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Review: The Confident Communicator

By De Brown, (Adelaide)

“The aim of life is not to be perfect but to be progressively less stupid.” Marshell Rosenberg

This quote has become part of a new mental mantra that I have been learning to embrace. Coming back to the interpreting profession after many years away has taken more personal fortitude that I believed I had. Being sidelined due to health and caring roles, not due to a personal sabbatical, I knew that my confidence had taken a beating. My priorities have dramatically changed while away, as has my-self-identity and skill sets. I was doubting my skills and knowledge. 

Did I have what it takes to come back into a field (that I loved) but I knew was very personally demanding? My negative self-talk was high and I needed to re-learn and remember how to have confidence in my abilities again. Auslan Services gave me the opportunity to attend Pip Cody’s “Confident Communicator Course”. I am so glad that I took this opportunity to re-establish networks both personally and professionally.

“Did I have what it takes to come back into a field (that I loved) but I knew was very personally demanding?

I started the self-paced course with some scepticism. It was my respect for Pip that got me to enrol, not my faith in communication courses. Previous communication modules I had studied only reinforced strategies I knew or I felt were tokenistic in content. It took me about 6 weeks to complete the course (mostly at night when I was mentally free to engage well.) It included four modules and a practical ethics group teleconference, which helped consolidate skills learnt in the modules. The practical nature of the course encourages you to implement the communication strategies taught, which build on each other as the course progressed. There were strategies I personally struggled with including “dealing with conflict” and “welcoming discomfort as if you invited it.” Two concepts I don’t naturally engage with but I am so glad I took the time to investigate my motivations and strategies around them.

In our people orientated lives and careers, “The Confident Communicator Course” offered by Dare Wellness, challenges my-self talk and a lifetime of previous approaches to communication. I honestly believe if “Non Violent Communication strategies” were implemented across the field it would revolutionise our profession. Imagine every interpreter was able to communicate without the psychological barriers that inhibit our ability to define our needs clearly. I think, most importantly, the Confident Communicator course provides practitioners with skills to give and receive quality feedback, equally. This gives the potential for professionals to both be mentored and to act in a mentoring role. Everyone has feedback that is worthy of our attention, whether you have been working for 1 year or 25 years!

Honestly, it has changed my life. The Confident Communicator course is one of the hardest I have ever studied, because I can’t unlearn it. The course has made me re-learn how to communicate, changing strategies I have used for many years, into helpful building blocks that facilitate a clearer communication path. Understanding why I respond and how I communicate is a vital life skill, not just for interpreting. Skills I thought would support my professional practice have overflowed and impacted how I communicate with family and friends. Thank you Pip Cody and Auslan Services for giving me to opportunity to learn how to communicate an improved me…a process that will be lifelong I know! 

Find out more about the Confident Communicator course with Pip Cody 

De Brown has been a NAATI Auslan/English Paraprofessional interpreter since 2002. Studying in Melbourne and Adelaide, she developed language and interpreting skills under the guidance of wise mentors both deaf and hearing. Her passion for advocacy, equal education and universal access drives her study and professional practice. De calls Adelaide home.

Reproduced with permission: ASLIA June 2017 e-Update