Communication Experiment Participants Wanted
Common Communication Disrupters
Date : 14/10/2020
In an attempt to spread awareness about common communication issues that can deter successful interaction among individuals and groups of individuals, I am looking for participants to take part in a communication experiment I am conducting.The experiment has three stages, and you are strongly advised to complete all three stages to be eligible for the reward (more details about the reward will follow). Stage 1 (1 week)During the first stage, each day of the week has a different focus point and a corresponding exercise.Here are the focus points of the first stage:Day 1 - keep a count of how many times you interrupt someone while in conversation with them. Keep a different count when you interrupt a person while they are addressing someone other than you. Notice if the counting results in the reduction of the frequency by the end of the day.Day 2 - count how many times you bring the conversation focus on yourself when your interlocutor mentions something about themselves. This often happens when you compare your interlocutor s skills, actions or opinions to that of yours. By the end of the day, ask yourself, Why do I keep comparing myself with others? How is it adding anything to the conversation? Write down your answers. Day 3 - count how many times you praise yourself while in a conversation with someone. Make sure you count the number of sentences, rather than the skills or qualities that are aimed at portraying a good image of you in the listeners eyes. For example, I told him/her that it was a wrong choice. But he/she never listens to me. In the end, it turned out that I was right. But, obviously, he/she won t acknowledge it. In this example, you don t count 1 point for your amazing advising skills, but rather 4 points for four sentences of self-praise. Day 4 - count how many times you are preparing a reply in your head or thinking about something else while your interlocutor is speaking. If your self-awareness is developed enough, silently ask yourself if you missed any of what was being said while preparing a reply. You can check this by trying to repeat in your head exactly what the speaker said. If you realise that you are unable to repeat the last 2 - 3 sentences, you definitely got distracted. This is especially important for workplace meetings. Developing this self-awareness and taking control over your auditory focus (the ability to consciously bring your attention back to the audio source) can help you avoid the embarrassing situations of asking a question the answer of which the speaker has already mentioned. Day 5 - every time you speak, pay close attention to non-verbal cues of your interlocutor to see if they are actually listening and comprehending, and if they are interested at all in what you are saying. Some cues to recognise the opposite could be a meaningless look in the eyes sometimes accompanied with a mechanical nod of the head and maybe a forced smile that has been stamped with the same degree of curve on the listener s face for the past 10 minutes. If you are unsure, whether the listener is paying attention or is interested in what you are saying, stop in the middle of the sentence to see if they ask you to finish it. At the end of the day, ask yourself, What is the point of saying something that my listener is not interested in listening to? Write down the answer.Day 6 - all day long attempt to speak only in questions (except for short responses to questions people ask you). Some help for what might seem like difficult situations to cope with questions only: instead of I don t like this use Could we try something else? instead of I don t agree with you use Do you think that is the only right way? instead of commands use requests instead of simple I love you , you could use Do you have any idea how much I love you? . Keep a count of each time you didn t use an interrogative sentence when communicating. Throughout the day, observe how the questions change the tone of your conversations. Observe how much more you learn about your interlocutor by asking questions, rather than speaking in statements. Ask yourself, What is the difference of saying the same thing in a statement or in an interrogative form? In which situations question forms are more beneficial than affirmative sentences? Write down the answers.Day 7 - Avoid using negative constructions or negative concepts. Some helpful examples might be: instead of I hate my job use I would love to work us instead of Don t speak to me like that! use If you want us to have a constructive conversation, we both need to address each other respectfully instead of I have to do this use I prefer to do this instead of I don t want use I d prefer . Count any negatives that you failed to paraphrase. Stage 2 (2 weeks)Throughout the next two weeks, try to communicate keeping in mind all the previous points. For the points of Days 6 and 7, make an objective mental judgement of the best opportunities to paraphrase what you intend to say into a question or a positive statement rather than a negative one.Observe how practising all the points raises your awareness of your own expression, as well as that of your interlocutors . Observe how it changes the quality of communication, the level of your attention, and the amount of both verbal and non-verbal information you receive during your interactions. By the end of the second week, write down your feelings and observations about your practice of the previous three weeks. Mention which points you struggle with the most and which seem the easiest which you find the most useful and which the least evaluate your performance and identify the areas that still need improvement. Stage 3 ( )For your sake, as well as for the sake of all the people you interact with, keep practising the points above until your brain gets into the habit of using them while communicating. At the same time, be aware of several other points that might occur more seldom than the above-mentioned ones, but are still highly important for successful communication:1. Give advice only when asked for it, or if you happen to do it, never affirm that your opinion is the right one to follow. Any piece of advice you give comes with a responsibility for the consequences of what might happen if the listener follows your advice. We often think that we ve been there, we ve seen it, we have the experience, we know better. However, the truth is, in the words of the great F.M. Dostoevskiy, in any given situation we can think of three ways out, when actually there are thousands. The world is much bigger than what we have experienced or might live long enough to experience. We don t know all the answers and outcomes.2. When having an argument, stick to the main issue. Expanding the circle of blame by adding links to the chain of everything that has happened before that you still haven t forgotten or forgiven will only make the chain longer. The longer the chain, the heavier it is to carry. Treat each argument point as individual instances (unless it is a recurrent issue). If the other party attempts to drag you into the blame loop, consciously bring them out of that. Some helpful phrases to do this could be Ok, but we are now speaking about this issue, so let s stick to it, or Let s stay away from counterattacks to make sure that we solve this exact issue rather than get distracted with all the things we have spoken about so many times, or How does it relate to what we are discussing now? 3. Accept criticism with humility and open-mindedness, rather than defence. To make a conscious choice of whether the criticism is constructive and objective, you first of all need to accept it, take it in, believe in it for a moment, and then weigh it against your own point of view. If you want to improve and progress in whatever you do, you need to be open to criticism. Keep in mind that it is for your own benefit: if you accept and agree with the criticism, you know what to improve (and if you are lucky, even how to improve it). You will always leave a far better impression if you accept the criticism as opposed to being defensive. Besides, it is very rare that defence against criticism results in the critic changing their opinion, which brings you back to the exercise of Day 5. 4. During a debate, be conscious enough to ask yourself at least once, Do I really care what they think? Will it make any difference in the world behind the words if they agree with me or not? Is it worth for me to put all the energy and effort to prove my point to these specific people? At least once. The more the better. Practise the above-given points regularly, and very soon you will get your big reward, one that will stay with you for the rest of your life.
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