You are working as a human service worker at a local United Way agency that serves several multicultural clients. In addition to the multicultural aspect, the agency also serves children, women, the elderly, and the homeless. Your manager has asked you to decide the best communication approach for each of these clients. Answer the following questions:
What would you need to learn or know about each of your clients in order to communicate effectively with them? What strategies or techniques do you believe would be the best approach to take when communicating with each of these clients? How might you need to adapt your communication approach from one individual to the next? Working in the Human Services field can provide you with many different types of job opportunities each requiring their own specific needs to clients, many different types of clients that is. To communicate in an effective way with clients getting to know about them is a great start. Listen is top priority to understanding and getting to know your clients. Active listening describes the effort on the part of the listener. Active listening involves giving verbal feedback on the content of what was said, along with recognition of the feelings underneath. Qualities of a good listener include: being non-aggressive, being self-confident, having the ability to let things go along with the ability to work things out. Listening opens the door to meaning.
When you hear the person, understand the situation and the feelings, then you are in a position to take constructive action or to reply to her or him in a way that makes sense. Helpful listening helps people look at their ideas, plans, hopes, concerns, fears, etc. It helps them gather information, solve their problems themselves and try out other alternatives. * Communication may seem easy, but to many people’s surprise it is something that has to be learned and practiced. Some of us have developed poor listening skills; we may be judgmental or don’t allow others to speak. Some of us may use close-ended questions exclusively, and do not allow others to explore and contribute to the discussion. A few strategies and or techniques that allow us to see a better approach to communicating can be using open-end questions such as Where would you like to begin? What options have you explored? Which concern would you like to talk about first? Can you tell me more about that?
Open-ended questions encourage the exploration of thoughts and feelings by leaving individuals free to answer in any way they choose. On the flip side, closed sided questions s force a specific answer. They often present themselves as roadblocks to good communication. Sometimes you need specific information (i.e. what city do you live in?). Be sure the information you request is relevant to the person’s situation. Use fact-finding, limited-response questions sparingly. A closed question allows for a limited response. Understanding that each client is different from each other, focusing on each client while actively listen, not judging and knowing that the client is there for help is a way to adapt your communication between clients and or patients.