to go beyond
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When you are in high school, there are many essays to be handled in. Those papers are certainly not an easy task, actually, the process of delivery can be very exhausting. On the first hand, it has to have a specific form ––and it is even worst when one of the guidelines of the activity is if it is got to be done with APA norms–– plus, the language must be coherent, in addition to the paragraphs, that ought to have cohesion. Why is that so important? what is the reason for them to put us into such a hard time?
Probably, most of high school students do not fully comprehend the grounds that the educational system has when requiring this kind of tasks. However, as people grow older, the motives become clearer: it is just a way to prepare students for what it is to come. Did you hate writing essays for school? well, that is probably what you will be doing for the rest of your life, but with a tiny difference: there will be no grades; perhaps, you will just lose the most important deal of your career if your writing is not clear enough.
Written communication is one of the biggest challenges for negotiations. When speaking, everyone is able to get others understand what they are trying to say, one way or another. Nevertheless, when putting it down in a piece of paper, things change drastically. Professionals, children, businesspeople, and almost every person in the globe, has got the challenge to write; the thing is, that writing is not for yourself but for others to see your world view. The first and most dangerous difficulty that there is when transmitting information in writing, is that people do not know how to perform an efficient communication in paper. It is the daily bread, though it can get tricky sometimes.
Another important aspect of imparting knowledge to other people is verbal communication. Every single person talks day by day, but do they just do it for the sake of talking? How can somebody make sure that what they are saying is being truly understood by the receiver? Most of the world biggest problems have arisen for the misunderstanding of information because messages can get twisted. Is that a problem? for sure it is. Have you ever been to a store and wanted to ask for something ––which name you have forgotten–– but you cannot find a proper way to describe it? well, that happens. Isn´t that frustrating? Now, think of how infuriating it must be when you have absolutely no idea of how to make others get your point of view only because you have absolutely no idea of how to spell things out somehow. Isn´t that upsetting?
And what is even more exasperating is that it does not end there. Speaking and writing are not enough for human beings, because we always need to go further in order to comprehend something perfectly. Non-verbal communication is also a thing. In marketing, there is a tool named “face coding” and it reads peoples´ minimum expressions and decodes ––partially–– what they are thinking or the way they are feeling regarding a specific information that is being received. The face coding process is simple: first, the subject of examination (SE) has to put some lenses in. When they do, the examiner gives them a visual message ––it can be any object that a person can see–– and seeks to determine how the SE feels about it. The tool only recognizes the seven basic emotions a person can have (happiness, surprise, anger, fear, disgust and sadness).
The importance of showing what the face coder does is that us, as human beings, do not fully control our emotions or expressions and others can perceive it . Have you ever looked at someone as if you wanted to point a gun at their head? well, let me tell you that they probably noticed. Non-verbal communication allows others to comprehend even better what we want to say, and it points to a more transcendent way of understanding.
When we communicate something, even if it is verbal, written or non-verbal, we are using those three aspects together. How? easy. If we are speaking to someone directly, they will be able to see our expressions and movements; decode ––by listening–– the information we are giving, and they will as well, read between the lines of our message. Transmitting knowledge goes along with all three ways of communicating, they are not mutually exclusive and must be used as such.
Now, let me ask you something: If communicating is such a big deal, how about when it has to be performed with someone from a different culture? First of all, language can become whether the ice breaker or the freezer. Sometimes you get lucky, and the person to whom you are trying to talk, speaks your same language; at least, you can use your verbal skills to tell them what you are thinking. But let´s be honest, it is very rare when a person from a different country speaks your mother tongue as well ––even more when it is somehow rare––. When that happens you can take one of two paths: whether you both try to find a neutral language ––such as English–– or you will have to speak by gestures ––which will certainly not be easy––.
One of the biggest challenges for globalization is the big communicational barrier that we, as human race, have. Understanding what other people have to say is usually difficult, and it gets worst when they are not from the same part you are. Not only the language can vary, but also the culture, habits and so on. Being empathetic is complicated, even more when there is not a clear path ahead. Sometimes, some ´folks´ do not even know that they have to be empathetic, because they assume that what they do is the correct way to do behave. For instance, in some countries it is normal to kiss goodbye to others, but somewhere in the world, it can be considered as a disrespectful practice. Then, how do we do to understand and read those kinds of situations? It is certainly such a big deal.
However, it is not black and white; it is all shades of gray (Pompeo, 2006) because there are many ways to transcend and do better. For instance, Plus3 Global Project is providing me with several tools and practical situations to comprehend more about communication and its´ treats. We all can learn to make ourselves understand better, we all can be more empathetic and put ourselves in someone else´s shoes. All it takes, is to learn to read in a critical way. It is not enough to listen to others or to just decode information; what we all have to do is to go further and try to break that big communicational barrier. How can it be accomplished? there are many paths you can take: you can either read about different cultures, or expand your Instagram friends list, or try to talk to different people, and it keeps going beyond the imaginable.
This is just a sample of written communication. I am happy with the final result of this text, but I ought to admit that it was a big deal for me. Writing down this paper was difficult for many reasons: first, there was a lot of information in my head trying to come out and that would not let me organize my ideas; second, there is a giant barrier: the language. Even though I fully understand English, the fact that I hardly ever use it ––in an academic environment–– makes it harder for me to perform well at writing. And last but not least, given my perfectionist personality, it was really hard for me to see that I do not have the same ability to write in English than I have in Spanish. However, for those who took the time to look through this reflection, you can appreciate one example of how difficult it is to communicate in a cross-cultural environment. But trust me, it is worth trying.
Pompeo, E. (2006). Grey’s anatomy. Taken from: Netflix.com
Rua Helena, 140 cj 103
São Paulo – SP – Brazil, 04552-050
+ 55 11 3845-0550