Communication Skills Essay Sample

Communication Skills Pages
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There are many different types of communication skills used in care settings. They are used to support and value the service user; by using different skills it can make the service user feel more comfortable within the care setting. In this piece of work I will be researching four of them in detail; these are tone, pace, eye contact and body language. It is statistically proven by Albert Mehrabian that 7% of messages relating to communication is through speech, 38% of messages relating to communication is portrayed through tone and 55% of messages related to communication and 55% of messages related to communication is through facial expressions is through facial expressions.[1] I will look at how they are used in care settings, why they are used and when. ToneTone is defined as the quality of a person’s voice. The qualities consist of the pitch, volume and characteristics of the voice. The manner of speaking also affects the tone and the way the words are perceived by the person being spoken to. The tone of voice is very important when trying to portray a message to the service user, different types of tone can illustrate emotions or opinions.

A harsh and loud tone of voice can show anger whereas as soft, soothing tone of voice can illustrate pleasure or happiness. When asking a question the pitch if the tone rises towards the end of sentence which is understood by people to be a question.[2]The tone of somebody’s voice can influence people’s perceptions of them. A confident perception would be made up by the fact that the tone of the speaker is clear and strong whereas somebody who may be perceived as being weak or timid is because their tone of voice is of low volume and in a soft manner. If somebody is perceived as ‘monotone’ this means people may think they’re boring. For different types of jobs, different types of tones must be used and people can learn to speak in such tones.[2] The tone of voice is used in many different situations in everyday life, the tone of voice will be changed for the different type of audience. In a care setting, such as my placement at a nursery the tone of voice used by the teachers is very important as it can have a major impact on how the child reacts and behaves when spoken to.

To get a better understanding of why the tone of voice is very important, I decided to ask the nursery nurse at my placement ‘tollgate nursery’ a few questions on why she thought the tone of voice was important when dealing with the children, when she would use this type of communication skill, why she feels using a different tone with different situations was important with the children and how effective it was as an overall. To start, the nursery nurse said that when dealing with children, using a different type of tone for different situations allows the child to understand what is wrong and right as they begin to associate the tone of voice used different types of emotions and then realise that a stern voice means they have done something wrong, whereas a high pitched, merry tone is praising there. They also begin to learn how to use different types of tones and this develops their English skills. The tone of voice is very important as using a negative tone of voice can result in the children being unruly and even taking a disliking to you.

When dealing with a child who is being told off for doing something naughty, using a tone that is assertive and loud can be understood by the child to doing wrong whereas when praising them, she said she uses a soft and high pitched tone which the children have learnt is associated with doing good. She carried on by saying using a tone of voice that can be seen as assertive yet isn’t scary towards the child can have benefits when telling them off as if a loud, angry tone is used the child will go on the defensive side and then once they have taken this attitude they are less likely to listen and respond to what is being said. Using a calm tone of voice will help resolve a situation if the child is angry and shouting.

A child learns from their elders so therefore a calm tone of voice means they will follow your lead and lower their tone of voice and calm down. The nursery nurse said that she feels using a different tone of voice is very effective when dealing with children as it allows them to associate different tones with different situations and also begins to engage them in conversation as using an interesting tone will make them more interested in doing something and they are therefore more likely to engage in activities which may develop their learning. Using different tones of voices also influences the effectiveness of communicating with the child as it can bring a situation to become calm or can cause a situation to become heated. Using a high pitched tone of voice can also make the child enthusiastic about participating in a learning activity. Pace

The pace of your voice is the speed at which something is said, using a different pace for different situations can have different consequences. A common problem with nervous people speaking is that the pace of their voice can be too slow or too quick and this can cause listeners to get bored. Therefore using a variation of pace when speaking is very important, especially in a nursery with children. I asked the same questions to the nursery nurse about the pace of voice used when communicating with children. The nursery nurse said that using a different type of pace when communicating with the children in different situations is very important as is can make the child more interested in what you are saying therefore they are more attentive and listen better and also they are more likely to comprehend to the message you are trying to communicate and be more interested in what is being said and listen better. She said that children at the age 4-5 begin to be able to read by following what is being said when a story is read to them therefore using a slow speed of pace helps the child understand what is being said and pick up on words.

The nursery nurse said that it is very important to use the correct pace when speaking with children as speaking to quickly can mean they do not understand what is said and therefore do not follow instructions. She also said although the children are young, speaking to slowly to them can sometimes be patronising and the children begin to pick up on this and may feel as though they are being talked down to. The nursery nurse said that when communicating with a child, the pace of what is being said must be thought about at all times as this is their prime time of learning and therefore speaking at a pace which is understood and can be followed by a child is very important. When reading a story to the child, the pace of the speech must be slow as the child needs to be able pick up on key words to help their learning and also be able to follow what is being said. Also, when having ‘carpet time’ and questions are asked to the children, a slow pace of voice is used so that the children can understand and process what is being said then answer. Although when praising a child for doing good, a faster pace may be used as this the child a faster pace is usually associated with a high pitch voice and shows enthusiasm.

