Communication is essential in my life if I am going to have successful relationships with my family, friends, and co-workers. When I think of communication I think of all the ways in which I express myself to those around me. Communication could mean a phone call, letter, e-mail, face to face conversation or simply snuggling up on the couch to watch a good movie. There are ways in which my communications skills are powerful, and other times when I feel as if I should place my foot in my mouth.
My biggest weakness in verbal communication is my inability to practice restraint. Being a very open and honest person, I often find myself speaking my feelings without thinking twice. I can become very passionate about something that I believe in, and there is no stopping me. My father always told me I should be on the debate team when I was younger because I loved a challenge. However, having this kind of attitude in communication can sometimes make others feel as if I am not listening, or not respecting their opinions. This aspect of my communication has been in development for almost two years now, and my conversations have become much more productive because of it. I have learned to stop, and listen to what a person is saying, repeat back the understanding, and then offer my feedback or response. This solution has been wonderful for normal everyday conversations, and I have learned to incorporate the same solution when experiencing a conflict.
We have all experienced arguments as a means of communication, and have most certainly found them to be an ineffective means of resolving a problem. Allowing myself to become defensive would be another weakness I have in communication. This problem only seems to occur in my personal communication, not my business communication. It is often much easier to be confrontational with those close to me. Being told that something is wrong or not accepted is never easy to hear, and often makes one become protective in order to defend what is being stated. I have learned to combat being defensive in the same way that I resolved my lack of self-control in a conversation. In choosing to listen, and waiting for the other person to complete before speaking, I find that I am much calmer, and understand more
of what is being stated, therefore, there is less reason to become defensive. Non-verbal weaknesses, however, are more difficult for me to undertake.
My weaknesses in non-verbal communication would be the silent treatment, lack of eye contact, and negative body language. I find these forms of communication only occur during very stressful situations and conflicts. The hardest part to working on these weaknesses is recognizing when they are happening. I have developed a state change for myself. When I become aware of one of these negative activities happening I pinch myself. This may seem like an odd occurrence for some, but it does focus my attention on what is happening, and allows me to refocus, and change my behavior. Creating this state change for myself has improved my communications skills with my family, as well as my colleagues, and friends.
My leading strength in communication is my very open-minded, outgoing outlook on life. I am not a shy person, and find meeting new people, and having conversations to be very interesting. This strength has allowed me to meet people I might otherwise have never met. Follow-up is another communication strength that I possess. I find the best way to make individuals feel they are important is to make contact with them. I work in Information Services, and much of my profession is helping others, but often times I am helping behind the scenes. Much of what I do does not require contact with the end user, nonetheless I find that it is important to let them know what is happening, and that their problems have been rectified. Explaining a problem so that the end-user understands is also very essential, and allows the person to feel more comfortable with the events that have occurred.. This form of communication has greatly elevated my relationships at work.
In COMM 102 my goals are to gather a better understanding of all types of communication, to learn more about perception, and to have the opportunity to practice my communications skills. I feel that communication is the foundation for how we all live our lives, and knowing as much as possible about it is important to me. Perception is a very interesting topic, and I have experienced it many times in my current career. I am expected to manage the perception of others, and therefore, have become very interested in learning more about the whole concept of perception, and how it is utilized in other forms. I trust that this class will provide me with the opportunity to practice my communications skills both verbally, and non-verbally.