7 Important Lessons Deaf People Can Teach You About Communication

August 27, 2013 | By | 1 Reply More

Flickr-chair-silenceAlla Berdnikova, Purpose Fairy
Waking Times

I have always thought it would be a blessing if each person could be blind and deaf for a few days during his early adult life. Darkness would make him appreciate sight; silence would teach him the joys of sound. ~Helen Keller (Blind and Deaf American Author and Educator)

I grew up with wonderful parents who always encouraged my passion for music. I still vividly remember the day when they got me the new shiny sound system. Years later they got me a guitar and paid for my guitar classes. And they never had a chance to hear a sound of what I was listening to, playing and singing. My parents are deaf.

The reality of deaf people is different from other people’s experiences. They have limited abilities to communicate but exactly because of that they seem to know so much more about what effective communication means.

I used to live in a dormitory for deaf families for over 10 years and had a chance to compare 2 worlds: at home, where I saw people communicating using their hands, and outside, where I observed interactions of ‘normal’ people with hearing abilities. I was very blessed to have experienced the best and the worst of both worlds: the world of silence and the world of sounds.

These are some of the things I’ve learned from deaf people about effective communication:

1. Maintain eye contact

How many times did you find yourself checking facebook updates on your iPhone while having a conversation? In the world of deaf people if you stop looking at the person you are talking to, you are literally cutting the conversation. Because the only way you can ‘hear’ what other person is trying to say is to look into their face. This is a great lesson on the importance of being present, focusing on the person who is next to you, staying more connected to that person and receiving.

2. Don’t interrupt, follow the protocol

How many times did you find yourself waiting for someone to finish talking so you can say what you think? When a company of deaf people are having a conversation, it’s not possible for them to have more than one person talking at a time. There is only one way to follow the conversation – to look at the one speaking. This teaches us to respect the right of each individual to speak up and not to be interrupted in the midst of the their self expression.

3. Be straightforward, down to the point and as concise as possible

How often do you communicate your thoughts and needs clearly without trying to make things sound better than they are? In sign language there are 2 ways to say a particular word – you either use the alphabet and show a sign for each letter or you use one sign which stands for the entire word.

The second option is much faster hence convenient. Thus for almost every word there is a specific sign. Can you imagine such a massive amount of information to memorize? Not only you have to learn how to write and pronounce the word but also a specific sign that represents it. The nature of sign language requires you to be as specific as possible and use as few words as needed to convey your message. That’s an essential lesson to learn as so often we are reluctant to be direct and clear in what we think, want and feel.

4. If you don’t understand something, ask

How often are you reluctant to ask a question when something is unclear to you? Or to clarify what your loved one meant rather than making an assumption? We do it out of fear of being misunderstood, rejected or even humiliated. Each deaf person has their own style of using sign language. So it’s normal to ask a meaning of a specific unfamiliar sign. There is nothing wrong in not knowing or understanding something. If that happens, just ask.

5. Cut yourself from distractions

The world around us is extremely noisy. We have tons of devices, social medias, traditional medias which in their attempt to inform, entertain, update and educate, produce an overwhelming informational noise around us. We hear, see and feel. We are so used to being surrounded by that noise that we lose our ability to be focused and present. When we are having a conversation. When we are working. When we are cooking. When we are creating something. We are constantly attacked and distracted by that informational noise. I remember watching my father making furniture. He would always be so focused and immersed in the moment of creating, it would seem like nothing in the world could disturb him. Learn to be present – as simple as that.

6. Be expressive and articulate

There are so many ways we can play with our voice when we talk: pace, tone, volume. All this gives us plenty of ways to express our emotions, feelings and attitude when we talk about the particular subject. But how often do we allow ourselves to be expressive? Sometimes so called social norms restrict us from laughing too loud, from raising our voice when we are excited or crying in front of others. Because it’s an inappropriate thing to do. Deaf people are very articulate by nature. Their facial expressions and gestures can mesmerize you with their intensity and artistry. They don’t really care how others may see them. They just express what they feel without actually hiding or softening their emotions.

7. Observe, learn and get extra information from what you see and feel

Just imagine how many tiny yet important details we usually miss in our daily interactions with others? When you cannot hear you become more attentive to things happening around you. You learn to notice even the smallest things, you learn to experience the world around you through all those insignificant details which in a bigger picture play their crucial role. And more importantly, you learn to appreciate them.

About the Author

This article was written by Alla Berdnikova. Born in the beautiful Ukrainian city of Odessa, Alla Berdnikova is a lover of life, an artist, a traveler, and a big believer in the power of genuine stories to teach, inspire and motivate us to live our hero’s journeys. An alumni leader of the international youth and leadership organization AIESEC who taught soft skills to students in Sri Lanka, Alla is currently working in Mindvalley Russia as an online business manager. She is also the founder of “33 stories, 99 tips,” an online-project on how to find your passion, discover your talent, and build your life around the things that truly matter.

~~ Help Waking Times to raise the vibration by sharing this article with the buttons below…

Tags: , , , ,

Category: Body, Community, Consciousness, Evolution, Family, Ideas, Inspiration, Mind, Resources, Self, Society, Transformation, Uncategorized

Comments (1)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Solange says:

    I have had deaf friends. Most preferred to communicate through Email. However, there was one who preferred to use the phone, to read lips and to use her voice in conversation whenever possible. She had a special phone set up with a monitor on which an interpreter would let her know what I was saying.

