Chapter 19 Interpersonal Communication
Importance of Interpersonal Communication
Degree of Formality
Small Group Communication
Office Etiquette and Public Relations
OBJECTIVES After studying this chapter, you should be able to:
1. Define interpersonal communication.
2. Explain the role communication plays in establishing effective human relations. 3. Describe the life cycle of interpersonal relations.
4. Describe the characteristics of open and closed communication climates. 5. Describe the characteristics of small groups.
6. Explain the role small group communication plays in business and discuss its characteristics. 7. Describe the group decision process.
8. Discuss office etiquette and the secretarial public relations function.
IMPORTANCE OF INTERPERSONAL COMMUNICATION One of the most important means we have of influencing human relations communication. Interpersonal communication is, in fact, the foundation of all human relationships. While all communication is "interpersonal" because it takes place between people, the term interpersonal communication usually refers to communication that takes place in face-to-face situations involving two or three people. Listening, speaking, and sending and interpreting nonverbal messages are necessary skills to communicate effectively. In addition to being able to listen, speak and interpret nonverbal messages, effective interpersonal communication depends on our attitudes toward and assumptions about others. Because human relations and interpersonal communication are so closely related, how we feel about others will partially determine how well we communicate. Interpersonal communication permits the exchange of personal, affective (emotional) information. It is especially important in establishing and maintaining friendships. Interpersonal communication skills, however, are put to more demanding test in office situations, where we must communicate with a wide variety of people to solve personal and organizational problems.
TWO-PERSON COMMUNICATION A dyad-two people-is the smallest unit of interpersonal communication. How well the people know each other, whether they perceive each other as equals, and their reasons for being together are the most important influences on their interpersonal communication. Life Cycle of Interpersonal Relationships Any interpersonal relationship has a life cycle that begins when the two people first meet and ends when the two no longer communicate with each other. While no two relationships will go through the life cycle in quite the same way, the cycle is composed of four general stages: initial, formative, mature, and severance. The Initial Stage Most authorities believe that the initial stage is very short, lasting approximately 2 to 9 minutes! Certainly it lasts no more than 10 minute. The impressions we form of others-and those they form of us during these first few minutes are extremely important. During that time, people form what will probably be lasting impressions of each other. At this stage, the two people involved usually exchange demographic information, such as where they were born, grew up, and went to school. From this information, they infer (guess) each other's attitudes, opinions, and beliefs. They will then try to determine whether they will like each other and whether the relationship is worth pursuing. The Formative Stage The formative stage may last indefinitely. It begins when...
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