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Communication Skills

Communication Skills
Course Guide & Reader
Prepared by: Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
Communication Skills, IBU, 2021/2022
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
PR 101 Communication Skills
First Year Programme
Academic Year 2021/2022
Lectures & Exercises:
Group I:
Group II:
Group III:
Assoc.Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
e-mail: s.adzaip@ibu.edu.mk
Course Textbook:
Adjaip-Veličkovski, S. (2021/2022) Communication Skills: Course Guide & Reader, International
Balkan University.
Suggested Reading:
Cottrell, Stella (2013) The Study Skills Handbook, Fourth Edition. Palgrave Macmillan.
Communication Skills, IBU, 2021/2022
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
COURSE OVERVIEW- What is Communication Skills about? ............................................... 5
WHAT IS COMMUNICATION? .......................................................................................... 10
SELF ASSESSMENT (Where am I now?) ............................................................................ 19
SELF IMPROVEMENT (Where do I want to be?) ............................................................... 24
SELF MANAGEMENT (How do I get there?) ..................................................................... 31
EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION ......................................................................................... 46
ACCEPTING DIFFERENCES................................................................................................ 63
EFFECTIVE PRESENTATION .............................................................................................. 66
GROUP DYNAMICS & TEAM WORKING ........................................................................... 76
MANAGING CONFLICT .................................................................................................... 88
ACADEMIC SKILLS ........................................................................................................... 95
IBU Academic Integrity Statement ................................................................................ 103
Bibliography ................................................................................................................. 106
Communication Skills, IBU, 2021/2022
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
Wiio’s Laws*
Communication usually fails, except by accident.
If communication can fail, it will fail.
If communication cannot fail, it still usually fails.
If communication seems to succeed in the way you intend – someone’s misunderstood.
If you are content with your message, communication is certainly failing.
If a message can be interpreted in several ways, it will be interpreted in a manner that maximises
the damage.
There is always someone who knows better than you what your message means.
The more we communicate; the more communication fails.
Otto Wiio, cited in: Barker, A. (2010) Improve your Communication Skills, Revised 2nd Ed. London,
Philadelphia and New Delhi: Kogan Page Ltd, p.4.
*We all know that communication in organisations is notoriously unreliable. Otto Wiio (born 1928) is
a Finnish Professor of Human Communication. He is best known for a set of humorous maxims about
how communication in organisations goes wrong. The above quote illustrates some of the problems
of using the transmission model.
Communication Skills, IBU, 2021/2022
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
COURSE OVERVIEW- What is Communication Skills about?
The Communication Skills (CS) course is an integral part of the International Balkan University First
Year Program and is concerned with the development of three sets of generic skills critical to your
success in higher education and a successful career afterwards.
The three sets of skills covered in this course are to do with ‘yourself’, ‘others’ and ‘the interactions
between yourself and others. Here the aspects of ‘yourself’ we are interested in are not so much
about your physical appearance but rather what you know about yourself, what you know you want
to achieve in life and what you know you can or cannot do, etc. The term ‘others’ covers a wide
range of people you are likely to come across both, inside and outside the university, including
friends and family members, classmates, tutors, colleagues, shop assistants and bank clerks, etc.
Whereas the interactions between ‘yourself’ and ‘others’ range from simple exchange of greetings
to negotiation and conflict resolution. Figure 1 illustrates the details:
Figure 1. Three sets of generic skills
Why do you need to learn Communication Skills?
Few of us are born a genius. Most of us have to learn all the knowledge and skills we need to live and
work. Although moving from high school to the university may seem a natural transition, for many to
adapt to the pace of learning at the degree level takes considerable time and effort. To make that
transition in the same cultural context is difficult enough for some, it is undoubtedly more difficult
for those wishing to study in a second language and on a programme of a foreign origin that requires
a totally different approach to learning.
The skills covered in this course are essential if you are to succeed in learning at higher education
level. The skills you will learn during this course are also fundamental to a successful career after you
have completed your higher education. These skills will also help you live a happier and more
rewarding life as they enable you to become more aware of your own potential, be more confident
at your own abilities and better at demonstrating them, and work with and relate to others in a
more effective way.
Being able to communicate effectively is the most important of all life skills.
Communication is simply the act of transferring information from one place to another. It may be
vocally (using voice), written (using printed or digital media such as books, magazines, websites or
Communication Skills, IBU, 2021/2022
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
emails), visually (using logos, maps, charts or graphs) or non-verbally (using body language, gestures
and the tone and pitch of voice).
How well this information can be transmitted and received is a measure of how good our
communication skills are.
Developing your communication skills can help all aspects of your life, from your professional life to
social gatherings and everything in between.
The ability to communicate information accurately, clearly and as intended, is a vital life skill and
something that should not be overlooked. It’s never too late to work on your communication skills
and by doing so improve your quality of life.
In summary, the skills you will learn through this course will help you with your further education,
your career and your life in general.
Communication skills form an important part of our personal skills profile and they directly affect
how well we relate to others. At University, and later in the workplace, whether or not we possess
adequate communicate skills directly influence our performance and the performance of those who
work with us. As we progress at University, and later in our careers, communication skills may prove
to be critical to our success.
Course Structure
The contents of the course will be divided into three interlocking parts, i.e. skills concerning
‘yourself’, ‘others’ and the ‘interactions’ between ‘yourself’ and ‘others’. These areas are
interlocking because it is impossible to neatly separate them from each other. For instance, the skills
you will use to find out more about yourself can equally be used to find out more about others and
vice versa. The linear nature of course delivery means that we have to arrange the contents in a
sequence but it does not mean that you only learn about these skills in strictly the order as
prescribed. Table 1 illustrate the details:
1. Course Overview
2. What is communication
3. Self-Assessment
4. Self-Improvement
5. Self-Management
6. Effective communication
7. Mid-Term Exam Week
8. Accepting Differences
9. Effective Presentation
10. Group Dynamics & Team Working
11. Managing Conflict
12. Academic skills
Table 1. Structure of the Course
Communication Skills, IBU, 2021/2022
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
Six key study tips
These six brief tips are intended to improve your academic performance, and minimise common
You may think that some of the advice offered is fairly obvious. However, every year there are
students who fail to complete their courses of study. It is therefore advisable to start your course
with good study habits rather than think about them towards the end of your first year ... when it
may be too late!
Attend your classes
Read your notes as soon as possible after each class
Form or join a study group
Set up a study schedule
Make your study tasks manageable
Take regular breaks while you are studying
1. Attend your classes
 This might appear pretty obvious advice. Nevertheless, many student failures result
from a lack of regular attendance at lectures, seminars and workshops.
 Remember that your course timetable has been designed to facilitate an effective way
of developing your understanding and capability.
 Failure to attend is likely to impair your progress and leave gaps in your knowledge.
 If you really do have to miss a class, let your lecturer know in advance. Ask a friend to
take notes and collect handouts for you. Get your friend to explain these notes and
handouts to you when necessary.
2. Read your notes as soon as possible after each class
Reading and rereading your notes will help you to:
 Review key ideas raised in your lectures and seminar groups.
 Identify any gaps in your notes - you should try to get the missing information from
another student as soon as possible.
 Link new ideas to concepts with those that you are already familiar with.
 Identify things you didn't quite understand - you should follow this up through
discussion with other students in your PAL sessions and/or through library reading.
 Revise essential facts and details.
In addition, you should:
 Reorganise your notes if necessary and use a highlighter pen to pick out important
 Think up your own real-life examples and applications for new ideas rather than simply
relying on those your lecturer has given you.
 Refresh your memory by rereading these notes before the following week's class. This
approach will also help prepare you for exam revision.
Communication Skills, IBU, 2021/2022
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
Critically evaluate what you read or hear. Make a list of the questions you would like to
ask or issues you wish to raise. Can you answer them yourself from your notes or from
suggested readings?
3. Form or join a study group
Forming a self-study group can help you to acquire extra perspectives, tap into a wider pool
of experience, clarify your own thinking, and gain others' assistance.
 Choose students who seem interested in the class.
 Take time to get to know each other.
 Use your study group to review material already learned or to clarify problem areas.
 Make sure you remember the purpose of your meeting. It is to better understand course
material, not to have a social chat - you can always visit the local Café for a social
discussion afterwards.
4. Set up a study schedule
 Buy a diary or use a Timetable or/and Weekly Planner on your computer.
 Write in it the times of your classes and the hand in dates for all your assignments.
 Experiment with different times for studying and identify those times of the day when
your concentration is best.
 Identify regular time slots for library research, lab work, etc. Try to make good use of
small blocks of time - you'll be surprised how much you can achieve in half an hour!
 Plan well ahead for assignment reading, research, planning, drafting and for reviewing
what you have written. You won't perform at your best if you write up your assignments
the night before they are due to be handed in.
 Write an action plan at the beginning of each week to help you identify your priorities you can use this Weekly Planning Worksheet.
 Review these priorities each day.
5. Make your study tasks manageable
 Set yourself mini-goals so you gain a sense of achievement by completing them.
 Break large tasks, such as writing an essay, into smaller sub-tasks. For example, 'Read
notes', 'Brainstorm questions', 'Find supporting information in the library', 'Plan essay',
'Write first draft' etc.
 Break each of these sub-tasks into smaller, very specific mini-goals: 'Make notes on
pages 29-40 of Business Information Systems'.
 Set a realistic time allowance for each mini-goal e.g. 'Make notes on pages 29-40: 30
 Give yourself a start time, and keep to it.
 Set a target end time. If you have not finished, keep going until you have.
 · Make sure you have completed each mini-goal before moving on to the next.
6. Take regular breaks while you are studying
 You will not study well if you are too tired to concentrate.
 Experiment until you find which times and places suit you for different types of task.
Communication Skills, IBU, 2021/2022
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
Take regular breaks while you are studying. For example, you could:
Use longer periods of study - around 50 minutes followed by a 10-minute break - if you
are organising relationships and concepts, drafting an assignment, or revising for an
Use shorter periods of study - 20 minutes broken up by five-minute breaks - for
rereading notes, self-testing, or thinking about what you are learning.
If you get bored, change to another task or activity.
Stop studying when you are no longer being productive!
Communication Skills, IBU, 2021/2022
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
The origin of the word "communication" is believed to have Latin roots. Latin is now a dead language
and has contributed significantly to modern English vocabulary. In Latin “communicare” means “to
make common”. So, how does “communicare” in Latin become “communication” in English? Well,
for instance, imagine you have an idea or a thought in mind and when you share it with someone
else, that idea or thought becomes common in both of your minds. Sharing is the act of
communication and therefore the word “communication” involves making an idea common
between two or more minds. Thus, “communicare”, which means “to make common” becomes
“communication”, which means “the activity of conveying”.
Communication, therefore involves the transfer of ideas, thoughts, information, emotions and
feelings among different people. Effective communication is one which brings about an
understanding of those ideas and thoughts and results in a response. The response may be
immediate or delayed, may use a set of words or action, may be verbal or non-verbal; what matters
is that there is a response. In communication terminology, we call it “feedback”. We shall deal with
feedback in detail, in the future.
Communication is a broad and sometimes confusing field and it has many meanings. Philosophers
have studied the meaning and significance of communication. Psychologists examine the causes and
effects of communication as it relates to individuals. Sociologists and anthropologists examine how
communication operates within and between societies and cultures. Political scientists explore the
ways communication influences governmental affairs. Engineers use their skills to devise methods of
conveying messages electronically.
Communication is:
 the act or process of using words, sounds, signs, or behaviours to express or exchange
information or to express your ideas, thoughts, feelings, etc., to someone else.
• a message that is given to someone: a letter, telephone call, e-mail, etc.
Communication is simply the act of transferring information from
one place to another
The communication process is fundamental for human survival.
Communication is essential to the development of the individual, especially to the formation and
continued existence of groups and to the interrelations among groups.
Although communication as a social skill is taken for granted by many people, effective
communication should be understood as occurring when the intended meaning of the sender and
the perceived meaning of a receiver are the same. Even with the aid of the most advanced
communication technologies, miscommunication, lack of communication, failed communication and
junk communication are still commonplace. Although the causes to communication problems are
Communication Skills, IBU, 2021/2022
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
many and varied, the very existence of them suggests that spending time communicating is not
enough. There are particular ways and skills we need to employ to ensure its effectiveness.
The process of communication, as illustrated in Figure 2, comprises a number of essential
components identified as follows:
Figure 2. The process of communication
It should be noted that communication can take place between human beings, as well as between
human beings and their environment, e.g. motorists responding to traffic signs when driving on the
highway. Also, the importance of feedback to the quality of communication can never be
overlooked. Any smart phone user will have difficulty operating it without the screen (interface).
Here, the screen is no more than a feedback device, but without it no one can be sure if the smart
phone is doing the right thing.
Communication mode is the medium or channel through which communicative intent is expressed.
Typical communication modes include natural speech, facial expression and gesture.
Exceptional communication modes include the use of graphic symbols or synthetic speech.
Communication generally draws on multiple modes, such as vocalization, speech, gesture and
symbols, and is referred to as multimodal. Face-to-face, video, audio and text-based communication
are all different modes of communication. These are the basic umbrella forms of communication,
but they can be broken down into more specific styles.
Communication Skills, IBU, 2021/2022
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
Face-to-face communication is the most common. This includes
casual conversation between two or more people and business
meetings. Face-to-face is a very easy communication style that
everyone has experienced. It requires no extra materials, making
this the cheapest option for communication. It is also instant,
and you get the benefit of visual cues from the person or people
to whom you are communicating.
Video communication is achieved by using Web cameras to connect
two or more parties. This is the next-best communication option
after face-to-face, as you get most of the same benefits. However,
there is always the possibility of bad connections or other technical
issues that hinder the communication.
Audio communication is a voice-only form of communication,
such as a conversation on a telephone. This is a good instant
communication tool if you catch the person instead of getting an
answering machine or voice mail, but it does not have the
benefit of allowing you to see the other person. It is also more
difficult to include more than two parties.
Text communication includes Internet communication, such
as email, instant messaging and forums, text messaging and
printed papers. Text communication does not have the
benefits of audio and video, but it is much easier to distribute
information to a large group of people and save records of
the communication.
Any discussion on the communication process is incomplete without mentioning ‘noise’. It is a term
that refers to the factors that cause distortion and interference which prevent the clear reception of
the original message. Noise is anything that interferes with a message being sent between
participants in a communication encounter. Even if a speaker sends a clear message, noise may
interfere with a message being accurately received and decoded. The transmission model of
communication accounts for environmental and semantic noise. Environmental noise is any physical
noise present in a communication encounter. Other people talking in a crowded diner could
Communication Skills, IBU, 2021/2022
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
interfere with your ability to transmit a message and have it successfully decoded. While
environmental noise interferes with the transmission of the message, semantic noise refers to noise
that occurs in the encoding and decoding process when participants do not understand a symbol. To
use a technical example, FM antennae can’t decode AM radio signals and vice versa. Likewise, most
French speakers can’t decode Swedish and vice versa. Semantic noise can also interfere in
communication between people speaking the same language because many words have multiple or
unfamiliar meanings.
Over the past few decades, innovations in communication technologies have significantly improved
the efficiency of communication world-wide. However, because every component in the
communication process presents a potential source of problem, e.g. language barriers between
people from different cultural backgrounds, unfamiliarity with the subject being communicated, a
bad telephone line, etc., much remains to be done to improve the effectiveness of it.
There are many reasons why interpersonal communications may fail. In many communications, the
message may not be received exactly the way the sender intended and hence it is important that the
communicator seeks feedback to check that their message is clearly understood. The skills of Active
Listening, Clarification and Reflection, which we will discuss shortly, may help but the skilled
communicator also needs to be aware of the barriers to effective communication. There exist many
barriers to communication and these may occur at any stage in the communication process. Barriers
may lead to your message becoming distorted and you therefore risk wasting both time and/or
money by causing confusion and misunderstanding. Effective communication involves overcoming
these barriers and conveying a clear and concise message.
Some common barriers to effective communication include:
The use of jargon. Over-complicated or
unfamiliar terms.
Emotional barriers and taboos. When
you’re stressed or emotionally
overwhelmed, you’re more likely to
misread other people, send confusing or
off-putting nonverbal signals, and lapse
into unhealthy knee-jerk patterns of
behaviour. To avoid conflict and
misunderstandings, you can learn how to
quickly calm down before continuing a
Lack of attention, interest, distractions, or irrelevance to the receiver. You can’t
communicate effectively when you’re multitasking. If you’re checking your phone, planning
what you’re going to say next, or daydreaming you’re almost certain to miss nonverbal cues
in the conversation. To communicate effectively, you need to avoid distractions and stay
Differences in perception and viewpoint.
Physical disabilities such as hearing problems or speech difficulties.
Communication Skills, IBU, 2021/2022
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
Physical barriers to non-verbal communication. Nonverbal communication should reinforce
what is being said, not contradict it. If you say one thing, but your body language says
something else, your listener will likely feel you’re being dishonest. For example, you can’t
say “yes” while shaking your head no. If you disagree with or dislike what’s being said, you
may use negative body language to rebuff the other person’s message, such as crossing your
arms, avoiding eye contact, or tapping your feet. You don’t have to agree, or even like
what’s being said, but to communicate effectively and not make the other person defensive,
it’s important to avoid sending negative signals.
Language differences and the difficulty in understanding unfamiliar accents.
Expectations and prejudices which may lead to false assumptions or stereotyping. People
often hear what they expect to hear rather than what is actually said and jump to incorrect
Cultural differences. The norms of social interaction vary greatly in different cultures, as do
the way in which emotions are expressed. For example, the concept of personal space varies
between cultures and between different social settings.
A skilled communicator must be aware of these barriers and try to reduce their impact by
continually checking understanding and by offering appropriate feedback.
Forms of communication vary in terms of participants, channels used, and contexts. The five main
forms of communication, all of which will be explored in much more detail in this book, are
intrapersonal, interpersonal, group, public, and mass communication. In the following we will
discuss the similarities and differences among each form of communication, including its definition,
level of intentionality, goals, and contexts (Communication in the Real World, 2013).
4.1. Intrapersonal Communication
Intrapersonal communication is communication with oneself using
internal vocalization or reflective thinking. Like other forms of
communication, intrapersonal communication is triggered by some
internal or external stimulus. We may, for example, communicate
with our self about what we want to eat due to the internal stimulus
of hunger, or we may react intrapersonally to an event we witness.
Unlike other forms of communication, intrapersonal communication
takes place only inside our heads. The other forms of
communication must be perceived by someone else to count as
communication. So, what is the point of intrapersonal communication if no one else even sees it?
Intrapersonal communication serves several social functions. Internal vocalization, or talking to
ourselves, can help us achieve or maintain social adjustment. Frank E. X. Dance and Carl E.
Larson, Speech Communication: Concepts and Behaviors (New York, NY: Holt, Reinhart, and Winston,
1972). For example, a person may use self-talk to calm himself down in a stressful situation, or a shy
person may remind herself to smile during a social event. Intrapersonal communication also helps
build and maintain our self-concept. We form an understanding of who we are based on how other
Communication Skills, IBU, 2021/2022
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
people communicate with us and how we process that communication intrapersonal. The shy
person in the earlier example probably internalized shyness as a part of her self-concept because
other people associated her communication behaviors with shyness and may have even labeled her
“shy” before she had a firm grasp on what that meant. We also use intrapersonal communication or
“self-talk” to let off steam, process emotions, think through something, or rehearse what we plan to
say or do in the future. As with the other forms of communication, competent intrapersonal
communication helps facilitate social interaction and can enhance our well-being.
Sometimes we intrapersonally communicate for the fun of it. I’m sure we have all had the
experience of laughing aloud because we thought of something funny. We also communicate
intrapersonally to pass time. I bet there is a lot of intrapersonal communication going on in waiting
rooms all over the world right now. In both of these cases, intrapersonal communication is usually
unplanned and doesn’t include a clearly defined goal. We can, however, engage in more intentional
intrapersonal communication. In fact, deliberate self-reflection can help us become more competent
communicators as we become more mindful of our own behaviors. For example, your internal voice
may praise or scold you based on a thought or action.
Of the forms of communication, intrapersonal communication has received the least amount of
formal study. It is rare to find courses devoted to the topic, and it is generally separated from the
remaining four types of communication. The main distinction is that intrapersonal communication is
not created with the intention that another person will perceive it. In all the other levels, the fact
that the communicator anticipates consumption of their message is very important.
4.2. Interpersonal Communication
Interpersonal communication is communication between
people whose lives mutually influence one another.
Interpersonal communication builds, maintains, and ends
our relationships, and we spend more time engaged in
interpersonal communication than the other forms of
communication. Interpersonal communication occurs in
various contexts and is addressed in subfields of study
within communication studies such as intercultural communication, organizational communication,
health communication, and computer-mediated communication. After all, interpersonal
relationships exist in all those contexts.
Interpersonal communication can be planned or unplanned, but since it is interactive, it is usually
more structured and influenced by social expectations than intrapersonal communication.
Interpersonal communication is also more goal oriented than intrapersonal communication and
fulfills instrumental and relational needs. In terms of instrumental needs, the goal may be as minor
as greeting someone to fulfill a morning ritual or as major as conveying your desire to be in a
committed relationship with someone. Interpersonal communication meets relational needs by
communicating the uniqueness of a specific relationship. Since this form of communication deals so
directly with our personal relationships and is the most common form of communication, instances
of miscommunication and communication conflict most frequently occur here. Couples, bosses and
employees, and family members all have to engage in complex interpersonal communication, and it
doesn’t always go well. In order to be a competent interpersonal communicator, you need conflict
management skills and listening skills, among others, to maintain positive relationships.
