Before you try to repair the communication challenge identified in Week 1 Part 1E, you first need to identify a pattern and understand where the breakdown takes place. Consider your encounters over the last few weeks. When did this challenge occur? If you have selected as your challenge “keeping a calm voice when instructing my children,” then identify when you did not keep a calm voice. Next, identify your challenge as a behavioral pattern. Here is this challenge stated above as a behavioral goal, “I want to keep a calm voice when instructing my children.” Now it is your turn, write your behavioral challenge as a behavioral goal that begins with the phrase, “I want to….”
Next, put yourself in someone else’s shoes. . . someone who has the same communication challenge you identified in 1E in Week 1. Answer the following questions as if you were watching the challenge take place.
- What did that person do to escalate the communication challenge?
- What could that person have done to de-escalate the communication challenge?
- What must that person be saying and/or doing for me to say that he/she has achieved the communication goal that he or she shares with you?
Part 1: Identifying Patterns (2 pages)
Sometimes, stepping outside yourself and viewing the communication challenge objectively can help you to see trigger points and strategies more clearly. Now that you have had an opportunity to do that, brainstorm a minimum of three strategic steps that could be taken based on what you have learned thus far from the textbook. You will need to search through the textbook for specifics, and those specifics will need to be cited within this section using APA in-text citations.
- Strategic Step 1:
- Strategic Step 2:
- Strategic Step 3:
Based on the three strategic steps you have identified above, now it is time to write out some declarative statements. Following each declarative statement, you will need to share what will help you and what will hinder you as you move toward reaching your own communication challenge goal.
- Declaration 1: In order for me to achieve my goal of . . ., I will . . .
- Declaration 2: In order for me to achieve my goal of . . ., I will . . .
- Declaration 3: In order for me to achieve my goal of . . ., I will . . .
Remember to follow each declaration with a paragraph that provides further insight.
Part 2: Plan and Practice (1-2 pages)
Now that you have a clear goal and declarative statements, it is time to plan a rehearsal. A rehearsal can be helpful when you need to think through all the details needed for a production to go well. You are not putting on a play, but you are moving toward your event in Week 3 when you will apply all that you have been doing and learning. So, let’s consider what is needed for your rehearsal.
A covert rehearsal is an effective way of trying out new communication behaviors. Think about a time and place that will allow you to practice your new interpersonal communication skill to meet your goal as outlined in your new behaviors listed in Part 1 (above). By covertly rehearsing in your mind, you make it much more likely that you will perform the behavior comfortably and effectively in real life situations. For example, if you are planning to initiate and maintain a conversation with your neighbor, you should think through a number of possible topics and questions before finally choosing what you perceive to be the best options. In other words, think before you speak. Plan what you will say and do in a particular situation where you can practice your goal.
If you are having a hard time talking to people in your mind, speak to yourself out loud or speak to your reflection in the mirror. Think about the following:
- Identify the situation you would like to practice. Do you want to plan a new conversation, or replay a past situation but change the outcome?
- Where will you have this conversation – in the kitchen, on the bus, in the cafeteria at lunch, at school in a classroom, in the board room, in your manager’s office, or at a friend’s house?
- Consider how your physical surroundings will affect your rehearsal.
- Consider the conversation: What would make it effective? What would need to change?
Now that you have thought through this conversation scenario, you are ready to select a communication event, related to your goal, for which you will prepare covertly. Choose a communication event that mirrors the communication goal you have selected, then you will begin to prepare for this event privately or secretly – covertly. As you imagine yourself practicing your new skill, focus hard on specific interactions. Actually think about what you would say and how the other person might respond. Don’t just go through the motions. Really see yourself asking specific questions, making specific comments, and hearing the other person replying. As you imagine the sequence, apply principles you are learning so that you can practice precisely what you want to say and how you want to say it. Experiment with what appears to be the most effective and comfortable way for you to implement the new behaviors you have been learning.
Now it is time to do some writing. In this section, you will submit a detailed narrative that identifies your selected communication challenge and the potential plan you want to implement in Week 3. Include the following:
Describe the potential surroundings – specific room, physical surroundings and so forth. Include an explanation of how your physical surroundings might affect your plan negatively, positively, or both.
Describe the people who will potentially participate in this communication event
- What will be the elements of the conversation?
- How might the other person respond?
- What could go well?
- What might derail your success in meeting your communication goal?
In a quiet place, begin thinking about the plan for your conversation event; consider how you would like to see it evolve. When you hit rough spots, try a variety of options until you find a response that pleases you. If you are having trouble with this, pretend you are an author planning to write the dialogue for a reality TV episode, or you are composing lines for characters in a play or movie or book. Use the mirror technique and take turns role-playing both people in the conversation. You can also use puppets, stuffed animals, socks on your hands, or different hats or coats to take the parts of two people having a conversation.
Practice through the plan using different scenarios. In your imaginary practice, make sure that you are always aiming toward achieving your communication goal.
In a well-written paragraph, explain how your covert rehearsals helped to equip you for implementing your plan in Week 3.
Writing Requirements (APA format)
- Length: 3-4 pages
- 1-inch margins
- Double spaced
- 12-point Times New Roman font
- Title page
- References page (textbook citation)