Typically, we think of verbal communication as the words that we use to convey messages. The reading for this week helps us see that other things may be communicated through our verbal messages beyond the actual words used. Our choice of words and how they are conveyed can have a tremendous impact on our interactions with others, including clients and colleagues in human services settings. In this first discussion forum for the week, you will review a fictional case study in which you will be asked to provide examples of effective verbal communication techniques in a human services setting.
Read Chapter 4 of The Interpersonal Communication Book and review the summary information found on page 107. Last week we discussed how a cultural framework might shape the meaning or understanding of communication. What other factors may determine the message conveyed through verbal messages? Consider some principles of verbal messages that would be important for working with clients in human services settings. Would these principles also apply to working with colleagues or community members? Think about some guidelines that could help us communicate more effectively with others.
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Case Study: You have a new job as a case manager in an assisted living facility for individuals over the age of 65. Part of your job is to help new residents get settled in to the facility, including explaining activities that are available to them. You also try to help new residents become part of the community at the residence. John is a 70-year-old man who has recently moved into your facility. You discover that John has a slight hearing impairment which affects his ability to both communicate as well as participate in group activities, and you must consider this when interacting with him. Up until now, he has only lived in his own home. Using this case as your example, please address the following:
- Discuss two factors that are a part of verbal communication, beyond the actual words themselves that might be important in your first meeting with John.
- Using information found in Table 4.1 (page 94) of your text, provide two or three examples of effective verbal communication techniques that you could use to engage with John within this particular setting. Describe one communication theory that can be applied to your interaction (e.g., how you verbally communicate, how you perceive John’s verbal communication, etc.).
- Describe one communication theory from Week One’s required website reading (i.e., constructivist, attachment, communication accommodation, attribution) that can be applied to your interaction (e.g., how you verbally communicate, how you perceive John’s verbal communication, etc.).
- What do you think may make it more personally difficult for you to communicate effectively with John? Why do you believe this to be the case?