In this essay, I have chosen communication and conflict resolution to demonstrate how I would apply in my personal life. Conflict resolution is a critical skill to satisfy interpersonal relationship and is an ability to deal with emotional turbulence in a relationship. Communication on the other hand needs to take place for any relationship to be nurtured ” Communication is the lifeblood of every relationship” (Bolton, 1987, p. 13). Communication Communication plays a vital role in developing any kind of healthy relationship, regardless of what phase the relationship is in. Ineffective communication causes an interpersonal gap that is experienced in all facets of life and in all sectors of society” (Bolton, 1987, p. 4) Communication can be divided into two categories which is verbal and non-verbal. Verbal is the spoken language whereas non-verbal includes gestures, body language and facial expression. Effective communication can be established when this two types of communication complement each other. In fact, communication skills start the day you say your first words. We learn from birth that we get what we need out of our body gestures and non-verbal communication as babies.
We in turn learn to trust our environment and those around us, whilst developing relationship. Communication Model In general terms, interpersonal communication can be classified as either one-way or two-way. One-way communication occurs when the sender transmits information in the form of direction, without any expectation of discussion or feedback. For example, a manager may stop by an employee’s desk to inform him that a certain project will be due the following day. One-way communication is faster and easier for the sender because he or she does not have to deal with potential questions or disagreement from the receiver.
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In contrast, two-way communication involves the sharing of information between two or more parties in a constructive exchange. For example, a manager may hold a staff meeting in order to establish the due dates for a number of projects. Engaging in two-way communication indicates that the sender is receptive to feedback and willing to provide a response. Although it is more difficult and time-consuming for the sender than one-way communication, it also ensures a more accurate understanding of the message. This basic concept is illustrated in Appendix 5.
Stewart and D’ Angelo (cited in Adler & Roman, 2000, p. 144) developed a model on communication types which identifies four kinds of communication: ??? Verbal ??? Non-verbal ??? Vocal ??? Non-vocal Barriers to Communication There are many barriers to effective communication. Considering its complexity, understanding the core challenges to interpersonal communication can vastly improve the process of interpreting people’s messages, and helping them understand how to interpret yours. According to Bolton (1987) there are twelve major communication spoilers, listed in three different categories: Judging . Criticising – making a negative evaluation of the other person. 2. Name-calling – stereotyping the other person. 3. Diagnosing – analysing the other person’s behaviour. 4. Praising evaluatively – making excessive positive judgments to the other person. Sending Solutions 5. Ordering – commanding the other person to do something you would like. 6. Threatening – controlling the other person’s actions by warning about consequences. 7. Moralising – telling what the other person should do in a given situation. 8. Inappropriate or excessive questioning – using close-ended questions in excess. . Advising – giving the other person a solution to a problem. Avoiding the Other’s Concerns 10. Diverting – “pushing” a solution to the other person’s problems. 11. Logical argument – attempting to convince the other with an appeal to logic and facts. 12. Reassuring – trying to stop the other person from feeling negative emotions. How these communication spoilers can pop out in normal day-today conversations is illustrated in my journal entry (Appendix 1) in which I observe my two close friends having a conversation. The communication spoilers displayed are: ??? Name-calling Advising ??? Logical argument ??? Reassuring Even though my friend displayed these elements, the conversation still went on well and Lisa was still receptive and open to Syirin’s output. “These twelve ways of responding are viewed as high-risk responses, rather then inevitably destructive elements of all communication” (Bolton, 1987, p. 13). I believe to a large extent that these communication spoilers were indeed unhelpful. When I was observing Syirin, I felt like exclaiming out loud to stop her whenever she used the communication spoilers.
But when I reflect back, the only reason I was aware of the barriers exist is because I was observing. I believe even if I were in the same shoes, I would have unintentionally committed all the communication spoilers because I will not be aware. Self-awareness is vital to refrain ourselves from creating this blunder in our daily conversation. Non-Verbal Communication Personally for me, I believe non-verbal says a lot of how I am as an individual. This includes my eye contact, facial expressions and basically how I bring myself overall.
Most of our face-to-face communication is non-verbal. During this module, I become self-aware of various factors that affect our non-verbal cue. One interesting factor would be environmental factors and use of space. This was defined by Anthropologist Edward T. Hall who concludes that we choose a particular distance when communicating with the other person, based on our feelings towards the other person at the given time. This particular distance is categorized based on 4 different types of relationship: ??? Intimate distance begins with skin contact and stretches out to 46cm.