Communication Skills, IBU, 2021/2022
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
4.3. Group Communication
Group communication is communication among
three or more people interacting to achieve a
shared goal. You have likely worked in groups in
high school and college, and if you’re like most
students, you didn’t enjoy it. Even though it can
be frustrating, group work in an academic
setting provides useful experience and
preparation for group work in professional
settings. Organizations have been moving toward more team-based work models, and whether we
like it or not, groups are an integral part of people’s lives. Therefore, the study of group
communication is valuable in many contexts.
Group communication is more intentional and formal than interpersonal communication. Unlike
interpersonal relationships, which are voluntary, individuals in a group are often assigned to their
position within a group. Additionally, group communication is often task focused, meaning that
members of the group work together for an explicit purpose or goal that affects each member of the
group. Goal-oriented communication in interpersonal interactions usually relates to one person; for
example, I may ask my friend to help me move this weekend. Goal-oriented communication at the
group level usually focuses on a task assigned to the whole group; for example, a group of people
may be tasked to figure out a plan for moving a business from one office to another.
You know from previous experience working in groups that having more communicators usually
leads to more complicated interactions. Some of the challenges of group communication relate to
task-oriented interactions, such as deciding who will complete each part of a larger project. But
many challenges stem from interpersonal conflict or misunderstandings among group members.
Since group members also communicate with and relate to each other interpersonally and may have
preexisting relationships or develop them during the course of group interaction, elements of
interpersonal communication occur within group communication too.
4.4. Public Communication
Public communication is a sender-focused form of
communication in which one person is typically
responsible for conveying information to an
audience. Public speaking is something that many
people fear, or at least don’t enjoy. But, just like
group communication, public speaking is an
important part of our academic, professional, and
civic lives. When compared to interpersonal and
group communication, public communication is the
most consistently intentional, formal, and goal-oriented form of communication we have discussed
so far.
Communication Skills, IBU, 2021/2022
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
Public communication, at least in Western societies, is also more sender focused than interpersonal
or group communication. It is precisely this formality and focus on the sender that makes many new
and experienced public speakers anxious at the thought of facing an audience. One way to begin to
manage anxiety toward public speaking is to begin to see connections between public speaking and
other forms of communication with which we are more familiar and comfortable. Despite being
formal, public speaking is very similar to the conversations that we have in our daily interactions. For
example, although public speakers don’t necessarily develop individual relationships with audience
members, they still have the benefit of being face-to-face with them so they can receive verbal and
nonverbal feedback. Later in this chapter, you will learn some strategies for managing speaking
anxiety, since presentations are undoubtedly a requirement in the course for which you are reading
this book.
4.5. Mass Communication
Public communication becomes mass communication when it
is transmitted to many people through print or electronic
media. Print media such as newspapers and magazines
continue to be an important channel for mass communication,
although they have suffered much in the past decade due in
part to the rise of electronic media. Television, websites, blogs,
and social media are mass communication channels that you
probably engage with regularly. Radio, podcasts, and books
are other examples of mass media. The technology required to send mass communication messages
distinguishes it from the other forms of communication. A certain amount of intentionality goes into
transmitting a mass communication message since it usually requires one or more extra steps to
convey the message. This may involve pressing “Enter” to send a Facebook message or involve an
entire crew of camera people, sound engineers, and production assistants to produce a television
show. Even though the messages must be intentionally transmitted through technology, the
intentionality and goals of the person actually creating the message, such as the writer, television
host, or talk show guest, vary greatly. The president’s State of the Union address is a mass
communication message that is very formal, goal oriented, and intentional, but a president’s verbal
gaffe during a news interview is not.
Mass communication differs from other forms of communication in terms of the personal
connection between participants. Even though creating the illusion of a personal connection is often
a goal of those who create mass communication messages, the relational aspect of interpersonal
and group communication isn’t inherent within this form of communication. Unlike interpersonal,
group, and public communication, there is no immediate verbal and nonverbal feedback loop in
mass communication. Of course, you could write a letter to the editor of a newspaper or send an email to a television or radio broadcaster in response to a story, but the immediate feedback available
in face-to-face interactions is not present. With new media technologies like Twitter, blogs, and
Facebook, feedback is becoming more immediate. Individuals can now tweet directly “at” (@)
someone and use hashtags (#) to direct feedback to mass communication sources. Many radio and
television hosts and news organizations specifically invite feedback from viewers/listeners via social
media and may even share the feedback on the air.
Communication Skills, IBU, 2021/2022
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
The technology to mass-produce and distribute communication messages brings with it the power
for one voice or a series of voices to reach and affect many people. This power makes mass
communication different from the other levels of communication. While there is potential for
unethical communication at all the other levels, the potential consequences of unethical mass
communication are important to consider.
Communication Skills, IBU, 2021/2022
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
SELF ASSESSMENT (Where am I now?)
Through this topic, you will learn more about yourself, about what you want to achieve in life and
what you will need to do in order to fulfil your life goals. To get the most out of this topic, you must
be honest with yourself, be open to suggestions and be willing to confront any bad habits you may
have developed over the years and instil new disciplines in life.
What do you need to know about yourself?
A useful way to consciously find out more about yourself is to write down what the attributes you
feel represent your strengths and all those that represent your weaknesses, then discuss these with
your family members, friends and classmates and you may find that they may see you differently
from the way you see yourself. Based on your discussions with others you can then amend your
listed strengths and weaknesses. Remember your current strengths may be lost as you grow older or
as your environment changes. If you value these, you will need to make a concerted effort to keep
them. Likewise, your weaknesses do not have to stay with you for the rest of your life. If you do not
think they do you justice, change them! But you may need strong willpower to do so.
Why do you need to know about yourself?
No matter who we are, what background we come from, what languages we speak, what we want
to do and who we want to be, it is very important for all of us to have a thorough understanding of
ourselves, what we are good at, and what we are not. It is only when we know our weaknesses, we
can begin to challenge ourselves and set targets to improve ourselves.
To begin this process, it is useful to consider the following simple yet vital questions:
What are your strengths – for example your major achievements?
What are your weaknesses – for example your development potential?
Where are the opportunities to achieve your potential?
What are the threats preventing development of your potential?
Exercise 1. Where am I now? (write 10 attributes you feel represent you- feelings,
Appearance/physical condition, Social traits, Talents you possess or lack, Intellectual capacity, Strong
beliefs, Social roles, Skills; write down the attributes you feel represent your strengths and all those
that represent your weaknesses)
1. ___________________________________________________________________________
2. ___________________________________________________________________________
3. ___________________________________________________________________________
4. ___________________________________________________________________________
Communication Skills, IBU, 2021/2022
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
5. ___________________________________________________________________________
6. ___________________________________________________________________________
7. ___________________________________________________________________________
8. ___________________________________________________________________________
9. ___________________________________________________________________________
10. ___________________________________________________________________________
To conclude, a profile is simply a snapshot of yourself as you are now- your skills, qualities, attributes
and achievements. Even a list of 20 or 30 terms would be only a partial description. To make this
written self-portrait complete your list would have to be hundreds or even thousands of words long.
Self-concept is the image that we have of
ourselves. How exactly does this self-image
form and change over time? This image
develops in a number of ways but is particularly
influenced by our interactions with important
people in our lives.
Self-concept is generally thought of as our
individual perceptions of our behavior, abilities,
and unique characteristics. It is essentially a
mental picture of who you are as a person. For example, beliefs such as "I am a good friend" or "I am
a kind person" are part of an overall self-concept.
Self-concept tends to be more malleable when people are younger and still going through the
process of self-discovery and identity formation. As people age, self-perceptions become much more
detailed and organized as people form a better idea of who they are and what is important to them.
At its most basic, self-concept is a collection of beliefs one holds about oneself and the responses of
others. It embodies the answer to the question "Who am I?"
Humanist psychologist, Carl Rogers believed that there were three
different parts of self-concept:
 Self-image, or how you see yourself. Each individual's self-image
is a mixture of different attributes including our physical
characteristics, personality traits, and social roles. Self-image
doesn't necessarily coincide with reality. Some people might
have an inflated self-image of themselves, while others may
perceive or exaggerate the flaws and weaknesses that others
don't see.
Communication Skills, IBU, 2021/2022
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
Self-esteem, or how much you value yourself.
A number of factors can impact self-esteem,
including how we compare ourselves to others
and how others respond to us. When people
respond positively to our behaviour, we are
more likely to develop positive self-esteem. When we compare ourselves to others and find
ourselves lacking, it can have a negative impact on our self-esteem.
Ideal self, or how you wish you could be. In many cases, the way we see
ourselves and how we would like to see ourselves do not quite match up.
As mentioned earlier, our self-concepts are not always perfectly aligned with reality. Some students
might believe that they are great at academics, but their school transcripts might tell a different
According to Carl Rogers, the degree to which a person's self-concept matches up to reality is known
as congruence and incongruence.
While we all tend to distort reality to a certain degree, congruence occurs when self-concept is fairly
well aligned with reality. Incongruence happens when reality does not match up to our self-concept.
Rogers believed that incongruence has its earliest roots in childhood. When parents place conditions
on their affection for their children (only expressing love if children "earn it" through certain
behaviors and living up to the parents' expectations), children begin to distort the memories of
experiences that leave them feeling unworthy of their parents' love.
Unconditional love, on the other hand, helps to foster congruence. Children who experience such
love feel no need to continually distort their memories in order to believe that other people will love
and accept them as they are.
How do you find out more about yourself?
There are a number of ways to help you find out more about yourself. These include: talking to your
tutor, friends and family members who know you well, IQ test, Personality test, etc. No doubt you
will be talking to lots of different people throughout this course who will help you discover
something you did not know about yourself. As regards to tests, due to time limit, we are not able to
go through all of them. What we going to do is use a few simple questionnaires to illustrate how
these tools help you find out more about yourself.
Remember, none of these tests is perfect and in fact no testing result would indicate a perfect
person. As the world is constantly changing, you do, too. This is why self-knowledge and selfawareness is a life-long process and it is never too late to start the process. To make sure you
achieve your life goals you must periodically examine yourself and reflect on the changes you have
made and identify further changes you will have to make.
Communication Skills, IBU, 2021/2022
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
Exercise 2. Communication skills – Self Assessment (strengths and weaknesses)
Communication skills – Self Assessment
Please tick the box under the score which you feel
best describes you
A little Not like
like me like
like me
me at
I am open minded and am willing to change my viewpoint
based on the valid opinion of others.
I prepare for all communications and think things through
before I speak.
I always tailor my message to suit the person(s) I am talking
I find it easy to listen to what other people have to say
without interrupting.
I am good at making eye contact with people when I am
talking to them
I am not intimidated by situations where I must communicate
with difficult employees.
I am confident when I talk to people and speak clearly without
I am good at getting my point across in a clear, concise
manner without waffling.
I find it easy to concentrate on what others are saying and
don’t lose my focus.
I don’t start planning my response whilst the other person is
I don’t think that my opinion is the most important in the
I only speak up if I have something valuable to contribute to
the conversation and I avoid talking just for the sake of it.
I make a conscious effort to match my body language to the
message I want to convey.
I am good at reading the body language of others.
I can keep my cool when talking to other people even if I feel
angry about what they say.
When other people in the group are quiet, I encourage them
to contribute.
I don’t shout and point at people when we have a heated
When group discussions get heated, I am good at keeping
everyone calm and on the point.
I am good at summarising the key points of conversations
which I have with people.
Column Score (number of ticks x rating)
Overall Total (five column scores added)
76 -100: You seem to have good communication skills
51 – 75: There is a good foundation there
26 – 50: You have a lot of work to do to develop your communication skills
0 – 25: Did you score it correctly?
On a separate sheet of paper, summarise your strengths and areas for improvement with regard to your ability to
communicate. Look particularly at your lower scoring answers and this will give you some indication as to what aspects
of communication you need to focus on.
Communication Skills, IBU, 2021/2022
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
Through all the learning activities this week, you will realise that it is important to know your own
strengths and weaknesses and more importantly what you want from life. There are different ways
you can find out about yourself. During the tutorial hours, we have used a number of tests to help
you understand more about yourself. Treat them as an interesting exercise as there are likely to be
factors that affect the accuracy of these tests. In the event you feel strongly about some of the test
results, do speak to the tutor.
An important point to remember from this week’s sessions is that knowing yourself is a lifelong
process. Just because you are older than 18 does not mean that everything about you is set in stone.
We all change over time.
Review questions and independent learning tasks
Answer the following questions as truthfully to yourself as you can:
 How would you convince someone your age, who has not taken this course that it is
important that they should find out more about themselves and what advice would you give
 What have you learned about yourself this week that you did not know before? How do
these revelations make you feel?
 What are the three most important things you must do from now on in order to achieve
your goals?
Communication Skills, IBU, 2021/2022
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
SELF IMPROVEMENT (Where do I want to be?)
In the previous topic, we discussed the importance of establishing a clear understanding of your
current strengths and weaknesses. This addresses the first of the three key questions – where am I
This topic focuses on the second question - where do I want to be? It will also touch upon the third
question - how can I get there? Just knowing where we want to be and how to get there is just the
beginning of the journey.
Look at the things you would like to do with your career and the places you would like to be working.
Identify those job requirements. Assess how your present status differs from those requirements.
Establish how you can make up the difference.
Exercise 3. Where do I want to be? (write 10 things you would like to do with your career and the
places you would like to be working)
1. ___________________________________________________________________________
2. ___________________________________________________________________________
3. ___________________________________________________________________________
4. ___________________________________________________________________________
5. ___________________________________________________________________________
6. ___________________________________________________________________________
7. ___________________________________________________________________________
8. ___________________________________________________________________________
9. ___________________________________________________________________________
10. ___________________________________________________________________________
At any stage in life, deciding what you want to “do” with your life can feel like an enormous amount
of pressure. It can come when you’re 18 or when you’re 50, and it’s always a difficult process to
work through. It’s not hopeless, though! Here are a few ways to help you figure it out.
Discovering what you really want to do with your life isn’t an easy task for anyone, nor is it
something that you can really create a step-by-step guide for. That said, when you’re not really sure
what you want to do, whether it’s a career, a lifestyle, or anything else, a few different exercises
might help you pinpoint what it is you truly want.
Communication Skills, IBU, 2021/2022
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
Think about where you’ll be in five years
The “where do you see yourself in five years?” question riddles everything from job interviews to
financial plans, and while it seems cliché, it’s common for a reason: it works. It’s one of those
annoyingly difficult questions to answer, and in most cases it’s pretty much impossible to answer in
a concrete way. Thankfully, that’s okay, and sometimes just trying to answer the question is all you
Considering how common a piece of advice it is, the idea of seeing into the future and picturing
where you’ll be in five years is a heck of a lot harder to do than you’d think. Plus, the chances you’ll
actually end up where you see yourself are pretty slim. That said, as Adam Savage points out on the
Still Untitled Podcast, the exercise of talking about where you see yourself in five years is still useful.
He shares this story:
The thing that you feel like you really want to do is the thing to pursue. You will not end up there,
and that reminds me of one of Kurt Vonnegut’s off-quoted statements is the punchline to his
favorite joke: ‘Keep your hat on. We may end up miles from here...”
I remember being 19 and meeting a girlfriend’s mom, and she asks me, “What are your going to be
doing in five years?” And I named something I thought I’d do. She listened to me give this long
explanation, and she said, “You’re not going to be doing any of that. You have no idea what you’ll be
doing in five years. You’ll be doing something really cool, but it’s not something you can imagine
right now.” It’s one of the greatest things that anyone gave me. She was totally right. Every five
years it’s the same. I can never imagine where I ended up from where I started.
Savage’s point here is pretty simple: it doesn’t matter where you think you’ll be in five years, but it’s
still important to think about because it gives you the idea you want to pursue. As far as careers are
concerned, Harvard Business Review takes a similar approach and recommends you think about
what you want to learn in the next five years:
What capabilities will you have wanted to build in five years? For example, “I can’t say exactly what
I’m going to be doing in five years, but I hope to have further developed my skills as a strategist and
people manager.” This is a safe way to answer regardless of your age or career stage. “You don’t
want to ever give the impression that you’re done learning,” says Weintraub.
It’s a simple idea that’s very similar to Savage’s approach, but it shifts the focus so you’re directly
concentrating on what you’ll need to get to a place you’ll be happy in five years. As we’ve pointed
out before, picking a lifestyle to pursue instead of a job title can help you focus in what you’re really
interested in, and this is one way to do that.
Write your personal manifesto
The concept of a personal manifesto might sound a little silly on the surface. The idea is that if you
can figure out where you stand on certain ideas, you might be able to flesh out a possible career or
lifestyle path. Silly or not, the tool of a personal manifesto is implemented by everyone. The point is
to give yourself a call to action to define how you want to do things. It’s easy to write your own
manifesto, and while you don’t have to do it in a specific way, there are a few suggestions for getting
Communication Skills, IBU, 2021/2022
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
Pick your topics: Pick a few topics to concentrate on, and make them as specific as you can.
Ideas like, “The hours I want to work,” or “How I want to commute” are great for narrowing
in on what kind of work you might be interested in.
Set down your principles: Write down your beliefs and intentions. It probably sounds a little
over-the-top, but if you’ve never really written down and thought about your morals or
beliefs then this is a good time to do so.
Use strong, affirmative language: It’s easy to write a manifesto with words like “I want” or “I
should” but that’s not helping you. Write it out with affirmative language like, “I will,” or use
the present tense with “I am.”
The main purpose of the personal manifesto is to really figure out what you care about, how you
perceive yourself, and how you want to act moving forward. It’s not always a key to figuring out
exactly what you want to do with your life, but it’s a great starting point for at least figuring out how
you want to go about those goals. Grab a pen, some paper, and get to writing out what you believe.
The objectives you set for yourself must be well defined. In fact, they must be SMART.
Figure 3: SMART objectives
Communication Skills, IBU, 2021/2022
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
Be specific! There’s no use in setting a generic goal because it won’t suit you
personally, however if you adapt the goal to apply to what you need, then it
will be much more valuable to you. Of course, you want to prosper in your
field of work, but isn’t everyone in the office thinking the same?
Is it quantifiable? For instance, going back to the example objective of selling
more, you can measure this by the number of units sold. Being a measurable
goal allows you to identify when exactly it has been reached, i.e. what you
desire as the end result.
The point of a target is to challenge and motivate yourself to complete a piece
of work, if you were to set your target too high it can cause stress and so
decreasing the chance of your target actually being within reach. Likewise, if a
target was too easy will inhibit you from pushing yourself and doing more.
Setting yourself a reasonable target is crucial!
‘I’m going to own a multimillion-pound enterprise by the end of the month’
Might be a tad too ambitious, don’t get me wrong ambition is a leading trait,
but maybe start off with something more realistic, remember all successful
business people don’t just become successful overnight.
Deadlines. Not something we like, but something most of us need. Especially if
you’re someone like me, who tends to procrastinate. For example, if you’re sat
at your desk knowing you have work to do, it’s easy to get lost in the world of
the internet looking at cute animal photos or funny videos, but what if you
were to say ‘Right, by 2 o’clock I want to have completed…’ then you’ve just
motivated yourself to complete a job by an allotted time.
Table 2. Explanation of the SMART Objectives
Setting objectives at the correct level is crucial. If too high they will de-motivate you but if too low
they will be too easily achieved. The SMART principles also apply to setting objectives for others or
the group to which you belong.
If your objectives are to be achieved by other people, then they must understand exactly what it is
that they are expected to do. Therefore, the objectives need to be communicated clearly to the
people who will be involved in achieving them. There are three things that need to be considered:
You must say who is responsible for achieving the particular objectives,
You must say exactly what they must do in order to achieve the objectives,
It is usually a good idea to say why you want the objectives achieved.
Setting priorities is inevitable in any situation where the resources are insufficient to meet all the
demands. The ABC approach is a simple method of setting priorities. For instance, if you have a list
of tasks that require your attention, you cannot do them all at once; therefore, you must find some
way of establishing which ones are the more urgent tasks.
Communication Skills, IBU, 2021/2022
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
Suppose the list of tasks you have at hand is as follows:
Prepare for the exam that is eight weeks away;
Carry out the research for your group discussion next week;
Consult with your tutor;
Watch your favourite TV series every Wednesday evening;
Go home to your mother’s birthday party this weekend;
Get hold of a copy of the core text for this course.
Using the ABC method, the list can be categorised in terms of:
Highest priority – cannot wait
Next priority
Do if possible after completing all A’s and B’s
Exercise 4. How would you categorize this list (write the appropriate letter next to each task)?
Prepare for the exam that is eight weeks away
Carry out the research for your group discussion next week;
Consult with your tutor;
Watch your favourite TV series every Wednesday evening;
Go home to your mother’s birthday party this weekend;
Get hold of a copy of the core text for this course.
It is possible that different people interpret priorities differently. For instance, if the place you study
is far away from home, it may not be practical for you to go home to celebrate your mother’s
birthday. Therefore, this item will not be of a high priority for you.
In order to achieve your goals, you must know your present position very well and be clear what
your goals are. Comparing these two positions will enable you to identify the gaps you must fulfil.
For instance, in order to get a respectable job, you believe you need a degree. In order to get a
degree, you need to pass the entry examinations. However, you fail to gain sufficient scores. What
can you do? So, now you know what you have to do to get a degree. You need to learn more and
improve yourself academically.
Knowing what to do is just the beginning of it. Doing it can be a totally different story. When things
are looking up there may not be an issue but when things are not going well, you must be able to
motivate yourself.
Motivation is the drive behind our actions. It is commonly believed that our motivation is linked to
our fundamental needs as human beings.
