1. Is there ever a justifiable use for doublespeak? Why or why not? Explain your response and give some examples.
Doublespeak refers to an intentional use of words to hide or distort meaning (Lutz 1984). Doublespeak is justifiable when it is used to depict an individual or an organization in a manner considered to be less unfavourable than when plain language is used. For instance, it can be used to convey humour when conversing with a person who has undergone an unfortunate incident. A case in point is when employees are told they have been “downsized” to cut company expenses, which would be euphemism for telling them they have been “sacked” or “dismissed.” Again, in military scenarios, doublespeak may be justifiably used to refer to unfortunate incidents. For instance, an incident of civilian deaths would be referred as “collateral damage” without mentioning death.
However, doublespeak is also unjustifiable when used in situations that can distort communication and trigger confusion to the audience (Lutz nd). Indeed, when used intentionally to obscure or distort meaning in order to make an audience to be unable to predict consequences if direct language or effective communication is used in order to take advantage of their ignorance. In the United States, President Obama has been accused of being a master of doubles-speak. For instance, rather than say they would be ‘bombing Iran” Obama used the term ‘serving the target” while the euphemism for ‘war” became ‘national confrontation.’ Obama also adopted the term “sensitivity training” to emphasise compulsory sessions for “re-educating” individuals he deemed be politically incorrect regarding certain social issues (Smith 2013). In other scenarios, when politicians use the term ‘ethnic cleansing” to refer to systematic cleaning of a certain group of people instead of “genocide,’ it may trigger hate where one would think his ethnicity is targeted.
Therefore, double-speak may be justifiable when used to pass a message without acting as a barrier to communication to the audience, or considering to confuse the audience or render them ignorant.
2. Find an article or listen to a presentation that uses signposts. Identify the signposts and explain how they help the audience follow the article or presentation.
Signposts are intended to notify an audience of the main points or a change in ideas. They also break a flow of presentation to allow members of an audience who may have undergone an attention slip to understand that their attention is needed. Additionally, they remind members of an audience of part of the conversation should e taken away from the entire communication, be treated with seriousness or acted upon. In brief, they consist of ‘simple transitions’ that may be a simple phrase or a word that plainly highlight the key points or point an audience to the logical association between ideas.
For instance, the excerpt below is from an article “Korean Wave as a Tool for Korea’s New Cultural Diplomacy» by Janga and Paik (2012). In the the excerpt below, several signposts can be identified (as highlighted below). They include “On one hand” to highlight a priority and make a contrast ,“On the other hand” to also to highlight a priority and make a contrast, “simply put” to point audience to the most important point, and “however” to make a contrast.
3.Choose a piece of writing from a profession you are unfamiliar with. For example, if you are studying marketing, choose an excerpt from a book on fashion design. Identify several terms you are unfamiliar with, terms that may be considered jargon. How does the writer help you understand the meaning of these terms? Could the writer make them easier to understand?
Jargon refers to a profession-specific language that individuals with a given occupation use. It focuses on language individuals of a profession commonly use, or a distinct set of terms commonly used to refer to a common aspect in a profession.
The jargons used in the article are easy to identify. The excerpt below is from an article “Korean Wave as a Tool for Korea’s New Cultural Diplomacy» by Janga and Paik (2012). Most of the jargons in the excerpt are used in political science, and would be unfamiliar to a management student.
The jargons include “world is flat,” ‘location as a competitive edge,” “spiky,” “mountainous or spiky,” full of clusters where location matters,” and “clustered and rough.”
While I may not immediately understand what the write means, I can relate to the context of the article in order to assume what the writer implied. Although I may not understand all the marketing terms involved in the article, I do understand the objective of the article because the introduction used simple language that I can relate it. Still, the author makes an attempt to make his readers who are unfamiliar with the jargons to understand by explaining them parenthetically or inside brackets in the last three lines.
