Tunde, What’s wrong?
How do you know I am upset?
Don’t you know that your facial expression is saying something?
Oh! I almost forgot, you don’t only communicate when you talk or write, because communication actually is the process of giving, receiving and understanding messages.
That’s true, it also involves exchanging ideas, listening, using body language, facial expressions, talking and a host of other behaviors.
Hey, can you see those girls over there; they are communicating using sign language. Sign language is totally without words. Those of us that use words can communicate in other ways too.
Communication can either be Verbal or Non-Verbal.
Verbal communication is when information is sent or received through talking, singing, story telling, and other forms of speech. Right, Tunde?
Non-verbal communication involves sending or receiving information through pictures, facial expressions, body languages, and actions.
Often times, people complain of lack of understanding while communicating. Like the other day when Grandma came from the village, she was doing so much talking, yet I couldn’t understand her because she was using the local dialect.
You mean there was a communication barrier caused by the language difference between you and your grandmother?
Not listening
Sometimes the barrier is poor listening: not listening, being impatient, interrupting the other person, changing the subject and misreading what the other person is trying to say.
Other barriers to communication include - Lack of knowledge about issues being discussed. - Physical disability. - Negative non verbal messages. - Differences in values.
Effects of poor communication: • Leads to conflict. • Brings about lack of understanding. • Could lead to violence. • Could lead to low self esteem.
Effects of good communication: • Enhances good relations. • Fosters understanding. • Prevents conflicts. • Promotes respect for one another. • Promotes healthy self-image.
For one to be a good communicator one must also be a good listener. That means being an active listener who gives your whole attention to the speaker so that you can understand exactly what message is being passed across.
It’s not good to be a passive listener, which means listening without really paying attention
Active listening skills: - Listen without interrupting - Establish eye contact with the person. - Listen to the person without thinking of what you will say next.
- Empathize with the person as he/she is speaking - Clarify what has been said to make sure you understand - Use “I” statements - Offer possible non-verbal messages such as a smile or a touch.
Communicating with friends
One area people find it difficult to communicate about is sexuality.
That’s true, especially in Nigeria, because they don’t know what it entails, and they think it’s embarrassing. Besides, most of our local languages do not have words relating to sexuality.
Most people are shy which may be as a result of parents’ attitudes towards sexuality.
But don’t you think they might be right?
I understand what you mean, but there are a lot of reasons why it is important to communicate about sexuality.
Importance of communicating about sexuality: - It helps young people to adjust to the rapid change in their bodies. - It will give them information about what is happening to them. - It will teach positive self worth and responsibilities.
- It will create an environment that supports and nurtures good sexual health. - It will help them develop a positive sense of their own sexuality.
When we find it hard to communicate about anything, we should not become silent.
Barriers to communication about sexuality: • Ignorance • Cultural values • Religious background • Shyness about using sexual language.
Ways of improving communication: - Listening without interruption - Interrupt only when appropriate - Maintain eye contact - Match non-verbal language with verbal language - Try to understand the other person’s view point.
It is important to communicate about sexuality with your parents and friends.
You should be able to communicate with your friends the need to abstain from sexual activity before marriage, in order to avoid contracting STIs and unwanted pregnancies.
An effective communication helps both parties to be able to take positive and informed decisions about their sexual health.
If a man or woman cannot discuss sex with their spouses, how can they expect to have satisfying sex with them?
That’s a great point, Wunmi. I learned a lot about communication today.
Me too. I guess I’ll see you around.
Bye! Catch you later.
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