Describe about the Develop workplace communication strategies.
About this unit
CHCCOM003 Develop workplace communication strategies provides you with the skills and knowledge required to develop communication protocols for a team or business unit.
This unit applies to workers responsible for overseeing the communication of organisation-specific information to a range of internal and external stakeholders.
Why have assessment tasks
A requirement of the qualification you are undertaking is the application of the ideas you have been learning. The assessment activities are an important part of your training program as they provide an opportunity to apply what you have been learning and they give both you and your trainer feedback on your progress.
For this unit you are required to complete the following as evidence for your assessment:
1. Assessment Task One: Short Answer Questions
2. Assessment Task Two: Scenario
3. Assessment Task Three: Specific Research
4. Assessment Task Four: Communication Plan Proposal
5. Workplace Logbook
You will also be required to demonstrate your knowledge of and skills in the following:
• Developing and presenting 1 new communication strategy and associated protocols for a business unit or team
• Developing and implementing 1 strategy for using digital media to provide information and promote organisation to clients
• Political, economic, social and technological factors
• Organisational business and strategic plans
• SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats)
• Legal and ethical considerations relating to communication:
• privacy, confidentiality and disclosure
• duty of care
• mandatory reporting
• informed consent
• Organisation communication channels, including:
• special communication needs of personnel
• organisation processes and hierarchy
• official communication channels
• existing organisation protocols and etiquette for communication
• possible communication barriers, restraints, difficulties
• A range of different communication strategies and plans including crisis communication plans
• Financial implications including budgeting and return on investment
• Mentoring and coaching principles and practices
• Traditional media
• Digital media including types, etiquette and marketing
• Evaluation processes
Declaration of authenticity
You are required to sign a BCA National cover sheet and attach this to the front of your workbook. Your signature is a declaration that all the work you submit for you assessment tasks is authentic and has been completed by you.
You must keep a copy of all work submitted.
The evidence you submit will be assessed and you will be given written and verbal feedback. Each individual assessment task will have an outcome of either Satisfactory or Not yet satisfactory on the Assessor checklist at the end of this workbook. An outcome of Competent or Not yet competent will also be given for the whole unit of competency. If you are assessed as Not yet competent you will be supplied feedback and asked to resubmit your revised assessment.
There are time limits for assessment submission and for reassessment, refer to your Student Handbook for further information. If assistance is needed with you assessments please contact your Trainer or Training Coordinator.
Each activity will be clearly marked.
This icon means that the activity must be completed and handed in for assessment.
This icon refers to other incidental activities you may be required to do in smaller groups or as a whole class.
This is the research icon. It indicates where you are to do some research either on the web or from other sources.
1. Develop communication strategies
In this section you will need to demonstrate that you can:
1. Identify internal and external information needs
2. Identify competing or conflicting interests
3. Develop a range of communication strategies to meet organisation needs and goals
4. Develop a communication plan
1.1 Identify internal and external information needs
As workers in the community service sector you will often be required to communicate a range of issues, some of which will be highly sensitive, to people from variety of different backgrounds and in a variety of different forums. Ensuring that your messages are delivered and received clearly, respectfully, and effectively is a skill that you will develop through practice over time. When deciding on the communication strategies you will adopt you will need to identify and gather information that is either internal or external to your community organisation.
Internal information needs
Information that you intend to communicate internally could include:
• Instruction to staff
• Client confidential information
• Invitation to staff meetings
• Minutes of meetings
• Promotion of industry events
External information needs
Information that you intend to communicate that is external to your organisation can include:
• Promotion of organisation events
• Details of organisation programs
• Eligibility criteria for community services
• Networking with key people in other organisations
Open ended and close ended questions
The methods you use to gather information can include asking what are known as close-ended questions or open-ended questions. A closed question is a question that prompts either a yes/no response or provides the people you are asking the questions with a set amount of answers such as the response to this type of question:
“On a scale of 1 to 5 how would you rate the quality of service you have received (with 5 being the high quality and 1 being the lowest quality)?”
“Rate the following statement as either strongly agree, agree, disagree or strongly disagree:
The quality of the service in this organisation is very high”
Closed questions like this provide you with the ability to develop statistical outcomes from the research questionnaire. Such as:
30% of people questioned stated that they strongly agree that the quality of this service is very high
Open-ended questions on the other hand, provide the people questioned with an opportunity to elaborate on their thoughts and give you further and more details explanations. Open-ended questions are generally questions which ask “why” or “how” they feel/think a particular way. For example a question that is open ended may ask:
Why do you use this (name) service?
How do you use this (name) service?
When identifying information needs you may use open-ended questions to develop an understanding of the themes and general issues that are concerning others. Open-ended questions lead to a more in depth understanding of the topics you are researching.
