The Messengers

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Com-mu-ni-ca-tion: the process by which information is exchanged between individuals through a common system of symbols, signs, or behavior. Communication can also be summed up as the process of understanding and sharing meaning. What kind of style is needed to clothe your communication? Consider clothing yourself with knowledge of how to start a conversation; put on the brand of socks called ice breakers. Button up those pants of knowing your purpose when you having something to say, put on the blouse of active listening, fasten your belt of identifying and displaying body language, and slip into shoes that is the wisdom in knowing how to end a conversation. The receipt for these concepts comes with a guarantee that the items purchased add up to successful communication skills. “The way you communicate reveals everything about you. Words are the clothes your thoughts wear”.

Starting a conversation, regardless of the purpose or the person can be compared to ice. Ice is water frozen into a solid state. Ice is hard and cold; and is created in phases depending on temperature and pressure. Knowing how to break or melt ice requires tools and warmth. The transition from ice to water is melting and from ice directly to water vapor is sublimation. The term sublimation refers to a physical change of state. Ice breakers in a conversation is the warming of the conversation. Ice breakers is the sublimation tool to change the physical state of one’s outcome in a conversation. This sledgehammer that breaks open a conversation provides a good impression, creates a positive and collaborative work environment, and allows for open-ended conversations. Ice breakers is essential to warm up the conversation at the very beginning. Ice breakers by all means occurs at the start of the process. One might ponder; what are useful ice breakers that open up a conversation in an interview process. If you want to get to know your potential new employee try asking this question; what is one important skill that every person should have? Don’t shy away from asking the individual what they enjoy doing to relieve stress, or ask them to describe themselves in three words. What they think of themselves will reflect what kind of work ethic that will be produced. What better way to start off a team project or first day of class then by engaging in team building ice breakers. Team building ice breakers builds a good rapport, remains in contact with your audience, and builds a relationship with the group whom you are speaking to. “The term ‘icebreaker’ comes from ‘break the ice’, which in turn comes from special ships called ‘icebreakers’ that are designed to break up ice in arctic regions. And just as these ships make it easier for other ships to travel, an icebreaker helps to clear the way for learning to occur by making the learners more comfortable and encouraging conversation. Specifically, an ice breaker is an activity designed to help people to get to know each other and usually involves sharing names and other background information”.

“To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as our guide to our communication with others”. “Wise men speak because they have something to say, fools because they have to say something”. All conversations have two players in the game; the one who is delivering a message and the one who is to receive the message. Just like the mailman’s job is to deliver mail to the right recipient, he too must be informed on where it’s going, who it’s going to, which route to take, and how to get it there. A speaker needs to identify what is the purpose or motive; is it to criticize, motivate, teach, persuade, or sell? Once you know what your purpose is rehearse what you are going to say. Rehearsing will increase your confidence. Be sure to create the right atmosphere and timing. For example, when needing to criticize an employee it would be wise to do three things: wait until the end of the work day, avoid “heat of the moments”, and uphold your integrity and respect for the individual by treating the matter in private. Also, before words fly out of the mouth, consider the result: will what you say produce a positive response or a negative reaction? “Death and life are in the power of the tongue” so choose your words wisely. Practicing self-control will produce professionalism, so remember you may not want everyone to know your “stinking thinking”. Therefore, don’t deem it a necessity to say everything you think. Knowing the intentions of your words and making your purpose clear to the listener will elevate your connection to your audience; the connection between the speaker and the audience is the cornerstone to a healthy relationship. “Words transform. Speak only with a good purpose. Say only things that will serve you and others. Choose your words wisely”.

How to start a conversation when you first meet someone you don’t know, you can start off by smiling and saying, “Hello how is your day going?” As soon as they respond you can tell if they’re interested in talking or if they simply want to be left alone. A lot of people don’t seem to like it when you try to start a conversation with them without knowing them. We should all give it a try and let go of our fears and simply say hello. Meeting new people is great especially if you have things in common to start a good conversation. Let the person know you have no intention in making them feel uncomfortable. If they give you signs by their body language that they are interested in a conversation then continue the conversation. Introduce yourself and ask them for their name is the first step. A conversation continues if you both are interested in keeping that good relationship going to communicate. There is no right or wrong way of starting a conversation. There is so many ways we run into people we don’t know, and start a conversation with them.

Let go of your fears. Don’t think about the, “No’s” because that will hold you back from being engaged with people who you will come across every day in the workplace and outside the workplace.

The biggest communication problem is we do not listen to understand. We listen to reply. There is something to be said about the lost art of listening. After all, God gave us mouths that shut and ears that don’t; that should tell us something. Imagine how much more we can discover by practicing active listening. Active listening is the practice of listening to a speaker while providing feedback indicating that the listener both hears and understands what the speaker is saying. There are three main components of active listening: comprehending, retaining, and responding. During comprehension the listener actively analyzes and listens to what the speaker is saying without distraction or thoughts about other topics . In the retaining stage, the listener is required to remember what has been said so that the message can be conveyed. Responding (which is not the same as reacting) is based on providing both verbal and nonverbal feedback to the speaker that indicates the listener is both hearing and understanding what the speaker has said.