4. How does your self-concept influence your writing?
Self-concept describes the ideas held regarding oneself. Self-concept affects my communication, whether oral or written communication. For instance, in my written statement, “I don’t think I have the capacity to learn human resource management software,” I indicate that I feel I am incompetent in my ability to learn a new skill. However, my statement communicates my negative feelings about me. To this end, my perspective opinion of self is a critical factor in communication of self, as it exposes one’s frame of mind developed through education or experiences throughout one’s lifetime. For instance, when asked to write about snorkelling in the African city of Mombasa, Kenya as a part of my travel experience. As I have never performed snorkelling yet I love swimming, my perspective of self would lead me to write unenthusiastically about snorkelling. Better still, I would declare that I haven’t practiced snorkelling yet would try it out, as I am a good swimmer. In other words, my perspective of self is that I am a good swimmers and would definitely excel in snorkelling is given an opportunity. I would therefore see self-concept as the manner I view yourself, whether capable or incapable. Everything I think I have affects how I form my self-concept.
Clearly therefore, my sense of self is conveyed by my oral or written communication, which also means that any communication begins with communication with oneself. As @@@@ explains, when communicating, people tend to be full of hopes, doubts, expectations, and fears. As a consequence, where they focus on or place emphasis and the manner in which they consider their potential directly affects how they communicate. In my view therefore, I would argue that an understanding of my perspective directly lends insight to my self-awareness. In return, self-awareness decides what I have to pay attention to, the manner in which I accomplish my intentions, as well as the manner in which I remember my day by day experiences and activities.
5.What does the field of psychology offer concerning the self-fulfilling prophecy?
The concept of a self-fulfilling prophecy, refers to a scenario where one’s behaviour comes to match and reflect others’ expectations. Psychologists like Rosenthal, Rosnow and Rosenthal (1999), who made attempts to study human behaviour, suggested four principles in their study of a relationship between human expectations and performance. The first is that people certain expectations of events and individuals. They also communicate their expectations using verbal and non-verbal cues. Third, humans would always adjust their behaviour to relate to those expectations. Lastly, the end result is that the original expectation would be realised.
In practice, our behaviours respond to other’s expectations of us. For instance, in a close conversation with my cousin, who was a soccer prodigy in his childhood and eventually developed into a star in his youth, I realised that psychology makes significant contribution to self-fulfilling prophecy. My cousin was adamant that he owed his success to the coaches he has had throughout his lifetime playing football. He said that as a child, he had a coach who saw the ability in him and expected him to transform into a soccer star later in life. The coach often praised his efforts, even when he knew he was performing badly. He emphasised that the coach’s negative expectations of him enabled him to live up to his level of expectation. The coach consciously and unconsciously communicated positively about his abilities verbally and nonverbally to him and others. In spite of all these, he knew he was not gifted, but eventually changed his self-concept regarding self and starting thinking positively about his abilities. The end result is that he has become what the coach expected of him during his childhood. What I have learnt of psychology is that when an individual is encouraged by others who convey their expectations through verbal and non-verbal cues, it affects the way the individuals views himself or herself and his or her potential.
6. How does the process of perception limit our view, or expand it? Can we choose how to perceive things?
The process of perception may limit or expand our views. Perception forms the foundation of how we interpret events, ourselves and others, in addition to how we communicate based on the interpretations. In other words, when we have a limited interpretation of something, we would have a limited view. The limited perception may be influenced by various physical characteristics, including age, education, culture, context of interaction, experiences, or personal traits. Therefore, people may have perceptions based on their limited past experiences with something, which they would maintain of people or events. By limited experiences, it means they have limited interpretation of people and events. On the other hand, by attempting to understand and give explanation to how people classify their perceptions, they actually engage in interpretation.