Stakeholders and competitors
There are a number of different people involved in the communication and information needs of your organisation. These include stakeholder and competitors such as:
• Other community service organisation competing for funds
• Professionals supporting your clients such as GP’s
1. Formulate one open ended and one close-ended question.
1.2 Identify competing and conflicting interests
There will be occasions in your work as a community service worker, where you might find yourself experiencing competing and conflicting interests. The term “conflict of interest” refers to a situation where there is a conflict of interest between our own personal values, or those of our family and friends, our professional values, organisational values and the values or policy of the public service.
When you encounter this type of internal conflict in your work within the community service sector it is important to remember that conflicts of interest occur when your personal values and interests, if they are pursued in work time, or through using information only accessible to you as a worker for the benefit of yourself, family or friends, creates what is known as a conflict of interest.
Conflict of interest may include:
• Accepting bribes, gifts or favours for services performed as part of official duties
• Improper use of official information
• Giving favours to friends or relatives
• Outside employment or activities that interfere with your ability to perform your duties in a professional manner
• Membership of an organisation or political activity that interferes with you professionally performing your duties
• Pecuniary (money-related) or non-pecuniary conflict
Ethical decision making
Once you have identified the competing and conflicting interest it is important to develop ethical decision making skills. The following model is prescribed by the Queensland Community Service Sector to help workers make ethical decisions:
Step 1: Identify and assess the situation
• What do I want to do?
• What are the facts and circumstances of the situation?
• Does it break the rules, the law, or is it inconsistent with government policy?
• Is it consistent with my obligations under the code of conduct?
• Is it consistent with my obligations under my professional code of ethics?
• What ethical principle or principles does it relate to and why
• Who is affected and are other people involved?
Step 2: Look at the situation from a public sector standpoint
• What is my duty as a public official?
• What legislation, policies, procedures or guidelines are relevant?
• Who should I consult?
Step 3: Would my actions or decisions withstand public scrutiny?
• Would a reasonable person consider that I was in a position to improperly use my powers or position?
• Would the public perceive my action or decision as honest or impartial?
• Is there a conflict of interest?
Step 4: Identify and consider the options
• Who is the best person in the department to provide me with authoritative advice?
• What are my options and the likely consequences?
• Are these options consistent with the five ethics principles in the Act?
• How would the public view these options?
Step 5: Choose your course of action
• Is my preferred action within my authority?
• Is it fair and can I justify it?
• How will I document my action?
• Who will I involve to check that this is the correct action to take?
Legal and ethical considerations relating to communication
There are a number of legal and ethical considerations relating to communication in the community service workplace. These include:
Privacy, confidentiality and disclosure
Your client’s confidentiality is protected by the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) and any relevant State or Territory based legislation. In general terms the following information is confidential:
• Clients name, address, date of birth, gender
• Things the client tell you about themselves
• Things other people tell you about the client (such as a doctor’s report)
• The fact that the client is a client of your organisation
• Things that happen to your client while involved with your service (such as getting into a fight)
• Things you observe about the client
• Your professional judgments or opinions about the client
• Physical information such as photographs or drawing of the client.
Regardless of whether the information is recorded in the clients file or whether even stored in your head it is considered protected information and cannot be shared with anyone unless the client gives you permission to share this information. There are some exceptions to this rule in relation to people who are experiencing involuntary treatment.
Direct discrimination happens when a person is dealt with unfairly on grounds such as disability, age, gender, religious beliefs etc. An example of direct discrimination provided by the Anti-discrimination Commission Queensland is as follows:
• You are asked at a job interview whether you have children. When you tell the interviewer that you have four children, she makes a remark about you needing a lot of time off work if they’re sick, and says you won’t be suitable for the position.
• You are an Aboriginal woman wanting to rent a house. When you arrive to inspect a house you’re told it’s already been taken. You arrange for a non-Aboriginal friend to enquire about the house. She rings, is told it’s still available, looks at the house and is offered a lease. This is the third time you’ve tried to rent a house through this agency. In spite of the fact you have a good tenancy record, each time you phone, you’re told a house is available, and each time you meet one of the agents, you’re told it’s been rented already.
• You answer a job advertisement for a receptionist. You’re told over the phone that because you’re a man, you’d be wasting your time.
• When you advise your employer that you’re pregnant, you’re moved to a lower-paying job out of the public view, because clients don’t want to look at people in your condition.
Adapted from Anti-discrimination commission Queensland
Duty of care:
Duty of care comes under the legal concept of negligence and is part of common law. It is known as judge made law because the decision of about whether someone is guilty of breaching their duty of care is determined through precedence and community attitudes and expectations rather than by a piece of legislation.
In the community service sector on most occasions a worker has a duty to ensure that reasonable action is taken to minimize the risk of harm to any one in their care.
In deciding whether a staff member has breached their duty of care in relation to a client for example the court will consider questions such as:
• What would be expected of a ‘reasonable’ person in the same situation
• The worker’s roles and responsibilities within the organisation
• The training and experience of the worker
• The practicalities of the situation
• Current community values about acceptable practice
• Standards generally seen as applicable to the situation
• Other relevant laws such as the Workplace Health and Safety Act
• Meeting legislative and other procedural requirements
Adapted from the Department of Health.
