Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Week 5

I recently had a disagreement with a friend of mine that I am close to. One of my close friends was getting married and she picked the color red as the color she wanted her bridal party to wear. However, one of my friends who was in the bridal party told the bride to be that “Why would you pick that color; of all of the colors in the world, why would you pick red?”  I told my friend that it is our friends wedding and we are there to support her and not to question her judgment especially if she knows what she wants.  
I went on to say that when it is your special day, you can pick the color(s) you want and execute everything the way you see fit so that your day is just as special. It wasn’t my comment that caused conflict, it was my delivery. I have learned that conflict usually arises when a person delivers a message in a manner that is confrontational or condescending; for my situation, my comment was direct and unwavering because I said something one of my friends did not want to receive. In fact, she went on to say “If we are friends, I shouldn’t have to walk on eggshells and I should be able to say what I want”. I informed her that that is true, but you also have to realize that we are adults and sometimes you need to keep your comments to yourself and just be a support.
 I used  cooperative strategies by playing devil’s advocate to assist in resolving this conflict so that both parties could benefit from this conversation. I presented the same scenario but I just reversed the parties involved (O’Hair & Wiemann, 2009, p. 212). Although the process of NVC encourages us to focus on what we and others are observing separate from our interpretations and judgments, I wanted my friend to “put the shoe on the other foot” I wanted her to “step out of herself” and analyze the situation from both perspectives without me passing judgment but so that she could understand the frustration of our friend/the bride –to-be.
 I felt applying some of the principles of nonviolent communication as a strategy to resolve this conflict would allow both parties to be respectful to each other’s views and to share their true feelings while being sensitive to each other’s views as well.  NVC places  strong emphasis on personal responsibility for our actions and the choices we make when we respond to others, as well as how to contribute to relationships based in cooperation and collaboration.
As a friend to the bride-to-be and to my girlfriend, I wanted my girlfriend to recognize the needs of the bride-to be. Although I was able to get both parties to speak, at times the conversation was heated and intense. Although they articulated their feelings, the bride-to- be told my girlfriend that she did not want her in her wedding and did not want her support for her wedding. I was sad that things turned out the way it did, but I understood completely. I am happy to say that although the bride-to-be did not invite our friend to the wedding, time did heal this wound and they are now on speaking terms again and they managed to forgive each other and focus on the friendship.
For the sake of the above conflict, it was not appropriate for me to ask my colleagues for advice on communication skills to resolve the above conflict.
O'Hair, D., & Wiemann, M. (2009). Retrieved: July 23, 2012. Real communication. New York: Bedford/St. Martin's.
The Center for Nonviolent Communication. (n.d.). Retrieved: July 23, 2012. The center for nonviolent communication. Retrieved from www.cnvc.org


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Week 4

For my blog this week, I thought about the similarities and differences between how I evaluate myself as a communicator and how others evaluated me. For instance, I view myself as being an easy listener who stands strong in what I believe in but yet I can agree to disagree and compromise. The feedback that I receive from my friends and even the families that I work with is that I am a good listener and that I do not pass  judgment on others and their situations and for that reason, I was told I am the one to seek out if someone “needs an ear” .
This assignment did help me realize that men and woman communicate differently. I have learned that the women I interact with are more verbal (some might say we talk too much) and the men that I interact with are men of very few words ( some might say they don’t say enough) and with that said, I often had to guess the true message men would like to convey when I interact with them and I don’t like to do that because I don’t want to misinterpret the message they are sending.

I even conducted my own personal experiment between myself and a few men in my life. I used text messaging as a way to document my findings. I sent out the same message to several men and women(how was your day and ect.….and I saw that men used “one or two words” when compared to the long responses from women; I began to wonder do men and women interpret messages differently or do women simply use a lot of words to express themselves while men just get straight to the point?

As a professional, I have learned that the mothers I interact with are more descriptive/informative in terms of giving me family history, stating the needs of their child, and the expectations when compared to the fathers that I interact with. As a result, I have a Daddy and Me breakfast once a month so that I can get the fathers more involved and so that I can develop more strategies for communicating with those who are not as vocal but yet want to be involved in their child’s education. For instance, I have learned that the fathers of the students I work with respond more when I can show them artifacts/work samples of their child(ren) oppose to me initiating a conversation.

As I reflect on this week’s assignment, I have learned that I often lose focus on the message the sender wants to convey if they ramble or use a lot of words to make a simple point. For instance, I find that many of my colleagues often ramble on before they get to the “meat” of their thoughts, and my schedule is so busy, I don’t always have the time or patience to really listen to what they are saying and as a result, I tend to pick the key points to interpret what they are trying to say which doesn’t mean that that is what they want to say.