Communication Skills, IBU, 2021/2022
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
Every individual has needs that cause them to act or behave in a certain way. Maslow's hierarchy of
needs is a theory in psychology proposed by Abraham Maslow in his 1943 paper “A Theory of
Human Motivation” in Psychological Review. Abraham Maslow (1943) categorised these needs in a
hierarchy as shown in Figure 4.
Figure 4. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
According to Maslow, once your basic physiological needs are met, the individual will aim to satisfy
higher needs, such as security both economic and emotional. On achieving this level, individuals
need to feel a sense of belonging to a family or group and within this affiliation the individual has a
need for status and recognition. Only when these needs are met can the individual be free to
concentrate on self-fulfilment. Once one level of needs has been satisfied, individuals can be
motivated to reach the level of needs directly above.
3.1. Other motivational factors
With some people long term motives outweigh short term motives, and they may be willing to
compromise in the short term to achieve their long-term objective. For example, some of your
friends may be having a good time watching movies or going out every evening, whilst you have to
study very hard. What keeps you going is a desire to achieve the goals you set yourself and get that
Diploma. We may be good at doing something but when you are motivated, we do it quicker, better
or more effectively than when we are not motivated.
As a student, you most probably do not get paid to study. There will be times when you are not
making much progress or you may be bored with studying. What do you do? Having a clear sense of
why you enrolled to university in the first place, and reminding yourself frequently of that may help
you stay focused on your study.
Communication Skills, IBU, 2021/2022
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
A strong sense of purpose often helps one to motivate oneself especially in the face of difficulties.
There are a number of classic theories on motivation like the Maslow’s needs hierarchy theory.
Moreover, the SMART objectives communicated well can act as a strong motivator and inspire
people to learn and improve where necessary.
Review questions and independent learning tasks
How would you apply the SMART rule to set objectives for yourself with regards to this
What are the three things you have learnt from this lecture?
How can you apply what you have learnt this week to your current life as a student?
Communication Skills, IBU, 2021/2022
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
SELF MANAGEMENT (How do I get there?)
What am I going to need? How am I going to get it? Where am I going to get it from? In order to
bridge the gaps between where you are and where you want to be, you will need to set yourself
targets to overcome your weaknesses. Such targets may include training, education and selfreflection. The most important thing is that you will have to develop your skills.
To be skilled is to be able to perform a learned activity well and at will. A skill is a learned ability
rather than an outcome achieved through luck or chance and can, therefore, be relied on reasonably
securely when you perform an equivalent task again. You can fine-tune skills through practice,
feedback and reflection, just as athletes improve their performance by developing underlying skills
in movement, breathing and pacing.
Continuing from the discussion on ‘how do I get there’, we will now focus on the skills needed in
‘getting there’. We broadly call these skills self-management skills. They are three inter-related skills,
namely, thinking, learning and time management. They are inter-related because whatever we do it
involves thinking, takes time and requires, to a greater or lesser extent, learning new knowledge and
skills. Not only are these skills critical to your success in the current course, they are also critical to
your success in the degree programme you are going to do and to your career and life in general.
In this chapter you will learn about the three (3) self-management skills:
Learning, and
Time management
Thinking skills are the mental activities you use to process information, make connections, make
decisions, ask questions, make plans, or organize information.
Our everyday life consists of a series of decisions and actions, all requiring thinking. Every night
before we go to bed, we need to know what time we need to get up and decide whether or not to
set the alarm. When we get up in the morning, we decide what we are going to wear according to
what we are going to do during the day and the weather conditions. If it rains, we need something
waterproof. If we are going for a job interview, we need to wear something formal. If we are going
to a class, we need to make sure to go to the right classroom, on time and prepared with the right
materials. These day-to-day activities do not just happen. There is thinking behind it all. This type of
thinking is called everyday thinking.
Everybody has thinking skills, but not everyone uses them effectively. Effective thinking skills are
developed over a period of time. Good thinkers see possibilities where others see only obstacles or
roadblocks. Good thinkers are able to make connection between various factors and be able to tie
them together. They are also able to develop new and unique solutions to problems.
Thinking refers to the process of creating a logical series of connective facets between items of
information. However, there are times when you consciously think. It may be about how to solve a
problem, or making a decision. Thinking enables you to connect and integrate new experiences into
your existing understanding and perception of how things are.
Communication Skills, IBU, 2021/2022
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
The simplest thinking skills are learning facts and recall, while higher order skills include analysis,
synthesis, problem solving and evaluation.
Figure 5. Thinking skills
1.1. Core thinking skills
Thinking skills are cognitive operations or processes that are building blocks of thinking.
Focusing- attending to selected pieces of information while ignoring other stimuli
Remembering- storing and then retrieving information
Gathering- bringing to the conscious mind the relative information needed for cognitive processing
Organizing- arranging information so it can be used more effectively
Analysing- breaking down information by examining parts and relationships so that its organizational
structure may be understood
Connecting- making connections between related items or pieces of information
Integrating- connecting and combining information to better understand the relationship between
the information
Compiling- putting parts together to form a whole, or building a structure or pattern from diverse
Evaluating- assessing the reasonableness and quality of ideas and materials on order to present and
defend opinions
Generating- producing new information, ideas, products, or ways of viewing things.
Figure 6. Core thinking skills
Communication Skills, IBU, 2021/2022
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
1.2. Classifications and types of thinking
From time to time, we come across situations we have not experienced before or get given tasks we
have not performed before. When this occurs, our conventional day-to-day thinking often does not
work. There is other type of thinking that requires us to be logical and scientific. People can often be
trained in these skills.
There are also situations that involve a sophisticated combination of different types of thinking. Not
everybody can be trained in these. For instance, design a spaceship that is fast, comfortable, safe
and economical to run requires a lot of intelligent thinking. Very few of us would in fact attempt to
get involved.
Failures of thinking (although we do not like and would never consciously attempt to fail) do occur,
and they occur more often than we would like. When we use these excuses ‘Oh, I forgot’, ‘I did not
think’ or ‘it is just not my day’ we know that our thinking has failed us. Just think of something
unexpected that occurred yesterday, and how many of things actually went according to plan?
Learning is clearly more than just intelligence or study skills. It is, rather, a multi-faceted process,
involving such factors as:
 Each person as an individual learner
 And his or her learning history, knowledge, skills, ambitions, interests, attitude, motivation
and current circumstances
 The current learning environment, including teaching methods, resources, materials, other
students as well as the physical environment
 The content and expected outcomes of the learning being undertaken
 And the interactions between these.
We can say that learning has taken place when we both understand something and can explain,
teach or demonstrate it to others.
2.1. Five learning dimensions
Many different routes can be followed to arrive at the point where learning has taken place. These
vary in level of enjoyment and active engagement, and we may not even be aware that learning has
taken place. Below are five dimensions along which learning activity can vary.
Conscious or unconscious
With different levels of attention
Via different sense sequences
By detail or by the whole picture
By fast track or by the scenic route
Communication Skills, IBU, 2021/2022
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
A. Conscious or unconscious
Conscious learning
Learning is conscious when we are aware that we are learning, as when we set out to memorize a
poem or an equation, or when we recognize that we have understood new material. Typical
methods of learning consciously are:
 Repeating something
 Writing it out
 Checking that we have remembered it
 Telling someone else what we know
Unconscious learning
We are aware of a small part only of information taken in by the senses, which the brain processes.
Learning is unconscious when we are unaware of it happening. Occasionally, unconscious learning
may emerge into consciousness later, as when we feel we 'just know' something we didn’t realize we
had learnt. You may have experienced suddenly recognizing which way to go on an unfamiliar car
journey, or surprising yourself by answering a question without thinking, and then wondering, 'How
did I know that?'
B. With different level of attention
Our level of attention may vary, depending on:
 our mental or physical state for learning
 the way information is presented to us
 whether the material is completely new.
Learning can take place in a relaxed, aware state - it does not always require effort and
concentration. You will be able to recall many occasions when you tried hard to remember
something but forgot it quickly, while remembering easily something to which you had paid little
attention, such as an advertisement or song.
C. Via different sense sequences
Each of us has our own preferred sequences for seeing, hearing, speaking, writing, and manipulating
information in order to learn it.
Activity: Find your preferred sense sequences
Identify some material that you need to learn - it could be a list of words you have difficulty spelling
or course work that you are revising for an exam. Experiment with different sense sequences and
motor movements to see which work best for you when learning that material.
Three examples:
1. Look at it (sight); say it aloud (sound); write it (sight/motor); check what you've written
(sight and/or sound).
2. Draw it; look at it; say it aloud; write it; check what you've written.
3. Say it; record it; listen to it; repeat it; write it; check what you've written.
Communication Skills, IBU, 2021/2022
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
D. By detail or by the whole picture
Some people learn best when they see the overall picture first; they are confused or overwhelmed
by too much detail early on. Others learn best through building up details, allowing the whole
picture to emerge. This whole picture may be meaningless to them until they have a flavour of the
specific details.
E. By fast track or by the scenic route
Some people find efficient 'motorway routes', learning exactly what they need and only that. Others
take scenic routes, gathering material which may not be essential but which makes the learning
more interesting. The scenic route can lead to deeper processing, and can be a richer experience.
However, it can also generate a lot of information that is not essential to the task in hand. Which
way is appropriate depends on what you have to learn, why you are learning it, and how long you
have in which to learn it? At any one time, we occupy different positions along each of these five
dimensions, depending on information from the environment and according to our needs and focus.
It is easier to design effective study strategies when you are conscious of these dimensions and can
use them to advantage.
2.2. What is your learning style?
Exercise 5. Below are a range of approaches to learning. Identify which, if any, most aptly describes
you. Note your learning strengths, and things you could develop to broaden your study strengths.
The diver
You tend to jump in and have a go.
You like to get things over with.
You like to see if things work.
You like to get on to the next thing quickly.
You work well with short bursts of activity.
Learning strengths
You don't waste time worrying.
You start tasks early.
You can motivate others.
You are good in role-play activities, problem solving and crises.
Areas to develop
Reflection and planning.
Creative thinking.
Considering alternatives.
Listening to and working with others. Increasing your personal interest, so that you can work
for longer periods.
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The dreamer
You think a lot about the subject.
You like to research things thoroughly.
You put off practical aspects such as writing
You have no idea where time goes.
You continually rewrite your time-planner.
Learning strengths
You reflect and evaluate well.
You are creative, with lots of ideas.
You get to the root of things.
You listen well and sensitively to others.
Areas to develop
Effective learning strategies.
Timekeeping and organizational skills.
Taking responsibility for self and others.
Setting priorities and taking decisions
Assertiveness and risk-taking.
The logician
You like things to make sense.
You like to know the reasons behind things.
You are organized in your approach to study.
You enjoy tackling complex problems.
You are a perfectionist.
Learning strengths
You are good at analytical and critical thinking.
You have organizational skills.
You are good at science, math, law, problem- solving.
You have a questioning approach.
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Areas to develop
Creative and imaginative thinking.
Sensitivity to the differences in others.
Personal reflection.
Working with others.
Stress management.
The searcher
You find everything interesting.
You like to see the big picture.
You have bits of information on lots of things.
You are fascinated by details but don't remember them.
You find it hard to select what is relevant.
Learning strengths
You have high motivation and interest.
You have broad general knowledge.
You can see connections between things.
You are creative and inventive.
Areas to develop
Setting goals and priorities.
Analytical and critical thinking.
Categorizing and selecting.
Editing skills.
Developing memory for detail.
This activity divides learning styles into four types. You may have found that:
 one type summed you up accurately
 no type summed you up accurately and fully
 some aspects of each type were true of you
 you could think of occasions when you might adopt each of the styles detailed.
There are many psychological theories that divide people into a small number of basic types as in the
activity above. Some students find it helpful to identify with a type and consider this offers insights
into, or explanations for, how they learn. However, bring to each learning situation different levels
of knowledge, confidence and skills that impact on how we learn. It isn't necessarily helpful to
reduce such individual complexity to a small range of types based on a few shared characteristics. It
can limit our understanding if we look only to a given learning 'type' for explanations.
Communication Skills, IBU, 2021/2022
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
In practice, we each draw on a complex and individual combination of styles, habits, attitudes,
preferences and experiences (SHAPE).
 Learning Style: how we learn best
 Learning Habits: how we have become used to studying
 Attitude: the mind-set we bring to study
 Learning Preferences: how we like to study and approaches we enjoy most effective for us
even if not always the most effective for us
 Experiences: the educational and life history that impacts on how we study.
Awareness of these factors can help us to make conscious choices about how we study so as to use
time more effectively, with more enjoyment and better results. Rather than focus on our “type”- it
can help to consider the particular factors that seem to work for us-and how these might change
depending on when, and what, we are learning.
Your personal learning style will be much more individual than the broad ‘type’ of learning style that
you considered in the previous exercise.
Exercise 6. Identify your personal learning style: Draw a ring round those factors below that you
consider contribute to your performing at your best. There may be many or just few. Add in any
others that you consider relevant to you.
1 Social On my own. With friends. With other students. A mixture. It depends on the day or task.
2 Input from others Motivating myself. Working to my own agenda. Working things out for myself.
Studying collaboratively. Sharing ideas. Encouragement. Support. It depends on the day or task.
3 External direction Detailed instructions. Lots of guidance. Some guidance. Some instructions.
Freedom to study my way. Some choice. Few choices. Lots of choice. It depends on the day or task.
4 Timing Start early. Well-paced. Last minute. No fixed pattern. Studying for hours uninterrupted.
Studying for a set amount of time. Lots of short breaks. Studying with no fixed pattern. Breaking up
with different tasks. It depends on day or task.
5 Sensory Visual: Colour; shape; film; Layout; Seeing material on the page or screen; observing.
Auditory: Listening to lectures/podcasts/recordings of own voice; Singing/rapping information.
Kinaesthetic: Moving around; making things; making a diagram or model of the problem; writing. It
depends on the day of task.
6 Planning Systematic. Well-planned. Clear priorities. Using lists. Studying what I feel like at the time.
Going with the flow. Creative chaos. Organic development. Browsing. It depends on the day of task.
7 Global: detail Seeing the big picture first. Sorting out the details first. Moving back and forth
between the big picture and the details. It depends on the day or task.
8 Location On campus. At home. In library. In a set place. Anywhere. It depends on the day or task. It
makes no difference.
9 Noise In silence. With music. With the TV on. It depends on the day or task. It makes no difference.
10 Light Bright light. Dim light. Average light. It depends on the day or task. It makes no difference.
11 Medium Paper-based. Electronic. It depends on the day or task. It makes no difference.
12 Other things that characterize the way I learn best:
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2.3. Personalise your learning
The effectiveness of learning depends on our ability to think and remember. In the academic world,
how well we learn is assessed by exams and course work. There are skills and techniques required to
reinforce our learning by periodic revisions.
Once you have analysed your style, habits and preferences, use your insights to create the optimal
set of conditions for your study. Personalise your learning through creating study environments and
selecting strategies that suit you best overall. Look for the ideal combination that helps you to:
engage effectively,
enjoy your time studying,
achieve your best possible grades.
If your course is not structured in a way that matches your learning preferences, 'adapt' it through
the way you choose to study.
Example 1
Prefer studying with others
Organise a study group, or arrange to work with a friend. Work in libraries and get involved in
student activities. Use your social networking tools to connect with students outside of class. Ask
questions about material you are studying. Comment on ideas that others raise. Make opportunities
for collaborative study, such as creating a class wiki, or setting up a discussion board.
Example 2
Prefer working to own agenda
Focus on time management so that you have maximum control over where time goes. Look for
articles that nobody else is likely to use; find examples and details that others may not think of. For
each study brief you are set, look for your own angle. If you are required to work with others as part
of your course, take charge of your own contribution: consider what kind of constructive role you
could take within that group and play an active part.
Example 3
Prefer learning through listening
Use any podcasts that are provided. Record lectures, extracts from books, your notes, ideas, lists of
key points, formulae or quotations- or make a podcast of these. Listen to them whilst travelling.
Look for computer-voiced text you can download as a podcast and other information that can be
downloaded to a portable device such as your MP3 player. Investigate assistive technologies such as
screen readers, and software such as Texthelp! that enables you to listen to words, sentences or
paragraphs of text as you type or highlights them as you listen. Form a study group - to learn via
Whilst personalising your learning, take care also to vary your study choices and strategies so that
you gain the widest set of perspectives and skills. For example, if you prefer to work on your own,
create some opportunities to develop teamworking and people skills, so that you are able to draw
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Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
on these when needed for assessed group projects or for future employment. Conversely, if you
always work with others, make time for independent study and thinking things through on your
It is important to consider approaches that we find more difficult and what we lose if we avoid these
Which methods of study do you try to avoid?
Which skills and insights might you miss out on as a result?
Time is a scarce resource. Whatever we do we cannot do it without time. A lot of us feel we could do
a better job of anything if we had more time. The reality is we cannot have more time. We just have
to manage what we have more effectively. The starting point is to realise the importance of effective
time-management to our learning, studying and life in general.
It seems that there is never enough time in the day. However, since we all get the same 24 hours,
why is it that some people achieve so much more with their time than others are? The answer lies in
good time management.
The highest achievers manage their time exceptionally well. By using the time-management
techniques in this section, you can improve your ability to function more effectively – even when
time is tight and pressures are high.
Good time management requires an important shift in focus from activities to results: being busy is
not the same as being effective. (Ironically, the opposite is often closer to the truth.)
Spending your day in a frenzy of activity often achieves less, because you are dividing your attention
between so many different tasks. Good time management lets you work smarter – not harder – so
you get more done in less time.
“Time management” refers to the way that you organize and plan how long you spend on specific
activities. It may seem counter-intuitive to dedicate precious time to learning about time
management, instead of using it to get on with your work, but the benefits are enormous:
 Greater productivity and efficiency.
 A better professional reputation.
 Less stress.
 Increased opportunities for advancement.
 Greater opportunities to achieve important life and career goals.
Failing to manage your time effectively can have some very undesirable consequences:
 Missed deadlines.
 Inefficient workflow.
 Poor work quality.
 A poor professional reputation and a stalled career.
 Higher stress levels.
Spending a little time learning about time-management techniques will have huge benefits now –
and throughout your career.
Communication Skills, IBU, 2021/2022
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
Exercise 7. In Table 4 are 10 questions designed to test your understanding of the need for time
management. Please spend a few minutes answering each question by ticking the box corresponding
to either ‘True’ or ‘False’. An explanation for this exercise will be given to you at the end of this
True False
If you really look, you can probably find many ways to save time.
Being busy and active is the best way to get the most done.
Time problems can usually be solved by working harder.
‘If you want it done right, you’d better do it yourself’ is still the best advice.
Finding the problem is easy – it’s finding the solution that is difficult.
Most of the ordinary day-to-day activities don’t need to be planned - and you
probably can’t plan them anyway.
Managers who concentrate on doing things efficiently are also the most effective
A good way to reduce time waste is to look for short cuts in any situation.
Managing time better is essentially a matter of reducing the time it takes to
accomplish various tasks.
No-one ever has enough time.
Table 3. Time Management Test
3.1. List of Tips for Effective Time Management
Time management is a key to academic success. Students around the world learn this eventually.
The best students are not necessarily those who are smarter, but those who use their time
effectively. When you plan your days and weeks in advance, time can be your friend rather than
your enemy. Moreover, although time management can seem like a pain, once you have mastered
this skill, it will enable you to get the most out of life. It can free you to live more effectively, calmly
and enjoyably. It can help you get more done with less stress, disorganization and frustration. It can
also give you higher marks throughout the school year, as well as on your quizzes, tests, and exams.
Think about it. Have you ever heard of an athlete, even one who is paid millions of dollars a year,
playing in a game without showing up for practice? Have you heard of a musician delivering a
concert without taking time daily to rehearse? Have you heard of a scientist proclaiming a grand
discovery without hundreds of failed trials? All these professionals know that in order to succeed in
their professional areas, they have to put in their time.
Unfortunately, millions of students around the world behave otherwise. They appear for exams
expecting magic! Without making adequate time to study, they hope to get the highest grades and
are then disappointed or ashamed when the results prove otherwise. Frankly, in today’s highly
competitive world, if you are lucky enough to be in school, college, or university, you are holding a
coveted spot, desired by many. You may have deprived another eager young person from getting
admission, because your application appeared more promising, more likely to succeed. So, after all
the effort to get in, what are you doing about it? Are you making the time to study after working so
hard and possibly paying so much to actually get into a particular school?
There are a number of excellent time management systems that you can follow. Although these are
sometimes expensive or complex, you can achieve your goal by adopting a simple time management
approach. The eight strategies below could make a huge impact on your academic career.
Communication Skills, IBU, 2021/2022
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
After considering the benefits of time management, let us look at some ways to manage time
Figure 7. Time management tips
1. Set goals correctly
Set goals that are achievable and measurable. Use the SMART method when setting goals. In
essence, make sure the goals you set are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic,
and Timebound.
2. Prioritize wisely
Prioritize tasks based on importance and urgency. For example, look at your daily tasks and
determine which are:
 Important and urgent: Do these tasks right away.
 Important but not urgent: Decide when to do these tasks.
 Urgent but not important: Delegate these tasks if possible.
 Not urgent and not important: Set these aside to do later.
3. Set a time limit to complete a task
Setting time constraints for completing tasks helps you be more focused and efficient. Making the
small extra effort to decide on how much time you need to allot for each task can also help you
recognize potential problems before they arise. That way you can make plans for dealing with them.
