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Business Communication - I Solved Question Papers: Nov' 2014


2014 (November)
Semester Exam New Course
The figures in the margin indicate full marks for the questions
.1. Select the right alternative : 1x4=4
  1. Ability to communicate effectively
  1. is inborn
  2. can be developed
  3. cannot be developed
  1. Grapevine is a kind of ____ communication.
  1. lateral
  2. formal
  3. informal
  1. To excel in group discussion, it is important to develop
  1. listening skills
  2. interactive skills
  3. speaking skills
  1. the difference between a memo and letter is in the
  1. tone and style
  2. message
  3. addressee
  1. The objective of any communication is just to receive or convey a message. False
  2. Informal communication takes place beyond organizational hierarchy. True
  3. The main purpose of a seminar is to share knowledge and to get the viewpoints of equally informed persons. True
  4. The guiding principle of writing collection letters is to collect and amount and lose the customer. True
3. Write answers to the following questions in about 100 words each: 4x4=16
  1. Communication is the lifeblood of any business organization. Elucidate.
  2. List any four media of external corporate communication and explain one of them briefly.
  3. What types of questions are generally asked in a job interview? Give examples of each.
  4. Explain briefly the approaches for writing persuasive letters.
4. (a) What do you mean by ‘a communication model’? Explain the SMCR model of communication developed by David Berlo. 4+10=14
Ans: Communication Models: Communication models are systematic representations of the process which helps in understanding how communication works can be done. Models show the process metaphorically and in symbols. They form general perspectives on communication by breaking communication from complex to simple and keeps the components in order. Communication models can sometimes encourage traditional thinking and stereotyping but can also omit some major aspects of human communication. Methods and channels of communication to be used and the purpose of communication, must be considered before choosing a specific communication model. Models are used by business companies and other firms to foster their communication, explore their options and to evaluate their own situations. It is also used to understand how the receivers will interpret the message.
David Berlo Model of Communication:
While the Aristotle model of communication puts the speaker in the central position and suggests that the speaker is the one who drives the entire communication, the Berlo’s model of communication takes into account the emotional aspect of the message. Berlo’s model of communication operates on the SMCR model.
a) S – Source: The source in other words also called the sender is the one from whom the thought originates. He is the one who transfers the information to the receiver after carefully putting his thoughts into words. It is done with the help of communication skills, Attitude, Knowledge, Social System and Culture.
Communication Skills: An individual must possess excellent communication skills to make his communication effective and create an impact among the listeners. The speaker must know where to take pauses, where to repeat the sentences, how to speak a particular sentence, how to pronounce a word and so on.
Attitude: It is rightly said that if one has the right attitude, the whole world is at his feet. There is actually no stopping for the person if he has the right attitude. A person might be a very good speaker but if he doesn’t have the right attitude, he would never emerge as a winner.
Knowledge: Here knowledge is not related to the educational qualification of the speaker or the number of degrees he has in his portfolio. Knowledge is actually the clarity of the information which the speaker wants to convey to the second party. One must be thorough in what he is speaking with complete in-depth knowledge of the subject.
Culture: Culture refers to the cultural background of the community or the listeners where the speaker is communicating or delivering his speech.
b) M – Message: When an individual converts his thoughts into words, a message is created. The process is also called as Encoding. Any message further comprises of the following elements:
Content: One cannot show his grey matter to others to let him know what he is thinking. A thought has to be put into words and content has to be prepared. Content is actually the matter or the script of the conversation. It is in simpler words, the backbone of any communication.
Element: It has been observed that speech alone cannot bring a difference in the communication. Keep on constantly speaking and the listeners will definitely lose interest after some time. The speech must be coupled with lots of hand movements, gestures, postures, facial expressions, body movements to capture the attention of the listeners and make the speech impressive. Hand movements, gestures, postures, facial expressions, body movements, gestures all come under the elements of the message.
Treatment: Treatment is actually the way one treats his message and is conveys to the listeners. One must understand the importance of the message and must know how to handle it.
Structure: A message cannot be expressed in one go. It has to be properly structured in order to convey the message in the most desired form.
Code: Enter a wrong code and the locks will never open. Enter a wrong password, you will not be able to open your email account. In the same way the code has to be correct in the communication.
c) C - Channel: Channel actually refers to the medium how the information flows from the sender to the receiver.
How does one know what the other person is speaking ? - Through Hearing.
How does one know whether the pasta he has ordered is made in white sauce or not ? - Through Tasting.
How does one know that there is a diversion ahead or it’s a no parking zone? - Through Seeing. How will an individual come to know that the food is fresh or stale ? How do we find out the fragrance of a perfume ? – Through Smelling.
How will you find out whether the milk is hot or not ? - Through Touching.
All the five senses are the channels which help human beings to communicate with each other.
d) R – Receiver: When the message reaches the receiver, he tries to understand what the listener actually wants to convey and then responds accordingly. This is also called as decoding. The receiver should be on the same platform as the speaker for smooth flow of information and better understanding of the message. He should possess good communication skills to understand what the speaker is trying to convey. He should have the right attitude to understand the message in a positive way. His knowledge should also be at par with the listener and must know about the subject. He should also be from the same social and cultural background just like the speaker.
There are several loopholes in the Berlo’s model of communication. According to the berlo’s model of communication, the speaker and the listener must be on a common ground for smooth conversion which is sometimes not practical in the real scenario.
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Or
(b) What do you mean by audience analysis? Examine the importance of audience analysis in the communication process. 4+10=14
Ans: AUDIENCE ANALYSIS
To send out a meaningful communication, the sender needs to know the audience or audiences he is dealing with. Otherwise one lands with a situation where one has spoken but not told. If it is a buyer’s market, with a choice of products to the consumer, the need to know the audience is even more urgent.
