Communication is the act of transferring information from one place or person to another place or person. Communication is the key of expressing feelings to others and interaction through the community. Interpersonal communication is the act of interaction where two-person shares information and a two-way interaction happen through transfer of message or information from sender to receiver (Richmond et al. 2012). Interpersonal communication is not just about the actual message which is being said or the language used during the communication, however, it also include how it is being said, the non-verbal messages sent through the facial expression, the voice tone, body language and gestures (Rice and Atkin 2012). There are different forms of communication including verbal and non-verbal communication; both have significant impact upon the person with whom the communication is being done. In this essay, the focus is the interpersonal communication and the verbal and non-verbal communication styles used in the interpersonal communication.
Good interpersonal communication skills are required for working in groups or teams. These kills are essential for developing key life skills. Communication plays significant role in reducing misunderstandings and strengthen interpersonal interaction. Thus, it is important to deal with both verbal and non-verbal communication skills. According to the communication theory, there are different elements in the interpersonal communication Daim et al. (2012).
Communicators- At least two communicators are required for any communication, one is for playing the role of message sender and another one is for playing the role of receiver. Communication is a two way process, thus at least two communicators are required.
The message- The message is not only transferred in the form of verbal information, rather non-verbal messages are also transferred through facial expression, body language or voice tone. Additional information can be conveyed through the non-verbal behavior.
Noise- In the communication theory, noise has a special meaning. Noise can be referred to anything distorting the message, as a result something is received which is different from what is intended by the sender. The use of inappropriate body language, complicated jargons and cultural differences are also considered as ‘noise’ as these can also negatively affect interpersonal communication (Lee and Messerschmitt 2012).
Feedback- Feedback is the message which is send from the receiver in response to the message sent by sender. The type of response varies from verbal communication to non-verbal body language. Feedback improves the communication process.
Context- Context has a significant impact upon communication. The situational context where the interaction takes place including room, office or outdoors can have significant effect upon the fate of communication. Social context should also be considered, as it can control the emotional status (Alpago 2012).
Channel- Channel can be referred to the means through which the message is being transferred from sender to receiver. For example, in face-to-face context, speech and vision is the channel, but in case of telephonic communication, speech is the only channel.
According to the Symbolic interactionism theory, people act towards people based on the meanings they give to those people. Cooren (2012) depicted that meaning is formed through social language and interaction which are based on the perception of the communicators. Expectancy violation theory depicts that communication should be done with the sense of personal space and preferred distance from others. According to the Interpersonal deception theory detection of deception is concentrated on the distinctiveness of the message and the behavioral features of the deceiver. On the other hand, Han (2012) argued that the new relationships always include uncertainty and effective interpersonal communication reduces uncertainty.
There are mainly five basic communication styles exist. For each communication styles, along with the verbal message or information, the paralanguages including gestures, facial expression or languages and body languages are also significantly different which should be observed carefully to understand the message delivered by the communicator.
Assertive style- Assertive communication style is usually seen in a person with high self-esteem. It is the most effective communication style. Assertiveness helps to communicate confidently without resorting to manipulation. A medium pitch and volume is used with a good eye contact. This communication style helps people to be respectful to others. It has a positive impact upon social and emotional expression through the communication. People on receiving the message are able to stand with the person and respect for the person (Monaghan et al. 2012).
Aggressive style- This style promotes aggressive behavior of the communicator at someone else’s expense. While communicating with others, people with aggressive style always behaves as a person having the most important needs and rights to contribute in the interaction comparing to others. It is an ineffective communication style for delivering important message. Usually the communicator use loud volume and threatening voice. It affects the other person negatively and promotes defensive, uncooperative and aggressive feelings leading to loss of respect upon the person (Rand 2012).
Passive-aggressive style- By owing this communication style, people appear to be passive externally but acts indirectly behind the scenes ways. This communication style makes people to feel powerless. These kinds of people are generally indirectly aggressive and unreliable. They often speak with a sweet and jerky voice, but lacks eye contact. The person, with whom the communication is being done, feels resentful, confused or angry sometimes.
Submissive style- This style is adopted by people to avoid conflicts and it is about pleasing others. It is opposite to the aggressive style. People feels that that other’s needs and rights are more important and others should contribute more. Usually these people are apologetic, they talks in soft voice but lacks direct eye contact. After dealing with person adopting submissive style communication, the other participant of the communication usually feels frustrated, exasperated or guilty which imposes a negative impact upon the interaction. Sometimes, the other person attempts to take advantage from the communicator (Socha and Pitts 2012).
