Communication Skills: Development and Improvement of Communication Skills

Introduction

21st Century is characterized by great innovation in communication technology. The attention given to improving communication technology tells how important communication is to a human being. In living together, people have to cooperate. Communication enables people to work together, cooperate and co-exist. ‘Good communication skills is a phrase that is commonly used. In job adverts, it is common to find having good communication skills as one of the requirements. In choice of leaders, people very keep on communication and tend to go for those leaders that communicate their message at ease. Despite the general appreciation for communication, many problems in families, organizations and governments are associated with breakdown of communication. Either there is no communication at all, miscommunication or use of wrong method of communication. Communication skills can be improved as I have learned from the course. This paper is a personal reflection on my development in communication skills.

Areas of Improvement

Before the course, I considered communication skills as something obvious and that did not require keen attention. I considered myself to be a good communicator by being able to win arguments with my friend. To me, having good communication skills was synonymous with being able to win an audience from my friends. I did not mind much about what I communicated. I did not give time to my friend nor did pay attention to what they said. To me, interpersonal communication was like the competition where participants competed for dominance. I had problem maintaining a calm discussion. When discussing issues with my parents, I would easily turn the discussion into an argument. I could not maintain a calm discussion. It was hard for me to withstand other people’s opinions. A healthy discussion could easily turn into an argument because I could not be able to withstand opposition to my opinions.

From the course I have learned that communication is more than winning arguments or attracting attention from my friend. I have learned that the main objective of communication is sending messages to the other party (Schwartz 21). As I become more mature, I am expected to communicate more effectively. Good communication skills are required in relating to other people. Without good communication, cooperating with other people would be impossible if not with a lot of problems. After reflection, was able to identify my areas of weakness in communication. Many of the times I did not any clear objective in communication. For this reason, I did not structure my message in a way that would facilitate communication. Listening was area of my greatest weakness. I did not take time to listen or try to understand what others were trying to communicate. Because of this, my friends were not happy with me. They accused me of being excessively domineering and of being insensitive to other people. To improve my communication skills, I had to improve how I structured my message and how I passed the message to the other party. Listening skills had to be improved. I had to learn how to respond to feedback as well and give appropriate feedback. From the course, I learned the importance of not verbal communication and desired to incorporate these skills in my communication. As I take mere responsibility in society, good formal communication will be called for. I desired to improve my communication skills so that I could be more fruitful to the society.

Effective Communication

Communication is a role that people can not live without. The course brought insight into how effective communication should be carried out. To be a good communicator it is important to understand the process of effective communication. From the course, I was able to understand the process of communication. I learned that communication involves four important components: the sender, message, channel and receiver. I learned that communication involves feed-forward and feedback process. Feed-forward process involves movement of message from the sender to the receiver (Schwartz 67). Feedback process, an equally important process, involved the response that message receiver gives to message. From the course, I was able to appreciate the importance of every component in the communication process. As a communicator, I have to be aware of various factors in communication. Sender’s communication skills, knowledge level, attitude, culture, social position and feedback from receiver have significant effect on communication. Communication skills involve skills in speaking, listening, reading, writing, reasoning and non-verbal communication (Schwartz 57). I learned that these skills have high significance to communication and when the good skills are lacking, communication can be hampered greatly. To improve communication skills, an individual must on their areas of weakness.

Communication is more than mere transfer of message from a sender to the receiver. The attitude of sender has a high contribution to success or failure of communication. When communicating an individual should have a good attitude towards the message and the receiver. Misconceptions about the receiver can interfere with communication make the sender not send the message as intended. The course also made me appreciate the importance of receiver’s attitude to reception of message. The attitude of the receiver may interfere with communication making the receiver distort the message. To be better communicator, I have learned to make early preparation and change my attitude for the better. I also reflect on the attitude that the receiver could be having on me and the message. I ask myself how the receiver could be judging me, my culture, message, intentions and make the appropriate adjustments to ensure effective communication. I have learned that in every person there is internal communication that goes on in the subconscious mind. The success of communication is dependent on the ability of a communicator to move the internal dialogue to cognitive level. As I develop as an effective communicator, I have been able to appreciate the significance of my level of knowledge in communication. I have learned that one has to be knowledgeable in areas where one wants to communicate. By being knowledgeable, a communicator can be able to communicate with confidence and be able to attract the attention of the receivers.

Improving the areas of Weakness

The course gave me insight into importance of effective communication and the need to improve my communication skill. The first step to improving the skills was by accepting that my communication skills needed improvement. Verbal communication is the most common form of communication. To be a good communicator, I had to work with verbal communication skills. Two components of verbal communication are speaking and listening. Speaking skills are essential for a communicator to be able to connect to the audience (Condrill and Bough 56). My main problem in communication was not being able to connect to my audience. I had a habit of using colloquial language. I sometimes used vocabulary when communicating as a way of showing off how knowledgeable I was. From the course I learned that the communication process is incomplete when the intended message is not sent to the receiver. I came understand that any barrier to communication has to be overcome in order to communicate effectively. As a way to overcome the semantic barriers, I resolved to be using straight language in all my communication. Use of simple and easy-to-understand language enables me pass the intended message to my audience and am sure that the intended message is sent.

Listening had been my major area of improvement in communication skills. From the course I was able to appreciate the importance of active listening in communication. I was able to appreciate that just like speaking; listening is an important process in communication (Condrill and Bough 57). Active listening involves giving significant attention to what other people are trying to say. Through active listening I am to be engaged in the other person’s communication process. I try to understand the message, compare different perspectives to the message, manage my emotions and give the appropriate feedback. I learned to be an active listener by being patient when listening to other individuals. In addition, the course has helped me to improve on non-verbal communication. I am now able to read body language from my audience and be able to use the body signs as feedback. I have also been able to manage my body signs to make them rhyme with the message.

Conclusion

Communication is an integral part of human relationships but not all have good communication skills. Poor communication can lead to a lot of problems in organizations, institutions or between friends. Communication skills, however, can be improved. From the course, I was able to identify my areas of improvement and try to improve on them. I was able to learn how to be a better speaker, listener, and being able to use nonverbal communication. The course has given me valuable skills in communication and I believe that I am a better communicator than I was when starting the course.

Works Cited

Schwartz, Andrew. Communication Skills. Waverley: A.E. Schwartz & Associates, 2001.

Condrill, JO. And Bough, Bennie. 101 Ways to Improve Your Communication Skills Instantly. Palmdale: GoalMinds, 1999.