The World Revolves Around Good Communication Skills - Dr. William Lane
Posted on 07/27/18 in Social and Recreation by Milestones
How can one practice better face-to-face communication?
In today's world of communication technologies, that question is something we should all be asking ourselves, whether we are on the autism spectrum or not. As the world continues to grow more connected electronically, strong communication skills are easy to forget about, yet are still essential for success.
Having assisted many clients with varying degrees of communication skills, education consultant and self-advocate Dr. William Lane knows firsthand that it is necessary for us to be aware of how we practice daily communication, especially in such a technology-saturated world. Below, Dr. Lane shares a few strategies he uses himself, and with other individuals on the spectrum, to improve face-to-face interactions in an era of convenient technology:
The first step is wanting to listen to what the speaker was saying. When wanting to listen, you pay close attention to what the speaker is saying; not only with your mind but also with your facial expressions and body language. When someone is speaking, it is necessary that you provide the speaker with clues of your interest in continuing the conversation. A few examples of facial and body language that are conducive to promoting future conversation are good posture, leaning forward, arms and legs uncrossed, smiling, and having your head up.
The second step is engaging in listening. Engaging in listening is applying those skills used when listening to your teacher or your boss speak. It is that, “I must listen to what is being said as this is very important in order to complete the task."
The next step is during any conversation, practice staying on topic. On occasion, it is easy to talk about a subject that you want to address. Paying attention to what the speaker is talking about and asking questions about that topic helps keep the conversation flowing. This can be done by asking open-ended questions about the subject of the conversation. Some examples of open-ended questions are “who, what, when, where, why and how”.
Fourth, take responsibility for participating. Communication is the transferring of information from the speaker (message sender) to the listener (message receiver). Communication is a two-way process that involves at least one sender in a manner that allows for message delivery that is clear and successful, and by at least one listener who receives and understands. Participation allows for both continuation and remaining on topic.
Finally, delay judgment. Delay preparing your response to the topic of the conversation until the speaker is finished so that you are able to listen to understand rather than listening to respond. One of the biggest communication problems occurs when instead of listening to what the speaker is saying, the receiver of the message is preparing how they are going to respond to what was being said.
To help me remember these steps, I use the acronym WEST-D.
W - Want to listen