Communication Essay Example
Your Communication Skills 1
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My key communication strength is my excellent ability to listen. I have good listening skills developed over the years through various teamwork capacities. Being a peer counselor in high school greatly developed this skill and enabled me to receive the Best Peer Counselor Award during my senior year. According to Rane (2011) to be a good listener, you need to stop talking, put the speaker at ease, show a listening desire, avoid distractions, empathize with the speaker, have patience, ask questions, and maintain eye contact. Naturally, am a patient person and as a peer counselor it helped me in giving the speaker time to air out his or her grievances without interruptions. To show my desire to listen, I would sit in an upright position facing the speaker, my pad, and pen on the desk ready to note key points. This is an essential non-verbal communication that the listener is curious and it shows empathy towards the speaker. I would also maintain a joyous attitude to create a tension-free atmosphere, ask questions at appropriate interjections to seek more information and to clarify points. The grounded theory asserts that a good listener should let the speaker lead him on and refrain from using pre-conceived data to make assumptions about the current situation (McGee, 2008). It emphasizes the need to have the listener at ease, talk less, ask appropriate questions and at the right time. To improve this skill, the theory suggests active listening and creating an atmosphere of confidentiality to encourage the speaker to be open.
Despite being a good listener, am a poor public speaker. During my sophomore year, my basketball team chose me to give a congratulatory speech at the finals. Prior to the speech, I felt anxious and as I stood at the podium overlooking the students, my mind went blank and my throat felt dry. I just looked down as my friends directed me off stage amidst jeers. I have never mastered the courage to speak again publicly. According to a study by Gonzales-Bono et al. (2002), the anxiety response in anticipation of a speech was greater to other evaluated tasks. An increased heart rate and greater right-sided anterior cortical activation characterizes this reaction. Canon 1929 in Gonzales-Bono et al. (2002) the response is a defense mechanism in organisms for flight or fight. If this response is not controlled, it leads to negative effects such as forgetting a speech or long unintended pauses between speeches. This explains why my reactions. The cognitive theory asserts that public speaking anxiety is due to counterproductive thoughts. When a speaker expects a negative response from his audience before the speech, it triggers the brain to produce physiological reactions such as sweating perceived as fear. In extreme situations, an individual may fail to deliver the speech such as my case (Ayres & Hopf, 1993). To overcome this anxiety, the cognitive theorists suggest systematic desensitization. It involves establishing the anxiety stimulus, learning how to overcome it, and testing the effectiveness.
Ayres, J & Hopf, T 1993, Coping with speech anxiety, Connecticut: Greenwood Publishing
Gonzalez-Bono, E., Moya-Albiol, L., Salvador, A., Eduvigis Carrillo, E., Ricarte, J., &
Gomez-Amor, J. (2002). Anticipatory autonomic response to a public speaking task in women the role of trait anxiety. Biological Psychology, 60 (1), 37–49.
McGee, S. L. (2008). Their voices emerged: A grounded theory of learning resilience among
African American women in the formal education environment. Elsevier: ProQuest Inc.
Rane, D. B. (2011). Good listening skills make efficient business sense. IUP Journal of Soft
Skills, 5 (4), 43-51.
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