Mandatory reporting is a term used to describe the legal requirement to impose on some professionals to report suspected case of abuse and neglect of people who are vulnerable such as children. In Victoria for example, it is an offence to fail to report child sexual abuse to the police since 27 October 2014. This law requires that all adults who hold a reasonable belief that a sexual offence has been committed against a child under the age of 16 in Victoria must report that belief to police, unless they have a reasonable excuse (as defined in the Act) for not doing so. The penalty for failing to do so is up to three years imprisonment (see section 237 of the Crimes Act 1958 at the following link: http://www5.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/vic/consol_act/ca195882/s327.html)
Informed consent means that a person should understand their condition and any proposed treatment before making a decision to consent to that treatment. As a worker you have a responsibility to explain the nature of treatment to your clients before administering this treatment and in turn the client has the right to refuse treatment until they can make a fully informed choice.
Client should be told the following:
• The diagnosis and likely outcome (prognosis) of their condition
• An explanation of the recommended treatment
• The risks of the procedure and common side effects
• Possible complications
• Specific details of the treatment; for example, where it will be performed and who will perform it
Any other options for treatment and their probability of success.
1. Imagine that you are selling cosmetic products after work hours. Is it a conflict of interest to try to sell these products to your clients at work?
1.3 Develop a range of communication strategies to meet organisation needs and goals
Meeting organisational needs and goals is part of the purpose of communication strategies. Most community organisation seek to be as inclusive as possible. Making sure that people who are traditionally excluded and marginalised from mainstream communities are included in our communication strategies involves making them feel comfortable to work alongside us in achieving community service objectives. This can be achieved by asking questions such as:
• Do our communication methods offer equal opportunities for everyone to contribute to the discussions and engage in the debates? For example do we take into consideration that some people with disabilities can find it difficult to raise their voice in public forums due to self-esteem issues or perhaps due to their limited communicatory abilities?
• Are people from non-English speaking backgrounds considered in the communication strategy?
• Do we have interpreters available and translators for written documents?
• Does your organisation communicate at times convenient to young people taking into account their other responsibilities such as school and work?
• Do you serve a variety of food at your functions to take into account peoples personal, cultural and religious dietary requirements? In turn are these religious requirements considered when deciding how you may vary in your strategies when communicating with men and women where gender roles are attributed religious sensitivities?
There are a number of techniques that we can use to improve our communication with the people we work with. These techniques may seem obvious and natural to you but can be easily forgotten when working with clients under stressful circumstances. They include:
• Good listening involves all of the following:
• Eye contact (culturally appropriate)
• Demonstrate attention, e.g. nodding
• Encouragement, e.g. “Mm-hmm”, “Yes”
• Minimise distractions, e.g. TV, telephone, noise
• Do not do other tasks at the same time
• Acknowledge the client’s feeling, e.g. “I can see you feel very sad”
• Do not interrupt the client unnecessarily
• Ask questions if you do not understand
• Do not take over and tell your own ‘story’
• Repeat back the main points of the discussion in similar but fewer words to check you have understood the client correctly (this is known as paraphrasing, reflection of feelings, clarification, summarising)
Reflection of content:
This skill is reliant on careful listening and then expressing what is heard to condense the content-not repeat word for word what has been heard. Paraphrasing is reflecting back in a clearer way. Do not be afraid of getting the paraphrase wrong because the client will correct or refine your response and explain more if you are not spot on.
Attending carefully to the messages that your client is sending can involve even the smallest details. Minimal responses are something we all do when we are predominantly listening rather than talking. These minimal responses can include nonverbal responses- a nod of the head, bending forward, facial expressions, eye movements. Examples of minimal responses are as follows:
• I hear what you say
• I understand
• I see
• Oh yes
1. Read the following document entitled “Communicating effectively with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people” at the following link:
Answer the questions below:
1. Describe one benefit of culturally sensitive communication:
2. What advice does the article provide relating to personal space?
3. List the issues where there are often protocols established according to this article
1.4 Develop a communication plan
Planning how you will communicate is an important part of developing communication strategies. Planning is a way to organize actions that lead to meeting goals. To develop a plan for communication of any sort, you have to consider some basic questions:
• Why do you want to communicate with your community? (What’s your purpose?)
• Whom do you want to communicate it to? (Who’s your audience?)
• What do you want to communicate? (What’s your message?)
• How do you want to communicate it? (What communication channels will you use?)
• Whom should you contact and what should you do in order to use those channels? (How will you actually distribute your message?)
The answers to these questions constitute your communication plan, what you need to do in order to communicate successfully with your audience. An important part of any communication plan is to continue using and revising your plan, based on your experience.
