Module Four: Communication
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  • 1. Module Four: Communication FY 08 Revisions
  • 2. The goal of communication is mutual understanding Working successfully with WIC participants means reaching out to participants and communicating effectively with them. To be effective, you must be familiar with some basic principles of communication and the different factors that affect the learning process. Communication consists of: • Language • Listening • Gestures • Body Language • Eye contact • Tone of voice • Facial expressions • Attitude Part 1: Listening Barriers to Effective Listening • Hearing, but not Listening • Distractions • Lack of understanding of what was said • Internal "noise," a headache, a dislike for the person speaking • Was something else on our minds? • Listening for mistakes in what they are saying • Judging what they are saying Listening Habits to Avoid • Faking Attention - pretending to pay attention • Tuning In and Out - switching back and forth between several conversations • Listening for Facts - listening just for facts and not paying attention to emotions or how they are saying it. • Interrupting- asking questions before the speaker has finished their train of thought FY 08 Revisions
  • 3. Steps to Improve Your Listening Skills (K.A.R.L.) Keep an open mind. Listen to the information without evaluating it while you listen. Avoid letting your mind jump ahead to form a response before you've heard all they have to say. Ask questions if you don’t understand what they are trying to tell you. Rephrase and repeat or summarize what they said. This will facilitate understanding. Listen as if you were in their shoes. Part 2: What Do I Need to Know About Words? Tips for Selecting Words: Selecting words that may be unfamiliar to participants places a barrier between you and the client. Tip Difficult to Comprehend Easily Understood Use familiar words. You may experience You may have a stomach gastrointestinal discomfort ache. while digesting a meal. Choose short words. Our WIC clinic is in the center We are in the middle of the of the metropolitan district. city. Avoid technical We need to test your We need to test your blood. jargon and hemoglobin levels. abbreviations. Use the active voice, You will be seen by the The nutritionist will see you at not the passive voice. nutritionist at 2:00. 2:00 pm and teach you about breastfeeding. We'll give you assistance with learning to breastfeed. FY 08 Revisions
  • 4. We choose the right words, then what? We need to put the words together in clear, short sentences. Keep sentences to the point, using fewer words, and there is less chance for communication errors. Wordy examples Use these instead At the present time Now For the reason that Because On the basis of By Is of the opinion Believes Is essential that Must In view of the fact that Since or because It is easy to see from the following examples that the shorter sentences allow for fewer communication errors. They are also easier to understand, especially for those using English as a second language. Here is an example used in a sentence. Which one would you consider the most easily understood? A. With regard to Tommy, might you be able to bring him in on Monday for an appointment? B. Can you bring Tommy in on Monday for an appointment? FY 08 Revisions
  • 5. WIC TIP - Keep it simple!!! Complex sentence: It is essential that all participants for the WIC program sign their WIC ID folder. Simple sentence: Everyone must sign their WIC ID folder. Part 3: What Other Factors Influence Communication? We know what we are trying to say so we assume that anyone listening to us will too. But speaking isn't just about the words themselves; it's about how we say them. Our attitude, the actions we take, our tone of voice, our appearance, and our surroundings all influence our communications. Let's look at how each of these has an effect on communicating. 1. Attitude - How you feel about yourself is projected to others when you interact with them. If you come across as confident, sincere, and friendly you will have greater success in having participants accept your recommendations. FY 08 Revisions
  • 6. Characteristics of successful WIC employees are: empathic, energetic, open to change, optimistic, and compassionate. Actions -The gestures and facial expressions we use as well as our posture convey meanings more than our words do. Introduce yourself; offer a handshake and say "Hello, their name" whenever you greet a WIC participant. A smile goes a long way too! Also, briefly explain to them what they should expect to be doing while they are there. FY 08 Revisions
  • 7. "Closed" postures, such as crossing arms and legs or leaning away from a person often convey dislike or defensiveness. "Open" positions, such as leaning forward, convey interest. Nodding the head in agreement is also a positive signal unless it is done all the time. Then it looks phony. Yawning excessively, drumming fingers on a table, tapping feet, and resting your head in your hands send a message of boredom. Tightly held hands, wringing hands, or rubbing the back of the neck are often a sign of frustration. FY 08 Revisions