These are interactions with people who we are emotionally attached and are usually a sign of trust. ??? Personal space ranges from 46cm to 1. 2 cm and when intruded, can cause the other person to feel uncomfortable. This is between people who have conversation that is still reasonably personal but keep the other person away at arm length or so. ??? Social distance ranges from 1. 2m to 3. 6m and is usually reserved for formal interaction with authoritive figure or business-like conversation. ??? Public distance is the farthest zone, extending out over 3. 6m.
It usually occurs in public space and hinders two-way communication. Violating Personal space As recorded in my journal entry (Appendix 2), I tried to test to the extent that this concept applies with my family or friends by deliberately “violating” someone’s personal space. At the beginning of the particular interaction with Mr R, I assess the appropriate zone for interaction. Even though he is my supervisor at work, we have bonded together as friends over the months through various lunch sessions together and team-outings. So I would classify the appropriate space between us as personal space ranging from 46cm to 1. cm. So as recorded in my journal, I started out with a comfortable distance from Mr R but slowly I began to put my plans into action. The moment I rolled my chair suddenly right next to his, he looked a bit taken back. I did not stop there and was practically closing up to his face as he was explaining work-related stuff to me. Mr R tried to break the uncomfortness by breaking a humorous dialogue. I did not feel shock by his reactions because I saw it coming based on the concept of environmental space we learnt in this module.
This small experiment indeed show that the personal space is limited and will be deemed offensive if we intrude it without proper invitation. Personal space are reserved for friends and families who we can communicate personally but not that emotionally bonded to. Conflict resolution Conflict can be defined as a state of disharmony between incompatible persons, ideas, or interests. It is also something we encounter on a daily basis, because not everyone has the same point of view or values. Most people have varying expectations of themselves, and those around them.
Conflict itself is neither good nor bad; however, unresolved conflict can become toxic to an effective atmosphere or relationship. In order to effectively handle conflict, implementing certain strategies is a necessity in order to overcome, or deal with any type of conflict. “Healthy interpersonal communication is not conflict-free. Conflict is a part of all the relationships we have with other people. It can be constructive or destructive, depending on how we manage it. ” (Weaver, 1990, p. 325) Dealing with conflict, or overcoming conflict, is also known as conflict resolution.
Based on my journal entry (Appendix 3), I think that tendency to get into a conflict is apparent as all of us have differences and interest. In order to avoid conflict, the first step would be to be able to understand people for their differences and to have an open perspective. This would be to ‘collaborate’ based on the Five Conflict Style Table. (Appendix 6) Five Conflict Style Table (Appendix 6) ??? Avoid ? -Will take necessary steps to avoid conflict or confrontation ? -Is most concerned about avoiding the “unpleasantness” associated with conflict ??? Collaborate Searches for a solution which meets the needs of both or all parties ? Is concerned with both the goals to be achieved and the stability of the working relationship ??? Compete/Directive ? Will not give in as considers own solution best or own needs as most important ? More concerned with achieving the goal or having needs met than with the stability of the relationship ??? Compromise ? Willing to meet the other half way ? While concerned about both the goal/needs and the relationship, the approach is to “split the difference” to avoid lengthy conflict or discussion Anger
I will touch on anger as personally, I am like a short fuse and anger is a completely normal, usually healthy, human emotion. But when it gets out of control and turns destructive, it can lead to problems. It will interfere with our rational thinking to function effectively. Anger is an emotional state that varies in intensity from mild irritation to intense fury and rage. Like other emotions, it is accompanied by physiological and biological changes; when you get angry, your heart rate and blood pressure go up, as do the levels of your energy hormones, and adrenaline. Anger is one of the underlying causes of conflict” (DeVito, 1990, p. 324) Due to my short-temperedness as portrayed in my journal entry (Appendix 4), I tend to confuse my anger with conflict. But upon learning this module, I learnt that they two separate aspects as conflict is a situation whereas anger is an emotion. With this in mind, I am able to tackle everyday conflict that comes my way without wasting my energy on factors like emotion and concentrate in resolving it amicably like compromising or collaborating. Conclusion
To conclude, I believe that in all relationships, communication is essential for it to be nurtured and developed positively. And to top it off all relationships is not conflict-free. In fact, conflict is a part off all relationships we have with other people. With this newly acquired skills which I’m still developing with daily practice in my interaction with everyone around me, I believe I can enrich my personal life as I will attempting to bridge gaps closer with proper communication and able to resolve conflicts for a harmonious relationship.