Monday, July 2, 2012

Communicating Effectively

Erin K. Burton

Communicating Effectively  
          When we enroll in school, we are immediately taught that there are three “R”’s. Reading, Writing and Arithmetic. Already, we see that communication is not correct. While yes, reading beings with an ‘r’, it is the only word that begins with the correct letter. If we listen, we still hear the same sound with the next word, ‘writing’, it does not begin with the same familiar ‘r’. Lastly, the word Arithmetic throws in an entirely different complication with the three ‘r’’s that we are to learn in school.  Not only does it not begin with the letter r, it forces us to listen closely to catch the miscommunication.  We are sent to school to learn how to communicate in the real world through various methods, however we are exposed to even more forms of communication when we are in the ‘real world’.
            Walking through the grocery store aisles we are bombarded with communication methods.  We hear people engaged in individual conversations, sometimes in multiple different languages. We see flashy labels on cans, boxes and jars of items that the store wants us to buy.  If we pay attention, we see that even the way items are placed on shelves or displays; we see that the stores often really want us to pay attention to those items.  Often times, we’ll hear jingles playing over the loud speakers that put the thoughts in our heads that we need that particular item immediately.
            In order to communicate effectively, I believe that people must have the ability to pay attention to the forms of communication that are being used around them.  During an individual conversation at the grocery store, we must be able to focus on the words being used, the intention and mannerisms that the individual is using and still maintain constant supervision of our surroundings.  The person that we are talking with must also do the same thing.   The words that are being used are one way to communicate effectively and we must command a working knowledge of whatever words we choose to use in our sentences.
 Non-verbal communication is just as important as verbal communication. The mannerisms, gestures or body language that we see and utilize during our conversations are another form of communication.  We may hear the individual saying - “yes, I would love to come over for dinner on Tuesday night” however, if they are standing there shaking their head no or moving backwards, we may interpret that they do not want to come over for dinner.