In this age of communication there’s heaps of ways we communicate and being a fan of technology I use a whole gamut of communication channels, from the trusty emailing to sending SMS’s to instant messaging. Yet I still find that talking using my own speech, even though it can take time for people to grasp what I’m saying, is often the most efficient way to communicate.
I have many communication techniques I use when chatting to people. When I meet new people, I try to talk with short common sentences. This gives them opportunities to succeed and with this they are more likely to continue to interact with me.
Man! It really used to annoy me when people who have just met me, have this undying urge (I see it in their eyes). It is a compulsive, massive, monstrous all engulfing urge – to inform me. They say something like, “Darryl, please be patient with me as it might take me a quite some time to understand what you say.” No shit! Really? Tell me something new. Once I reassure them and give them encouragement our conversation continues but it is always amusing and difficult not to come up with some smart-arsed comment.
Anyway back to the communication tricks I employ to assist new acquaintances as well as with many people I communicate on a regular basis with. Having them repeat back to me the gist of what I am saying helps ensure our conversation remains on the right track. As I am talking I try to pause after each sentence or so, or even after a key word allowing them to confirm their understanding. By placing key words and phrases at the beginning of conversations and sentences, gives my listeners early cues of what I am saying. When people are having trouble, I repeat the same sentence or key word a few times. If then they are still having trouble, trying to re-word the sentence or coming at the topic from a different angle can also be useful. Often I will resort to spelling key words if necessary.
Depending on the situation, I use my communication device only for initiating conversation and once the person is at ease I slowly start to use my own speech fading out the use of the device and only using it to support the conversation by entering key words or phases to keep things rolling. Yet, if the situation is that I need to talk to someone who I am unlikely to meet again, like a shop assistant, or it was just too difficult to speak such as at a noisy party, I solely use the communication device for the whole conversation.
Here's some handy things to keep in mind when interacting with someone a speech impairment copied from UCP website:
- Listen attentively when you are talking to a person who has a speech impairment. Keep your manner encouraging rather than correcting. Exercise patience rather than interrupting or attempting to speak for a person with speech difficulties.
- If you are having difficulty understanding what the person is saying, listen for key words or phrases or ask questions that require short answers or a nod or shake of the head. Never pretend to understand if you are having difficulty doing so. Instead, ask the person to repeat what you do not understand and allow the person to respond.
- Do not raise your voice when speaking to a person with a speech impairment. Most people with a speech impairment can hear and understand clearly.
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