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Diagnostic Tools

Question:

Discuss about the Reflective Practice Using A Range Of Diagnostic Tools.

The diagnostic tools of communication process are important for understanding my communication style and the subsequent issues associated with it (Shockley-Zalabak, 2014). This essay would comprise of a self-reflection style which would be based on the results of the five diagnostic tools. It would also comprise of a brief literature review concerning the communication issues identified. The third part would comprise of an action plan that would be done to address the communication issues.

I have used five diagnostic tools to understand my communication strengths and weaknesses. The first tool was the “Personal Report of Public Speaking Anxiety”, which measures the anxiety level of the individuals during the act of speaking in front of an audience (Jensen, 2013). I have scored 48, which shows that I have low anxiety when I am speaking in public. The second diagnostic tool comprised of the “willingness to listen”, which defines my ability of being a good listener in a workplace setting (Batrinca et al., 2013). I have scored 85 in this test, which indicates that I have moderate willingness to listen. The third diagnostic tool was the “Talkaholic scale”, which is a tool to measure compulsive communication. This scale is used to identify the quality of the highly verbal people and their issues in being quiet in the presence of other people (Akdemir, 2016). I have scored 16 in this scale, which implies that I am not at all talkative. The low score also indicates the fact that I am not able to speak even when there is a need situation. The fourth tool is concerned with the “personal report of intercultural communication apprehension”, which measures the various communication apprehensions in the cross-border context (Sidelinger & Bolen, 2016). This intercultural communication apprehension is considered as the sub-category of the general communication system. I have scored 29 in this scale, which indicates that I have low anxiety in intercultural communication apprehension. The fifth diagnostic tool comprised of the “non-verbal immediacy scale-self report”, which is used to measure the various non-verbal signals of communications while the individual’s interact with each other (Neuliep, 2017). It is important to understand that there are major differences in the report based on gender of the individuals. This implies that the reports of the male and the female individuals would vary significantly. I have scored 68 in this scale, which implies that I have negative non-verbal communication immediacy.

Identified Communication Issues

I have identified the fact that I have some communication issues which prevents me from expressing myself fully in front of others. I have taken the talkative scale and I find that I am not being able to express my feelings in every situation. I am an introvert and I am basically a reserved kind of person. I am not verbose and would like to express my feelings with few words only. I am self-restrained and like to be quiet in my professional interactions. This often makes me vulnerable in front of others, where people tend to misunderstand me. My inability to express myself with adequate words has often landed me in great trouble. There are instances when I like to listen to others and speak minimum. In such instances, I do feel the need of others to share exact ideas as I am having.

I have also identified the fact that I have negative non-verbal communication cues, which often sends the wrong message when I am communicating with people. There are times when I am unable to give appropriate verbal communication cues, but due to inappropriate non-verbal gestures, my message is decoded wrongly by other people. There are times when I am having a tense body position while I communicate with people. Also, I display a bland facial expression sometimes when I talk with people, which make people think that I am not interested in the conversation.

I have faced two recent incidents on which I realized that I do possess the above challenges. These incidents have offended me and also affected the way I interact in a professional domain. I do realize that these communication challenges need to be resolved in an urgent manner so that I can excel in professional life.

Once I was giving an interview, in which I was supposed to express myself in a clear and lucid manner. I failed to do so. I was not so nervous but still I preferred to be quieter and listen well to the interviewers. I knew all the answers of the interviewers but was unable to answer them properly. I did not stay silent, but I did not give the appropriate answer also. I was fidgeting and I found it hard to find suitable words to express the answers.

I can also remember about another incident in which I appeared in a seminar in which I was giving a presentation in a particular topic. I could well realize that I was having improper body postures and gestures but could not improve myself. I could feel that the audience is slowly getting distracted from my lecture as I was displaying a negative body image. I was also unable to maintain eye to eye contact with the audience as I was afraid of looking into their eyes. I felt that I would forget my speech if I would look at their eyes. This made my overall presentation ineffective in spite of having good slides and good communication skills.

Incidents that Highlighted Communication Challenges

These two incidents made me realize that I need to improve these negative communication attributes as it is important to excel in my professional life. I would not be able to climb the steps of the corporate ladder if I do not improve my communication challenges.

