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How the communication cycle is used to communicate difficult, sensitive and complex issues

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The communication cycle briefly covers each stage and all aspects that needs to be covered, however when you are communicating with a vulnerable receiver there is more to be considered. You need to think about each individual stage in more depth; what sort of setting, what tone of voice, what your body language is saying and consider proximity.

If you are delivering bad news a busy setting is not appropriate, you need to arrange a quiet and confidential area where you can give them your full attention and the receiver has the opportunity to ask any questions.

You need to get your tone of voice right, too low could convey the message that there is no hope, and however too high could lead them to think that you are not concerned or supportive of their situation.

Body language can tell someone more than your words, if you are avoiding eye contact and holding yourself they may not be convinced as to what your saying creating inconsistency.

Proximity means how physically close we are to someone and where we position ourselves when communication. 15-45cm is intimate, 45-120cm is good friends, 1.2-3.5metres is acquaintances, and 3.5+ is public speaking. Depending on the situation depends on how you position yourself.

Idea occurs- I have just found out that a young couple are infertile and I need to tell them through one method of communication. At this point I need to consider their reaction and how I might be able to reassure them; I also need to think about what kind of setting I should tell them in and how I am going to say it. I decide to tell them in a quiet room away from distraction; this gives them the confidentiality they will need when receiving the news, it will also allow me to give them my full attention so that they can ask any question or seek advice.

Message coded- I need to decide what form of communication I am going to use to tell them they are unable to conceive. I decide I should use one-to-one communication; one-to-one communication can be beneficial to the couple. It allows the couple full confidentiality and is not as intimidating as to when a group of people are listening; this can help them to express their true emotions. it also allows me the sender) the time to fully understand them, for example where they want to go from here.

Message sent- I sit down so that I am at the same level as the couple to tell them the results. I lean forward to show interest in what they have to say, and engage eye contact to show they have my full attention. I am close enough to the couple to show sincerity but not too close that I am being intimate. As I tell them “I have received your results, unfortunately they have shown that you are infertile and unable to conceive”. I keep my tone of voice neutral and carry on to reassure them “there are still other options available to you; adoption and fostering” my facial expression changes to show hope.

Message received- the couple hear what I have said, they cannot have children of their own however they can adopt and foster. They begin to process the information.

Message understood- they understand that they are infertile and are unable to conceive a child of their own. It is difficult for them and they begin to think of a suitable response. By having a confidential setting they now have the opportunity to ask any question about what they have been told, process what have been said, or begin to look at other options to get a child of their own. If they think of a question to ask they cycle begins again however I will become the receiver.

This scenario is a more in depth example of how the communication cycle is used. This required more planning as more aspects where considered. All the needs of the couple were considered when the message was delivered which helped with the difficult of the scenario.

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