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York University
Communication Studies
COMN 2111
Dalton Kehoe

CRITICAL ABILITIES FOR EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION The unnatural acts that allow us to be effective communicators involve three critical abilities we need to possess. Mindfulness – waking up to what‘s going on within and without us in the present. A flexible state of mind in which we‘re actively engaged In the present, noticing new things, are sensitive to context. To be mindful, we have to 1) recreate categorical labels we have for people in our memories. We tend to store info about people under one/two lavels that are easy for us to recall but limit the ways we think about them. 2) be open to new information and points of view, esp when they challenge some of our favourite stereotypes. This could reduce the number of times we use self-serving bias to explain reality (if it‘s a problem for me, it‘s not my fault) 3) awaken to our dependence on first impressions. Treat first impressions as tentative, as hypothesis to be revised, accepted or rejected when we have more info. We need to pause, get more info, in order to see who other really is. if we intentionally observe and consciously describe the reality of a moment or of another person to ourselves in some detail, we are less likely to judge it. we can tell ourselves what it is, not what it ought to be. Mindfulness is about pausing, looking again, waiting for one second longer, and being patient. We can stop acting as if our mental inventions are real and ask people what they mean/intend. Then we can come up w/ shared agreement about immediate reality. Appreciation – being aware of our response patterns and of the context in which we‘re interacting, and choosing to respond appropriately in different contexts. This is the value side of mindfulness. The values: to have a full understanding, to value and honor the other, to add value. This is a positive problem-solving view. It sees the half-full glass and wants to know why it‘s half full, how did we get this far, and what can we do to add more and do better. The appreciative mindset allows us to see the useful, desrieable, or positive aspects that already exist in the current situation or in the people present and know these can be revealed, evoked, or realized if we ask right questions. Metacommunication – ability to talk about quality of communication occurring b/w us while we are in the midst of that communication. Sometimes, describing how we feel about the moment of communication. This is mindful talk about talk. We choose to publicly acknowledge whats going on b/w us so we can say next better thing. Helpful in difficult situations – slows down automatic reaction process – redirects attention to process of talking. th 7 axiom – we need to be right when things go bad – we speak defensively. DEFENSE MECHANISMS (ESSAY) Psychological defense mehanisms help us to reduce disquieting anxiety by distorting our perceptions of reality - Repression – prevents anxiety provoking thoughts from entering conscious level of awareness. Thoughts may originate in our biological instincts or from painful experiences - denial – blocks from the eggo threatening events or facts found in external social reality, threatening thoughts would surface in your conscious mind but you would refuse to believe theme. Refusing to believe your boyfriend is cheating on you. - rationalization – the ego enlists the powers of reason to attempt to cope with disquieting anxiety. To protect the self, unacceptable thoughts, actions, etc must somehow be explained away. Ego provides reasonable but dishonest explanations and justifications for behaviour recognized as wrong or undesireable. - reaction formation – first, unacceptable impulses are repressed in the unconscious. Second, opposites to the impulses are expressed on a conscious level. (ex. Someone who‘s threatened by their own sexual desires becomes an anti- pornography crusader) - Projection – undesireable aspects of one‘s own personality can be displaced from within onto the external environment. By externalizing what is internal, people deal with anxiety-provoking thoughts and intensions without having to admit or be aware that these disturbing thoughts are their own. - isolation/intellectualization – suppressing unpleasant emotions by engaging in detached analyses of threatening problems. Enables us to isolate anxiety, separating parts of a situation from the rest of the psyche. - regression – we revert to an earlier, more childlike stage of development. Going bak enables us to alleviate anxiety by retreating to a previous period in life that was experienced as being more secure and pleasant. (irresponsible behaviour like smoking, getting drunk by adults) - fantasy formation – involves gratifying frustrated desires by thinking about imaginary achievements and satisfactions. Through this, we become what we‘re not and we have what we don‘t own, etc. - Displacement – whenever we feel thr urge to meet the demands of our id, we invest psychic energy in need-satisfying objects. When objects that would directly satisfy the impulses of the id are not available, or when they include some threat or unpleasantness, we may shift our impulses onto other objects. Defense mechanisms can help us to contain ourselves emotionally when confronted with sudden life crises. The danger of defensiveness arises when reality distortions become too great and too frequent. EGO STATES AND TRANSACTIONAL ANALYSIS (ESSAY) Transactional analysis (TA) – creator – Eric Berne – promoted TA as way to improve communication through better understanding of relationship b/w our internal emotional states (ego states) and our behaviour towards others (transactions). Looks at what‘s going on inside of us emotionally and what comes out of our mouth and is displayed in our non-verbal behaviours. Also considers the ways in which people pass their time (time structuring0 in what we will call ―connection talk,| and the interpersonal roles people learn to play over and over again (scripts) Ego