In this report I will examine and explain effective communication by looking at the role of effective communication and interpersonal interaction in health and social care context, theories of communication, methods of communication (verbal, non-verbal and written communication), communication cycle, what is effective communication, formal and informal communication, differences between language and culture. Communication between people enables us to exchange ideas and information, but it involves much more than simply passing on information to others. Communication helps people to feel safe, to form relationships and develop self-esteem. Poor communication can make an individual feel vulnerable, inferior and emotionally threatened.
Effective communication helps us understand a person or situation, enables us to resolve differences, build trust and respect and create an warm environment. The effective communication helps us improving communication skills in everyday live, business, relationships, but also in health and social care context. Learning and understanding the effective communication skills the people can better connect with the family members, friends, co-workers (by improving teamwork), people looked after in care homes. What is effective communication Effective communication combines a set of skills including verbal and non-verbal communication, attentive listening, the ability to manage stress, the capacity to recognize and understand your own emotions and those of the person you are communicating with .
Effective communication is about more than exchanging information. It requires also understanding the emotion behind the information. It enables us to communicate even negative or difficult messages without creating conflict or destroying trust.
Effective communication-Methods of communication
The basis of communication is the interaction between people. Verbal communication is the main way for people to communicate face to face. The components of the verbal communication are: sounds, words, speaking and language. Only people can put meaning into words; words alone have no meaning. As meaning is an assigned to words, language develops, which leads to the development of speaking. Over 3000 languages and major dialects are spoken in the world. The huge variety of languages creates difficulties between different languages, but even in one language there can be many problems in understanding. Speaking can be looked in two major areas: interpersonal and public speaking. To communicate effectively we must not simply clean up our language, but learn to relate to people. To be an effective communicator, one must speak in a manner that is not offending to the receiver.
Successful listening means not just understanding the words or the information being communicated, but also understanding how the speaker feels about what they are communicating. Effective listening can: -create an environment where everyone feels safe; -save time; -relieve negative emotions; -focus fully on the speaker, make the speaker feel heard and understood; -avoid interrupting; -show you interest. The communication cycle According to Michael Argyle(1972) skilled interpersonal interaction (social skills) involves a cycle in which you have to translate or “decode” what other people are communicating and constantly adapt you own behaviour in order to communicate effectively.
Good communication involves the process of checking understanding, using reflective or active listening. The communication cycle supposes: -an idea occurs: you have an idea that you want to communicate; -message coded: you think through how you are going to say what you are thinking and you put your thoughts in to language or sign language; -message sent: you speak, or sign, or write, or send your message in some other way; -message received: the other person has to sense your message; -message decoded: the other person has to interpret or “decode” your message; -message understood: your ideas will be understood if all goes well.
Non-verbal communication Non-verbal means “without words”, so non-verbal communication refers to the messages that we send without using words. We send these messages using our eyes, the tone of our voice, our facial expression, our hands and arms, the way we sit or stand. We can enhance effective communication by using open body language (arms uncrossed, standing with an open stance, maintaining eye contact with the person you are talking to). When we speak about non-verbal communication we actually mean: -posture; -the way we move; -facing other people; -gestures; -facial expression; -touch; -silence; -voice tone; -proximity; -reflective listening. As well as remembering what a person says, good listeners will make sure that their non-verbal behaviour shows interest.
Skilled listening involves: -looking interested and communicating that you are ready to listen; -hearing what it is said to you; -remembering what was said to you, together with non-verbal messages; -checking your understanding with the person who was speaking to you. Written communication When people remember conversations they have had, they will probably miss out or change some details. Written statements are much more permanent and if they are accurate when they are written, they may be useful later on. Written records are essential for communicating formal information that needs to be reviewed at a future date.