  • 8. Good eye contact usually conveys friendliness and a desire to communicate. But remember to be sensitive to cultural cues. As described in the Cross-cultural module, in some cultures eye contact is avoided as a sign of respect. 3. Voice - Your voice (tone, loudness, and emphasis) also reflects your message. For example, speaking loudly, rapidly or at a high pitch can indicate anger. A monotone voice can indicate boredom. Beware of sounding superior. Use a tone that indicates you respect your participants. Show that you've got a great message to give them, you are happy to be there, and that you are glad they are there too. FY 08 Revisions
  • 9. 4. Appearance Dress appropriately for an office setting. Avoid dangling jewelry that an infant or young child might tug on. Short skirts or dresses as well as low cut necklines are also inappropriate. Be clean and well groomed so that you do not distract from your message. 5. Surroundings - The space you use, its setup and appearance communicate many messages. The settings for many WIC clinics are far from ideal. They may be crowded and noisy or unattractive. But they should always be clean and neat. A few posters, a plant, and a new coat of paint can make a big difference. ©Animation Factory FY 08 Revisions
  • 10. How to Eliminate Common Counseling Distractions Distraction Problem Solution Cluttered space Unprofessional, Put away files, remains of disorganized. lunch, loose papers, etc. Does not inspire confidence Demanding Distracts from Direct child's attention to a children session toy, paper and crayons, or offer a snack. Try to involve older child in counseling. Interruptions by Suggests the Ask others not to disturb you staff, phones, participant is while counseling. etc. unimportant If you must take a call, take a message and return the call later. Office noise Distracts from If possible, locate counseling session areas away from waiting room and other distractions. Lack of privacy Participant may Create privacy by closing not feel doors, using partitions, comfortable speaking quietly, etc. talking openly FY 08 Revisions
  • 11. Adapted from the Massachusetts CPA Training Program Part 5: Tips for Effective Cross-Cultural Communication In order to understand other cultures and effectively communicate with individuals from other cultures, you need to understand a bit about yourself. Think about which ethnic, socioeconomic, religious, age and community groups you associate yourself with. Ask questions of yourself about your own culture (e.g. how does my culture influence how I treat others?) and about others’ cultures. Think twice before you make assumptions about another culture or an individual or group who is different than you. Don’t assume that your experience is everyone else’s experience. Be flexible – be willing to broaden your outlook. Be honest if there’s something you don’t understand about another culture. Be honest with yourself about your cultural experience. Listen actively – be attentive, make eye contact, be aware of your body language, reflect the speaker’s ideas back to him/her. Refer back to Section 4: How do I best communicate with participants? Respect differences – work on accepting and respecting differences between and within cultures. Avoid stereotyping – be aware when you’re reaction to a person or group is based on stereotypes and think twice! Build self-awareness of your culture, your experiences, and how they may affect your perspective on other cultures or your reaction to individuals of another culture/other cultural groups. FY 08 Revisions
  • 12. Distinguish perspectives from one another (e.g. you may find that you are carrying a learned perspective or bias from your culture which could keep you from having a broader outlook). (Source: New York New Jersey Public Health Training Center, http://www.nynj-phtc/pccc.cfm) Part 6: Guidelines for Using an Interpreter Federal regulations require WIC services to be available to non-English speaking persons. Therefore, you have a regulatory, if not ethical, obligation to communicate with any potential participant. Keep the following guidelines in mind when working with an interpreter: • Speak clearly. • Speak in short, simple sentences. • Look at and speak to the participant, not the interpreter. • Listen carefully to participants. • Watch for and respond to verbal cues. • Use clarifying statements and questions to avoid misinterpretation. • Ask the interpreter to use the participant’s own words rather than paraphrasing. • Ask the interpreter to avoid inserting or omitting any information. • Ask the participant to repeat the general instructions or content of the discussion to ensure understanding. • Avoid using family members, especially children, as interpreters. This can lead to problems of confidentiality and inappropriate paraphrasing. Language Line Indiana WIC utilizes Language Line, Inc. to provide telephone translation services in 100+ languages at no additional cost to the local clinics or participants. Each clinic has a Client ID number for accessing services and should be accessible at your clinic. http://www.languageline.com/cust_serv_training_order.php For the visually and hearing impaired, Indiana Relay Services is offered free of charge: Dial 711 from any phone and you will be connected. http://www.relayindiana.com/ FY 08 Revisions