As opined by Booher (2017), the intelligent people often prefer silence over those who are verbose and they often wait for the people to say important things. These kinds of people are often reluctant to use their mouth to communicate and instead they like to perform active listening. These kinds of personalities are also considered as the introverts, who do not their voices to be heard in public. These kinds of people often are busy in their own thinking process and hence do not find the chance or opportunity to express their feelings (Berger & Iyengar, 2013). There are instances when they critically analyze every detail in the conversation and hence they are not able to speak easily (Shockley-Zalabak, 2014). The quiet people often have enough matter to say, but they may be unable to find actual words to express their feelings. They do not have the habit of blabbering and they tend to absorb everything that is happening around them.

As argued by Matthes and Arendt (2016), the “spiral of silence” theory is concerned with the explanations that underline the fact why people do not like to speak on matters that actually matters to them. This theory discusses the public opinion as the attitudes through which the individuals are able to express themselves without the fear of making them lonely (Shockley-Zalabak, 2014). There are most people that have the ability to identify the popular opinions at given point of time and they tend to act accordingly. The spiral of silence theory is not bad in every context and it can be well utilized in environments in which there is an alignment of the public opinion towards tolerance (Clemente & Roulet, 2015). This theory can be well used in instances when it is important to hide feelings of hate from public disclosures. However, there are times, when this theory can act against the image and goodwill of an individual and there is a resulting distraction from the same.

It is important to persuade people to speak their heart out and express their feelings in an appropriate manner. This would not only enhance the level of inter-personal communication but would also allow an increase in the organizational productivity. As commented by Gass and Seiter (2015), the act of being more persuasive leads to being more influential and understanding the needs of the various stakeholders. The scarcity principle believes in the fact that the people tend to get those things that are in short supply (Clemente & Roulet, 2015). This particular desire increases when there is an anticipation of the regret that might occur by not acting fast enough in a particular situation (Samovar et al., 2015). As argued by Vogel and Wanke (2016), the “Yale Attitude Change Approach”, the multiple years of research in Yale University have found out that there are a number of factors that make an audience participate in the discussion in a more active manner. These factors are attractive speaker, credible personality and ideal demographics.

Perspectives on Silence and Communication


The findings of Olsen (2014) reveals that there are four kinds of silences that are used by the individuals in their day to day lives. The silences can be both positive as well as negative depending on the type of the implementation in the present scenario. One of the most hurting kinds of silences is silent treatment in which there is absence of meaningful words and there is often an unwillingness to communicate (Matthes & Arendt, 2016). The second type of silence is concerned with awkward silence in which the empty spaces in the conversations often cause uncomfortable and strange feelings (Clemente & Roulet, 2015). The third form of silences is concerned with the creating spaces through the uses of silence. This often is involved with the fact that there is a mutual feeling of silence that is important between being silent and having good listening skills (Matthes & Arendt, 2016). The fourth type of silence is concerned with the mindful silence in which there is the use of the skill of reflection of people in which they are more thoughtful and quiet.

According to Broadbent (2013), the non-verbal communication is concerned about the receiving and the sending of wordless clues. They are often concerned with the sending of the visual cues such as distance, body language, distance, touch and the physical environments. There is also an involvement of the use of time and maintaining proper eye contact (Matthes & Arendt, 2016). The process of non-verbal communication is concerned with the involvement of the unconscious and the conscious processes of decoding and encoding of the information (Matthes & Arendt, 2016). The encoding is the process of the generation of the information which is essentially concerned with the gestures, postures and facial expressions (Matthes & Arendt, 2016). The act of decoding is concerned with the interpretation of the information from the various received sensations which are being given by the encoder (Sperber & Wilson, 2013). Only a small portion of the brain is able to interpret verbal communication and most of the part of the brain is able to respond quickly to non-verbal communication cues.

As opined by Mortensen (2017), the sign theory is an increasingly concept used by the organizations in which there is an involvement of three fields such as semantics, pragmatics and syntactic. The study of the semantics is concerned with the study of the use of the relation of signs along with various things. The syntactic is concerned with the study of the relation of signs along with other signs (Matthes & Arendt, 2016). The act of pragmatics is concerned with the study of usage of codes in everyday life. The act of the “non-verbal code systems” is concerned with the general characteristics, analogical, iconicity, universal meaning and the simultaneous transmission (Burgoon, Guerrero & Floyd, 2016). The non-verbal communication plays an important role in the communication process since the audience gets the overall impact of the message. The verbal messages are important and the non-verbal cues enhances the quality of the overall messages (Matthes & Arendt, 2016).

