Week 3 Assignment- Interpersonal Communication In Action
Communication cannot be measured by the amount of communication that is exchanged, but by how many messages are received, and understood (Baker, 2009). Clear communication is the key as we all filter verbal information through what we want to hear and are expecting to hear. It is important to always verify what the receiver of one’s message understands the message to be and then move away from personalizing questions that may arise, while focusing on clarifying what one wants to communicate. Thus begins the process of physically receiving messages and the keys involved, which help create effective listening.
Slowing down our thought process is the key to clearly expressing our opinion. Thought is a really rapid process. Our minds are capable of receiving, evaluating, interpreting and classifying thousands of bits of information simultaneously. Most of the mental digestion of our communication takes place unconsciously (Baker, 2009). While we are very aware of the results of our communication, we are not usually aware of the process that’s going on (Hopkins, Rogers, 2005). It is really important to delivery clear messages to the receiver of our communication. If we do not make sure that we are delivering both a clear message and also a reason for this message the receiver may not get what we are trying to say. Slowing down our thought process is the key to clearly expressing our opinion because in order to clearly transmit our message the receiver must understand not only the conclusion we are stating but also how we arrived at the conclusion. If we want our thought processes to be understandable to the receiver it is very important that we explain the basis for our message.
While making oneself understood in English to another English speaker sounds really easy it is not. While we all speak the same language the words that we use can have different meanings or none at all to the receiver of our communication. We all know that it is important to clarify the meaning of technical terms to an outsider; we often forget that it is of equal importance to make sure that the receiver understands the meaning behind our words. In the best of communication checking the message received is always a good idea because it allows us to make sure that the message that we are sending is the one that is received. While the person we are communicating to may be listening they must also be hearing our meaning and not what they hear through their personal psychological, or sociological filters. Our usage of receiver friendly vocabulary is also a key factor because if the receiver does not consider the words we are saying to be of any importance, of the vocabulary we are using and does not speak to them personally we will lose their interest and attention. We have to always make sure that when transmitting information we are using words, phrases, images and metaphors that the receiver is accustomed to and that we are always checking that the receiver is following what we are saying, not what they are hearing us say (Baker, 2009). We have to be responsible for the effectiveness of our communication and it starts with speaking the language of the receiver and making sure that what we are saying is clearly understood (Wood, 2010).
Listening is not the same as hearing. Hearing means that we are physically receiving communication. In order to truly understand what a person is saying we need to have a clear picture of what the sender truly wants to convey to us. Communication is based on rapport, and rapport cannot be developed if we receive the sender’s message with a blank show of interest, a nodding head or a neutral face. The sender wants to be understood and in order to understand the sender we need to listen carefully and without judgment or drawing premature conclusions. In order to listen effectively we have to stop, think and eliminate the thoughts we have that are distracting us from what the sender is saying. We will be able to understand the sender better if we not only focus on what they are saying but their tone and body language. Improving listening skills is one of the most important communication skills because by listening attentively and listening well we are enhancing both our ability to receive a message and also to respond appropriately and to continue to develop rapport with the sender and that is the whole purpose of effective listening period (Baker, 2009). Listening actively is not just looking at the person and hearing the words, it's more of taking what they say into consideration nodding your head, which is a way of letting the person know you really are listening. Listening actively is just as important as speaking. When it comes to gender women are found to be more skilled at receiving body language and non-verbal messages and then interpreting their meaning versus a male. Research has shown this to be true, as women are generally much better at noticing even the most subtly non-verbal cues as well as spotting conflicts between verbal and non-verbal messages. This probably goes back to a woman’s pre-programming, but it can also be shown in terms of real physical differences.
An example of this could be when an MRI is taken of a woman receiving a message; her brain will process that message in up to sixteen different, distinct areas as to where you take an MRI of a man receiving the same message, it reveals his brain will process that message in no more than six different, distinct areas. This is why, for example, women tend to do a better job of multi-tasking than men, and also why they do a better job of receiving and responding to multiple messages at the same time or in quick succession. This is also why men tend to have an easier time focusing on one or two things at a time and following them all the way through to completion. (Health and Science, June 2009).
1. (Baker, 2009)
2. (Hopkins, Rogers, 2005)
3. (Wood, 2010)
7. Textbook Interpersonal Communication Everyday Encounters Chapters 6 and 9