I learned about a lot of interesting topics in my Interpersonal Communication class this semester. Of them, the three most significant things I have learned about are as follows: code switching, listening responses, conflict styles. All of these skills are extremely important in leadership roles, which I hope to gain as I learn more as a librarian’s assistant. Also, they are all intertwined with each other. Inevitably, conflict will arise as you listen to and join conversations, no matter what style, and code switching is necessary to understand others’ points of view.
Code Switching: the adaptation of the manner of speaking when the context changes (Adler et al. 57). This is something that I have never been aware that I do, but it is very important. Logically, I talk to first-graders differently than I talk to my boss. I always have; it is natural to change methods of communication, depending on who you are talking to. This is important when talking to a group of people. It personalizes the conversation by communicating with each person or group of people individually. This is something that I have struggled with but have wanted to improve.
However, until I read about code switching, I did not know this was an actual topic of communication. This has been very important for me to learn, because now I have an actual subject to study instead of just an idea to think about. I have always wanted to learn different accents and mannerisms, based on the region. For example, I want to learn a Boston accent and manner, so that I can seamlessly blend in if I were to visit there. Then, I would learn a deep southern communication style, so that I could fit in there as well. I have wanted to do this since I was a little kid, but I never knew what it would be called, so I could not research it. Now that I know the name of this phenomenon, code switching has been very helpful for me as I communicate with larger, more diverse groups of people through my job as a librarian’s assistant. I have learned to quickly switch to appropriate methods of communication as I talk to different groups of people.Markus Spiske
Listening responses: ways to tell if listeners are truly paying attention and engaging with what you are saying (207). There are many different ways to listen and to show that you are paying attention to a speaker, including questioning, empathizing, analyzing, and advising, among others (208). I found this very interesting, because I, as well as many other people I know, struggle with listening. Most people prefer to talk about their ideas and happenings, not listen to others’. This can be detrimental to conversations and even entire relationships. Now that I have learned about the different ways to respond to others, I have been trying to incorporate that into my daily communication. It has had excellent results. I have been able to obey my boss better, since I have started paraphrasing her directives and tasks for me, clarifying them to make sure that I understand them. Also, I have acquired some leadership roles in my extracurricular activities, so I have been advising younger, less experienced people. With various relationships, I have helped analyze situations to help problem-solve and empathize with others. All of these different listening responses have helped me to have better relationships with the people I know, because they feel that I am taking them more seriously by responding appropriately to their situations.Trung Thanh
Conflict styles: default or characteristic approaches that people use to manage incompatibility between their needs and the needs of others (327). Managing conflict is a skill that I wish everyone could learn. Learning about this topic could be very useful for many people, whether it is those who have a tough situation at work, are trying to keep the peace among relatives during the holidays, or just generally have relationships with people. There is no way to completely escape conflict, so so everyone needs to have some idea of useful conflict management and resolution. Since reading about this, I have been trying to incorporate collaboration into conflicts between me and other people. It has helped tremendously, because there are very few downsides to whatever the proposed solution is. If you use collaboration, the conflict becomes a win-win situation for everyone involved (332). This also helps me in my job, because I can propose solutions to a conflict, otherwise negative, that satisfies the needs of both me and my patrons. This is very helpful when a patron wants to do something that goes against library policies, but is willing to do an alternative behavior when I present the option.cloudvisual.co.uk
Over the course of the semester, my communication class has given me valuable tools for life and work. Communication is vital to all people, and before I took this class, it was not one of my strengths. While I still am not proficient and managing conflict or listening to others’ opinions, the techniques I learned in this class have helped me tremendously. I am very excited to continue learning about communication as I continue in my studies as a communication major.
Adler, Ronald B., et al. Interplay, The Process of Interpersonal Communication. 14th ed., Oxford, 2018.