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To understand how individuals and teams communicate.

Communication is a process by which information is exchanged between individuals through a common system of symbols, signs, or behaviours and involves verbal, non-verbal, and written forms. In the workplace we communicate in many forums such as meetings, memos, telephone, lunchtime discussions, and email.

Communication is used to inform, to persuade and to promote. It is composed of transactions between parties that includes nonverbal, verbal and written forms, and involves sending out a message, listening, clarifying, questioning, and responding to feedback. Successful communication includes appropriate language, openness, and active listening.

In teamwork, communication is a critical for ensuring that individual actions and activities are coordinated to accomplish the overall goal. Communication clarifies perspectives and assumptions, and provides a forum for motivation and inspiration. A team that is communicating effectively will stay informed, develop new ideas, and generate a common understanding of their shared projects in the workplace.

There are common elements of communication. Some elements include information sharing, discussion, cooperation, collective knowledge, dialogue and collaboration. Communication has the potential to generate a sense of connection, regardless if it is face-to-face or through another medium such as telephone, email, or other forms of electronic communication.

As highlighted in the previous unit on teamwork, each team develops its own culture through a "norming" process and part of that culture includes how information is shared and communicated. Reflect on your previous working experiences and think about qualities or characteristics of communication that you have found to be effective for teams to adopt.

When contributing your thoughts and ideas to the discussion folders, take some time to review and comment on the posts of other learners. Do you see any patterns? What observances can you make based on the experiences that are shared here?

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