Writing a formal communication plan
Developing a formal communication plan is often required within community service organisation to ensure that you have agreement and cooperation from others about the way in which you intend to communicate certain messages. A formal written communication plans should include:
• Determining the communication objectives
Your communication objectives can include statements that are numerically quantifiable such as specific targets or statements that specify the principles underlying your objectives. For example you may decide that your communication objective is to “inform all staff of a new policy in your workplace” or you may identify that you “aim to inform all thirty-two staff of the new policy in your workplace by the end of May”.
• Identifying the audience needs
In deciding what your audience needs are you will undertake an analysis of their characteristics informed by research and consultation. If your audience are employees for example you might need to find a way to communicate with them as part of a regular communication channel such as presentations at staff meetings or emails during the working day.
• Deciding on the promotional and communication activities
The method you use to communicate your message should be in response to audience needs but can also take into consideration issues such as the amount of time and other resources you have to get your message across.
• Setting out how the communication will be formulated to customise your message for the needs of your audience and media chosen
Depending on the media you choose to send your message it can be formulated in a variety of different ways. You might determine that a formal manner is necessary where the message is presented in the third person or you might send a personal message out from yourself. The way in which you formulate your message will be influenced by factors such as who the intended audience is as well as the content of the message.
• Considering resource and budgets
It is important to be clear from the outset the amount of resources you have available to communicate your message. Funds may be necessary to finance mail outs and promotional campaigns.
• Determining who will be responsible for which aspect of the plan
Pinpointing precisely who will be responsible for which aspects of the communication strategy or plan is an integral part of the planning process.
• Deciding on how you will test that the plan has met its objectives including evaluation of the communication strategy
Once you have implemented the plan it is important to undertake an evaluation drawing on the initial objectives of the plan. You can use the outcomes of the communication plan to test against its initial objectives or seek to monitor the process as the plan is implemented.
Crisis communication planning
A crisis communication plan is a specific plan that has been set out to deal with emergency situations. For example in the community service sector crisis can occur such as the following:
• Death of a client
• Client absconding
• Violent or aggressive behaviour from clients
• Police engagement with clients
• Staff injury
• Client self-harm or attempted suicide
The crisis communication plan identify the answers to the following questions:
• Who do you need to notify in crisis circumstances?
• How do you respond to enquiries relating to the crisis circumstance?
• How to obtain the contact information of the relevant people?
• How do you communicate with the individual’s effected by the crisis?
Organisation business and strategic plans
All of the plans that you apply in relation to communication should be in line with the organisation business and strategic plans already in place within your community service organisation. These plans identify the big picture goals and objectives of the community service organisation and will help guide you in determining the communication plans. For example, your organisation strategic plan might include expanding the services provided to the community within the next year. Your communication plan might in turn reflect this strategic plan by focusing on communication of identifying any gaps in services by seeking input from clients.
1. Imagine that you have developed a communication plan, which seeks to promote an event in your local neighbourhood. Describe how you might test that your communication plan is working by meeting its objectives.
2. Establish communication protocols
In this section you will need to demonstrate that you can:
1. Identify processes for adapting communication strategies to suit a range of contexts
2. Develop processes and protocols in line with communication strategies
3. Prepare information and resources to support the implementation of communication protocols
2.1 Identify processes for adapting communication strategies to suit a range of contexts
There are a variety of different strategies of communication within the community service organisations. It is important to remember that different communication strategies have different strengths and weaknesses. If you choose the wrong strategy of communication for a particular message; that is if the strategies are not effective for the type of message and meaning you want to create — you are likely to create misunderstanding, and even end up worse off then if you had kept the message to yourself. Not only does using the wrong strategy impede communication, but also doing so can cause mistrust in others, particularly about your sincerity and commitment to them.
Communication within the community service sector should reflect the following characteristics:
• Effective use of questioning, speaking, and listening and non-verbal communication techniques
• Identifying and evaluating what is occurring within an interaction in a non-judgemental way
• Making decisions about appropriate words, behaviour, posture
• Using clarifying, summarising questions
• Putting together a response that is culturally appropriate
• Expressing an individual perspective
• Expressing own philosophy, ideology and background and exploring the impact of this on the communication
• Exploring and unpacking problems
• Using active and reflective listening appropriately
• Providing sufficient time to enable stories to be told
• Providing summarising and reflective responses in conflict situations
• Confirming that required information is accessed or message communicated
Some communication strategies
The strategies available to you to communicate both within and outside your organisation are varied. It is important to ensure that you have chosen communication strategies that suit the specific context that you are working within. For example if you are seeking to provide information to your work colleagues the context is within your organisation and may suit using a communication strategy that includes emails or notice boards. If on the other hand you want to communicate a message to your local community about an upcoming event you might use posters and obtain support from the local newspaper to help communicate your message.
