- The difficulties in communication
- Communication problems in the workplace can cost your company productivity and money. Without efficient communication, your company is unable to exchange information essential to daily operations and create a communication network to carry new product data. Understanding examples of workplace communication issues can help you to create policies that will address problems and create an efficient communication network in the office.
- It cannot be denied that sometimes you need to clarify your information in daily communication especially when you face problems as mentioned above, therefore the receivers can proceed the message as you hope.Briefly, the purpose of clarification is to:
*Reassure the speaker that the listener is genuinely interested in them and is attempting to understand what they are saying
- Some examples of non-directive clarification-seeking questions are:
- “I'm not quite sure I understand what you are saying.”
- “I don't feel clear about the main issue here.”
- “When you said ........ what did you mean?”
- “Could you repeat ...?”
- Clarifying involves:
- Non-judgemental questioning.
- Summarising and seeking feedback as to its accuracy.
- Clarification Questions
- When you are the listener in a sensitive environment, the right sort of non-directive questioning can enable the speaker to describe their viewpoint more fully.
- Asking the right question at the right time can be crucial and comes with practice. The best questions are open-ended as they give the speaker choice in how to respond, whereas closed questions allow only very limited responses.
- Open Questions
- If your role is to assist a speaker to talk about an issue, often the most effective questioning starts with 'when', 'where', 'how' or 'why'. These questions encourage speakers to be open and expand on their thoughts. For example:
- “When did you first start feeling like this?”
- “Why do you feel this way?”
- Closed Questions
- Closed questions usually elicit a 'yes' or 'no' response and do not encourage speakers to be open and expand on their thoughts. Such questions often begin with 'did you?' or 'were you?' For example:
- “Did you always feel like this?”
- “Were you aware of feeling this way?”
- See our pages: Questioning and Types of Question for more information.
- Guidelines for Clarifying
- Clarification is the skill we use to ensure that we have understood the message of the speaker in an interpersonal exchange. When using clarification follow these guidelines to help aid communication and understanding.
- Admit if you are unsure about what the speaker means.
- Ask for repetition.
- State what the speaker has said as you understand it, and check whether this is what they really said.
- Ask for specific examples.
- Use open, non-directive questions - if appropriate.
- Ask if you have got it right and be prepared to be corrected.
- As a further extension to clarification a summary involves reviewing what has taken place during the whole conversation.
- It is important to keep only to the essential components of the conversation, and it must be given from the speaker's frame of reference, not an interpretation from the listener’s viewpoint. The aim of a summary is to review understanding, not to give explanation, to judge, to interpret or provide solutions.
- Summarising should be done at the end of a conversation, although sometimes it may be appropriate midway through as a way of drawing together different threads. At the start of a conversation, it is useful to summarise any previous discussions or meetings as it can help to provide focus. Whilst the summary is likely to be the longest time a listener will be speaking during a conversation, it is important to be as concise and straightforward as possible.
- Summary of Clarification
- In reflecting, clarifying and summarising, speakers must be allowed to disagree with, and correct, what the listener says. They should be encouraged to express themselves again, if necessary, giving the listener another chance at understanding, and to check understanding until agreement is reached.
- Reflecting, clarifying and summarising are the tools used by active listeners to enable them to demonstrate understanding and encourage a speaker to talk openly.
- For effective communication it is essential that the listener and speaker both have the same understanding of the discussion. The speaker must, therefore, have the opportunity to correct the listener's understanding.
- Use clarification, reflection and summarising to help with your interpersonal relationships.
A letter of clarification can be sent to employees when theyare close to “stepping over the line”. Their actions do not require a letter ofreprimand or discipline yet, but a written notification that they are beingwatched closely. Since the letter is written, it holds more weight than averbal warning, but since it is not officially a letter of discipline, itdoesn’t hold any of the negative vibes of being reprimanded.
Letter of Warning Clarification Sample
Description: Clarification letters are often used as written warnings to employees. For example a worker whose behaviour has been called in to question may be sent a letter to remind them of the rules and to notify them that if they continue acting in the same manner, they may be officially disciplined.