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uNIT2 Scisng in workplace situations | 2.2 Family and Relationships Objectives By the end of this section, you should be able to: 1. Ask appropriate questions to elicit information. 2. Explain erends in family lie 3. Express feelings on social relationships. Introduction People of different cultures and nationalities have various topics of discussion that are used when making conversations with one another. As mentioned in the carlicr section, Malaysians have a certain affinity for the topic of food. Another topic that we rend to choose when making conversation with associates and friends is family. Do you agree? Have you ever been asked about your family? In general, questions related to the topic of family could range from the size of your family 0 your marital status. || (7 Youhave sucha reat family, Mydin Oh, thanks. Ws {good to have you with us, Chin Since the institutions of marriage and family are of great importance among. ‘most Malaysians in general, they also form popular topics of discussion among friends and business associates. Think of your own social relationships with your friends, colleagues and business associates now — do you ever ask for and give information on your family and friendships? If you have, then you will probably find this section interesting as we are about to delve into activities that will help you familiarise yourself with talking about family and relationships. If you have not, consider this section as an introduction to you so that you will have an idea con how you could engage in conversations by using these topics. a 22| WAWASAN OPEN UNIVERSITY WUC 1H3 Engl othe Workplace There is also another area that we will be dealing with in this section — bridging the interpersonal communication gap. What exactyis that? To give you a better idea of what iis, let us ery this exercise. Your colleague says, “Your family takes up alot of your time, doesrti2” How would you interpret what you just heard? OF course, there are many interpretations thae you can think of. Let us consider the two extreme ends. On one hand, you could chink that your colleague i stating how caring you are to your family by spending much of your time with them. On the other hand, itis possible for you to think that he o she is commenting on how much time you ‘waste’ on spending it with your family. On a more neutral level, you could also be interpreting what your colleague said as an ‘innocent’ remark that merely states the time you spend with your family. All in all, we will be engaging in activities that will help us when talking about family and relationships. In addition, we will also attempt co bridge our interpersonal communication gap to avoid any miscommunication between the people we communicate with and us, Shall we begin? Bridging the interpersonal communication gap ‘We do not always communicate what we intend. Misunderstandings between people ‘occur when the listener understands the message differently from the way the sender had intended it to come out. Ask yourself the two questions below: + Have you fele offended by some cover the last few days? Is your answer "yes"? + Do you ever get up in the morning and say to yourself, "I'm going to intentionally make someone upsec by saying something hurtful?” Chances are your answer is going to bea “no,” right? ‘What do you think the moral of the story is? Well, the person who offended you might have got you upsee unintentionally. You could have assumed what his or her intentions were based on your negative reaction to his or her behaviour. “There is a higher possibility of having misconceptions when the topic of discussion is on family and relationships because we hold these topics close to our hearts. It is quite natural for us to react emotionally when dealing with topics that we hold close to our hearts. Ie would be good for us to practise active listening when we communicate with people. In addition, giving che benefit of the doubt will help us avoid any unnecessary misunderstandings with others. Giving the benefit of the doubt means not jumping to conclusions when communicating with others. Below is a quotation taken from Robbins (1992:8) that states the essence of this section: “1know you think you understand what you thought said, but fm not sure that what you heard is what | meant” What do you think of the quotation above? Does it sometimes apply to your communication with others? UNIT2 |23 Sadalsing a worglace situations | Talking about family Have you ever spoken about your family to your colleagues and business associates? Ifyou have, what areas of family life have you spoken on? Which aspects of family life do you share with your colleagues {and business associates? Here are some aspects of family life that you could talk about: + Size of your family + ‘Who-is-who’ in your family + Your siblings (brother and sisters) + Your off springs (children) + The activities chat you and your family do + Family traditions ‘Are there any other aspects that you can think of