    Once, when we were discussing this preference, while watching a group of her hearing impaired friends talking like mad with their hands. She turned to me and said, “Deaf people are the worst.”

    I asked her what she meant. She said, “They never shut up! They just love to talk and talk and talk.”

    We had a good laugh. She was very funny.

Leave a Reply

Must Watch Videos

This Discovery Makes Bee Die-Off Problem That Much Worse

This Discovery Makes Bee Die-Off Problem That Much Worse













Heather Callaghan, Contributor
Waking Times

Many arrows point to the bee decline. A Harvard professorrecently warned that Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) is only the beginning for us. The ripple effect from new classes of pesticides is just getting started.

But there’s more…

The problems they face can be compared … More

August 28, 2014 | By | 2 Replies More
People are Proving That ALS, Lou Gehrig’s Disease is Reversible  – No Need to Waste Ice Water

People are Proving That ALS, Lou Gehrig’s Disease is Reversible – No Need to Waste Ice Water













Heather Callaghan, Contributor
Waking Times

I mentioned the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge in a recent article highlighting the social guiding that came with all the “disease awareness” we’ve been involuntarily immersed in via the media in the last few weeks. ALS meaning Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as … More

August 26, 2014 | By | 4 Replies More
Back-to-School Vaccines: Know the Risks and Failures

Back-to-School Vaccines: Know the Risks and Failures













Barbara Loe Fisher, Mercola
Waking Times

As summer comes to an end, the drumbeat promoting back-to-school vaccinations grows louder and louder in America. Unlike children in Canada and the European Union,12 our children must get dozens of doses of vaccines or they can’t get a public school … More

August 26, 2014 | By | 1 Reply More
New Anti Police State App Helps You “See Something, Say Something” in Real-Time

New Anti Police State App Helps You “See Something, Say Something” in Real-Time













Waking Times

Recent studies have shown that police are held almost completely unaccountable by the current systems of governmental oversight. Perhaps this is the reason why you are 9 times more likely to be killed by a law enforcement officer than a terrorist. Rather than wait for bloated bureaucracy … More

August 25, 2014 | By | 1 Reply More
Vitamin D for Depression, Dementia, and Diabetes

Vitamin D for Depression, Dementia, and Diabetes













Dr. Mercola
Waking Times

Vitamin D research has repeatedly shown that vitamin D can improve a number of brain disorders, including depression and dementia—the most devastating form of which is Alzheimer’s disease.

Vitamin D receptors appear in a wide variety of brain tissue early in the fetal development, and activated … More

August 21, 2014 | By | 1 Reply More

Activism Works

Food as Medicine: How One Hospital Is Using Organic Produce to Help Heal Patients

Food as Medicine: How One Hospital Is Using Organic Produce to Help Heal Patients













Coach Mark Smallwood, EcoWatch
Waking Times

In 431 B.C. Hippocrates said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”

More than 2500 years later, we are inundated with advertisements boasting the latest, greatest cure-all super drug. From a young age, we learn that it doesn’t matter how or … More

August 23, 2014 | By | 3 Replies More
As Keystone XL Dominoes Fall, Time to Arrest Tar Sands Industry

As Keystone XL Dominoes Fall, Time to Arrest Tar Sands Industry













, EcoWatch
Waking Times

We’ve got this.

Thanks to the courageous and indefatigable efforts of pipeline fighters everywhere, the tide has finally turned on Keystone XL. As it becomes increasingly clear that Keystone XL’s northern leg is not going through, it is time to set our sights … More

August 4, 2014 | By | 2 Replies More
Seizing Control of Our Destinies

Seizing Control of Our Destinies













Julian Rose, Contributor
Waking Times

In 1381, at a time of great repression for the British agricultural work force, an extraordinary people’s revolutionary named Wat Tyler sprang to his feet and announced, “England should be a nation of self governing communities,” to which he added, “ No lord shall exercise … More

July 28, 2014 | By | 5 Replies More
Triumph For Citizens in Florida As Hughes Oil Company Drops Fracking Project

Triumph For Citizens in Florida As Hughes Oil Company Drops Fracking Project













Julie Dermansky, DeSmogBlog
Waking Times

On Friday morning, Dan A. Hughes Oil Company and the Collier Resources Company agreed to terminate their lease agreement, with the exception of the Collier Hogan 20-3H well, next to the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary in Naples, Florida.

Hughes Oil dropped its plans to drill … More

July 14, 2014 | By | 1 Reply More
A Forgotten Community in New Orleans: Life on a Superfund Site

A Forgotten Community in New Orleans: Life on a Superfund Site













Julie Dermansky, DeSmogBlog
Waking Times

Shannon Rainey lives in a house that was built on top of a Superfund site in the Upper Ninth Ward of New Orleans.

“I bought my house when I was 25, and thirty years later, I still can’t get out,” she told DeSmogBlog.

Rainey’s … More

June 23, 2014 | By | 2 Replies More