Interpersonal Skills

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Module 2 - Communication Skills
Communication is a complex process by which the sender encodes the message with language and sends to the receiver through an appropriate medium. When the other person receives the message, the receiver will listen to decode and interpret the message with understanding and then responds effectively as a feedback. However, it is not as easy as it seems. Below I will briefly explain about interpersonal communication before moving into communication roadblocks and reflecting skills from module 2, and looking into anger and handling conflict from module 4. Interpersonal Communication

Interpersonal communication is vital in our lives for the development of positive relationships by sharing our thoughts, feelings and behaviors with the others. Humans interact to fulfill a variety of our needs; we all need to work with other people, to feel secure about ourselves—to feel wanted, respected, accepted and valued—to love and be loved, to express ourselves, and to discover our own world, the physical world and the social world. According to Maslow (1970), the third level in his famous hierarchy of needs is ‘Love and Belonging Needs’. He found that human beings are sociable and generally need relationships with others. Effective communication enhances our efficiency at work, personal growth, maturity and health. It helps to establish and maintain close connection with our families, friends and colleagues. This makes us feel loved and less lonely, and helps us feel more positive about ourselves (DeVito, J., 1986, p.15). In order to have an enriching communication, we must also be empathic towards others by putting ourselves in their shoes, as mentioned by Bolton (1987) “It is the ability to understand another person pretty much as he understands himself” (p. 270). Empathy is one of the important fundamentals in positive communication, by which it will help us to understand and accept another’s feelings, and respond to him / her appropriately. Activity 2.2 - Communication Roadblocks (Appendix 1)

Unfortunately, many of us cannot communicate well enough. Although today’s communication technologies are more advanced, we find it hard to communicate and connect to our dear ones. Not many of us come from an environment with good models of effective communication (Bolton, R. 1987, p. 8). Since childhood, we have been trained by people in our lives to be less expressive and to avoid disclosing our feelings. This includes influences by the media, such as the radio, television and our culture. It is also because of today’s technology advancement, like text messaging from our mobile phones and online chat, which may have caused face-to-face communication to diminish. Furthermore, many of us lack empathy and do not listen enough to decipher what the other person is saying. Too often, we maintain eye contact with another and pretend to listen and yet allow our thoughts to stray. Deficient in communication undermines us emotionally and physically to an extent that it may affect our physical health. For some, they become lonely, isolated and out of touch with themselves and others. For married couples, their relationship cannot flourish. Bolton (1987) also said, “Proximity without intimacy is inevitably destructive. When communication is blocked, love’s energy turns to resentment and hostility” (p. 6). To contribute to the factors that have already caused our interpersonal communication skills to be impaired, we have “innocently” and unintentionally—or maybe intentionally—created barriers or roadblocks when we communicate with other people. Bolton (1987) grouped the twelve communication roadblocks into three major categories: •judging – criticizing, name-calling, diagnosing and praising evaluatively •sending solutions – ordering, threatening, moralizing, excessive / inappropriate questioning and advising •avoiding the other’s concerns – diverting, logical argument and reassuring Coming from a...
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