People communicate through verbal and nonverbal communication. The manifestation of these communication methods differ. When a person applies these methods of communicating effectively, it supports a person to develop as a proficient communicator and listener. Verbal communication according to Jones and LeBaron (2002) refers to the form of communication which is written and articulated. Verbal communication uses speech as a form of exchange mostly through face to face communication. Some forms of verbal communication include interviews, speeches, conferences, meeting and phone calls. Cultural and social differences create barriers to effective communication and listening. For instance in a business environment, communicating verbally entails exchanging ideas, solve problems and understanding diverse points.
Nonverbal communication as indicated by Jones and LeBaron (2002) refers to the transmission of information in addition to verbal communication that is expressed through body language, facial expression, posture, eye contact, gestures, gesticulations, touch, voice tone, physical space and other aspects of paralinguistic. Nonverbal communication can be performed without the person being sentient that he/she is communicating. The view of nonverbal communication depends on the education, social and cultural environment. For instance, a certain dress code recognized in a different environment cannot be accepted in another environment due to the cultural differences of the places.
In communique, both verbal and nonverbal communication are impacted differently depending on the cultural environment but also has some distinct pattern that presents themselves in both men and women. Concerning gender, Jones and LeBaron (2002) indicate that men tend to communicate in more hierarchical and inclusive methods while women communicate in a cherished comportments that accentuate understanding. Part form understanding education, social and cultural environment, gender differences are significant in both verbal and nonverbal communication.
My communication concerning nonverbal communication is limited to discernment. What I lack in my communication are interest, irrelevance, and attention. I tend to have more prejudice and expectations that has recurrently led to stereotyping and false assumption. Most of the time I tend to hear and observe what I expect rather than listen to what is said costing me to making incorrect conclusions.
I also face a lot of challenges when distinguishing cultural differences. I tend to generalize personality and behavior differences like thinking, body language, customs and etiquettes which leads me to miscommunication. Stereotyping and prejudice in cultural differences have made me stereotype all people of different cultures by categorizing them accordingly and concluding as having similar characteristics. Though I try to express my communication positively, sometimes my body language, facial expression, posture, eye contact, gestures, and gesticulations do not communicate the message I intend to deliver. This has created a lot of negative reactions from my audience because I lack competence in my nonverbal communication. For this reason, I need to be focused and put more efforts so has to have unbiased cultural analysis and communicate effectively so that my audience can understand better.
Student Listening Inventory disclosed that I am a good listener, comfortable in asking a question and always eager and ready to understand what is being presented. My main challenge is that I do not focus on the speakers specific details but only to the main ideas. Another challenge is that when I listen to someone from another culture, I dont factor my knowledge of cultural difference to help me in interpreting the meaning.
Implementing clarity of thoughts, active listening and retaining consistency that is more proactive to verbal and nonverbal communication increases my understanding and articulation. Being sensitive and emotional towards my receiver helps me understand his/her nature, behavior, religion and culture. This means that I can show respect to the person cultural beliefs and thoughts creating a decent relationship between us. Jones and LeBaron (2002) argue that repeating back phrase, taking notes and nodding are also proactive strategies for clarity of thoughts, increasing active listening skulls and retaining consistency. Increasing diversity brings innovation and creativity by being flexible to others and allowing each person to express their thoughts and open up to other ways of doing things.
To have better listening skills it is mandatory to practice active listening. This is an effort one has to put not just to hear the message put across but more importantly to try and understand the specifics of the message. This can only be achieved by paying attention to the speaker very carefully. The environment has to be to have minimal or no distractions and also avoid forming counter-arguments. To enhance listening skills, it is also good for the speaker and other people to be aware that I am listening. My body language and facial expression should be the ones to argument my listening skill. It is also good to provide feedback by responding appropriately. Here the tone is important because it determines the manner in which information communicated. In my tone, I need to be honest, open and candid and also assert my opinions respectfully. I need to be thoughtful with my listening by paying attention to what is being said. I also have to set aside all other thoughts and behaviors and concentrate on the message. I need to ask questions, replicate, and interpret to ensure I understand the message.
Jones, S. E., & LeBaron, C. D. (2002). Special issue: Research on the relationship between Verbal and nonverbal communication: Emerging integrations. Cary, NC: Oxford University Press.
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