Formal Verbal Communication in Business I
正式商业交流 （1）– 研讨会
Part I Objectives
²rocedures of Seminars Leading and Commonly Used Sentence Structures研讨会各个程序及常用句型²
A Leader and A Good Listener, At the Same Time做好的听众，做好的领导者²Giving Criticism提出批评观点的技巧
Part II The How-Tos
Leading Seminars/ Questioning Techniques
² General procedures of a seminar/lecture
2) Introduction of Topic
3) Describing sequences and timing
4) Highlighting information
5) Involving the audience
6) Giving instructions
7) Checking understanding
8) Asking questions
9) Clarifying questions
10) Evading questions
11) Inviting comments
Good morning, I'm ---- and I've been invited to give this talk/ presentation / lecture because---
I have done research in / I have a special interest in / my experience is in
Introduction of Topic 话题介绍
In my presentation/talk/lecture today I shall be dealing with---
The subject of my ---- today is ----
What I'd like to do today is introduce/suggest/ analyse/ describe / explain
My topic/subject today is ---
I shall be dealing with 2/3/4…. main areas/topics/subjects today
Describing Sequences and Timing 程序介绍与时间安排
First I want to /spend a few minutes outlining ---/remind you of the background to/summarise the ----/explain---/ present---
Next I shall---/after that I will take the opportunity of describing---/
Then we'll look at---
Finally I want to---
Highlighting Information 重点介绍
So, what does that mean?/How can we interpret this?/What's the explanation for this?/What are the implications of these findings?
(Change of focus)
What that tells us is/What I'm suggesting is/What is clear is that
(Introducing auxiliary verb)
So clearly we do need to--/Obviously they did understand that---/ Of course you do wan to know why---
Involving the Audience 听者的参与
Let's have a show of hands, how many of you agree with ----
I'm sure we all know what it's like to---
Let me ask you spend a couple of seconds thinking about---
Well, what would you do, I wonder---
Just look around the room and take a note of /how many men are wearing a tie---/how many people are wearing jeans---/the average age of the participants
Giving Instructions 给予指示
For this exercise, we are going to work in pairs: groups of 3/4/5
Make a note of these words/figures
Read the paragraph on page ---
Please note that I shall be timing the exercise and you have exactly 7 minutes
Now complete the questionnaire and put your name in the top left-hand corner
Checking Understanding 随时观察听者反映
Is everyone with me so far?
Are there any questions at this stage?
Would anyone like me to run through that again?
If you have any problems with the detail, don't worry because all the information is in your handout
Asking Questions 询问问题
Closed questions :
Do you/did you
I was wondering if/ could I ask you/ would you mind telling me/if it's not indiscreet I'd like to know/might I ask/may I ask
Clarifying Questions 澄清问题
So you want to know about---/is it the figures that worry you/ when you say---do you mean---/If I've understood the question you want to know about---
Evading Questions 回避问题
That's not really my field---/ that's a bit outside the scope of today's topic/ I haven't got the precise information with me today/ that's not really for me to say/I'd need notice of that question to answer you in full/this is not really the place to discuss that matter/ perhaps that's a question for another meeting
Inviting Comments 鼓励并听取意见
Has anyone got any questions at this point?
Would anyone like to comment on that?
Does anyone disagree with my last point?
Can anyone confirm my experience?
If nobody has any questions then I'll move on
I'd like to discuss it further, but I think it's time to move on
Could I just stop you there---
If I might just add----
I'm sure we'd all agree, but perhaps we should get back to the main point
If we could now turn to---/my next point is---/ what I want to do next is ---/ let's move on to---/that completes my analysis of---/so, now we are going to----
If I might just go over that again---/so, in summary---/ just to remind you of the key facts/the main points/ the advantages of---/my main arguments were---
Thank you for listening to me today
I hope you have found my presentation useful
Thank you for your attention
Questioning Techniques 提问技巧
Reasons for asking questions:
To obtain information
To find out the opinions of other people
To ask other people to contribute ideas
To find out the reasons behind events
To seek confirmation
The status of the questioner
The questioner may have an official need to ask questions - work-role, legal power, etc., or the questioner may have an entirely personal curiosity to satisfy. If the role is official, the questioner needs to choose the questioning style with care in order to produce the required results. Questioning can be quite a threatening activity in some circumstances. For example, if the questioner wants information , then the person who has that information may feel that s/he is being asked to give up something that represents an advantage. If the questioner is merely curious in a social setting , then the important point is the level of delicacy of the question. In most cultures, very personal details such as how much money we earn is too private to form the subject of questions by others.