We can choose how we interpret this when we choose to make attributions. In turn, we depend on these attributions to give meaning to things or events. According [email protected]@@@, attributions are rooted in the responsibility people think others have for their actions or what they say. For instance, when we explain our behaviors, we are likely to take tribute for the actions we are proud of and in turn argue that external factors should be responsible for our failures. On the other hand, managing perceptions may lead to responsible communication when it expands our views. The reason for this is because perceptions form the foundation for decisions we make regarding how we should communicate effectively and suitably, as our perception of others or events would determine our responses to them. When we overcome attributional bias, where we evaluate others of events based on our limited experience or knowledge of them, we respond to them based on how limitedly we have evaluated them, which leads to ineffective communication that anchors in unfair stereotypes. For instance, the first time I saw President Obama, my initial perception of him was based on my limited knowledge of him as a skinny African-American with Kenyan extraction. I thought he looked shy and introverted. In fact, the initial thoughts that ran through my mind were actually my perceptions of him. It would have affected my communication with him if I had a chance to meet him at this time, as I would have wanted to make him feel comfortable believing he is shy. However, I was wrong. After learning about him and reading a considerable number of blogs about him, my view of him has expanded. I have come to learn he is an effective communicator, smart, perhaps extroverted, intelligent, self-aware, bold, and sometimes too intimidating. Therefore, judging people on first impressions may affect how we communicate effectively.
7. Make a list of benefits and drawbacks to each of the listening styles discussed in the reading from “Contemporary Public Speaking”.
There are four listening styles that people use, depending on what they preferences and their purpose for listening: people-oriented listening,
In this kind of listening style, a listener shows great concern for speakers and how they would feel. They focus on external factors including, deriving their energy or motivation from other speakers and finding meaning in relationships, or in practice, conversing about ‘we’ more than ‘I’ or ‘they’. An advantage of this kind of communication is that it elicits emotions from listeners and motivates listeners, as people become exposed to life stories. However, it also has a disadvantage as speakers may be interpreted as being intrusive particularly when they make an attempt to connect with people who are not interested in establishing a relationship. Another disadvantage is that a listener is may be more attentive to the speaker’s characteristics and forget about the message. Similarly, if listening to a journalist who responded to a plane crash in the Indian Ocean, the listeners become more interested in the journalist as a person than the content of his message, which is the state of affairs for victims and survivors.
The content-oriented listeners show great interested in what is said instead of who says it or what the speaker feels. The listeners assess people more based on how credible their message is and would seek to validate their expertise and candour. An advantage of this style is that a listener is may be more attentive to the logic in the speaker’s message, as they focus on facts, details, and evidence. However, content-oriented listeners may also face difficulty when they disregard the ideas and opinions of the speaker and focus more on rejecting information just because it lacks sufficient back-up evidence.
Action-Oriented listeners concentrate on what would be done or what the speaker wants or his plans for actions.
A key advantage is that it saves time, elicits action, and avoids confusion, as only compelling messages are conveyed. For instance, a waiter in a hotel would only tell the customer that an order is unavailable and would not be served, rather than brief the customer with details of how supplies were late or cancelled, or how they have an incompetent staff to prepare certain foods. A disadvantage of this style is that the listeners may be impatient and harass the speaker to conclude before the whole message content is explored in-depth. These listeners also tend to be critical of people who begin with talk in concepts or ideas of the bigger picture, and may lead to disregard of the speaker’s concerns, as listeners are only interested in control.
Time-oriented listeners tend to prefer messages that they would understand fast, and would likely to be impatient with speakers who deliver messages bit by bit, withhold the punch line or make lengthy explanations. An advantage of this listening style is that listeners are likely to remember to remember the most important points. The disadvantage with this kind of listening styles is that listeners are likely to lose concentration fast and may as well be hostile when the speakers takes more time than they anticipated.
8. The reading from “Contemporary Public Speaking” refers to psychological noise as one of the distractions you might experience. Identify strategies you have successfully used to minimise the impact of the specific psychological noises you have experienced.
Psychological noise refers to the distractions or barriers to listening to a speaker’s message that come about due to the thoughts or attitudes of the listener. I have recently faced due to preconceived idea I had the world that I carried with me into a communication interaction. While preparing for a job interview at one time, I had a preconceived notion that the firm that had called me for an interview had a reputation for financial scandals and therefore all the employees were corruptible, despite its financial might in the telecommunication sectors.