For example, assume you need to prepare 5 presentations with your colleagues before the final
exams. However, you realize that you will only be able to get four of them done in the time
remaining before the exams. If you become aware of this fact well in advance, you may be able to
easily delegate preparing one of the presentations to someone else. However, if you had not
bothered to do a time check on your tasks beforehand, you might have ended up not realizing your
time problem until just a day before. At that point, it might be considerably more difficult to find
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someone to delegate one of the presentations to, and more difficult for them to fit the task into
their day, too.
4. Take a break between tasks
When doing many tasks without a break, it is harder to stay focused and motivated. Allow some
downtime between tasks to clear your head and refresh yourself. Consider grabbing a brief nap,
going for a short walk, or meditating.
5. Organize yourself
Utilize your calendar for more long-term time management. Write down the deadlines for projects,
or for tasks that are part of completing the overall project. Think about which days might be best to
dedicate to specific tasks. For example, you might need to plan a meeting to discuss cash flow on a
day when you know the company CFO is available.
6. Remove non-essential tasks/activities
It is important to remove excess activities or tasks. Determine what is significant and what deserves
your time. Removing non-essential tasks/activities frees up more of your time to be spent on
genuinely important things.
7. Plan ahead
Make sure you start every day with a clear idea of what you need to do – what needs to get done
THAT DAY. Consider making it a habit to, at the end of each workday, going ahead and writing out
your “to do” list for the next workday. That way you can hit the ground running the next morning.
Thinking, learning and time management are three important skills sets critical to the success in all
aspects of our life. There are several different types of thinking. Although few of us can be good at
all of them learning helps to improve our thinking in many ways. There are different aspects to
learning and we all have our preferred learning style. To be effective at what we do at the university,
at work and in life effective time management is critical. We all could benefit from improving our
skills for better time management.
Review questions and independent learning tasks
Having gone through this week’s lectures and tutorials, what have you found about yourself
in terms of your own ways of thinking, learning and time management?
To succeed at University, what additional skills in these areas do you think you need?
Communication Skills, IBU, 2021/2022
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
Explanation on the Time Management Test
1. False. There is no way to save time. All you can do is spend time. When you plan to save
time, you really mean less time will be spent on particular tasks. This “saved” time can’t be
banked for future spending.
Strategy — Stop concentrating on how to save time. Instead, focus on how to spend time.
The only way to manage your time better is to spend it more wisely.
2. False. Being busy doesn’t necessarily mean achieving results.
Strategy — Spend some time each day thinking about your activities. Adequate thought
before acting usually leads to much better results.
3. False. Working “smarter” always beats working harder. People who only work harder often
put in long hours, take work home, and suffer from stress with little to show for their efforts.
4. False. Doing it yourself may seem faster and better in the short run, but it isn’t in the long
Strategy — Recognize that future rewards are closely tied to the efforts of those around you.
Not only are your talents and time limited, but failing to develop skills in others will hurt
both you and them in the long run.
5. False. Failing to identify the problem properly is perhaps the greatest difficulty in solving it.
Strategy — Don’t assume that symptoms are problems. To really understand the nature of a
problem will probably require obtaining more information. For instance, don’t just say the
telephone is a problem. Keep track of how many calls are received, from whom, about what,
at what times, and for how long. With this approach you will find that many problems carry
the seeds of their own solution.
6. False. Too many people accept crisis and confusion as part of life. “Planning just won’t work
for me.”
Strategy — Identify the patterns involved in your life, then use this information in planning
and scheduling your day. Expect the unexpected by allowing time for flexibility.
7. False. Efficiency doesn’t necessarily lead to effectiveness. Efficiency is concerned with the
resources used to do something. To be efficient is to use the fewest resources for a given
task. Effectiveness, on the other hand, refers to reaching your objective.
8. False. Cutting management tasks short often costs vast amounts of time. Important tasks
such as organizing or delegating to others are often neglected. Urgent tasks tend to have
short-term consequences. Important tasks tend to have long-term consequences.
Strategy — Given your objectives, determine which ones are most and least important. Look
for shortcuts in the routine. Eliminate trivial activities. Allow enough time for really
important things
9. False. Managing time better involves spending the appropriate amount of time on every
task. This may mean cutting time for some tasks and increasing the time commitment for
Strategy — Review your objectives and activities. Keep a time log for a week or two. What
areas should take less time? More time? Develop the proper balance for what you’re trying
to accomplish.
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10. False. Everyone has all the time available. The problem isn’t the amount of time, but how
you spend it. The only way to accomplish your goals is to manage time.
Strategy — Think about who you are and what you’re trying to accomplish. Write down your
goals. Indicate which ones have a higher priority. Rearrange your life so more time can be
spent on the high priority items. You will be amazed at how much time you really do have.
If most of your answers agreed with the preferred ones, you’ll probably find it easy to improve time
management skills. If the opposite is true, you may have to change some of your assumptions about
time before you can become a better time manager.
Communication Skills, IBU, 2021/2022
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
Effective communication sounds like it should be instinctive. But all too often, when we try to
communicate with others something goes astray. We say one thing, the other person hears
something else, and misunderstandings, frustration, and conflicts ensue. This can cause problems in
your home, school, and work relationships. For many of us, communicating more clearly and
effectively requires learning some important skills. Whether you’re trying to improve
communication with your spouse, kids, boss, or co-workers, learning these skills can deepen your
connections to others, build greater trust and respect, and improve teamwork, problem solving, and
your overall social and emotional health.
Effective communication is about more than just exchanging information. It's about understanding
the emotion and intentions behind the information. As well as being able to clearly convey a
message, you need to also listen in a way that gains the full meaning of what’s being said and makes
the other person feel heard and understood.
Effective communication skills are fundamental to success in many aspects of life. Many jobs require
strong communication skills. People with good communication skills also usually enjoy better
interpersonal relationships with friends and family.
Effective communication is therefore a key skill and learning how to improve your communication
has many benefits. However, many people find it difficult to know where to start. This page sets out
the most common ‘problem areas’ and suggests where you might focus your attention.
There are generally four main areas of communication skills that most of us would do well to
improve. These are listening, non-verbal communication, emotional awareness and management,
and questioning.
Active listening is a skill that can be acquired
and developed with practice. However, active
listening can be difficult to master and will,
therefore, take time and patience to develop.
'Active listening' means, as its name suggests,
actively listening. That is fully concentrating on
what is being said rather than just passively
‘hearing’ the message of the speaker. Active
listening involves listening with all senses. As
well as giving full attention to the speaker, it is
important that the ‘active listener’ is also ‘seen’
to be listening - otherwise the speaker may conclude that what they are talking about is
uninteresting to the listener. Interest can be conveyed to the speaker by using both verbal and nonverbal messages such as maintaining eye contact, nodding your head and smiling, agreeing by saying
‘Yes’ or simply ‘Mmm hmm’ to encourage them to continue. By providing this 'feedback' the person
speaking will usually feel more at ease and therefore communicate more easily, openly and
Communication Skills, IBU, 2021/2022
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
Listening is the most fundamental component of communication skills. Listening is not something
that just happens (that is hearing), listening is an active process in which a conscious decision is
made to listen to and understand the messages of the speaker.
Listeners should remain neutral and non-judgmental, this means trying not to take sides or form
opinions, especially early in the conversation. Active listening is also about patience - pauses and
short periods of silence should be accepted.
Listeners should not be tempted to jump in with questions or comments every time there are a few
seconds of silence. Active listening involves giving the other person time to explore their thoughts
and feelings, they should, therefore, be given adequate time for that.
Exercise 8. How Good Are Your Listening Skills?
Evaluate each statement as you actually are, rather than as you think you should be. When you've
finished, click "Calculate My Total" to add up your score, and use the table that follows to think
about next steps.
at all
To be more productive, I respond to emails
and instant messages while I'm speaking to
people on the phone.
I repeat points back during a conversation to
clarify my understanding of what the other
person is saying.
When people speak to me about sensitive
subjects, I make an effort to put them at
I feel uncomfortable with silence during
As I listen, I compare the other person's
viewpoint with my own.
To get people to elaborate on their point, I
ask open questions (ones that can't be
answered with "yes" or "no").
When someone is speaking to me, I nod and
say things like "OK" and "uh-huh" occasionally
I play "devil's advocate" to prompt responses
from the other person.
I catch myself asking leading questions to
encourage the other person to agree with my
I interrupt people
When people speak to me, I stay completely
still so that I don't distract them.
I try to read the other person's body language
as I listen
If the other person is struggling to explain
something, I jump in with my own
If I'm busy, I let others talk to me as long as
they're quick.
Total = ____________________
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Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
Score Interpretation
You need to improve your listening skills. The people around you probably feel that you
don't pay attention to them when they talk to you, and they may feel that you don't
understand them.
You can boost your listening skills with some simple steps. (Read below to get started.)
Your listening skills are OK, but there's definitely room for improvement.
Use the tools that we suggest below to develop your listening skills. Pay special attention to
the advice on empathic listening – this is great for taking your listening skills to the next
You have good listening skills. People feel that they are able to approach you if they need
someone to listen to them, and they trust that you'll give them your full attention. They also
know that you'll give them space to talk freely, without interrupting or talking too much
about yourself.
But that doesn't mean you have to stop here. Read our guidance below to see if you can
develop your skills even further. You could also help others to develop their listening skills
through coaching or mentoring .
Preparing to Listen (Questions 1, 3, 14)
Good preparation is essential for effective listening. Without it, it's hard to listen to people
Before you have an important conversation, remove anything that may distract you, so that you can
focus and give the other person your full attention. Switch off your cell phone, turn off instant
messaging and email alerts, put your work away, close your meeting room door, and do what you
can to make sure that you won't be interrupted.
If you know that you won't be able to offer the other person your full attention – for example, if
you're working on an urgent task – schedule a better time to speak. However, make sure that the
other person knows that the conversation is important to you.
Also, do what you can to make the other person feel at ease. Use open body language , and a
friendly tone.
If he indicates that he wants to speak about a sensitive subject, and if this is appropriate, remind him
that the conversation is in confidential, and that he can be honest with you. (If you're a manager,
there may be some things, however, that you cannot keep confidential, harassment, for instance, or
negligent behaviour. If your conversation is beginning to encroach on these, make this clear to the
other person.)
Active Listening (Questions 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12)
When you listen actively , you not only make a conscious effort to hear the other person's words,
but, more importantly, you try to understand their whole message.
To do this, learn how to read people's body language and tone, so that you can identify "hidden"
nonverbal messages.
Also, don't interrupt people, or allow yourself to become distracted by your own thoughts or
opinions. Instead, focus completely on what the other person is saying. Nod or say "OK" occasionally
to acknowledge that you're listening.
Communication Skills, IBU, 2021/2022
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
If you don't understand something, wait for the other person to finish what she's saying before you
ask for clarification.
Above all, don't formulate a response until she has communicated her whole message, and avoid
any judgment or criticism until it's your turn to speak. If you argue or "play devil's advocate" while
you listen, you may discourage her from opening up to you.
It can be difficult not to formulate a response while the other person is talking. This is because we
typically think much faster than other people can speak, so our brains are often "whirring away"
while they are talking. You'll need to concentrate hard to stay focused on the person who's speaking,
and this can take a lot of effort.
Empathic Listening (Questions 2, 4, 6, 13)
When you demonstrate empathy , you recognize other people's emotions, and you do what you can
to understand their perspectives. As such, it can really help to take active listening to the next level.
To listen empathically, put yourself "in the other person's shoes," and try to see things from his point
of view. Then, summarize what he says, in your own words, to show him that you understand his
Also, ask open questions to help him to articulate himself fully, and avoid using leading questions
that "put words in his mouth." This gives him the opportunity to add further detail, and to talk about
his feelings.
Importantly, don't fear moments of silence when you listen. Instead, embrace pauses as a way to
give him time to finish his point, and to allow him to reflect on what he has said.
1.1. The Big 6 Active Listening Skills
The active listening skillset involves these 6 active listening skills:
Paying attention,
Withholding judgment,
Summarizing, and
Figure 8. Key effective active listening skills
Communication Skills, IBU, 2021/2022
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
1. Pay attention.
One goal of active listening is to set a comfortable tone that gives your collocutor an opportunity to
think and speak. Allow “wait time” before responding. Don’t cut collocutor off, finish their
sentences, or start formulating your answer before they’ve finished. Pay attention to your body
language as well as your frame of mind. Be focused on the moment, and operate from a place of
2. Withhold judgment.
Active listening requires an open mind. As a listener and a leader, be open to new ideas, new
perspectives, and new possibilities. Even when good listeners have strong views, they suspend
judgment, hold any criticisms, and avoid arguing or selling their point right away.
3. Reflect.
Don’t assume that you understand your collocutor correctly — or that they know you’ve heard
them. Mirror your collocutor’s information and emotions by periodically paraphrasing key points.
Reflecting is a way to indicate that you and your counterpart are on the same page.
For example, your collocutor might tell you, “Emma is so loyal and supportive of her people — they’d
walk through fire for her. But no matter how much I push, her team keeps missing deadlines.”
To paraphrase, you could say, “So Emma’s people skills are great, but accountability is a problem.”
If you hear, “I don’t know what else to do!” or “I’m tired of bailing the team out at the last
minute,” try helping your collocutor label his or her feelings: “Sounds like you’re feeling pretty
frustrated and stuck.”
4. Clarify.
Don’t be shy to ask questions about any issue that is ambiguous or unclear. If you have doubt or
confusion about what your collocutor has said, say something like, “Let me see if I’m clear. Are you
talking about …?” or “Wait a minute. I didn’t follow you.”
Open-ended, clarifying, and probing questions are important tools that encourage the collocutor to
do the work of self-reflection and problem solving, rather than justifying or defending a position, or
trying to guess the “right answer.”
Examples include: “What do you think about …?” or “Tell me about …?” and “Will you further
explain/describe …?”
The emphasis is on asking rather than telling. It invites a thoughtful response and maintains a spirit
of collaboration.
You might say: “What are some of the specific things you’ve tried?” or “Have you asked the team
what their main concerns are?” or “Does Emma agree that there are performance problems?” and
“How certain are you that you have the full picture of what’s going on?”
5. Summarize.
Restating key themes as the conversation proceeds confirms and solidifies your grasp of the other
person’s point of view. It also helps both parties to be clear on mutual responsibilities and follow-up.
Briefly summarize what you have understood as you listened, and ask the other person to do the
Communication Skills, IBU, 2021/2022
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
Giving a brief restatement of core themes raised by the collocutor might sound like: “Let me
summarize to check my understanding. Emma was promoted to manager and her team loves her.
But you don’t believe she holds them accountable, so mistakes are accepted and keep happening.
You’ve tried everything you can think of and there’s no apparent impact. Did I get that right?”
Restating key themes helps both parties to be clear on mutual responsibilities and follow-up.
6. Share.
Active listening is first about understanding the other person, then about being understood. As you
gain a clearer understanding of the other person’s perspective, you can begin to introduce your
ideas, feelings, and suggestions. You might talk about a similar experience you had or share an idea
that was triggered by a comment made previously in the conversation.
Once the situation has been talked through in this way, both you and your collocutor have a good
picture of where things stand. From this point, the conversation can shift into problem solving. What
hasn’t been tried? What don’t we know? What new approaches could be taken?
As the coach, continue to query, guide, and offer, but don’t dictate a solution. Your collocutor will
feel more confident and eager if they think through the options and own the solution.
1.2. Verbal and non-verbal signs of active listening
Active listening not only means focusing fully on the speaker but also actively showing verbal and
non-verbal signs of listening.
Generally, speakers want listeners to demonstrate ‘active listening’ by responding appropriately to
what they are saying. Appropriate responses to listening can be both verbal and non-verbal,
examples of which are listed below:
Non-Verbal Signs of Active Listening
Small smiles can be used to show that the listener is paying attention to what is being
said or as a way of agreeing or being happy about the messages being received.
Combined with nods of the head, smiles can be powerful in affirming that messages
are being listened to and understood.
It is normal and usually encouraging for the listener to look at the speaker. Eye contact
can however be intimidating, especially for more shy speakers – gauge how much eye
contact is appropriate for any given situation. Combine eye contact with smiles and
other non-verbal messages to encourage the speaker.
Posture can tell a lot about the sender and receiver in interpersonal interactions. The
attentive listener tends to lean slightly forward or sideways whilst sitting. Other signs
of active listening may include a slight slant of the head or resting the head on one
Automatic reflection/mirroring of any facial expressions used by the speaker can be a
sign of attentive listening. These reflective expressions can help to show sympathy and
empathy in more emotional situations. Attempting to consciously mimic facial
expressions (i.e. not automatic reflection of expressions) can be a sign of inattention.
Distraction The active listener will not be distracted and therefore will refrain from fidgeting,
looking at a clock or watch, doodling, playing with their hair or picking their fingernails.
Table 4. Non-verbal signs of active listening
Communication Skills, IBU, 2021/2022
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
This is a generic list of non-verbal signs of listening, in other words people who are listening are
more likely to display at least some of these signs. However, these signs may not be appropriate in
all situations and across all cultures.
Verbal Signs of Active Listening
Although a strong signal of attentiveness, caution should be used when using
positive verbal reinforcement. Although some positive words of encouragement
may be beneficial to the speaker the listener should use them sparingly so as not
to distract from what is being said or place unnecessary emphasis on parts of the
message. Casual and frequent use of words and phrases, such as: ‘very good’,
‘yes’ or ‘indeed’ can become irritating to the speaker. It is usually better to
elaborate and explain why you are agreeing with a certain point.
The human mind is notoriously bad at remembering details, especially for any
length of time. However, remembering a few key points, or even the name of the
speaker, can help to reinforce that the messages sent have been received and
understood – i.e. listening has been successful. Remembering details, ideas and
concepts from previous conversations proves that attention was kept and is likely
to encourage the speaker to continue. During longer exchanges it may be
appropriate to make very brief notes to act as a memory jog when questioning or
clarifying later.
The listener can demonstrate that they have been paying attention by asking
relevant questions and/or making statements that build or help to clarify what
the speaker has said. By asking relevant questions the listener also helps to
reinforce that they have an interest in what the speaker has been saying.
Reflecting is closely repeating or paraphrasing what the speaker has said in order
to show comprehension. Reflection is a powerful skill that can reinforce the
message of the speaker and demonstrate understanding.
Clarifying involves asking questions of the speaker to ensure that the correct
message has been received. Clarification usually involves the use of open
questions which enables the speaker to expand on certain points as necessary.
Repeating a summary of what has been said back to the speaker is a technique
used by the listener to repeat what has been said in their own
words. Summarizing involves taking the main points of the received message and
reiterating them in a logical and clear way, giving the speaker chance to correct if
Table 5. Verbal signs of active listening
It is perfectly possible to learn and mimic non-verbal signs of active listening and not actually be
listening at all.
It is more difficult to mimic verbal signs of listening and comprehension.
When you have good listening skills, you not only "hear" what's being said, you listen to the whole
message as well. Because of this, you enable others to express themselves fully.
When you need to listen, make sure that you're prepared, and that things in your environment will
not distract you. Also, do what you can to put people at ease.
Communication Skills, IBU, 2021/2022
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
Next, use active listening techniques so that you give people your full attention, and look out for the
nonverbal elements of their message.
Finally, take your listening skills to the next level with empathic listening. When appropriate,
embrace silence and make an effort to see things from other people's perspectives.
1.3. Tips on becoming an active listener
There are five key active listening techniques you can use to help you become a more effective
1. Pay Attention
Give the speaker your undivided attention, and acknowledge the message. Recognize that nonverbal communication also "speaks" loudly.
 Look at the speaker directly.
 Put aside distracting thoughts.
 Don't mentally prepare a rebuttal!
 Avoid being distracted by environmental factors. For example, side conversations.
 "Listen" to the speaker's body language .
2. Show That You're Listening
Use your own body language and gestures to show that you are engaged.
 Nod occasionally.
 Smile and use other facial expressions.
 Make sure that your posture is open and interested.
 Encourage the speaker to continue with small verbal comments like yes, and "uh huh."
3. Provide Feedback
Our personal filters, assumptions, judgments, and beliefs can distort what we hear. As a listener,
your role is to understand what is being said. This may require you to reflect on what is being said
and to ask questions.
 Reflect on what has been said by paraphrasing. "What I'm hearing is... ," and "Sounds like
you are saying... ," are great ways to reflect back.
 Ask questions to clarify certain points. "What do you mean when you say... ." "Is this what
you mean?"
 Summarize the speaker's comments periodically.
Tip: If you find yourself responding emotionally to what someone said, say so. And ask for
more information: "I may not be understanding you correctly, and I find myself taking what
you said personally. What I thought you just said is XXX. Is that what you meant?"
4. Defer Judgment
Interrupting is a waste of time. It frustrates the speaker and limits full understanding of the message.
 Allow the speaker to finish each point before asking questions.
 Don't interrupt with counter arguments.
Communication Skills, IBU, 2021/2022
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
5. Respond Appropriately
Active listening is designed to encourage respect and understanding. You are gaining information
and perspective. You add nothing by attacking the speaker or otherwise putting her down.
Be candid, open and honest in your response.
Assert your opinions respectfully.
Treat the other person in a way that you think she would want to be treated.
While the key to success in both personal and
professional relationships lies in your ability to
communicate well, it’s not the words that you use
but your nonverbal cues or “body language” that
speak the loudest. Body language is the use of
physical behavior, expressions, and mannerisms to
communicate nonverbally, often done instinctively
rather than consciously.
Whether you’re aware of it or not, when you interact
with others, you’re continuously giving and receiving
wordless signals. All of your nonverbal behaviors—
the gestures you make, your posture, your tone of
voice, how much eye contact you make—send strong
messages. They can put people at ease, build trust,
and draw others towards you, or they can offend,
confuse, and undermine what you’re trying to
convey. These messages don’t stop when you stop
speaking either. Even when you’re silent, you’re still
communicating nonverbally.
