Health & Social 1.4 Communication

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Written Communication

Written communication involoves the use of written words or information we wish to convey. It can be used in oth formal and informal situations.

  • Letters
  • Reports
  • Memos/Notes
  • Email/Text Messaging
  • Records
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Verbal Communication

Speaking, singing, active listening,

There is a well known saying.... "it's not WHAT you say but HOW you say it"

There are a number of paraglinguistic skills that can make all the difference to what is being said and can therefore healp, or hinder, communication.

These include:

  • Volume (how long or quiet)
  • Tone (the quality of someone's voice)
  • Pitch (high or low)
  • Pace (fast or slow)

It's important that you pay attention to these aspects of verbal communication to prevent poor communication.

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Non-Verbal Communication

Body language, gestures, mime and drama, music, art and craft

Non-Verbal communication involves the use of:

  • Facial Ecpressions (smile, frown, grimace, raised eyebrow)
  • Hand Gestures (thumbs up, pointing, waving, beckoning)
  • Body Language (leaning forward, hands on hips, folded arms, slouching)
  • Eye Contact (direct, staring, looking away)

People can sometimes say a lot without uttering a single word.

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Graphical Communication

Posters, signs, symbols and diagrams

Graphical communication uses visual materials (text and images) to convey information e.g

  • Drawing/Ilustration
  • Cartoon
  • Photograph
  • Map
  • Sign/Symbol
  • Text
  • Diagram/Chart
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Alternative Methods of Communication

British Sign Language, Makaton, Braille, Widget.

Alternative methods of communication are used when other methods of communication are not possible e.g.

  • Signs & Gestures (British Sign Language)
  • Morse Code (telegraphic code of short and long sounds)
  • Symbolic (Braille, Makaton, tactile systems, picture boards, widgets)
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Factors Affecting the Effectiveness of Communicati

Communication is something we all do everyday of our lives so you might think it should be easy. Often though, problems arise and misunderstanding occurs. This is because something gets in the way and makes communication difficult, or even impossible ie. a BARRIER to communication.

  • Emotional Factors
  • Environmental Factors
  • Physical and Interllectual Disabilities
  • Cultural Influenes
  • Stereotyping and Labelling
  • Time Constraints and Pressures
  • Use of Technical Terminology or Colloquialisms
  • Appropriate Use of Speed, Clarity and Loudness
  • Use of Eye Contact, Facial Expressions and Body Language
  • Legibility and Accuracy
  • Lack of Resources
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Emotional Factors

Personality clashes, stress and anxiety, empathy, worry and mood.

Emotions can affect the ability to communicate with others e.g.

  • Personality Clashes: tension, conflict, avoidance, resentment
  • Stress or Anxiety: arguments, balming, distracted, physical symptoms
  • Fear: afriad to speak up
  • Sadness: may not feel like talking and want to be left alone
  • Low/Mood: depression, may be disinterested/not feel like talking 
  • Happiness: high spirits can make it difficult to say what we mean
  • Excitement: not listening, too talkative, unable to concentrate
  • Empathy: feel you are understood, more willing to talk/share
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Environmental Factors

Personal appearance, poximity (personal space), seating arrangments, background noise, lighting, comfort and warmth.

Environmental factors are features around us in day to day life which we often do not think of as a help or hindrance to communication. These include:

  • Personal Appearance: clean/dirty, tidy/dishevelled, smart/scruffy, pretty/ugly
  • Proximity: too close or too far apart
  • Seating Arrangments: configuration, cramped, inadequate
  • Background Noise: hard to hear people/ be heard, concentration
  • Lighting: too dim/too bright
  • Comfort/Warmth: too hot/cold/droughty
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Physical Disabilities

This includes visual, hearing and sppech impairments as well as disabilities that affect the motor abilities of an individual e.g. a wheelchair user. Factors include:

  • Use of speech or need for alternative method
  • Equipment e.g. hearing aid, amplifiers, computer etc
  • Special support e.g. signers
  • Use of non-verbal communication
  • Height at which you speak to people
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Intellectual Disabilities

Intellectual disabilities - such as IQ differences, limited speech ability or impediment, can make communication difficult but with patience and willigness, both parties can make themselves understood by:

  • Using simple language/not jargon
  • Support from another person (family,friend,carer)
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Cultural Influences

  • Eye Contact - is considered respectful in western cultures but some cultures think that looking away is a mark of respect
  • Non-Verbal Communication - not all gestures are universal e.g. thumbs up, showing the soles of your feet can cause offence in other cultures
  • Humour - this differs between cultures e.g. death, religion, politics are sometimes joked about in the UK but this can offend other cultures
  • Gender Roles - Men and women communicate differently e.g. women may not be comfortable talking to a man who is not a close relative
  • Language Differences - this can create clear difficulties but even where a common language is spoken, accent, dialogue, slang can pose problems
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A stereotype is "...a fixed, over generlised belief about a particular group or class of people."

By stereotyping, we infer that someone has all the characteristics and abilities that we assume all members of that group have e.g. A blondes are dumb, all women are bad drivers.

Negative stereotyping can lead to social categorisation, one of the reasons for predujudice and discrimination.

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Labelling is defining or describing a person in terms of his or her behaviour e.g. describing someone who has broken a law such as a 'criminal.' It can be the same as a pigeon-holing e.g. ...all sufferers of schizophrenia are violent and dangerous.

Once labelled, an individual may take on the characteristics associated with the label and become what they have been labelled ...... a self-fulfilling prophecy.

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Time Constraints and Pressures

Time constraints and pressures can affect communication e.g. due to high workload/staff shortages.

  • Less time during interactions - poor listening 
  • Rushed interactions - lack of clarity can lead to misunderstanding 
  • Poor record keeping - misinformation, errors, omissions
  • Low morale
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Use of Technical Terminology

Sometimes called jargon, is a special language for use by a group or profession e.g. doctors, nurses and social workers.

It should only be used during communication with those who are familiar with it e.g. 'DNR' is a term sometimes used in nursing/medicine. A cleaner within the hospital might interpret 'DNR' to mean 'Department of Natural Resources' whilst a Dr would understand it to mean 'Do Not Resusitate.'

Confusion could easily arise with all sorts of unexpected outcomes.

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Use of Colloquialisms

A word, phrase or saying that is usually limited to a certan geographical area e.g.

  • to be pleased with something - chuffed
  • to be drunk - ratted, wasted, trollied

Use of technical terminology, jargon or colloquialisms can:

  • be misinterpreted
  • cause confusion/lead to misunderstanding 
  • lead to individuals feeling excluded
  • speed up communication when used appropriately
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Appropriate Use of Speed, Clarity and Loudness

This is to do with the 'paralinguistic skills.'

These skills can both help to hinder communication.

  • Speed
    • Too Fast - hard to understand and follow conversation.
    • Too Slow - hard to follow; may feel you are talking down to them.
  • Clarity
    • Be Clear - say exactly what you mean and avoid vagueness.
    • Speak Clearly - mumbling, muttering, not facing the person makes it hard to hear or understand what is being said.
  • Loudness (Volume) 
    • Too Quiet - hard to hear what is being said.
    • Too Loud - distracting, viewed as disrespectful, even threatening.
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