Non-Verbal Communication

The knowledge gaps need to be enhanced as it would lead to the betterment of the professional life. I should take appropriate steps to combat the communication challenges so that there is an improvement of the communication process. I should engage in some steps to make more verbose communication-

  • Listening carefully to the other person so that I can know what should I say next
  • Join public speaking forums and clubs where I would get a variety of people to talk to. This would eliminate the public speaking embarrassment or fear
  • Increase my online presence by opening account in multiple social media websites so that I know the art of expressing my feelings in a clear manner
  • Background research about the person (with whom I would be communicating) and his job role would help me to be prepared and hence I would be able to express my feelings in a more lucid manner

I should also give enough attention to the process of non-verbal communication and I should strive to improve the same-

  • Watching myself and my own gestures would allow me to observe other’s non-verbal cues in a better manner
  • I should try to maintain proper eye contact with my audience or the other communicator
  • Watch interviews of successful persons and observe their non-verbal gestures
  • Reading the audience and estimating their viewpoints is important
  • Give attention to the tone of my voice and try to practice speaking in a polite manner
  • Improve my posture so that I display positive, confident and friendly impression.

Activities

Month 1

Month 2

Month 3

Month 4

Month 5

Listening carefully

Join public speaking forums

Join social media

Background research about the communicator/audience

Watch my own gestures

Maintain proper eye contact

Watch interviews of successful persons

Reading the audience minds

Improve my posture


I would measure the effectiveness of each activity at the end of each stage. I would check the output and try to measure it with my communication goals. I should try to constantly review my ow communication issues and evaluate if there have been any improvements.

References

Akdemir, A. S. (2016). The Development and Validation of Willingness-to-Listen in L2 (WTL) Scale. PASAA: Journal of Language Teaching and Learning in Thailand, 51, 127-154.

Batrinca, L., Stratou, G., Shapiro, A., Morency, L. P., & Scherer, S. (2013, August). Cicero-towards a multimodal virtual audience platform for public speaking training. In International Workshop on Intelligent Virtual Agents (pp. 116-128). Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.

Berger, J., & Iyengar, R. (2013). Communication channels and word of mouth: How the medium shapes the message. Journal of Consumer Research, 40(3), 567-579.

Booher, D. (2017). Communicate Like a Leader: Connecting Strategically to Coach, Inspire, and Get Things Done. Berrett-Koehler Publishers.

Broadbent, D. E. (2013). Perception and communication. Elsevier.

Burgoon, J. K., Guerrero, L. K., & Floyd, K. (2016). Nonverbal communication. Routledge.

Clemente, M., & Roulet, T. J. (2015). Public opinion as a source of deinstitutionalization: A “spiral of silence” approach. Academy of Management Review, 40(1), 96-114.

Gass, R. H., & Seiter, J. S. (2015). Persuasion: Social influence and compliance gaining. Routledge.

Jensen, J. V. (2013). Ethical issues in the communication process. Routledge.

Matthes, J., & Arendt, F. (2016). Spiral of Silence. The International Encyclopedia of Communication Theory and Philosophy.

Mortensen, C. D. (Ed.). (2017). Communication theory. Routledge.

Neuliep, J. W. (2017). Intercultural communication: A contextual approach. Sage Publications.

Olsen, T. (2014). Silences. The Feminist Press at CUNY.

Samovar, L. A., Porter, R. E., McDaniel, E. R., & Roy, C. S. (2015). Communication between cultures. Nelson Education.

Shockley-Zalabak, P. (2014). Fundamentals of organizational communication. Pearson.

Sidelinger, R. J., & Bolen, D. M. (2016). Instructor Credibility as a Mediator of Instructors’ Compulsive Communication and Student Communication Satisfaction in the College Classroom. Communication Research Reports, 33(1), 24-31.

Sperber, D., & Wilson, D. (2013). 10. PREcIs OF RELEVANCE: COMMUNICATION AND COGNITION. The Semantics-Pragmatics Boundary in Philosophy, 220.

Vogel, T., & Wanke, M. (2016). Attitudes and attitude change. Psychology Press.

Webb-Williams, J. (2017). Science Self-Efficacy in the Primary Classroom: Using Mixed Methods to Investigate Sources of Self-Efficacy. Research in Science Education, 1-23.

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