Modern management researchers have identified five types of audiences:
  1. Primary audience: This is the audience that will decide the fate of your communication – to act on it or not to act on it. The housewife who selects the washing soap is the primary audience to a soap ad.
  2. Secondary audience: These are the people who comment on the message and implement the decision once it is taken. The husband who buys the soap from the market is the secondary audience.
  3. Initial audience: This is the person or persons who are the first to receive the message and then pass it on to someone else to deal with. The general manager may be the one to receive and address a complaint to the sales manager. He is, then the initial audience.
  4. “Gatekeeper” audience: These are the people who have the power to stop the message before it reaches the addressee. The secretary to chairman is a gatekeeper audience.
  5. “Watch dog” audience: This includes all alert by standers who see a message conveyed and, if necessary, react favorably or otherwise. Woman activists, as a watch dog audience, may object to some posters.
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Now one can see that the communication must pass through the filter or screen reach where it is meant to, convey the correct sense, be acted upon, and withstand the scrutiny of the alert.
The importance of audience analysis: If you have been sending messages for a large number of people, then you probably know that “many men, many minds”. Some like an emotional appeal, some an intellectual or scientific. That is why advertisement of a food product says: “Taste may be the reason, vitamins the excuse – or vice versa.” This is a clever device to attract all kind of consumers.
Knowing your audience
To know an audience is to know what motivates the members of it. In Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar, Antony has to speak to the Romans after Caesar’s murder. The Romans at that time dislike the dead king. Antony has to gain sympathy for Caesar and create antipathy for the killers. He starts by befriending the listeners. He then makes an ironical remark about how people forget the good in others (here Caesar), and partially praises the murderers! He does not want to shock the listeners. He then shows how good a friend Caesar was to Antony …… and eventually shows how generous Caesar was to the citizens of Rome. Antony manages to reverse the mob opinion against the murderers and gets the Romans to hunt for them.
This is a masterpiece of persuasive communication based on common human psychology. A businessman may manipulate minds much the same way. He starts with an appeal to the values which the audience likes even if he has to create new values.
The audience may like the virtue of economy (limited spending), yet the businessman may play on human psychology to sell luxury goods that simplify life and make it comfortable. He appeals to a value (comfort) which is often deeper than the value of saving money.
Two-wheeler makers compete with each other by emphasizing different values in their target audience: the riding joy, the speed and acceleration, the fuel efficiency, the prestige of owning the number one product, and so on. The audience mood changes from one to the other as it receives different messages. So, after the businessman has made a study of what moves the audience, he adapts his message to it.
Audience analysis guides you to:
  1. Protecting the receiver’s ago.
  2. Blending logic and emotion with suitable images of each.
  3. A choice of appealing arguments, facts and figures.
  4. Underlining the positive in your message.
You may organize the message this way:
  1. Be direct except to give bad news (e.g. declining dividends).
  2. Outline the message.
  3. Use headings and subheadings as you go.
As for the style of the message:
  1. Make the language easy at every level – words, sentences, quotes.
  2. Avoid being defensive or rude.
  3. Remove negativity.
  4. Use the languages with which the audience is at ease – conversational and familiar.
Advice on visuals:


  1. Use charts, models, photos etc.
  2. Get the visuals designed by graphic experts.
  3. Use appealing colour combinations.
In the case of a mixed audience, it is best to give priority to (i) Those that will decide to act or not to act on the message. (ii) The ones who will screen it. A film is made to suit the common taste of the public and the censor board.

5. (a) Explain briefly the various forms of internal and external corporate communication. 7+7=14
Ans: Meaning of Corporate Communication
Corporate communication is broadly defined as a corporation's attempt to inform the public, including all its consumers, private investors and the media. Corporate communication represents the very voice with which corporate institutions interact with the outside world and is inclusive of communications regarding investor relations, government relations, labor relations and employee development. Corporate communications is the process of facilitating information and knowledge exchanges with internal and key external groups and individuals that have a direct relationship with an enterprise. It is concerned with internal communications management from the standpoint of sharing knowledge and decisions from the enterprise with employees, suppliers, investors and partners.
In the words of William Scott,” Administrative communication is a process which involves the transmission and accurate replication of ideas ensured by feedback for the purpose of eliciting actions which will accomplish organizational goals‖.”
Corporate communication is mainly divided into two parts:
a) Internal Communication
b) External Communication
INTERNAL COMMUNICATION :  It refers to the exchange of information and ideas within an organization. As employee, you are in a position to observe things that your supervisors and co-workers cannot see: a customer’s first reaction to a product display , a supplier’s brief hesitation before agreeing to a delivery date or a slowdown in the flow of customers. Managers and co-workers need these little gems of information in order to do their jobs. Internal communication helps employees do their jobs , develop a clear sense of the organization’s mission and identify and react quickly to potential problems. To maintain a healthy flow of information within the organization , effective communicators use both formal and informal channels.
EXTERNAL COMMUNICATION: The external communication network links the organization with the outside world of customers , suppliers , competitors , and investors , journalists , and community representatives. Sometimes this external communication is carefully orchestrated – especially during a crisis. At other times it occurs informally as part of routine business operations.
Internal and External communication are further divided into two parts:
  1. Formal Communication
  2. Informal Communication
Formal Communication: Communication takes place through the formal channels of the organization structure along the lines of authority established by the management is called Formal Communication. It is that route of communication which is institutionally determined and is associated with status or position of the receiver and sender. The formal channels are deliberately related to ensure that accurate information flows smoothly and timely. Such communications are generally in writing and may take any of the forms; policy; manuals: procedures and rule books; memoranda; official meetings; reports, etc.