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Week 3

Blog Assignment
For my blog this week, I thought about the cultural diversity I see in my colleagues at school, in my neighborhood, workplace, and within your family. I considered all  of the aspects that make up culture, including race, religion, political affiliation, sexual orientation, varying abilities, and ect. After careful self reflecting, I have to admit that I do communicate differently with my colleagues who are close in age, and of the same race; in turn I have noticed that my colleagues of the same race often speak to me differently when compared to their counterparts of another race. In addition, I have noticed that when I am at work or in a public setting and a group of people are present, I tend to gravitate towards people that “look” like me because there is an illusion of undisclosed comfort because I assume I can relate to them on some level. However, I have found that this form of comfort can prevent me from meeting and or interacting with a group of people that I may have a lot in common with.
On a personal note, I have cousins and intimate relationships with people who are biracial Black/White, Latino/Black, American/Jamaican, or American/Trinidadian and I have noticed that I do try to be more sensitive to the cultural differences between each group. For instance, my son’s father is part Trinidadian and I am African American (so my son shares both cultures) and my family is from the south and he makes comments about eating “fried chicken” which is “funny” to me because I don’t eat fried chicken that is just a stereotype that sometimes effects my communication with him. I find it interesting that one of my uncles tend to talk about all races and groups of people, but he often struggles with being himself when his granddaughter/ my cousin is present because he doesn’t want to offend her by making one of his ignorant comments because she is Black/White.

Based on what I have learned this week, I have learned of the importance of   being "other-oriented, by following the “Platinum Rule” to help me communicate more effectively with people on a professional and personal level. I have also learned that when interacting with people on a professional and personal level, I need to make sure my body language matches my words. I also learned that I need to remain neutral or unbiased when interacting with the diverse group of families/students and colleagues I work with so that I am more effective in my teaching/facilitating lessons.

O'Hair, D., & Wiemann, M. (2009). Real communication an introduction. Boston MA: Bedford's St. Martin’ s.


Friday, July 6, 2012

Week 2 Assignment 2

Week 2 Assignment 2

As I have been learning, communication is not always straightforward. Everyone, at some time or another, makes assumptions based on messages communicated through body language and facial expressions. For this assignment, I considered what I have been learning about communication skills and styles. I then recorded an episode of VH1’s show Single Ladies. I watched the show twice, the first time I watched it was with the sound turned off and the second time I watched it, I turned the sound on. The first time I watched it with the sound turned off, I thought one of the female characters was in a relationship with a man, but I thought the man was cheating on her because of the looks she would give him whenever this particular woman would come around. In fact, the man looked very uncomfortable being in a communal location in which both women would be present. As I watched the TV show, I saw a lot of “unfinished business” between the man and the woman I thought he was in the relationship with because of the gaze they had when they looked into each others eyes and by the way other people that was around them looked on  and watched their movement and then whispered.
Now, watch the show with the sound turned on.

I then watched the same show with the sound turned on and wow what a difference it makes to hear how a person feels opposed to judging their feelings or behavior based solely upon what I see. For instance, I learned that the female character Keisha was not the girlfriend of Malcolm but an ex girlfriend. However, the energy that I felt when I saw the two of them together clearly indicated that they have some unfinished business. And the female I thought Malcolm was cheating with was the new girlfriend. However, the new girlfriend was clearly intimidated by Keisha who is the ex girlfriend; it was evident in her body language and in the comment she made in which she articulated her desire for Malcolm to cut off all forms of communication with Keisha if their relationship was to grow and have a chance. Initially Malcolm’s body language appeared to be unsettled by the request because his eyes began to shift and he became very fidgety. It was apparent that Malcolm still wanted a relationship with Keisha on some level. However to my surprise, Malcolm later went to Keisha’s home and personal told her that he was going to honor the request of his current girlfriend and cut off all ties with her. Its funny because, I heard what Malcolm said and I saw and heard the aggravation in Keisha as she received the information from Malcolm, but when she closed her door, they were both touching the door as if they wanted to engage in more dialogue and or physical activity.

  • Would your assumptions have been more correct if you had been watching a show you know well?
This show is a drama, so I expect to see some predictable behavior, but the writers and producers of this show did an excellent job of showing how a person can articulate one thing but their non verbal form of communication indicates otherwise….so I was left with the question do we listen to what a person say even though their body language states otherwise?

My “aha” moment occurred when I realized people can say one thing and their actions can mean something totally different…  I guess in many respects the phrase actions speak louder than words rang true after I watched this TV show.