Knowing this was a psychological bias, I came up with a strategy of defeating my preconceptions of the company. This involved researching about the company on the internet, company blogs and company reports. I also asked friends about their opinion of the company. This was to expand my view of the company. I also asked about how motivated the company’s employees were. I later learnt that my preconceptions were misplaced, as it only recruits A-rated students, pays them handsomely, and includes the best people in their recruitment panel.
9. Refer to the e-mail or text message examples provided in the reading for this submodule. Would you send that message to your lecturer? Why or why not? What normative expectations concerning professor-student communication are there and where did you learn them?
In nearly all careers or fields of study, written communication is fundamental to success, as it avoids distortion of message, frustrations, waste of time and aggravation. The manner in which we communicate with others in an organisation or at school shapes our image and what others perceive of us.
A normative expectation should be fulfilled in any communication. A normative expectation refers to an idea that conformity to certain norms is expected during communication (Bicchieri & Xiao 2010). In professor-student communication scenario, the normative expectations are that an email to a professor should formal in tone and grammatically correct. An excerpt below is an email from a student to a professor, which failed to conform to normative expectation.
To begin with lack of formality of the email, it can be observed that the student failed to inform the professor his or her name. The student also failed to refer to the specific class the question refers to. The email also has grammatical mistakes. For instance, it has not adhered to syntax rules, or use the correct vocabulary. There are many lower cased “i’s” as reference to the writer, which would have been spelled as “I’s”. This reflects a significant barrier to communication as the professor may not understand the student. Additionally, the professor may waste time trying to decipher what the student means. At any rate, the student may create a negative perception to the professors. Although spelling errors and improper grammar may be viewed as details, they would reflect poorly on the student that he or she is too careless, disrespectful, and uninterested in the study.
10.How does the intended audience influence the choice of words and use of language in a document? Think of a specific topic and two specific kinds of audiences. Then write a short example of how this topic might be presented to each of the two audiences.
The intended audience influences of choice of words and use of language in any document, as it is the audient that ultimately receives the message before routing it to other audiences. Again, it is also the audience that needs to act on the message. The audience may also be required to comment on the message or to execute certain ideas that have been conveyed in the message.
Against this backdrop, an understanding of what the audience requires and expects, and how the speaker wants the audience to respond are what influences the choice of words or use of language. Therefore, for effective communication to occur, the audience has to understand the message.
An example below is a memo intended to employees. It seeks to address emotions in organisational culture at a workplace. The memo is addressed to two kinds of audiences, the management, and the frontline employees. This requires use of formal language yet simple vocabulary, rather than management jargons, as all levels of employees are intended to respond. The tone of the memo is also stern to suggest seriousness and a need for urgency.
“I wish make some suggestions as regards handling emotions at WRTX Inc. that we need to be aware of. I am worried about the recent situation in which Paul McCourtney’s issue is being addressed. I am concerned about how McCourtney’s supervisor scolded him verbally before his colleagues leading to. In my view, this issue calls for immediate remediation.
As a result, I recommend that the HR Department has to provide written directives to supervisors on how to manage employee emotions. Additionally, I recommend that all management employees involved in supervisory roles attend formal trainings on communication, discipline, sound management skills and emotional intelligence and how to handle emotional situations.”
11.Create a sales letter for an audience that comes from a culture other than your own. Identify the culture and articulate how your message is tailored to your perception of your intended audience.
The below sales letter is intended for a Chinese company that deals in the sale of laptops.
“Dear Ted China Ltd,
Our company, XYZ Inc., has launched a new laptop called MiniL10 which we feel suits your preferences. It will be the first six-inch netbook, and will provide the best connectivity and entertainment features, whether you want to take and view photos, play music, email or surfing the internet. The MiniL10 is very thin, highly affordable, and portable. We invited you to make your orders.
Interested to hear your thoughts,