Informal Communication: Communication arising out of all those channels of communication that fall outside the formal channels is known as informal communication. Informal communication does not flow lines of authority as is the case of formal communication. It arises due to the personal needs of the members of an organization. At times, in informal communication, it is difficult to fix responsibility about accuracy of information. Such communication is usually oral and may be covered even by simple glance, gesture or smile or silence.
Informal communication is known as grapevine. Grapevine arises because of the desire of the people to communicate without following the formal channel of communication. It follows no setlines, nor any definite rules, but spreads like grapevine, in any direction anywhere.
Channel of communication/Communication Networks
A channel means a path or a way. Thus a channel of communication is the path or way through which information is transmitted throughout the organization. It is the route through which the message flows from the sender to the receiver.  Human beings in an organization are inter-related to each other. They are related both formally as well as informally. These relationships are maintained by means of communication. Therefore there exists in an organization two channels of communication: -
1. Formal channel of communication
2. Informal channel of communication
Various forms of Formal channel of communication
Formal Channel of Communication are classified into following forms:
1. Downward communication: Communication that flows from the top level of the organization to the bottom level along with the scalar chain is known as downward communication. Example for such type of communication are orders, instructions, rules, policies, programs and directives etc. it specifies the extent of the subordinates authority and their responsibility.
2. Upward Communication: Upward communication is just the opposite of downward communication. In this communication system, the message is transmitted from the bottom of the organization upward to the top of the organization through the middle managers along with the line. Usually this includes workers grievances, suggestions and reactions. This communication system was not appreciated by the superiors. But it has assured importance in modern times and is considered to be a main source of motivating employees.
3. Horizontal communication: The flow of information between departments or people of equal level in an organizational structure may be termed as horizontal or lateral communication. The two departments may be under the same superior or may have different heads. Such communication may be written or oral. The main object of lateral communication is to co-ordinate the efforts of different departments or persons.
4. Diagonal communication: Diagonal communication is between people who are neither in the same department nor on the same level of organizational structure. It cuts across departmental lines. It generally takes place when members cannot communicate effectively through other channels.  
These upward, downward, horizontal or diagonal communications may be oral, written, informal or gestural.
Various forms of Informal channel of communication


Keith Davis has identified four different networks for transmitting information via the grapevine:-
1. Single Strand Chain: In single strand chain one person communicate with only one person. In this the first person tells something to the 2nd, the 2nd to the 3rd person, the 3rd to 4th person and so on till the message is communicated to all.
2. Gossip Chain: In gossip chain one person communicates with many persons. As soon as a person gets some interesting non jog related information he conveys the same to every other person.
3. Probability chain: In probability chain communication takes place between many persons. There information is conveyed from one person to another irrespective of the fact that they are related to each other or not whether formally or informally. In this the information passes at random.
4. Cluster Chain: In cluster chain one person communicates with many other persons but selectively. In this one person may convey information to 4 or 5 persons whom he knows very well and can trust out of these 4-5 persons one or two may again pass on the information. As the number grows larger and larger and information staler, it gradually dies out. This is knows as cluster chain because one person while conveying message may from cluster.
Or
(b) Enumerate briefly any four barriers to communication. Suggest six ways to overcome communication barriers. 8+6=14
Barriers of Communication:
Communication is the process of passing information and understanding from one person to another, anything that obstructs the free flow of communication is referred to us Barrier of communication. E.g. Problem in encoding and decoding, wrong or defective communication channel, noise in the channel etc. Barrier may arise at any of the following level:
  1. Sender oriented,
  2. Receiver oriented
Sender-oriented barriers could be voluntary or involuntary. At any cost, efforts should be made on the part of the sender to identify and remove them. As the sender is the originator of communication, he should be extremely careful not to erect barriers. If his interaction gives rise to or indicates that there are barriers, the communication comes to a grinding halt. Some of the barriers that are sender-oriented are as follows:
Receiver can also have some barriers in the course of the interaction. Although his role in the initial phase is passive, he becomes active when he starts assimilating and absorbing the information. He is equally to blame if the situation goes awry and communication comes to a stop, or there is miscommunication. Some of the barriers emanating from the side of the receiver are as follows:
Types of Barriers in communication: The barriers to communication in an organization may be broadly categorized into following groups:
1. Physical barriers (RECEIVER’S ORIENTED)
2. Socio- psychological or personal barriers (RECEIVER’S ORIENTED)
3. Organizational barriers (SENDER’S ORIENTED)
4. Semantic barriers (SENDER’S ORIENTED)
5. Mechanical barriers (SENDER’S ORIENTED)
However, such a classification does not suggest that these are mutually exclusive. Rather, it is helpful in understanding the nature of communication barriers.
1. Physical Barriers: There are the environmental factors that also obstruct or reduces the sending and receiving of communication, such as physical distance distracting noises and other interferences difficulty arises in communicating a message, when the physical distance increases:-
Noise: Noise is first and foremost barrier to effective communication. Noise may be caused by machines, equipment, communication device, disturbances in the time of transmission etc. noise also encompasses many other factors such as the sender may use ambiguous or confusing signal. The receiver may misinterpret the message. Thus communication is likely to be spoilt due to noise.
Time and distance: Time and distance also acts as a barrier in smooth flow of communication. Distance between the sender and receiver acts as a hurdle. Although this barrier can be overcome by technology but still in case of breakdown, this exists. Different timing of shifts at workplace also act as barriers in imparting on vital information.
2. Socio-psychological or personal Barriers: There are certain socio psychological factors which restrict the free flow of communication. They are the attitude and opinions, status consciousness, ones relations with fellow workers, seniors, and junior’s etc. family background. These restrict participative communication:
I. Motives, attitudes, judgments, emotions, and social values of people from the part of the personal barriers. Psychological distance is also developed with this.
