Interpersonal Communication

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Interpersonal communication is something most of us take part in on a daily basis, without giving it much thought. It is only when the communication cycle breaks down, that we realise how important it is to think about how we communicate. This essay will look at several effective methods of communication, the communication cycle, how communication methods can be improved, potential barriers that could affect communication and some of the support structures that are available to carers.

Interpersonal interaction is a ‘one on one’ process by which people relay information and feelings through verbal and non-verbal messages. In order to communicate successfully it is necessary to be able to predict how the other person will respond and react towards you. “To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others. (Robbins)

Interpersonal interaction consists of several lines of communication, body language, signing, personal contact and language. The same cycle is used for all interpersonal communication. Firstly the sender expresses their message. They must think about the purpose of the message. Are they passing on information, instructions or just chatting? Who are they sending the message to, is it a colleague, friend, teacher? Has the information been prioritised? The message then needs to be transmitted to the receiver via an appropriate medium. The sender needs to think about the receiver. Do they speak the same language? Do they already have some knowledge of the subject? Do they have any knowledge of the sender that would affect the way the message is received? Is it the right time to send the message? The sender must then work out what the most effecting medium is for the given circumstances. Would it be better to verbally send the message or would written or visual communication be more effective? It is important to give individuals time to speak, so that they feel respected. They should not be interrupted when they are speaking; as this may make them feel they are not being listened to. When the recipient receives the message, they must processes it and raise any questions or concerns they may have. The recipient then returns feedback to the sender, completing the loop and becoming the sender. In order to communicate successfully it is important to build a good relationship. Find out what people like to be called, value other people’s opinions, even if you do not agree with them. Research in to a person’s culture will avoid causing offense. Every culture has different levels of closeness for different relationships. If personal space is not taken in to consideration, an individual may feel threatened or defensive. Anthropologist, Edward Twitchell Hall, performed a study of personal space in western society. (Twitchell Hall, 2013). There are four types of distance, intimate, personal, social and public. These distances are generally the same throughout western society. Other cultures have their own rules for distance. Understanding these rules avoids violating personal space and enables non-threatening communication. It also helps interpret how an individual views your relationship and on what level, they wish to communicate with you.

It is said that as little as ten per cent of communication takes place verbally, and that facial expressions, gestures and posture form the largest part of our culture and language. Non-verbal communication or body language is a way of using our bodies to send signals to others. Developing awareness of the signals of body language can help you to judge a persons mood. It will also make you aware of the signals that your body language is conveying. Facial expression, posture, eyes and gestures are all tools we use when communicating face to face. The wrong message may be received when the body language does not match the verbal message. Appropriate body language...
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