Saturday, 29 January, 2022

Knowledge, Skills and Attitudes Demand Total Communication Package

Dr. Nargis Akhter

The term soft skills are being pronounced from different corners of our country in recent times. Soft skills talk about non-technical skills. If light is thrown on different categories of soft skills we will get communication skills, positive attitude, team building, strong work ethics, emotional intelligence, time management, multi-tasking ability, creative thinking, critical thinking, initiative, decision making power, problem solving ability, work under pressure, leadership, etc. as the different types of soft skills. Soft skills are essential for both of our personal and work lives. It is found in the relevant literature that 85% of achievement on job comes from soft skills and the rest comes from hard skills.

The different research papers on communication revealed that communication skill is the number one skill that employers check in the selection process of employees. It has also been found in the communication literature that although communication skills are the most important skills, most people don’t communicate well. There is mushroom growth of service industries in Bangladesh and the growth of manufacturing industries in Bangladesh is not negligible to count.  Many executives are working in these organizations. There is no doubt that there is the necessity of knowledge, skills, and attitudes (KSAs) about communication among these executives. As an academic of business schools, I would like to focus on the implications of a Total Communication Package (TCP) for the students of business schools and business executives in Bangladesh.

I would like to highlight that without knowledge regarding communication, it is not possible to develop communication skills and without such attitude that communication skills are vital for doing better scores in business schools, getting jobs, and doing the service effectively and efficiently, it doesn’t matter how much someone is skilled in communication his/her communication skills will be futile since he/she will not be careful regarding its execution.

The candidates need to prove knowledge, skills, and attitudes about communication with other qualifications and skills at the time of interview for executive positions and the candidates who qualify for the jobs do their works mostly through communication.

The executives need TCP about KSAs of speaking, listening, reading, writing and nonverbal communication although the requirements regarding degrees of these different ways of communication vary according to the levels and nature of executive jobs.

It should be talked about here that the language proficiency and computer skills are two major prerequisites for learning and executing knowledge and skills about communication.

We know that training creates an opportunity to learn job-specific KSAs. Since there is no such guarantee that the trainees will learn from the training program, training on KSAs of communication cannot provide the assurance of learning. Moreover, the learning from training will be fruitless if the trainees don’t implement their learning in spite of their learning from training program. But if the organizations can make sure the effective and efficient use of the training process, the organizations can expect a satisfactory yield from their investments in training. The different steps of the training process can be mentioned here sequentially which are training needs assessment (TNA); designing training programs; implementing training programs; evaluating training programs; and checking and ensuring the implementation of learning from the training program. Besides, organization’s culture also impacts learning from training and implementation of learning. So, the business organization should be careful enough about invest in communication training along with investment in other training programs and their culture also should be training friendly culture. 

It should be pointed out here that KSAs of speaking, listening, reading, writing and nonverbal communication are not discrete; rather in many cases these are interdependent. For example, executives’ KSAs about listening, reading, writing, and nonverbal communication affect KSAs of speaking and KSAs about writing is affected by KSAs about reading, listing and nonverbal communication.  The KSAs about writing is crucial for both intradepartmental, interdepartmental and intersectional memos and report writing. These memos and reports   may be sent directly or through e-mail. Embarrassing situations may occur if memos and reports (either through e-mail or direct) are written without using tips for writing documents. For example, if documents are written and finalized without using cooling-off time there may be many errors which definitely will be embarrassing as well as may not serve the purpose of writing the documents. One of the reasons behind failure in implementing office order is improper communication i.e. receiver did not understand the order properly. The paramount importance of listening is ignored in many cases although KSAs about listening can create a golden atmosphere with the required outcomes. The executives need to present their reports at the meeting which demands an excellent package of TCP. Besides, the executives need the excellent TCP in conducting the meeting effectively and efficiently along with the KSAs about how to conduct a meeting effectively and efficiently. Senior executives play the figurehead role which demands KSAs about public speaking. Executives at all levels need to resolve conflicts at different degrees which also demands speaking, listening, reading, writing, and nonverbal KSAs along with the KSAs regarding how to resolve a conflict effectively and efficiently. Moreover, KSAs about communication is required for the executives to provide on the job training to the team members. The excellent TCP will be required along with KSAs about the relevant area for the executives when they will need to provide off-the Job training 

The universities offering degrees in business schools offer business communication course(s). But still, there are many things to learn about knowledge, skills, and attitudes of communication because all universities do not offer this course effectively and efficiently, many students cannot grasp it properly. Moreover, graduates without a business background apply for executive jobs.

Language proficiency has been mentioned as one of the prerequisites for speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills. We know that English Language Proficiency has turned out to be essential in getting and doing executive jobs. Although our universities which offer business degrees are offering English Courses to develop language proficiency and medium of instructions there are also English, a very few universities can make sure the expected return from their investment in this regard. Besides, for an organization that uses Bengali as its official language, the executives must have KSAs regarding about Bengali language. Computer skill has also been mentioned as one of the prerequisites for speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills. So, learning this skill should be provided effectively and efficiently to the students of business schools. Since business graduates are mainly interested for executive jobs, business schools of our country should provide effective and efficient learning opportunities about developing the excellent Total Communication Package which demands KSAs about speaking, listening, reading, writing, and non-verbal communication including English language proficiency and computer skills.

The question is how to offer the TCP effectively and efficiently. The business schools must offer the business communication course from the functional point of view. How can the faculty members create scope for learning KSAs about communication in their classrooms? The faculty members can keep plentiful scope for learning KSAs about communication for the students through their excellent lecture and ensuring participatory learning in each of their lectures. Moreover, assessment methods should be used as another important avenue for developing excellent TCP. The avenue in this regard can be created by taking viva-voice, role play, debate, presentation, teamwork, etc. in each of the courses of business schools including written assessment method. The counselling is another important source that can be used by faculty members and students to improve KSAs about communication in addition to provide counselling. Business Clubs and other relevant clubs such as debating clubs, career counselling centres can play effective and efficient roles in creating huge scope for learning an excellent TCP. The students of business schools must realize the prominence of learning TCP. They must be proactive in developing excellent KSAs about communication by availing the opportunities for learning KSAs about communication provided by their business schools and universities in general. Besides, they should not ignore the significance of different internet sources, relevant TV channels such as BBC, CNN, watching English movies, etc. in developing an excellent TCP.

I don’t want to say here that business schools in Bangladesh and the students of these business schools are not aware at all about the significance of TCP for the students of business schools and for the executives. I would like to say that a very few business schools and their students have awareness about the significance of TCP but there is no limit to perfection. And many of the business schools and their students lack the required awareness about the significance of TCP.

The business schools and students of the business schools themselves by playing effective and efficient roles in developing excellent TCP among the students of business schools and the employers by playing the requisite roles in developing the excellent TCP among the executives can create many wins - win for the students of the business schools and executives, win for the business schools of the universities, win for the employers and win for the country. And why not it will create another win for the global village?


The writer is Professor of Southeast Business School, Southeast University