II. Individual Differences: There are differences in the motives, attitudes and sentiments of the people. So this causes problems in encoding and decoding other’s sentiments, attitudes and motives.
III. Differences in interest: The interest of people also differs. A problem may be important for one person but may not carry weight for another. The ideas, question, attitudes, feelings etc of other party may represent an obstacle to one’s own personal goal.
IV. Division of People: Communication is ideas and viewpoint also gets affected by the division of people into classes, castes and communities.
V. Difference of viewpoints: Communication suffers when there are differences in view point of the different people.
VI. Lack of planning: Good communication never happens but has to be planned. When people take it lightly and communicate without planning it turns into miscommunication or mal communication.
VII. Cultural barriers: Due to difference in the cultural background the same word, phrases, symbols, actions etc. may mean different to different group of people. Mis understanding may take place due to this.
3. Organizational Barriers: Organisational barriers arise due to defects in the organization structure and the communication system of an organization:
I. Hierarchical distance: Downward communication promotes hierarchical distance. The chances of information being filtered are more at this structure, because there are several layers. Information received from the top may not reach at bottom in the same shape. The information gets coloured which brings hierarchical distance.
II. Diversion: Diversion of information is also one of the causes which brings barrier to communication process. For example sometimes a manager diverts the information meant for one person or group to another.
III. Colouring: Information are also coloured by the manager intentionally with a view to twist the situation in their favour. For example, an office may quote his subordinate wrongly, to spoil his career or his chance of promotion or his image in the eyes of the boss.
IV. Status barriers: Status is a barrier of communication in a formal organization. Organizational interaction and communication are influenced by the status and the expectations.
V. Goal conflicts: Goal conflict acts as communication reducers. Different goal lead to bifurcation of interest. Due to this communication suffers.
4. Semantic Barriers: Semantic means the relationships of signs of their reference. Semantic barrier arises from the disadvantages of the symbolic system. Symbols have got number of meaning and one has to choose any one of them according to the requirement of communication. Symbol or the language is the most important tool of communication which has to be used very carefully:-
I. Words with different meaning: Some words convey more than one meaning. When the receiver assigns a different meaning to a word than what the sender intended, there occurs miscommunication.
II. Denotation and connotation: Words have two types of meaning = Denotation and connotation. Denotation is the literal meaning of the words connotation are the suggestive meaning of the words. Connotation is the suggestive meanings of the words. Connotation may be positive or negative.
III. Offensive style of communication: Badly expressed messages lose their impact. Offensive style of communication leads to communication breakdown causing loss of time and money.
IV. Wrong assumptions: Communication should not be based on assumption as it may lead to wrong interpretation. All possible efforts should be made to clarify assumptions.
V. Selective perception: many a time the message is decoded by the receiver in a way which may be selective. In other words most of the receivers protect their own interest and expectations leading to a particular type of feedback which becomes a communication problem.
5. Mechanical Barriers: Mechanical barriers include inadequate arrangement for transmission of news, facts and figures. Example poor office layout and defective procedure and the use of wrong media led to poor communication.
I. Information overload: Excess of communication is called information overload. Brevity is the soul of communication. The receiver cannot comprehend and absorb beyond his mental capacity. His mind will remain closed for the excess part of the communication. Therefore one should be brief and to the point.
II. Loss of transmission: When messages are transmitted from person to person they are filtered. In other words they are diluted and distorted on the way. In oral communication about 30% of the information is lost in each transmission.
Steps to overcome the barriers of communication in an organization
In order to remove barriers to communication an open door communication policy should be prepared and followed by managers at all levels. The superiors in the organization must create an atmosphere of confidence and trust in the organization so that the credibility gap may be narrowed down. Major efforts in this direction are:
  1. Two-way communication: The organization’s communication policy should provide for a two-way traffic in communication upwards and downwards. It brings two minds closer and improves understanding between the two parties the sender and the receiver. There should be no communication gap.
  2. Strengthening Communication Network: The communication network should be strengthened to make communication effective. For this purpose the procedure of communication should be simplified, layers in downward communication should be reduced to the minimum possible. Decentralization and delegation of authority should be encouraged to make information communication more efficient.
  3. Promoting Participative Approach: The management should promote the participative approach in management. The subordinates should be invited to participate in the decision making process. It should seek cooperation from the subordinates and reduce communication barriers.
  4. Appropriate Language: In communication certain symbols are used. Such symbols may be in the form of words, pictures and actions. If words are used, the language should be simple and easily comprehensible to the subordinates. Technical and multi-syllable words should, as far as possible be avoided. The sender must use the language with which the receiver is familiar.
  5. Credibility in Communication: One criterion of effective communication is credibility. The subordinates obey the orders of their superior because they have demonstrated through their actions that they are trustworthy. They must practice whatever they say. The superior must also maintain his trust worthiness. If the superior is trusted by the subordinates, communication will be effective.
  6. Good Listening: A communicator must be a good listener too. A good manager gives his subordinates a chance to speak freely and express their feelings well before him. The manager also gets some useful information for further communication and can also have a better understanding of the subordinates needs, demands etc.
  7. Selecting on Effective Communication Channel: To be effective the communication should be sent to the receiver through an effective channel. By effective channel mean that the message reaches its destination in time to the right person and without any distortion, filtering or omission.
  8. Preventing Predictable Decision Making Errors: Predictable errors in decision making are preventable errors. And a few simple techniques can help in clear of the most common wrong turns in decision making.