Changing the pace of your voice throughout general conversation can engage the child to the conversation and make them more interested in what is being said therefore they learn better. Using a different pace of voice throughout communication influences the effectiveness of this skill as it helps children develop in their learning and also, can help with children with learning difficulties or hearing difficulties as a slower pace of voice means they have longer to process what is being said. The nursery nurse said that she thought the pace of voice used when communicating with the children is very effective as it can influence the children’s mood and also, engages them into talking and listening. Eye contactEye contact is when there is “a meeting of the eyes between two people that expresses meaningful non-verbal communication “[3] The visual sense of dominance is very important for most people, therefore eye contact is the most important type of non-verbal communication.

Many things can be communicated through eye contact such as interest, emotion, affection or attraction. Eye contact is very important when trying to maintain conversation and shows the listener is interested in what is being said and also shows a response to what is being said. When I asked the nursery nurse the same set of questions on eye contact she said it was very important when dealing with children as it lets her know that the children are listening and taking note of what is being said. If she was to avoid keeping eye contact with the child it could mean that she was shy or not listening. Looking into and maintaining the childes eye contact can also prevent them being distracted by what is going on around them when important information is being told to them. She said that also maintaining eye contact when the child is talking to her lets the child know that she is listening and interested in what the child is saying, giving them some reassurance. The nursery nurse went on to say that sometimes eye contact can speak louder than words as a glare can stop a child from doing something but also, on a more positive note a look of approval or encouragement can show the child that you are rewarding them and can mean more sometimes than words.

Using eye contact with the child enables her to get her point across without shouting or having use a manor of tone that may be seen as assertive. Using eye contact when listening to a child speaking is important to show that you value what they are saying and shows that you are interested. The nursery nurse said that eye contact is important in everyday situations when communicating with the child but can be more important if the child has done something wrong or is talking to you about something they feel is personal or may feel slightly uncomfortable to talk about, the eye contact used reassures them and makes them feel as though you are interested and this then gives them a little more confidence in what they are saying. She said that she feels eye contact is very effective when communicating with the child as it makes the child feel valued and also can result in the child listening better to what you are saying and therefore having a better understanding. Body language

Body language is a non verbal type of communication that involves using stance, gestures, facial expressions and using parts of your body e.g. a shrug of your shoulder to convey a message and communicate with somebody. It is said that 70% of what we communicate is through non verbal communication therefore using body language to convey a message is very important. The nursery nurse said that using body language when communicating with the children is very important as not only does it give them a better understanding of what is being said it also portrays to them a visual image. It is also important for the nursery nurse to be able to understand the child body language as they may not be able to convey how they are feeling through words therefore use hand and body gestures to show this. Using body language when communicating to the child can portray feelings and meanings of words and give the child a better understanding of what is being said. The body language used by the nursery nurse reveals her feelings and meanings towards the child and visa versa, such as the child can portray their feelings and meaning to others through body language.

The nursery nurse said that she uses body language in everyday situations with the children. When teaching the children, or praising them positive body language is used so she uses hand gestures such as thumbs up to show the child that it is good whereas if the child has done something wrong a simple nod of the head can tell the child to stop and show that they have done something wrong. The nursery nurse also observes the child body language to realise when there is something wrong. If the child sits in an awkward position or has their hands near their face when talking then this can show that inside they feel uncomfortable and shows signs of insecurities. These body language sings must be read by the nursery nurse and she must use observe them and take note as the child may not say how they are feeling but it is important for the nursery nurse to realise feeling through body language. The effectiveness of body language is that it can show inner feelings that may not be spoken or said, body language is very important for the nursery language as she must pick up on this and react accordingly.

It can help the children develop their learning as the use of hand gestures and body postures teaches the children new things. She said that it also effective that she uses the correct facial expressions when dealing with children as using a happy, smiley face can result in the child behaving better and responding in a better manor and they also associate this with doing something positive where as using facial expressions that may be seen as angry by the child will show that they have done something wrong and must stop. The nursery nurse said that she feels that using body language with children is very important as it can be useful for her to read how a child is feeling if they will not say and also it can show feelings that the child may have about other children.

It is also effective as, if used by the nursery nurse, the children learn to develop non-verbal communication skills through different hand and body gestures. She said it is effective as non-verbal communication can also have a bigger impact than speaking,you can give lots of different impressions through facial expressions and body languages. For example if you use a smiling, soft face then the child is more likely to respond positively to what is being said where as frowning will make the child concerned and thing they have done something wrong. She also said that using different types of body postures can be effective when dealing with children as getting down to their level and having a welcoming face will make sure they understand that you are ready to listen to what they have to say.

Bibliography.

[1]http://www.businessballs.com/mehrabiancommunications.htm
[2]http://www.ehow.com/about_4896045_what-tone-voice.html
[3]http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn?s=eye%20contact

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