Interpersonal Skills

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Interpersonal Skills Report

Communication is a fundamental part of our everyday lives. It is a process of expressing thoughts by using verbal and non verbal communication. Having excellent interpersonal skills, allows us to achieve effective communication with our peers and colleagues. Working within the social care sector it is vital to be able to communicate effectively with service users and with work colleagues. There are many different types of communication and over the years this had developed immensely

In relation cultures, different cultures interpret verbal and non verbal communication in different ways. Some cultures may find some things you do disrespectful to them and their culture. ’Culture means the history, customs and ways that people learn as they grow up.’’ Stretch et al, 2007, pg 14. My understanding of this is that as we grow up, we are taught how to behave and how to act in a way that is normal in our own culture. We need to consider and respect the different cultural backgrounds that we find in our community. Cultural differences are a barrier in communicating because different cultures have different ways of communicating effectively than others. I am going to give three different examples.

Eye contact. In Britain, we learn that having eye contact with the person you are speaking to is an effective way of communicating and are a way of showing respect. Whereas, some cultures in Asia shows very little eye contact to show their respect and this is because they find pro longed eye contact offensive.

Ways of greeting each other. In France the most common way of greeting one another is by kissing each other on their cheeks to say hello and shows acceptance this is done by both male and female. However in the black community, some male individuals may find this derogatory as this is deemed to be linked with homosexuality.

Tone of voice. In Arabic cultures a loud tone to your voice indicates power and strength and in Germany this indicates confidence and authority, whereas in Japanese culture a loud tone to your voice shows a loss of control within yourself. In Thai culture, a loud tone indicates impoliteness. Your tone of voice is gender based, as in almost all cultures female tend to talk more quietly and with a higher pitch.

London is very multicultural. Wherever we go we see a wide variety of people around us. We are sometimes mindful of other people’s cultures. The importance of understanding the diversities in culture is something that we all need to be aware of, especially working in a Social Work profession. It is important not to assume and to acknowledge the differences in other cultures behaviours and own personal values. It is important not to assume that everyone from a particular culture will behave that way. Earlier in this report I explained that in Britain, having eye contact when speaking to someone is important as it shows respect and acknowledgement. However depending on the person’s situation and how they might be feeling at the time will contribute in them showing very little eye contact. So it is important to be mindful of every individual’s situation at the time. Having patience is also another important factor. For example in the U.K when asking someone ‘how are you?’ other cultures such as people from India and perhaps the Caribbean will go into greater detail and depth about how they are. Working in groups people from an African culture can talk very loudly, this is acceptable within their community. However others may find this aggressive and rude. Having that awareness of the diversity in this particular culture, makes you aware what is acceptable. In some ways you can also mirror and match how they are talking but taking into consideration not to offend.

Working in a social care focused profession; we need to be able to identify the needs and behaviour of service users. ‘’You can usually guess what a person feels by studying their non-verbal...
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