6. (a) What are the objectives of group discussion? Assess the importance of group discussion as part of selection process. 5+9=14
Ans: Group Discussion
Group Discussion is an important tool in the selection process. It is mostly used for selecting candidates for management posts. Here, the candidates are divided into small groups. Each group contains six to eight candidates. Each group is given a topic for discussion. They are also given a time limit for discussing this topic. The topic may be a general or current topic. For e.g. "Leaders are born, not made". Each participant has to give his or her views about this topic. The selectors observe the full discussion. After the time limit is over, the best candidate from the group is selected. The same process is followed for other groups.
Group discussion is mostly unstructured. That is, every single step is not planned in advance. Each candidate is not given a time limit for speaking. Similarly, the order of speaking, that is, who will speak first and who will speak last is not fixed in advance. The candidates have to decide how to conduct the group discussion. The selectors see how the group takes shape, and who contributes most to it. They also judge the knowledge of each candidate, time management, leadership quality, behaviour, etc.
Purposes/Objectives of group discussion:
Group discussion actually detail the area of approach to a problem or topic. A fruitful group discussion should include the following objectives:
1. Suggestions: Advice and ideas, together with suggestions, they form the core heart of a group discussion. It is through these tools that a meaningful and practically implementable solution can be reached. Intermingling of these suggestions give rise to a new ones, creating a space for best possible output.
2. Wide approach: Group discussion helps to provide wide approach to any matter under consideration, as it include members from a large number of different sections of a particular business organisation. The beauty of entire process is in the area of span it can give to a problem’s redressal.
3. Decision Making: Group discussion should be able to justify itself as a tool for rational evaluation of a problem and thereon reach to a suitable decisions, based on erstwhile suggestions made by the members. It also makes it easier for the leader to able to take even the toughest of decision with an ease, because by group discussion he can know what is supported by other members of the organisation.
4. Exchange of ideas: Group discussion should also be able to tap the working of every mind, engaged in the process, by the exchange of ideas put forth.
5. Productive activity: Group discussion is always supposed to be a productive activity in a business concern. It always a method which helps to procure the best possible decision for a concern.
Why are Group Discussions used as a part of the selection process? 
Nowadays, be it any stream or field, interaction skills are highly valued. By means of group discussions recruiters judge candidates capabilities in and out. Group discussions have become an integral step of evaluation for process of recruitment and admissions. These discussions are aimed at appraising various aspects of personality like confidence, communication skill, patience, etc. At the same time Group discussions are also important to evaluate one’s command on the given topic. 
Group Discussions measure certain attributes of the candidates that are otherwise difficult to identify and time consuming to assess. A number of people who can communicate their ideas well and discuss effectively with others in a one-to-one situation become tongue-tied in a group situation. They will just not be able to present their ideas or discuss their ideas with the other members of the group. A Group Discussion will identify people who have such group communication skills and people who do not possess such group communication skills.
In today's context, the organizations are interested in team players rather than individual contributors. During the Group Discussion, the panel essentially evaluates the candidate's potential to be a leader and also his/her ability to work in teams. Most organizations today are very clear about the skills and knowledge that they look for in a candidate while screening. This was not the case a couple of years ago. Group Discussion has been a part of the Selection process for admission into most of the top Business Schools  Earlier, some of the Pharmaceutical Companies like Ranbaxy, Glaxo, Cipla, Lupin, etc used to conduct Group Discussions as a part of their Screening Process for Selection of candidates as Medical Representatives. Most of the other companies also used to conduct GD while selecting candidates for marketing related Posts. Today, almost every company, (including TCS, SATYAM, WIPRO, INFOSYS, INFOTECH, ORACLE, CTS, CANBAY, POLARIS, etc) both IT and non-IT has GD as part of their Selection Process. 
The skills that are usually assessed in a Group Discussion are: 
• Communication Skills 
• Interpersonal Skills 
• Leadership Skills 
• Motivational Skills 
• Team Building Skills 
• Tolerance to Ambiguity 
• Divergent Thinking 
• Listening skills 
• Presentation Skills 
• Analytical / Logical skills,
So, it's important to assess candidate’s current strengths in all these areas and accordingly put efforts to strengthen their weaknesses.
Or
(b)What is the importance of listening skills in a business organization? How are these skills useful in dealing with customer complaints? 6+8=14
Ans: Listening is an essential part of spoken communication. Speaking and listening go together and oral communication can not be effective without proper listening. Poor listening defeats the very purpose of spoken words. Listening is a deliberate effort and is much more than hearing. It requires getting the full meaning of what is being said.
Listening effectively takes skill, self-motivation, and practice. Effective listening means concentrating on what the speaker says rather than on how it is said. Lack of attention and respectful listening can be costly - leading to mistakes, poor service, misaligned goals, wasted time and lack of teamwork.
IMPORTANCE OF LISTENING
  1. It helps us to understand the people and the world around us.
  2. In our society, listening is essential to the development and survival of the individual.
  3. Relationships depends more on listening skills than on speaking skills.
  4. A good listener is always in a better position to deal with his problems and relationships.
  5. It helps a person to grow in his career.
  6. It keeps a person well informed
  7. It helps an organization to meet its objectives.
  8. Being listened to spells the difference between feeling accepted and feeing isolated.
  9. A good listener rarely involves himself in controversies and misunderstanding.
  10. Listening skills are critical to effective leadership.
  11. Good listeners are often the best speakers because they have taken the time to find out what people are truly interested in.
