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Communication is an essential part of our everyday lives and it forms the basis for our survival and social needs in civilisation. Effective communication is when an individual is able to completely express what they want using precise words and following a code of ethics. Similarly, non-verbal forms of communication is also a way in which an individual expresses what they want; through the usage of hand gestures, facial expressions and so on. The purpose of this assignment is to categorically review and examine a conversation between me and my colleague Hilda to try and understand the aspects of communication, both verbal and non-verbal that is taking place in the conversation. In the first section, the paper will be relating the general subject matter of the conversation, whereby it will attempt to lay the groundwork on which the conversation is based and outline the broad themes that makes up the subject matter of this conversation. The second part of the review will go deeper into the material of the conversation and relate it to different theories of communication, in an attempt to understand the effective use of communication skills by the actors involved and the non-verbal cues that will be examined by looking at how the participants are behaving.
Review of Conversation
This section will focus on the conversation which was held between me and Hilda where we are talking about their respective professional experiences and how it is personally and professionally affecting us. The conversation mostly centres around our respective professional experiences with their placements and how we are dealing with obstacles in the pandemic times. In the duration of the conversation, I reveal that I only went to my placement for a week since during routine check-up, I tested positive for COVID and because of that, I’ve been put in isolation for ten days. We exchange information about each other’s lives and reveal that they enjoyed the conversation virtually to make up for not being able to meet in person. The following sections will discuss the verbal and non-verbal aspects of their conversation in greater detail, in a bid to understand and relate it to larger theories which have been put forward. All of this will be done keeping in mind that we are both health care professionals. 2.1 A Review of Verbal Indicators The objective of this section is to examine the communication between the and my colleague, Hilda and to see if there were any gaps in our communication and examine the phrases and verbal usage on our part to see if they were communicating effectively and if their interaction was positive or not. From the very offset, it is evident that the we are friends as their conversation opened with informal greetings and they asked each other how we were doing. In the context of the conversation, it became evident that while our backgrounds were different, Hilda and I are both public health professionals who were about to embark on our placement activities. According to the Standpoint theory which was put forward by Hegel, people see other individuals from the perspective that they posses as having a particular position in the society (Ottoh-Agede, 2013). It is evident that regardless of the background, Hilda and I shared an educational background and similar educational experiences. The communication between us, two heath care professionals, also offers a window into the way they might approach communication with the patients they are working with. Hilda and I start with pleasantries but immediately move on to inquiring what the other person has been doing in the time when we couldn’t physically meet. Initially, the conversation shows awkwardness, possibly owing to the fact that we were speaking after a very long time. In this respect, communication skills need to be improved in the area of engaging with someone after a long time. While it is difficult to explain or justify in real terms which individual had a harder time during the duration of the placement, the events in Hilda’s life were more predictable as both knew that they were supposed to start their placement at that time. However, me testing positive for COVID was an unexplained event and it was very easy for me to have launched into my own problems at the very beginning of the conversation. However, I felt that I needed to take the initiative and ask her about her experiences, as I felt once she would know about my experiences, the conversation would irrevocably turn in that direction. Applying Eric’s Berne’s Transactional Theory (2016) psychoanalysis to my speech, it could be understood that the conversation between us were very equitably transactional in nature. The asking of a question by both parties and the liberal scope which they give each other to answer is indicative of the desire to know and not merely feel important when asked. Berne also speaks of strokes, which are actions an individual performs in order to get some reaction which would make them feel good. It is possible that the exchange of pleasantries and the asking of questions was because both of us were in search of a stroke, whereby we could feel validated. Berne describes this desire to receive strokes as not necessarily a negative or a problematic one; the desire for strokes has been present ever since people are babies, when their expectations range from being held to being fed to being soothed. Based on the theory put forward by Berne, the exchange of information and the pattern of reciprocity by the two can be classified as being adult-type. Berne described this kind of communication as being in an Adult-ego stage, where they are talking in a straightforward manner and there is no undergone of complaining or whining, a property which is characteristic of the child ego