The Art of Communicating


I learned that I communicate the way I do, because it is a part of my personality. Prior to taking a communications class and learning some very real facts about several different communication styles, I often took a lot of what people said, and how they said it, personally and my reactions followed suit. I now know that how they communicated with me was a part of their own individual personality and in most cases not a part of their agenda to hurt, anger, or offend me. I have a much better understanding of how to effectively communicate with others by paying attention to their personality and recognizing their receptive needs and abilities. It’s not always easy to tell, but it is a good tool in trying to reach people on a level that will be more successful for them as well as me and the purpose our communication serves. The class was very effective in how it was taught. I have found myself automatically paying much closer attention to verbal and written communication, so that not only do I get the information I need, but I go about it in a way that it is clear what my needs are and clear how it is presented to me. Communication with fellow students and class room instructors has greatly improved for me. I am also looking for what communication style my family members may have to better communicate with them, as that can prove to be a challenge. As this skill becomes stronger in my home and education, it will be valuable to my future career in psychology.

In the course of communication, I believe being a clear sender and an attentive listener is equally important. If the sender is unable to get their message across clearly, then how well the receiver listens is irrelevant. It is difficult to truly hear a message that is not delivered well and does not make a comprehensible point. If the message is vague or does not convey what the sender is wanting, needing, or expecting, then they are not going to be satisfied with the results of the overall communication between themselves and the intended receiver. On the other hand, the receiver also must be ready, willing, and prepared to listen to the message and receive the true intention of the communication. They must listen with an open mind, not hearing only what they want to hear and not trying to formulate a response or argument before the entire message has been heard and considered. I believe a person learns a lot more by just listening and more often than not, most questions that may arise during the transmitting of the message are answered if only the message is listened to and received in its entirety.  Letting the sender know what you heard and how you interpreted the message, giving feedback either by paraphrasing or summarizing, opens up the opportunity for the sender to clarify any misunderstandings. The most important thing I think a sender and receiver must both remember is that in a proper communication, and one that is more likely to be successful, they must switch roles often, both having the chance to be a sender and a receiver.

I think that organization-wide communication is more effective and productive, because there is less of a private element to the communication. I have learned throughout my education at Portland Community College that the discussion boards on blackboard, an online classroom site, are very effective, if used correctly. In one class, posting our thoughts and opinions on a specific topic was required as part of our grade, as was the expectation to respond to at least four other students’ original posts. Also, the instructor frequently got involved in our discussions, either providing support and backing it with more information, including where we could find this information to further increase our knowledge, or by showing appreciation for our thoughts and giving us a different perspective to think about that might be more accurate. It made for a lot of reading and responding, but it also gave us the chance to express how we felt or to ask questions that received a lot of answers for clarification. And the diversity of information that was posted due to different cultures, different beliefs, and different experiences was very rich and enlightening, and I believe I learned more through these discussions than I did from the text. These open and ongoing discussions made it impossible to fail, unless one chose not to participate. I believe that having an online discussion board in the work place would be very effective, especially if workers are required to participate. The online rules of etiquette also prevent personal attack and negativity towards anyone for what they have to say, so there is less apprehension about posting honestly.

Another form of communication, the televised/videotaped speeches or meetings, I believe can be an opening to a discussion among company employees. Specifically, as a tool for formal communication in which the message is not personal or emotionally driven, but is overall a distribution of facts and information, YouTube is a good way to broadcast, especially if the company has offices all over the country or even internationally. I have viewed YouTube for many a reason, and some of the messages can be external, from other sources, to support or enhance a message that is essential to the company’s operations and success. Granted it is a little more public, however, so are the social networking sites also suggested by the text, such as Facebook and twitter. If the company doesn’t feel that having this information in a public focus is a good idea or is in the best interest of everyone involved, something similar can be set up through their intranet. Videos can be posted and employees can refer to them as needed in different circumstances, and they can also post comments as to how helpful it was to their situation. These comments in turn can help management to increase or improve the information in future videos.

No matter the method, communication is imperative in the workplace, the classroom, and in the world at large. The better the communication and the more thorough, the stronger the relationship. Communicating with others is not always easy and does take practice to master being able to succeed with the many different personalities and moods that one can potentially come across from day-to-day, but pay attention and you will be able to pick out what went wrong or what worked well and make adjustments in future communications. For those who really want to learn it well, listen with your ears and watch with your eyes, and you will hear and see more hints and clues than any book or lecture could teach you.


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