Interpersonal Communication Components of Communication • Message • Facts or info • Channel • Verbal and nonverbal • Encoding vs. Decoding • “Do you understand the words coming out of my mouth?” • “Wah way wah wah wah?” • Noise – distracters Interpersonal Communication • Components of the communication process 1. The sender 2. The receiver 3. The message 4. The channel 5. The noise – “any stimulus that interferes with accurately expressing or understanding a message”. 6. The context – environment Communication is Transactional • • • • Reciprocal Feedback generated Constant – “You cannot not communicate” Context specific • Coca Cola = “Bite the wax tadpole” in China • Multi-layered • The seen and the unseen Tale of 2 Meanings • Denotation • The objective meaning of the words or message. • Connotation • The subjective, emotional, or personal meaning of the words and message. • Good or bad connotation Nonverbal Communication • • • • • • • 85% of message Gestures Facial expressions Touch Space Silence Eye communication Eye contact Eye contact • • • Duration of eye contact is the most meaningful aspect of this channel of nonverbal communication. Among European Americans, high levels of eye contact are associated with effective social skills and credibility. However, eye contact is judged as offensive by other cultures (e.g., Native American tribes). Nonverbal Communication • General principles of nonverbal communication 1. It conveys emotions 2. It is multichanneled 3. It is ambiguous 4. It may contradict verbal messages 5. It is culture-bound (e.g. eye contact) Paralanguage • • • • Speed of speech Volume Pitch Tone Body language • Kinesics – “the study of communication through body movements”. • • • An “open” posture. A “closed” posture. hand gestures. Lying Body Language • Truth about Lying Listening Skills • Hearing • “He that has ears, let him hear.” - Jesus • Listening • Understanding the message • Empathy 5 Listening Skills 1. Talk less - listen more 2. Careful or undivided attention 1. Gives positive feedback to speaker 3. Reflective listening • Parroting or paraphrasing • Structure conversation 5 Listening Skills 4. Summative Reflection • “Let me see if I’ve got this straight.” • Summarize and receive confirmation before responding 5. Awareness and monitoring of Feedback Rapport vs. Report • Rapport communication • Displaying similarities with others • Most often used by women • Report communication • Exhibiting knowledge, skill • Most often used by men More Effective Communication • Self-disclosure – “the act of sharing information about yourself with another person” is important to adjustment for several reasons. 1. Sharing problems with others plays a key role in mental health. 2. Emotional self-disclosures lead to feelings of closeness. 3. Self-disclosure in romantic relationships is associated with relationship satisfaction. Symmetrical vs. Complementary • Symmetrical communication • Matches the senders message • May result in escalation of tension • Implies participants have equal power • Complementary communication • Complements the senders message • May deescalate the tension • Implies one participant has superior power Barriers to Communication • Judging • Proposing solutions • • • • Advice Orders Threats Moralizing • Avoiding, derailing, or discounting others concerns Barriers to effective communication 1. Defensiveness – “excessive concern with protecting oneself from being hurt”. 2. Ambushing – listening carefully only to then verbally attack the speaker. 3. Motivational distortion – hearing what you want to hear. 4. Self-preoccupation – being so self-absorbed the other person cannot equally participate. Communication Problems • Communication apprehension – “or anxiety caused by having to talk with others” is usually followed by one of four responses: 1. Avoidance – choosing not to participate. 2. Withdrawal – “clamming up” in conversation you cannot escape. 3. Disruption – the inability to make fluent statements. 4. Overcommunication – (e.g., nervous speech). Interpersonal Conflict • Beliefs about conflict • Most people believe any kind of conflict is bad. • However, avoiding conflict is usually counterproductive and leads to a self-perpetuating cycle (see Figure 8.12). Figure 8.12. The conflict avoidance cycle. Avoiding conflict can lead to a self-perpetuating cycle: (1) people think of conflict as bad, (2) they get nervous about a conflict they are experiencing, (3) they avoid the conflict as long as possible, (4) the conflict gets out of control and must be confronted, and (5) they handle the confrontation badly. In turn, this negative experience sets the stage for avoiding conflict the next time—usually with the same negative outcome. (Adapted from Lulofs, 1994) Interpersonal Conflict, continued • Five types of conflict 1. Pseudoconflict – false conflict from game playing. 2. Fact-based conflict – disagreement about factual issues. 3. Policy conflict – disagreement about how to handle a situation. 4. Value-based conflict – disagreement that occurs when people hold opposing values. 5. Ego-based conflict – emphasis on winning over resolving the conflict. Interpersonal Conflict, continued • Styles of managing conflict • Two dimensions (concern for self and concern for others) underlie five distinct patterns of managing conflict (see Figure 8.14). 1. Avoiding/withdrawing (low concern for self and others). 2. Accommodating (low concern for self, high concern for others). 3. Competing/forcing (high concern for self, low concern for others). Interpersonal Conflict, continued Styles of managing conflict, continued: 4. Compromising (moderate concern for self and others). 5. Collaborating (high concern for self and others). – While compromising simply involves “splitting the difference”, collaborating involves finding a solution that is maximally satisfying to both parties. Interpersonal Conflict, continued • Dealing constructively with conflict • Be honest and open. • Be Specific – Refer to specific behavior and not general statements about another’s personality. • Be current • Avoid “loaded” words. • Use a positive approach and help the other person “save face”. Interpersonal Conflict, continued Dealing constructively with conflict, continued • Assume responsibility for your own feelings and preferences. • Try to use an assertive communication style. Developing an Assertive Style, continued 1. Understand what assertive communication is. • Don’t forget about nonverbal cues. 2. Monitor your assertive communication. • Identify when you are not assertive, find out who intimidates you, on what topics, and in which situations. Developing an Assertive Style, continued 3. Observe a model’s assertive communication. 4. Practice assertive communication by using • Covert rehearsal – imagine using assertiveness in a situation that requires it. • Role playing – ask a friend to play the role of an antagonist so you can practice. 5. Adopt an assertive attitude. Verbal Judo: Handling Criticism • Only 1 person in this world has the power to put you down – You. • Other’s criticism is either right or wrong. • If they’re wrong then there’s no reason to be upset • If they’re right then there’s still no reason to be upset unless you believe you must be perfect. Verbal Judo: Handling Criticism • How to respond to criticism to enhance your sense of mastery and self-confidence • Step 1: Empathy • Ask a series of specific questions to find out exactly what he or she means. • Avoid being judgmental or defensive • This tends to defuse anger & hostility • This encourages problem-solving Verbal Judo: Handling Criticism • Step 2: Disarming the critic • • • • Complementary communication Find some way to agree with the critic Avoid sarcasm or defensiveness Always speak the truth (find the grain of truth in the criticism) Verbal Judo: Handling Criticism • Step 3: Feedback & Negotiation • Assertively present your point of view with diplomacy. • Make the conflict one based on fact rather than personality or pride.