Importance of listening in dealing with customer service
Everyone who has ever worked in a customer service capacity knows that we won’t always have the ability or resources to solve every customer problem we encounter. What we can do each and every time we speak with a customer is offer them our attention, by listening to their needs in an engaged manner and responding appropriately. Listening forms the foundation of any effective customer service interaction, and it is one of the most powerful tools available for turning a negative experience into a positive one. Research has shown that both participants in a conversation feel better when they perceive the other party is engaged in active listening, meaning that it has the potential to increase satisfaction for both customers and employees. Here are a few ways that listening is important to customer service:
Empathy Begins with Active Listening: The absence of empathy is a prominent cause of service failure plaguing many organizations. When customers don’t believe that a representative is truly engaged in trying to understand their problem, they’re much more likely to walk away. When customer service professionals assume they know what a customer is feeling instead of listening for the language and cues that can truly signal the customer’s underlying emotions, empathy is impossible to achieve.
Listen as Customers Tell Us How to Resolve Their Issue: Many times, when a customer is explaining what went wrong and what they expect, service employees can read between the lines of the conversation and determine exactly what it will take to “wow” them and win them back. We just need to remember that the first step in customer service listening is to stop speaking.
Listening Keeps the Focus on the Customer Experience: Customer service conversations shouldn’t be about us, our skills, our organizations, or our products; they should always be about the customer’s experience. Committing our full attention throughout the conversation keeps the focus squarely on the customer and ensures that the interaction proceeds with their needs as the primary driver.
Reduce Instances of Miscommunication: Miscommunication breeds frustration and what may seem like a harmless error to us could be the last straw for a customer who feels like nothing is going their way. Proactively listening to our customer before taking action allows us to gather all of the information we need to help prevent miscommunication and the resulting service issues that come from not understanding what the customer is trying to tell us.
Listening Is an Improvement Mechanism: One of the most powerful ways to improve the performance of our teams is to train our team members to not only listen carefully but to document what they’ve learned from their conversations with customers.  Our customers are our best source for details about our successes and failures and often it is the unscripted, unstructured feedback data that provides the best insights into the experience we are providing.
7. (a) Enumerate any four purposes of writing a memo. Assume you are the Regional Manager, United Bank of India, Dibrugarh. Now draft a memo conveying to all employees of the regional office the message that a mock fire drill will be held at the beginning of next week as part of disaster management strategy.      4+10=14
Or
(b) What do you mean by a “Request Letter’? Assume you are the proprietor of M/s Beauty Cleaner, 16 Princess Street, Worli, Mumbai – 91. You drew a Demand Draft No. A 637825 dated 5th November, 2014 for Rs. 50,000 in favour of Global  Airlines Limited, payable at New Delhi. You pledged the Demand Draft as security deposit against the tender you submitted for upkeep and maintenance of the booking offices of Global Airlines Limited in New Delhi. Your tender was rejected and the Demand Draft was returned to you. Now Write a Request Letter to the Senior Manger, State Bank of India, Worli Branch, Mumbai to cancel the Demand Draft and credit the proceeds thereof to your firm’s Account no. 30494941531. 3+11=14
(Old Course)
Full Marks: 80
Pass Marks: 32
1. Selected the right alternative: 1x4=4
  1. Interaction with peers or colleagues is referred to as
  1. vertical communication
  2. diagonal communication
  3. horizontal / lateral communication
  1. Grapevine is a kind of ____ communication.
  1. Formal
  2. Informal
  3. lateral
  1. The essence of any speech is
  1. the content
  2. the choice of words
  3. the style
  1. The live telecast of budget and the analysis that follows in an example of
  1. Teleconferencing
  2. Videoconferencing
  3. news broadcasting
2. Write ‘True’ or ‘False’: 1x4=4
  1. For success of communication, it is necessary to make audience analysis and to adapt the message to their goals, interests and needs. True
  2. In the context of business communication, a presentation refers to a talk by a designated speaker. True
  3. Body language always reveals the truth while the speaker may play with words to conceal the truth.   False
  4. E-mail communication can be stored and retrieved as and when required by the sender only. False
3. Write answer to the following questions in about 100 words each: 4x4=16
  1. “Communication is not complete till it is received, understood and acted upon”. Elucidate.
  2. Point out four differences between upward and downward communication.
  3. How will you structure the message for oral presentation?
  4. List four essential conditions for effective listening.
4. (a) Define communication. Explain the basic forms of communication. 4+7=11
Or
(b) What do you mean by ‘a communication model’. Explain the SMCR model of communication developed by David Berlo. 4+7=11
Ans: Communication Models: Communication models are systematic representations of the process which helps in understanding how communication works can be done. Models show the process metaphorically and in symbols. They form general perspectives on communication by breaking communication from complex to simple and keeps the components in order. Communication models can sometimes encourage traditional thinking and stereotyping but can also omit some major aspects of human communication. Methods and channels of communication to be used and the purpose of communication, must be considered before choosing a specific communication model. Models are used by business companies and other firms to foster their communication, explore their options and to evaluate their own situations. It is also used to understand how the receivers will interpret the message.
David Berlo Model of Communication:
While the Aristotle model of communication puts the speaker in the central position and suggests that the speaker is the one who drives the entire communication, the Berlo’s model of communication takes into account the emotional aspect of the message. Berlo’s model of communication operates on the SMCR model.
a) S – Source: The source in other words also called the sender is the one from whom the thought originates. He is the one who transfers the information to the receiver after carefully putting his thoughts into words. It is done with the help of communication skills, Attitude, Knowledge, Social System and Culture.
Communication Skills: An individual must possess excellent communication skills to make his communication effective and create an impact among the listeners. The speaker must know where to take pauses, where to repeat the sentences, how to speak a particular sentence, how to pronounce a word and so on.
Attitude: It is rightly said that if one has the right attitude, the whole world is at his feet. There is actually no stopping for the person if he has the right attitude. A person might be a very good speaker but if he doesn’t have the right attitude, he would never emerge as a winner.
