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Effective Communication
Effective Communication

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My name is Ashley, I am world renown best selling author and life coach. “Life coaching is a practice of assisting clients to determine and achieve personal goals. A coach will use a variety of methods, tailored to the client, to move through the process of setting and reaching goals (life coaching, 2007)”. I specialize with expertise and passion in interpersonal and business communication. The last five years of my personal life have been really challenging. My father died of prostate cancer and two yeas later my mother was diagnosed with stage 3 bone cancer. Her health is rapidly deteriorating and needs plenty of TLC. I have no sibling or any in-state family to help. Between my two jobs and caring for my mother, time management has become a major issue. Not to mention, the astronomical medical bills. So after my third consecutive book “Live Your Best Life” was declared number one on the New York Times Best Seller list, I decided to retire from life coaching. This way I can focus all of my time and attention on my writings and caring for my mother.
Several months after retiring, I received a random call. The caller was an older very intelligent sounding gentleman. He introduced himself as Mr. Siegfried Farnon. Mr. Farnon was calling in regards to his business and personal relationships. He told me that he just finished reading my manuscript and found it very inspirational. The conversation went on for about fifteen minutes before I kindly interrupted him. Telling him how I appreciate his complements but I was in the middle of a writing and had to go. Mr. Farnon then quickly asked if would be his life coach. I explained my situation and told him that I was no longer doing personal life coaching. Mr. Farnon began begging and pleading, he wouldn’t take no for an answer. I repeatedly declined his request telling him there is not enough money in life coaching. I have medical bills to pay and can’t afford to pick up another job. In a non-pretentious way, Mr. Farnon said he was extremely financially successful and money is not an option. He then offered me a large sum of money, which would cover all my mothers’ medical bills. Needless to say I didn’t turn down his offer and took the job.
The objective of Mr. Farnon’s first life coaching session was to get answers. I needed to find out who is Seinfeld Farnon, what are his main problems, and what are some goals he hopes to accomplish by the end of our courtship. When our session came to a close I learned Mr. Siegfried Farnon is the co-owner of a software design firm (a self-proclaimed computer nerd). He is a “low self-monitor”, a person who does not monitor his behavior based on the contextual cues and the behavior of the individuals around him. He expressed how he wants to make friends but people seem to always take him the wrong way. He wants to be seen as a likeable guy and hopes to learn how to verbally and nonverbally communicate his likeable nature. After getting to know Siegfried Farnon better and several session later I asked him to make me a list. This list was intended to help to Mr. Farnon reflect on the main problems in his business and/or personal relationships in which he hopes to tackle. Looking over the lengthy list I noticed a reoccurring problem. Although Mr. Farnon is financially successful he is extremely unsuccessful with his relationships. In order help Siegfried Farnon understand how to communicate “his true self” more accurately, I will address and analyze each problem that was listed.
One concern of Mr. Farnon’s why he thinks people seem to be offended by him whenever he shares his opinion during meetings. I explained to Mr. Farnon that it could be possible that he is interpreting his colleges inaccurately. We tend to use perception as assigning meaning to stimuli. However, he has to remember language is ambiguous, meanings are ultimately determined by people, not words. For instance whenever we see cues or hear words, we tend to interpret them according to our definitions and experiences. For example group members may add nonverbal confusion to meetings by using random facial gestures, tics, or grimaces; they may use gestures unrelated to their words or feelings such as finger tapping, playing with pencils, clicking pens, and rocking back and forth. Instead of making assumptions, he needs to ask questions to clarify meanings and/or choose specific and concrete words when speaking. Another important point is facts are things we observe and an inference is an assumption that we make about those facts. If his perception becomes a fact then he may want to reevaluate his choices. Effective communication arises from sensitivity and care in adjusting what you say to the listener, which brings me too rhetorically sensitive. Rhetorically sensitive group members consider the needs of the receiver and sends message that does not offend (Young, Wood Phillips and Pedersen 2007, 43). In other words, you encourage others to cooperate. This can be accomplished by following this five principles: (1) you are aware of your group members existence and declare their importance and uniqueness (2) willing to share your information and views, speaking with conviction (3) having attitude of camaraderie (4) working together to share ideas (5) value future interaction and are willing to keep talking until ideas are clear.
Mr. Farnon then mentioned that he just can’t seem to get a grasp on appropriate nonverbal behavior in business and personal relationships. He wonders why do some people move away when he tries to talk to them? Why would a lady shudder when he touched her shoulder? Why do some people get uncomfortable when he moves their things off the seat to sit by them? And Mr. Farnon wonders why he is treated differently when he sits at the head of a boardroom meeting table? Nonverbal communication signals listeners about how to interpret a message. Nonverbal communication consists of four behaviors: (1) Interaction cues, nonverbal behavior provides cues for feelings/interactions (2) spatial networks, refers to all seating arrangements (3) seating position, will affect how the group will work (4) physical setting, can influence both the tone of deliberation and pattern. While it is useful to observe nonverbal behavior, it is important to remember that: the context of nonverbal behavior is relevant, individuals respond differently to different situations, cultural norms affect peoples’ reactions to nonverbal cues. In nonverbal communication proxemic refers to how people use space and distance. Informal space is significant because it includes the distances people unconsciously maintain when they interact. Informal spatial patterns have distinct bounds and such deep, if unvoiced, significance that they form an essential part of culture. To misunderstand this significance may invite disaster (Henman, Hirokawa and Cathcart 2003, 86). One level of informal spatial is personal space ach of us is surrounded by a “space bubble”, varying in size according to the activity or type of communication taking place. This is how we claim an area. It is important to note that there are cultural differences in personal space as they relate to greetings, conversations, and seating at meetings. There are differences in proxemic comfort levels that are influenced by cultural background. Touching may be a very acceptable and common for some people, in some places but not all. Touching is usually reserved for our most intimate relationships and for communication between close friends. It is important to remember when communicating with people from other countries and other cultures that their nonverbal communications differ from ours just as their language may be also differ. Another level of informal spatial is territoriality. Territoriality is the sense of personal ownership that is attached to a particular space such as our seat in class. Even though we do not have assigned seating, we often show ownership of space by designating objects acting as markers of territory. Territory is claimed when a person arrives and chooses a seat. Individuals who fail to respect the territory of others are violating an important group norm. The spatial features of proxemic can also affect the relationships. Whoever occupies a central position exerts more power those who sit in sideline positions. People may look at Mr. Farnon differently because they feel as if they are not part of a group. The places people sit often are linked with the attitude they have towards other people. But not only are the attitude of people is important for choosing a particular seat, but the seat itself also stimulates the way people are able to interact with each other. Studies show that people prefer different seating arrangements based on the content of the conversation and the relationship among group members. Most boardroom meetings physical constraints can make a decentralized arrangement impossible.

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