Manipulative style- Manipulative communicators are able to convince or influence others for gaining advantage. They use a high pitch with ‘hang dog’ expression and ask indirectly for their needs to be met. The other communicator feels irritated, guilty or annoyed after the communication.
There are many significant barriers exists which can affect the communication process. Physical barriers including high cubicle walls and closed doors can significantly hinder effective communication; space that is more open provides more opportunity for effective interaction and interpersonal communication. Cultural barriers are of significant importance. It is more common in a large organization where employees from different cultural backgrounds meet (Stewart 2012). Language barriers are major problems in corporate, health and social care sectors which can reduce the effectiveness of the business and health care processes significantly. Thus, in a multidisciplinary health care team or in a large organization, employees often face difficulties to interact with one another for language barriers. Perceptual barriers can reduce the affectivity of interpersonal communication certainly. It is related to the cultural barriers because, usually, people from different cultural background consist different perspective about a situation and conflict arise when they attempts to work together. Gender barriers affect the communication styles which is used differently by males and females. In male-dominated workplace, women are often being dominated and ignored and sometimes opposite gender feels uncomfortable to share ideas about an important matter during communication (Monaghan et al. 2012). Interpersonal barriers can rise at any circumstances, due to personal likes or dislikes, people often does not feel comfortable to share feelings or messages with others thereby not delivering the proper message to other person.
A number of areas should be considered to overcome communication barriers. First, people should understand that other can have a different perception about a situation and should choose the assertive communication style to accept other’s choices; it would reduce conflicts (Alpago 2012). People should always wait for receiving feedbacks from the receiver which helps to enhance the efficiency of conversation by reducing the risk of misinterpretation. With assertive communication style and positive facial expression, one should always speak face to face to convey the message to other (Unit 2012). In addition, in workplaces, to deal effectively with clients from diverse background, one should get proper language training for using such language that is transparent to all the clients and colleagues (Cooren 2012). Using right communication channel is also important, for example, for any official conversation, verbal communication is a wrong channel, where as using email is the right one. For improving communication, one should make the environment suitable where other can listen the communicator properly. Employers should promote a positive culture in the workplace where people are free of any cultural or gender discrimination and free to express themselves in absence of physical barriers
In conclusion, it can be said that communication is one of the most important process in daily life and selecting the appropriate communication style at right time and right place is important. The interpersonal communication is always two-way communication where participation of both sender and receiver is important. The essay described the role of communication and the elements of communication. Both verbal and non-verbal features of communication have same importance which has been discussed here. In addition, the barriers of communication and the ways of overcoming these barriers have been discussed in this essay. Thus, an in-depth understanding about interpersonal communication has been developed through this essay.
Alpago, A., 2012. Communication, conversation, cooperation. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang.
Cooren, F., 2012. Communication theory at the center: Ventriloquism and the communicative constitution of reality. Journal of Communication, 62(1), pp.1-20.
Daim, T.U., Ha, A., Reutiman, S., Hughes, B., Pathak, U., Bynum, W. and Bhatla, A., 2012. Exploring the communication breakdown in global virtual teams. International Journal of Project Management, 30(2), pp.199-212.
Han, Z., 2012. Game theory in wireless and communication networks: theory, models, and applications. Cambridge University Press.
Lee, E.A. and Messerschmitt, D.G., 2012. Digital communication. Springer Science & Business Media.
Monaghan, L., Goodman, J. and Robinson, J., 2012. A cultural approach to interpersonal communication. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.
Rand, C., 2012. Communication. Chicago, Ill.: Raintree.
Rice, R.E. and Atkin, C.K., 2012. Public communication campaigns. Sage. London.
Richmond, V.P., McCroskey, J.C. and Powell, L., 2012. Organizational communication for survival. Pearson Higher Ed.
Socha, T. and Pitts, M., 2012. The positive side of interpersonal communication. New York: Peter Lang Publishing.
Stewart, J., 2012. Bridges not walls. Dubuque, Iowa: McGraw-Hill Humanities/Social Sciences/Languages.
Unit, E.I., 2012. Competing across borders: How cultural and communication barriers affect business. The Economist.
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