Along this log I’m going to try to define and explore the different skills that make a communicator to be effective. For me, identifying how I use those skills in my ordinary life is helpful. I hope it also helps the reader of this report to understand how do the interpersonal skills affect and improve each person’s life.
But, what exactly are interpersonalskills? And what do we understand by a effective communicator and by communication process? According to Owen Hargie (1997a: 12) interpersonal skills can be defined as: “the process whereby the individual implements a set of goal-directed, inter-related, situationally appropriate social behaviours which are learned and controlled”, by this means that skilled performance is a process which involvesformulating and implementing plans related to previously formulated goals, observing the effects of behaviour, adjusting goals and responses depending on the observed effects and realising about the other people and the context in which the interaction happened.
On the other hand, communication process can be defined as: “the process by which information, meanings and feelings are shared by personsthrough the exchange of verbal and nonverbal messages” (Brooks and Health, 1985, p.8)
When I say interpersonal skills I’m referring to the main ones that are going to be defined and explained in this work: Non-verbal communication, Questioning, Listening, Reflection, Set Induction and Closure, Self Disclosure, Empathy, Emotion Handling, Challenge and Confrontation and Influencing andAssertiveness.
Another main point of this log is to try to reflect my initial situation or level of skill by the time I started the module in October 2009, my objectives of where I wanted to be and my final situation showing if I have achieved those objectives and how. The idea is to record what I’ve learned, how was it learned, it’s relationship with the theory and the most useful point, how could be usedin future situations.
“Non-verbal communication includes numerous ways of communicating without saying or writing a word, including body motion, personal physical characteristics, paralanguage, physical environment and time.” (Rollinson, Broadfield & Edwards, 1998, p.590)
Some of the main functions or purposes of non-verbal communication are to complementthe speech(not necessarily according to it), provide feedback so the other person can understand better the meaning of the verbal communication, convey social identity by some established gestures to introduce to someone or to say goodbye, express emotion to communicate the feelings and make the context relevant and involved.
One day I was at a supermarket in Huddersfieldchoosing some meat for my dinner when I saw two Italians discussing about the different types of meat, I noticed they didn’t know much English because they didn’t try to ask to a assistant and as I’m quite forward I started to try to explain the differences by using Spanish. As is similar to Italian they started to understand some things but I realised, by their face expressions, they weren’tunderstanding well so I tried to use hand signals and facial expressions. Finally I managed to make the point.
-My learning from the experience
I should use and complement my language skills with non-verbal communication, especially when I’m treating with people that don’t share my language. By their facial expressions I noticed they weren’t understanding and when I started using body language theyunderstood almost perfectly.
-Relationship to theory
Body language reinforces our speech helping others to understand us better. The study of kinesics has found that people use such gestures and movements, as well as posture for message enhancement.
-Applications for the future
I will use body language as soon as I realise someone is not catching the exact meaning of what I’m saying or...