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Successful Life: Interview Reflection Essay

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This essay is written to reflect on an interview conducted on Stephen King, a 68-year-old male patient. King had been a doctor in the Australian army for more than thirty years. Due to the high level of competency and brilliance that he exhibited on his work, he managed to go to several expeditions. This included peacekeeping missions in Africa and the Middle East. As a result, he managed to get a great deal of experience both for his career and life.

An interview was conducted on King on the topic, what makes a person successful in life and the views and advice he had for the individuals of the younger generation. To gather all the required information for the exercise, a mix of communication skills were employed. This included verbal and non-verbal skills. These skills were essential as they established a serine communication channel between the interviewer and the respondent. This in turn leads to the development of a strong bond between the two individuals (Creswell, 2005). As a result, the level of understanding between the two individuals increases (Sherman, 2009). This thus increases the chances of the interviewer to collect the relevant data that was required for the exercise (Trochim, 2008).

Analysis of Communication Skills

In the course of this interview, several communication skills were used. The interview was conducted on the back yard of the home, where a small garden was present. This place was quiet, peaceful, had clean air, nice breeze and had beautiful plants that created a beautiful surrounding. Being a lover of nature, this environment made King to be relaxed and comfortable all through the interview. Due to the ill health of the respondent, it was therefore wise to look for a bench in the garden and conduct the interview while we were seated. The respondent and I sat at an angle with each other on the same bench. This gave us the chance to have direct contact with each other and at the same time, the interviewer could look around and reflect on issues so that he comes up with the correct response to the question that I had posed to him (Creswell, 2009).

This sitting arrangement was also serine as it gave us the chance to take breaks during our conversation. These pauses were necessary especially for King who is an elderly person and requires time to reflect on what he is talking about in order to remain within the context of the interview (Blank and McCartney, 1989). In addition, i was keen on the gestures and facial expressions that were being made by the respondent. At times, I kept quiet and observed the respondent while he was talking. This gave him the opportunity for continuity and hence he fully expressed himself and the views on the topic of discussion. All these formed part of my non-verbal behaviours that I used in the study. All of these were successful apart from the idea of taking a walk in the garden.

A major communication skill that i used in the course of the interview was attending behaviour. With this skill, the respondent felt important since he received my full attention. This skill was also essential on my part since it increased my listening and understanding skills (Finlay, 2002). I was able to fully follow and comprehend what the respondent was talking about and managed. For this skill to be successful, I had to consider a number of factors. First, I ensured that there is a good distance between us during the interview. This distance was essential since it made it possible for us to pause during the conversion. This in turn ensured that each party had the chance to speak. On top of that, I maintained constant eye contact with the respondent. This gave him the impression that I was following what he was talking about. Finally, I ensured that I was well-dressed, groomed, and maintained desirable character all through the interview. All these factors ensured that we were comfortable with each other.

Questioning is also another communication skill that I employed in the course of the interview. Through questioning, I was able to get more information about the things that the respondent was talking about. For instance, I was able to know that he embraced modern technology and advised the current generation to use it to improve the world through coming up with better health practices, environmental management and effective and efficient production processes. However, I had to be keen while questioning him. In addition, the questions that I posed also had to be relevant to the topic of discussion.

I also had to build rapport to ensure that the interview was effective and efficient. Rapport building is a method that is used to increase the responsiveness of an individual through the development of trust and respect in the course of a conversation (Senge, 2004). To achieve this, I had to be polite to the respondent, maintain my integrity and apply professional ethics. Once the respondent was comfortable with me and the idea of being interviewed, I was able to collect relevant information from the interview (Orlich, 2009).

However, the respondent was not comfortable with the idea of me taking notes or using a tape recorder to record the conversation that we were having. Despite the fact the he knew the information that he provided was confidential, he did not want to be quoted in any way. After probing him for a while, I discovered that he had been misquoted several years ago and this almost made him lose his job.

Self-Awareness Discussion

In the course of the interview, I felt delighted to have a chance to interview Stephen King, a citizen who has put his life on the line to ensure that many lives are safe from danger. From the conversation that we had, I learned a lot about the various aspects of life. My main strength in the course of the interview was my ability to probe the respondent to get more information. As a result, I managed to gather a lot of information from the conversation that we had. However, my major weakness was remembering the details of the information that I had received. King was not comfortable with me taking notes and he did not want me to use a tape recorder to record the interview. I therefore had to rely on active listening to remember details of the conversation that we had.

Analysis of the interview using the circular transactional model of communication

In the process of the interview, there was effective communication between King and me. We both sent and received messages via the communication channel. I thought about a question, posed it to King whom then listened to it, understood it and the responded appropriately. From his response, I was able to pose another question and the process went on and on.

Conclusion

This essay has been used to show the use of various communication skills to collect relevant information in the course of an interview. It is therefore important for an interviewer to have a sound knowledge and skills of various communication methods in order to be effective and efficient in his work.

References

Blank, G. and McCartney, J. (1989). New technology in sociology: practical applications in research and work. London: Transaction Publishers.

Creswell, J.W. (2005). Affirmation of personal values buffers neuroendocrine and psychological stress responses. Psychological Science, 16, p. 846-851.

Creswell, J. W. (2009). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage

Finlay, L. (2002). Negotiating the swamp: The opportunity and challenge of in research practice. Qualitative Research, 2(2): 209–30.

Orlich, D., Harder, R., Callahan, R., Trevisan, M., & Brown, A. (2009). Teaching Strategies: A Guide to Better Instruction. New York: Wadsworth Publishing.

Senge, P. (2004). Excerpt Spirituality in Business and Life: Asking the Right Questions. New York: Digital Publishers.

Sherman, D. (2009). Psychological vulnerability and stress: The effects of self-affirmation on sympathetic nervous system responses to naturalistic stressors. Health Psychology, 28, p. 554-562.

Trochim, W., and Donnelly, J. (2008). The research methods knowledge base. Mason, OH: Cengage.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "Successful Life: Interview Reflection." April 9, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/successful-life-interview-reflection/.

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