Letter of Advice

8 August 2016

Letter of Advice Jasmine Lewis COM 200 Dear Ashley and Josh, Congrats on your new engagement! I know from experience that marriage has many trials and both parties have to be willing to dedicate and put their all into it once you join as one. The most important thing that makes a marriage or any other relationship successful is communication. There are going to be disagreements but knowing how to talk everything out and compromise when needed are also ways to have a long healthy life together. Practice needs to start now instead of waiting until you both say “I Do.

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Over the past five weeks, I have been studying interpersonal communication and would like to offer some advice that will be very useful to you both in this new journey. To begin, communication originates from the Latin word communico which means “to join or unite,” “to connect,” “to participate in” or “to share with all. ” The primary intention of interactions with other people is to meet our needs and to have influence on the world. Kathy Sole, author of “Making Connections: Understanding Interpersonal Communication”, defines communication as a process by which we share ideas or information with other people.

Therefore, it is essential to be able to distinguish between the principles and misconceptions in effective interpersonal communication. Automatically, we think of communication as talk, but it is much broader than just speech. Facial expressions, hand gestures, body movements, and body positions are also types of communication. Communication has a meaningful purpose. We always communicate for a reason which may be to meet personal needs, to learn about ourselves, other people, and the world, or to build and maintain relationships with others.

Communication is a complex process, and we will never know everything there is to know about ourselves and our relationships with others. However, the more we do understand, the better we can relate to others in our world and the more we can enhance our interpersonal relationships. (Sole, 2011). Another thing to keep in mind when working on improving communication is to learn how to choose words wisely. Words have the power to create and affect attitudes, behavior, and perception. Words are powerful tools and attitudes are communicated by word choices.

Remember, words can have multiple meanings because meanings are always personal and are influenced by one’s experiences and personality. Listening is a key component in communicating. One cannot understand others, respond effectively, or provide supportive feedback without taking the time to listen and hear everything that was said. One study estimated that 45 percent of all communication time is spent listening, compared with 30 percent speaking, 16 percent reading, and 9 percent writing . We sometimes confuse hearing with listening.

Listening involves hearing, but it is much more than just the physiological act of your ears perceiving a sound and transmitting the auditory sensation to your brain. Listening is a complex psychological process that can be defined as the process of physically hearing, interpreting that sound, and understanding the significance of it (Hayes, 1991). While most people think they are fairly good listeners, studies show that the majority of people listen poorly and inefficiently (Lee & Hatesohl, 1993).

According to John Adair, to be an effective listener, one must possess six qualities which are motivating yourself to listen, clearly hearing the message, paying attention to the message, correctly interpreting the message, evaluating the message, and remembering and responding appropriately. Motivation yourself to listen to one another simply means to make eye contact, focus on what the other will say, and having an open mind about what is about to be said. Outside distractions such as noise makes it impossible to hear what is being said and leads to assumptions being made.

Listening does not only mean paying attention to what is coming out of the speaker’s mouth. Remember people communicate nonverbally as well. I cannot stress the importance of interpreting, evaluating the message, and responding appropriately. Be sure to leave out personal biases, listen to everything that is said before jumping to conclusions or making judgments, and ask questions and paraphrase to make sure you received the correct message so that the right kind of response can be given.

Be willing to offer emphatic listening and be able to put yourself in each other shoes when your significant other needs that listening hear or some type of support. Understanding emotions and expressing these emotions appropriately is the key to successful communication with others. People who are aware of their emotions and are sensitive to the emotions of others are better able to handle the ups and downs of life, to rebound from adversity, and to maintain fulfilling relationships with others. As a result, say researchers, they can live more satisfying lives (Matthews, Zeidner, & Roberts, 2003).

Your level of emotional intelligence is indicated by how well you understand, communicate, and manage emotions and feelings, as well as your ability to understand and respond to the feelings of others. As you both can see, communication involves a lot from both parties in a relationship. No relationship can survive without communication, especially a marriage. You have to remember to consider each other’s feelings at all times and be willing put out any and everything that bothers you as well as be prepared to talk about the issues and negotiate when needed.

As a friend, I am happy for you both but I also want you both to know the significance of being able to talk to one another and listen with your undivided attention because you cannot effectively communicate without first taking the time to listen to the problem. I hope that the advice that I learned over the past five weeks and included in this letter will be a great help as you both begin a lifelong journey as one. Since the start of this course, communication skills have improved in my own marriage so I know that if these skills are put to use now, your marriage will be off to a start.

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