Choices of question style
Closed v. open
Closed questions permit only 'yes'/'no' answers. They may therefore be more threatening than open questions because they leave no room for expansion or explanation. The questioner needs to decide if it would be more tactful to ask:
Have you finished that report yet?
How are you getting on with that report?
The first question implies that the report is now due; the second merely asks for a progress statement. The open question allows the respondent to elaborate and does not have overtones of authority.
Wh- type questions
Questions starting with question words: what, when, why, who, how, are open questions but they are also very direct. Too many questions like this have the flavour of an interrogation and may make the person being questioned feel uncomfortable. It may be necessary to preface the questions with phrases that show the questioner is aware of the intrusiveness of the question:
May I ask you…
Could you tell me…
Would you mind telling me…
I wonder if I could ask you….
I would be interested in knowing…
If it's not indiscreet, may I ask ….
I know it's not really my business, but….
Facilitative styles of asking questions
If the intention of the questioner is really to prompt the interlocutor in disclosing information freely, then question techniques may not be appropriate at all. Instead it might be better to echo and to reformulate in order to give the interlocutor the opportunity to expand.
A. Well, I live in a flat in a rather poor part of town.
B. Poor part of town…?
A. Yes, it's quite dirty and the streets are badly lit. That's why I don't like going out alone at night.
B. So you're frightened to go out alone?
A. Well, yes because we hear of attacks and muggings. That's why I want to leave.
In this dialogue, speaker B doesn't try to take the initiative, but merely echoes and reformulates to prompt speaker A to say what worries her.
Part III Let’s Talk Business
LEADING THROUGH CHANGE: Listening as a leader
Often, when we think of communication, we think of speaking, presenting, writing--delivering a message in some way. But an effective communicator is also adept at receiving messages. You won't budge people toward a goal if they don't feel that they've had input, that they've been heard and understood, and that the vision they're working toward is also their own vision. Listening to your followers is the only way you can make this happen.
To be a good leader, HEAR OUT what others have to say:
Hold judgment and hold eye focus Listen carefully and with an open mind--if you're defensive you may miss critical information. Don't formulate your answer while a person is still speaking. Watch for subtle body language that may offer extra clues to the speaker's true meaning. Also, hold eye focus. If you don't' look at the person who is speaking to you, you can't establish trust. As a leader, you want followers to trust you and believe in you.
End all other tasks. Show respect for people by putting aside your paper, lunch, etc., and don't take phone calls. You'll be better regarded, and you'll save time. By "doing it right the first time," there won't be misunderstandings or any need to repeat information. Be ready to job down notes as the person speaks.
Allow the speaker to finish. Don't interrupt. Don't change the subject. Don't finish sentences for the speaker. Remain quiet until you're sure the speaker has completed his or her thoughts.
Read between the lines. As you listen to the speaker, listen for what might be left unsaid. It's not always easy for a person to approach someone in a more senior position and tell it like it is. If you want to get an honest opinion of some of your ideas and actions, you'll need to probe. You'll also need to value that feedback and the person who gave it to you. Never shoot the messenger.
Outline your understanding. Once the person is finished speaking, reiterate what you believe to be the main ideas, issues, etc. State them simply and, if possible, try to "rank" them from most important to least. At each step, ask the speaker if you've correctly heard the message. Take the time to be certain, or you've both simply wasted time.
Underline major points. Once you and the speaker agree on the main ideas that have been uncovered, focus your attention on one or two of the most important: What needs to be done right now to make the speaker--and you--acknowledge that something positive has been accomplished? What else can be done in the future? Set a date to revisit these main ideas and to discuss progress.