Email – groups and individuals:
Using email as a method of communication to people within your organisation and those you are working with on a collaborative project can be the most effective means by which to communicate. The email method has a number of advantages in that if you have forgotten whether you covered a certain topic or need to double check on the day or time you sent particular messages, the email enables you to maintain these records electronically and search for them later in your email files.
In relation to group communication the email method can be highly effective. Many community organisations are now using the email group’s method. This involves sending one email to a central email address and everyone on the email group list will in turn receive a copy of this email. This can be a good way to have a discussion that is both open to all involved and easily recorded.
On the other hand, the disadvantages of this method of communicating could include the fact that we know through research that 80% of emails are read with a different tone to the one the writer intended (mycommunity.com). It is important to ensure that your emails are polite and to the point because what may be regarded as a funny comment by you may be read as offensive by the reader. Or you may consider that your email was brief and to the point but to the reader this may be viewed as dismissive and curt. There are many instances, especially in relation to some sensitive subject matters; internal email communications are highly inappropriate.
There are quite a few free email groups you can hook into. Both Yahoo (http://groups.yahoo.com/) and Google (http://groups.google.com/) offer free email groups services and, with a bit of technical know-how, Mailman (http://www.gnu.org/software/mailman/mailman.html) can be installed on your web server and hosted internally.
Many community groups and organisations arrange regular meetings with staff or certain project teams. Often the meetings have clear scheduled agenda’s, which everyone can contribute to developing prior to the meeting. A “round up” agenda item at the end of meetings can be an opportunity for everyone around the table to talk about their activities since the last meeting – this way they can bring up issues that they did not get an opportunity to discuss during the formal agenda.
If your organisation or community project team is spread across a large geographic region you may also find phone link-ups can be a good way of keeping everyone informed (and it’s a lot cheaper than meeting face-to-face). Most phone companies offer a virtual meeting option; contact your phone provider for more details.
SWOT analysis and PEST analysis
When developing communication strategies it is important to have a sound understanding of the context in which you work. There are a number of tools you could use to analyse the context, two of which are known as the SWOT and PEST analysis as follows:
SWOT analysis involves identifying the Threats, Opportunities, Strengths and Weaknesses experienced by your organisation. The type of questions you might ask to complete a SWOT analysis include:
• What advantages does your organisation have?
• What do you do better than anyone else?
• What unique or lowest-cost resources can you draw upon that others can’t?
• What could you improve?
• What should you avoid?
• What good opportunities can you spot?
• What interesting trends are you aware of?
• What obstacles do you face?
• Are quality standards or specifications for your job, products or services changing?
• Is changing technology threatening your position?
A PEST analysis is similar however focuses on understanding the Political, Economic, Social and Technological factors influencing your organisation and can include:
• Current legislation
• Regulatory bodies and processes
• Government policies
• Government term and change
• General taxation issues
• Interest and exchange rates
• Client/end-user drivers
• Consumer attitudes and opinions
• Media views
• Replacement technology/solutions
• Maturity of technology
• Technology access, licencing, patents
1. Explain why you might choose to deliver a message in person rather than via email or voice mail.
2.2 Develop processes and protocols in line with communication strategies
Communication protocols are the established and agreed methods that to communicate under specific circumstances. For example, you might have a relationship with another community organisation which includes referral of clients who you consider would benefit from their services. The communication protocols document how you will interact with the other community service organisation and what each partner can reasonably expect from each other. Protocols are a practical, hands-on way to outline specific processes and procedures between service delivery agencies. Protocols are not usually contractually binding but are used to set agreed good practice standards that parties should meet.
Some examples of protocols include:
• a women’s refuge having a protocol with a specialist immigrant women’s support service on how referral and ongoing support procedures will include access to interpreters for women from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds
• an aged care provider offering community options having a protocol with local hospital social workers and community health social workers regarding the way eligibility criteria and referral processes will operate
• an out-of-home care network of agencies having a protocol outlining how each agency’s role will operate in the continuum of care and referral processes between agencies
Formal communication protocols
Within formal communication protocols, which are documented procedures, there are a number of different areas that are addressed. These areas include:
• background/ introduction
• purpose of the protocol, including aims and objectives
• parties to the protocol
• the protocol’s perceived benefits
• principles that inform the protocol, such as committing to working together and open communication
• the legal background or other important contextual information about compliance requirements
• a conceptual framework or map which provides a whole of system diagram outlining the agencies involved in the protocol
• participating agencies’ roles and responsibilities
• any structures or existing networks that have a role and what that role is
• a set of procedures that provide practical guidance on how the protocol will be implemented
• arrangements for monitoring and reviewing the use of the protocol and responding to any breaches or grievances
• complaints procedures
• attachments, including forms, legislation, check lists, flow charts and a glossary of terms
Adapted from CommunityDoor.org.au – Developing interagency protocols and service agreements.
Communicating through traditional media and digital media
Communication protocols often address the expectations that a community service organisation has in regards to communication to the general public through a range of different public media.