In some instances, what comes out of your mouth and what you communicate through your body
language may be two totally different things. If you say one thing, but your body language says
something else, your listener will likely feel that you’re being dishonest. If you say “yes” while
shaking your head no, for example. When faced with such mixed signals, the listener has to choose
whether to believe your verbal or nonverbal message. Since body language is a natural, unconscious
language that broadcasts your true feelings and intentions, they’ll likely choose the nonverbal
However, by improving how you understand and use nonverbal communication, you can express
what you really mean, connect better with others, and build stronger, more rewarding relationships.
Your nonverbal communication cues—the way you listen, look, move, and react—tell the person
you’re communicating with whether or not you care, if you’re being truthful, and how well you’re
listening. When your nonverbal signals match up with the words you’re saying, they increase trust,
clarity, and rapport. When they don’t, they can generate tension, mistrust, and confusion.
Communication Skills, IBU, 2021/2022
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
If you want to become a better communicator, it’s important to become more sensitive not only to
the body language and nonverbal cues of others, but also to your own.
It repeats and often strengthens the message you’re making verbally.
It can contradict the message you’re trying to convey, thus indicating to your
listener that you may not be telling the truth.
It can substitute for a verbal message. For example, your facial expression often
conveys a far more vivid message than words ever can.
Complementing It may add to or complement your verbal message. As a boss, if you pat an
employee on the back in addition to giving praise, it can increase the impact of
your message.
It may accent or underline a verbal message. Pounding the table, for example, can
underline the importance of your message.
Table 6. Roles of nonverbal communication
2.1. Types of nonverbal communication
The many different types of nonverbal communication or body language include:
Facial expressions. The human face is extremely expressive, able to convey countless emotions
without saying a word. And unlike some forms of nonverbal communication, facial expressions are
universal. The facial expressions for happiness, sadness, anger, surprise, fear, and disgust are the
same across cultures.
Body movement and posture. Consider how your perceptions of people are affected by the way
they sit, walk, stand, or hold their head. The way you move and carry yourself communicates a
wealth of information to the world. This type of nonverbal communication includes your posture,
bearing, stance, and the subtle movements you make.
Gestures. Gestures are woven into the fabric of our daily lives. You may wave, point, beckon, or use
your hands when arguing or speaking animatedly, often expressing yourself with gestures without
thinking. However, the meaning of some gestures can be very different across cultures. While the OK
sign made with the hand, for example, conveys a positive message in English-speaking countries, it’s
considered offensive in countries such as Germany, Russia, and Brazil. So, it’s important to be careful
of how you use gestures to avoid misinterpretation.
Eye contact. Since the visual sense is dominant for most people, eye contact is an especially
important type of nonverbal communication. The way you look at someone can communicate many
things, including interest, affection, hostility, or attraction. Eye contact is also important in
maintaining the flow of conversation and for gauging the other person’s interest and response.
Touch. We communicate a great deal through touch. Think about the very different messages given
by a weak handshake, a warm bear hug, a patronizing pat on the head, or a controlling grip on the
arm, for example.
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Space. Have you ever felt uncomfortable during a conversation because the other person was
standing too close and invading your space? We all have a need for physical space, although that
need differs depending on the culture, the situation, and the closeness of the relationship. You can
use physical space to communicate many different nonverbal messages, including signals of intimacy
and affection, aggression or dominance.
Voice. It’s not just what you say, it’s how you say it. When you speak, other people “read” your voice
in addition to listening to your words. Things they pay attention to include your timing and pace,
how loud you speak, your tone and inflection, and sounds that convey understanding, such as “ahh”
and “uh-huh.” Think about how your tone of voice can indicate sarcasm, anger, affection, or
2.2. Can nonverbal communication be faked?
There are many books and websites that offer advice on how to use body language to your
advantage. For example, they may instruct you on how to sit a certain way, steeple your fingers, or
shake hands in order to appear confident or assert dominance. But the truth is that such tricks aren’t
likely to work (unless you truly feel confident and in charge). That’s because you can’t control all of
the signals, you’re constantly sending about what you’re really thinking and feeling. And the harder
you try, the more unnatural your signals are likely to come across.
However, that doesn’t mean that you have no control over your nonverbal cues. For example, if you
disagree with or dislike what someone’s saying, you may use negative body language to rebuff the
person’s message, such as crossing your arms, avoiding eye contact, or tapping your feet. You don’t
have to agree, or even like what’s being said, but to communicate effectively and not put the other
person on the defensive, you can make a conscious effort to avoid sending negative signals—by
maintaining an open stance and truly attempting to understand what they’re saying, and why.
2.3. How nonverbal communication can go wrong
What you communicate through your body language and nonverbal signals affects how others see
you, how well they like and respect you, and whether or not they trust you. Unfortunately, many
people send confusing or negative nonverbal signals without even knowing it. When this happens,
both connection and trust in relationships are damaged, as the following examples highlight:
Jack believes he gets along great with his colleagues at work, but if you were to ask any of them,
they would say that Jack is “intimidating” and “very intense.” Rather than just look at you, he seems
to devour you with his eyes. And if he takes your hand, he lunges to get it and then squeezes so hard
it hurts. Jack is a caring guy who secretly wishes he had more friends, but his nonverbal
awkwardness keeps people at a distance and limits his ability to advance at work.
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Arlene is attractive and has no problem meeting eligible men, but she has a difficult time
maintaining a relationship for longer than a few months. Arlene is funny and interesting, but even
though she constantly laughs and smiles, she radiates tension. Her shoulders and eyebrows are
noticeably raised, her voice is shrill, and her body is stiff. Being around Arlene makes many people
feel anxious and uncomfortable. Arlene has a lot going for her that is undercut by the discomfort she
evokes in others.
Ted thought he had found the perfect match when he met Sharon, but Sharon wasn’t so sure. Ted is
good looking, hardworking, and a smooth talker, but seemed to care more about his thoughts than
Sharon’s. When Sharon had something to say, Ted was always ready with wild eyes and a rebuttal
before she could finish her thought. This made Sharon feel ignored, and soon she started dating
other men. Ted loses out at work for the same reason. His inability to listen to others makes him
unpopular with many of the people he most admires.
These smart, well-intentioned people struggle in their attempt to connect with others. The sad thing
is that they are unaware of the nonverbal messages they communicate.
If you want to communicate effectively, avoid misunderstandings, and enjoy solid, trusting
relationships both socially and professionally, it’s important to understand how to use and interpret
body language and improve your nonverbal communication skills.
2.4. Evaluating nonverbal signals
Eye contact – Is the person making eye contact? If so, is it overly intense or, just right?
Facial expression – What is their face showing? Is it masklike and unexpressive, or emotionally
present and filled with interest?
Tone of voice – Does the person’s voice project warmth, confidence, and interest, or is it strained
and blocked?
Posture and gesture – Is their body relaxed or stiff and immobile? Are their shoulders tense and
raised, or relaxed?
Touch – Is there any physical contact? Is it appropriate to the situation? Does it make you feel
Intensity – Does the person seem flat, cool, and disinterested, or over-the-top and melodramatic?
Timing and place – Is there an easy flow of information back and forth? Do nonverbal responses
come too quickly or too slowly?
Sounds – Do you hear sounds that indicate interest, caring or concern from the person?
2.5. Improve how you read nonverbal communication
Be aware of individual differences. People from different countries and cultures tend to use
different nonverbal communication gestures, so it’s important to take age, culture, religion,
gender, and emotional state into account when reading body language signals. An American
teen, a grieving widow, and an Asian businessman, for example, are likely to use nonverbal
signals differently.
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Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
Look at nonverbal communication signals as a group. Don’t read too much into a single
gesture or nonverbal cue. Consider all of the nonverbal signals you receive, from eye contact
to tone of voice to body language. Anyone can slip up occasionally and let eye contact slip,
for example, or briefly cross their arms without meaning to. Consider the signals as a whole
to get a better “read” on a person.
2.6. Improve how you deliver nonverbal communication
Use nonverbal signals that match up with your words rather than contradict them. If you say
one thing, but your body language says something else, your listener will feel confused or
suspect that you’re being dishonest. For example, sitting with your arms crossed and shaking
your head doesn’t match words telling the other person that you agree with what they’re
Adjust your nonverbal signals according to the context. The tone of your voice, for example,
should be different when you’re addressing a child than when you’re addressing a group of
adults. Similarly, take into account the emotional state and cultural background of the
person you’re interacting with.
Avoid negative body language. Instead, use body language to convey positive feelings even
when you're not actually experiencing them. If you’re nervous about a situation—a job
interview, important presentation, or first date, for example—you can use positive body
language to signal confidence, even though you’re not feeling it. Instead of tentatively
entering a room with your head down, eyes averted, and sliding into a chair, try standing tall
with your shoulders back, smiling and maintaining eye contact, and delivering a firm
handshake. It will make you feel more self-confident and help to put the other person at
The third area of communication is awareness of our own and other people’s emotions, and an
ability to manage those emotions.
At work it is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that everything should be logical, and that emotion
has no place. However, we are human and therefore messy and emotional. None of us can leave our
emotions at home—and nor should we try to do so. That is not to say that we should ‘let it all hang
out’. However, an awareness of emotions, both positive and negative, can definitely improve
This understanding of our own and others’ emotion is known as emotional intelligence.
There is considerable evidence that it is far more important to success in life than what we might
call ‘intellectual intelligence’.
Emotional intelligence covers a wide range of skills, usually divided into personal skills and social
skills. The personal skills include self-awareness, self-regulation and motivation. The social skills
include empathy and social skills. Each one of these is broken down into more skills.
Communication Skills, IBU, 2021/2022
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
For example:
Self-awareness consists of emotional awareness, accurate self-assessment and self-confidence.
Empathy is the ability to ‘feel with’ others: to share their emotions and understanding them. It
includes understanding others, developing them, having a service orientation, valuing and leveraging
diversity, and political awareness.
Fundamentally, the principle behind the different skills that make up emotional intelligence is that
you have to be aware of and understand your own emotions, and be able to master them, in order
to understand and work well with others.
How many times have you felt stressed during a disagreement with your spouse, kids, boss, friends,
or co-workers and then said or done something you later regretted? If you can quickly relieve stress
and return to a calm state, you’ll not only avoid such regrets, but in many cases, you’ll also help to
calm the other person as well. It’s only when you’re in a calm, relaxed state that you'll be able to
know whether the situation requires a response, or whether the other person’s signals indicate it
would be better to remain silent.
In situations such as a job interview, business presentation, high-pressure meeting, or introduction
to a loved one’s family, for example, it’s important to manage your emotions, think on your feet, and
effectively communicate under pressure.
3.1. Communicate effectively by staying calm under pressure
Use stalling tactics to give yourself time to think. Ask for a question to be repeated or for
clarification of a statement before you respond.
Pause to collect your thoughts. Silence isn’t necessarily a bad thing—pausing can make you
seem more in control than rushing your response.
Make one point and provide an example or supporting piece of information. If your response
is too long or you waffle about a number of points, you risk losing the listener’s interest.
Follow one point with an example and then gauge the listener’s reaction to tell if you should
make a second point.
Deliver your words clearly. In many cases, how you say something can be as important as
what you say. Speak clearly, maintain an even tone, and make eye contact. Keep your body
language relaxed and open.
Wrap up with a summary and then stop. Summarize your response and then stop talking,
even if it leaves a silence in the room. You don’t have to fill the silence by continuing to talk.
3.2. Quick stress relief for effective communication
When things start to get heated in a conversation, you need something quick and immediate
to bring down the emotional intensity. By learning to quickly reduce stress in the moment,
you can safely face any strong emotions you’re experiencing, regulate your feelings, and
behave appropriately.
Recognize when you're becoming stressed. Your body will let you know if you’re stressed as
you communicate. Are your muscles or your stomach tight? Are your hands clenched? Is
your breath shallow? Are you "forgetting" to breathe?
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Take a moment to calm down before deciding to continue a conversation or postpone it.
Bring your senses to the rescue. The best way to rapidly and reliably relieve stress is through
the senses—sight, sound, touch, taste, smell—or movement. For example, you could pop a
peppermint in your mouth, squeeze a stress ball in your pocket, take a few deep breaths,
clench and relax your muscles, or simply recall a soothing, sensory-rich image. Each person
responds differently to sensory input, so you need to find things that are soothing to you.
Look for humour in the situation. When used appropriately, humour is a great way to relieve
stress when communicating. When you or those around you start taking things too seriously,
find a way to lighten the mood by sharing a joke or amusing story.
Be willing to compromise. Sometimes, if you can both bend a little, you’ll be able to find a
happy middle ground that reduces the stress levels for everyone concerned. If you realize
that the other person cares much more about something than you do, compromise may be
easier for you and a good investment in the future of the relationship.
Agree to disagree, if necessary, and take time away from the situation so everyone can calm
down. Go for a stroll outside if possible, or spend a few minutes meditating. Physical
movement or finding a quiet place to regain your balance can quickly reduce stress.
Developing your ability to ask questions that draw out the
information needed to aid your understanding of the speaker's
situation and help them find a resolution is crucial to your
success. Your questions help you to:
Focus attention
Elicit new ideas
Encourage exploration
Foster commitment
There are seven different types of questions you can ask, and you should make sure that you have a
clear idea of why you are asking a question in a particular way and at a particular time. Depending
on our purpose of communication, we can use different types of questions to different effects.
Open questions are commonly used to encourage the other party to open up, so that you
can gather the necessary information. They often start with why, what, where, which, and
how. You will find that they work best when the conversation is already flowing freely. For
'How was that strategy useful?'
'What did you do to keep your team on track?'
'How would you respond to this customer's concerns?'
Communication Skills, IBU, 2021/2022
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
Probing questions can be used to clarify something that has already been said or to find out
more detail about it. Many of them are helpful in creating rapport, but you must take care
not over-use them as this can make people feel as if they are being interrogated or even
attacked. Make sure your verbal and nonverbal signs are neutral or supportive when asking
such questions. This type of question is useful in uncovering details that may have initially
been overlooked or thought irrelevant. For example:
'Why do you think this is the case?'
'What does that mean?'
'What are your options for solving the problem?'
'Could you be more specific?'
'Who is involved? Who are the key stakeholders?'
'What needs addressing?
'Is there an option that you have not yet considered?'
'How have you managed to put up with the situation to date?'
'How would an objective observer describe this situation?'
'What do you care most about in this situation?'
'What are your concerns?'
Closed questions require a 'yes' or 'no' answer. Such questions should be used sparingly
because they tend to make any conversation feel awkward and one-sided, but in some
instances an affirmative or negative answer is all that is needed. In sensitive situations, they
are best avoided as they can harm the rapport and empathy that are an essential part of
active listening.
Reflective questions are frequently used to check and clarify your understanding. This style
of question reflects back to the speaker what they have just said and allows them to fully
explore their knowledge of a situation. These questions also provide an opportunity for the
other person to give voice to the emotions they felt at that particular time without you
having to interpret why this happened in your question. Use of reflective questions
dispenses with you having to express an interpretation or judge why the other person felt
this way. For example:
Speaker - 'I feel frustrated with myself.'
Listener - 'And what is this "frustrated with myself" experience like?'
Speaker - 'Those people in dispatch are always messing me about.'
Listener - 'What does that "messing you about" behavior involve?'
Leading questions need to be used with care because they imply that there is a right answer
to the question, which contradicts the ethos of active listening. They are useful in situations
where you require a desired answer or need to influence people's thinking. For example:
'So wouldn't it have been better to…?'
'Don't you think we should have…?'
Communication Skills, IBU, 2021/2022
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
Hypothetical questions allow you to gauge how someone might act or what they think about
a possible situation. They are effective in getting the person to think up and discuss new
ideas or approaches to a problem. For example:
'What would you do if…?'
'What would happen if…?'
Paraphrasing questions are one of the best ways you can check your own understanding of
what the speaker has said. For example:
Speaker - 'I can't deliver on that unless accounts get the information to me the same day.'
Listener - 'I'm hearing you say that you could deliver, if the accounts department were able to get
the information to you on the same day you requested it. Am I understanding this correctly?'
Whenever you ask a question think about how and where you are trying to 'take' the speaker. If the
question you ask does not result in a positive step forward then you must ask yourself three simple
questions: 'Did I ask it in the wrong way?', 'Could the words I used be misinterpreted?' and 'Was the
type of question appropriate?' The answers you get by asking yourself these things will enable you
to develop your questioning competency and alter your behavior in the future.
Communication Skills, IBU, 2021/2022
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
We have always lived in a diverse social and
cultural environment. With rapid changes to
communication and transportation
technologies, such diversity is becoming more
and more relevant to our day to day life and
work. To function effectively in such a diverse
society, we need to learn to appreciate and
accept diversity and even celebrate diversity.
Although we sometimes like people to see, and
do, things our way, without diversity the world
in which we live would be a lot duller.
This topic is about the basic principles on living
with differences in people as individuals, as
identified groups of individuals and as nations.
In this chapter you will learn more about:
Personal differences
Regional differences, and
National differences
Whether we like it or not, we have to live and work with people who are different in one way or
another from us. Even within the same family, we do not all like the same food, the same music and
the same clothes.
People differ in a variety of ways, as shown in Figure 5. The inability to appreciate these differences
can often lead to inter-personal conflict, prejudice and even discrimination.
Figure 9: Diversity in People
Communication Skills, IBU, 2021/2022
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
Differences between people cannot always be labelled as good or bad. To ensure that we do not
unintentionally discriminate others, the following are some general rules we should observe:
Respect others’ right to privacy,
Respect others’ opinion,
Treat everyone as equals,
Don’t judge a book by its cover,
Don’t over play the significance of differences.
Apart from individual differences, people from
the same region of a country often exhibit
some shared characteristics which distinguish
them from people from other regions.
Misunderstanding of regional differences can
often lead to stereo-typing and gross
generalisation of regional characteristics
which can then be used, intentionally or
unintentionally, to discriminate individuals
from a certain region.
Regional differences may stem from differences in geographical conditions, climate, dialect, local
customs and traditions etc. When dealing with people from a different region we need to try to
learn more about their regional cultural values and avoid generalising on the basis of isolated
The subject of national differences is probably over talked about, but understudied with most
people over emphasising the superficial whilst neglecting the fundamental – the culture.
To understand the differences between nations, we need to first introduce the concept of culture.
Culture is a difficult topic to deal with. Many books have been written about it but few have been
done in a persuasive style. Geert Hofstede (1980) describes culture as ‘a collective programming of
the mind’. This suggests that culture often distinguishes groups of people from one another.
Culture has the following characteristics:
Learned: People are not born with certain cultural values. They acquire them.
Shared: Culture is shared among people brought up in the same social environment.
Symbolic: There are symbols indicative of culture, language being one of them.
Adaptive: Culture changes over time.
Patterned: Culture displays itself through behavioural patterns.
Trans-generational: Culture can be passed on from one generation to the next.
Communication Skills, IBU, 2021/2022
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
3.1. Importance of recognizing cultural differences
The world in which we live is becoming smaller thanks to the declining cost of international travel
and development of the internet. This makes it more important for us to be aware of the cultural
differences between nations. A sound appreciation of these differences will also help us with:
Organising import and export activities,
Working within multinational corporations,
International tourism,
Studying abroad,
Moving to live and work in another country.
Whilst recognising the national cultural differences, we should also remember the similarities
between them and build on such similarities.
In this topic, we discuss the fact that we live in a diverse society and need to learn to accept and
celebrate diversity. In particular, we discuss differences between individuals, regions and nations. To
effectively live and work with people from different personal, regional and national backgrounds in
harmony we need to learn about these differences. However, we must not over play the significance
of these differences as deep down we are all human beings and share all the basic human needs and
Review questions and independent learning tasks
What have you learnt about equality?
Do you have a prejudice against any group of people? Make a list of the things you would do in order
not to treat others unfairly.
What are the ten main differences between you and the person sitting next to you?
Recall some personal experiences which you believe you have been unfairly treated. What do you
think might be the possible reasons? Is it your age, your gender, or your looks?
By the same token, also recall some instances where you might have unintentionally treated others
unfairly? What made you do that?
Communication Skills, IBU, 2021/2022
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
Presentation can be seen as a particular kind of communication. It usually involves one person or a
group of people taking turns to share information with an audience.
Presentation is an important part of the interactive learning. During your study at University, and
later in the workplace, you will find yourself in situations in which you need to make a presentation
in front of an audience. The skills you learn from this course should help you with presentations in
other courses as, for some courses, your final grade will be partially based on your presentation.
In this chapter you will learn more about:
Preparation of a presentation
Delivery of a presentation
Criteria for a good presentation
Preparation is the key to a successful presentation. No matter how well you know your subject and
how experienced you are at public speaking; careful preparation can increase your confidence which
in turn, leads to clearer presentations.
The preparation of a presentation usually consists of five main steps:
Decide the general purpose
Define a specific objective
Develop and select ideas
Design the structure
Draft notes and aids
1. 1. Decide the general purpose
The first question you will probably ask yourself is ‘where do I begin?’ Start by asking yourself the six
easy questions and gather the information together, see Figure 10. The six words represent a series
of powerful questions that can be used to gather information for any task you undertake.
Figure 10: The 5W and 1H Questions
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Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
WHAT: What are you trying to communicate? What does the audience want to know? The answers
to these questions will help you determine the subject matter of your presentation.
