Interpersonal Communication

A normal human being is always in constant interaction with other people for various reasons such as sharing ideas, information, and knowledge. People often connect with each other to enhance coexistence. Regardless of the level of interaction, communication is a salient feature in determining the nature of the relationship between different individuals living together in a given locality. According to Floyd (2017), communication refers to the process by which intended meanings are conveyed from one party to another to foster mutual understanding. Thus, interpersonal communication involves a face-to-face verbal or nonverbal interaction between people. Effective interpersonal communication is imperative in strengthening both personal and professional relationships and maintaining good relations between people who coexist in a particular setting (Reece & Reece, 2017). This paper, therefore, aims to address various components regarding interpersonal communication. The analysis of the principles of effective interpersonal communication, an evaluation of its barriers, a reflection of its function in maintaining personal values, and the impact of gender and culture on relationships is significant in understanding the degrees of self-disclosure and emotional intelligence to foster strong working relationships.

Principles of Interpersonal Communication

There are four fundamental concepts of interpersonal communication. The first one states that interpersonal communication is inevitable. This concept implies that one cannot fail to communicate since it is beyond verbal means. DeVito (2013) maintains the thought that nonverbal cues such as tonal variations, gestures, posture, and even silence all communicate something to the other party. Since people cannot read minds, they may not understand your intent upon communication. Consequently, your behavior enables them to judge you accordingly. This principle matters to you as coworkers because you should be mindful of the actions that you do as some of them may send unintended messages to your colleagues. As a result, wrongful communication may lead to misunderstandings within your workplace.

Another principle depicts that communication is irreversible. According to DeVito (2013), once a message has been conveyed, it cannot be taken back hence its effect cannot be undone. This principle matters because once you pass a wrong message to your coworker, it will have a lasting effect no matter how you apologize or try to expound on its meaning. For this reason, it is important that you mind your diction and the impact of the message on the recipient before you deliver it. Thus, you can avoid unnecessary conflicts as a result of conveying undesired messages.

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The third principle states that interpersonal communication is complicated. Owing to the number of variables involved in the process, each form of communication is complex. Whenever you communicate, various situations arise such as who you think you are, who the other party thinks you are, who you think they are, who they think they are, and who they think you think they are (Pavord & Donnelly, 2015). These aspects make the concept of interpersonal communication to become incredibly intricate. This is important to you as coworkers since you may have different perceptions of your relations with your peers regarding the context of the message that you share. You should, therefore, consider the ambiguity of a message before you relay it to others to shun misunderstandings amongst yourselves.

Finally, interpersonal communication is contextual. There are five contexts within which it happens, and these include psychological, relational, situational, environmental, and cultural (Floyd, 2017). The implication is that communication cannot occur in solitude. All the contexts interrelate to foster the elements of communication. This is important since the setting enables you to identify the relevance of a message and determine its impact on reception by your coworkers.

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Barriers to Effective Interpersonal Communication

Certain factors can hinder the process of sharing information. As a result, they may lead to delivering inaccurate information through the biasing of the original message. In some cases, poor communication may occur due to these hindrances. Some of them include (1) the use of complicated terms or jargon. This limits successful conveying of a message to coworkers since they may fail to understand the meaning. Using simple terminologies overcomes this hindrance. (2) Poor listening skills. When the receiver is not attentive, the details of a message may not be adequately relayed (Reece & Reece, 2017). Overcoming this obstacle entails learning the art of listening. Consequently, the listener builds attention towards the speaker thereby getting every detail about what is being shared. (3) Language differences and unfamiliar accents. Yeung, Brown, and Lee (2012) illustrate that in a case where there are people from different ethnic communities, the differences in pronunciation of various words are common. As a result, the receiver may decipher different meanings of the message, and this poses as a setback to effective interpersonal communication. This barrier can be overcome by upholding concentration whenever you are communicating with your coworkers. (4) Emotional impediments such as fear and anxiety may deter one from effective delivering information. Maintaining composure and confidence usually overcomes this barrier. Finally, (5) physical barriers such as noise can lead to challenges in communication. When communicating with your colleague workers in a noisy environment, the recipient may fail to hear some words or phrases, which could be carrying valuable information (Pavord & Donnelly, 2015). In addition, they may also get an incorrect message. Thus, communicating in a quiet environment fosters effective interpersonal communication.

