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In his book, Listening: The forgotten skill: A self-teaching guide, Burley- Allen (1995) says, "Avoid certain behavior, words, and phrases when communicating with other people because they have a tendency to turn the listener off and decrease the ability of being understood by the listener, thus increasing resistance." After reading this book, I realized that active listening could change people's lives. Most people, especially in the workplace spend a lot of time listening to other people, but they do not know how to do it effectively thus it leads to unnecessary misunderstandings, which eventually leads to poor performance. The book provides a guide to active and productive listening skills that can help people build their personal, social and professional lives (Burley- Allen 1995).
Generally, I found the book very practical, exciting and informative because it introduced me to a few techniques to build my communication skills. For instance, I find myself distracted by unnecessary things when someone is speaking to me. This book outlines some things one can do to eliminate distractions and maximize concentration, and I will practice it the next time I find myself in a similar situation. I have also never been keen on body language, but when Burley-Allen pointed out that it is important to point out and interpreted body language, I realized that I should do a better job at that. Chapter seven was explicitly highly intriguing as it gave me an insight into why it is so hard for some people to change their actions. I use words like stupid, inconsiderate and impatient among others when something that could have been avoided happens. This chapter helped me understand why people end up repeating the same mistakes over and over again and I will now consider using better words to correct people so that they can take the correction positively to avoid repeating the same mistakes.
On the other hand, in his book, Bridges not walls: A book about interpersonal communication, Stewart (2012) says, "One-way communication affects the quality of life is that your relationships affect your physical health." Good communication requires both parties to be willing to take their part in the dialogue to better their relationships. This week's reading has been fascinating, and it contained useful Intel that I wish I had before. Common sense was among the skills I acquired from the text. I have been under so much stress because I am a student with a part-time job and this has dramatically affected my communication skills.
The readings helped me understand that the only way I can build good relationships and minimize my stress levels is by using useful communication skills. Chapters 7 and 8 were particularly of importance to me because they touched on relations. These two chapters address self- expression, and disclosure when communicating with friends and family as well as our partners. Stewart first explains what is meant by family and he describes it as love, ups and downs, rock roads and concrete structure among other things (Stewart 2012). He then further explains how people should use I-statements and you-statements as well as the contradictory nature of vulnerability. From these readings, I understood that sometimes open communications could do more harm than good in some situations thus it is up to me to assess the environment if I want to keep valuable relationships. I also learned different styles of expression, especially in gender-related issues.
Burley-Allen, M. (1995). Listening: The forgotten skill: a self-teaching guide (wiley self-teaching guides). New York: John Wiley and Sons, Inc.
Stewart, J. (2012). Bridges not walls: A book about interpersonal communication (11th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education. ISBN: 9780073534312.
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