WHERE: Where is the best place to give the presentation? Sometimes you have a choice of where to
give a presentation but sometimes you don’t. When you do, the choice of the location depends on
the purpose of the presentation, the size of audience and whether or not you need special visual
WHY: Why are you making a presentation? Are you passing information, giving an explanation or
instruction, trying to sell an idea, product or policy? Answers to these will help you decide your
General Purpose. Is it your intention to?
Inform - transmit facts, opinions, explanations
Convince - induce belief in an idea or opinion
Persuade - move people to take action
Inspire - uplift, express common ideals etc.
HOW: How are you going to present? What is the best method? Answers to earlier questions will
begin to help you determine the most suitable method for your purpose.
WHEN: When is the best time? When has it got to be? How much time do you have to prepare? How
long have you got for the presentation? Answers to these will help you partially determine how
much material to include in the presentation.
WHO: To whom are you presenting? The more you know about the receivers, their needs, points of
view, their knowledge and experience, the more likely you are to succeed in your objective.
1. 2. Define specific objectives
At the end of your talk, what do you want your audience to have remembered, achieved,
understood or believed? You should be able to use the answers to the previous six questions to help
you to do this. Your objective should be ‘measurable’ such that at the end of your presentation you
should be able to measure the success or failure of your presentation.
1. 3. Develop and select ideas
It is very easy to assume that you know your subject so well and that you are experienced at public
speaking and that there is no need for further preparation, thought or research. However, you could
be speaking to experts who may ask questions. Equally, you could be speaking to trainees who will
not want to be baffled by jargons. A presenter who has not prepared will look unprofessional. This in
turn will insult the audience. Again, most of the questions shown in Figure 11 will help you.
Think round the subject and generate as many ideas as you can and don’t worry about the order. At
this stage, no idea is a bad idea. Put them all down, on the computer screen or on paper/a flip chart/
blackboard. When you have done this, examine the ideas and decide their relative priorities.
Communication Skills, IBU, 2021/2022
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
Figure 11. Prioritising Ideas
As seen in figure 11, what the audience ‘must know’ should form the core of the presentation whilst
what is classified as ‘SHOULD know’ is desirable to include if time allows. What is regarded as ‘could
know’ is optional and may be included if there is time. In essence, this approach helps to:
Show which points need to be emphasised
Tell you how many facts and how much information to include
Decide which ideas you are going to discard
Include only ideas which are relevant to your objective(s).
1. 4. The Structure of the presentation
The basic structure of any presentation should consist of A) introduction, B) main body and C)
summary, as illustrated in Figure 12.
Figure 12. The Structure of a Presentation
A) Introduction
First impressions are important and often lasting. Therefore, the introduction requires special
consideration. It should be short, interesting, dynamic and relevant. The attention and interest of
your audience must be caught in the opening moments of your introduction.
Communication Skills, IBU, 2021/2022
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
Use the introduction to ensure that your audience is prepared for the information you will present in
the main body of your talk. The introduction should state:
 The objective of the presentation
 The areas to be covered and the sequence of presentation
 How long the presentation will last
 Whether handouts will be given
 How questions will be dealt with (i.e. during or at the end of the presentation).
B) Main Body
From the ideas selected previously, begin to group them together until you have only a few main
ideas. Three is about the maximum even for a long talk.
The main body should be set out in a logical order so that each point follows on from the last.
Illustrate your subject with examples - verbal and visual. Take into account the objectives of your
presentation, experience of your audience, and time etc. and decide the most effective order for
your listeners.
The main body should:
 Be designed to meet the stated objective
 Contain not too much nor too little material for the time allowed
 Present the material in an ‘easy to follow’ sequence
 Maintain the interest of the audience throughout.
Check that you have included sufficient elements such as:
 Contrast
 Vitality
 Variety
 Humour.
It is always useful to summarise each key point of the main body before moving on to the next. This
not only aids memory and adds structure to your talk, but is also a good place to take questions.
C) Summary
The Summary is your last opportunity to achieve your objective but you need to REMEMBER not to
try and introduce information which you had forgotten earlier. It is useful to let your audience know
when you are starting your summary. The summary should:
Summarise adequately the main points of the presentation
Reinforce what you have said
Help clarify items to those who have perhaps missed a point during the presentation
Thank your audience for coming.
Communication Skills, IBU, 2021/2022
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
1. 5. Preparing notes and aids
It is better to speak without using notes, but this is easier said than done! Confidence will grow with
practice and the need for detailed notes will be eliminated or at least reduced. Keep notes as brief as
possible. If your preparation has been thorough, only keywords will be required to trigger off the
details of your talk.
Draft notes
How we prepared notes for presentation differs from one person to the next and there is no single
best way to do this. Here are a few suggestions:
 Restrict notes to one single sheet of paper, divide into three sections, the largest being for
the main body. In very large coloured writing put a heading at the top of each section, under
each heading list, in a different colour, keywords which will trigger off the relevant dialogue.
If there is too much information in your notes, you may fall into the trap of actually reading
them. More detailed notes could be used for reference in the time leading up to and
immediately before you are ‘on stage’!
 Notes could take the form of a series of small cards with keyword headings which will serve
as adequate reminders. Remember each card will have to be turned over when finished
 The Horizontal Plan method can be used for notes. One suitable layout is shown in Figure 9
(see below).
 If using PowerPoint, keywords should be written in the “notes” section.
 If using a blackboard or flip-chart, brief notes or keywords can be written faintly (your
audience cannot see them) on the board or chart. Use a very dark chalk on the blackboard or
pencil on flip chart paper.
Using visual aids
Visual aids can bring a presentation to life, but they are no excuse for poor preparation. It is wrong
to consider that you must use visual aids when giving a presentation. They should be produced to
help understanding and recall what you present and to create interest.
When you have prepared your presentation, look at each step-in turn and ask yourself ‘Do I need to
visualise to help understanding or recall, or create interest?’ If the answer is “yes” then decide:
What is required?
What you want the visual to do?
There are many different kinds of visual aids. Below are few examples.
Yourself: Hands, arms, facial expressions can all be powerful visual aids but any exaggerated use of
these could also easily become a distracting mannerism. However, various gestures made with the
hands and certain facial expressions can be very effective and can reinforce and emphasise what you
are saying into the minds of the audience.
Communication Skills, IBU, 2021/2022
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
The real thing: According to many experts in the field of presentation skills, the best visual aid is the
real thing. Not practical if you’re discussing a large piece of equipment in a small meeting room!
When preparing for a presentation, you will soon come across objects which cannot be readily
shown. They may be too large, too small, too expensive, too dirty, too dangerous or too delicate.
Model of the real thing: Brilliant if you’re discussing an Aero Engine, but remember to state the
scale! If the third dimension plays an important part in communicating your message, then you can
expect better results from a model. Models should be used when:
It is not convenient to use the real thing
The shape of the object is complex and must be shown
The inside detail must be seen and cannot be better shown by the use of a sectional
There is so much detail, all relevant, that pictures/diagrams are unclear or misleading.
Pictures/diagrams/charts/graphs etc. Good for small groups and can be used as handouts. Different
people can have a different perception of what is being shown. It is important that you explain to
your audience the way they are viewing the information, i.e. from above, from below, etc.
Chalkboard/whiteboard: The chalkboard (or blackboard as it was traditionally known) has for a long
time been the standard visual aid. It is usually readily available in conference and presentation
rooms. However, it is one of the most difficult aids to use well. More skill is required to make good
use of the chalkboard, than to screen a film, use a projector or tape recorder. It will take some
practice to learn to write legibly, to write sufficiently large enough (consistently) for your audience
to read the words. The main benefit of using a chalkboard is, of course, the fact that mistakes can be
easily erased, and the area used over and over again. A development of the chalkboard is the
whiteboard. Dry-wipe marker pens of differing colours can be used and these can be easily removed
from the board, therefore enabling mistakes to be corrected and the whiteboard to be used over
and over again as with the chalkboard.
Flip chart: There are two main ways in which a chart can be used - as a permanent display or as an
enlarged ‘note-pad’ which can be used to emphasise or summarise certain points in a presentation.
The latter would only be shown for a short time, then taken away or replaced by another showing
the next stage of development for instance. They are seldom used to communicate the whole
message, generally it will supplement a verbal commentary. Flip charts are easily transportable and
economical as scrap paper can be used. The main advantage is that they can be prepared
beforehand if required.
Films, videos and slides: Use of these when giving a presentation should not be overlooked. There
are many available which may possibly help support a presentation or talk. Remember, this sort of
equipment is very expensive and specialist equipment is not always readily available. Materials
shown using these methods tend to have high a level of accuracy and be in multimedia, which can
be reproduced without change, to successive audiences.
Communication Skills, IBU, 2021/2022
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
PowerPoint: This is an increasingly popular way to make presentations. It potentially offers the best
multimedia presentation experience. There are some drawbacks, too. First, unless you have a proper
equipment, you may need to turn off the lights in the room, which may make it difficult for people to
take notes. Second, you have to follow strictly the pre-programmed sequence. Third, you will need
to check and make sure that your presentation file is produced using a software that is compatible
with that installed on the computer you are going to use for presentation purpose.
Using visual aids for maximum effect: Avoid putting too much detail on screen, chart or handout.
Make Lettering BIG and BOLD. Use colour (avoid using more than 3 colours). Use pictures, sketches,
diagrams, cartoons etc. Ensure that information can be easily read and understood. Explain technical
jargon and abbreviations.
When a lot of effort has been used to produce good Presentation, you should show them to their
best advantage. The following points are worth remembering:
First, the presenter must not obstruct the view of the audience, he/she must ensure that
they are not between the visual and any member of the audience, this does need some
Second, make certain that the equipment is in good working order. Ensure that the lens on
the LCD projector is clean. You should check the equipment well before your presentation.
Third, when using projected pictures, try to avoid unwanted light on the screen. Strong,
natural or artificial light, beaming onto the screen will adversely affect the quality of the
projected picture. This could be distracting to the viewer.
Fourth, experiment with the seating arrangements for the audience. Of course, this will
depend on the number of people in the audience. We tend to stick with a conventional
layout for tables and chairs - yet a light modification may well improve viewing conditions.
2.1 Personal Factors
Most people would be extremely nervous, especially if it were their first experience of public
speaking. The pre-requisite of any effective presentation is sound preparation. However, no matter
how good your preparation is, the message may still not get through unless you obey a few single
rules. Keeping the attention of the audience is the main problem of any speaker. It won’t matter
how interesting and well prepared your talk is, if the audience can’t hear or understand you.
There are a number of personal factors that affect the overall effectiveness of your presentation.
These are summarised in the next few paragraphs.
Pitch of voice: Ensure everyone can hear, pitch your voice as if you were speaking to someone in the
back row of the audience. However, don’t shout, speaking too loudly can sound aggressive.
Communication Skills, IBU, 2021/2022
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
Speed of speech: The speed at which you talk has a significant effect on how well you are
understood. It is the easiest speech characteristic to modify. Nerves can affect your rate of speech.
Fast talkers tend to increase speed whilst slow talkers slow down even further. Variation of speech
rate is important. Some examples of occasions to vary your pace of speech are to:
Clarify meaning
Mark changes of level or subject
Provide punctuation
Hold attention.
Pace of delivery: Pausing at specific times during your presentation will make your talk more
effective. Experienced speakers tend to pause more than inexperienced speakers. It enables the
audience to ‘digest’ information received and will give them ‘thinking time’ and can be used for
emphasis. Pausing should not be confused with hesitation. Some points to remember here are:
Make sure your meaning is clear at all times
Do not use unexplained jargon or abbreviations
Again, pitch your talk to the audience. Use terminology they will understand.
2.1. The Audience
Communication is a two-way process. If you think of your audience as partners, it is not likely they
will reject either you or your message. The audience want to be entertained and thus want you to
succeed. Remember your General Purpose. Talk in terms of your listener’s requirements, consider
their needs, look at them, study and act on their reactions and, above all: SMILE.
Respect your audience. Never apologise for lack of ability or preparation on your part. Try at all
times, to hear your talk as a listener, not as a speaker. Here are a few suggestions:
Be sincere: Believe what you are saying. If you do not believe it, do not say it! Know your subject,
lack of knowledge or preparation will insult your audience.
Be enthusiastic: Show your audience that you are convinced. It will help to convince them. If you are
not interested in the subject, why should your audience be interested? Don’t be afraid to be
Be yourself: Be yourself, don’t attempt to imitate others. Don’t tell funny stories unless they’re your
own. Be natural and friendly. Show your audience that you are enjoying yourself. Enthusiasm and
enjoyment is infectious. The best guide is to simply let your whole personality speak.
2.3. Some common mistakes with presentations
Leaving the LCD switched on when you have finished. Some LCDs can be very noisy, and it is
best generally to switch off after you have finished using it.
Communication Skills, IBU, 2021/2022
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
Talking to the screen: This is a very common fault and can be very distracting for the
audience. If you do have to look at the screen to indicate something on the visual,
remember to turn back and face the audience as soon as possible. You will need a very
strong voice for your audience to hear you with your back turned to them.
Asking the audience to study details of a visual whilst listening to your commentary: This is
clearly impossible. A member of the audience will not be able to really concentrate on a
visual and pay attention to what is being said at the same time.
Reading a visual word for word to the audience. The audience will have read it much quicker
than you. Doing this also suggests that you are not as familiar with the subject of your
presentation as you should be.
Waving the pointer in front of the visual: This can be very distracting and dangerous. If you
do need to use a pointer, use it positively and remove from the screen as soon as possible.
Other mannerisms to avoid include:
Jingling/rattling coins
Playing with pencil, pointer etc.
Continually looking at your watch
Looking at the ceiling or out of the window
Acting like a ‘caged lion’
Drumming on the table
Repeating phrases
Using excessive ‘ums’ and ‘ahs’
Polishing spectacles
Fiddling with notes
Attending to personal appearance.
If you do these things noticeably, people will concentrate on them and not on what you are saying.
Try to look at each member of the audience from time to time, stand firmly and steadily and try to
look relaxed and comfortable. Always stand in front of the audience, since you are then obviously in
command of the situation. At the same time, be friendly rather than too formal. Remember you are
trying to establish rapport, so that effective communication can take place. If you have the ability to
be witty then this can be an asset, but humour can also fail, so be very careful.
No matter how good we think we are at presentation and no matter how many times we have done
it, if we are truthful to ourselves, there will always be areas we need to improve. A good
presentation should meet the following criteria:
 Clear
 Simple
 Relevant
 Interesting
Communication Skills, IBU, 2021/2022
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
Clear: Use large letters, charts, graphs etc. Ensure they can be easily seen from a distance.
Each slide should be titled.
Simple: They should be easily read and understood. If necessary, divide information into
two instead of a mass of information on one slide. Show only the information being dealt
with. Remember to explain any technical jargon, abbreviations, etc.
Relevant: Deal only with the information being shown
Interesting: Colour adds to interest and impact, and can be used to emphasise important
points. Build up using overlays, comparisons, etc. A simple picture, sketch or cartoon can
sometimes bring relief and help make a point.
In this topic, we have discussed the various aspects to making a presentation. As a particular form of
communication, there is a range of particular skills required to making an effective presentation.
Attention must be paid to it well in advance of the event and ensure that sufficient preparation goes
into it before the event. We have also demonstrated how these skills could be put into practice and
offered some useful tips on how to deploy these skills. The important thing is to experiment with
different techniques. You may not get it right the first time but you will get better over time so long
as you keep working at it.
Review questions and independent learning tasks
Reflect on what you have learnt this week and carry out the following tasks: Identify a public speaker
(a tutor, a politician, a movie star, etc.) you admire and respect, analyse what makes him/her a good
Communication Skills, IBU, 2021/2022
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
Much of what we do at work involves a team of people. How
effective people are at working with others will therefore directly
affect the performance of the team. Although we often like to
choose to work with our friends, in real life, we rarely have the
choice of whom we work with in workplace situations (or at
In this chapter you will learn more about:
Stages of group development;
Advantages and disadvantages of working in groups;
Team Roles;
Criticism- how to give and receive
In 1965, a psychologist named Bruce Tuckman said that teams go through 5 stages of development:
forming, storming, norming, performing and adjourning. The stages start from the time that a group first
meets until the project ends.
Tuckman didn’t just have a knack for rhyming. (Although, it does make the stages easier to remember.)
Each is aptly named and plays a vital part in building a high-functioning team.
1.1. Forming
The first stage of team development is forming, which is a lot like orientation day at college or a new job.
You could even compare it to going out on a first date.
The team has just been introduced and everyone is overly polite and pleasant. At the start, most are
excited to start something new and to get to know the other team members.
Communication Skills, IBU, 2021/2022
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
During this stage, you may discuss:
 Member’s skills, background and interests
 Project goals
 Timeline
 Ground rules
 Individual roles
As the group starts to familiarize themselves, roles and responsibilities will begin to form. It is important
for team members to develop relationships and understand what part each person plays.
But, because this stage focuses more on the people than on the work, your team probably won’t be very
productive yet.
1.2. Storming
Have you ever reached the point in a relationship where you become aware of a person’s characteristics
and they frustrate or annoy you?
Perhaps they squeeze the toothpaste from the top of the tube instead of the bottom? Eat with their
mouth open? Or they listen to the same Drake song 15 times in a row?
Well, congrats, you’ve entered the storming stage.
Being in a team is like being in a relationship. At first, you may think someone is perfect and flawless. But
then you realize that they aren’t. Once you’re aware of their flaws, you either learn to embrace them or
the relationship will end quickly.
In the storming stage, the reality and weight of completing the task at hand have now hit everyone. The
initial feelings of excitement and the need to be polite have likely worn off.
Personalities may clash. Members might disagree over how to complete a task or voice their concerns if
they feel that someone isn’t pulling their weight. They may even question the authority or guidance of
group leaders.
But it is important to remember that most teams experience conflict. If you are the leader, remind
members that disagreements are normal.
Some teams skip over the storming stage or try to avoid conflict at whatever cost. Avoidance usually
makes the problem grow until it blows up. So, recognize conflicts and resolve them early on.
Communication Skills, IBU, 2021/2022
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
1.3. Norming
During the norming stage, people start to notice and appreciate their team members’ strengths. Groups
start to settle into a groove. Everyone is contributing and working as a cohesive unit.
Of course, you may still think that your tech guy’s choice in music is obnoxious. But you also admire his
knowledge of web design and coding skills, and value his opinions on anything tech-related.
Storming sometimes overlaps with norming. As new tasks arise, groups may still experience a few
conflicts. If you’ve already dealt with disagreement before, it will probably be easier to address this time.
1.4. Performing
If you’ve reached the fourth stage, pat yourself on the back. You’re on your way to success.
In the performing stage, members are confident, motivated and familiar enough with the project and their
team that they can operate without supervision. Everyone is on the same page and driving full-speed
ahead towards the final goal.
The fourth stage is the one that all groups strive to reach. Yet, some do not make it. They usually fail to
overcome conflict and can’t work together.
Communication Skills, IBU, 2021/2022
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
1.5. Adjourning
In 1977, Tuckman added a fifth stage called adjourning. (Sadly, not a perfect rhyme.) Once a project ends,
the team disbands. This phase is sometimes known as mourning because members have grown close and
feel a loss now that the experience is over.
Every person at one time or the other may have had to work in groups, be it while the person is in
college or while at work. There are many instances in life that may have called for teamwork. At the
same time, on some other occasions, it is the choice of the person to opt for teamwork or to work
Both have their own positive and negative points.
Different people have different ideas regarding the work to be done. There are few people who
would like to work alone, whereas few prefer to work in teams.
The best way to solve such a situation is to assign the right task for everybody accordingly.
As a coin has two sides, working individually and working in a team both will be having their own
advantages and disadvantages.
More Productive
Unequal Participation
More Resources
Intrinsic Conflict
More Reliable
No Individual thinking
Learn Things
Decision making takes time
New Method
Easy to avoid work
Information Exchange
Loss of Creativity
Team Commitment
Time Consuming
Inequality in getting work
People might loaf around
Table 7. Advantages and disadvantages of working in a group
2.1. Advantages of Working in a Group
One might opt to work in a group, due to many reasons. What one needs to see is what works best
for the job as well as for the person.
So if you are confused about why work in groups or positives or advantages of teamwork then here
are some points on the positives and advantages of working in a group.
Communication Skills, IBU, 2021/2022
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
1. More Productive:
It is been found that one of the main benefits of working in a group is that it helps to raise the
complete output.
If working in a group, everyone works together making use of the best of their skills to make sure of
quality output.
It will also guarantee that there has not been any compromise on the quality of the production,
whilst working as a team. This is one of the best benefits of team working.
2. More Resources:
One thing to realize is that more the number of people that joins the group, the resources also
increase alongside it. This is one of the pros of teamwork.
For example, as more people are added, the total ability of the person also increases. Other than the
skills, the experience of each new person is as well added to the group.
If the person is working individually, he will not have the support from the other people in the group.
3. More Reliable:
One good thing about working in groups is that if in case someone is not keeping well or if they miss
the work for some reason, the job can still be done properly and efficiently by the rest of the people
in the team.
Since working in a group there are people who are aware of what’s happening at work. This is not
possible if a person is working alone or individually.
If one works in a group, they can also ensure that the ideas or suggestions, which are not at par, are
rejected at the very beginning. This is one of the benefits of group work.
4. Learn Things:
It is seen more often that, people in a group can go on to learn new things from the others. They get
the option to learn from each other.
All people while working in groups have their own ideas, from which another person can learn so
many things.
On the other hand, when one is working individually, they have to do things on their own. You do
not have the time to learn anything from anyone else. Learning new things is one of the benefits of
group work.
5. New Method:
When working in a group, each one gets the opportunity to come out with their own ideas and
suggestions, thus paving the way for new methods on how to complete the job properly.
