This research paper describes the principles of non-verbal and verbal communication, explains how three important principles could be utilized to encourage communication in a healthcare workplace, and how technology influences the communication process.
David Carnes (21 November 2011) quotes the Association for Communication Administration in his article: “The Difference between Verbal and Non-Verbal Communication” in defining Communication as “the use of messages to produce meaning within and across a variety of contexts, cultures, methods and media”. He also describes it as something that must be learned – an acquired skill. For example, you have to learn your own native language or use a cell phone, or even learn specific gestures that have known meanings within your culture. Naturally you also have to learn to understand messages that you receive from other people.
Regarding the fundamental differences between verbal and non-verbal communication, Carnes suggests that for communication over long distances using technology, verbal communication is the best way of conveying specific information. He considers that whilst non-verbal communication is “more immediate” its meaning can be ambiguous, although use of facial expressions and the eyes can be more effective than words in expressing emotions.
An article on the Business Coaching Insights website entitled “Understanding the basic principles of communication helps in business” (2010) defines three basic principles:
1. “The meaning of communication is the response you get”. The article explains that when people seem to not understand your communication, it’s likely you haven’t explained yourself clearly. So the important principle here is to ensure that your communication is complete and effective.
2. “Seek first to understand”. Make sure you understand the reality of a message or situation before you take action in response. The article explains that because our brains are limited in the information we can process, we unconsciously filter those inputs, creating a perception which might be distorted by previous experience and/or other factors. Hence it’s better to wait and perhaps seek other opinions before rushing into action. Don’t jump to conclusions.
3. “It’s not just what comes out of your mouth”. Researchers found that 55 percent of communication is non-verbal (“posture, movement, gestures, breathing, skin color etc.”), a further 38 percent comes from the tone, volume and pace of speech and just 7 percent from the words themselves. So, be aware of these factors when communicating with others, and when others are communicating with you.
Always remembering these basic principles can be of real help in communicating in the workplace. For example, when circulating memos or posting notices, it is recommended to have another person read them before general publication. What may seem a perfectly obvious detail to those closely involved with something may not be to others. A notice for the attention of the public visiting a clinic may well need to include additional information of which staff is already aware. Conversely, if a patient asks what may seem an irrelevant or unnecessary question, try to remember that they may not possess all the knowledge / information you have.
In these technological times, according to an article entitled “Technology & Nonverbal Communication” (n.d.) on the eHow website, using technology such as camcorders or tape recorders is a boon to those needing to analyze communication, especially non-verbal communication, perhaps by video recording conversations for training purposes, then using the playback to see where improvements can be effected. A quite different use for technology is the widespread practice of recording telephone calls to companies, either for training purposes or for the legal protection of either party. Technology also plays an increasing part in the methods of communication. Twitter and the social contact websites like Facebook have revolutionized the availability of instant communication, especially amongst the younger generation.
This research has revealed that there are important principles to follow to ensure that communication – either verbal or non-verbal – is clear and unambiguous. It has also helped to clarify how important it is to follow those principles to improve communication in (e.g.) a healthcare workplace. The research has also provided examples of how technology is used in the communication process, including the trend in these times to use the social internet sites like Twitter and Facebook that provide instant communication media.
Carnes, David. (21 November 2011). The Difference between Verbal and Non-Verbal Communication. Livestrong.com. Retrieved from http://www.livestrong.com/article/166482-the-difference-between-verbal-nonverbal-communication/
Technology & Nonverbal Communication. (n.d.). eHow.com. Retrieved from http://www.ehow.com/about_7221499_technology-_amp_-nonverbal-communication.html
Understanding the basic principles of communication helps in business. (2010). Business Coaching Insights. Retrieved from http://www.business-coaching-insights.com/basic-principles-of-communication.html