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Julia Seargeant

Dr. Carolyn Clark

COMM 2110
April 29, 2015
RE: Self-Reflection Analysis of the Course
I think that the biggest take away I have from this course is the understanding that
interpersonal communication is fluid. It changes as people change and people change as they
are influenced by other people and other life experiences. There is a state of constant flux.
Meaning is always being redefined by one or both people at any given moment. I liked that this
course provides tools and skills that we can utilize to navigate the ever changing face of
communication in any situation.
The assignment I enjoyed the most was the second discussion (which follows). I posted my
answer on emotional intelligence. It appealed to me not only because I consider myself to be
such a person, but also the fact that more employers in the workplace are now valuing this type
of intelligence above intellectual intelligence.
Discussion 2
8. Emotional Intelligence (Beebe 7e, 2013, p. 139 & 153)

IN YOUR OWN WORDS (without using a direct quote) describe "emotional

Explain several key characteristics of Emotional Intelligence
o tell why these characteristics are important.
o provide an example of each characteristic
What are some of the benefits of developing your EQ?
Complete one of the following self-assessments:
o the empathy self-assessment on p. 153, last column.
o the Emotional Intelligence assessment at (Links to
an external site.)
What strengths and weaknesses did you identify through your own selfassessment?
Suggest one or two specific steps you can take to improve your own EI?

The best way to define emotional intelligence is by being in tune with both your own emotions
and others emotions simultaneously; it is recognizing another persons emotions while
managing your own at the same time.
In my experience, people who are emotionally intelligent are empathetic, highly observant to
nonverbal language, and are adept at listening between the lines. (132) More importantly, it
is not just exhibition of these characteristics independently, rather it is their combined use that
makes an individual emotionally intelligent when put into practice.
Empathy. The book defines empathy as feeling what someone else is feeling. (134) While the
text provides a concise definition, it is also accurate. Having empathy is knowing what another
person is feeling because you have experienced the same. If a child puts his hand on a hot stove
and subsequently burns his finger, we can be empathetic not just because he is crying, but
because we know the pain of that burn. This is empathy.
Observation of Non-Verbal Language. Often, I can see how others are feeling before they ever
utter a word. I dont think many people realize that emotions are reflected in our outward
appearance and I dont mean what we wear or how messy our hair is, although those things
can also be manifestations of mood and feelings. Generally, emotion is reflected in our eyes,
smiles (or lack thereof), how we carry ourselves (slouching or upright), etc. The being observant
part isnt just noticing these things while engaged in dialog, its observing them before a word is
even spoken.
Listening Between the Lines. The secret to listening between the lines is the simple
understanding that every individual communicates according to the self. What I mean is, the
majority of people communicate about themselves; they send and receive messages based on
internalization. Once I understood this fundamental aspect of communication, emotional
intelligence was easier to achieve. I found myself being able to respond rather than react.
I dont really know how to separate out each characteristic independently, so instead Ill share
two examples of emotional intelligence that I believe embody all of these key characteristics.
Example 1. I once attended a special two-day womens conference with a group of friends.
During one of the breaks between speakers, I noticed a woman sitting a few rows behind me.
She was conversing in muted tones to a friend sitting next to her. I didnt hear what was being
said. What I did witness were the flashes of emotion that jumped across her face. Some were
momentary, others a little longer. I recognized each and every emotion. Pain. Sorrow. Hurt.
Shame. Frustration. Anger. Hope. Disappointment. Fear. It was nearly excruciating to watch.
And before I knew it, I walked up, sat down next to this complete stranger and bear hugged her.
No words were exchanged. None were needed. Afterward, I simply stood up and returned to
my own seat.

Example 2. Some time ago my sister tried to goad me into an argument. She was in a foul
mood and wanted to pick a fight. She used several tactics, including hot buttons (128), which
she knew based on our history together would get a rise out of me. Realizing that this was
about her and had nothing to do with me, gave me the ability to be detached in a sense and
allowed me to counter her attacks rationally. I employed several strategies from the text, like
paraphrasing her statements for clarification, and over all my calm and collected demeanor
disarmed her. Not only did she eventually back down and even apologize for some of the things
she said, she even went a step further and admitted that several of her statements were said in
an attempt to hurt me. Recognizing that something about me or my situation had inadvertently
brought her own fears to the surface, we proceeded to have an open and vulnerable dialogue.
The benefits to emotional intelligence are many and varied. In addition to developing or
strengthening leadership skills, promoting career success, and improving interpersonal
relationships, emotional intelligence can also provide social support (146) and will quite often
diffuse contentious and emotionally charged situations. Really, at the heart of communication
we all want the same thing reassurance that our life experiences are not isolated events; that
we are understood and accepted.
My assessment through the link was interrupted so I never got the results, but according to the
text assessment, one of my strengths is accurately determining other peoples facial
expressions. An area of improvement for me is listening without interrupting. I do this often. I
dont think because I am overly self-absorbed, but more so because I easily become invested in
the conversation and in enthusiasm begin to share at inappropriate moments. I will definitely
practice the strategy of mental summarization to help stave off the interjecting.