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It’s All About the Words
Typically, we think of verbal communication as the words that we use to convey messages. The reading for this week helps us see that other things may be communicated through our verbal messages beyond the actual words used. Our choice of words and how they are conveyed can have a tremendous impact on our interactions with others, including clients and colleagues in human services settings. In this first discussion forum for the week, you will review a fictional case study in which you will be asked to provide examples of effective verbal communication techniques in a human services setting.
Read Chapter 4 of The Interpersonal Communication Book and review the summary information found on page 107. Last week we discussed how a cultural framework might shape the meaning or understanding of communication. What other factors may determine the message conveyed through verbal messages? Consider some principles of verbal messages that would be important for working with clients in human services settings. Would these principles also apply to working with colleagues or community members? Think about some guidelines that could help us communicate more effectively with others.
Case Study: You have a new job as a case manager in an assisted living facility for individuals over the age of 65. Part of your job is to help new residents get settled in to the facility, including explaining activities that are available to them. You also try to help new residents become part of the community at the residence. John is a 70-year-old man who has recently moved into your facility. You discover that John has a slight hearing impairment which affects his ability to both communicate as well as participate in group activities, and you must consider this when interacting with him. Up until now, he has only lived in his own home. Using this case as your example, please address the following:
- Discuss two factors that are a part of verbal communication, beyond the actual words themselves that might be important in your first meeting with John.
- Using information found in Table 4.1 (page 94) of your text, provide two or three examples of effective verbal communication techniques that you could use to engage with John within this particular setting. Describe one communication theory that can be applied to your interaction (e.g., how you verbally communicate, how you perceive John’s verbal communication, etc.).
- Describe one communication theory from Week One’s required website reading (i.e., constructivist, attachment, communication accommodation, attribution) that can be applied to your interaction (e.g., how you verbally communicate, how you perceive John’s verbal communication, etc.).
- What do you think may make it more personally difficult for you to communicate effectively with John? Why do you believe this to be the case?
Initial Post: Prepare a 300-word minimum reply that sufficiently addresses each of the items above. Don’t forget that it is critical to cite your sources of information, including the textbook, in APA format.
It’s Not All About the Words
While verbal communication is just one way of articulating messages to others, it’s not the only skill that human service professionals need to utilize when working with clients. Nonverbal communication carries significant weight when it comes to conveying messages of all sorts. In this discussion forum, you will have an opportunity to provide examples of effective nonverbal communication techniques appropriate to a human services setting.
Read Chapter 5 from The Interpersonal Communication Book and watch the following video, People Skills:Communicating without Words (Links to an external site.) retrieved from the Films On Demand database.
Reflect on your own experience regarding nonverbal messages. Have there been situations in your life when the nonverbal messages were much clearer than the verbal messages? What about times when the words that were spoken did not match the nonverbal cues? How is online communication different in terms of nonverbal messages? What kinds of messages do you send nonverbally via your style of dressing or mannerisms? How would nonverbal messages affect your communication with clients or colleagues?
Spend approximately ten minutes observing two or more individuals in conversation at a coffee shop, store, or work environment. It is best if you observe individuals that you do not know. Please be respectful and unobtrusive in your observation. As an alternative, you can observe the interactions between characters on a television show. Following your observation and using your textbook as a guide, please respond to the questions below for your discussion post. If you are basing your post on television characters, please identify the show.
Initial Post: Prepare a 300-word minimum reply that sufficiently addresses each of the items below. Don’t forget that it is critical to cite your sources of information, including the textbook, using APA formatting:
What nonverbal messages did you observe?
- How did the nonverbal messages or cues aid in communicating effectively?
- What consistencies or inconsistencies between verbal and nonverbal messages did you observe?
- Provide examples of effective nonverbal communication techniques (either by those you observed/watched or from those in the text) that you could use as a professional in a health and human services setting. How and why would you use them?
DeVito, J. A. (2016). The interpersonal communication book (14th ed.). Retrieved from https://content.ashford.edu
- This text is a Constellation™ course digital materials (CDM) title.