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Individual Proposal: Improving Interpersonal Communication

Submitted by Camila Coca


Salt Lake Community College
Comm 1010
April 4, 2016

Overview
Ive never had any issues with clear verbal communication or even with listening which
is why I never put it any thought in improving my communications skills. Yet I still felt like I
was doing something wrong I wasn't the person everyone instant loved and I had no idea why. In
my communication class, one of the first things I learned was that there are both verbal
communication and non-verbal communication. At first I thought that non-verbal communication
meant listening but as the class continued I realized that I was totally wrong. This opened I
whole new level of understanding for me. I strongly believe that by taking the non-verbal
information to heart I can become a more lovable person.

Description of Problem
One of the things I have never understood is why people instantly love someone I always
observed and tried to figure it out, its not necessarily their looks or even what the lovable person
talks about. I have always been a pretty mellow and straightforward person, and I now
understand the reason people don't warm up to me immediately is because of my nonverbal
communications. the impact of nonverbal behavior is powerful. In fact, when nonverbal
behavior seems to contradict a verbal message, the spoken words carry less weight than the
nonverbal cues. (Southern Speech Communication Journal. pg. 91 ) I need to put more thought
in how I look to others when I speak.
One of the most recent experiences with my nonverbal communications gone wrong is
when I was working with my group for a presentation in my communications class. The girl in
my group had barely joined the group and I quickly gave her the information to catch up with the
rest of us. I kept reminding everyone in the group to keep working on the PowerPoint so that we
wouldn't fall behind. This girl immediately responded by saying that she felt like I didn't want
her in the group. To me this came as a shock because I had no idea why she felt like that I was
just treating her the same way I was treating everyone else, straightforward. As I began to ponder
what I could have done to make her feel that way I came to the conclusion that it was because of
my lack of attention to my own non-verbal communication. One of the examples in the COMM
1010 textbook on page 95, it states that one of the types of non-verbal communication happens
when one uses their eyes and face. Although this seems obvious I don't ever think about what my
expression is. Usually I find that my forehead is always tense because when I am relaxed for
some reason I knit my eyebrows, to me this is just my face relaxed. I might also add that I am a
quiet person so to others it may seem like am an angry person all the time. As I realized what I
must look like to others, the girl in my class probably thought I was being mean when I said to
everyone, The more we work on it the better grade we get, and this is a team effort. And saw
me in class with my relaxed face.

Resources and Constraints


In order to improve my nonverbal skills I can use the textbook and read about other types
nonverbal communications and use them to improve other aspects of my own nonverbal
communications. Another thing I could use when trying to improve my nonverbal

communication is talking in front of a mirror, that way I can see what I look like to others when I
speak. As well as the book and a mirror another resource I can use my older brother. He is one
person that everyone seems to get along with. I can tell that his nonverbal communications are
outstanding. If I were to spend more time with him and his close friends then I can learn as I
interact with others which make the whole experience to become better a lot more fun and easier
to use un everyday life.
One of the possible constraints I face when trying to improve this communication skill is
that I work every morning and go straight to school after that until 10 PM. On the days I have off
I usually volunteer at the animal shelter and animals don't really give me a whole lot of feedback
on my nonverbal communication.

Recommendations
I propose that I start to consciously be aware of how others see me. In the textbook this is
called self-monitoring, which is the process of paying close attention to your behavior and ling
the observations to shape the way you behave (pg. 101). One way that I can achieve this is to use
my brother and let him know of what I'm trying to improve on and have him let me know every
time I have my eyebrows knitted. The more he does this, better I will be able to train my mind to
keep a relaxed forehead. After I feel that I have a more friendly resting face I can take it to the
next level and start to meet more people and see how they respond to me and my nonverbal
communication. In between meeting new people I will add more and more recommended types
of nonverbal communications and after a long trial-and-error process I will have improved my
nonverbal communications better.
When my nonverbal communication skill improve I will be able to communicate how I
really feel about topics, opinions, and even people. I will be an easier person to work with as
well as be able to make stronger and healthier relationship in the future. Ones that both people
involved will clearly know what the other means, boundaries, and what they're feeling.

Summary
Before this taking Comm 1010 I had no idea why some people avoided me or didn't
understand what I truly meant despite the fact that I verbally said it clearly. Then after a couple
of lesson in the class I realized that my problem was that I lacked the very important nonverbal
communication. As I pondered the many incidents I had, I realized that my biggest issue with
nonverbal communications was my face and eyes. So I came up with a plan to address the
problem. I would use my resources (textbook, mirror, other people) to practice as much as I
could and ultimately train my brain to have a friendlier face and increase my overall skill in
nonverbal communication.

Work Cited
Adler, R & J Elmhorst. (2010). Communicating at Work (10e). Boston: McGraw Hill
Stiff, J.B. (1990). Southern Speech Communications Journal, 55