Traditional media includes:
• Local newspapers
Digital media includes:
• Social media such as Facebook and Twitter
When communicating through social media most community service organisations abide by policies that regulate the material posted to ensure that this material:
• does not infringe the intellectual property rights of any person and does not breach any obligations of confidentiality;
• contains no spam or other commercial, advertising, marketing or promotional content or links or information which would facilitate the sale or purchase of products or services;
• contains no personal information or passwords, or the personal details of third parties such as phone numbers, mail or email addresses;
• is not threatening, harassing, spiteful or abusive;
• is not indecent or sexual or pornographic in nature, does not include gratuitous swearing or profanity and does not vilify, insult or humiliate any person or group (including, without limitation, on the basis of race, religion, ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation or any physical or mental disability);
• contains nothing which is unduly provocative (including, without limitation, flaming, trolling or otherwise hostile content) or which is false, misleading or deceptive; or
• contains no computer viruses or other computer files or code which adversely affects the operation of Coast Community Connections’ computer systems or any equipment linked to them
Read the protocols for consultation with Aboriginal people at the following web link: (in particular page 23 to page 30)
1. List three topics the article suggests you consider when visiting Aboriginal people in their community.
2. Describe one issue raised in the article relating to language.
2.3 Prepare information and resources to support the implementation of communication protocols
When developing communication protocols it is important to collect the information and resources to support the implementation of the protocols. This process can include:
• Identify the need for and purpose for establishing a protocol.
• Check if there are existing protocols that are relevant or could be adapted and used.
• Identify who should be involved (government, non-government, and community players).
• Contact potential inter-agency participants and gain preliminary support for the proposal.
• Organise an initial inter-agency meeting to discuss:
o why a protocol is needed
o issues the protocol is trying to address
o purpose of the protocol
o who is involved
o issues or barriers to protocol development
• Establish a shared commitment to working together to develop the protocol.
• Develop a process such a working group with cross-agency representation to develop the protocol.
• Develop the draft protocol document for circulation and feedback.
• Finalise the protocol and distribute.
• Develop a working/steering group to oversee and support the process of implementation of the protocol including briefings and training to staff, staged implementation processes, mechanism for early detection of any problems, any additional resources/other supports required.
Once the protocols have been implemented there is a need to establish a mechanism for regular monitoring and reviewing of the protocols. When you have identified the changes that need to be made to the protocol as informed by the review process it is time to revise the protocols to reflect these changes.
Adapted from CommunityDoor.org.au – Developing interagency protocols and service agreements.
1. Imagine that you are working for a drug and alcohol rehabilitation service and you need to develop a communication protocol with a community service that provides emergency accommodation. What do you think would be the purpose of this communication protocol?
3. Promote the use of communication strategies
In this section you will need to demonstrate that you can:
1. Present information to staff regarding communication strategies, protocols and organisation standards
2. Model effective oral and written communication and provide mentoring and/or coaching to staff
3. Maintain work-related networks and relationships to meet organisation objectives
3.1 Present information to staff regarding communication strategies, protocols and organisation standards
Relaying information to staff within a community organisation regarding issues such as communication strategies, protocols and organisation standards requires that you adopt effective presentation skills.
When delivering a face-to-face presentation it is important to capture your listener’s attention by beginning the presentation using strategies such as:
• Ask the audience a question
• Tell them a funny story or make a funny comment
• Provide a statistic or fact that might be startling
Once you have captured their attention you need to state the purpose of your talk clearly. This could be said in one of the following terms:
• “Today I will inform you about…”
• “In this presentation I will explain…”
• “This morning I will discuss …”
Then it is important that you present the outline of your talk by explaining a brief summary of the points you intend to make in a logical order. The content of your talk should be succinct and clear referring back to the outline you presented in the introduction.
The visual aids you could use in your presentation can include:
• Power points – avoid overly complex graphics and fancy font as this could distract attention away from the substance of your talk.
• Handouts – decide whether you intend to distribute these at the beginning or the end of your presentation.
• White board – come prepared with the correct pens that you need and ensure that you have planned what you intend to write in advance
Organisation communication channels
Communication channels within community service organisations should take into consideration factors such as:
• Special communication needs of personnel
• Organisation processes and hierarchy
• Official communication channels
• Existing organisation protocols and etiquette for communication
• Possible communication barriers, restraints, difficulties
3.2 Model effective oral and written communication and provide mentoring and/or coaching to staff
All community service workers should endeavour to act as role models to the other staff within their workplace. This includes through effective oral as well as written communication.
Interpersonal Communication Skills
Communication is enhanced when those involves in the process possess sound interpersonal Skills. These are the skills we use when engaged in face-to-face communication whether it’s one other person or with a group of people.
