The importance of communication has increased during the pandemic, The Turner Syndrome Foundation (TSF) presents this article to discuss effective communication and the barriers to it, communication in different situations, communication for social change (like TS awareness!), and resources to enhance your communication skills.
Paradigm Shift with Communication During the Pandemic
Communication is crucial for everything we do at work, school, and home. It allows us to understand each other and share our feelings and concerns. The pandemic has helped us realize that communication is not just important in our lives. It also helped us realize that it doesn’t always have to be face-to-face. In fact, because of more people working remotely, we discovered that there are many ways to communicate virtually. A few popular examples are social media apps like Facebook, Instagram, and email and virtual meeting software like Zoom.
To understand how to communicate effectively, we have to look at what obstacles prevent us from achieving it.
According to the University of Waterloo, some barriers include:
- Focusing on a personal agenda: When we worry about responding, we sometimes forget to listen to what others are saying.
- Criticizing the speaker: While it may be hard to separate the message from the speaker, sometimes we have to listen to just the message. Criticizing shows those you talk to that you have a personal agenda and don’t care about what they are saying.
- Experiencing information overload: Sometimes, too much information really can be a bad thing. It makes it hard to focus on what is important.
- Getting distracted by external “noise”: Loud music, talking, or TVs blaring can be very distracting, but noise isn’t just audible (e.g., distracting décor in a room or environmental conditions, like being too hot or cold, can prevent effective communication).
Overcoming Communication Barriers
- Be an active listener: Don’t just hear what the other person is saying. Actually take in the message, making sure the talk isn’t one sided. Show that you understand and are interested in what the other person is saying.
- Be open-minded: Be prepared to hear ideas that might differ from your own and understand that it isn’t always a competition.
- Speak clearly and confidently: This can help ensure that you are heard and understood.
- Read everything before responding: If you are using online forms of communication like email, make sure you understand and know what the other person is saying before responding. This will educe the chance of making the other person feel unheard or hurt or creating confusion.
Communicating for Social Change
Social change is defined as “changes in cultural symbols, rules of behavior, social organizations, or value systems.” In other words, it means transforming social intuitions through human interaction and relationships. Some key ways to foster social change are:
- Create a dialogue about a topic you’re passionate about and why you believe the current conversation on the topic needs to change: This can help raise awareness for your topic. When you actively talk about your topic with others instead of keeping it to yourself, people are more likely to be curious about it and want to learn about it.
- Have a friendly debate with others about issues you’re passionate about: Having debates can not only help create peer engagement on your topic, but it can help you understand different viewpoints. Thus, it can help you learn how to create possible solutions to your issue and strengthen your arguments for the next debate.
- Ensure that you communicate your point of view in a way that resonates with your audience: How can you compare the issue that affects your affected group to your audience’s common issues?
- Use language that is appropriate for your audience: This helps them view your issue in a way that they can understand. Explaining your issue’s more complex terms in simpler ways or using visual language like photos can help your audience understand.
- If your communication about your social issue is planned, make sure to test our your communication techniques while developing and tweaking them with someone you trust: Checking throughout the process makes it less necessary to make last-minute adjustments when you have few resources left to do so. Also, testing before the planned deadline can help enhance your techniques more, ensuring that they’re viable by the deadline.
- Host events and fundraise for your cause: Not only does this communicate to your loved ones and coworkers that you believe your cause is important, but it also communicates that they should be interested in learning about your cause, too!
Communicating at Work
Due to the pandemic, workplace communication methods have changed drastically. Workplaces have placed an emphasis on communicating in online environments rather than in person. This has led to a need to understand communication within remote work environments. The same recommendations for face-to-face communication still apply in most situations, but there are a few differences:
- When communicating for remote work, ALWAYS spell and grammar check.
- If you use using video-chat software for work, like Zoom, it’s important to maintain “eye” contact with the camera and dress appropriately for the interaction.
- Whether it’s an email, Zoom, or a real-life conversation, make you respond in a timely manner. This helps to communicate to the other person that you are an active listener who cares about their perspective and the conversation you’re having with them.
- Be aware of your tone when communicating with someone using written forms of communication. Remember, people on the other side can’t hear you, so try to avoid jokes and sarcasm. They can create confusion and misunderstanding in a conversation.
Webinar - Balancing Emotional Wellness: Communication
Do you want to learn more tips that can help enhance your communication skills? And how to navigate difficult situations at work without sacrificing your emotional health?
Check out the upcoming free webinar from TSF’s We Learn series, Balancing Emotional Wellness: Communication.
In this webinar, guest speaker, Pfizer’s Patient Affairs Liason, Michael Sager, discusses:
- What are effective communications methods to use at work?
- How can I improve my work relationships with these communication skills?
- How should I communicate when I am in a difficult work situation?
- How can I use communication to improve my mental and emotional health while I am at work?
About the Presenter
Mr. Sager earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Xavier University and a Master of Arts degree in Spanish literature from the University of Cincinnati. He then taught Spanish, exporting, international sales, and customer service for 12 years. He joined the Pfizer sales team in 2002.
Mr. Sager’s main passion is improving health and well-being through diet, exercise, compliance with prescribed therapies, and education. As a Pfizer Patient Affairs Liason, he looks forward to sharing his knowledge by supporting and aiding patients, including those in the TS community.
Register for the Webinar
Written by Skylar Starnes, volunteer TSF blog writer. Edited by Ruchika Srivastava, volunteer TSF blog editor. and Susan Herman, volunteer TSF lead blog editor.
- Ensure that you have either an Internet-connected device, like a tablet or computer, or a phone to call in and hear the webinar.
- Click on Register.
- Choose the amount of people you want to register with the plus button.
- Enter your contact information. If you have multiple tickets, do this for the other people you want to attend, as well. This info is private and will only be shared with people within TSF to better meet your needs.
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- Once you are done submitting and you have your ticket, look out for an email that includes information for viewing the webinar. The email will also give you a webinar recording link in case you were unable to attend the event, so don’t worry if you miss it!
Takeaway - What You Can Do Now
- Because of the pandemic, using various types of communication has become increasingly important.
- There are many barriers to effective communication, such as having too much noise, focusing on your own agenda instead of actively listening to the other person, and experiencing information overload.
- There are just as many solutions to overcome these barriers. Some include being open minded, speaking clearly and confidently, and actively listening.
- Communication can be used in many environments, including those used to promote social change. A few ideas include debating with others about your issue to strengthen your viewpoint and using the language that your audience uses so your point can be understood and actively remembered.
- Work communication has also changed drastically during the pandemic. Some tips that apply to both remote and in-person environments are ensuring that you respond and attend meetings in a timely manner and ensuring you look appropriate for the conversation you’re having.
- Want to learn more tips to help enhance your communications skills? Attend the upcoming free webinar from TSF’s We Learn series -Balancing Emotional Wellness: Communication on Wednesday, September 22, 2021 at 8:00 p.m. EDT. The presenter is Pfizer Patient Liaison, Michael Sager.
- To sign up, click here, read the instruction section above, or use this video for reference. Just know that your contact info will be confidential, and will only be used with members within TSF to help fulfill your needs.
© Turner Syndrome Foundation 2021