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Table of Contents

Question 1. Research and Analysis

Question 2: Essay

Question 3: Email


Applied Communication Techniques - Question 1

Question 1.1. Barnuld’s Transactional Model states that both the communicators are accountablefor effective communication. The model is a multi-layered feedback system. It comprises public, behavioral, and private clues (Fielding and du Pooly-Cilliers, 2015).Hennes & Mauritz (H&M) is a fast-fashion Swedish company recognized for clothing for men, teenagers, women, and children globally.As a communication specialist, my role is to guide my client H&M regarding smooth communications inside and outside the retail stores.Barnuld's Transactional Model can be used for solving this issue as it is used for interpersonal communication. At the retail stores there is an interaction of staff members and the customers. So, this model will help the staff members to understand that apart from vocal and non-vocal communication, the noise environment is also a part of the message. Feedback is an important factor during communication as it eliminates misunderstandings. Senders and receivers have different goals and needs which makes communication difficult. There is a necessity to build a communal sense of the message. No two individuals have the same thinking as they belong to different backgrounds. Based on the feedback of communication this model will help to theoreticallyanalyze and discuss the needs of effective communication at the workplace (Fielding and du Pooly-Cilliers, 2015).

Question 1.2. Communication barriers faced by the staff members of H&M:

  • Loud noise outside the store.
  • The lighting of the store and air conditioning.
  • Restrictions on society laws and values.
  • Semantic barriers.

The noise created by machines outside the store creates disturbance during communication. This can be reduced by using soundproof glasses for store construction. If the air conditioners and lighting in the store premises are not working properly, it will produce noise. Staff members and customers will face disturbances while listening to each other.To reduce these noise factors proper maintenance of all equipment in the store should be done. As people come from different societies and have different values, the receiver might not like the sender’s message and becomes self-justifying. These psychological barriers can be improved by leaning the values of Western culture and African culture. Not knowing about these differences will make the other person interpret wrongly. If the staff members and the customers are not able to understand words said by each other, this will be a semantic barrier. For avoiding semantic barriers, the staff members must learn to communicate the meaning without vocabulary(Fielding and du Pooly-Cilliers, 2015).

Applied Communication Techniques - Question 2

Importance of Training H&M Staff in Interpersonal Communications

Interpersonal communication is the means of expressing our thoughts, ideas, and feelings to the surrounding people. Barnuld's Transactional Model depicts that communication is a continuous process wherein both the correspondents are important.Hennes & Mauritz (H&M) is a Swedish Company recognized for sartorial for men, teenagers, women, and children globally. Though the staff members of H&M are well skilled in their fashion products, there is a necessity for training them about communication methods. The staff members are struggling on communicating with the customers as the customers are from diverse backgrounds, cultures, society, and have diversebeliefs (Okoro, Cwashington, and Thomas,2017). By learning interpersonal skills staff members will be able to communicate their thoughts to the customers by vocal or non-vocal means of communication. It will help the managers of the store to create a productive workplace and professional environment. This will create a friendly and positive environment inside the store premises. The essay will discuss the importance of learning interpersonal skills for the staff members of H&M. It will also cover the non-verbal communication ways to be adopted by the staff members for effective communication with the customers.

Importance of Active Listening

“Oral communication skills may be either product-oriented or behavior oriented” (Coffelt, Grauman & Smith, 2019: 421). People spend more time listening rather than other activities like speaking, writing, and reading (Fielding and du Pooly-Cilliers, 2015). Hearing and listening are two different terms although they are synonyms of each other. Hearing is a process of interpreting sound waves, whereas active listening is involved with the understanding speaker's feelings, expressions, and thoughts. The customers visiting the store can be from any culture, Western culture, or African culture. Their languages may be different, poor listening habits will make the staff members jump on a conclusion based upon their interpretation (IIE, 2017). This can make customers aggressive. To improve listening capabilities, staff members can use physical gestures like good eye contact, non-vocal feedbacks, etc. to communicate the customer that they are trying to understand. They can ask questions to illuminate their doubts.Also, they can imitate the message to the customer to confirm that the information gathered by them is correct or not.

Types of Non-Verbal Communication

Moving on to the types of non-verbal communication to be avoided by the staff members of H&M while communicating with a customer.The staff member should mainly avoid these three non-verbal communications: silence, facial expressions, and eye behavior, and haptics. Silence is a genuine way of engaging in two-way communication. It allows the receiver to understand the thoughts of the speaker. However, silence can also indicate boredom, disapproval, and lack of understanding (Fielding and du Pooly-Cilliers,2015).If the staff members observe that only they are talking, they can make an effort to find out the reason for the customer's silence. As our faces are visible, staff members should use only socially adequate expression while communicating. Staring and blinking should be avoided.Effective eye contact shows that the staff member is interested in the customer’s work, and is reliable. Haptics, that is, touch is very important, the members of the store should keep a watch against inapt touching as it could be treated as harassment.

