Analysis of Interpersonal Perceptual Skills
Perceptual skills determine effectiveness of communication. If two people communicating perceive the information differently, then there will be a communication breakdown. Therefore, perception is an aspect that can become a barrier in communication. Perceptual barriers often result in confusion, false beliefs, misunderstanding, and false information, thus making the communication to be poor (Cleary 12).
Recently, I had a lengthy conversation with one of my African American friends, about the global economy. This was not a very close friend, therefore, I did not know much about the family background, except for the parents and siblings. While discussing about the various world regions and continents, and their economic standing, I mentioned that, since all blacks living outside of the United States have a lower economic status, then probably Africa is the poorest continent. My words made my friend become emotional and started yelling at me. At first, I did not understand what the fuss was all about, until this friend asked me to prove that all blacks outside of the US are poor. I later learnt that this friend of mine has close relatives living in Africa. Although I apologized to my friend, this did not work out, as that marked the end of our conversation, because my friend angrily left, leaving me standing there alone.
This is a case of perceptual barrier, which might affect my relations with others. First, if my friend tells the others about this, my mates might view me in a negative light. They will think I am mean, and therefore, some will avoid talking to me about related topics. Additionally, most African Americans with relatives in Africa will hate me for thinking I hate Africans living in Africa. I have lived with this stereotype for the longest time. The only strategy, which might be useful, will be for me to go and do an extensive research about the African continent, its people, and the general economy of the continent. Only then, shall I know the truth, and dismiss the falsified idea in my mind.
I experienced another case of perceptual barrier in communication, mainly with regard to ignoring information. This time, it was some years back in upper elementary. Normally, during essay writing, it was acceptable to exceed the required amount of pages by a maximum of one page. However, at a particular exam period, the instructor asked us not to exceed the required page numbers. She did not need even an extra third of a page, and that was the instruction. I was one of those students who would do extra pages in essay writing, therefore, I was used to have an extra page. On this occasion, even though I heard the instruction, I did not pay heed. I assumed that the instructor would just understand if I wrote an extra page because, I am used to doing that. I remember happily handing in my work on completion and walking out. When the results for the essay came out, I had been fined a whopping 20 per cent of my marks for failing to adhere to instructions. This affected my total results and made me feel disappointed.
This instance affected my relationship with my teacher. At first, I thought she was unfair, and maybe had started hating me. My teacher was also surprised and wondered what had gone wrong with me, as I was good at following instructions. She thought I had developed carelessness. However, this taught me a lesson, which I still consider important. I learnt never to ignore information in communication, by choosing to hear only what I am familiar with. It is important therefore, for one to listen to all information a person communicates, even though one does not subscribe to it. This is because, when a person speaks, they do that with a purpose, therefore, all the information must be taken into account. The above cases therefore, reveal the importance of getting rid of perceptual barriers in communication for effectiveness in communication.
Cleary, Sandra. Communication: A Hands-on Approach. New York: Juta and Company Ltd
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