working environment, simply put the best example of this skill set is seen when a group of people work together cohesively, towards a common goal, creating a positive working atmosphere, and supporting each other to combine individual strengths to enhance team performance.

Verbal Skills

Verbals skills involve the sharing of information between individuals by using speech. Those who work within a business need to effectively use verbal communication that use readily understood spoken words, as well ensuring that the stress and tone of the individuals voice is expressed appropriately.

Written Skills

Alongside verbal skills, writing skills are an important part of communication. Good writing skills allow an individual to communicate a message with clarity and ease to a far larger audience or to a fellow co worker. Writing skills can be considered an umbrella term for a vast majority of sub skills such as grammar, spelling, punctuation, writing style etc.

Numeracy

Numerical skills can be considered as an individuals capacity to identify and understand the role that mathematics plays in the world, to make well-founded judgments and to use and engage with mathematics in ways that meet the needs of that individuals life. Often to be considering as having basic numerical skills, an individual must be able to comprehend addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.

Creativity

Often skill that is somewhat encompassed in all the previous skills mentioned above, creativity is defined as the tendency to generate or recognize ideas, alternatives, or possibilities that may be useful in solving problems, entertaining oneself and communicating with others. In order to be considered creative, it is suggested that an individual must be able to view things from a different perspective.

Attitudes

Determined

Determination can be defined as a quality that makes you continue trying to do or achieve something that is difficult. This can be considered an important attitude to have within a working environment as it ensures the drive and need to complete projects, to have the driver to better oneself and those around them. Ultimately it is the drive of an individual.

independent

Simply put it is the fact or state of being independent e.g. not relying on another or others for aid or support. This can be an important attitude to have within a working environment, as it ensures that when others are busy, aid can be sought within oneself by effectively carrying on independently. However it must not be confused with separating oneself from the working environment completely.

Problem-Solving

Problem solving is the process of working through details of a problem to reach a solution. Problem solving may include mathematical or systematic operations and can be gauge of an individual's critical thinking skills. Problem solving can be considered an important aspect of other skills sets such as organisational skills, time management and team working.

Leadership

Leadership can be described as a process of social influence in which an individual can enlist the help and support of others in the completion of a task shared by all. At first glance it seems easy to hold a leadership quality however underneath it holds a deep complexity that holds a lot of the skills that have been mentioned above as well ensuring those who have been enlisted for support hold similar skills that can aid to the overall project.

Confidence

A complex attitude that be defined as the feeling or belief that one can have faith in or rely on someone or something. This can encompass confidence regarding others within the workplace, such as skill sets within a task or even ones own confidence in our skill sets. This is considered an important attitude due to its connection and relation to all of the previous skill sets mentioned above.

Motivated

Motivation is internal and external factors that stimulate desire and energy in people to be continually interested and committed to a job, role or subject or make an overall effort to attain a goal. Motivation can be affected by unconscious factors such as the desire for the goal, the incentive or reward value of the goal, and the expectation from the individuals peers.

Effective Communication P2

Cultural Differences

Effectively communicating with people of different cultures is a challenging task, as Cultures provide individuals with ways of thinking, ways of seeing, hearing and interpreting the world. This means that the same words can mean different things to people from different cultures, even when the same language is spoken. This can ultimately boil down to emotions with a working environment, often coined as "affective vs neutral practices" which means certain cultures may readily show emotions but others may remain emotionally neutral.

Use of Technology

Technological advances have enabled everyone to communicate in a huge variety of ways, from social media, to mobile phone, to even this newsletter. However due to the surge in technology and it's constantly developing nature, new and effective means of communication often take over older methods of communicating. An example is the rise and use of email over the use of writing a letter, emails allow for instantaneous retrieval and can be responded to quickly, even more so with the pairing of email on mobile phones and tablets.

Adapting your Voice

We communicate with people every day, but sometimes the way in which we communicate is not adjusted to the audience or situation. Often to overcome this barrier it is best to think about the situation or occasion e.g. the context of your communication. As well, identifying the goal of the conversation, knowing your audience and considering the method of your communication.

Interpersonal Skills

Verbal Exchanges

Verbal exchanges within the realm of communication is an important aspect of everyday life. It encompasses words spoken, written or signed but simply put it refers to the use of sounds and language to relay a message. Having a strong verbal exchange skill, enables recipients to truly understand what you are communicating when topics are discussed or debated or even when matched with the leadership quality as explained above. Effectively communicating in a team is the difference between project failure and success.

Signing

Signing is broken down into multiple systems such as British Sign Language (BSL), Signed English, Makaton Vocabulary, Signalong, Paget Gorman (PGSS) and Cued Articulation. The most commonly used system is BSL, and although taking advantage of learning sign language may not seem important however it opens communications up to a wider variety of an audience and help those with special needs.

Lip Reading

Lip reading is a vital communication skill for those who are deaf or hard of hearing that can help tackle isolation. It has been considered as a widely recognised that lipreading can help people of all ages. The importance of lipreading is underlined by the fact that having a hearing loss makes speech sounds quieter, distorted or both. Lipreading will help considerably in receiving the message by observing body language and facial expression.

Body Language

When we interact with others, we continuously give and receive wordless signals. All of the non verbal behaviours we exhibit, the gestures we make, the way we sit, how fast or how loud we talk, how close we stand send strong messages. Such messages don't stop when our verbal messages end, communication is still open nonverbally. Such a form of communication tells the recipient of the conversation whether or not you care or whether you're telling the truth or not.

