Chapter 3: Workplace Communications

Introduction

Objectives

In this chapter, you will

  • identify common Canadian workplace interactions and behaviours
  • identify appropriate body language and eye contact for meetings and presentations
  • practise communicating your message in a clear, concise way
  • write an informal workplace email.

Video

Watch this chapter’s video. You will watch a meeting taking place at CDN Malls. Before watching the video, think about the meetings in your workplace or in your community that you have attended in the past. If you have not attended any meetings before, think about why people have meetings.

Discuss:

  • what kind of information you got before the meeting and what the document containing this information was called
  • whether the meetings always started on time
  • whether there was casual conversation before the meeting started.

While watching the video, think about the questions below. Write down information that you think is important.

  • Who are the people at the meeting?
  • What do you notice about what the people are doing before the meeting starts?
  • What do you think they are talking about? What kinds of topics could they be discussing?
  • What is the purpose of the meeting?
  • What do you notice about how Sima and Paul share their information at the meeting?
  • What do you notice about the people who are listening?

Focus questions

Sandy, your Workplace Mentor

Hi! I’m Sandy, your Workplace Mentor. Throughout this book, I will give you important pointers to help you understand the general environment in many workplaces in Canada.


3.1 Points to focus on:

  1. Small talk at meetings
  2. Eye contact and body language
  3. Clear communication

In the video, you watched a meeting at CDN Malls.

Discussion

Discuss the following:

 

  1. Who are the people at the meeting?
  2. What are the people doing before the meeting starts? How do you know? What topics are appropriate to discuss when making small talk at work? Put the topics into the appropriate columns in the table:
A complaint Personal problems
A conference or event you recently attended Weather
An issue with a colleague Latest political news
New facilities at work Last night’s game
Appropriate topics for small talk in the workplace Inappropriate topics for small talk in the workplace
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. What do you notice about the language the people in the video use when they interact? How formal/informal is it? Is there a difference in the level of formality before the meeting starts and after the meeting starts? Why/ Why not?
  2. What do you notice about the behaviour of the people in the video? Do they make eye contact while talking? Is this important? Why? What is the difference in the way eye contact is made while talking to one person and while talking to a group of people?
  3. Notice how the people listen to the person who is speaking. How do they show that they are paying attention? Think about both eye contact and body language.
  4. Sima and Paul do a great job at communicating their messages at the meeting. They organize their information. They also give their information in a short, direct way. This makes their information easy to understand. They do this by giving
  • the most important information about the situation and task
  • the most important information about the action that was taken
  • the most important information about the result.

When you give information at a meeting, remember the word STAR:

Situation Task Action Result
  1. Let us look at STAR more carefully. Complete the chart. What Sima says at the meeting is organized for you. Do the same for what Paul says at the meeting. Here is what Paul says at the meeting:

Raja and I are working on the 20th-anniversary campaign. Our team is now working on the prize draw—the 20 prizes for 20 weeks. So far, we have ordered the ballot boxes and contacted all the donors for the prizes. We will receive the ballot boxes tomorrow, and 18 of the donors have responded with amazing prizes. Prizes include gift cards, TVs, video games, hotel holiday packages, and plane tickets.

Communication Strategy What Sima says at the meeting What Paul says at the meeting
Situation and Task Well, we got a complaint from Security that some of our tenants are not following the instructions on using the loading docks for unloading. Some are using the main mall entrance.
Action that was taken Last week, we sent out an email with our delivery policy to all of our tenants as a friendly reminder. We also posted the policy on the walls and in

the service elevators. We followed up with the security personnel to check how things were going.

Result They said that there have been no issues this week. We will follow up again in two weeks.

 

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