For your blog this week, think about the similarities and differences between how you evaluated yourself as a communicator and how others evaluated you. What is the one thing that surprised you the most? Why? What other insights about communication did you gain this week? Choose at least two to share with others through your blog and consider how each might inform your professional work and personal life.
I evaluated myself very similar to how others evaluated me. We all said that I am empathetic and concerned with the emotions of others, but tend to be very trusting of others. We agreed that I maintain a good balance between respect and consideration for others viewpoints and the ability argue fairly by attacking facts. The only thing we did not agree on was on the subject of communication anxiety. I said that I have mild anxiety but both my friend and husband said I was very comfortable communicating in most situations. I was surprised by this at first but upon thinking about it I realized that it was a good thing that they thought I was very comfortable. It means that I do a good job of not showing that fear when I speak because no one else has picked up on it. After the surveys were completed and reviewed, my husband, friend and I were talking about them because I felt that they were so similar to mine that I wanted to ask them some questions. Both my husband and myself said that I tend to be a bit bossy when I talk to others in a non-professional setting. I attribute this to my “teacher” personality. I used to think that I was cognizant of the situation I am in and who is around when I speak but my husband says that I often make faces that look like I am giving people dirty looks. I was surprised by this so I had him let me know the next time he noticed it. He did and I realized that the faces I was making was actually me squinting my eyes because I can’t see very far away without my glasses on! My friend said that I am very direct and honest. I thought that I was honest but sugar coated a bit more than she seems to think I do. I was actually surprised by this at first but upon thinking about what she said, she is probably correct. I think I am a bit more direct than I used to be and it makes sense that she would say that.
Something I learned about this week was undue influence which is when someone gives greater credibility or importance to something they shouldn’t. This plays a part in my professional work because it is important that I distinguish between important and unimportant things as I speak to families about their children. I also learned about self concept this week. Self concept is the awareness and understanding of who you are-as interpreted and influenced by your thoughts, actions, abilities, values, goals, and ideas. You develop a self concept by thinking about your strengths and weaknesses, by observing your own behavior, and witnessing your own reactions to situations (O’Hair & Wiemann, 2012). It is important that you have a self concept because this gives you awareness of yourself and your own communication skills. It allows you to evaluate how you communicate so that you can be cognizant of the situations you are communicating in.
I find that I communicate differently with people from different cultures out of respect for them. I have friends from a number of different cultures and knowing how they are, I tend to use similar communication skills when meeting new people. As far as groups, I do communicate differently with different groups. I communicate with families of my students much more professionally than I would a group of people my age.
There is evidence that men tend to talk in order to accomplish something or complete a task and approach conversation from a content orientation. Women are more likely to talk in order to establish and maintain relationships and for the purpose of relating to or connecting to others . This could help me to communicate with people in a social setting as I interact with men and women in conversations about specific topics.
It is important not to generalize or stereotype as well. People are not all the same and when you generalize and stereotype, it creates false opinions of people.
I also use the platinum rule often in all types of communication. I think about how I might want to be treated and also how others may want to be treated. It also helps you to get to know people and gives them a sense of respect and comfort to start with. I use this with my families as well. I like people to feel comfortable talking to me and professional but comfortable conversations.
I found a show on Lifetime network that I have never watched before called Devious Maids.
There were many characters in this show so my main focus of this assignment was the maids and two couples in particular. One of the couples seemed to me to be either a divorced couple or a unhappily married couple. They did not smile at one another or touch one another in any way. The woman/wife seemed to be angry at the man/husband most of the time she spoke to him.
The second couple seemed to be married but not seemingly happy. They did not smile at each other either. They had a baby boy with whom there was not much interaction with. The maid had more interaction with him than mom or dad.
The maids all seemed to be friends except for one of them. The one who did not look like she was friends with the others looked like she was up to something or being sneaky. None of them seemed to enjoy their job.
After watching the show over again, this time with sound I realized that the assumptions I made about the couples being unhappy, the maids being friends, and the one maid being up to something were all correct. It happens that this shows non-verbal communication was very accurate to what was going on in the show. One of the maids did in fact seem to enjoy her job but for the wrong reasons. She was trying to get her employer to listen to her music record. She had ulterior motives.
My husband demonstrates competent communication through his professional emails. In his career they communicate often through email about problems with the project they are working on. One of the behaviors he exhibits that make him an effective is that he is professional and forthright. He gets to the point he is trying to make using facts and does not stray into expressing emotions.
I believe that I would like to model some of my own behaviors after him but I would need to incorporate some emotion into it. As an educator, emotion is part of what I do. It is important that I give parents the facts but I also need to remember that I am talking about their child…someone who is likely the most important person in their life. I can not be as unemotional as he is.