state. Additionally, there is no indication of disciplining and displaying lack of emotion as well, which is indicative of Adult ego state. A good example of understanding which ego state the two individuals display in the conversation can be as follows. Even though we haven’t been in touch with each other for a period of time, as evident by our conversation, neither of us express sentiments of hurt by expressing that we didn’t get a call from each other. Similarly, neither of us is completely stoic when they are being told about the developments in each other’s life and express thoughtful concern (Berne, 2011; 2016). I was concerned that if Hilda is getting enough support at her placement from her colleagues and Hilda is concerned if I had someone to do the shopping for her because she is isolating and if she has been feeling lonely because I have been isolating alone. These indicators show that we have a transparent relationship which is balanced and based on equality and hence, it fulfils the criteria for being an adult ego exchange. In nursing, this would prove to be a valuable tool as it reassures the patient that the health care worker is empathetic and is emotionally invested in their wellness, yet, at the same time, it lets us know that we are rationally considering options for their treatment and they won’t let their emotions affect the way they are treated (Dörttepe and Keser, 2016). Lastly, according to the theory of Howard Giles (2016), communication in people we like to empathise is different from the communication we engage in with people we dislike. In order to reduce the socio-cultural differences with the other, an individual may adapt their speech to match the speech of the other person, in an attempt to make themselves into an ally. I noticed this in the conversation between me and Hilda, where both of us were unconsciously using words like ‘yeah’ and ‘okay’ to assure each other that we understand and sympathise. However, I felt, there needed to be more verbal assurances on my part, assurances which went beyond just asking her if she is getting supported by her placement colleagues. I aim to be more mindful of these considerations in my conversation from now on. 2.2 A Review of Non-Verbal Indicators According to the theory of SOLER, which was developed by Gerard Egan in 1975, there are certain factors which make an individual a skilled workers. The non-verbal aspect of the conversation was analysed through SOLER. The first parameter is Sitting Squarely, which both me and Hilda are doing. Although, Hilda is sitting a little disproportionately in the frame. I believe my sitting position has scope to improve as the camera is facing down and I’m looking down at Hilda rather than looking straight ahead. The next parameter is Open Posture, whereby the participants need to sit in an open manner and avoid crossing their legs or arms. In this respect, both Hilda an I are following the ideal parameters. With respect to maintaining Leaning In, the next ideal, it is not understood very prominently, as it would’ve if it were a conversation taking place when me and Hilda were in physical proximity, this would’ve been a better observed phenomenon. The next parameter of maintaining Eye Contact is maintained throughout the conversation, which could be a factor in determining if the participants are paying attention to each other in the duration of the conversation. Just like leaning in, both me and Hilda are maintaining eye contact throughout the conversation. Lastly, there is the parameter of Relaxation. There is some contention in this respect as I notice I use a lot of gesticulations while speaking and that could be related to nervousness. This would make sense as I use physical gesticulations more when I am speaking of the stressful parts of my isolation (Toastmasters International, 2011). Burnhard (2002) elucidated the importance of listening in conversations, especially in the context of nursing professionals and reiterated that gesticulations like leaning and nodding were important factors in determining whether or not the individual was actively involved in the hearing process. I feel I need to develop more verbal cues to indicate my attention towards the speaker I am conversing with and let them know that I am paying attention to them as opposed to gesticulating with only my hands when I am the one speaking. In terms of non-verbal cues, I feel I need to improve in the physical positioning of myself with respect to the person I am conversing with. Additionally, I feel my body language should convey more attention and interest towards the individual. However, there are several limitations to the virtual mode of conversation that was being used and the report recognises that as well.
The purpose of this document was to review and understand the communication patterns which took place in a conversation between me and my colleague. In the context of health care professionals, it is clear that the we have different but equally valuable approaches to communication. Mostly, we are both empathetic and avid listeners and they ask meaningful questions to each other. At the same time, we both show genuine concern for each other through verbal reassurances and use meaningful questions to genuinely offer help instead of lightly mentioning it as a token gesture. These are qualities which are valuing in an industry like nursing and the combination of adult ego rationality, combined with empathy and and open and transparent form of listening through body language makes these two individuals prime candidates for the health care industry. However, there is scope for improvement, whereby in both the verbal and non-verbal communication skills of mine, and also my colleagues.
Total Words (excluding references): 1986
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