Test the waters. Take what you've learned and test it with others. What are others feeling and thinking? Is this an isolated issue? Don't take it any less seriously but if it's a "movement" of sorts, you'll need to address it differently. Testing the waters allows you to explore the real needs, fears and hopes of your followers and incorporate them into your shared vision. Remember, if you're trying to move people in a new direction, you must know here they're coming from.
People don't always need leaders to agree with them and act on their suggestions. But people always do need to feel their leader cares enough to listen. When people are uncertain what tomorrow may bring, a leader with a reputation as a "good listener" may be the most prized employee in any organization. Work hard to make yourself that person.
Part IIII Exercises and Discussion
Exercise to sensitize your questioning techniques.
1 Write on the board a list of 5 or 6 prominent people that everyone knows. Some of these people should be the subject of current controversy.
2 Write a question of each type (see reasons for asking questions at the beginning of this unit) and address each of your questions to one of the people you have listed.
3 Now grade their questions for levels of delicacy on a scale 1 - 5, with 5 being the most delicate.
4 Check their questions for the appropriateness of their style - are they open or closed; direct or indirect? Adjust the phrasing of the questions to suit the level of delicacy.
5 Lets discuss the results.
Give examples of situations where open/closed types of questions are generally asked.
Choose one of the following topics and make it into a seminar. Try to incorporate all the 15 elements mentioned in part II.
- How to boil an egg
- How to organize a picnic for your company
- Key factors consumers should be aware of when purchasing a DVD player
² Rewrite the conversation between John and Mary in Part five. Discuss on the possible outcomes of the conversation with your partner.
Part V Supplementary Materials
When it's necessary to criticise the work of colleagues it is important to do so in a manner that is supportive and that permits the other person find ways of improving his or her performance. To do this we need to:
Concentrate on the error, not on the person
• Avoid generalizations
• Provide specific examples of the problems that need attention
• Make helpful suggestions for improvement
• Avoid a one-sided attack
• Avoid insinuations and hints
• Conduct the criticism in private so as not to humiliate the other person
Read the dialogue below and make a note of the ways in which John fails to observe the advice given above in his criticisms of Mary's work:
John: Come in and take a seat, Mary. This won't take a minute.
Mary: What's this all about, John?
John: Well I'm sorry Mary, but I've come to the conclusion that your work's just not up to scratch. I need to see a big improvement if you want to stay here.
Mary: I see. I admit I have found these first few weeks a hard, but I need time to settle in and there's a lot to learn.
(Knock at the door)
John: Come in.
Jane: Oh, sorry John, I'll come back later, I didn't realize you were talking.
John: That's all right, come in. I was just telling Mary that I don't think she's really up to the job here.
Jane: No, I don't want to intrude on a private conversation; I'll come back later.
Mary: So what are you saying John, are you firing me?
John: No; but I have to say that if this little talk doesn't make you realize where you're going wrong, it may come to that.
Poor Mary! John has just attacked the standard of her without giving her any idea of where she is going wrong; on top of that he's repeated the criticism in front of another member of staff.
By using some of the suggestions below, see if you can rewrite the dialogue so that John offers Mary constructive and positive criticism that will help her to improve her performance:
• Invite Mary to a private interview
• Ask if she is ready to discuss the standard of her work
• Acknowledge the fact that she is new to the company and that there is a lot to learn
• Say that her reports are lacking in detail and accuracy
• Ask her if she is aware of that
• Say that she is often late in the morning
• Ask her if there are personal problems that make it difficult for her to arrive on time
• Say that some of the clients she deals with have complained that she misses appointments
• Ask her if she can explain why this is
• Ask her if there is anything you can do to help her improve in these areas.
• Set a date for another talk in a few weeks to review her progress.
If John conducts the interview along these lines, Mary will:
• Know exactly which aspects of her work are unsatisfactory
• Will have the opportunity to explain why she has problems
• Will not be publicly humiliated
• Will feel that she is getting support in her efforts to improve.