Verbal communication and effective speaking are just two factors that affect the quality of communication. Things like your accent, voice, speech and even breathe can affect the quality of the way you present information in this way. For example, components of your voice or vocal production could relate to the volume you are speak at, the clarity of the words you are saying and whether there is repetition.
Often people who are communicating information in front of a large group can become very nervous or anxious. It is important to try to address this issue before you begin so that you limit the chances of the information getting distorted in some way. There are breathing and relaxation techniques that can help with this process.
There are many more aspects to communication however. They include the following:
• Non-verbal communication, such as:
• facial expressions
• body language
Other aspects of communication that should be considered in the strategic sense could also include the following skills:
• open communication
• active listening
• appropriate questioning
Communication skills are not simply limited to direct interaction with others and vocalising information. Written communication plays an increasingly important role in the majority of new and established organisations today. Many organisations are now exploring other options and expanding their technical communication channels. The ability to be able to write clearly and effectively is key to communication.
Poor written communication can delay important information that needs to be communicated right away. It can frustrate the receiver and cause many potential problems down the line. Amongst other things, some key considerations to take into account with written correspondence include:
• Spelling, punctuation, grammar and syntax
• Avoiding jargon or technical/inappropriate or complicated language where necessary
• Appropriateness and relevance
• Sensitivity of language
Mentoring and coaching
Providing on the job coaching is also an integral part of motivating and encouraging your colleagues to improve their work performance. Workplace coaching is a way to develop your workers skills and abilities and to boost their performance by providing them with words of encouragement on the job. In some organisations it is seen as a corrective tool used only when there is under performance. But in many community organisations coaching is considered to be a positive approach to help the worker to achieve their work goals and career ambitions. There are a number of coaching techniques and models available to enhance the coaching process one of which is known as the GROW model:
The GROW Model
The acronym GROW stands for:
Options (or obstacles)
Will (or way forward)
The model is applied as follows:
1. Establish the goal
Your coaching should involve asking the participant to establish a goal. The goal is the objective they want to achieve and should be based on the SMART approach (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time bound).
2. Examine the current reality
The next approach is to ask the participant to explain their current reality. Useful questions that help provide an analysis of the current context that the participant is facing include:
• What is happening now?
• Have you already taken steps towards your goal?
• Does your goal conflict with any other goals you have already identified?
3. Explore the options
Once you have explored the current reality you should ask the participant to think about the possible options available to them to achieve their goal. Asking the following questions can prompt this:
• What are your options?
• Have you tackled this / a similar situation before?
• What could you differently?
4. Establish will
This step involves getting the participant to commit to specific actions towards achieving the goal. This will help motivate and establish the will to move forward towards the goal. Useful questions include:
• So what will you do now and when?
• When are you going to start?
• How will you ensure that you do it?
Adapted from mindtools.com.
Questions to ask as a coach
Here are some of the common questions that coaches ask either themselves or their participants to help encourage and motivate them:
• Help me to understand . . .’ takes responsibility all the time for not yet having understood. No blame is attached to the other person.
• ‘Help me to understand what is going on with you right now…’ Although this is a request, it is received as a question. In order to explain to you what is going on right now, the person must first understand it themselves. This question triggers them into a less emotional and more logical view of their situation.
• ‘If you did know, what might it be?’ Ask this when the person says they do not know how to respond to a specific question. Often they cannot answer because they are blocking out or suppressing the answer. This question gives them permission to imagine what the answer is as if they are making it up, allowing the “real “answer to come out.
• ‘What do you need (from me) right now?’ This question makes the person connect with their true needs and allows them to express them.
• ‘What would be a good question for me to ask right now?’ This question works because it takes the coach to the most relevant areas of the situation. Also, it stimulates objectivity for the person.
• ‘What does this person/client need from me right now?’ This is a question the coach asks of themselves in order to give themselves a direction.
• ‘And. . . .?’ If you’re not sure which direction to go in, or if you feel there’s more the person needs to say.
• ‘Because . . .?’ enables the person to explore their rationale or assumptions.
• ‘You want to leave this session at X pm having achieved what, exactly?’ enables the person to focus on successful outcomes within their time frame. (A less effective version of this might be: ‘What would you like to achieve, if that’s possible, within our time constraints?’)
• ‘What have you achieved, that you might not have been aware of at the time?’ enables a person to start filtering for what they have done that has worked for them. Adapted from University of Leeds Coaching skills
Read the coaching process as described by the “Directory Journal” web site at the following link:
1. Consider step five of the process suggested. Why do you think this step is important and how might you go about implementing this in your workplace with your work team?
3.3 Maintain work-related networks and relationships to meet organisation objectives
Networking is a word we use often in the community sector and people who do not understand exactly what is meant by the term can view it with suspicion and cynicism. Generally, when we network we are involved in an exchange of ideas and information with people who share our interests, philosophical outlook and values. These people are willing to support and assist you in achieving your community development objectives and in return you are willing and able to support and achieve their objectives.
