Part 1 – selecting a communication goal

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Introduction: Communication Change Challenge (CCC) Part 1
The Course Project is about improving your interpersonal communication skills. For this project, you will select a relevant interpersonal communication behavior to work on and improve (Week 1), attempt to change your behavior or pattern in the communication area you selected (Week 2), and evaluate your progress and performance (Week 3).

Click on the following link for project examples:

PROJECT EXAMPLES

Problem

A 20-something woman recognizes that she appears to frown and/or has a negative facial expression when communicating interpersonally. Others often misread her as a result.

Outcome

She set the goal of using a positive facial expression when communicating interpersonally. She was more successful at work and received significantly more attention in her personal life as well. She made many new friends and broke off a long-term, unhealthy relationship with her boyfriend as a result of the increased attention.

Problem

A 40-something woman with a successful career recognizes that she does not accept criticism well. Generally, she jumped to the defense and never heard, nor considered, the merit of the feedback.

Outcome

She set the goal of changing her response to receiving criticism. She found that she was able to learn from constructive feedback and was recognized in her review for the positive change in her behavior.

Problem

A 30-something man recognizes that he is taken advantage of by his co-workers because he does not know how to say no. He often does the work of several employees and is sometimes even mocked by the co-workers who know that he has this deficit.

Outcome

He set the goal to clearly evaluate requests from co-workers and say “yes” to those that are appropriate and to say “no” to those that are unreasonable. The co-workers were surprised at first and continued to challenge him for a time, but ultimately he won their respect and improved the working relationships significantly.

This week, you will select a communication goal or challenge that is related to interpersonal communication. You will work on this challenge for the following two weeks with the goal of improving your communication pattern in this area.

Project Timeline

The following is a breakdown of what will be covered in each part of the project:

Due

Description

Week 1

Selecting a communication goal

Week 2

Describing communication pattern, analyzing goal and developing a plan

Week 3

Implementation of the plan and evaluation of your progress

Instructions

Part 1
Take some time to think about challenges you have communicating with other people. These difficulties may involve strangers or acquaintances; consider communication aspects with friends, family members, or people at school or work. You may identify situations that involve specific individuals or general circumstances. Some examples include having trouble starting a conversation with someone you have never met, saying “no” when your sister asks to borrow money, or avoiding participation in meetings even when you have a question or contribution to the discussion.

Complete the steps in the following framework to identify a goal. Using the template for this week, detail each of the steps to explain how you chose this one communication problem area you intend to change.

1A. “I Can’t” List
What are your “I can’t” communication behaviors? Address verbal, nonverbal, listening, group communication aspects, and cultural differences. Click on and read the sample responses for this section first. Then, write and submit the following for this part:

. Make a list of six challenges relating to your interpersonal communication that you feel require attention because you “can’t” seem to do these well.

. Under each “I can’t” identified, describe the behavior in detail for the first paragraph. In the second paragraph, provide an example that illustrates that behavior

. Write a two paragraph response (description then example) for each “I can’t” behavior.

SAMPLE LIST SAMPLE DESCRIPTION

Challenge 1: “I can’t say no to a family member if he or she asks for my help.”

Description: Unless I have a really good excuse, I can’t say no when a family member asks me to do something. Even though I often feel like I am being taken advantage of, I still feel obligated to help. Our family is very close, and we do a lot of things for each other, but my family members tend to ask me to do the things that nobody else wants to do or is willing to do. It has become expected that I will do the things that others will not.

Example: Last week, I used a vacation day and cancelled personal plans on two separate days to tend to family business. On Tuesday, I took my grandmother to the doctor for an outpatient surgical procedure because my mother had an important business meeting that day. On Saturday, I cancelled a dinner with old friends to look after my three-year-old niece so that my brother and sister-in-law could celebrate their anniversary.

1B. “I Won’t” List
What are your “I won’t” communication behaviors? Once you have read your list of “I can’t” communication behaviors aloud and consider each one carefully. Go back and read each behavior aloud again, but this time, substitute the word “won’t” for “can’t.” (“I won’t ask my friends for favors when I need their help.”)

Be honest with yourself – were there behaviors on your list for which the word “won’t” seemed more accurate than the word “can’t”? Probably so, because there are very few communication behaviors that people are physically unable to do. “Won’t” suggests that an element of choice is involved.

Write and submit the following for this part:

Provide a list of any statements that you were honestly able to revise to say, “I won’t.”

Provide an explanation for each regarding why it is more accurate to say “I won’t” rather than the original “I can’t” statement.

Eliminate any “I won’t” statements from consideration for this project because the “I won’t” aspect indicates your unwillingness to actually make a change.

1C. “I Don’t Know” List
Now go back to your remaining “I can’t” communication behaviors and try substituting, “I don’t know how to” for the words “I can’t.” Instead of saying, “I can’t keep my staff focused on the discussion at hand during meetings,” try saying “I don’t know how to keep my staff focused on the discussion at hand during meetings.”

It is important that you do not take the phrase “I don’t know how to” too literally. You may find that you do know how to do some of the things on your list, but you don’t know how to change from your existing poor habit to an improved communication behavior.

SAMPLE RESPONSES

“I don’t know how to say no to a family member asking for my help” might sound strange to some. Of course you know how, you just say “no.” In reality, however, saying no may not be that easy, or it may not be your natural response. In addition, you may not recognize that there is a time for “yes” and a time for “no” and part of rectifying this communication behavior is establishing criteria by which you evaluate the appropriateness of saying yes or no given the circumstances. Then, you develop the necessary skills, language, and so forth to say no effectively.

Make a list of any statements you revised to say, “I don’t know how to,” and describe for each why this is more accurate than the original “I can’t” statement. If there are any issues that you still feel belong on your “I can’t” list, include a narrative to describe why.

The “I don’t know how to” items on your list are the ones to consider for this project. These are the ones you can expect to change by taking this course. Select one of these problem areas to work on for the remainder of the course and for the purpose of this report. Describe your process for eliminating additional “I don’t know how to” items to narrow your list to the one issue that you finally selected for the project.

WRITE AND SUBMIT THE FOLLOWING PART

Your list of issues that more accurately fit the “I don’t know how to” category

A narrative describing why you feel they belong there instead

Describe why you left certain issues in the “I can’t” category.

1D. Issue Selection
Write and submit the following for this part:

. A narrative describing how you eliminated those that remained in the “I don’t know how to” category to decide on the one issue you selected for your project. This section needs to be at least a paragraph long.

1E. Project Statement
Write and submit the following for this part:

A clear project statement of the communication behavior you will address with this project and the person or people with whom you will be communicating for this project

PROJECT STATEMENT

“I don’t know how to say no when my brother asks to borrow money.” A narrative describing how you eliminated those that remained in the “I don’t know how to” category to decide on the one issue you selected for your project.  This section needs to be at least a paragraph long.

Part 2
In order to gain further understanding regarding the communication challenge you have selected, you will need to do some research to find an outside scholarly source (in addition to the textbook) that addresses the challenge you face. Once you have located that source and read it, summarize the source and share how the information within the source has provided insight into your challenge and strategies that can help that challenge.

Continue following the template as you complete Part 2.

Begin with the title of the source.

The first paragraph beneath the title will summarize the source.

The second paragraph will explain how the information in your chosen source has provided guidance or insight.

End with a full APA citation on the references page

You will be submitting Part 1 and Part 2 as one document that begins with a title page and ends with a References page.

Writing Requirements (APA format)

Length: 4-5 pages (not including title page or references page)

1-inch margins

Double spaced

12-point Times New Roman font

Title page

References page

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