Talking is often seen as the most common method of communication but most communication is silent. Gestures, tone of voice, grins, grimaces, shrugs, nods, moving away or closer, crossing arms and legs tells us far more than words. Learning to take account of these reactions is all part of developing your communication skills to achieve the best outcomes for individuals. Communication can be harder when we can’t see these signs like when we use the phone, texts or email.
Individuals will have ways of communicating that work best for them. Some of the different ways that people communicate are:
Differences in how you speak, including the tone, pitch and volume of your voice could change how your messages are taken in. Try to avoid using jargon or abbreviations and complicated words or terminology. Make sure you always speak in a respectful way, adjusting your speech to suit the individual.
Sign language – This is a recognized language throughout the world. American Sign Language (ASL) is used by individuals in this country and there are variations of sign language in different regions.
Makaton – This is a form of language that uses a large collection of signs and symbols. It is often used with those who have learning and physical disabilities, or hearing impairment.
Braille – is a code of raised dots that are ‘read’ using touch. For people who are visually impaired or who are blind, the system supports reading and writing.
Body language – This is a type of non verbal communication. There are many different positioning and body movements. Each of these will communicate information about an individual or a worker often without them realizing it.
Gestures – These are hand or arm movements. Each of these will communicate information about an individual or a worker often without them realizing it.
Facial expressions – These support what is being said by showing reactions of feelings. They can give you valuable clues that you can use to check out their feelings.
Eye contact – Maintaining good eye contact is an important way for a worker to show that they are engaged and listening
Position – The way that we stand, sit of hold our arms when we are talking will provide others with clues about our feelings, attitude and emotions.
Written communication – This method is used to send messages, keep records, or provide evidence
Add two of your own ideas to the list of common ways to communicate.
With a partner, take turns to ask and answer questions about common ways to communicate.
Discuss with a partner what discourse features you pay attention to when communicating with someone.