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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Government lecturer gives communication advice

Darrell Castillo
Darrell Castillo

By Kelli Henderson/reporter

Achieving effective interpersonal communication skills is important for success, a SE U.S. history and government instructor said Sept. 19.

Darrell Castillo, former White House staffer for the Reagan administration, spoke for I Am Success, SE Campus’ fall Learning Skills Week, sponsored by the advising and counseling center.

“If [students] can convey ideas, that means they are receptive to ideas,” he said. ”It is a two-way street.”

The two main characteristics of a good conversation are speaking and active listening, Castillo said.

These two go hand-in-hand because people cannot read each other’s minds.

Sometimes, the only way to find out what the other person is thinking is to simply not say anything at all, he said.

Explaining one-on-one communication in a psychological aspect, Castillo said it doesn’t matter if this is the first time they met or if they have been friends for years.

“When there are two people in a room alone, there are also six people in the room,” he said. “There is the way you see each other, the way you see yourselves and the way you really are.”

Castillo included a basic how-to on meeting people for the first time, including body language, eye contact and personal space.

He said the effects of each are great if wrongly done.

There is a certain etiquette when meeting someone for the first time, Castillo said.

“Don’t judge a book by its cover,” he said. ”My mother always had a saying, ‘When you are in a group of people, take [the] people one person at a time.’ Don’t worry about what they are wearing or the car they drive. You can effectively communicate with someone when you aren’t worried about their appearances.”

When meeting a stranger for the first time, Castillo said to be respectful, avoid controversial issues, speak clearly and use a moderate pace.

“Remember, your purpose and objective in being effective communicators is to exchange ideas with an individual,” he said.

“When you can do that correctly, two things will happen: one, you will learn, and, two, you will teach.”

SE student Michelle Barlen said she attended the speech because she was coming back to school and wanted to relearn how to be a better student and to learn how to be a good listener.

“There wasn’t so much of that, but, in reality, I liked what he covered better, about the importance of first impressions and small talk,” she said.

“I will definitely be able to use the part on initiating conversations and the importance of yourself versus someone else initiating a conversation later on in my life.”

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