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The Function of Communication in Developing and Maintaining One’s Self-Concept, Self-Image, and Self-Esteem

Self-concept depicts a personal understanding of oneself. Reece & Reece (2017) describe self-concept as the beliefs that an individual has regarding their aspects such as performance and identity based on the personal experiences, thoughts, and perceptions from other people. Hence, it reflects the idea of who you are to other people and who they perceive you to be. Self-image, on the other hand, evokes a person’s view of own personality. It is regarded as the mental picture that one has regarding his or her abilities and appearance (Reece & Reece, 2017). A self-image is thus a form of self-impression that is developed over a long time. Self-esteem refers to how one feels about themselves and believing in own capabilities. According to DeVito (2013), it is the emotional satisfaction of personal worth and value. Thus, self-esteem reflects an individual’s attitude on his or her self.

The aspect of communication between different parties often determines the nature of the relationship that exists between them. Interpersonal communication fosters the development and the maintenance of self-concept, self-image, and self-esteem. As a result, these three entities regarding the personal being are significant in building strong relationships amongst your coworkers. For instance, self-concept enables you to understand your weaknesses and strengths thereby allowing you to communicate with your colleagues effectively. Similarly, self-image and self-esteem equip you with confidence when communicating with others.

There are various ways in which you can develop self-concept, self-image, and self-esteem. For example, talking positively about yourself and doing things that you enjoy builds up self-confidence and self-love. Similarly, suppressing negative thoughts, grooming well, and acting positively also impact on developing self-concept and self-image. As a result, interpersonal communication amongst you as coworkers will be enhanced.

The Importance of Self-Disclosure and Emotional Intelligence in Various Relationships

Self-disclosure fortifies many types of relationships as it fosters openness. It refers to the communication process whereby a person willingly shares private information about themselves with another individual (Floyd, 2017). This kind of information can be feelings, hobbies, personal preferences, ambitions, achievements, and even failures. Pavord and Donnelly (2015) state that there are five levels of self-disclosure and they include (1) cliché communication. This level is the first one, and it entails superficial standard talk such as greetings usually aimed at announcing or acknowledging a person’s presence. (2) Facts and information related to one’s biography. At this step, basic facts about oneself such as names are shared. (3) Purpose and personal ideas. Portraying attitude towards things, likes and dislikes and other personal information that expound on the basic one constitute this level of self-disclosure. (4) Opinions and personal feelings. The topics discussed at this level include talks regarding secrets, intimacy, and perceptions about others. Trust is a major characteristic of this level. Finally, (5) peak communication is the last level of self-disclosure. The degree of openness is very high, and only the most trusted people reach this level.

Emotional intelligence regards the management of emotions. According to DeVito (2013), it is the ability of a person to comprehend their own emotions and feelings in connection with those of others and manage them suitably to facilitate proper behavior and thinking. Emotional intelligence is important in determining the level of self-disclosure between two people. As a result, it can assist you in judging your colleague’s feelings and thus filtering the information that you share appropriately. Moreover, you can nurture communication amongst yourselves by incorporating the aspect of emotional intelligence.

Both self-disclosure and emotional intelligence are significant in your relationships as coworkers. Being open to each other fosters trust in your relationships, and thus communication becomes enhanced. Emotional intelligence enables you to understand one other regarding your thinking patterns and behavior mannerisms (Reece & Reece, 2017). As a result, you can easily predict your workmate’s actions and responses when you tell them some information or news. The implication is that your relationships are, therefore, improved.

