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According to (Stewart, 2012), interpersonal communication is defined as “the type of communication that happens when the people involved talk and listen in ways that maximize the presence of the personal” (p.32). Thinking about my interpersonal communication need, my mind focused on my reasons for wanting to enter into the field of counseling. I am told when people are talking I have the tendency to look hard at the person, I’m really not sure of the meaning. I do know in the past weeks I have learned interpersonal communication is a process. A process by which people exchange information, feelings, and meaning through verbal and non-verbal messages. It is not just about what is actually said, the language used, but how it is said and the non-verbal messages sent through the tone of voice, facial expressions, and body language. Many know I have a slight hearing loss therefore, I concluded when I am told “I look hard at the person” my expressions are shown non-verbally. Though it’s not a bad thing, it shows that I am listening to what is being spoken and it gives me the opportunity to make sure what is being said is what I hear.
In the book written by (Burley-Allen, 1995), Listening the forgotten skill, my level of listening is empathetic. Being in ministry I try to help as many as possible, I try to understand the other person’s point of view. “Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end” (Proverbs 18:20, King James Version). I can relate personally to a lot of the women especially wanting someone to talk too, without judgment or feeling they can never do anything right. I look at issues from their perspective, and let go of the “if I were you” statement and have an open mind. The Bible states, “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers” (Ephesians 4:29, KJV). Again in the past weeks I have learned the distinction between hearing and listening. Hearing refers to the sounds you hear, listening means paying attention not only to the story, but how it is told, the use of language and voice tone, and how the other person uses his or her body. In order for me to be affective and do what God has called me to do, I have to listen effectively and be aware of both verbal and non-verbal messages that are being conveyed.
References Burley-Allen, M. (1995). Listening: The forgotten skill (2nd. ed). New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Stewart, J. (2012). Bridges not walls: A book about interpersonal communicaiton. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.