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We use our phones and computers minute by minute, hour by hour, and it is the mediator between us and the person on the other end. It has become our means of communication and we cannot forget the relationship and skills we have had to learn because of it.

Emotion, body language, and context are all taken out of emails and text messages. Yet, this is how we do the majority of our communicating on a day to day basis. When the face to face aspect is taken out of the equation we have to use our words wisely and bring them to life on paper (so to speak).

As interpersonal communication is an exchange of information between two or more people, that leaves the door open for a lot of different ways to actually exchange that information. That would be a mediator, or a go-between.

Okay, so some of this seems elementary my dear Watson, but sometimes we have to go back to the basics. Less is more, is the term I like to use. Even when it comes to fashion (which is my hobby on the side) I love that saying. And just as my outfits do the talking, they send a message to everyone that I love fashion and I love to look put-togther and polished. In a way, it's my own special form of interpersonal communication .... and the clothes are the mediator. #realtalk #thatwasdeep

Yet, just as people take words out of context even when we are face to face, we have to be even more careful when using a mediator to communicate. I always have a co-worker read an important email before I send it, just so I can see if they understand my tone and my intentions. Be aware of what medium you are using, and if it is formal or non formal, and know your audience!

Wh are some ways you mediate communication? Social media sites, blogging, painting, exercise, or even sending a fax. Wait, what?

Happy Thursday, everyone!

Let's take a look at 'A Day in the Life' of someone who is constantly using their interpersonal skills around the office with their co-workers and also with clients.

A perfect example comes to mind on someone who uses these skills for every part of their day. Our Client Services team here at Ellipse is constantly on the phone helping clients, answering emails helping clients, and talking to our programmers or project managers to help said clients. See the pattern here? They get to put their Interpersonal Communication knowledge to use. Just like we talked about last week, they use the Elements of Interpersonal Communication: the communicators, message, noise, feedback, context, and the channel. As they talk to clients all day long and help solve the world's problems, they have to take into account all of the above tactics.

Depending on how angry someone is, how urgent the issue is, or if the person on the other end of the phone/computer just quite understands what is going on. They have to understand just what is needed of our team in order to have a great end result for all parties involved. In some aspects, they are the voice of Ellipse. Some clients might never talk to anyone else at the company, so they have to be helpful, kind, courteous, and quick!

Just today, someone called in about a ticket they submitted yesterday. (Tickets are a way for us to help track an issue, and keep in contact with the client) They wanted to know just why it wasn't completed and fixed yet, I mean come on, it's been a whole day! So one of our awesome Client Service reps check on the ticket number, walked over to our programmers and asked more details on the issue at hand. It turns out, it was going to take some time to correct the error, and Client Services just needed to inform the client. They call the client back and give them a more detailed breakdown of the timeline and how they will be in touch with them once they know more, but that the programmer is working on it, and it's next in line to get corrected.

See all those interpersonal skills at use? It's awesome! People talking face to face, over the phone, in an email, and getting a message across is just what each of us do on a daily basis! Communicators, message, noise, feedback, context and the channel!

The next time you are working along like a little busy bee, see how many interpersonal skills you are using within just a few minutes!

Want to learn some insight about your own interpersonal skills? Take this quick test I found to help, it only takes a few minutes.

May
15
2015

Many houses were just piles of rubble in this mountaintop village. I felt very sad when I heard the stories of the villagers

Dear Friends and Students,

I am still in Nepal. Since I was here when the second earthquake of 7.4 happened, lots of people are worried and I got many emails and text messages. Unfortunately I do not have time to write individual emails to everybody and I am sending this letter to all my friends and students to let you know that I am fine and continuing my work in Nepal. I am very busy everyday with our efforts to relieve the suffering of those who are affected by the earthquake.

Do you have time to read a short version of my earthquake experience? Here it is.

Frightening Moment on Top of a Himalayan Mountain

When the second big earthquake happened, I was on top of a mountain. We had driven 18 km off the main road, two hours from the capital Kathmandu with two truckloads of relief goods, one four wheel drive jeep and two motorbikes. We drove on a small, unpaved road with great difficulty as we were going up the mountain. Eventually we arrived at the village of Vaisheltol just before midday. The truck drivers were not pleased to drive on such challenging roads but did not complain much because we were with an army officer. When we arrived at the village, the valley below and the panoramic view of the mountains were breathtaking.

A small community of 45 families lived on this mountain. Most of the houses were destroyed by the first earthquake and some were damaged and still standing. Some families were living in broken houses. The houses were built with brick and mud and usually had three floors. The first floor is for animals and crops. The first big earthquake killed twenty-seven people and many were injured. Nobody had come to this village to provide any aid.

Captain Pradeep was one of the first army officers who reached this village by foot after the earthquake and he said he had tears in his eyes on that day. He had arrived here on the second day after the earthquake, which is how he knew about his village. Captain Pradeep was introduced to me by our Sri Lankan General Maithree Dias who was the commanding officer of the Sri Lankan army rescue team. I decided to go and help these people because Captain Pradeep requested that I come here and help the people of this village because after fourteen days nobody had reached this village yet to help them.

