Communication is a complex process that entails speaking, listening, understanding, remembering, and responding. As we listen, we pay attention to details and select those that we should understand and remember in order to deliver a feedback message. Speaking on the other hand, needs careful delivery of a message to which the listener can be attuned. In both contexts, listening and speaking, we identify the goal/s for communication, decide to use a language to which the participants can relate with, and recognise their cultures in order to adapt the delivery and content of the message to encourage interaction (O’Hair et.al., 2015).
My communication experiences vary in a wide scale. The differences in context depend on the purpose, audience, and relationship I have with the participant. It can be in a one to one, small or big group settings. In all these instances I demonstrate communication behaviours appropriate to the context. This has been confirmed upon evaluating my listening style profile, communication anxiety inventory and verbal aggressiveness and comparing it with other people’s perceptions about me. However, there remain communication behaviours that I maintain regardless of who I communicate with. These include attentiveness and responsiveness to the person/s I am communicating with. My self-perception of listening style is exactly the same with how my partner and my colleague evaluated my listening style. As such, I seem to be a people-oriented person, being able to empathise with the emotions of others. This is evident in the relationships I have forged at work, the community I am a part of and my family. Being able to trust others easily have helped me engage in pleasurable communication experiences. Both on personal and professional levels, people are able to disclose information that they sometimes would not choose to share with others. However, I maintain a line of distance to ensure that I could still assimilate messages to guide my judgments. An interesting discovery was my communication anxiety inventory. I see myself having varied comfort levels depending upon the context when I communicate although it is not an aspect that I worry about. My partner and colleague, on the other hand, see me being comfortable and confident in any situation. All three of us work in the same organisation, so they have seen me communicate in personal, social, formal and informal contexts. They have been part of my small group conversations on social gatherings such as parties, as well as an audience when I speak to a large crowd of educators. It seemed that even if I feel a sense of discomfort in public speaking situations, I am able to mask my feeling, as even people who know me well do not recognise this.
My self-perception of my communication abilities can be seen similar to or different from the lens of others. A large part of it is dependent on my communication experiences with them. This experience includes how I have adjusted my communication approach to their cultures and personalities. Although the objectives of my communication with individuals and groups differ, I remain careful with my approach to communicate in order to maintain relationships – whether personal or professional.
O’Hair, D., Wiemann, M., Mullin, D. I., & Teven, J. (2015). Real communication (3rd. ed). New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s.