Assessment 1: Knowledge Questions

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This assessment task has been designed to allow you to demonstrate your knowledge in using information and understanding of workplace communication strategies gained from the student learning guide. Knowledge questions are structured to provide opportunities to combine different areas of learning and apply personal application when possible to a workplace context. The knowledge questions require a strong understanding of communication strategies, protocols and practices in the workplace, as well as methods to promote personal and professional promotion and development of these skills and knowledge. The knowledge questions are also designed to support you to reflect on how you can transfer everyday communication skills practically to the workplace and identify ways to adapt tools to suit a range of community service contexts.

You will be assessed on your ability to:

  • Identify internal and external communication needs
  • Identify competing and conflicting interests
  • Develop communication strategies to meet organisational goals
  • Adapt communication strategies to meet a range of diverse client and stakeholder backgrounds
  • Model effective oral and written communication skills
  • Identify political, economic, social and technological factors that impact on communication strategies
  • Understand legal and ethical considerations
  • Identify a number of different organisational communication channels
  • Identify barriers to communication
  • Identify mentoring and coaching principles and practices
  • Describe traditional and new media
  • Identify different digital media
  • Describe reporting and evaluation processes

You will also be assessed on your ability to demonstrate the following:

  • Identify innovative ways of developing and sharing skills, knowledge with others
  • Demonstrate a finely nuanced understanding of what to communicate with whom and how in a broad range of work contexts
  • Masterfully manipulates communication systems, processes and practices, selecting, using and adapting them for maximum Impact.
  • Pay close attention to the selection aspects such as mode, channel and form, recognising ways in which they may influence interpretation of a message and appreciating the subtleties of each.
  • Recognise the value that different perspectives can bring to the work situation, and seeks to better understand forms of diversity relevant to the work context, (e.g. ethnic, religious, gender, age, socio-economic) and their potential impacts, and adapts personal communication style where appropriate to respect the values, beliefs and cultural expectations of others.
  • understand the unique combination of values, beliefs, knowledge, understanding and perspectives that others bring to the work context
  • Articulates and explores own and other’s values, beliefs and assumptions as an integral part of identifying drivers and barriers to change, developing new ideas, addressing problems and making decisions.
  • Facilitates a climate in which others feel comfortable to identify, explore and build on a variety of perspectives in order to achieve shared outcomes
  • Recognises and addresses complex problems involving multiple variables
  • Invests time in defining the real problem, using a variety of techniques to challenge initial perceptions of the situation, identify key contributing factors and critical issues.
  • Recognise the critical importance of the ongoing exploration of new ideas to the viability and effectiveness of a work situation
  • Define benefits, costs, risks and feasibility from a broad range of perspectives, and may think laterally to redesign aspects in order to address potential issues.

Read through the questions carefully and respond to them in full using your own words and referencing any researched material. Any incorrect or incomplete responses will be returned to you with feedback to allow you to resubmit. If you require additional training or guidance on the topic, you can negotiate time with your tutor for assistance.

Q1: You are working for Southside Community Service as a community services worker in their aged care program. You have been advised the intake process for your program has changed and your supervisor has asked you to communicate these changes to your stakeholders.

Q1: (a) Identify the various groups of stakeholders you will need to inform of the changes to your program.

Answer:
The groups of stakeholders that I need to inform would include: colleagues that I was working with and the clients i was helping. 
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Q1: (b) What communication strategies will you use to advise your stakeholders of the intake changes?

Answer:
The communication strategies I would use would be speaking to them face to face, writing letters, email messages, phone calls or creating text messages to inform them of the changes that have taken place. I would also indicate that I wont be with them as we had agreed because of the changes that have occurred.  
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Q2: Sarah is a community services student on placement with your service. You have been asked to mentor Sarah for the next 4 weeks.

Q2: (a) In preparing for your weekly mentoring sessions with Sarah, what do you need to consider.

Answer:
Some of the things I would consider would include:How our meetings would take placeHow to create a safe and trusting environmentThe specific goals that we would achieve with the mentoring processSkills to consider during the mentoring andThe tools to use for effective mentorship
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Q2: (b) Name the 15 principles of mentoring and coaching.

