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I consider myself to be a straight forward and honest speaker, I like to get straight to the point of what I want to say. When I get excited about something, my voice often gets louder and the speed of which I’m talking also becomes faster. I also unintentionally talk faster when I’m talking to a group of people and this can be form of social anxiety. According to Schlenker and Leary (1982) social anxiety appears to arise from people’s concerns about impressions others are forming of them and this resonates with me because when I’m trying to make a good impression, my nerves seem to take over and my speech becomes faster. I also regularly change the tone of my voice depending on whom I’m talking to, for example, when talking to my children, depending on the age of the child I’m talking too, my tone will either be more concise or more soft and warmer.
I use a lot of non-verbal gestures throughout the day to show affection towards my children and this can range from hugs, waves and blowing kisses. Because I have 4 children, it goes without saying that a lot of the time more than one child wants to speak and with that comes a lot of interrupting. When someone does interrupt, I use facial expressions to stop them and let them know that they are being rude, this is achieved by raising my eyebrows and putting a hand out in front of me, signalling them to stop. Unconsciously they can understand the message and choose how they want to proceed. When arriving within the presence of friends or family we can signal hello to each other by smiling or signal a yawning face to let them know we’re bored. According to Wood (2016) we can communicate messages through certain channels without speaking a word, the non-verbal cues we use provides very efficient ways to understand our peers within any environmental setting.
The characteristics specific to my culture are to treat everyone as equal and always show respect. The mannerisms I would show to an elderly person, I would also show to a younger person. All people are created equal regardless of gender, age, race and ethnicity, every person should be treated the same. By treating everybody fairly, I can judge certain situations as they arise, on a non-bias level. If I see someone angry or upset, my communication can adjust and accommodate accordingly. If a friend of mine is going through a hard time, I would offer my support by listening, telling them I care, encouraging them to talk and offering them my assistance. As stated by Omohundro (2008) “Cultures are strengthened by values, or shared understandings of what is good and right to do and to be, as well as what is bad and wrong”. This resonates with me because this is the very foundation on which I build from.
The way I communicate is very dependent on which setting I am in. For example, if I was in a setting where a funeral was taking place I would a follow a Rule-Guided form of communication (Wood, 2016). I would remain quiet unless giving my condolences or when I am spoken to, and if I was spoken to, I would reply in a lowered and sympathetic tone. Another example in a different setting is when I attend one of my children’s sports games, I am always extra loud and quite often you will find me yelling out encouragement. The encouragement in these settings can range from clapping and cheering to screaming and high-fiving. I also regard myself as quite a nervous speaker when having to directly speak to a crowd, this often leads to me unconsciously rubbing my thumb and index fingers together or rubbing the back of my neck, according to Solomon and Theiss (2013) this type of communication is called Spontaneous Transmission.
My areas of skills and strengths are my abilities to be empathetic, compassionate, understanding, honest, open-minded and helpful. When it comes to helping someone in a crisis, I can assess the situation as fast as possible and then come up with a solution immediately. I am very communicative and this helps me get to core issues that people are facing, especially within my own circle. If there is a problem that one of my children are facing, I like to face the problem head on by openly and honestly discussing it. Being communicative also gives me the ability to develop open and honest relationships because I am always open to understanding everyone’s point of view or feelings. I am flexible in adapting to my surroundings, making a conscious effort to understand any situation I am in. According to Snyder (1974), this is a concept called Self-monitoring of expressive behaviour, the ability to purposely control and consciously adjust my behaviour dependant on my surroundings.
My areas of weakness are when I speak in public, when I talk fast and my unconscious habit of dropping eye contact when directly talking to someone. Maslow (as cited in Wood, 2013) explains through his Hierarchy of Needs system that this can be caused by our self-esteem and belonging needs. An example of one of these weaknesses is when I am excited or upset, I can sometimes talk fast and this makes it hard for people to understand what I am trying to say. I am sometimes self-critical and quite often face internal battles of self-doubt. This can create a problem when I am trying to communicate a new project that I have come up with or even when I am trying to communicate positive thoughts to myself. The self-doubt sometimes expresses in my mind that what I am trying to achieve is unreachable because I’m not smart enough and this can sometimes lead me to backing out of important and interesting things.
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