Each one can work towards the success of the work. Since it is a large group, there could be quite a
few of the suggestions or ideas by some of the people that are innovative and novel, which could
help the job to complete successfully.
6. Information Exchange:
While working in a group, everyone gets the opportunity to communicate with others well within
the group. Each idea or suggestions, whoever it is by is considered and thoroughly discussed before
the group arrives at a conclusion.
Communication Skills, IBU, 2021/2022
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
Hence, we can find that the flow of conversation or communication is smooth and effortless within
the people of the group. This contributes a lot to the success of the job, given. This can also be called
as group discussion.
7. Team Commitment:
When one is committed to working in a team, the person can go on to encourage and support the
performance as a group.
A person, totally dedicated to the job at hand and to the team, will also make sure to be present to
do the job. This is known as total team commitment.
2.2. Disadvantages of Working in a Group
At the same time, working in groups is not without its disadvantages. It may not work out for the
best, all the time.
Trying to get people in a group to work together is very strenuous and also takes up a lot of time.
At the same time, if everyone comes together to work towards success, there is nothing better than
that. Here are some negative points of working in a group or disadvantages for group work.
1. Unequal Participation:
It is quite possible that while in a group some of the customers may not do that much work, while
others may work hard. This inequality in the work done could cause trouble between the people in
the group.
It also causes bitterness amongst the members of the group, because some may be getting
acknowledged for a work that they have not even done at all, while others may have strived hard to
get that honor. Jealousy, in such a scenario, is without a doubt inevitable.
2. Intrinsic Conflict:
When a wide variety of people start to work in a group, disagreement is sure to arise between
people in the group.
Each person may have their own ideas which could conflict with what the other person has to
suggest. Some people in a group might also find it difficult to accept suggestions or ideas from
another person. This conflict could as well put a stop to the flow of work until the issue is resolved.
3. No Individual thinking:
While working in a group, there is no place for individual or independent thinking. It is by no means a
one-man show.
It is more of a group effort to complete a job properly. Each idea and suggestions put forward by all
the members of the group have to be taken into account for successful completion of the work.
4. Decision making takes time:
In view of the fact that it is a group effort, suggestions and ideas from all the people in a group have
to be taken into account.
Prior to making any decision, all aspects are to be thoroughly discussed and considered, which
consequently takes up a lot of time and energy.
Communication Skills, IBU, 2021/2022
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
5. Easy to avoid work:
When in a group especially a large one, it is very easy for the person to avoid work and leave it to
others to complete. It may take some time before someone actually pays attention to this fact.
One can work, in whatever way possible and can also get acknowledgement for work done by
someone else, as it is teamwork and the person is part of the team.
6. Loss of Creativity:
Whenever you need to work as a group, group thinking becomes more relevant. Because of this
reason, creativity has been stumped.
One can never make a good decision, as each and every person in the group will have a say in it.
7. Time Consuming:
The whole process could be time-consuming while working in a group. It takes a lot of time since
there is a need for agreement and coordination from all members of the team.
8. Inequality in getting work:
If the person opts to work in a group, when the work is being distributed, everyone might not get
equal amount of work.
Someone might end up with more work, while others might get only little to do. This discrepancy in
getting the work can also lead to conflict.
9. People might loaf around:
One other issue while working in a group, is that some of the people may just hang around,
gossiping or loafing around without doing the job. This could result in lesser productivity from their
When a team is performing at its best, you’ll usually find that each team member has clear
responsibilities. Just as importantly, you’ll see that every role needed to achieve the team’s goal is
being performed fully and well. Dr. Meredith Belbin studied team work for many years, and he
famously observed that people in teams tend to assume different team roles. He defined a team role
as “a tendency to behave, contribute and interrelate with others in a particular way” and named
nine such team roles that underline team success.
3.1. Belbin’s Team Roles
A popular system of describing team roles was developed by Meredith Belbin (1981). Based on his
research on managers he shows:
 It is possible to identify eight different distinct management styles called team roles.
 We tend to adopt one or two of these roles fairly consistently.
 Which role we become associated with can be predicted through the use of psychometric
Communication Skills, IBU, 2021/2022
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
When team roles are combined in certain ways, they helped to produce more effective
Actual team roles are not necessarily associated with the official roles (e.g. accountant,
The effectiveness of our team work depends on the recognition of our own best role and thus on
ability to utilise our strengths whilst minimising the effect of our weaknesses.
Belbin’s team roles
creative, unorthodox and generators of ideas
Monitor Evaluator
fair and logical observers and judges
learning in their own particular field
chairperson of a team, seeing the big picture
Team Worker
Looking after personal relationships in the team
Resource Investigator Keeping in touch with other teams
Turns ideas into positive action
Perfectionist, Keeping the team on its toes
Table 8. Belbin’s team roles
These roles are related to the personality and mental ability of the individual and reflect managerial
behaviour in connection with the aims and demands of team. Since each role contributes to team
success, a successful, balanced team will contain all roles.
In our dealings with people, we sometimes find
that their performance or standards do not
come up to the level we set. The resulting
dissatisfaction will cause us to inform that
individual in an honest attempt to rectify the
The word criticism is synonymous with negative
feelings causing us to avoid giving criticism and
being reluctant to be on the receiving end. You
may believe you are totally aware of your
imperfections, and we are much more critical of ourselves than anyone else, but we still do not like
other people to state what we know about ourselves, and often do not wish to admit these things to
If we are reluctant to take criticism from others, and choose to remain blind and impervious to our
own shortcomings, why do we expect other people to be different? The negative feelings created in
us are the biggest barrier we have to overcome before improving our shortcomings or poor
Communication Skills, IBU, 2021/2022
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
4.1. Possible reactions to criticism
When a person receives criticism, he/she may exhibit the following reactions:
Feelings of
- Anger
- Guilt
- Hurt
- Fear of rejection
- Defensiveness
- Justification
Leading to
- Not listening
- Blocking
- Poor self-image
- Resistance
- Aggressive/passive behaviour
These are results of our conditioning and experiences in the past. In our culture we are taught by
negatives, the focus is on what we can’t do and the mistakes we make instead of what we can do.
This ensures that we look at our performance in the most negative way impairing our self-image and
confidence. We then create barriers to protect ourselves whenever we feel attacked.
When it is necessary to give criticism, a positive effort should be made to ensure that the individual
is not being attacked personally, and it is only the mistake that is being addressed.
Counselling techniques can be used to advantage in this situation because given the opportunity to
identify the problems for themselves the individual will often come up with a solution to the
problem, hence commitment and motivation follows.
By understanding our own personal reaction to criticism, we have an insight into the reaction of
others. Because we do not like criticism, we often are reluctant to give it when it is necessary. By
following the guidelines and relinquishing control of the other person’s actions you will help them
become more self-directing responsible and self-motivated.
4.2. Dealing with criticism
Dealing with criticism positively is an important life skill. At some point in your life you will be
criticized, perhaps in a professional way. Sometimes it will be difficult to accept – but that all
depends on your reaction. You can either use criticism in a positive way to improve, or in a negative
way that can lower your self-esteem and cause stress, anger or even aggression.
There are two types of criticism- constructive and destructive- learning to recognize the difference
between the two can help you deal with any criticism you may receive.
“Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain but it takes character and self-control to be
understanding and forgiving.”
Dale Carnegie – How to Win Friends and Influence People
When challenged by another person, it is common to react in a negative manner. Consider how
negative reactions make you look – and more importantly how they make you feel. The way in
which you choose to handle criticism has a knock-on effect in various aspects of your life, therefore
it is better to identify ways in which you can benefit from criticism and use it to your advantage to be
a stronger and more able person.
Communication Skills, IBU, 2021/2022
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
4.3. Constructive and Destructive Criticism
The difference between constructive criticism and destructive criticism is the way in which
comments are delivered. Although both forms are challenging your ideas, character or ability, when
someone is giving destructive criticism it can hurt your pride and have negative effects on your selfesteem and confidence.
Destructive criticism is often just thoughtlessness by another person, but it can also be deliberately
malicious and hurtful. Destructive criticism can, in some cases, lead to anger and/or aggression.
Constructive criticism, on the other hand, is designed to point out your mistakes, but also show you
where and how improvements can be made. Constructive criticism should be viewed as useful
feedback that can help you improve yourself rather than put you down. When criticism is
constructive it is usually easier to accept, even if it still hurts a little. In either scenario always try to
remember that you can use criticism to your advantage.
“A man who refuses to admit his mistakes can never be successful.”
Proverbs 28:13
4.4. Dealing with Critical People
Some individuals are critical by nature and do not always realize that they are hurting the feelings of
another person. If you know a person who is critical of everything try not to take their comments too
seriously, as this is just part of their character trait. If you do take negative comments to heart it can
create resentment and anger towards the other person, which could damage the relationship.
Remember, people who criticize everything or make scathing remarks to be hurtful are the ones that
need help – not you!
The key thing to remember is that whatever the circumstance is, don´t respond in anger as this will
cause a scene and create bad feelings – and possibly a bad image of you.
Try to remain calm and treat the other person with respect and understanding. This will help to
defuse the situation and potentially stop it from getting out of hand. Show that you are the stronger
person and try not to rise to the bait, do not use it as a reason to offer counter criticism. If you
challenge the other person you may start an argument that is probably unnecessary.
If you find it difficult to cope with criticism you may find our page: Anger Management helpful.
If you do feel that you may lose self-control, or say or do something potentially damaging, walk
away. If you are in a meeting at work, politely excuse yourself and leave the room until you have had
time to gather yourself. Even though somebody´s negative remarks may hurt, it is more harmful for
you to allow their criticism to be destructive to your confidence.
Communication Skills, IBU, 2021/2022
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
4.5. Taking the Positives Out of Criticism
We all make mistakes all the time, it is human nature. As we go through life, we have plenty of
opportunity to learn and improve ourselves. Therefore, no matter what kind of criticism is aimed at
you, analyze it to find something you can learn from it. In material matters at work, school or social
clubs for example, try to take criticism on board to help you improve. When somebody is attacking
your character, it is hard to accept, but that does not mean you should ignore it.
Also bear in mind that the criticism aimed at you may not make sense at the time. Generally
speaking, there is usually some truth in criticism, even when it appears to be given out of spite and
bitterness. It is often the case that a slight on your character is a fair reflection of how another
person sees you at that point in time. Take a step back and try to see things from the other person’s
point of view, perhaps ask a friend for their honest opinion – use criticism wisely and as a learning
experience. See if it is possible to learn a little about how others perceive you, you may be able to
use criticism to improve your interpersonal skills.
We all learn by making mistakes, and learning how to deal with criticism positively is one way that
we can improve our interpersonal relationships with others. (www.skillsyouneed.com)
4.6. Tips on how to receive criticism
Confidence – develop a sound self-image
Listen – carefully to all that is being said
Assess – how true the points made are
Feelings – notice your reaction to the comments
Sanction – the validity of what is said
Specify – what you are or are not prepared to do
Act – ensure commitment is carried out
4.7. Tips on how to give criticism
TREAT the individual as important and valuable
CONTINUAL positive regard
ENCOURAGE the person to review areas where there are concerns or difficulties
FEELINGS should be expressed by both parties
IDENTIFY the problem by paraphrasing or reflecting back
SPELL OUT the requirements of standards, values, goals and expectations
NOTICE body language to gauge distress, dishonesty, blocking and resistance
COMMITMENT from the other person to act
STATE the facts; do not label the person, accepting that mistakes do happen
ALWAYS behave as though it is a counselling session using the format,
What did you do well?
What could you do better?
Communication Skills, IBU, 2021/2022
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
It is often found that people working in a group can work better when they are comfortable
with each other.
Engaging in social activities together can help one to overcome this problem.
Once, the role to be assumed by all is clearly marked out it becomes easier to work in a
The people need to have a proper ongoing exchange of ideas.
In order to get the best of output, one needs to focus more on the benefits of working in a
Thus, working together can prove to be advantageous for the project, as well as the company.
Communication Skills, IBU, 2021/2022
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
Conflict is caused by a clash of opposing forces or
principles which results in a fight or struggle. In a team
working environment this struggle is rarely physical. It is
usually a mental – verbal clash.
Whenever two individuals opine in different ways, a conflict arises. In a layman’s language conflict is
nothing but a fight either between two individuals or among group members. No two individuals can
think alike and there is definitely a difference in their thought process as well as their understanding.
Disagreements among individuals lead to conflicts and fights. Conflict arises whenever individuals
have different values, opinions, needs, interests and are unable to find a middle way.
Tim and Joe were working in the same team and were best of friends. One fine day, they were asked
to give their inputs on a particular project assigned to them by their superior. There was a major
clash in their understanding of the project and both could not agree to each other’s opinions. Tim
wanted to execute the project in a particular way which did not go well with Joe. The outcome of the
difference in their opinions was a conflict between the two and now both of them just can’t stand
each other.
The dissimilarity in the interest, thought process, nature and attitude of Tim and Joe gave rise to a
conflict between the two.
Conflict is defined as a clash between individuals arising out of a difference in thought process,
attitudes, understanding, interests, requirements and even sometimes perceptions. A conflict results
in heated arguments, physical abuses and definitely loss of peace and harmony. A conflict can
actually change relationships. Friends can become foes as a result of conflict just as in the case of
Tim and Joe.
A conflict not only can arise between individuals but also among countries, political parties and
states as well. A small conflict not controlled at the correct time may lead to a large war and rifts
among countries leading to major unrest and disharmony.
It is a well-known fact that neighbors are our biggest assets as they always stand by us whenever we
need them.
Let us take the example of India and China or for that matter India and Pakistan. India and Pakistan
are twin sisters as there is hardly any difference in the culture, religion, climatic conditions, eating
habits of the people staying in both the countries, but still the two countries are always at
loggerheads and the reason is actually unknown. Small issues between the two countries have
triggered a conflict between them which has now become a major concern for both the countries.
Communication Skills, IBU, 2021/2022
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
Misunderstandings as well as ego clashes also lead to conflicts. Every individual has a different way
to look at things and react to various situations.
Mike wanted to meet Henry at the church. He called up Henry and following was the conversation
between them.
Mike - “Henry, I want to meet you tomorrow at 9”
Henry tried Mike’s number a several times but could not speak to him. Mike waited the whole day
for Henry and finally there was a major fight between them. For Mike 9 meant 9 in the morning
whereas Henry misunderstood it for 9 in the evening and hence a major conflict between the two.
It is always advisable to be very clear and very specific to avoid misunderstandings and conflicts. Any
feedback or suggestion by an individual might not go very well with other individual leading to
severe displeasure. It might hurt the ego of the other person resulting in a fight and major
A conflict has five phases.
1. Prelude to conflict - It involves all the factors which possibly arise a conflict among
individuals. Lack of coordination, differences in interests, dissimilarity in cultural, religion,
educational background all are instrumental in arising a conflict.
2. Triggering Event - No conflict can arise on its own. There has to be an event which triggers
the conflict. Jenny and Ali never got along very well with each other. They were from
different cultural backgrounds, a very strong factor for possibility of a conflict. Ali was in the
mid of a presentation when Jenny stood up and criticized him for the lack of relevant
content in his presentation, thus triggering the conflict between them.
3. Initiation Phase - Initiation phase is actually the phase when the conflict has already begun.
Heated arguments, abuses, verbal disagreements are all warning alarms which indicate that
the fight is already on.
4. Differentiation Phase - It is the phase when the individuals voice out their differences
against each other. The reasons for the conflict are raised in the differentiation phase.
5. Resolution Phase - A Conflict leads to nowhere. Individuals must try to compromise to some
extent and resolve the conflict soon. The resolution phase explores the various options to
resolve the conflict.
Conflicts can be of many types like verbal conflict, religious conflict, emotional conflict, social
conflict, personal conflict, organizational conflict, community conflict and so on.
Conflicts and fighting with each other never lead to a conclusion. If you are not on the same line as
the other individual, never fight, instead try your level best to sort out your differences. Discussion is
always a better and wiser way to adopt rather than conflicts.
Conflict is not necessarily to be avoided but an awareness of the contributing factors means we can
seek to handle them constructively.
Communication Skills, IBU, 2021/2022
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
Criticism and Questions can be perceived as a challenge to an individual’s status and may create
conflict. Being non-judgmental is a fundamental attitude to equality. Acceptance of people as they
are – within the variation of their characteristics and ability, instead of what we think they should or
ought to be.
People deal with conflict in a variety of ways; therefore, you need different conflict resolution
strategies. Kenneth Thomas and Ralph Kilmann (1974) developed five conflict resolution strategies
that people use to handle conflict, including avoiding, defeating, compromising, accommodating,
and collaborating.
Figure 13. Conflict resolution strategies
This is based on the assumption that people choose how cooperative and how assertive to be in a
conflict. It suggests that everyone has preferred ways of responding to conflict, but most of us use all
methods under various circumstances. It is helpful to understand the five methods, particularly
when you want to move a group forward.
Conflict Resolution Strategy #1: Avoiding
Avoiding is when people just ignore or withdraw from the conflict. They choose this method when
the discomfort of confrontation exceeds the potential reward of resolution of the conflict. While this
might seem easy to accommodate for the facilitator, people aren’t really contributing anything of
value to the conversation and may be withholding worthwhile ideas. When conflict is avoided,
nothing is resolved.
Conflict Resolution Strategy #2: Competing
Competing is used by people who go into a conflict planning to win. They’re assertive and not
cooperative. This method is characterized by the assumption that one side wins and everyone else
Communication Skills, IBU, 2021/2022
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
loses. It doesn’t allow room for diverse perspectives into a well-informed total picture. Competing
might work in sports or war, but it’s rarely a good strategy for group problem solving.
Debra wrote an illuminating article on how conflict resolution failure can lead to revolution. It’s what
can happen when people feel like they aren’t being listened to and start being assertive.
Conflict Resolution Strategy #3: Accommodating
Accommodating is a strategy where one party gives in to the wishes or demands of another. They’re
being cooperative but not assertive. This may appear to be a gracious way to give in when one
figures out s/he has been wrong about an argument. It’s less helpful when one party accommodates
another merely to preserve harmony or to avoid disruption. Like avoidance, it can result in
unresolved issues. Too much accommodation can result in groups where the most assertive parties
commandeer the process and take control of most conversations.
Conflict Resolution Strategy #4: Collaborating
Collaborating is the method used when people are both assertive and cooperative. A group may
learn to allow each participant to make a contribution with the possibility of co-creating a shared
solution that everyone can support.
A great way to collaborate and overcome conflict is to reach out and touch them.
Conflict Resolution Strategy #5: Compromising
Another strategy is compromising, where participants are partially assertive and cooperative. The
concept is that everyone gives up a little bit of what they want, and no one gets everything they
want. The perception of the best outcome when working by compromise is that which “splits the
difference.” Compromise is perceived as being fair, even if no one is particularly happy with the final
Note: Many students often assume that they are in competition with each other thus subscribing to
a culture where a form of conflict can prevail. Alternatively, even if the latter is not always the case,
there are still solitary students who beaver away alone oblivious to the potential support that group
work can offer.
Group work assumes an alternative way of learning: by expressing and exploring diverse ideas and
experiences in a cooperative atmosphere. It's not about competing with fellow students and
winning, but about using the range of resources available in the group to deepen understanding, to
sharpen judgment and to extend knowledge. It involves mutual support and culture of shared
There are several different forms that group work can take. For example, the establishment of a selfhelp group can result in the sharing of notes and text books or support with revision.
Communication Skills, IBU, 2021/2022
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
Exercise 9. Conflict Management Styles Assessment: Please CIRCLE ONE response that best describes
you. Be honest, this survey is designed to help you learn about your conflict management style.
There are no right or wrong answers.
Rarely Sometimes Often Always
1. I discuss issues with others to try to find solutions
that meet everyone’s needs.
2. I try to negotiate and use a give-and-take approach to
problem situations.
3. I try to meet the expectations of others.
4. I would argue my case and insist on the advantages of
my point of view.
8. I prefer to compromise when solving problems and just
move on.
9. I find conflicts exhilarating; I enjoy the battle of wits
that usually follows.
10. Being in a disagreement with other people makes
me feel uncomfortable and anxious.
11. I try to meet the wishes of my friends and family.
12. I can figure out what needs to be done and I am
usually right.
13. To break deadlocks, I would meet people halfway.
14. I may not get what I want but it’s a small price to
pay for keeping the peace.
5. When there is a disagreement, I gather as much
information as I can and keep the lines of
communication open.
6. When I find myself in an argument, I usually say very
little and try to leave as soon as possible.
7. I try to see conflicts from both sides. What do I need?
What does the other person need? What are the
issues involved?
15. I avoid hard feelings by keeping my disagreements
with others to myself.
Communication Skills, IBU, 2021/2022
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
Scoring the conflict management styles assessment
As stated, the 15 statements correspond to the five conflict management styles. To find your most
preferred style, total the points for each style. The style with the highest score indicates your most
commonly used strategy. The one with the lowest score indicates your least preferred strategy.
However, all styles have pros and cons, so it’s important that you can use the most appropriate style
for each conflict situation.
Style corresponding statements (Total):
Collaborating (questions 1, 5, 7)
Competing (questions 4, 9, 12)
Avoiding (questions 6, 10, 15)
Accommodating (questions 3, 11, 14)
Compromising (questions 2, 8, 13)
My preferred conflict management style is: ______________________________________________
The conflict management style I would like to work on is: ___________________________________
How can I practice this conflict management style?
Keep in mind that one style of conflict management is not necessarily better than another; each
style has pros and cons, and each can be useful depending on the situation. This assessment is
intended to help you identify your typical response to conflict, with the goal that when you
encounter future conflicts, you will be aware of not only your instinctive reaction, but also the pros
and cons of that reaction for the specific situation. Furthermore, you will also be aware of the other
styles of conflict management that you could draw on to resolve the situation, if one of the other
styles is more appropriate for the current situation.