Answer:
1.Development of a learning agreement to clarify goals and expectations.
2.Ground rules to address ethical issues
3.Discussions are structured and purposeful
4.Purposeful conversations that reflect on the individuals beliefs and practices
5.Processes is empowering
6.Incorporates the individuals intellect, emotions and relationships
7.Builds on the strengths and capabilities of the individual
8.Individual takes responsibility for their own self development
9.Coach/mentor builds a trusting relationship
10.Sessions are confidential
11.Organisational ethical policies, procedures and guidelines are adhered to
12.Encouraging the person to be innovative, take risks, seek evidence from practice and reflect on their learning
13.Responds to culture and diversity
14.Prioritises time for coaching and mentoring
15.Uses effective questioning and listening skills – open questions and active listening, pays attention to body language and tone of voice
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Q3: Steve, a youth worker at Southside Community Services Youth Program has approached you to discuss his idea of opening the Youth Centre on Saturdays. Whilst you think this is a good idea you are concerned about the implications for the organisation. You discuss the issues with your supervisor and you have been asked to complete a simple SWOT analysis outlining the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats regarding Steve’s proposal to present at the next team meeting.

Please complete the table below with your answer.

Answer:
Strengths:Weaknesses:
At least there is an employee willing to work on Saturday and he might mobilise the others to join him. It would be difficult convincing the other employees to be coming to work on Saturdays.Clients are alsready aware that the organization is closed on Saturdays and they may not quickly adapt to the fact that there are changes.
Opportunities:Threats:
More time would be available to help clientsWorkers may become demotivated by the fact that their free day has been engaged and lead them to perform poorly.
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Q4: John is a new employee at Southside Community Service. John is employed as a community service worker in the disability support program. The program facilitates a social group for people with a disability on Thursdays from 10.00am to 12.30pm. John is responsible for facilitating this group. John’s 6 month probation report is due and you are in the process of preparing documentation. You decide to observe John’s interactions with clients as part of his performance review. 

You overhear John’s communication with Mohammad. Mohammad is from Iraq. He has recently arrived in Australia on refugee status. Mohammad was injured when he was escaping Iraq and sustained a head injury resulting in a mild intellectual impairment and an injury to his leg which has left him with a bad limp.  

In observing the interaction between John and Mohammad, you become extremely concerned about John’s lack of understanding about communication barriers. John appears frustrated with Mohammad’s lack of English and his inability to understand what John is saying. You hear John mutter “waste of time trying to help these idiots” as he walks away. 

You performance review meeting is with John immediately after the social group

Q4: (a) In addressing John’s lack of understanding in communication barriers, what do you need to do to address this?

Answer:
Since John is a new employee, he might have not experienced such a problem previously. The best way to address John’s problem would be to mentor and coach him. First, it would be important to tell him that what he did was wrong and he should be prepared to improve since most of the clients he will come along will not be much different from Mohammad. Coaching and mentoring will help develop John’s abilities and improve his performance. In order to coach and mentor John, he will have to join employees who have been in the field for long to observe and learn how to avoid communication barriers. After learning, he can then proceed with his solo assignments. 
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Q4: (b) What are the specific barriers to communication for people form a culturally diverse background?

Answer:
The specific barriers to communication include:language barriers, i.e. words used, sentence structure or the way people communicatedifferent attitudes and valuesprejudice, that is, judging characteristics of other people such as skin colorstereotyping, that is, presuming something about a person and their culture or social background
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Q5: Identify four (4) models of communication and describe their features.