state – consistent pattern of feeling and experience related to a consistent pattern of behaviour – can be inferred from person‘s behaviour. Parent, adult, child ego states – have no relationship to age/family status of individual. But are like internalized tape recordings that people build up by observing and experiencing their own and others‘ behaviour. Berne interested in providing an easily understood methos for people to discover the over-learned behavioural habits of their childhood, which reside below the level of consciousness but show themselves through the conscious operations of the ego. Parent ego state: somewhere b/w 24 and 26 month, child incorporates voice and behaviour of parent into its mental state so it can manage its own behaviour. It becomes the home of all rules we learn as we grow. Parent tends to speak in three types of voices: Controlling – tells us what to do, when to do it, how to do it, how we ought to be Nurturing – tells us they love us, they think we‘re wonderful, we‘re the best thing that ever happened to them. They support us and make us feel good. Standard setting (coaching) = instructive parent who says, good boy, try again, good girl, I‘m sure you can make it. Child ego state – comes from having been a child. Natural child - We get all our spontaneous energy, humour, creativity, fun from here. On the flip side of all this positive energy, this is also where rebellion comes from. it‘s where child who stomps its foot and throws a tantrum and says, ―you are not the boss of me.‖ Adapted child – this is the child that happily follows rules, shows up to school everyday, pays attention. Takes order, obeys. Negative side is the winy side. In the middle of the two is the little professor child who seeks attention by telling you everything they know, even if they are not asked. Adult ego state – used when we‘re trying to deal with whats real in the moment – being rational and thoughtful information gatherers trying to find out whats going on. Mediator between demands and judgments of the parents and the wants and fantasies of the child. Asks good questions, connects information from present world with the one found in other two states. Voice that describes w/o prejudice and judgment. Problem-solving voice. EMOTIONAL BIDDING (ESSAY) Turning towards: reacting in a positive way to another‘s bid for emotional connection. Turning against: People who turn against bids are considered argumentative/belligerent. Turning against often involves sarcasm/ridicule Turning away: ignoring a bid or acting preoccupied. Most destructive habit. Lack of response leaves people uncertainty, and we have a deep dislike for uncertainty. THE THREE TYPES OF TALK CONNECT TALK ASSUMPTIONS (ESSAY) - Basic agreement, or agree to disagree - No tension, expectations clear - Bids for connection - Build emotional bank account - Can turn toward, away, or against bid CONNECT TALK STYLE ELEMENTS: - Small talk: chatty, sociable, casual - Simple descriptions of events, or of yours and others‘ actions, preferences, opinions, beliefs - Joking, story telling - Voice tone – friendly, relaxed DIALIGUE TALK ASSUMPTIONS (essay) - I need to solve my problem, not save face - I manage myself, not you - We both have to change - My story is my story – obvious only to me - Your story is your story – obvious only to you - I have all the data only when I listen to and understand your story - As DIALOGUE deepens, becomes more complex o You clarify your meaning and assumptions o How did we contribute to this situation? DIALOGUE TALK STYLE ELEMENTS: D: Descriptive language (use non-judgmental language: assume as little as possible; present facts as you see them) I: I-Messages (non-judgmental descriptive statements of your acknowledgment of the situation | perceptions and feelings (I hear, I see, I feel) | desired outcome or what you want to happen) A: Appreciative questions (get other‘s information, story, perceptions, views | Open door to information flow | Seek understanding of your information, story | Seek confirmation, agreement) L: Listen actively (Listen for their story, meanings | periodicaly reflect other‘s ideas in your words to show understanding | build trust | Listen for implied offers, partial agreement) O: Open acknowledgment (Of their concerns, fears, feelings | of the situation | in order to build bridges, show understanding) G: Genuine support (affirm other‘s right to disagree; see things differently | Support other‘s efforts to resolve | affirm their humanity) U: Understanding first (purpose and minset of DIALOGUE | Opposite of CONTROL (being right, winning) | Without mutual understanding, resolution can‘t be certain) E: Emotional self-management (Key to DIALOGUE | Begins with awareness of self/others | Pause and make choice not to react reflexively | Choose to move from how to cool feelings) Dialogue talk style elements (essay) CONTROL TALK ASSUMPTIONS (short answer question) - I need to be right - I must manage you and the situation to maintain my face - If I persist, you will change your opinions, beliefs, behaviour - Mu story is obvious and is the truth - My truth based on real data – my data - I have access to all the data I need - As CONTROL turns heavy o I know what you meant o You are to blame CONTROL Style elements (elements) - I talk from judgment - I use you-messages to tell you your story – how you ought to feel, believe, think - Ask questions only to prove for agreement and understanding of my story - Listen for leverage – only for agreement with me or for weakness in your story - I offer little or no acknowledgement of your story; only when you see my side - I offer support only when you agree with me STYLE ELEMENTS OF C.O.N.T.R.O.L. TALK  C. Critical Judgment  I Talk From Critical Judgment of You or Complain about your action  O. Offer Them New Information  You-Messages: Tell Them Their Story  Ask Questions To Probe For Agreement And/Or Understanding Of My Story  Listen For Leverage - For Agreement With Me Or Weakness In Their Story  N. Negotiate
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