Chapter 8. Connected.

Goal: be supported and support others well

8-connectTo be successful in our social interactions, we must form strong relationships. Relationships are based on trust, respect, care, and effective communication. Being an effective communicator requires an understanding of the process, the channels, and actually caring about the extent to which the message delivered was received as intended. Good communication coupled with good emotional control is a key to social success in your professional life and in accomplishing your purpose.

Our generic goal of becoming connected is intended to build strong, supportive relationships with each of the key figures in our lives (e.g., your significant other, spouse, girlfriend or boyfriend, blood relatives, close friends, coworkers, and supervisors). Connection means that you can trust them, communicate well with them, assist in meeting their needs and wants, and rely on them to assist you. This chapter commences with a primer on good communication that focuses on how you can strengthen verbal and nonverbal communication, emotional control, and influence with others, before focusing on tips regarding how to be most effective with the group of people who are most committed (referred to as your circle of commitment).

A Primer on Good Communication

The generic goal of personal communication is for the sender’s intended message to be interpreted correctly by the receiver. All forms of communication have a standard process illustrated below. Regardless of the form of communication, one must not only understand the communication process but also care enough about the intended audience and the message to make the communication effective.

 

Source. The Mathematical Theory of Communication. Copyright 1949, 1998, by the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois. Used with the permission of the University of Illinois Press.

Source. The Mathematical Theory of Communication. Copyright 1949, 1998, by the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois. Used with the permission of the University of Illinois Press. Definitions. Context: The situation prior to the communication; Sender: The source who sends the message. Message: What the sender intends to communicate. Encoding: How the communication is transferred by speaking, writing, non-verbal. Channel: How the encoding is sent (i.e. spoken directly, phone call, written note, text, Tweet). Decoding: How the recipient receives the message i.e. listen, viewing, reading and non-verbal communication methods. Receiver: The recipient of the message; Feedback: Response in which the receiver becomes the sender. Noise (not depicted): Anything that distorts the message including background noise, inappropriate nonverbal communication, inattention and cultural differences.[1]

What do you need to know?

  • Most of us favor one or more communication methods based on our experience or personality traits, and have to work harder to apply unfamiliar methods, and are all challenged when we are not calm or clear in our thoughts
    • Taking control of your non-verbal communication is crucial to successful face to face interactions.
    • Traditional communication methods commonly used by those born before 1960’s such as talking face-to-face, writing, listing to radio using a home or pay phone, or sending mail are less familiar to millennials.
    • As of 2016, most organizations expect their customers to be able to type, to have a credit card, and to be able to conduct business electronically with their own personal computer.
    • Yet, Because of differences in age, language, income, electronic barriers, different expectations of use, we don’t have equal access, understanding, and competency across all communication channels we are required to communicate in. Additionally, 21 percent of adult Americans are illiterate and can’t read above a fifth-grade level, many older adults can’t see or hear well.[2]
  • This suggests we all need to be able to communicate well non-verbally,  person-to-person, via the phone and via the internet which include a vast array of skills including sight, hearing/listening, talking, fine motor control and typing.

Bottom Line. No matter what, you are responsible for how you communicate. You benefit from being a very good communicator. You simply can’t have the strong relationships, personal success, or professional success required for optimal socioemotional well-being if you either don’t care enough to communicate effectively or aren’t effective in what and how you communicate.

Activities.

 

[1] What is interpersonal communication. Skills You Need. Retrieved from http://www.skillsyouneed.com/ips/interpersonal-communication.html

 

[2] The Huffington Post, “The U.S. Literary Rate Hasn’t Changed in 10 Years,” last updated September 14, 2014, retrieved on June 8, 2016, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/06/illiteracy-rate_n_3880355.html.