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Discussion Forum

Activity: Linear/Transactional Communication

Based on a movie or television show, describe an interaction between two characters that is linear and
transactional in nature. For the linear model, explain how the sender and receiver's channels,
environment, and noise impact the exchange. For the transactional model, explain how feedback, the
fluidity of communication, and the relational nature of communication impact the exchange.

Activity: Statements About Communication

Interview a friend or family member and ask him or her what he or she thinks of one of the following
statements and how this statement impacts relationships. Do not tell your interviewee that these are
myths or facts about communication. Instead, record his or her perceptions about the statement and
discuss whether you agree or disagree with his or her views.

Communication does not always require understanding.

Communication is not always a good thing.
No single person or event causes another's reaction.
Communication will not solve all problems.
Meanings are in people, not words.
Communication is not simple.
More communication is not always better.

Activity: Communicating When

Donaghue, Erin. 2007. Communication now part of the cure: Movement has begun to help doctors
listen and patients understand. USA Today, July 25:7D.

This article outlines the problems that sick people have in communicating with medical professionals.
Whether it is confusing medical jargon or doctors who don’t listen, patients see good communication
as a part of good patient care. Due to the efforts of patient advocates patients can access data that
rates a hospital's quality of care, including the quality of their communication. A government website
(hospitalcompare.hhs.gov) houses the results of a nationally standardized patient satisfaction survey.


Go to www.hospitalcompare.hhs.gov.

Enter your ZIP code to see a list of hospitals in your area.

Click on a hospital's name.

The first thing you should see is results of the survey along with percentages for this hospital, the
state average, and the national average. For example, the item "Patients who reported that their
nurses 'Always' communicated well" will have percentages next to it.

Respond to the following questions:

What percentage of patients reported that their nurses "Always" communicated well for your hospital?
What do you think communicating well consists of?

How does the hospital's percentage compare to the state and national average?

Do you think that hospital is pleased with that percentage?

What percentage of patients reported that their doctors "Always" communicated well?

What do you think communicating well consists of?

How does the hospital's percentage compare to the state and national average?

Do you think that hospital is pleased with that percentage?

Journal Prompts

Activity: Analyzing Your Communication Behavior

Prove that communication is both frequent and important by observing your interactions for a one-day
period. Record every occasion in which you are involved in some sort of communication as it is defined
on pages 5 and 6 of the text. Based on your findings, answer the following questions:

1. What percentage of your waking day is involved in communication?

2. What percentage of time do you spend communicating in the following contexts:

intrapersonal, dyadic, small group, and public?

3. What percentage of your communication is devoted to satisfying each of the following types of
needs: physical, identity, social, and practical? (Note that you might try to satisfy more than
one type at a time.)

Based on your analysis, describe five to ten ways you would like to communicate more effectively. For
each item on your list of goals, describe who is involved (e.g., "my boss," "people I meet at parties")
and how you would like to communicate differently (e.g., "act less defensively when criticized," "speak
up more instead of waiting for them to approach me"). Use this list to focus your studies as you read
the remainder of this book.

Activity: Increasing Your Communicative Competence

Prove for yourself that communication competence can be increased by following these steps.

1. Identify a situation in which you are dissatisfied with your present communication skill.

2. Identify at least three distinct, potentially successful approaches you might take in this
situation that are different from the one you have taken in the past. If you are at a loss for
alternatives, consider how other people you have observed (both real and fictional characters)
have handled similar situations.

3. From these three alternatives, choose the one you think would work best for you.
4. Consider how you could become more skillful at performing your chosen approach. For
example, you might rehearse it alone or with friends, or you might gain pointers from
watching others.

5. Consider how to get feedback on how well you perform your new approach. For instance, you
might ask friends to watch you. In some cases, you might even be able to ask the people
involved how you did. This systematic approach to increasing your communicative competence
isn't the only way to change, but it is one way to take the initiative in communicating more

Activity: Communication Competence

1. Analyze your own communication competence. What are two areas in which you would like to
become more competent in communication, based on the following list? List ways that you
might become more competent with regard to this factor:

1. Competent communicators own a wide range of behaviors rather than just a few.

2. Competent communicators have the ability to choose the most appropriate behavior.

3. Competent communicators have skill at performing behaviors.

4. Competent communicators demonstrate empathy and perspective taking.

5. Competent communicators employ cognitive complexity.

6. Competent communicators exercise self-monitoring.

Activity: Communicating at Work "Five Common Causes of Miscommunication in the Workplace

and How to Avoid Them." Workplace Insights: A North Carolina Employer's Handbook.
(n.d.). http://blog.capital.org/five-common-causes-of-miscommunication-in-the-workplace-and-how-

After going to this website, respond to the following questions:

1. The website advises users to "accurately analyze yourself." How can you do that? Give some
practical approaches.

2. As a manager or as an employee describe the communication that occurs between these two
parties at your workplace. What does one do when they "feel as though their voices aren't
being heard"?

3. What negative things can occur when all employees do not "identify with the overall vision and
growth process?" What are some ways management could ensure that all employees do
identify with the big picture?

4. Are you assuming something at school or work or in your family life that should be taken for
granted? Explain. How does one identify such things?

5. The website addresses accountability. How would you define accountability? What are some
ways that you are kept accountable at school or home?