[key THEMES:

  • • Things that are important to people
  • • Blocks and barriers to effective communication
  • • Dealing with difficult people
  • • Working and communicating with others in organisations
  • • Communication through the written word
  • • Using telephone, email and mobile phones
  • • Using social media.


As a student working or intending to work in a health or social care setting you will find it usefUl to spend some time reflecting upon what it is like to be at the receiving end of the care that you and your organisation offer. To begin the work of Chapter 6, I would like to ask you what you think are the most important things in your life.


Think about all those things that are really important to you. They may be tangible things that you own, or they may be abstract ideas or considerations that you hold to be of value to yourself and others. You might wish to take your time over this reflective activity, sharing your thoughts and ideas with those people close to you and perhaps extending that to the people you study and work with.



Having reflected on those issues most dear to you, I would now like you to identify a list of twenty of the most important things to you in the world but, before you do that, I am going to impose some limits on what can be held in your list:

  • 1. Family members are to be regarded as one choice;
  • 2. Loved ones and friends are to be regarded as one choice;
  • 3. Pets, regardless of their species and number, are also to be regarded as one choice.

That's three on your list, what are the other seventeen?

Just in case you are struggling to put pen to paper, reflect on the following as this might just help focus your thinking.

  • • What would you save in the event of a disaster such as a fire or a flood?
  • • What would you/do you hide from potential thieves?
  • • If you were taken into prison what would you want to safeguard?
  • • If you were forced to live under a different political regime that is very different from that which you know, what would be most important to you?
  • • Bad things happen to people all the time in our world. What if they were to happen to you? [1] [2] [3]
  • 18. My knowledge of the world and my mental capacity (that’s two really).
  • 19. Making my own decisions about how I live.
  • 20. My physical health.

Creating that list, knowing that it would be up for public view, was no easy task, even though I am experienced in helping others to do the same. Perhaps you struggled or maybe you found it easy. Does your list go beyond twenty items? Can you compare your list with other people’s lists? Are they similar in any way?

My guess is that there are many things similar within our lists but, regardless of similarities or differences, the most important thing is that the list represents what is important to you and can be seen as a marker of who you are and what you hold dear. Our personality is often portrayed by the things we hold dear. (If you are interested in finding out a little about yourself and your personality you might wish to follow this link and take the adapted Myers-Briggs Personality Test: cgi-win/jtypes2.asp).

  • [1] Here’s my list:
  • [2] Family - that includes the people I love most of all in the world. 2. Friends - a life without friends would be empty. 3. My happy box, which contains all sorts of daft-looking oddments and souvenirsbut they are important to me. 4. Photographs - there are many albums detailing different experiences and peoplein my life. 5. My privacy - I hold it dear. 6. My right to speak out and voice my opinion. 7. My own space and the freedom to choose to be where I want to be. 8. My books - I have many. 9. My CD collection from ABBA to Zeppelin. 10. My computer and all my memory sticks (that may count as two).
  • [3] My lovely car - it’s not brilliant but it gets me about. 12. Good food and wine - I do love both. 13. My job and my role as a senior lecturer, and contact with students. 14. My allotment and all the fruit and vegetables it produces. 15. My mobile phone. 16. The beautiful jewellery that people have bought me over the years. 17. My independence.
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