Answer:
1.Lasswell Formula (1948)Lasswell’s model, one of the first communication models, is summed up in five questions: Who, Says what, In which Channel, To Whom, With what effect? Lasswell’s model of communication is linear and unidirectional, meaning that, No outside factor come into play and the conversation is one way. The model has the following features:It assumes the communicator wishes to influence the receiver and therefore sees communication as a persuasive process.It assumes that messages always have effectsIt exaggerates the effects of mass communicationIt omits feedbackOn the other hand, it was devised in an era of political propagandaIt remains a useful introductory model
2.Shannon and Weaver Mathematical Model (1949)The model is sometimes described as ‘The most important’ model. It has the following features:Communication is presented as a linear, one-way process.Osgood and Schramm developed it into a more circular model.Shannon and Weaver make a distinction between source and transmitter, and receiver and destination – i.e. there are two functions at the transmitting end and two at the receiving end.It is criticised for suggesting a definite start and finish to the communication process, which in fact is often endless
3.Gerbner (1956) ModelThis model demonstrates the communication process. It has the following elements of communication:Like Lasswell, this model has a verbal as well as visual method: Someone, perceives an event, And reacts, In a situation, Through some means, To make available materials, In some form, And context, Conveying content and With some consequence.The flexible nature of the model makes it useful.It also allows an emphasis on perceptionIt could explain, for example, the perceptual problems of a witness in court and, in the media, a model which helps us to explore the connection between reality and the stories given on the news.
4.Westley & MacLean (1957) ModelThis model highlights that communication does not start when one person talks but when a person responds to their physical surroundings. Communication commences only when the person receives messages for their surroundings. Each person (receiver) reacts to the message received based on their location. The model has the following features:The authors were keen to create a model which showed the complexities of mass communication – hence the emphasis on having to interpret a mass of Xs (events which are communicated in the media).It oversimplifies the relationships between participants by not showing power relations between participants.It makes the media process seem more integrated than it may actually be.It doesn’t show the way different media may have different interests of the state (eg difference between a state broadcaster and private one).
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Q6: Describe your understanding of the following concepts:

Q6: (a) Interpersonal skills

Answer:
I understand interpersonal skills as lifeskills that people use daily to communicate with others both in groups and individually. Individuals that work on interpersonal skills succeed in their personal and professional lives. Interpersonal skills include everything from communication and listening skills to attitude and deportment.
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Q6: (b) Workplace interpersonal skill

Answer:
Workplace Interpersonal communication skills are skills used in the everyday professional life and it includes: what we say and how we say it, non-verbal communication, listening skills, negotiation, problem solving, decision making, assertiveness and many more. 
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Q7: You have an intake interview with a new client, Natalie. You have received information from the referring agency that includes the following information:

Natalie is 27 years old, has a child Nathaniel who is three. Nathaniel has been removed from Natalie’s care due to Natalie’s mental health issues and drug taking. Natalie has been diagnosed with bi-polar disorder and has episodes where she is manic or very depressed. Natalie has known to be aggressive and abusive to workers.

You meet with Natalie and the interview starts off well. You have developed rapport and Natalie has engaged well with you. When you start discussing the issues relating to Nathaniel’s removal from her care, Natalie becomes distressed, angry and frustrated and starts yelling at you. Natalie states you are working for the Department and just want information from her to provide to child protection so she can’t get her child back.

What strategies can you use to address Natalie’s anger and the conflict between you?

Answer:
At this point, it would be important to regain the trust of Natalie back by creating the rapport. Since mentioning Nathaniel to her makes her angry and loses my trust, I would change the subject and refrain from talking about Nathaniel. I would also try to use other ways to get the information I need without mentioning Nathaniel to her. I would also note the things that make her angry and avoid them so that communication breakdown does not occur. 
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Q8: Describe the five (5) different communication styles and provide a short overview of each one.

Answer:
1.Assertive communication style- Individuals with assertive communication skill have a high self-esteem. This is the most effective communication style because an individual is not too aggressive and not too passive. An assertive individual is confident to communication without manipulating others.
2.Aggressive communication style- This style is about winning at another’s expense. Aggressive individuals behave like their needs are more important than those of others, like they have more rights and like they contribute more than others. It is an ineffective communication style as the content of the message may get lost because people are too busy reacting to the way it’s delivered. 
3.Submissive communication style- This style is about pleasing other people and avoiding conflict. A submissive person behaves as if other people’s needs are more important, and other people have more rights and more to contribute.
4.Passive-aggressive communication style- In this style people appear passive on the surface, but are actually acting out their anger in indirect or behind-the-scenes ways. People who behave in this manner usually feel powerless and resentful, and express their feelings by subtly undermining the object (real or imagined) of their resentments – even if this ends up sabotaging themselves.
5.Manipulative communication style- People with a manipulative communication style are usually schemers, calculating and shrewd. Manipulative communicators are skilled at influencing or controlling others to their own advantage. Their spoken words hide an underlying message, of which the other person may be totally unaware.
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Q9: Describe in your own words, what it means to be an ethical communicator

