Question Description

***Original Assignment**

Typically, we think of verbal communication as the words that we use to convey messages. The reading for this week helps us see that other things may be communicated through our verbal messages beyond the actual words used. Our choice of words and how they are conveyed can have a tremendous impact on our interactions with others, including clients and colleagues in human services settings. In this first discussion forum for the week, you will review a fictional case study in which you will be asked to provide examples of effective verbal communication techniques in a human services setting.

Read Chapter 4 of The Interpersonal Communication Book and review the summary information found on page 107. Last week we discussed how a cultural framework might shape the meaning or understanding of communication. What other factors may determine the message conveyed through verbal messages? Consider some principles of verbal messages that would be important for working with clients in human services settings. Would these principles also apply to working with colleagues or community members? Think about some guidelines that could help us communicate more effectively with others.

Case Study: You have a new job as a case manager in an assisted living facility for individuals over the age of 65. Part of your job is to help new residents get settled in to the facility, including explaining activities that are available to them. You also try to help new residents become part of the community at the residence. John is a 70-year-old man who has recently moved into your facility. You discover that John has a slight hearing impairment which affects his ability to both communicate as well as participate in group activities, and you must consider this when interacting with him. Up until now, he has only lived in his own home. Using this case as your example, please address the following:

  • Discuss two factors that are a part of verbal communication, beyond the actual words themselves that might be important in your first meeting with John.
  • Using information found in Table 4.1 (page 94) of your text, provide two or three examples of effective verbal communication techniques that you could use to engage with John within this particular setting. Describe one communication theory that can be applied to your interaction (e.g., how you verbally communicate, how you perceive John’s verbal communication, etc.).
  • Describe one communication theory from Week One’s required website reading (i.e., constructivist, attachment, communication accommodation, attribution) that can be applied to your interaction (e.g., how you verbally communicate, how you perceive John’s verbal communication, etc.).
  • What do you think may make it more personally difficult for you to communicate effectively with John? Why do you believe this to be the case?

Guided Response: Consider ways in which you might like to interact with your peers. For example, what additional information might you share with your peers that could be helpful in their analysis of the case study? Did you respond in the same manner, or differently? Please be courteous and adhere to the rules of respectful engagement throughout your replies. Respond to 2 classmates, 100 words per response.

Classmate # 1

Dorreslalyn Mosses

Within my initial meet and great with John I definitely would like to consider themessages are packed and messages meanings are in people as two factors that stand out. Approaching John and while speaking to him It is important to package my verbal and non-verbal are mirrored. I want my my non-verbals such as eye contact and gestures to be welcoming along with my words. Also having a sign linguist present is another gesture that lets John know communication between us is number one on my list. This roles into the meanings are people factor; having a sign linguist available makes its easier to get both of our messages across to one another without having to guess what the other was is thinking or trying to say. It is also putting the non-verbals like hugs, high fives, eye-contact , or even just talking to John as though he doesn’t even have a disability.

From 4.1 chart, using non-verbal contact when appropriate with John is pertinent because this lets john know that what you are saying is associated with good intentions. Sign language is a non-verbal language so it is important to either have a sign linguist or learning sign language as a professional. Dialogue is important to create because John (or any other client) should NOT feel as though someone is talking at him. It should feel like a two-way street where both parties are speaking, which leads into encouraging John to speak on how he feels in regards to the information I as professional had loaded him up with. As I encourage him to speak, the more I can understand how he perceives information , and how he feels.

Speaking with John would apply to accommodation “speech” theory. Due to the fact John has slight hearing impairments, accommodating or to his style of communication is huge to ensure the message reaches him and that he understand it.

The only difficulty that may arise is how the message is perceived. As a professional that works with a range of different people with or without disabilities, how someone perceives a message can become difficult if they are used to another type of communication or has level of understanding that does not take well. Also someone people are difficult to work in general.

Classmate # 2

LaTina Wright

In meeting John for the first time making him feel comfortable and understood would be my primary goal. Two considerations that would be utilized in our verbal conversation would be packaged and confirmed messages. I would smile when I greeted him giving eye contact, while speaking slow enough so he can read my lips, but loud enough for him to hear. For instance, if I wanted him to have a seat while meeting with him I may open my hand towards the chair while asking would you like to sit down? According to our text, (DeVito, 2016) “usually both verbal and nonverbal behaviors reinforce or support each other” (p. 94). Gesturing him towards the chair while asking if he wants to sit down helps transcend his hearing impairment. Using table 4.1 I would also have John demonstrate to me that he understood everything communicated. It would be my mission to ensure I confirmed all my verbal messages with John by confirming his decoding of the message.

We know that John has a hearing impairment and one must modify the manner, in which one would normally speak. Applying the communication accommodation theory would be appropriate in this case. According to the article you would subconsciously change your dialect to adjust to the receiver while using hand motions as well which should create a greater rapport (Changing Minds, 2002). In this case I may annunciate and elevate my voice to ensure John can hear and understand me.

I think it could be challenging to communicate sometimes because I am sure I would have to repeat the message several times depending on the degree of impairment. There may also be times where he thinks I am saying one word or phrase, however; I am saying a completely different than his interpretation. Lastly, it would be challenging communicating confidential information with him as you may have to speak loudly and you want to protect his privacy at all times.


Changing Minds. (2002). Communication Accommodation Theory (Links to an external site.) (Links to an external site.). Retrieved from…

DeVito, J.A. (2016). The interpersonal communication book (14th ed.). Retrieved from