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Communication and Interpersonal Skill Published: Sunday, August 15, 1999 By: Dr. Manuel Angel Morales

Attention, actual and potential employees: an essential question of the labor market is how able are individuals in organizations to see, hear, comprehend and express work reality? The idea is to establish the potential for individuals to learn beyond a narrow context, to form and sustain effective, purposeful working relationships. Mental models work together to play a substantial role in forming our perceptions. Behavior is influenced by perception and the threats to our mental models. Then, sense making becomes reshaped and actualized as defensive attitudes and behaviors. Our perceptions and defenses alter those of other people. Patterns of flawed perception and defensiveness close down communication and learning, and bring about ineffective relationships. What individuals bring to their encounters with other people largely accounts for the quality of their previous interactions. Improved communications, enhanced relationships and a stage set for learning is a key formula for altering modes of perceiving, behaving and producing

Communications is the most frequent mentioned issue about sources of problems and dysfunction. "Our problem is communication", "communication is poor in our area", "we have to learn to communicate better", are examples of daily statements of people that are sometimes ambiguous and give little cue to what people really mean. Most attempts to improve communication focus on form (more meetings, newsletters, awareness rallies) with insufficient results. The meaning of poor communication must relate directly to perceptions of poor information quality

When communication is identified as a problem often what people really mean is that information transfer is invalid or irrelevant. Valid information is the first governing condition associated with a kind of work transformation that supports learning and effectiveness. However, perception, attribution and defensiveness are influential in either supporting or restraining both the generation and comprehension of valid information and usable communication. On the other hand, information availability is proportionally inverse to infinite human needs. Thus the need for professionals to overload communication efforts for making ideas understandable.

Societies and organizations are characterized by their need of symbolic communication, consisting of two channels: verbal or cognitive and none-verbal or affective. Both channels have to be activated for effective communication. The logic is that messages comprise both information and feelings that are necessary to comprehend the subjective and objective components that couple any communication. It is quite possible to transform organizations for allowing individuals develop their capacity to express themselves with clarity and purpose rather than using patterns of avoidance, defensiveness and politics. At the same time, all human beings need to listen and receive what other people are communicating to us. Deep communication signifies that hearing has a consequence. When we do truly hear a person, hearing not simply words, but the human being, letting him or her know that we have heard the personal meanings, he or she will become more open and receptive to the process of change.


Copyright 1999 QBS, Inc.
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