Interpersonal Communication

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Interpersonal communication (IPC) is the verbal and non verbal interrelation of sharing and receiving information between two or more individuals (DeVito, 2008). Interpersonal communication is one of humanity’s greatest accomplishments and language has made it possible to differentiate homo sapiens from all other animals (Bolton, 2000). In modern civilization technological advances have been developed in the means of communication, yet it is quite ironic that individuals still find it hard to communicate effectively (Bolton, 2000). This essay aims to explain how communication is not an easy process and it often fails as the encoding and decoding of information is a times influenced by certain barriers; however it is possible to communicate effectively. The main obstacles are how self image and self esteem can have an influence on communication depending on one’s value system. It is shown how physical and mental distractions, bias and prejudice, lack of appropriate focus, premature judgement and culture are barriers to communication and how these barriers can be exchanged with specific factors that assist in effective communication. Interpersonal communication is a circular process whereby one individual acts as a stimulus for a person’s message, which then serves as a stimulus for another person’s message, and the cycle continues (DeVito, 2008). Within the circular nature of communication, individuals send messages simultaneously, involving at least two persons (DeVito, 2008). Each individual has the ability to perform source and receiver functions (DeVito, 2008). A source function is when the individual forms and sends the message and the receiver function is when the individual perceives and comprehends the message (DeVito, 2008). The messages are then encoded and decoded. Encoding refers to the arrangement of communicative signs within the brain which transforms into the external expression, through speech or written forms, for example one might smile to reinforce their happy tone (Burton & Dimbleby, 2006). Decoding refers to the physical acceptance of external signs through hearing or reading, for example if an individual decides to get lunch with an old friend and insists to meet her at her office, this may indicate she wants to share a professional experience or success. (Burton & Dimbleby, 2006). An individual’s thoughts and ideas are sent via sound waves or light waves which are then formed into a code, therefore known as encoding. By translating sound or light waves into ideas, they are then taken out of a code, known as decoding (DeVito, 2008). In addition, verbal and non verbal behaviours and messages reinforce each other, for example one doesn’t express happiness on their face while their body stance is showing anger (DeVito, 2008). The verbal process of communication is sent through words consisting of the written or verbal word (DeVito, 2008). The non verbal communication process refers to the interaction without words through, gesture, smile, frown or the widening of eyes (DeVito, 2008). Non verbal communication refers to a variety of interactive channels including body, facial, eye and touch communication, as well as paralanguage and silence (DeVito, 2008). Generally individuals communicate using body gestures and movement, for example signs that have meaning through the body including ‘peace’ and ‘come here’ (DeVito, 2008). During Interpersonal communication, interactions are shown through facial expression signalling one’s emotions (DeVito, 2008). Messages are communicated via the eyes depending on the direction, duration and quality of one’s eye behaviour, for example in some cultures there are rules for the amount of time spent communicating via eye contact (DeVito, 2008). Touch communication is sent via stages within a relationship, depending on the closeness of one’s relationship, for example in an intimate relationship the touch communication occurs a great deal, if the relationship is of an...
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