Your networks include anyone you know, or have met, and even your contacts’ contacts. Some professional bodies and Internet based social media sites (such as LinkedIn) can provide you with formal means by which to develop networks associated to your work. Your networks can give you access to people from various groups geographic regions and industries. Using your networks in the community sector is a common practice. Community workers often use their networks for a variety of purposes such as:
• Finding out about resources that are available to achieve your community service objectives.
• Finding out about the reputation of politicians and policy makers you seek to influence.
• Opening doors to people of influence (local councillors, politicians, community leaders, etc.) who may be of use in helping you achieve community service objectives.
• Circulating information about your work to others.
• Gleaning ideas about ways to solve a particular problem
Who are the networks in the community service sector?
Deciding whom you work with and prioritising your networks should reflect the needs both of your clients and the organisation you work with. Generally in the community service sector your networks will include formal and informal networks. The formal networks for example might be:
• Key people of influence such as politicians
• Local organisations
• Interest and support groups
• Lobby groups
• Regional specialist and peak associations
• Advisory committees
• Law enforcement agencies
• Government ministers/departments
In order to identify and prioritise the organisation and profession individual networks you need to develop and cultivate, it is important to decide what the purpose is of your networking strategies. Some of the reasons why people network in the community service sector include:
• Achieving corporate objectives
• Accessing the services and resources of other organisations
• Promotion of organisation and/or programs
• Strategic planning
• Encouraging coordination amongst organisations and workers
• Enhancing service delivery
1. Using the Internet, research one event that you could attend related to the community service sector.
4. Review communication practices
In this section you will need to demonstrate that you can:
1. Obtain feedback from others to assess communication outcomes
2. Record lessons learnt and identify opportunities for continuous improvement
4.1 Obtain feedback from others to assess communication outcomes
There will be times when you have a sense, in the back of your mind, that others around you are unhappy or very happy with your work performance, and other times when you simply have no idea what others are thinking about the way you do your job. The way you receive feedback will also send message out others about how your feedback to them is intended. If you are defensive and passively aggressive towards colleagues after an evaluative feedback experience, they will get the message that when you give them feedback it is intended to offend too. The following principles should be applied in the way in which you receive feedback at work:
• Listen actively: Let the person giving feedback a chance to do so without interruptions or objections. Even if the feedback if positive and some people find praise and compliments uncomfortable, appreciate that it is not easy to give feedback and wait until they are finished saying what they intend to say before making your own comments. Ask questions that indicate you are making an effort to understand precisely what you are doing wrong or right. Offer suggestions on how you could change and improve your practice. Listening actively does not mean sitting quietly waiting for the end of the meeting- it means demonstrating that you have heard and taken on board the feedback provided.
• Avoid taking feedback personally: Especially if the feedback you are receiving is negative and in circumstances where the person providing you with feedback is inexperienced and makes insulting remarks. It is important to remember that evaluative feedback within the workplace context should be limited to the way in which your work colleagues know your behaviours and practices as a co-worker. If the feedback you receive seems to allude to personal life relationships unrelated to the workplace practice, it is important to point this out. Workplace feedback processes are not the time and place to sort out personal relationship issues.
• Be conscious of your reaction to feedback: Your co-workers will be looking out for facial expressions and verbal reactions to their feedback to ensure that the message they send to you is received as intended. Even if you feel that you have been unfairly judged, try to remain calm and professional. It is sometimes helpful to ask someone else in your personal life, or even seek out a professional career coach, to listen to you vent about what is going on at work, before you raise issues in the workplace environment. When we are angry we tend to make harsh and rash comments, such as “I hate that person” and these are comments that cannot be unsaid in the work environment. So maintaining a calm approach and counting to ten silently in your head might be the best way to address feedback at the time it is delivered. Then go away and vent in front of people who are not invested in the workplace dynamics preparing you to come back with a calm and constructive response later when everyone has cooled off.
4.2 Record lessons learnt and identify opportunities for continuous improvement
By drawing on the feedback you receive you will be able to identify opportunities for continuous improvement of your communication strategies. Continuous improvement can be achieved by implementing a widely used tool called the PDCA cycle also known as Deming cycle. It is based on the following steps:
Plan: Identify an opportunity and plan for change.
Do: Implement the change on a small scale.
Check: Use data to analyse the results of the change and determine whether it made a difference.
Act: If the change was successful, implement it on a wider scale and continuously assess your results. If the change did not work, begin the cycle again.
This includes asking questions such as:
1. What are we trying to accomplish?
2. How will we know whether a change is an improvement?
3. What changes can we make that will result in an improvement?
When undergoing an evaluation it is important to analyse the financial implications of your communication plan including budgeting and return on investment. Applying resources to your communication plan can involve using office space or accessing computer equipment. You need to ensure that from the outset of your communication strategy you are clear on the resources you intend to use to implement the strategy so that after wards you can evaluate the implementation in relation to the initial resource goals.