Different types of communication and interpersonal interaction

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One-to-one communication

One to one communication is absolutely vital in any health and social care setting; one to one communication is where each person has the other’s complete attention, if given correctly one to one can make a person feel special as they are getting someone’s undivided attention and people are making time for them. This may be:-

* Talking to friends on the internet

* Speaking to family and/or friends

* Giving and receiving personal care

* During a telephone call

* Receiving a letter

Advantages –

One to one communication allows there to be complete attention on one person, and the people may feel much more comfortable just speaking to one individual person rather than a group of people. This also allows for a lot of feedback and opinion from the individual, which is very important in a health and social care setting when they are concerned with the individuals own opinions and needs. The individual may also feel a lot safer talking about personal issues as they can trust in the one person they are talking to. One to one communication also can largely boost an individual’s self esteem and their feelings of self well being.

Disadvantages –

There are also some disadvantages of this type of communication, the quality of the actual one to one time and how much the individual feels confident in talking about will almost entirely depend on the skills and trust that the person who is giving the interaction has with the individual. Certain people will not feel comfortable with the specific attention being based on them therefore they should not be put into this situation. Preparation may also need to be made before the session so that they can be prepared to give correct answers and inform the individual correctly about whatever it is they want to know. Different individuals will interpret things differently, therefore when there is a one to one session and someone does this it can make things very awkward and uncomfortable for both of the people involved. There is also the timing of the one to one meetings; it may be difficult for people to arrange several of these meeting and to make them a regular thing.

Group communication

Group communication is a way of sharing views, idea’s, urgent or important information to a few or a big group of people. This can be used to inform a group of people about something urgent that they need to know, for example- a group of staff being made aware of a new fire safety procedure. Solutions, new practices, new policies and procedures can all be implemented through the group communication option. Group communication can also be used to bring people together who may share similar interests or who all need the same information from a person with specialist knowledge, it would be easier for this person to speak to a group of people rather than try to speak to each individual. This may be:-

* Whilst talking to a group of friends

* At school in a classroom

* Group discussions, school or during extra-curricular activities

* Group therapy sessions

Advantages –

There are many advantages to group communication; the same message can be delivered to a large amount of people which will save a lot of time. When there is a group of individuals in a meeting, each individual can remain anonymous and will not forced to express their opinion or their individual views. If other people within the group ask questions, people end up learning more as they are listening to what other people say and not just their own queries or opinions.

Disadvantages –

There are also some disadvantages of group communication, the message which is being given may not be understood by everyone and if there if someone does not understand and does not have the confidence to ask about it then they will not know what is going on. If there is a very large group there is a chance that not everyone will hear the message clearly and correctly, also there are some people who may not be able to interpret the message properly. Group information may not be able to be repeated on another occasion, meaning that if you miss it then you may not have the chance to participate again.

Formal communication

Formal communication is usually structured and always uses formal language; it can be used between professionals and clients, or employers and employees. When formal language is being used the tone is always very respectful, and there are no slang words used. This may be:-

* A written letter

* Directions on taking medication

* Fact sheets that convey important information

* A care plan

* Talking to someone of authority like a doctor

Advantages

There are various advantages surrounding formal communication, information is structured and is relayed in professional terms so that it can be acted upon this is helpful for everyone involved in any circumstance. The information given follows codes and conventions and is normally factual and to the point this is also good for everyone that is involved, Information is shared for a reason and is usually given within a set time frame. The information that is given is usually used as a guidance that will be followed by whoever is using it, formal information may also confirm what has been discussed and agreed.

Disadvantages

Although there a lot of advantages to formal communication there are also disadvantages involved. Technical or specialist language may be used which could create anxiety for the individual this is not very good for the individual or the care worker as they then have to try and help the patient with understanding and information shared can seem intimidating to the receiver as it mat use formal terms and references. The timing of the information may not be convenient to be heard by the receiver, the communication may also only be one way meaning that the receiver will not be able to respond to the information, therefore information may be also be misinterpreted by the receiver.

Informal communication

Informal communication is used without any kind of special fuss or attention; this is mainly used between people who are already familiar with each other and where a relationship may have been built up. Language is normally spoken or written using words that the client will be familiar with, notes which are written on a piece of paper that are not to be filed can also be counted as a form of informal communication.

When using informal communication talking to friends or family you may use words that other people may not be familiar with, also local groups may use ‘slang’ words that other people would not understand. When in a health and social care setting you need to be careful of what slang you do use as some people may get easily offended by they way you are speaking to them.

Advantages

The advantages of informal communication may include the fact that if you have built up a relationship with a particular client and you have made them feel comfortable in your company, you are helping the client with their everyday life.

Disadvantages

When using a certain type of ‘slang’ you, as a service provider, need to be careful that you do not offend anyone, some people may get easily offended by what you are saying to them and how you portray yourself to them.

Music and drama

Music and drama can be very helpful in any health and social care setting, some service users may find that this will relieve them of any anger or frustration they have built up inside. It is also a way to open up communication between friends or strangers, service users and providers can express their feelings to each other through both music and drama. Some service users who find it difficult to express their needs verbally may also use this method to express their concern.

Music can stimulate and relax, its also great for starting a conversation. Music and drama also helps certain individuals feel comfortable in a group situation and with helping the individual to ‘unwind’. Music and drama are also used as effective methods of communication but are often only used when the service user is comfortable with using this form of communication or have some experience in that department. If service providers choose to have extra training in this department then they will be able to help certain service users that enjoy using this kind of communication and it should also help with breaking down barriers between the service user and the provider.

