By Pastor Akinola
We shall be concluding on our treatment of the subject of Effective Communication started some six serials back. In our last serial, we began considering the subject of Effective Listening as the needed skill for the listener to make the speaker have an effective speaking. In this serial, we shall be considering the aspect of reflective listening and the use and interpretation of body language in effective communication.
The speaker needs to feel understood. You communicate your understanding to him by using four reflective listening skills as shown below.
Paraphrasing – This is by making a concise response to the speaker by stating the centre of his content in your own words.
Reflection of feeling – This is mirroring back to the speaker the emotions he had experienced or was experiencing. For instance, saying, ‘You felt disappointed..’, or ‘It is really stressful for you..’
Reflection of Meaning – This is showing a basic sympathy to the speaker for what has caused him to say certain things and feel in certain ways. E.g, ‘You feel…because…’
Summation Reflection – This is a brief statement of the main theme under discourse, and the feeling the speaker has expressed over a long period of conversation. It helps him to organize his concerns and integrate the materials. For instance, to say, ‘It seems to me that you have looked at idea X, examined alternative proposal Y and chosen the adapted approach Z for benefiting every member’
It is important to advance your reflective skills in the following ways. Firstly, do not fake understanding but be real and genuine. Reflect concretely and specifically, not vague. Secondly, focus on his feelings and show your sensitivity to his feelings. Thirdly, develop empathy in your voice. Use tone and inflection to match his feelings. Finally, try to reflect the feeling contained within his questions.
Communication involves using and interpreting body language or nonverbal communication. A few aspects of this will be outlined here
(a) Nonverbal communication
During communication, you rely more on the message contained in the body language of the communicator than what is actually said, particularly if the two languages contradict each other. Your body, including posture, gesture and facial expression, is constantly sending messages to people to make very important statements about who you are, how you are feeling, and what you are thinking.
Body language, or nonverbal communication, can either reinforce or discount your verbal messages. It is often the basis on which people decide whether or not you are worth listening to. An irritating voice, or distracting idiosyncrasy (personal mannerism) can undermine an interesting message. Sensitive communicators consciously make use of nonverbal aspects of behaviour or body language in getting their message across.
(b) Interpreting Body language
Most people can pick the real meaning behind the words. Hence, be more sensitive to body language, and you will be able to interpret the messages communicated by it. Treat every element of body language as reflecting some statement made by the speaker. Look also for clusters of signals. A cluster of signals may all combine to provide an underlying message.
We have now concluded the serials on effective communication in order to have good success in running with the vision God gave us. Afterall, God told us to make it plain, so that he who reads it may run with it (Hab. 2:2). Our success is a function of the effectiveness of network of those running the vision with us. Grace be multiplied.
J.K. Akinola. (Senior Pastor)
The Gospel Faith Mission International (GOFAMINT), Ibadan, Nigeria.
Email: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org Pastor (Dr). E.O. Abina – General Overseer.