This book is primarily the result of our interactions with students of different undergraduate and postgraduate courses at different workshops, seminars and training sessions on personality development, anxiety, anger, stress, conflict management and so on. In the course of such interactions they often expressed their problems and apprehensions regarding difficulties in adjusting to demanding situations, inability to excel in interviews and viva voce, inability to express their needs and requirements and so on. On analysis, we observed that many of these issues actually boil down to a common problem - lack of communication skills. We have also noticed that students can improve their general academic performance and their interaction with others in different spheres of life by participating in workshops on communication skills. To locate their specific difficulties or discomfort zones, a questionnaire was developed and distributed among students of different disciplines selected at random. The result indicated that the students in general feel constrained primarialy in the following areas:
■ Listening, responding, giving or receiving feedback.
■ Awareness and understanding of different areas of non-verbal communication and their relation to communication in its totality.
■ Ability to handle passive or aggressive communication from others.
■ Adopting assertive mode of communication.
■ Recognition of irrational and dysfunctional beliefs, assumptions and negative thoughts.
But everybody does not have opportunity to attend workshops on communication skills to deal with the problems in the above areas. This book is designed to help the students locate their own specific areas of discomfort or weakness in communication and work out a way to deal with them. It will also help them to acquire, adapt and use different skills and come out from their often harmful set of pre-conceived notions. The focus of the book being on self-empowerment, we hope that it will help them to evolve as responsive human beings capable of accommodating different perspectives in their own thoughts and behaviour.
Chapter r offers a brief overview on communication in general and its diverse dissensions. Chapter 2 provides a detailed discussion and step by step guidance on LISTENING SKILL. Barriers to accurate listening are also explained and guidelines are offered. Chapter 3 deals with RESPONDING AND FEEDBACK in the same manner. Chapter 4 offers an outline of different dimensions of NON-VERBAL COMMUNICATION. Particular attention is paid to dealing with difficulties in expressions and understanding. Chapter 5 is centred on ASSERTIVE MODE or COMMUNICATION Thorough exposure to different types of communication is provided with the help of lots of exercises. Skills training is provided with self-help technique. Chapter 6 provides guidelines for FORMAL COMMUNICATION REGARDING PRESENTATIONS. In chapter 7, a significant type of internal barrier to effective communication is described and illustrated in details, i.e. DYSFUNCTIONAL THOUGHT PATTERNS OR NEGATIVE AUTOMATIC THOUGHTS. Some guidelines are also provided for recognizing and substituting such distracted thoughts.
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