Communicating with and Understanding Others

Communicating with and Understanding Others

In everyday relationships and communication processes we lead, beside conveying information and getting feedback, the effect we knowingly or unconsciously have on other people is inevitable.

In order to be able to get closer to another person in the direction we want, the first and the most basic condition to achieve that is to be liked and accepted by another person.  Communication in the broadest sense is sending and receiving messages, some kind of content. It has countless forms and thousands of possible meanings. Communication is a type of universal tool that we use to achieve the many goals we define consciously or subconsciously.

Even when we do nothing, or say nothing, we communicate. People need to communicate for the sake of living a full and healthy life. To many, it sounds weird when they hear their communication is having an impact on other people every day, but this is something that happens spontaneously in our daily interaction with other people. For example, when we go to at the grocery store to get fresh food, we want to influence the salesperson to sell us the best merchandise he has.

It may seem that communication skills have no direct connection with self-esteem but it’s important to know that the image of yourself is largely built up through relationships with other people.

Self-esteem and communication skills

If communication with others is unsuccessful, if we often end up conflicting with other people it’s likely that our self-esteem will not be high. Failing to build a satisfying lasting relationship with other people or feeling lonely and unhappy – the effect on self-esteem will certainly not be positive. On the other hand, successful communication is also one of the key factors for success at home and work. And success increases self-esteem and self-confidence.

Unless you’re hiding away from the world in a cave, you probably spend most of your time communicating with other people: listening to them, listening them speak, telling them something, writing or reading. Listening, speaking, writing and reading are, therefore, forms of communication.

Levels of communication

Communication is one of the most important areas in life, it is the process of joining with others and with yourself.

There are several levels of communication:

  1. with yourself,
  2. with another person or persons,
  3. with higher powers.

At all these levels it is necessary to have a sense of attachment and harmony. Although to speech is devoted great attention, speech and words actually occupy only a small part in communicating with other people.

Also, communicating at an objective level makes up just a small part of the overall communication process. Obviously, objective verbal communication has a part, as well as body language, and there are rules that are well-respected for the purpose of successful communication.

To make objective communication using words successful, ask open questions, for example: “How do you feel about a job?”  Unlike closed questions, open questions help people open up and give information. When you use this kind of question, we connect to deeper levels, which leads to successful communication.

Nonverbal communication

In everyday communication, private and business, most people are almost exclusively reacting to meanings in words, messages that come from a verbal channel, but the overall impression or image that someone leaves in their environment is more and more dependent on messages of non-verbal nature, the so-called “silent” speech.

With non-verbal communication other meanings are also expressed in terms of relationships, attitudes and emotions, as well as messages about how to translate what is meant to the verbal channel. The nonverbal part of communication is often of a subconscious nature and we only discover it when someone warns us of it.

We are still relatively aware of facial expressions, but lots of messages we send through our body language slips us by. Nonverbal messages act directly on the attitudes and emotions of the speaker, and in most cases are far more direct than in the case of a spoken message.

A complete look at the person that “captures” information like height, build, decorum begins to shape our relationship with them. Likewise, the first view and the first expression of the face actually impose the interlocutor’s stance towards the speaker.

In the interpretation of non-verbal messages, it is necessary to capture as many individual characters as possible, to read the whole, and when it comes to sending such messages, they must be complex, aligned entities of a large number of individual movements and positions of the body.

When someone feels like a nice person, we get hooked, turn our heads and body towards them, open our gestures, look at them more, touch them with our hands, and show a whole range of other characteristics that are analogous to psychological closeness and attachment.

When we fall into a depression, our body literally falls in performance, our posture and movements are directed downwards, and when we are full of high expectations then the movements are directed in a totally different direction.

What does that communicate to us?

None of these movements individually are a sure sign of our fundamental attitude, but taken as a whole, they clearly point to the basic form and therefore can be read without error. This is greatly aided by evident redundancy (repetition) of messages in motion, which is why the genuine interpretation of repeated communication is very high.

Words are the backbone of human communication, they can fool you. The body language then represents the communication bridge, providing the ability to overcome misunderstandings. That is why nonverbal communication is very important. The main reason is that people through history have long communicated in this way. Language was created later, the ancient people communicated with non-verbal signs.

As we are unaware of our own nonverbal characters, so often we are not even aware of the meanings of these strange nonverbal characters. Even in ancient Greece and ancient Rome, it was noticed that in theory and practice, great language skills were not just a sum of well-chosen content, a good theme, and verbal expression, but was also rooted in non-verbal communication like movement, pose and gesture.

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