Knowledge: Here knowledge is not related to the educational qualification of the speaker or the number of degrees he has in his portfolio. Knowledge is actually the clarity of the information which the speaker wants to convey to the second party. One must be thorough in what he is speaking with complete in-depth knowledge of the subject.
Culture: Culture refers to the cultural background of the community or the listeners where the speaker is communicating or delivering his speech.
b) M – Message: When an individual converts his thoughts into words, a message is created. The process is also called as Encoding. Any message further comprises of the following elements:


Content: One cannot show his grey matter to others to let him know what he is thinking. A thought has to be put into words and content has to be prepared. Content is actually the matter or the script of the conversation. It is in simpler words, the backbone of any communication.
Element: It has been observed that speech alone cannot bring a difference in the communication. Keep on constantly speaking and the listeners will definitely lose interest after some time. The speech must be coupled with lots of hand movements, gestures, postures, facial expressions, body movements to capture the attention of the listeners and make the speech impressive. Hand movements, gestures, postures, facial expressions, body movements, gestures all come under the elements of the message.
Treatment: Treatment is actually the way one treats his message and is conveys to the listeners. One must understand the importance of the message and must know how to handle it.
Structure: A message cannot be expressed in one go. It has to be properly structured in order to convey the message in the most desired form.
Code: Enter a wrong code and the locks will never open. Enter a wrong password, you will not be able to open your email account. In the same way the code has to be correct in the communication.
c) C - Channel: Channel actually refers to the medium how the information flows from the sender to the receiver.
How does one know what the other person is speaking ? - Through Hearing.
How does one know whether the pasta he has ordered is made in white sauce or not ? - Through Tasting.
How does one know that there is a diversion ahead or it’s a no parking zone? - Through Seeing. How will an individual come to know that the food is fresh or stale ? How do we find out the fragrance of a perfume ? – Through Smelling.
How will you find out whether the milk is hot or not ? - Through Touching.
All the five senses are the channels which help human beings to communicate with each other.
d) R – Receiver: When the message reaches the receiver, he tries to understand what the listener actually wants to convey and then responds accordingly. This is also called as decoding. The receiver should be on the same platform as the speaker for smooth flow of information and better understanding of the message. He should possess good communication skills to understand what the speaker is trying to convey. He should have the right attitude to understand the message in a positive way. His knowledge should also be at par with the listener and must know about the subject. He should also be from the same social and cultural background just like the speaker.
There are several loopholes in the Berlo’s model of communication. According to the berlo’s model of communication, the speaker and the listener must be on a common ground for smooth conversion which is sometimes not practical in the real scenario.
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5. (a) What do you mean by corporate communication? Explain the various types of corporate communication. 3+8=11
Or
(b) Briefly enumerate five semantic barriers and six psychological barriers to communication 5+6=11
Ans: Barriers of Communication:
Communication is the process of passing information and understanding from one person to another, anything that obstructs the free flow of communication is referred to us Barrier of communication. E.g. Problem in encoding and decoding, wrong or defective communication channel, noise in the channel etc. Barrier may arise at any of the following level:
  1. Sender oriented,
  2. Receiver oriented
Sender-oriented barriers could be voluntary or involuntary. At any cost, efforts should be made on the part of the sender to identify and remove them. As the sender is the originator of communication, he should be extremely careful not to erect barriers. If his interaction gives rise to or indicates that there are barriers, the communication comes to a grinding halt. Some of the barriers that are sender-oriented are as follows:
Receiver can also have some barriers in the course of the interaction. Although his role in the initial phase is passive, he becomes active when he starts assimilating and absorbing the information. He is equally to blame if the situation goes awry and communication comes to a stop, or there is miscommunication. Some of the barriers emanating from the side of the receiver are as follows:
Types of Barriers in communication: The barriers to communication in an organization may be broadly categorized into following groups:
1. Physical barriers (RECEIVER’S ORIENTED)
2. Socio- psychological or personal barriers (RECEIVER’S ORIENTED)
3. Organizational barriers (SENDER’S ORIENTED)
4. Semantic barriers (SENDER’S ORIENTED)
5. Mechanical barriers (SENDER’S ORIENTED)
However, such a classification does not suggest that these are mutually exclusive. Rather, it is helpful in understanding the nature of communication barriers.
1. Physical Barriers: There are the environmental factors that also obstruct or reduces the sending and receiving of communication, such as physical distance distracting noises and other interferences difficulty arises in communicating a message, when the physical distance increases:-
Noise: Noise is first and foremost barrier to effective communication. Noise may be caused by machines, equipment, communication device, disturbances in the time of transmission etc. noise also encompasses many other factors such as the sender may use ambiguous or confusing signal. The receiver may misinterpret the message. Thus communication is likely to be spoilt due to noise.
Time and distance: Time and distance also acts as a barrier in smooth flow of communication. Distance between the sender and receiver acts as a hurdle. Although this barrier can be overcome by technology but still in case of breakdown, this exists. Different timing of shifts at workplace also act as barriers in imparting on vital information.
2. Socio-psychological or personal Barriers: There are certain socio psychological factors which restrict the free flow of communication. They are the attitude and opinions, status consciousness, ones relations with fellow workers, seniors, and junior’s etc. family background. These restrict participative communication:
I. Motives, attitudes, judgments, emotions, and social values of people from the part of the personal barriers. Psychological distance is also developed with this.
II. Individual Differences: There are differences in the motives, attitudes and sentiments of the people. So this causes problems in encoding and decoding other’s sentiments, attitudes and motives.
III. Differences in interest: The interest of people also differs. A problem may be important for one person but may not carry weight for another. The ideas, question, attitudes, feelings etc of other party may represent an obstacle to one’s own personal goal.
IV. Division of People: Communication is ideas and viewpoint also gets affected by the division of people into classes, castes and communities.