Strategies of Using Communication Techniques to Resolve Interpersonal Conflicts

While performing your duties, some forms of interpersonal disputes between you and your fellow workers may arise. Communication methods are vital in addressing such conflicts amongst your workmates. Strategies for using these techniques are equally important in managing misunderstandings. Examples of these strategies include (1) softening the start-up. In case of a conflict, approaching the conversation by considering the thoughts and feelings of others constitutes a constructive way of engaging them in the conflict resolution (DeVito, 2013). Additionally, the diction and the language used in expressing the problem promote positive interaction. (2) Embracing makeup attempts. Focusing on the issue one at a time enhances thorough evaluation of the circumstances, and communication plays a role in calming the situation (DeVito, 2013). Consequently, this strategy maintains interaction by managing emotional and physical conflicts. Lastly, (3) optimizing the use of effective communication skills. Turn-taking, giving each other the opportunity to express your concerns, and listening to them foster mutual understanding. Besides, apologizing where necessary and rational thinking are important in resolving interpersonal conflicts.

A potential conflict may manifest when one of your workers decides to use backdoor means of gaining favor from the managerial staff hence getting a promotion or resulting in your demotion. The worker may bribe the senior staff to influence a decision that will benefit him or her (worker) or negatively affect the rest of the employees. This situation may result in disputes between the workmates and, subsequently, culminate in interpersonal conflicts. By using the strategy of softening the startup, you can address the issue by approaching the worker in a friendly manner and explaining the importance of ethical behavior. You can also engage the managerial staff involved in the impropriety using this strategy. The other technique is to employ effective listening and speaking skills in resolving the problem. As a result, you can quickly reach a consensus and thus resolve the interpersonal conflict by using this communication strategy.

The Effect of Gender and Culture on Interpersonal Communications

Gender refers to the sex state of an individual as being male or female. It is associated with social characteristics that distinguish between the two sexes. On the other hand, culture is a person’s way of life characterized by his or her social norms, values, customs, and behavior (Yeung et al., 2012). Communication styles vary depending on gender and cultural factors. People of different sexes portray various, or even contrasting, characteristics in the way they communicate. Similarly, diverse cultures also evoke differences in their methods of communication. Consequently, the aspects of gender and culture have various impacts on interpersonal communication.

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For instance, a certain form of communication may depict different meanings amongst different cultures. Similarly, not all cultures believe that men and women are equal regarding dimensions such as social status and communication (Yeung et al., 2012). Additionally, males and females show different levels of emotional management and problem resolutions. For this reason, misunderstandings tend to appear if you fail to factor in the concepts of gender and culture when addressing people of another culture and gender. Hence, these two aspects are important in understanding the relationships amongst your colleague workers and in consideration of the appropriate styles of communication to foster coexistence in the organization.

As an employee in a reputable company, it is important to nurture your skills in interpersonal communication at all times regardless of whom you are interacting with following the company’s code of ethics. There are a number of ways in which you can refine your competence on communication to become a good communicator. The first step is to identify potential hurdles to effective interpersonal communication. Obstacles such as noise can hinder effective listening (Pavord & Donnelly, 2015). Therefore, removing communication hindrances facilitates efficient information-sharing. Considering the personal features of self-concept, self-image and self-esteem, you can improve them to foster confidence and eloquence upon communication. Additionally, improving your emotional intelligence and incorporating self-disclosure build your relationship with others thereby enhancing your communication. Finally, employing communication techniques when you interact with others makes you a better communicator.

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Conclusion

Interpersonal communication is instrumental in creating and maintaining strong relationships. For workers themselves and for the management team, it is significant for ensuring that you have good working relations with each other. Therefore, this paper analyses the principles of interpersonal communications and how they matter to you as coworkers. As discussed, some factors such as noise, poor listening skills and the use of hard vocabulary hinder effective interpersonal communication. This paper reflects on how to overcome them. Moreover, the aspects of self-concept, self-image, and self-esteem and their importance in your relationships as workers have been evaluated. Moreover, communication is imperative for developing and maintaining your relationships. Other important features in relationships that have been discussed include emotional intelligence and self-disclosure. This paper explores various levels of self-disclosure and how emotional intelligence incorporates them in strengthening your relationships with coworkers. Additionally, communication techniques such as effective listening and speaking skills have been identified, and the ways they can be strategically used to resolve interpersonal conflicts, especially in your case as employees, are explored. This paper also reviews the effect of gender and culture on interpersonal communications. It discusses their relevance to various relationships and how they affect communication between people from different cultures and gender. Finally, the methods of becoming a good communicator are discussed. These include overcoming communication barriers and improving emotional intelligence and communication skills.

 

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