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Unit 401 Assignment Guidance

posted 10 Nov 2014, 02:30 by Grant Johnson   [ updated 10 Nov 2014, 02:36 ]
Hi All,

After marking a number of pieces of work in preparation, I think it would be useful to expand on the criteria that you need to meet in more detail.

I will start by examining each learning criteria, then discuss how you are able to meet Merit and Distinction grades.

Task 1

1. Understand the importance of effective communication in business
1.1 Explain the relevance of the communication cycle in effective communication
1.2 Explain the benefits of different types of communication
1.4 Evaluate the effectiveness of different types of communication

Think of this as an introduction. You are introducing the theme of communication in a business context. This will start by discussing the communication cycle and its relevance. Relevance means how can it be used to model what actually happens when communicating. Note that these are models, they are best fit.(1.1)

The communication cycle details communication channels, these are methods of communication. From this point you can discuss the various themes of communication; verbal and nonverbal (including written). You can then expand further  by provide examples of communication methods, for example, email. In your explanations you should be able to evaluate their effectiveness in different contexts. (1.2, 1.4)

2. Understand the importance of effective written communication in business
2.1 Explain the importance of clear written communication in business which meets the needs of different audiences
2.2 Evaluate different sources of information that may be used when preparing written communication.
2.3 Evaluate different styles and tones of written communication

Here we can start narrowing down to one form of nonverbal communication; written. You will have already identified the audiences that you communicate with as part of the classroom activity. Explorer their different needs and how written communication might need to be tailored to them. For instance, would it be suitable to email factory workers that build cars? What would be a more suitable method of written communication?

When preparing written information you will need to interpret and use various sources of information. This links to the old unit 27 activity 7 where you had to rank various sources of information in terms of their reliability, e.g. an experienced colleague vs a wikipedia article.

Throughout your work you should be reflecting on the styles and tones of written communication. This includes formal and informal, considerations when communicating vertically and horizontally etc.

6. Be able to recommend communication methods for specific purposes.
6.1 Identify the purpose of the communication

This should be quite a simple one! And remember it is my favourite question.....what's the point!

Distinction Criteria

The relationship between the communication cycle, purpose and benefits is developed, fully explained and justified.

Different sources of information and different styles and tone of written communication are evaluated and evidence shows a well developed understanding of the concepts.

Task 2
3. Understand the importance of effective verbal communication in business.
3.1 Evaluate ways of communicating verbally clearly and convincingly to different audiences
3.2 Describe the benefits of active listening
3.3 Explain how to overcome barriers to verbal communication

In task 1 you evaluated written communication, this time you need to evaluate verbal communication. Remember that this is in the context of a user guide, therefore you will need to write it with a clear understanding of the target audience. You must also demonstrate to the reader how they should approach verbal communication with various different audiences. Through investigation of these different audiences and verbal communication methods you should be able to to identify communication barriers and highlight how you might either resolve them or reduce their impact. For example, if you are communicating with someone who is blind you aren't going to be able to resolve the communication barrier, but you might be able to reduce its impact by using alternative forms of communication. (3.1, 3.3).

When communicating, it is critical that we verify that the receiver understand what is being communicated. This is where active listening comes in! How do you know that someone is listening to you? How are you actively listening to somebody else? (3.2)

4. Understand how to communicate effectively in a non-verbal way.
4.1 Explain how to recognise and respond to different body language in business environments
4.2 Explain how rapport is developed with colleagues and customers

For 4.1 you will need to investigate body language. Reference Amy Cuddy's TED talk on the power of nonverbals. She directly relates body language to the context of real life situations, including interviews. 

Rapport is that first impression that then leads to and defines a relationship with a person or group. Reflect on how this can include key features such as confidence and eventually trust. What allows these qualities to flourish and what might damage them or stop them from developing e.g. poor customer service. 

5. Understand the purpose and value of getting feedback when developing communication skills.
5.1 Evaluate different ways of getting feedback on whether communications have achieved their purpose
5.2 Explain the purpose of using feedback to develop communication skills

5.1 and 5.2 can be integrated into the fabric of the work that you create. For instance, active listening is a form of feedback on communication. You can reflect on various forms of feedback and their potential use. 

For example if you were having a conversation with a colleague, it would be unlikely that you would send them a survey to ask for feedback on the conversation, it would be quite weird! But if you were communicating with thousands of people a survey would be a very effective way of obtaining feedback.

Distinction Criteria

Ways of communicating verbally are evaluated in relation to each other and are highly developed and fully justified.

Different ways of getting feedback are evaluated in relation to each other and are highly developed and fully justified.

Task 3

1. Understand the importance of effective communication in business.
1.3 Explain how effective communication in business motivates employees and customers.

6. Be able to recommend communication methods for specific purposes.
6.2 Justify the use of different types of communication for different purposes.
6.3 Recommend communication strategies for different purposes.

In this task you will need to create a written report that recommends a communication strategy in light of a significant organisational change.

This includes:
  • Identifying key stakeholders (audiences) and reasons why you might communicate with them.
  • A recommendation for a communication strategy with a justification.
  • An explanation as to how effective communication in business motivates employees and customers.
  • How the changing needs of internal and external stakeholders influence an organisations communication strategy.
Concepts from task 1 and 2 can be combined here and significant linkage should be demonstrated. Think of it as the practical application of the theories. If you have information that you would like to include, but doesn't quite fit in, include it in your appendix.

Distinction Criteria

The use of communication is fully justified with appropriate examples.

Recommendation of communication strategies are fully justified with appropriate examples.


For reference, you can find a link to my 401 learner support document below: