By Iongwa Mashangao, CLI Partnership Manager
In certain circumstances and in numerous situations people will do what you say without truly agreeing with what you are saying. This creates the need of equipping CLI Youth with effective communication knowledge and skills so that they are able to bring about the desired positive changes in the Congolese communities.
There are two forms of behavior that govern how people communicate; aggressive or assertive behaviors. Aggressive behavior is not ideal while assertive behavior ensures effective communication. These t two components have to do with how we express ourselves. We can either be passive or active in our communication. In any interaction the ideal situation is one where individuals actively communicate. The ultimate goal is that in any form of communication both interacting parties win. This can be done when mangers take into account another person needs so that they can ensure that they are met.
Ultimately it is very important that when we communicate we take into consideration another person’s needs so that in the end both parties win and our communication is effective.
The following key aspects- eye contact, gestures and hierarchy are essential to consider to improve the effective communication.
Eye contact plays a major role in communication and it is understood differently across cultures. For instance in some people’s culture when children communicate with their mothers they look down and avert their gazes. This is because if they maintain eye contact may be perceived as aggressive behavior. But, in a different culture looking down during an interaction may signal dishonesty. Therefore it is important that you ask yourself the following questions – what is the role of eye contact? What does eye contact mean in this context?
Gestures play an important role in communicating. That is why people possibly believe that actions speak louder than words. That is probably why for instance in certain cultures one can hold your hand or pat your back to emphasize a point. However in some cultures this can pose a problem, especially across genders where such gestures are interpreted as undermining personal space. Therefore care needs to be taken in the use of gestures in communication.
When communicating with someone with a higher authority in some cultures you cannot speak after they have spoken. You might find that in some cultures once someone has spoken you may not challenge what they have said. In an interaction where you might be compelled to challenge an authoritative figure you may be able to communicate your opinion by taking a person on the side and voicing your opinion.
When you are working in a new country or community where you are not necessarily sure of what cultural norms are acceptable, find out. It is important to do research because it helps.
Communication is different in different cultures. Therefore, find out more about the unwritten rules of communication so that you do not offend anyone. Most importantly, in any situation, be sure to ask if you have any doubts on how your communication styles will be perceived.