For the people who cannot see written scripts or who have limited vision there is a communication system known as Braille which uses raised marks that can be felt with the fingers and it’s based on the sense of touch. This system is now widely used for reading and writing by the people who cannot see written script. Theories of communication The verbal and non-verbal communication is not always straightforward. Effective communication involves a two-way process in which each person tries to understand the view point of the other person. According to Michael Argyle (1972) interpersonal communication is a skill that could be learned and developed. Skilled interpersonal communication, interaction(social skills) involve a cycle in which you have to translate or “decode” what people are communicating and constantly adapt your own behaviour in order to communicate effectively.
The communication cycle involves a kind of code that has to be translated. The stages of communication cycle might be: 1. An idea occurs. 2. Message coded. 3. Message sent. 4. Message received. 5. Message decoded. 6. Message understood. Tuckman ‘s stages of group interaction Bruce Wayne Tuckman(1965) argued that communication in groups can be influenced by the degree to which people feel they belong together. Tuckman suggested that most groups go through a process involving four stages: 1. Forming refers to people meeting for the first time and sharing information. 2. Storming involves tension, struggle and arguments about the way the group may function. 3. Norming sees the group coming together and agreeing on their group values. 4. Performing means that the group will be an effectively performing group, once they have established common expectations and values.
Formal and informal communication in health and social care Health and social care work often involves formal communication, which is understood by a wide range of people and shows respect for others. Usually care workers will adjust the way they speak, in order to communicate respect for different communities they address to, as the service users, visitors, colleagues. Formal communication is used in local authority social services and supposes proper English. It also shows respect for others (e.g.: if one went to a local authority social services reception desk, that person will expect to be greeted in a formal way like “Hello! How can I help you?”, and not informally, like “Hi! How’s it going?”
In many situations such informal language could make people feel not being respected; so it is often risky to use informal language unless you are sure that people expect you to do so. The formal communication is also used in social care services with the manager and even between colleagues if they don’t know very well each other. Otherwise, when they know each other better, they will use informal language. Communication with people at work (between colleagues) is different, because care workers must communicate respect for each other. Colleagues, who do not show respect for each other, may fail to show respect for people who use care services. Colleagues have to develop trust in each other. It is important to demonstrate respect for confidentiality of conversation with colleagues. Care settings may have their own social expectations about the correct way to communicate thoughts and feelings.
Communication between professional people and people using services involves the professionals being well aware of the need to translate technical language in to everyday language, when they work with people from other professions or people who use services. Professional people such as doctors or nurses often use their own specialised language, called jargon. It is important that people check that they are being understood correctly. Differences between language and culture Language There are many minority languages in the world. Some people grow up in multilingual communities, where they learn several languages from birth. Many people have grown up using only one language to think and communicate.
People who learn a second language later in life find more difficult to express their thoughts and feelings in that language, and prefer to use their first language. Working with later languages can be difficult, as mental translation may be required. Different localities, ethnic groups, professions and work cultures have their own special words or phrases known as speech communities. Some people might feel threatened or excluded by that kind of language they encounter in these speech communities. The technical terminology used by care workers (called jargon) can also create barriers for people who are not a part of that speech community.
When people who use services communicate with professionals there is always a risk of misunderstanding between people from different language communities, therefore the health and social care staff needs to check their understanding with the people communicating with them. Culture means the history, customs and ways of behaving that people learn as they grow up. People from different regions use different expressions. Also non-verbal signs may vary from culture to culture. In Europe and North America people often expect other people to look them in the eyes when talking. If a person looks down or away they think it is a sign of dishonesty, sadness or depression.
On the other hand, in some other cultures (some black communities or Muslim communities) looking down or away when talking is a sign of respect. (E.g.: in social care settings a Hindu or Muslim person will not accept to be looked after by a person of the opposite sex). People from different geographical areas who use different words and pronounce words differently, they are often using a different dialect. Some social groups use slang (non standard words that are understood by other members of a social group or community, but which cannot be usually found in a dictionary).
BTEC Level 3-Health and Social Care-Book 1-Beryl Stretch/Mary Whitehouse www.helpguide.org/effectivecommunication