Psychologists and counselors alike practice active listening which is connected to motivational interviewing. Active listening should always be genuine. Don’t give a verbal cue by saying, “Tell me more” if you really don’t want to know more. Chances are likely that if you aren’t genuine the speaker may also take notice and this can ruin any communication and rapport. Just as we speak for a purpose, we also have reasons we listen. We listen to obtain information, to understand, for enjoyment, and to learn.

All these are excellent reasons why one would want to listen but sadly, we are terrible listeners. Research suggest that we remember 25 to 50 percent of what we hear. Some ways to improve the art of listening is to pay attention to the speaker, respond appropriately, defer judgement, provide feedback, and show that you’re genuinely listening. All of this requires a high level of self-awareness. So break the bad habit of being a bad listener by avoiding distractions, asking questions to recap information, and pay attention to the speaker’s body language as well as your own. Activate your active listening and you will reap the benefits. Active listening will help to avoid conflict and misunderstandings. Also, active listening improves productivity, ability to influence, persuade, and negotiate. Put into motion active listening and watch it open the door to successful communication. “The most basic of all human need is the need to understand and be understood. The best way to understand people is to listen to them”.

Body language is the art of conversation, without it the world would be in a robotic state with emptiness and confusion. So many things can be lost in translation such as tone, facial expressions and context. We as human beings are programmed to operate and converse on instinct, emotions and self-awareness. However, much can be misinterpreted by the receiver due to the lack of or inability to exhibit emotional intelligence. This affects the environment, the morale and productivity. Thus making the surroundings a hostile and negative energy driven environment.

Positive energy reflects off of body language when effectively used to converse. Take these examples for instance; when other people copy your body language this can be a good thing. It means they respect and trust you or possibly look up to you. Posture tells its own story, by standing tall, straight and shoulders back shows you have confidence and could possibly be in charge. This type of body language is very appealing to the eye of someone who is seeking an upper level management position of their own. What you wear at work makes an individual statement about you, it shows a power statement and signals to your boss that you are ready for a promotion. Also one must recognize non-verbal body language such as facial expressions, eye contact, posture, gestures and tone of voice. These are all very important to use when communicating but should be used effectively. Not used effectively could result in job loss, demotion or alienation by your co-workers. These negative gestures for instance could inhibit success such as exaggerated nodding and shifty head movements that could indicate you are anxious. Clenched jaw could indicate that you are uncomfortable and you’re feeling distress. Raised eyebrows are indicators to discomfort. Our eyebrows display emotions when communicating.There are three main emotions in eyebrows; happy, sad or mad/discomfort. Crossed arms and legs exhibit a resistance to ideas or opinions which can have costly effects for office team work or promotions. Plus it’s just plain rude and is taken as such putting the receivers’ on defense resulting in a rise of bad temperament, emotions and close mindedness. Real smiles crinkle the eyes when it comes to smiling. The mouth can tell many lies but the eyes can’t. Avoiding eye contact is another method that indicated one is lying or trying to hide something. Regardless of which it is, it’s never respected and is a put off to the receiver and could cost you a job. As you can see by some of the examples that have been provided here, they can most definitely either make or break a relationship in the work place or any other type of environment.

Body language is the foundation to any successful conversation or relationship. You wouldn’t build a house on a weak foundation so why build a relationship on one. Feeling good at work is important and emotionally healthy. Body language signals moods, when you act cranky at work more often than not you will always be seen as’ that person’. Making it impossible for team work to happen and possibly passed over for a promotion just by your body language. There is recent research from sports psychology that says, that ‘you can use non-verbal techniques to change your mood. Such as paying attention to your body language when you feel moody, reverse the body language to more positive. These techniques will cause you to change your body language spontaneously and genuinely, no longer being perceived as ‘that person.’

Work is a second home to many therefore your co-workers become family. Not all conflicts at work can be resolved. But what is said without words can affect either positively or negatively. If you went to watch a motivational speaker would you stay if they used any negative body language, facial expressions or an over drab tone? No probably not! Good body language is appealing and infectious and leaves one hungering for more. Body language is the prelude to icebreakers, active listening, starting a conversation, captivating your audience by holding their attention and ending a conversation.

Ending a conversation can be tricky, one has to be careful not to hurt feelings by telling them to ‘shut up’ or just stop talking. One of the most important parts of a conversation that people will remember is the last thing you said and you want it to be good so they know that you paid attention to what they had to say. Some conversations can end with a sharp word which is highly not recommended. There are many good ways to end a conversation. Now it depends on the conversation taking place, if you happen to find yourself in a conversation where the other person is annoying you a great deal, then you could say something like, ‘I really have to get back to what I was doing, but it was nice talking to you’. That way they don’t think you are trying to get out of talking with them. One should always wrap conversations up with a positive comment, by thanking the speaker for their time while dropping the hint that you now need to exit the conversation. All conversations are different, so ending them will be different as well you just need to make sure you are involved in the conversation so when you’re ready to end it you can say the right thing.

In conclusion, we present ourselves through all types of communication that require boundaries. Becoming a skilled communicator allows the listener and the audience to practice ethics and effective conversation techniques, by paying attention to listening and conversation details. Communication bridges strong bonds and relationships, so you always want to make sure that you are free to travel back over those bridges if you ever need too. Conversations are structured hierarchy’s that are well respected in their form and needed for success in or out of the work environment.

Cite this paper

The Messengers. (2022, May 12). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/the-messengers/

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