Answer:
To be an ethical communicator means to treat people fairly, to communicate honestly and to avoid unethical immoral behaviour. Ethical communicators are accurate and transparent in their work environment, all their communications and in their personal lives.
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Q10: Name five (5) legal and ethical considerations relating to professional and workplace communication strategies. Provide a short overview for each section.

Answer:
1.Disclaimers-These safeguard certain community service information from legal action in case a misunderstanding or misuse occurs with clients. Disclaimers are included in various medias including departmental emails and advertisements. 
2.Fundraising- Fundraising activities may be required when one works with certain community services. In such fundraisings, there are certain consumer and fair-trading protections legalisations that apply to organization and communication processes. 
3.Website terms and policies- Community services workers that require to upload certain material to organization websites need to ensure that the organization has procedures and policies that cover issues of content accuracy, content liability and client rights. 
4.Intellectual property and using content- When an individual develops content for organization websites, they have to reference where they got the information from as well as the owner whether it has copyright or one requires permission from the copyright. 
5.Privacy and confidentiality- Privacy legislation requires certain information, (client information) be kept confidential, unless consent is provided to disclose the information to another person. Confidentiality is an important concept for those working in the community services sector. All organisations have policies and procedures relating to client confidentiality.
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Q11: Describe the four (4) elements of a PEST Analysis and provide at least four examples under each heading:

Answer:
1.Political- political factors are how governments intervene in the economy.Examples include:Planned or future legislationGovernment policiesRegulatory agensiesPolitical change
2.Economic- economic factors are factors that affect the manner in which businesses make decisions and how they operate.Examples include:International economic factorsTrade cyclesEconomic growth and trendsLocal tax, exchange, interest and inflation rates
3.Social- social factors include health consciousness, age distribution, career attitudes and population growth and how demand of company’s products are affectedExamples include:Ethical issuesMajor eventsLifestyle trendsAdvertising and brand image
4.Technological- technological factors determine entry barriers.Examples include:Technology incentivesMaturity of technologyDigital economymanufacturing
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Q12: (a) Identify three (3) internal communication channels you may experience in a community services workplace environment.

Answer:
1.Print media such as posters, brochures and fliers
2.Face to face meetings
3.Broadcast media such as newsletters
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Q12: (b) Explain the difference between traditional and new (digital) forms of media.

Answer:
The difference between traditional media and digital media is the rate and speed with which the information is received. In traditional media such as letters, fliers, posters and booklets, the speed of receiving information is slow. However, in new media, whih includes smart phones, computers, laptops and emails, information is received in the blink of an eye. 
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Q13: Yesterday was the final day for submission of client and stakeholder feedback questionnaires regarding the effectiveness of organisation information sharing to clients and stakeholders regarding program content and changes to organisational service delivery.

You have all the returned questionnaires and have conducted an analysis in the information from clients and stakeholders. You are now in the process of developing a report for management..

Q13: (a) Why is reporting this information important and what areas does your report have to include?

Answer:
Reporting this information is important because it would help the management understand how the organization is performing. In addition, reporting would help the organization in decision making instances. The report should include the following areas: the method used in collection of information, the information provided by clients and stakeholders (results), analysis method used and the analysis made, discussion, conclusion and recommendations. 
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Q13: (b) What are the six (6) key points why evaluation of this information is important?

Answer:
1.Promote best practice
2.Motivate staff and give them direction
3.Help an organisation plan how to spend funds and resources effectively
4.Support an organisation in making strategic decisions about a program
5.Help staff understand, confirm or increase the impact of a program
6.Verify if a program is meeting its aims and objectives
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