Understanding effective communication

One to one communication can be described as a conversation between two people. Their conversation can show interest and support towards each other. It has two main categories important and unimportant. Over time all care practitioners will have one to one communication with a client on a one to one basis.

An example of one to one communication is a Social worker having a counselling session with a child.

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Unlike one to one communication a group conversation included three or more people. These groups can be made up of people who know each other or a mixture of people who have never met before. A group has many different roles such as a leader. The structure has a lot to play. A theorist called Tuckman in 1965 stated there was 4 main group formations which were forming, storming, norming and performing.

An example of group communication could be a staff meeting to talk about a client.

Formal Communication

Formal communication can be in many different forms. Information can be expressed formally in many occasions which could be under the influence of privacy, legal or facts being communicated. Formal communication can be in more ways than just a letter, it can be an e-mail or a phone call.

An example of formal communication would be a letter being sent out to a patient or client to tell of an appointment.

Informal communication

Informal communication takes place when we are in contact with others. These can include a small conversation with someone or a chat which is unplanned unlike a meeting.

A informal conversation could be a chat about the weather.


Text can be expressed in handwritten material but can include e-Mails and other electronic devices. Text can be used to communicate in patient records, policies and procedures, care plans and memos.

An example of text is a doctor writing a patients notes up.


Oral communication is based on spoken words. It can include listening and speaking and can be affected by the way the oral communication is spoken or received. It can be different in the term of the tone, pitch and pace of the way the words are spoken.

An example of oral communication is talking to a child in a nursery


Varying from situation to situation a touch can be accepted differently. Different cultures perceive a touch in different ways and can sometimes be inappropriate. It should be used appropriately conveying messages of support, caring and affection.

An example of touch communication would be shaking a hand of a new client.

Music and Drama

Music and drama can be used to express feelings. They are very good for an individual to express themselves in other ways. Music can calm a person which is good for relaxation and is very good within groups.

An example of music and drama communication would be a child acting out a situation.

Arts and crafts

Arts and crafts works in similar ways of music and drams, it’s another way of expressing their feelings without verbal communication. People with learning difficulties, children and clients who may have difficulty expressing their feeling. This form of communication could include drawing a picture, something what cannot be expressed in words.

An example of arts and crafts is a child drawing a picture of a fear like a spider.

Communication using technology

The use of technology is becoming more and more popular. It can be used to hold a patients records to save paper and have easier access this will not only hold patients details but all of their appointments and upcoming appointments in all care settings.

An example of communication using technology is a patients files on computer.

Types of interpersonal interaction

Speech and language

Speech and language describes the interaction of people talking to each other. Speaking has many different styles, everyone has their own variation. They can be broken into:

First language

This is the language that the child is brought up to speak in their home place. Speech and language may be affected by their region. They may speak different vocabulary or grammar which is known as dialect. It may only be slight but can be difficult to understand.

An example of this is the accent of a person


These are described as words used in informal language. They are not standard English expressions and shouldn’t be used in formal situations. They often change as new ones come into fashion and may be aimed to particular group. Some slang rarely comes into the formal English language.

An example of slang is giving a group the name of emos.


This type of language is used by professionals. It is very good within a conversation between individuals but can be very confusing for service users. Care workers need to take care when talking to patients so as not to use jargon so as to be fully understood by the patient.

An example of this is a doctor saying vitals which means pulse and pupils checks.

According to usingenglish ‘Jargon is the language used by people who work in a particular area or who have a common interest’

Non-verbal interaction

interaction just doesn’t happen through verbal communication it happens in many ways such as:

Posture and body language

Without knowing we are communicating using body language we are. We subconsciously are doing this all the time. Even if a person is sitting or standing can convey messages. An example of this is a person sitting and in a casual manner would suggest they are relaxed. Hands can also give messages if they are shaking the person may be scared or cold. Care workers should be able to pick up messages from a person’s body language to work out their true feelings.

Facial expression

Through the use of a person expressing their feelings through their face and eyes can be understood. In the case of a person’s eyes, if they are wide or open can express different meanings.Same with facial expressions if they show a smirk or a smile. A looks from a person can also give off information such as if they keep looking in the other direction this may show that they are feeling bored.


Touch can be used in a care setting to give messages of support or care, yet if it is used inappropriately and some people may misunderstand it feeling like a sexual interest. According to Stretch B (2007 Pg12) ‘ Touching another person can send messages of care, affection, power over them or sexual interest.’


Although many people may find silence strange form of interaction it can convey a message. It can be used for a client or patient to think about the required action or decision. It could also give off the feeling of anger or lack or co-operation.


Proximity is the physical space between two people. It can convey different meanings and be interpreted differently just like touch. It can be moving close to a person to make them feel like you are caring for them or in the other hand can be an invasion of privacy and can make a person feel uncomfortable.

Reflective Listening

This can assure the listener that you are listening to them without actually speaking. A small gesture like nodding of the head, a ‘mmmm’ or just making eye contact with the service user.

Variation between cultures

Differences occur between cultures and these could be attitudes, language or non-verbal communication. Different cultures have different expectations of who should be spoken to or makes the decisions in a family. This can be shown when a woman is not allowed to see a male doctor. There may be oblivious differences in language like Americans speaking English and Spaniards speaking Spanish. We need to respect all different language in health and social care settings.

Listening and Reflecting Back

Listening and speaking back to a person is a two way process. Health and social care staff have to listen and respond to many types of service users from different religions, race and accents. To work with these types of people they need to show empathy to make the service user able to describe their problem correctly, ask many questions to receive more detailed answers than just yes or no, and check that you understand them correctly by clarifying them.