*(originally written for my Communication course)
Do you ever get the feeling no one is listening? Or that you are just not being heard? In effective communication, it is vital for us to be able and aware enough to process what we hear, and provide feedback in reaction to it. Without a dedication to listening and questioning, conversation and an open, honest exchange of ideas is hopeless. There are a multitude of factors that can play into the way in which we choose to take in information, process it, and contribute to the communication flow. Our mood, previous events in our day, and even our gender can affect the formula in which we decide to interact, whether at work, school, or leisure. During the course of our busy lives we rarely get an insight into how the people around us, view our methods of listening and questioning in communication. Through having a friend of mine, and also a person I work under in a professional setting answer basic questions on their perceptions of my style of listening and questioning, I sought to find out the similiarities or differences in their responses to how I perceive myself.
The person who I chose to evaluate me in the “professional setting,” was Melinda, the Educational Access Coordinator at the local cable station I help out at. I have worked with her a lot, and thought that she could offer some valid contribution to this exercise. It is interesting to note then, that her answers were very similar to my own, when it comes to evaluating how I listen and question in the flow of communication. I believe I listen and question effectively and appropriately. Melinda agreed, and eagerly checked off “usually” for the majority of the questions. Ironically enough, I was a little harder on myself, answering “sometimes” for several of my questions. In evaluating this, I believe that her answers give a more accurate indication of my skills in communication, as she is obviously seeing me express these outside of myself, and in varying settings, with different people on a fairly regular basis. Our communication is strong, and there is always positive reinforcement of listening and questioning on both our parts, which stimulates healthy verbal exchanges.
The other individual I requested to participate in this “experiment,” is someone who I know in a much less formal setting. This is my good friend Ave. She also is a very verbal person, and in my opinion communicates her thoughts and ideas very well. In our listening and questioning skills, we are very similar. It is for this reason that we “feed off each other” in conversation, and there is hardly ever any “noise” in our channel. Ave answered the questions about my communication skills very much the same way as Melinda. This was very exciting for me to see, as it allowed me to draw conclusions about myself that I had never thought about previously. These conclusions being, that regardless of setting or relationship level, I am able take in another person’s messages and interpret the content in order to ask questions appropriately, and encourage healthy communication. I am in no way perfect, but gathering these results has allowed me to take pride in communicating well, regardless of the person or setting. It has also taught me that, my communication skills do foster positive relationships with important people in my life, and allow me to be more outgoing in my approach to life!