V. Difference of viewpoints: Communication suffers when there are differences in view point of the different people.
VI. Lack of planning: Good communication never happens but has to be planned. When people take it lightly and communicate without planning it turns into miscommunication or mal communication.
VII. Cultural barriers: Due to difference in the cultural background the same word, phrases, symbols, actions etc. may mean different to different group of people. Mis understanding may take place due to this.
3. Organizational Barriers: Organisational barriers arise due to defects in the organization structure and the communication system of an organization:
I. Hierarchical distance: Downward communication promotes hierarchical distance. The chances of information being filtered are more at this structure, because there are several layers. Information received from the top may not reach at bottom in the same shape. The information gets coloured which brings hierarchical distance.
II. Diversion: Diversion of information is also one of the causes which brings barrier to communication process. For example sometimes a manager diverts the information meant for one person or group to another.
III. Colouring: Information are also coloured by the manager intentionally with a view to twist the situation in their favour. For example, an office may quote his subordinate wrongly, to spoil his career or his chance of promotion or his image in the eyes of the boss.
IV. Status barriers: Status is a barrier of communication in a formal organization. Organizational interaction and communication are influenced by the status and the expectations.
V. Goal conflicts: Goal conflict acts as communication reducers. Different goal lead to bifurcation of interest. Due to this communication suffers.
4. Semantic Barriers: Semantic means the relationships of signs of their reference. Semantic barrier arises from the disadvantages of the symbolic system. Symbols have got number of meaning and one has to choose any one of them according to the requirement of communication. Symbol or the language is the most important tool of communication which has to be used very carefully:-
I. Words with different meaning: Some words convey more than one meaning. When the receiver assigns a different meaning to a word than what the sender intended, there occurs miscommunication.
II. Denotation and connotation: Words have two types of meaning = Denotation and connotation. Denotation is the literal meaning of the words connotation are the suggestive meaning of the words. Connotation is the suggestive meanings of the words. Connotation may be positive or negative.
III. Offensive style of communication: Badly expressed messages lose their impact. Offensive style of communication leads to communication breakdown causing loss of time and money.
IV. Wrong assumptions: Communication should not be based on assumption as it may lead to wrong interpretation. All possible efforts should be made to clarify assumptions.
V. Selective perception: many a time the message is decoded by the receiver in a way which may be selective. In other words most of the receivers protect their own interest and expectations leading to a particular type of feedback which becomes a communication problem.
5. Mechanical Barriers: Mechanical barriers include inadequate arrangement for transmission of news, facts and figures. Example poor office layout and defective procedure and the use of wrong media led to poor communication.
I. Information overload: Excess of communication is called information overload. Brevity is the soul of communication. The receiver cannot comprehend and absorb beyond his mental capacity. His mind will remain closed for the excess part of the communication. Therefore one should be brief and to the point.
II. Loss of transmission: When messages are transmitted from person to person they are filtered. In other words they are diluted and distorted on the way. In oral communication about 30% of the information is lost in each transmission.
Steps to overcome the barriers of communication in an organization
In order to remove barriers to communication an open door communication policy should be prepared and followed by managers at all levels. The superiors in the organization must create an atmosphere of confidence and trust in the organization so that the credibility gap may be narrowed down. Major efforts in this direction are:
  1. Two-way communication: The organization’s communication policy should provide for a two-way traffic in communication upwards and downwards. It brings two minds closer and improves understanding between the two parties the sender and the receiver. There should be no communication gap.
  2. Strengthening Communication Network: The communication network should be strengthened to make communication effective. For this purpose the procedure of communication should be simplified, layers in downward communication should be reduced to the minimum possible. Decentralization and delegation of authority should be encouraged to make information communication more efficient.
  3. Promoting Participative Approach: The management should promote the participative approach in management. The subordinates should be invited to participate in the decision making process. It should seek cooperation from the subordinates and reduce communication barriers.
  4. Appropriate Language: In communication certain symbols are used. Such symbols may be in the form of words, pictures and actions. If words are used, the language should be simple and easily comprehensible to the subordinates. Technical and multi-syllable words should, as far as possible be avoided. The sender must use the language with which the receiver is familiar.
  5. Credibility in Communication: One criterion of effective communication is credibility. The subordinates obey the orders of their superior because they have demonstrated through their actions that they are trustworthy. They must practice whatever they say. The superior must also maintain his trust worthiness. If the superior is trusted by the subordinates, communication will be effective.
  6. Good Listening: A communicator must be a good listener too. A good manager gives his subordinates a chance to speak freely and express their feelings well before him. The manager also gets some useful information for further communication and can also have a better understanding of the subordinates needs, demands etc.
  7. Selecting on Effective Communication Channel: To be effective the communication should be sent to the receiver through an effective channel. By effective channel mean that the message reaches its destination in time to the right person and without any distortion, filtering or omission.
  8. Preventing Predictable Decision Making Errors: Predictable errors in decision making are preventable errors. And a few simple techniques can help in clear of the most common wrong turns in decision making.
6. (a) What is the objective of making a presentation? What skills are necessary to develop an effective presentation? 3+8=11
Or
(b) What are the ten commandments of good speaking? Discuss any two in detail.   11
7. (a) Mention the various types of listening. Which type of listening is most desirable and why? 4+7=11
Or
(b) What do you mean by non-verbal communication? Write an illustrative note on proxemics as non-verbal spatial language. 3+8=11

8. (a) What are the advantages of using e-mail as a tool of modern business communication? Prepare a set of guidelines of writing effective e-mail messages. 4+8=12
Or
(b) What do you mean by inter-national communication? Discuss the importance of cultural diversities in the context of international communication. 4+8=12

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