Monthly Archives: July 2012

Who am I as a Communicator

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This week we were tasked to inventory ourselves using a variety of communication assessments as well as have two others assess us on the same areas in communcation. One insight that surprised me is with the verbal aggressiveness scale. My self- assessment showed that I had a  significant level of aggressiveness. I felt that I must have answered the questions based on how I felt not on what I actually do. This thinking was confirmed when my colleague and sister returned their assessments. I was at a moderate level according to my colleague and at a low level according to my sister. Another insight was how my colleague and sister rated me as having low communication anxiety. I am very nervous when speaking in groups but that nervousness is not picked up by others which is good. This assignment was helpful in making me aware of who I am as a communicator and picking out areas of improvement.

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Cultural Communication

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From the learning this week, three strategies that will help me to communicate with the groups I identify with are:

Looking at a family’s behavior from their point of view (Gonzalez-Mena, J. (2010). 50 strategies for communicating and working with diverse families. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc)- What a family does may not line up with my beliefs or what I know about children through research and best practices so when I look at the behavior from the view of the family, I will get a better understanding of the “why”.

Try to withhold judgement until I get a deeper understanding (Gonzalez-Mena, J. (2010). 50 strategies for communicating and working with diverse families. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc)- When I observe the behavior of a family such as having a child not speak until spoken to, I  first have to understand  their thinking instead of judging them for such strict restrictions on their children.

Become aware of the nonverbal behaviors and know that one size does not fit all (Gonzalez-Mena, J. (2010). 50 strategies for communicating and working with diverse families. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc)-understanding what certain nonverbal gestures mean does not always mean the same for an individual or group. It is very important to understand those gestures not only generally but individually.

Notice my own patterns of nonverbal communication (Gonzalez-Mena, J. (2010). 50 strategies for communicating and working with diverse families. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc)- I also have to be conscious of the types of nonverbal communication I display as well. Those who know me understand that what it means when I raise my eyebrows or relax my face to look serious while others who are not familiar may not understand and may take offense or get confused.

Communication in Media

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This week our assignment was to watch an episode of a show with the sound turned off and then watch it with the sound turned on. With the sound turned off, we were to think about the characters’ relationships are based on the ways in which they are communicating and think about theiry feelings and expressions based on the nonverbal behavior you are observing. Once the sound was turned on we were to compare our assumptions with the actual relationships.

I watched the movie Dolphin Tail, this was a movie I had not seen with my children yet. I have not watched a sitcom  in years and so I settled in with an unfamiliar movie instead.   In the movie I assumed that the young boy, Sawyer, was saddened and disconnected from his mom. He had a cousin, Kyle, whom he seemed disappointed in. There were kids picking on him at school and he did not seem to have any friends. He seemed interested in his computer and not very social. He sparked up once he became involved with helping a dolphin and meeting the people who were taking care of the hurt dolphin. His eyes seemed to smile. He perked up. There was a certain drive in him that showed others something had changed. He seemed confident by waving at the boys who were being mean to him. There were so many nonverbal cues emitted by the characters. The raising of eyebrows, the look of guilt or disappointment,  high fives, hugs, smiles, handshakes, etc. My assumption about the relationship between Sawyer and his cousin Kyle was not accurate. He was proud of his cousin and they had a really good relationship.

After watching the movie, I was correct about Sawyer being disconnected and lonely. There were reasons for his behavior. He was disengaged and had no friends. When he became involved with helping the dolphin, he shared a common interest with the people at the marine. He was able to converse around the different types of sea life.  

This assignment was fun and it gave me the opportunity to sit down for at least an hour and enjoy a show. What I found about watching without the sound is how connected you become with the characters. It was exciting to write my notes and observations about relationships and communication cues. What was even more meaningful was being able to put what we have been learning about the nonverbal cues and communication in action as it relates to relationships. This was a powerful assignment. 

Competent Communicator

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I think it is very interesting to observe people as they communicate in a variety of settings. One of those people is my husband. He is a state trooper and in that role he is very direct. His goal on traffic stops is to educate citizens about the law while enforcing the law. I have seen him on duty only a few times but have heard him on several calls that he received while in my presence. He is also the president for class reunion which I am also on the committee. His meetings are completely opposite of what I see at home and how he is at work. The meetings are very informal and although he has ideas on the table he follows the ideas of the majority. He often sits backs and listens before inserting and he is really good at paraphrasing what someone says. He is skilled at encoding as well as decoding and I think that comes from his career. If I were to take any of his communication attributes it would be his decoding skills and how well he is able to paraphrase or summarize what someone has said…which sends a message that he really is listening.