Everyone who is reading this is, by definition, able to participate in communication process. Already important, being an effective communicator is a whole lot more than just reading and writing words on a computer.
To begin to define what is involved in the bigger picture of effective communication, take a look at: “Three Elements of Great Communication, According to Aristotle, Harvard Business Review (2013) – http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2013/01/three_elements_of_great_communication_according.html.
This article helps us see that there is nothing new about understanding the component of effective communication. But while the concepts of ethos, pathos, and logos have been understood since Aristotle back in 350 BC, being able to use them in our real life is a whole other set of issues.
Central to becoming a good communicator is self-awareness. That is, we have to learn how to listen to ourselves first before we can start improving the way we are communicating to others. Here is a short exercise to help us take this first step in communicative self-awareness: “How Good Are Your Communication Skills?” – http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newCS_99.htm
So how did you do? Even if you ended up with a high number, were there any opportunities in the exercise to see specific things about your communication habits that could be improved?
As we start to better understand the way we communicate to others, one of the most important elements we begin to see is the importance of our underlying emotions – our feelings – about ourselves, others, and the situation we are in. Issues like self-esteem, love, hate, anger, happiness, worries, violence, tenderness, rejection, acceptance, dependence, and independence are just a few of the characteristics that infuse communication with powerful meanings over, under, up and around the words that come out of our mouths.
While it can be difficult, we can take important steps towards increased self-awareness by pushing ourselves to become more conscious of how these types of emotions affect our communication with others. This area of skill building is called “Emotional Intelligence.” Read more about EQ here: “Emotional Intelligence (EQ): Five Skills for Raising your Emotional Intelligence” – http://helpguide.org/mental/eq5_raising_emotional_intelligence.htm
So, where are we? We now know about ethos, pathos, and logos, the three basic elements of communication first identified by Aristotle. We are also working on improving our own communication skills through increasing our self-awareness of how we actually communication with others. And finally, we are starting to look at the role emotions play in how we relate to each other in both verbal and nonverbal ways. (for a larger overview of communication, be sure to check out my lecture in the Week 7 Content section).
With all that in mind, here is this week’s question:
Imagine you are part of a four person team charged with developing a complex, multi-variable market analysis for your hospital. All members of your team are basically at the same job level as you and your boss has not designated anyone as the official “Team Leader.” After your first meeting, everyone agrees on the general vision and purpose of the project, the primary tasks needed to be completed, and a six week time schedule.
After two weeks of work, one of the members of your team with an office right down the hall from yours has failed to produce anything. Another team member has a sick child and is starting to miss meetings and is seriously lagged in his overall participation in the project. He works virtually out of his home in Seattle, Washington.
What would you say to each of these team members about the project?