Nonverbal clues also contribute to communication, she said.
By Lionel Ramos
Communication styles are constantly evolving and good leaders need to understand the importance of adjusting to ways people communicate, public administration Professor Sylvia De Leon said Oct. 5 in Oppenheimer Academic Center.
“What you say is sometimes less important than what you don’t,” De Leon said while she conducted the second session of a three-week leadership series for an audience of about 20 students and professionals.
“When you communicate with people, you have to look at the nonverbal cues,” she said
Leaders should be looking for nervous habits such as nail-biting, foot-tapping and repetitive hand gestures.
She is the coordinator of the public administration program and volunteers over 25 hours of her time each semester for the organization and hosting of leadership workshops.
People should be familiar with the basics of communication but also consider differences among groups.
“Most communities develop their own social cues,” she said, from things like head nods to handshakes to how people make eye contact.
She defined the four main styles of communication: feelers, thinkers, intuitors and sensors.
“Great communicators of the world use all four communication styles,” she said.
Feelers tend to base their interactions on the emotional aspects of communication and usually need to feel valued by others to be productive.
Thinkers are the opposite and are methodical and logical in their work environment while holding little regard for people’s feelings.
Intuitors are those who work according to a plan they they’ve made; they are often motivated by new ideas and will do whatever it takes to see their ideas come to fruition.
Sensors are those who require physical action to get work done and feel productive.
De Leon asked for volunteers to speak about leaders in their families.
History sophomore Regina Perez, a self-proclaimed thinker, said she considers her brother to be the most prominent leader in her family because of the neighborhood he escaped.
“I come from a ghetto, impoverished neighborhood,” she said. “I see my brother as a leader because he got out. He could have been in gangs and involved with guns.”
Her brother has since earned a master’s degree, and she is following the path he blazed by attending classes at this college in hopes of becoming a history teacher.
“I am an introvert. I would like to break out of that shell,” she explained in an interview concluding the session.
“I would like to use the tools I learn here to teach,” she said.
She said she was pleased someone barely beginning to pursue a career could sit in the same audience with professionals.
“San Antonio, back in the 1980s saw a lot of poverty,” she said. “People who had jobs felt a disparity with the educated.
De Leon explain the importance of communication in human relations.
“If everyone communicated properly, our entire country would be so united,” said De Leon, noting communication elevates people to a higher level of understanding of themselves and others, ultimately bringing them together.
“It helps to see other perspectives,” Perez said.
For more information on the leadership series, contact De Leon at 210-486-0192 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.