Communication is the complex process by which people express their ideas. It can involve cultural elements, direct verbal communication, nonverbal communication, and much more. Communication stands as the bedrock in business and in interpersonal relationships, as those people who struggle to communicate will often struggle in other ways. Communication is not always easy, either. Because of different challenges, including actual noise and non-actual noise, it is possible that people can fail to communicate appropriately with another. In my personal inventory, it is clear that there are communication elements that I am good at and some that I struggle with. As with any area of personal development, there are many ways I can get better and improve with my communication skills today.
People communicate in many forms. Verbally, they communicate through speech. Verbal communication itself can take on many different forms, as well. Some people who communicate verbally do so through individual communication, while others do so through group communication. Communication depends heavily on the audience, which can influence the medium that is chosen by the speaker. In addition, there are other types of communication that can become important in various interactions. People communicate in writing, especially in the business context. Everything from informal emails written to inform employees about some change in company policy to more official memos are counted in critical communication. One good example of written communication comes in the form of marketing. Whenever companies want to communicate with their consumers through branding and other messaging, they are truly engaging in the process of written communication. The purpose of that communication is to persuade people to purchase whatever product or service they are trying to sell at that given time.
Non-verbal communication is critical within personal interactions. Often, what is being communicated is about more than just what is coming out of a person’s mouth (Knapp, Hall, & Horgan, 2013). In addition, a person can fill in some of the lines with their non-verbal communication. Body language plays a major role in this. If a person is saying that they are interested in something another person is saying but their body language is standoff-ish, they may not actually be interested. One can tell a lot about a person, including their excitement levels, their fear, and their potential stress, based upon how they conduct themselves in their non-verbal communication (Burgoon et al, 2016). In speeches and things of that nature, people will often speak with their hands in order to give more meaning to a particular word or phrase.
I personally communicative nonverbally through my facial expressions. Whenever I am in conversations with people, I have a difficult time hiding the expressions on my face, which can tend to give away my reactions to some of the things that people are saying to me. This is important because it can be a challenge in some more formal settings. For instance, in those settings where I need to hide my annoyance with a person who has authority over me, my non-verbal communication can sometimes be a dead giveaway to my response to what is being said. When going to work, for instance, one may need to listen to something that a boss is saying without having a negative response. With non-verbal communication through facial expressions, I will often have a more difficult time responding in ways that are productive and helpful for my career. This is a challenge because many of those responses happen quickly and without me thinking about them. It is probably not fair to say they are automatic responses, but it would be fair to note that they are subconscious and not conscious decisions by me to purse my lips, furrow my brow, or do whatever else my give away my annoyance or frustration.
Understanding of non-verbal communication can help me in my relationships with others. Ultimately it can help me have a better understanding of the vibes I might be giving off so that I can better control those things. One of the real challenges of non-verbal communication is that it can be difficult to control the reception of another person to the vibes I am giving off. With verbal communication, I am much more in control of those things. With non-verbal communication, people can interpret my responses whatever what they want to. Understanding the impact of my non-verbal communication can allow me to be more intentional with my interactions with other people.
According to the communication inventory, I do a number of things quite well. In particular, I do a pretty good job of ensuring that I am blocking out various things in order to communicate at maximum levels of effectiveness. Beyond that, I have shown myself to be quite good at providing people with my full attention. I rate very highly in getting a full understanding of what another person is trying to say or get across before assessing their message. There is one area where I might be able to make some improvement. Communication is as much about the speaker as it is about the message. The person’s credibility is important for knowing whether to believe the message or how to interpret the message, as well. Right now, I do not do a great job of taking into account the credibility of the person speaking before I make a decision on that person. I should assess credibility as a person is speaking so I can have a better sense of who they are, why they are saying things, and whether their opinion can be trusted.