It is well-documented that poor communication is the number one killer of relationships. When a sender or receiver misunderstands or responds negatively to a message (verbal or non-verbal), the potential for conflict arises. Effective communication is needed when there are two or more people involved. And why is this? Because effective communication is a process—it requires a sender and a receiver. It is the ability to convey a message or idea from one person to another. It involves verbal and non-verbal ways of communicating. Effective communication requires an understanding of culture, lived experiences, gender, generational differences, education, and perception. This concept is demonstrated through verbal and nonverbal cues. Based on this description, effective communication is vital whenever an interaction is warranted. When communication fails, it leads to incorrect assumptions.
Let's consider nonverbal cues. This topic, well-researched by those in the field of education as well as sociology and psychology, has demonstrated the importance of nonverbal cues as a second language technique in all types of communication. Studies have clearly demonstrated that the interplay of body language, particularly gestures, facial expressions, and gaze are interpreted by the receiver based on one's own social or cultural background. Furthermore, these studies revealed that when the communicator used nonverbal cues effectively, the receiver was interested, motivated, and receptive to the communication.
No two people are alike. Individual behavior can be described as how a person reacts and can be shaped by attitude, perception, and personality. As a person works with different people, imagine how many individual behaviors are at play. Every individual handles conflict differently. The conglomeration of different individuals gives birth to culture.
Unclear expectations can lead to conflict. When one spends time and energy doing work that reflects what they think is desired, versus what is actually desired, the lack of effective outcomes can lead to a misunderstanding among peers, colleagues, and participants. This ambiguity contributes to not only conflict but also to a lack of production of useful work.
Authored by Solimar Figueroa, PhD, MSN, MHA, BSN, RN, P-PCA
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