I will be reflecting on my team’s final training program plan that we completed in Organizational Communication. To complete this plan successfully, we incorporated skills learned from the course and research we did about our specific training topic: effective listening. In this reflection, I will explain specific knowledge we learned through research and class concepts that we used to compose this plan, show how knowledge and theories were used in the plan through specific examples, explain how this plan used good program design and elaborate on what our team could have done in order to make this plan better.
Problems with listening arise when organizations take the mechanistic or classical approach to organizational communication. Organizations with the mechanistic approached are highly focused on the task and getting results. Examples of these systems are militaries and police forces. Our group wanted to focus on organizations that wanted to improve in two specific areas: improve listening between upper management and employees, and improve listening between employees and customers. To do this, we knew that we would have to recognize concepts of different types of organizational communication. As a part of our questionnaire that we would send to our trainees, we would ask questions that would let us know what type of organizational style their organization had. The types that we tried to identify were mechanistic (classical), H.R. models and system approach. The mechanistic is the one we were most concerned about because they are more likely have poor listening skills. The H.R. model is a type of organizational communication that focuses on the relationship between management and employees. We knew they knew how to communicate well with each other, but we wanted to enhance their ability to be active listeners that listens from the bottom up, not just the top down. The systems approach blends the two models. We also knew that we could help these types of trainees because the systems are likely to have negative energy that can effect listening. Therefore, using our knowledge of the types of organizations our trainees could be in, we set out to build a training program that would be suitable for all of them.
First, our group researched the topic of effective listening. Our primary source was the article Communicating in Business and Professional Settings. This article explained the four components of the listening process, sensing, attending, understanding and remembering, and the difficulties that come with each one. We gathered knowledge about the listening process through this article and incorporated each part into our training. For example, all of our modules in the training program are specifically geared toward a part in the listening process. The listening process includes four stages: sensing, attending, understanding and remembering. We wanted each of our trainees to understand the knowledge of how the listening process takes place. We also went in order with the listening process, starting with sensing. Sensing is receiving stimuli through all five senses. Our modules included different ways that people can listen to messages that we may not realize; sight, sound, taste and even how someone feels. Then the process goes to attending, which allows you to choose and recognize which sense to use. After that, the trainees learned understanding, which how to interpret the messages received through different senses. Then the last step of the listening process is remembering. Knowing each part of the listening process is only the first part to our training topic. The second part is dealing with problems that arise with each part. The article talked about how each listening process had its own set of challenges that any person faces in a work setting. We included each problem with listening in our program modules so that trainees will be able to recognize what those problems are.
We wanted to be able to equip them with the knowledge to solve those problems when they occur in the real world. One module is “problems with remembering.” In this module we explained why people don’t remember certain things and tips on note taking and paraphrasing that will help trainees remember in the work place. Another module took trainees through different messages that people may not realize they are getting. This was intended for trainees to realize how to use the attending stage to figure out how to receive the message in the first place. One example is body language. This is sometimes hard to realize a message is occurring because not everyone pays attention to someone else’s body language. Our program was designed to help our trainees realize their surroundings and pick up on different queues to better receive messages.
For each of our modules, we made sure that each one had components of a good program design. One component of a good program is if it uses all three styles of learning: Visual, auditory and kinesics. Our modules had these three components in each of them. For example, in the sensing module, we started by playing the game Pictionary. This served as both visual and kinesthetic learning. Groups physically drew out the message they were trying to portray while others had to look at what the message was, forcing them to learn through those two methods. We also had lecture that explained what was to be learned through Pictionary so that auditory learners could understand our goals for the game. A good program is also engaging. These activities, along with questions that we asked were designed to engaged the audience with the material. A good training program also has set objectives for each module. Our program had several overall objectives, in the modules, those objectives were stated again as they related to the topic of the module.
Overall, I see our training program as an overall success that would be sustainable over a two day period and would cover several different parts of listening that would be beneficial to trainees. Our program is not perfect however, and there are a few things that we could do better. First would be our objectives. The objectives were good objectives, but our team could have done a better job at explaining why these objectives were chosen for each module and how the games and lectures would achieve those objectives. Our team also could have been more in depth with our descriptions and questions that we asked the trainees. A more in depth description of what each part of the listening process would have helped the trainees realize the importance of our program. All-in-all, our program used knowledge of listening and quality program design to create a program that was interactive and complete.