Active Engagement

Showing active engagement is to show someone that you are a confident person, as well as a good listener. Methods can be used to ensure a successful active engagement, one such method is the use of technology, this can be interactive sessions using PowerPoint or even tablets and smartphones. Without the use of technology, question and answers sessions can be implemented, this enables the audience to understand more and the speaker to display confidence and appear knowledgeable.

Communicate in Writing

Emoticons

Emoticons are used in written communication to represent emotions and/or facial expressions of the author which are often lost in the process due to a lack of human emotion being easily conveyed through text. Smileys and emoticons are considered inappropriate when used in formal or professional texts such as letters or legal documents, and are rarely found outside of a digital environment. They are mainly found in informal and personal forms of communication.

Letters

The use of letters as a means of communication is one of the oldest methods of communication and is still used today despite major technological advances. Letters can be used for both personal and professional purposes, with professional purposes taking over due to the increase of social media as a way of sending personal messages. In a professional setting, depending on the urgency and importance of the letter, other methods such as email maybe used.

Fax

Faxing was a popular method of communicating between businesses and people however even though some kind of fax capability is kept within businesses, internet based alternatives have provided tough competition. Faxing does hold a significant advantage in terms of security, if sensitive material is transmitted via Fax it can arrive safely however if transmitted via email unencrypted it is open to interference. However due to availability of emails across multiple devices and time frame, it's the preferred option.

Emails

Emails in more ways than one have become the new "Letter" and is one of the most used forms of communication in the world. This is due to the fact it can be received instantaneously and does not require much to send. It's advantage within a working setting is significant e.g. if a deadline needs to be a met by a certain time, an email can be sent and the individual can access it across multiple devices. Emails are for both personal use e.g. contacting family etc or within a professional setting e.g. business or educational settings.

Spelling

Spelling is a cornerstone of written communication and effective use of it is the difference between fully understanding the purpose of the message or missing it's purpose entirely. Spelling errors when communicating a personal message are often forgiven but when errors are continually appearing within a professional setting e.g. forwarding a CV, it can be the difference between receiving a job interview or not.

Grammar

Grammar is very important within human language, since it is, in effect, the glue that holds the language together. With the use of incorrect grammar sentences can become meaningless and their message is unclear. This ultimately means that you aren't able to communicate effectively and the person who is reading your work maybe confused as to the meaning of your work.

Barriers of Communication P3

Background Noise

Background noise such as traffic, air conditioning units and power supplies (within an IT industry) can interrupt the speaking or even distract the audience from listening to what is being said. For example if an important meeting is being held and there is continuing background noise then important information maybe missed, so all employees have received a significant handicap to there work. Other than this, the speaker maybe interrupted too and this can lead them to miss important pieces of information out if they are distracted.

Distractions

Distractions can be coined as a overarching term for subcategories such as environmental distractions (such as background noises), personal (Family etc) or distraction from co workers. Distractions can hinder progression in terms of work drive and work output. Such distractions can either be, visiting websites such as YouTube with a working environment or being distracted by co workers as they are distracted themselves.

Physical Barriers

It is difficult to talk over the phone or over digital means like messaging and email because you lose a large amount of the context since the other person can't see your body language or hear tone of voice. Sending a lot of emails or digital messages can create a significant physical barrier, this means that word selection must be surgical to stamp out any ambiguity and create an effective communication line.

Location

Location can become a barrier of communication in certain scenarios. One so scenario, as explored above when discussing influence, is geographical location and adapting our methods of communication with others. Location change can often be a scary concept, due to adapting to a new environment, adapting language skills, as well as cultural customs. All of these can impact the effectiveness of our communication.

Lack of Concentration

Concentration is a significant key to holding up a conversation and communicating effectively with others. If concentration is lacking with a conversation then significant pieces of information can be missed and ultimately affect our future work. Concentration can be interrupted by distractions (as mentioned above) or background noise (as mentioned above). Within a personal setting, a lack of concentration can be afforded however within a professional setting it maybe deemed as rude especially within a meeting.

Reducing these Barriers M1

Background Noise

Background noise can be prevented through simple and easy methods. If distractions are caused by computers then turning them off or putting them on sleep mode can cancel out the noise. Meeting rooms can be sound proofed so that distractions from outside such as traffic is blocked out and signs can be put outside a meeting room to show others that they need to be quiet. Further to this, if mobile phones are the issue then asking others to turn of there mobile devices will avoid any future distraction.

Distractions

To decrease distractions such as visiting websites like YouTube or Facebook, a blocker can be placed in the browser which wont allow you to visit those websites within the working period, only in breaks. Outside of websites, if another employee is continually distracting you then you can politely ask them let you continue on with your work, if they continue to distract you then visiting your manager will help solve the issue.

Physical Barriers

The simple way to decrease physical barriers is to decrease the amount you use email or digital messages and use other suitable methods in which physical barriers are not apparent. Furthermore being selective with your words in an email or digital message will protect yourself and the recipient from any ambiguity in future conversations.

Location

Location is a difficult barrier to reduce in communication but however can still be solved. Preparing yourself for the location you're in can help with any cultural differences, language barriers or customs that you may encounter. This can be researched through books, websites or friends who currently work within that location.

Lack of Concentration

Lack of concentration can be helped if the aforementioned areas have been worked on, concentration will increase if environmental nuisances such traffic noises etc have been solved and distractions from co workers or media websites have also been solved. Furthermore keeping yourself interested in what the person has to say will improve concentration, this can be in the form of asking questions as it shows interest and that you're listening to what the person has to say.