Arts and crafts

Arts and crafts can also be a very important way of helping service users to communicate and be creative, painting, drawing and clay modelling are some of many activities that may be used within a health and social care setting. People who enjoy arts and crafts will be able to share their personal enjoyment with others that also enjoy it; the activities could provide a topic of conversation which can be useful like asking peoples personal opinions on things will make the particular person feel valued.

Similarly to music and drama some service users may feel more comfortable expressing themselves through arts and crafts and some service users may find that this is the only way that they can communicate effectively. Art and crafts is very good for people who want to build on their independence, they individual needs to choose what, when and how to use materials. If a health and social care setting is lucky enough to have an art therapists they will be able to help the service users in different ways, they can guide them and help them to understand how to unlock barriers that they may subconsciously have.

Reminiscence therapy

In reminiscence therapy people are brought together to remember how their life use to be and to help them think about and remember special memories from the past. This can help people to also connect with not only the present but also the future, service users remember they need to make the most of every minute. Reminiscence therapy often uses everyday objects to stimulate the conversation opening up communication through interaction. This activity is also sometimes used to tech life skills to some young adults who may be about to move into ‘supported housing’.

Communication using technology

The society in which we live in is now widely considered to be ‘information rich’ simply because of all the ways which information is communicated and shared with the number of people that it reaches. Massive amounts of money is spent on advertising and producing messages that people will see, different forms of media help to convey this message including: TV, radio, DVDs, films, magazines, newspapers and books. So in some shape of form messages can reach everyone, books can be written in typeface, Braille or even be taped for various disability needs. Technology has become the main way that people communicate, even health and social care settings use texting and emailing to communicate with their service users.

Interpersonal interaction

Language is the way that we convey information, this is not always verbal it can also be non verbal such as body language or even pictures. Some researchers argue that non-verbal and verbal should not be classed separately but simply as communication. Speech and writing are the two main forms of ‘language’. Language plays a very central part in everyday life and there are a lot of different theories that try to explain how language actually develops. When talking about the development of language we are often relating back to the nature vs. nature debate is language an innate thing (already inside us) or is it learnt from the environment? The only thing that seems clear is that we learn language from birth. Chomsky and skinner are two theorists, who developed two separate theories on how language developed and both of them very much disagreed with the other.

Non-verbal communication

Non-verbal communication is the way that we communicate without speaking.

Body language plays a big part in non-verbal communication; the problem is that it may be voluntary or involuntary so you may not even be aware that you are doing it. Voluntary body language is when we are aware of our body movements and what we are doing in the way of gestures and poses, for example: smiling, hand gestures or even imitation. Involuntary body language occurs when we are totally unaware of what body gestures although some observers may notice them. Involuntary body language may be influenced by the person that we are interacting with, like when we mirror someone else movements without even realising it. Also if someone moves into our personal space and we are not comfortable then we will subconsciously try and move away. Cultural difference play a big part in personal space as in some cultures it is fine to get very close to someone that you might not even know where as in other cultures people find that very rude.

Edward T. Hall is a social anthropologist (someone who studies people and interactions between them) raises the theory of proxemics, by describing some unintentional social distancing rules. He found that people usually position themselves as following when communicating:

Cultural differences will allow for certain variations to the social distancing findings, as in other cultures there are different things that may be classed as unacceptable which we would find completely normal. Personal distances do not always just vary because of culture; they are also influenced by things such as gender, social situations and an individual’s personal preference. When in a health and social care setting care needs to be taken when talking to clients and getting into their personal space as it will make them very uncomfortable.

There is a variation of ways that negative body language can be given, lack of physical attention is actually a form of negative body language, and this can also be classed as a form of abuse to a child. Physical punishment is obviously a form of very bad body language as the receiver will not be getting any benefit from it at all. Another very negative message to send it when people talk about someone or refer to them but then ignore them, this gives people a lack of self confidence. Although many negative messages can be sent there are also positive messages that can be sent, such as being hugged by someone that you are comfortable or intimate with or being touched lovingly. When people look at you if they are talking to you or even listening to you this will also be positive towards you. If you hold a baby or young child in a loving and caring way this will also be classed as positive body language.

Scenarios

Interaction between service users and staff

This scenario will look at informal verbal communication within a school whilst taking part in an arts and crafts session. The interaction will be listening and reflecting back through verbal communication. There is a teacher and ten young children making mothers day cards, the teacher explains the instructions about how to make the cards and the children have to listen so that they know what to do. The teacher will then ask the children what they need to do first to see if they understand. By getting the children to reflect back on the instructions the teacher will know that they have fully understood.

The teacher would be using formal language using correct English. The children would be using more informal language when talking to each other. An example of this would be the teacher referring to a student by their full name and the children referring to the child by a nickname or shortened name.

The children can use the arts and crafts session to express how they are feeling about their main carers.

Small group of service users

This scenario is going to look at a small group of service users in a music therapy session using verbal and non-verbal communication. These are disabled children working with a therapist to express their emotions that some of them might not be able to do through traditional methods. The therapist will use verbal communication to talk to the children and then the children can express themselves through music. With the right equipment, for example sound beam microphones, it is possible for the most seriously disabled child to be able to express themselves in a non-verbal way.

Service users, other staff and you

This scenario is going to look at informal communication with variations between cultures within a group. In a residential home the residents would get together for meals and the service providers will sit with them to eat. During this time the residents could have an informal discussion about general things. Variations of terminology can cause confusion if someone misunderstands what a word means, for example if somebody said ‘when you were acting mad last week’ it could be upsetting unless you realised that they meant angry not insane. In this situation a service user and a service provide could have a one to one conversation to explain the modern take on certain words so that they see no offence was meant.

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