The Three Greatest Lessons I Learned In COM 2206
Interpersonal communication is used in every part of life. Weather it be from the moment you wake up in the morning to the second you fall asleep at night; you will have used interpersonal communication in some type of way. Great communication involves both speaking and listening or expressing and receiving. Interpersonal communication is a skill that is learned and having the opportunity to take COM 2206 has helped me significantly. Communication is what enables us to pass information to other people, and to understand what is being said to is. When I think back to the greatest lessons I learned during the course, quite a few sticks out to me. If I were to narrow them down to three, those lessons would be nonverbal communication, listening vs hearing and listening styles.
The first greatest lesson I learned during COM 2206 was about nonverbal communication. Nonverbal communication is always occurring. Nonverbal communication is defined as “messages expressed by nonlinguistic means” (et al. Alder, pg. 166). These nonlinguistic messages are very important in interpersonal communications because what we do often shows more meaning than what we say. Nonverbal messages can be communicated in a variety of ways. Facial expressions, gestures, postures, distance, voice, etc. are all examples of nonverbal communication. Sometimes it can be hard for others to understand what you’re trying to say just by hearing. As said in the book, “by tuning into facial expressions, posture, gestures, vocal tones, and other behaviors, you can make assumptions about the way communicators feel about one another and get some sense about the nature of their relationship” (et al. Alder, pg.190). I learned a lot about this lesson while doing a two cents discussion regarding The Big Bang Theory. In that discussion, I talked about two channels of nonverbal communication used by Sheldon. Nonverbal communication is something I will always look for during my interpersonal communications here on out to get a better understanding since I am now able to recognize them.
The second greatest lesson I learned from taking COM 2206 was what the difference is between listening and hearing. A lot of people assume listening and hearing are identical, including myself. It wasn’t until I took this course that I found out they have two separate meanings. Listening is known as “the process of receiving and responding to others’ messages” (Alder et al. pg. 197). To understand what someone else has said to us, we need to listen. Hearing on the other hand is “the process in which sound waves strike the eardrum and cause vibrations that are transmitted to the brain” (Adler et al. pg. 198). Just because one is hearing doesn’t mean they are listening. There have been a few times when I was having a conversation with someone, and I was hearing what they were saying but couldn’t comprehend what was said due to me thinking about something else. The difference between listening and hearing is that listening is a choice and is needed to understand what’s being said whereas hearing isn’t. Just reading our textbook helped me gain a lot of knowledge about this lesson. I found this topic very interesting, so I was very drawn into the chapter. In my future interpersonal communications, I will make sure I am listening and not just hearing someone speak especially if it’s an important subject.
The third greatest lesson I learned during my time in COM 2206 was about listening styles. I would say that for me personally, this lesson was the top greatest lesson I learned in this course. This lesson and my previous greatest lesson are from the same chapter. I learned a lot about my own listening style and how to recognize someone else’s listening style. As said in out book, “not everyone listens the same way or with the same goals all the time” (et al. Alder, pg. 199). There are four different listening styles — task orientated, relational, analytical, and critical. Each of these listening styles have strengths and weaknesses. After doing an assessment activity, I was able to get my own personal score for each listening style. Based on my results, I scored highest in the critical listening category. Critical listeners are “those who have a strong desire to evaluate messages” (Alder et al. pg. 201). These types of listeners are usually concerned with the accuracy and consistency of the message. I was able to learn quite a bit about all the other listening styles as well due to us doing a writing assignment on listening styles. Understanding these listening styles are very important to have an effective conversation with someone else.
All in all, there is a lot of great lessons to be learned in COM 2206. Majority of the lessons learned can and will be used lifelong and I feel as if everyone would benefit from taking a COM 2206 course. All the assignments have taught me a lot about how important interpersonal communications are. I really enjoyed this course and would recommend it to anyone and everyone. Communication is always occurring weather nonverbal or verbal, something is expressed. I can truly say I am a bunch better communicator and listening thanks to this course.
Adler, Ronald, et al. Interplay: The Process of Interpersonal Communication. 14th ed., Oxford University Press, 2017.