Interpersonal communication is the process of exchanging messages between two between people to create a meaning. This kind of communication can be done either through face to face conversation or by the aid of communication gadgets such as phones(Rosner,2001). It impossible not to have interpersonal communication with others even when you don’t intend to because as you interact with people on a daily basis you give messages to others either directly or indirectly. Interpersonal communication can be verbal or non-verbal but either way communication has to take place.
Uses of interpersonal communication
We have already established that all of us engage in interpersonal communication on a regular basis but how well we do that is varied from person to person based on interpersonal skills and proficiency.Interpesonal skills plays a key role in our lives in the following ways:
Sharing of information
Form and sustain relationships
Influence other people’s views and opinions
Share personal concerns and understand the concerns of others
Elements of interpersonal communication
Interpersonal communication has been broken down into a number of elements and they include:
Communicators,noise,feedback and the message.
Communicators: for interpersonal communication to take place there must be two or more people involved engaged in a process of communication that entails sending and receiving message, taking place simultaneously.
Noise: can mean any distraction that occur in the process of communication that can distort the message. This may include actual noise, cultural differences, use of jargon and unintended gestures.
Feedback: are messages such as verbal statements or through body language that a receiver of the message send back to the sender that enables the sender to know how his message has been received.
Message: the information conveyed by the sender that a receiver is to draw meaning from. A message can be verbal or facial expression and change in body posture.
Channel: this is the medium through which a message is send and received. Some of the most common channels include communication gadgets such as telephone and computer.
Case study one
Two competing colleagues, at and Chris work in the same office but don’t get along so well because they view each other with suspicion based on their contribution to the success of the company. These mistrust is brought to the fore when an argument ensues between them about gun rights. At is vociferous about defending his gun rights while Chris thinks that right has led to unnecessary loss of lives.
There is poor interpersonal communication between the two because there is no respect of each other and each other’s opinion(Steele,2011). There is also lack of conflict resolution between the two. Pat leans back in his seat with arms crossed as he talks down Chris while responds by pointing a finger in his direction and finally though the manager calms the tension between them but no permanent solution is sought or give.
Pat and Chris have different perceptions as far gun rights are concerned. While pat thinks that the government has right to regulate his right to own a gun Pat thinks that due to many deaths caused by the gun ownership rights there is need for a level of government regulation and control.
Conflicts are inevitable in life as we interact with other people and they can be positive in understanding one another and deepening of our relationships. A conflict is just a disagreement of clash in opinion and ideas between two or more people(Keet,2010). There are many types of conflicts but in the case study before consideration is what commonly known as interpersonal conflicts. This type of conflict occurs between two people due to differences in opinion and incompatible personalities. At and Chris have incompatible views about gun rights and they also view each other as rivals in the company and this is the source of their conflict.
The type of conflict management applied is avoiding: the manager calms the issue and then ends the meeting without finding a solution to the conflict. The two are also keen on avoiding one another thus essentially the conflict has not been solved but there is no confrontation because both parties are avoiding each other(Jeong,2010)
There are many ways that get in the way of listening as we see in the case study:
Pre-conceived ideas and opinions: Pa makes the point that all those who support gun control are ignorant
Making judgments: Chris thinks that anyone who doesn’t see the need for gun control has no idea what they are talking about
There is also inappropriate posture: Pat leans in his seat and crosses the arms and these indicates that he is not willing to entertain contrary views
There is a defensive climate and relationship in the case study because the two colleagues have the sense of superiority where everyone feels they contribute more than the other. The two are also keen to defend and justify their position on gun rights and not listen to the divergent views of the other(Hajdasz,2012)
Verbal and non-verbal communication
Both verbal and non-verbal communication styles have been used in the case study.
Body posture: Pat leans in his seat to show his closed-mindedness to the issue of gun control
Gestures: crossed arms shows that Pat is in a defensive mood and doesn’t to cede ground on the issue of gun control
Reaching forward: Chris reaches forward with his finger pointing at Pat and that can be pretty scary. He is willing to attack and win over the argument in favor of gun control
Shouting in a loud voice: Pat makes his point in a loud voice perhaps to intimidate or push through his argument
Recommendation and conclusion
To improve interpersonal communication the two should have a created an positive and supportive climate where both would be empathetic and understanding with each other. Such an environment would enable them to discuss and debate about their differences in a civil manner.
I would recommend that there should be a proper conflict resolution mechanism instead of avoidance of the issue and each other because that would greatly improve the working environment for every one at the company.
In conclusion, pleasant working environment is vital for employee motivation and productivity and thus the management should endeavor to make sure that there is a positive and supportive communication climate.
Hajdasz, P. A. (2012). An exploratory study of the relationship between defensive and supportive talk, verbal aggressiveness and communication climate.
Jeong, H. (2010). Conflict management and resolution: An introduction. London: Routledge.
Keet, R. (2010). Conflict management. Northlands, Gauteng, South Africa: Macmillan South Africa.
Rosner, B., Halcrow, A. R., & Levins, A. S. (2001). Communication. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Steele, G. A. (2011). Health communication in the Caribbean and beyond. Kingston, Jamaica: University of the West Indies Press.