Communication Skills, IBU, 2021/2022
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
Owls highly value both their goals and their relationships. They view conflict as a problem to
be solved and seek a solution that achieves both their goals and the goals of the other
person. Owls see conflicts as a means of improving relationships by reducing tensions between two
persons. They try to begin a discussion that identifies the conflict as a problem, and strive to resolve
tensions and maintain the relationship by seeking solutions that satisfy both themselves and the
other person.
Turtles tend to value avoiding confrontation more than either their goals or
relationships. They often find it easier to withdraw from a conflict than to face it. This might even
include completely giving up relationships or goals that are associated with the conflict.
Sharks typically value their goals over relationships, meaning that if forced to choose,
they would seek to achieve their goals even at the cost of the relationship involved.
Sharks are typically more concerned with accomplishing their goals than with being liked by others.
They might try to force opponents to accept their solution to the conflict by overpowering them.
Teddy Bear
Teddy Bears typically value relationships over their own goals; if forced to choose,
Teddy Bears will often sacrifice their goals in order to maintain relationships. Teddy
Bears generally want to be liked by others, and prefer to avoid conflict because they believe
addressing it will damage relationships. Teddy Bears try to smooth over conflict to prevent damage
to the relationship.
Foxes are moderately concerned with both their goals and their relationships with others.
Foxes typically seek a compromise; they give up part of their goals and persuade the other
person in a conflict to give up part of their goals. They seek a conflict solution in which both sides
gain something; the middle ground between two extreme positions. They are willing to sacrifice part
of their goals in order to find agreement for the common good.
Table 9. Explanation on the conflict management styles
Communication Skills, IBU, 2021/2022
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
During your study at university, you will be required to produce different written assignments as a
part of your programme. These represent a variety of writing tasks you will need to undertake as a
In order to prepare different written assignments you will also have to do a lot of reading. Therefore,
in this chapter, we will cover the two most important skills for the university student: reading skills
and academic writing skills.
Reading is an integral part of study at University. Virtually all assessed work at University will have
been underpinned by background reading, so it is essential that students develop their reading skills
as soon as possible. Unfortunately, during the first term or semester new undergraduates are often
lulled into a false sense of security as the majority of assignments are not due for submission until
late in the semester.
The tips below, offer some simple but practical advice on how best you can manage your time by
reading effectively.
1.1. Reading selectively
Two hours spent trying to locate a single text in the library or ten minutes that result in a collection
of ten books that are irrelevant to your essay are not conductive to good time management. Once
you have found the area of the library where the texts that you require are stored, it is preferable to
employ the skills of skimming, scanning and critical reading.
Skimming: A brief perusal of a text for general information. You'll probably look at the title. Author,
synopsis, contents page and date of publication for an indication of its relevance to your requisites.
You might also want to read the first few lines to ascertain whether you find the style of writing
Scanning: a more in-depth examination of a text for specific information. Having elicited the
potential usefulness of the book from your skim, you'll now look at the content of a particular
chapter or article to judge its worth.
Critical reading: a comparison of two or three texts on similar topics. Having employed the previous
skills to select the appropriate texts, you might now examine the relevant sections for bias,
objectivity and perspective. Texts with differing approaches will contribute towards a balanced and
objective essay.
For example, someone wanting information about reading strategies might skim a number of books
on general study skills; scan chapters for information on reading skills; compare two or three
chapters in order to critically read about reading strategies.
Communication Skills, IBU, 2021/2022
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
1.2. Reading efficiently
In order to read efficiently it may be worth considering the following questions. There are not always
answers that are simply right or wrong but there are ways of managing your time by containing the
amount that you read.
Q) Do you read before or after the lecture?
A) In the ideal world one would read both before and after the lecture. However, these days, many
students have other commitments such as clubs, family and employment to attend to. Therefore,
you have to choose the method that best suits you.
Reading before the lecture should aid your understanding of the subject, especially if the lecture
content is new or potentially difficult. You can anticipate what you deem to be the most important
areas or write questions that you expect to have answered in the lecture. The lecture content
should, then, have an air of familiarity to it.
Reading after the lecture helps to clarify your notes and consolidate your learning and
understanding. It also helps in your compilation of resources and evidence for assignments and
Q) Do you need to read everything on your reading list?
A) The answer to this depends on individual tutors. Generally, we can presume that reference to
specific articles/ chapters that accompany a lecture outline indicates that the lecturer feels this
reading to be essential; particularly, if a subsequent tutorial will involve discussion of the lecture
content. On the other hand, a suggested reading list in a course handbook usually comprises
indicative reading material; that is, a list of texts that the tutor feels would be helpful but that could
be replaced by preferred books or journals of a similar content. However, there are a few tutors that
expect you to illustrate a familiarity with ALL the books on their reading list within your written
work. Make sure that you read your course handbook and assignment briefings/instructions clearly
to determine your tutors’ expectations.
Q) Do you know how many sources are required in your reference list?
A) Again, the answer to this may well depend on individual tutors. Unfortunately, many tutors hate
being asked "how many references do you want?" and give unhelpful replies such as "how long is a
piece of string?”. Some tutors feel that it's oppressive to expect students to underpin their work with
a set number of references whilst others might not view a piece of work as "academic" without
references to at least twenty sources. None of this is very helpful to new undergraduates, especially
those trying to integrate some degree of time management into their studies. There's little point in
wasting time reading twenty-five texts your tutor only expected reference to two. On the other
hand, you'll get low marks for only using two sources if the tutor was expecting you to read widely.
Therefore, unless your tutor is unapproachable, try and get them to indicate their views on
Communication Skills, IBU, 2021/2022
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
reference lists. Generally, you will find that most people prefer fewer sources that have been
referenced with academic relevance and understanding rather than a lengthy "shopping-list" of
references that have been briefly mentioned in passing. If you really need a benchmark for a firstyear essay, It is suggested Six sources for a 1,500 word essay and Ten for a 2,500 word essay.
Q) Are you expected to provide a reference list or/and a bibliography?
A) A reference list comprises all the texts that have been referred to in your assignment and is
presented in alphabetical order by author's surname. The reference list should be presented on a
separate piece of paper and not commenced on the same page as the final paragraph of your work.
Every piece of written work that is submitted in your University career must be accompanied by a
reference list.
A bibliography comprises a list of other reading that you may have undertaken to inform your
written work but has not been specifically referred to within the text. It will be presented in a similar
format to a reference list. Not all tutors consider the inclusion of a bibliography as essential.
Now, if you have five assignments and you submit a bibliography for each, you may have utilised ten
hours that might have been better spent elsewhere. Therefore, it's always useful to check with your
1.3. Reading material that is relevant and reliable
An important component of selective and efficient reading is ensuring, where possible, that your
reading material is relevant and reliable. It can be disheartening to have spent a considerable
amount of time on your background reading on constructing a fine-looking reference list only to
have your tutor question the worth of your selection of texts.
a) Currency: Depending on your course, there may be seminal texts that your tutor expects you to
read that were written many years ago. For example, the founders of Sociology wrote in the late
nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Conversely, the ideas and content of some courses,
particularly those associated with information technology, change so rapidly that books can appear
outdated almost as soon as they are published. As a general rule, you should try to consider current
ideas in your field of study; this means reading texts that have been published within the last five
b) Credibility: Journal articles are usually more current than text books. Even if your book was
published this year, it might have been three or four years in preparation. However, there are an
increasing number of journals available in all fields so it is worth asking come questions about the
credibility of the source you are using. For example, is the journal peer reviewed? This means that
submitted articles have to undergo rigorous review by other academics. It is also helpful to use a
journal that is recognised in your field and possibly recommended by your tutor. Finally, you might
want to ascertain whether a brief biography of the author is available and if s/he is a practitioner in
the field under discussion.
Communication Skills, IBU, 2021/2022
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
c) Internet: It goes without saying that the Internet provides everyone with a wealth of readily
available information which is more up to date than any other media. Most tutors now expect to see
electronic websites in reference pages integrated with books and journals. However, it's easy to lose
time on the Internet by following a variety of links. Therefore, students using this resource are
advised to be strict with themselves and stick to the planned research. Another problem can occur
when trying to identify the author of a particular article. Some sources on the Internet are
deliberately disguised, perhaps for political or religious reasons. If you cannot locate the Author's
name it may be better to look for another reference.
d) Newspapers: These can be a very good source of information for those wishing to obtain an
overview of current affairs or business practice. However, unless you are taking a course that
involves content analysis, it is preferable to avoid newspapers as academic sources. Newspapers are
allowed to and should be biased. A free press is an integral component of a democracy but not
generally considered useful in academic writing.
1.4. Reading to answer questions
Why are you reading? Your objectives are unlikely to be the same as the authors who wants you to
read the whole of his/her book. At University you simply will not have time to read the book from
cover to cover; in any case, this is not how to approach a text book. You should be reading to answer
particular questions.
For example, the best way to approach any essay title is to ask yourself "What do I need to know in
order to answer the essay?" Let’s take the following essay title to examine how to make the reading
more focused:
Some commentators have recently argued that racism is endemic in British Society. Using
examples, discuss this proposition (2,500 words)
So, what do you need to read about in order to answer the question?
a) What definitions of racism are available?
b) Who are the commentators?
c) Which groups are likely to be affected?
d) What evidence of racism is there in education/ health care/ workplace etc? (you would have to
decide what you interpretation of British Society was).
e) What evidence is there that racism is declining?
It is up to individual students to interpret their assignment titles but it should be clear that, by
reading to answer four or five questions about the title, your reading will be far more relevant. Once
you have read and taken notes to answer the questions, the answers then become the themes of
your essay.
Communication Skills, IBU, 2021/2022
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
1.5. The SQ3R Method
When reading for an essay, it is advisable to complete all the reading and note-taking before you
commence writing in order to retain structure and flow.
SURVEY: Survey the material by skimming trough looking for key words and phrases. Read the
introduction and conclusion. Skim by paragraphs, reading perhaps the first & last sentence.
QUESTION: Have a questioning attitude as you read. Question meaning, definitions and any
relationships to other material & references.
READ: Actively read the material trying to answer any of the questions you have raised and take
notes. Paper & pencil are required to adequately complete this phase.
RECALL: Recitation and constant recall can help you learn and apply the knowledge to other areas.
Do this frequently whilst reading and always at the end of each section.
REVIEW: A review stage is a key element to study skills generally as well as to effective reading. The
review stage should include re-surveying the work, re-reading to refresh the mind and conscious
recall of important points.
The SQ3R approach can also be used for reviewing lecture notes and as a revision technique. The
more you use this skill, the easier it will become.
The process of preparing and writing assignments is also part of the communication skills, and
Academic Writing is a particular form of communication in an academic context. Following is a list of
different written assignments that you as students will need to prepare in different courses.
Reports come in all shapes and sizes. They range from pro-forma report sheets to the one-off
specialist report for which the writer has to establish clear objectives, terms of reference,
information, requirements and structure. In the academic world, you will come across assignments,
projects and dissertations. Unless instructed otherwise, all academic reports should be wordprocessed using a computer.
An assignment can be a report of learning reflecting on a specific learning activity you have
undertaken, a case study report or a report based on a practical project. The assessment vehicle for
all university courses varies depending on the nature of the course, but is likely to involve all these
three types of assignment.
A case study report is a piece of written work prepared on the basis of a case study issued to you in
connection with the assessment of a particular course. You will typically be asked to analyse the case
situation using the relevant theoretical tools and techniques, generate alternative management
solutions, evaluate them and choose the most appropriate one for implementation. You may also be
asked to make recommendations with regards to how best to implement the solution.
Communication Skills, IBU, 2021/2022
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
An essay is one of the most common written assignments you will be required to submit at
university. Essays are written for various purposes: to inform/to entertain/to challenge/to
explore/to convince. The academic essay is generally written in response to a question. You are
expected to present a point of view (often expressed in a thesis statement) that is informed by
research. Your aim is to develop a support argument for the thesis you propose.
Please note: different disciplines within the university may require different styles and
approaches to essay writing. Make sure that you ascertain what approach is required by
your faculty. You can do this by reading all associated faculty information/guides or by
discussing this with your lecturer or tutor.
A project is a piece of written work based on a set of specific tasks prescribed in connection with the
assessment of given course. The nature of these tasks can vary between courses. Some will require
you to make some observations on a certain type of social phenomenon and comment on what you
see whilst others may require you to carry out some research and or follow a prescribed process to
develop a product or service and comment on the learning process.
A dissertation is a larger piece of written work based on a wide range of reading and has a strong
research underpinning. As you will learn more about this when you move on to a postgraduate
degree programme, we will not spend much time covering this type of writing.
In all cases what makes a written assignment can be summarised in the following five words:
 Accuracy
 Objectivity
 Brevity
 Clarity
 Simplicity.
Accuracy and objectivity are concerned with the substance and the content. Information must be
accurate, although not necessarily detailed, and evaluations objective.
Brevity, clarity and simplicity relate to the way in which the contents are presented an assignment
or report. Aim for a clearly developed line of argument, succinctly expressed and easily understood.
You need to have a clear picture and understanding of assignment’s purpose, readership and
Most students will find it useful to draw on more than one of these approaches, depending on the
nature of the writing task (though some approaches may not suit you at all). The best guides to using
an unfamiliar approach are probably other students you know who already use this approach
Communication Skills, IBU, 2021/2022
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
2.1. Structuring an assignment
These are only general guidelines for structuring an assignment or report. Tutors of some courses
may, in their assignment briefs, give more specific recommendations. In the unlikely event of any
contradiction(s), details set out by the tutors should be given priority consideration.
Under normal circumstances, an assignment or report should be structured to reflect the contents
and order as indicated below:
Title page
List of contents, tables/illustrations/appendices (optional)
Main body
Conclusions and recommendations
Appendices -optional- any material not used in the essay but useful to the reader can usually
be provided as an Appendix, or Appendices (plural).
Title Page
The title page should give the following information in the order indicated:
 The full title of the assignment. The appropriate tutor often gives this. The candidate may add
a subtitle to indicate the actual content of the work submitted.
 The full name of the student. Your name should only appear on the title page and not
anywhere else on the assignment.
 A statement indicating the purpose of submission, e.g., ‘This assignment is submitted in partial
fulfilment of the requirements for the course, the title of the course, e.g. Introduction to
Communication Skills.
 The date, month and year of submission.
The actual structure of an assignment may wary depending on the course requirements. However,
you should always include a list of references or a bibliography.
NOTE: Do not forget to put on the cover page your name, student number, the date, the name of
the course and the lecturer’s name.
2.2. Use of sources/ referencing
You are expected to show evidence in your essay of having read widely but also critically. The
cardinal sin in academia is plagiarism, which we may define as the presentation as one's own of
ideas or phraseology knowingly derived from other writers. For students, there are very serious
penalties for this: it may be treated as an act of fraud. However, academic writing does require such
'borrowed' ideas to be formally acknowledged.
Communication Skills, IBU, 2021/2022
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
Failing to attribute the work of others to their original sources will be seen as an act of cheating
and/or plagiarism and has to be dealt with accordingly. Cheating denotes any deliberate attempt to
gain an unfair advantage in any assessment.
Plagiarism denotes the deliberate attempt by the candidate to pass off as her or his own, for the
purpose of an assessment, the work of another person, including another candidate and including
work in computerised form. Where it has been established that a candidate has been engaged in
academic dishonesty or plagiarism in an examination or other forms of assessment, the University
may deem that the candidate has failed all or a part of the assessment concerned, in accordance
with International Balkan University Procedure.
Reference formats
You are normally expected to include a list of references at the end of your text. These are works
actually cited in the main body of the text (unlike a bibliography).
All of the in-text citations must appear in this list. Follow the referencing style (Harvard, APA or
Chicago)* required by your Faculty or lecturer.
You can find instructions for use of all those styles on:
use a citation generators such as:
References or Bibliography?
Note that a 'bibliography' is not the same as a ‘list of references’. A bibliography is a list of every
written source which you read in preparing your essay, whilst list of references list only those that
are cited directly in the text. Many lecturers require references rather than a bibliography – always
check with your lecturer what is expected.
2.3. Presentation
Present your essay / project in as tidy and well-organized a way as you can.
If not required otherwise, you should double-space your text and use wide margins so that tutors
have space to comment. The text should be printed clearly in black (except where colour is needed
for illustrations). Choose a font size of 12 points, preferably Times New Roman. The essay pages
should all be numbered.
Communication Skills, IBU, 2021/2022
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
IBU Academic Integrity Statement
Students are responsible for proper conduct and integrity in all of their scholastic work. They must
follow a professor's instructions when completing tests, homework, and reports, and must ask for
clarification if the instructions are not clear. In general, students should not give or receive aid when
taking exams, or exceed the time limitations specified by the professor. In seeking the truth, in
learning to think critically, and in preparing for a life of constructive service, honesty is imperative.
Honesty in the classroom and in the preparation of papers is therefore expected of all students. Each
student has the responsibility to submit work that is uniquely his or her own. All of this work must be
done in accordance with established principles of academic integrity.
Acts of Academic Dishonesty (Cheating)
Specific violations of this responsibility include, but are not limited to, the following:
 Copying, offering and/or receiving unauthorized assistance or information in examinations,
tests, quizzes; in the writing of reports, assigned papers, or special assignments.
 The fabrication or falsification of data, results, or sources for papers or reports.
 The use of unauthorized materials and/or persons during testing.
 The unauthorized possession of tests or examinations.
 The physical theft, duplication, unauthorized distribution, use or sale of tests, examinations,
papers, or computer programs.
 Any action that destroys or alters the work of another student.
 Tampering with grades, grade books or otherwise attempting to alter grades assigned by the
 The multiple submission of the same paper or report for assignments in more than one
course without the prior written permission of each instructor.
Academic misconduct (CHEATING)
a. Academic misconduct refers to the cheating or assisting in cheating, in examination or nonexamination context.
b. Cheating denotes seeking to obtain an unfair advantage during exams, or any other written or
practical work, and it will be under appropriate disciplinary action.
If a student while taking an exam uses unauthorized written/printed materials during examination,
uses electronic devices, or is replaced by another person who takes exam instead, is considered as
c. Assisting to cheat means assisting the student to perform a misconduct using unauthorized
written/printed materials during examination or use of electronic devices. Also, situations when a
person substitutes a student during examination, i.e. taking exam instead of a student, are
considered as assisting to cheat.
d. Every cheating or assisting to cheating misconducts shall be reported by the exam observers, or a
professor responsible for the course, to the Disciplinary Committee. Consequent disciplinary actions
will be introduced.
Communication Skills, IBU, 2021/2022
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
Plagiarism is taking another person’s words, thoughts, or organizational schemes and pretending
they are your own. Whether intentional or accidental, plagiarism is an academic crime and will result
in a failing grade for the paper and perhaps for the course.
Plagiarism may result from lack of research skills, lack of attention to detail, or forgetfulness, as well
as from a deliberate attempt to mislead the reader. The instructor cannot know what you intended
and cannot, therefore, distinguish between deliberate and accidental plagiarism.
Some common examples of plagiarism include:
 Using another person’s words without putting quotation marks around those words and
without citing the source of the quotation.
 Describing another person’s ideas in your own words (paraphrasing) without mentioning
that person’s name.
 Following another person’s model or structure for your paper without giving that person
proper credit, such as using a template someone else has prepared and simply fitting your
facts into that template.
 Giving your rough ideas to another person to organize and develop into a final draft.
 Working on a paper in a study group and turning in the same (or a similar) final document as
another member instead of turning in your own individually organized and worded paper.
Please note that this does not mean that you should avoid discussing your writing assignments with
anyone. Writing is a social act. You are at university to collect information from as many sources as
possible, and we urge you to read widely and to talk things over with your peers, your tutors, your
colleagues, your family, and others. However, once ideas have been collected, it is you who should
structure and present them in your own words, giving credit where it is due. If preceptors or others
critique rough drafts of your assignments, please be sure that their help is limited to pointing out
places where additional facts would strengthen your argument, passages which need to be clarified,
and errors in fact or reasoning, or problems with style and mechanics. They should not make the
changes themselves, however, for that would take an important learning opportunity away from
It is acceptable to obtain editing help for your final document, if needed, but only after it has been
graded and before it is submitted in final form for binding. Please note that the editing should only
address issues of grammatical accuracy, consistency and conciseness of expression. An editor should
not add information to a document; he or she simply polishes the information that is there.
It is the responsibility of the faculty to state clearly in the consolidated course syllabi all expectations
pertaining to academic integrity and plagiarism. Sanctions peculiar to an individual course should
also be explained in the section of the consolidated syllabi related that course.
Communication Skills, IBU, 2021/2022
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
To conclude:
We have now covered all the main issues of the course. We should now attempt to help you bring
together all we have learnt and see how they all fit into the three interlocking skills sets we
introduced at the beginning of the course.
If you have difficulties remembering the details of some of the topics, don’t worry, but you need to
go over those areas by yourself. If you still have problems with some of the issues, seek help from
your fellow students or your tutor without delay.
Finally, remember that:
“We all use language to communicate, to express ourselves, to get our ideas across, and to
connect with the person to whom we are speaking. When a relationship is working, the act
of communicating seems to flow relatively effortlessly. When a relationship is deteriorating,
the act of communicating can be as frustrating as climbing a hill of sand.”
Chip Rose, Director of the Mediation Centre in Santa Cruz, CA, USA
Communication Skills, IBU, 2021/2022
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sanja Adjaip-Veličkovski
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