When I communicate with children or adults it is important that I take into account what each individual is feeling and what they want to say. I can do this by carefully observing a variety of reactions. Some adults and children are confident to express themselves verbally, but for some I may only be able to gauge their response by observing their facial expressions, their body language or what they do not say. It is therefore important that I develop the skills to ‘read’ children and adults by understanding their nonverbal as well as their verbal reactions. Observing reactions: some points to bear in mind:

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I will discover that individual reactions may relate to personality, culture or religion Sometimes I will have to adapt the way I communicate because of the way a child or adult reacts to me. It is important that I observe a range of different reactions so that I know how to respond to a child or adult. I need to understand that children or adults express what they may not be able to put in words in a variety of ways. This may be as simple as lowering their eyelids with embarrassment orbiting a lip through nervousness. I also need to be aware that expressions can be different meanings for different cultures.

Nonverbal reactions: >facial expressions: The saying: “Have you heard someone say that they know what someone is feeling because of the look on his or her face? ” This is often true, as facial expressions can be a way of finding out how someone feels. Facial expressions can also accompany talk: for example, a child or adult might knit their eyebrows if they are puzzled about something and tight lips may mean that someone is angry about something. This will obviously vary from person to person and from culture to culture. Eye contact refers to a person’s behaviour while looking- whether they look in my eyes or not.

People may have intense eye contact because they are trying to understand me. However, some cultures or people may avoid eye

Page 2 Why it is important to observe an individual’s reactions when communicating with them Essay

contact when they do not understand or agree with me, want to avoid showing their feelings or fear negative feedback. Body language >Body language can often indicate people’s attitudes and emotions: If the person I am communicating with has arms crossed tightly over their chest, this may indicate anger or tension. If they lean forward with separated arms and legs, this can communicate warmth and friendliness. Indifference to my communication maybe expressed through shoulder shrugs, raised arms, and outstretched hands.

Clenched fists and hunching may convey anger. Slouched shoulders may convey a lack of confidence. A posture with the shoulders back in a relaxed position makes it more likely that others will view me as self-confident. Gestures: Sometimes people we know will make certain movements with their hands they are perhaps embarrassed or unhappy. It is important that I will learn to observe and understand as much as I can about the gestures of the adults and children that I am communicating with: People often use gestures such as head and hand movements to reveal or conceal feelings.

They can use them to add emphasis, to illustrate points, and to manage turn taking. A nod may encourage others to continue talking by nodding from time to time, whereas some gestures such as scratching my head or face indicate impatience or indifference. Touch: Touch is an important part of non-verbal communication but I have to be sensitive as to how people use accompanying gestures. For example, to get your attention an adult may touch your arm while saying ‘excuse me’.

If I observe carefully, I will see that a touch I think is firm may be actually kind, such as a hand on a shoulder or a handshake. It is also important to know that for some cultures touch is not appropriate. Voice tone: Voice tone is important part of understanding how a child or adult is communicating with me. Reactions can vary and a quiet voice that indicates nervousness in one adult may just be a natural tone of voice for another. I need to make sure that I observe each individuals tone of voice as well as their physical reactions, so that I can interrupt them clearly.

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