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Communicate the Right Way

Photo by Danielle Thomas
Tips -- Education specialtist and couselor Phyllis Waldron presents the Relationship IQ workshop.
Danielle Thomas
Art & Entertainments Editor

     The Gateway Student Support Services at the University of Arkansas at Monticello held a "What's Your Relationship IQ?" workshop March 2 in Harris Hall Room 200.

   Education specialist and counselor Phyllis Waldron said Gateway held the workshop because of communication problems in relationships today.

   "We're all in relationships of some kind or another," Waldron said. "I've seen first hand that these tips work."

   The workshop covered how to communicate with the other person in a relationship, whether it’s a significant other or a family member.

   According to Waldron's presentation, not being a good listener or talker is the biggest problem in communication. Ways to combat this problem include:

  • Non-verbal listening - Give your full attention until the other person is completely finished talking.
  • Making eye contact - Shifting your eyes away from the other person may make them feel as if you aren’t paying attention.
  • Listening without interrupting - Give the other person a chance to finish talking. Once the other person pauses, give them a few seconds to make sure they have nothing else to say.
  • Sending acknowledgments - Nod your head. Acknowledge that you hear them and that you are giving them your full attention.
   Verbal listening is also important when communicating with others. Once the other person is done talking, paraphrase what the other person said. This will help both people understand each other better.

   Listen beyond the words the other person says. According to studies, people talk more with their body language than with words. If a person has their arms or legs crossed, this could give the speaker a bad impression.

   If time is a problem and the discussion needs to continue at another time, let the speaker know. This will combat problems with the speaker thinking the other person isn't interested in what they have to say.

   The most important part of communication is the message that you send to the other person.

   Don’t use "You" messages such as:
   • "You are rude."
   • "You make me mad."
   • "You make me crazy."
   • "You don’t love me anymore."

   The messages usually make the other person defensive and angry.

   Instead, start with an "I" message. "I" messages are facts that come straight from the speaker than cannot be argued with.

   Using "I" messages instead of "You" messages:
   • "I am upset" instead of "You are rude."
   • "I feel angry" instead of "You make me mad."
   • "I just don’t understand" instead of "You make me crazy."
   • "I feel we’re drifting apart" instead of "You don’t love me anymore."

   The ways to send an "I" message to someone else is through observation, feelings, wants, thoughts and intentions.

   Another communication problem is wording requests as questions. When a parent says to a child, "Don’t you want to look nice?" they are really saying, "Go change your clothes." Rather than doing this, the parent could say, "Please go change your outfit." Wording a request as a question is not a good idea unless the requester is prepared for whatever answer they get.

   Fear and predictions of failure is another problem that gets in the way of communication. People shouldn’t assume that the other person won’t be willing to listen to them.

   Stephanie Witherspoon, a senior a UAM, said she likes going to Gateway Student Support Services workshops.

   "(The Relationship IQ workshop) was very informative. I enjoyed it," Witherspoon said.

   The next Gateway student services workshop, "Discovering You," will be held March 8 at 3 p.m. in Harris Hall 200.

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©The Voice 2006
Revised
09/17/2007 02:08:43 PM— http://www.uamont.edu/Organizations/TheVoice/3_19/commiq.htm