On a day-to-day basis we work with people who have different opinions, values, beliefs, and needs than our own. Our ability to exchange ideas with others, understand others' perspectives, solve problems and successfully utilize the steps and processes presented in this training will depend significantly on how effectively we are able to communicate with others. The act of communicating involves verbal and nonverbal components. The verbal component refers to the content of our message‚ the choice and arrangement of our words. The nonverbal component refers to the message we send through our body language. The paraverbal component refers to how we say what we say - the tone, pacing and volume of our voices. In order to communicate effectively, we must use all three components to do two things: 1. Send clear, concise messages.
2. Hear and correctly understand messages someone is sending to us. Our use of language has tremendous power in the type of atmosphere that is created at the problem-solving table. Words that are critical, blaming, judgmental or accusatory tend to create a resistant and defensive mindset that is not conducive to productive problem solving. On the other hand, we can choose words that normalize the issues and problems and reduce resistance. Phrases such as "in some districts, people may . . .", "it is not uncommon for . . ." and "for some folks in similar situations" are examples of this. Sending effective messages requires that we state our point of view as briefly and succinctly as possible. Listening to a rambling, unorganized speaker is tedious and discouraging - why continue to listen when there is no interchange? Lengthy dissertations and circuitous explanations are confusing to the listener and the message loses its concreteness, relevance, and impact. This is your opportunity to help the listener understand YOUR perspective and point of view. Choose your words with the intent of making your message as clear as possible, avoiding jargon and unnecessary, tangential information.
One can easily misjudge the influence of nonverbal communication. These types of messages are normally shown or demonstrated in many different ways. The way the body is positioned, shrug of the shoulders or similar movements, facial expressions, and the amount of distance and space between the communicators are several examples of nonverbal communication. Body language plays a major role of the perception and understanding of a conversation. Body language is a huge source of communication and it has become so common, that majority of the times, people are unaware of how often they speak using their hands and body movements. The main method that is used to communicate emotions is nonverbal communications. The face is feasibly the utmost significant signal of expressive information. Facial expressions are very easy to distinguish one’s feelings. The most frequently used facial expressions are those that demonstrate passion, energy, and agreement or appreciation, show misperception or monotony, and frown with discontentment. The eyes are mainly easy-to-read in expressing happiness, grief or sorrow, irritation, or misunderstanding. One’s posture can form a sentiment of genuine honesty or emotionless rejection. Imagine that you are involved in a conversation and the other person is sitting silently resting their folded hands loosely on their lap, a sense of eagerness and concentration is created. Communication will flow consistently and smoothly if the verbal and nonverbal messages are sent consistently. Messages that are inconsistent can cause the listener to become confused. Inconsistency may also be a contributor to a lack of trust and undermine the chance to build a good working relationship. When a person sends a message with conflicting verbal and nonverbal information, the nonverbal information tends to be...
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