Sensitivity to Non-Verbal Cues

Besides this, the staff members of H&M should understand the sensitivity of non-verbal communication, for effective communication. It's human behavior that we rely on the first impression to make our thoughts about strangers. This includes age, dressing style, hairstyle, accent, and tattoos. The staff members should dress up properly to avoid wrong interpretation by the customers. People often use their own beliefs and values to understand others, despite understanding that for the other person these values may be inappropriate (Okoro, Cwashington, and Thomas, 2017). The staff members should learn to connect without harming the customer’s beliefs. Non-verbal cues make the staff members and customers make verdicts about each other. This behavior could be avoided by the staff members by doing their work to guide the customers rather than arbitrating them by their appearance. From our facial expressions to the ornaments wore the staff members impact the relationship with the customers. This may include often yawning, fidgeting, and checking cell phones frequently. Since the first impersonation made by our non-vocal communication behaviors is tough to change, therefore, the staff members should always greet their customers with happy faces.


On a concluding note, learning interpersonal communication skills will benefit the staff members of H&M in many ways.As people spend more time listening rather than other activities, active listening habits in the staff members will help them imitating the customer’s views properly. Using proper physical gestures while talking to a customer will make the customer feel that he is listened to and is given importance. They will also learn about avoiding silence, facial expressions, and eye behavior and haptics, which are non-verbal communication ways. As our faces are easily visible, learning about non-verbal cues ways will guide the staff members for effective communication with the customers. The staff members should maintain effective eye contact to show that he is interested in the customer’s work, and is reliable. The staff members should avoid yawning and frequent use of cell phones during their working hours as this behavior could be interpreted as a wrong behavior by the customers.Learning these skills will benefit the managers of the store to create a creative workplace and professional environment. Furthermore, this will create a friendly and positive environment inside the store premises.

Applied Communication Techniques - Question 3

Email To: john@H&, mark@H&, linda@H&, cole@H&, tucker@H&, austin@H&, catherine@H&

Subject: Compulsory intercultural communication workshop

Dear staff,

The staff members of H&M are well trained about their fashion products but they are facing problems while communicating with the customers as the customers are from different backgrounds, cultures, and societies and have different values. Besides this, the staff members should understandthe sensitivity of non-verbal communication, for effective communication. It’s human behavior that we rely on the first impression to make our thoughts about strangers. I will be hosting an intercultural communication workshop for the company’s staff to train the staff about intercultural communication and non-verbal ways of communication.

The workshop details are as follows:

Date: Tuesday 2 June

Time: 11:00-15:00

Venue: Sandton Convention Centre

Location: Johannesburg, South Africa

Lunch will be served in the break time from 12:30-13:30.

Here are some of the topics that we will be talking about at the workshop to improve intercultural communication at H&M. The source for this information is Fielding and du Plooy-Cilliers (2015):

1. Importance of intercultural communication.

2. Behavior rules to be followed by the staff members while talking to the customers and other members of the store

3. Western and African cultural differences.

4. Individualism versus collectivism.

5. Masculinity versus femininity.

6. Cultural morals to be followed by the staff.

7. Barriers to intercultural communication: language, values, beliefs, laws, and cultural diversity.

8. Methods to improve intercultural communication.

  • Address the customer’s problem.
  • Be open to accepting cultural diversity.
  • Respecting each other's points of view.
  • Learning about the impact of cultural differences on relationships.
  • Addressing the dangers of stereotyping.
  • Creating a trustworthy atmosphere.

9. Non-verbal communication skills.

10. Intercultural sensitivity

These skills will benefit the staff in creating a creative workplace and professional environment along with a friendly and positive environment inside the store premises. We look forward to seeing you at the workshop. We believe that working together openly and honestly will help us build our H&M family into a successful and meaningful work environment.

Yours sincerely,

David Brown

Head of Corporate Communications

South African Communications (SAC)

References for Applied Communication Techniques

Coffelt, T. A., Grauman, D. and Smith, F. L. M. 2019. Employers’ perspectives on workplace communication skills: The meaning of communication skills. SAGE Journals, 82(4), pp. 418-439.

Dwyer, J. and Hopwood, N. 2019. The business communication handbook.11th ed. Sydney: Cengage.

Fielding, M. and du Pooly-Cilliers, F. 2015. Effective business communication in organisations.4th ed. Cape Town: Juta.

Independent Institute of Communication. 2020. Learning Unit 1: The Four Communication Models. Sandton: IIE.

Fielding, M. anddu Pooly-Cilliers, F.2015. Effective business communication in organisations.4th ed. Cape Town: Juta.

Leary, M. R. 2019. Self-presentation: Impression management and interpersonal behavior: Social Psychology Series.

Okoro, E., Cwashington, M. and Thomas, O. 2017. Impact of interpersonal communication skills on organizational effectiveness and social self-efficacy: A synthesis. International Journal of Language and Linguistics, 4(3), pp. 28-32.

Smith, S. A., Patmos, A. and Pitts, M. J. 2015. Communication and teleworking: A study of communication channel satisfaction, personality, and job satisfaction for teleworking employees. SAGE Journals, 55(1), pp. 44-68.

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