We had two pickup trucks. One truck carried iron sheets for roofing and the other truck carried food supplies. Every family got 30kg of rice, oil, salt, lentils, and buckets for carrying water.

All the people had gathered in an open space. Each family received food supplies and was waiting to receive the iron sheets for roofing. That is when the scariest moment for everybody reached us.

The whole mountain was shaking. It felt as though the whole mountain was crumbling underneath my feet. People were screaming and running. Mothers were hugging their children. Clouds of dust from the falling buildings were on every side of us. To my left, to my right, and at my back were clouds of dust from falling walls of the mud houses. At the time I was facing the mountain across the valley. We were so high, the rest of the mountains were below us. We saw a landslide in the distance as the mountain walls were collapsing. The dust clouds looked like the big smoke from a wild fire.

Some people were running towards the falling houses, maybe because they suspected that their children were inside. One of the young monks who is my assistant and who had experienced the first earthquake, Rev. Soma, completely froze. His mind went blank and later he told me that his hands were shaking and heart was beating fast. I had to raise my voice as I called his name. I heard that many people died from heart attacks during the earthquake and now I can understand why.

Captain Pradeep told me that he believed that we might have saved some lives on that day because everybody had left their broken homes and gathered in an open space to receive food and other aid from us. The way the bricks and walls were falling, most certainly if somebody were to be there inside the homes they might have gotten hurt.

Before we started our journey back, we gathered everybody and did some Buddhist chanting to bless them. That brought smiles to their frightened faces and they were thankful for what we did to help them. As we left the village and started our journey down the mountain, I wished that more people will go the extra mile to help those who are living in such difficult conditions and have lost everything they owned, especially their loved ones and the homes. Yes, I am willing to take up such challenges (without complaining about my back pain) as long as I am here in Nepal.

Thank you very much for all your help.

May you be well and happy.

Bhante Y. Wimala

Captain Pradeep sharing his experience of the rescue mission in this village. “I had tears in my eyes when I first arrived at this village after walking for two days by foot”.

Just before the earthquake people were happy as they were receiving relief goods.

A few minutes after the earthquake clouds of dust slowly settled. People were hugging their children and loved ones.

Head over to his website for more stories and updates!

May
14
2015

We all need a few guidelines and steps to know how interpersonal communication works. Remember, it's a combination of verbal, non-verbal, formal, non-formal, and even business communication.

In an article I read the other day, it broke down the elements of what interpersonal communication is. It helped me to understand just how it effects my day and how I need to be aware of refining this skill set.

Elements of Interpersonal Communication

The Communicators

It is easy to think about communication involving a sender and a receiver of a message. However, the problem with this way of seeing a relationship is that it presents communication as a one-way process where one person sends the message and the other receives it. While one person is talking and another is listening, for example.

The Message

Message not only means the speech used or information conveyed, but also the non-verbal messages exchanged such as facial expressions, tone of voice, gestures and body language. Non-verbal behavior can convey additional information about the spoken message. In particular, it can reveal more about emotional attitudes which may underlie the content of speech.

Noise

Noise has a special meaning in communication theory. It refers to anything that distorts the message, so that what is received is different from what is intended by the speaker.

Feedback

Feedback allows the sender to regulate, adapt or repeat the message in order to improve communication. Our pages: Clarification and Reflecting describe common ways to offer feedback in communication, our page: Active Listening describes the process of listening attentively.

Context

All communication is influenced by the context in which it takes place. However, apart from looking at the situational context of where the interaction takes place, for example in a room, office, or perhaps outdoors, the social context also needs to be considered, for example the roles, responsibilities and relative status of the participants.

Channel

The channel refers to the physical means by which the message is transferred from one person to another. In face-to-face context the channels which are used are speech and vision, however during a telephone conversation the channel is limited to speech alone.

Each of these elements come in to play more often than you realize. It's like one of the involuntary things that happen while you're heart is pumping, you're breathing, you're nerves system talking. (Okay, crazy comparison I know... but it's true!) We are constantly using the above interpersonal skills, but they way to make them enhance and refine them is to be well aware of how they function and play an intricate role together as a unit.

Be sure to go read the full article – it's good stuff!

May
11
2015

Please Help Families in Nepal

Far removed from the headlines, the restoration in Nepal continues. Buddhist monk, and friend of Ellipse, Bhante Wimala is at the epicenter of recent earthquake facilitating victims of the disaster. Ellipse just wired $3,000 to pay for temporary housing for 25 families, and we hope we can raise matching funds for something a bit more permanent for these families rather than just corrugated steel roofs and side walls. What will work for the immediate, will not withstand the monsoon season just around the corner.

In an effort to facilitate immediate transfers Ellipse will accept your donation via credit card, wire money to Nepal via Moneygram directly to Bhante and facilitate your charitable contribution receipt from Triple Gem Society, a New Jersey based 501C3. The good news is there is no administrative adjustment as all monies collected will be used exclusively for materials purchased by the monk. He is even providing the truck!

If you have questions or concerns, please call me directly, Lisa Benson 214-212-9497.

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