Q3L03 -Interpersonal Communication
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  • One of the basic reasons for miscommunication is that decoding is always guesswork.We can easily observe a person’s behavior, hear words and see actionsButWe can only imagine what the words and actions mean.
  • We have many filters that distort what we hear.We have attention filters that keep us from being overwhelmed by the increasing amountof sounds and information.We have emotional filters that block or distort our understanding.We have our expectations of others that distort our behavior
  • Often Receivers have ways of responding that are considered by researchers as high –risk responses that are likely to block communication, increase the emotional distancebetween people and decrease the other person’s problem-solving efficiency.These responses have been divided into three major categories:Criticizing - Many of us feel we ought to be critical or the other person will never improve.We feel it is our responsibility to make a negative evaluation of the other person’sactions or attitudeso Name Calling - There is no longer a person before us, only a type.” You are just anotherinsensitive male” Labeling, putting down the other person, prevents us fromgetting to really know the othero Diagnosing - One person informs the other that she is being defensive, or she is acting out ofguilt or fear or some other unconscious motive. “I can read you like a book…..”Communication is blocked.Ordering - An order is a solution sent coercively and backed by force. People becomedefensive and resentful, sabotage may result. Orders imply that the other’sjudgment is unsound and thus tend to undermine self-esteem.o Threatening - A threat is a solution sent with an emphasis on punishment that will beforthcoming if the solution is not implemented. Threats produce the same kind ofnegative feelings and results that are produced by orders ‘You will do it or else..”o Moralizing - Many people like to back their solutions with the force of moral or theologicalauthority. “It’s the right thing to do” “You ought to tell him you are sorry”Moralizing foster anxiety, arouses resentment and block honest self-expression.o Advising - The advice-giving trap is a constant temptation when someone talks to you abouther problems. What’s wrong with the advice? Often it is seen by the other as abasic insult to her intelligence. It implies a lack of confidence in the capacity ofthe other person to cope with her problems. And the advisor seldom understandsthe full implications of the problem. The advisor may be unaware of thecomplexities, feelings, and many other factors that lie hidden beneath the surface.Avoiding the other’s concernso Diverting - One of the most frequent ways of switching a conversation from the other’sperson concern to your own topic is called “diverting”Diverting appears when people lack the awareness and skills to listen effectively.At other times diversion appears when people are uncomfortable with theemotions stimulated by the conversation.Logical argument - When persons are under stress or when there is conflict between people,providing logical solutions can be frustrating. Logic focuses on facts and typicallyavoids feelings. However, feelings may be the main issues. Using logic, even ifreally needed, may be a high risk response blocking communication.
  • people can produce about 20,000 different facial expressions and about 1,000 different cues based on paralanguage. There are also about 700,000 different physical gestures, facial expressions and movements glean information about feelings and intentions of others (e.g. non-verbal cues are often reliable indicators of whether someone likes you); regulate interactions (e.g. non-verbal cues can signal the approaching end of an utterance, or that someone else wishes to speak); • express intimacy (e.g. touching and mutual eye contact) establish dominance or control (non-verbal threats); • facilitate goal attainment (e.g. pointing).
  • There are cultural, gender and situational variations in display rules. The expression of emotion is encouraged for women and in Mediterranean cultures, but is discouraged for men and in northern European and Asian cultures (Argyle, 1975). In Japan, people are taught to control facial expressions of negative emotion and to use laughter or smiling to conceal anger or grief. In Western cultures, it is impolite to display happiness at beating an opponent in tennis by laughing, yet happy laughter is acceptable at a party. Similarly, it is fine to cry at a funeral but not on hearing disappointing news in a business setting.
  • There are many different types of touch (e.g. brief, enduring, firm, gentle) to different parts of the body (e.g. hand, shoulder, chest). The meaning of a touch varies as a function of the type of touch, the context within which the touch occurs, who touches whom, and what the relationship is between the interactants (e.g. husband and wife, doctor and patient, strangers).
  • Male and female customers in a restaurant gave larger tips after their female waiting person touched them casually on the hand (Crusco 8c Wetzel, 1984). In another study, university library clerks briefly touched the hand of students checking out books. Women who had been touched indicated greater liking for the clerk, and even for the library, than those who had not been touched (Fisher, Rytting 8c Heslin, 1976). Male students were stolidly unaffected in this instance. Whitcher and Fisher (1979) also reported a gender difference, this time in a health set-ting. They arranged for patients to be touched or not touched by a female nurse during a pre-operative teaching interaction. Although the touches were brief and 'professional', they had significant effects on post-operative physiological and questionnaire measures. Female patients who had been touched reported less fear and anxiety, and had lower blood pres-sure readings, than those who had not been touched. Unfortunately, male patients who had been touched were more anxious and had higher blood pressure!
  • In an office, the desk is about 75 cm deep, and allowing for chair space, people interacting across the desk are just over one metre apart.


  • 1.
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  • 5. Interpersonal Communication
  • 6. Same Picture – Different Perspectives
  • 7. Different perspectives  Different attitudes
  • 8. Need to have EFFECTIVEINTERPERSONALCOMMUNICATIONSKILLS to understand and accept differing attitudes and each other!
  • 10. Definition
    A complex process that can be described in simplified terms by a Sender and a Receiver who exchange messages containing ideas and feelings, mixed together.
  • 11. The Sender
    The Sender encodes the messages using Verbal, Vocal and Visual elements.
    The words form the Verbal element.
    The Vocal element includes the tone and intensity of our voice.
    The Visual element incorporates everything the Receiver can see. The Visual, non-verbal element is the most powerful element, grabbing and holding Receiver’s attention.
  • 12. The Receiver
    The Receiver takes in the messages and decode them by sorting out and interpreting the elements according to their own experiences, beliefs and needs.
  • 13. Why do we need it?
    We communicate in order to:
    Get acquainted
    Express emotions to others
    Share information
    Persuade others to understand our personal views
    Build relationships
  • 14. We are able to send messages from the moon, but we find it difficult to relate to those welove.
  • 15. Communication Roadblocks
  • 16. For the Sender….
    • Different meaning of the words
    • 17. Hiding thoughts and feelings
  • 18. For the Receiver…
    Hearing through own filters.
    Attention filters keeps us from being overwhelmed by excess sounds and information.
    Emotional filters that block or distort our understanding.
    Our expectations of others that distort our behaviour.
    Easily distracted- people can think much faster than they can talk (avg rate for speech is 125-150/min. The ear and brain can process about four times more and faster).
  • 19. Reactions that block communication
    Judging the other person (criticising, name calling, diagnosing)
    Sending Solutions (ordering, threatening, moralising, advising)
    Avoiding the other’s concerns (diverting, logical argument)
  • 20. How to overcome roadblocks
    70% of our waking time is spent in communication (9% writing, 16% reading, 30% talking and 45% listening)
    Active listening – way of listening and responding that improves mutual understanding.
  • 21. Five levels of active listening
    Basic acknowledgement: includes verbal and visual signs that let the speaker know we are listening with interest and respect.
    Attentive Silence: Keeping silent to find out more information from the speaker. During this time, observe, imagine and decide what is the best answer.
    Questions: asking in order to show the speaker interest in what is being said and their point of view. Open-ended are preferable.
    Paraphrasing: focuses on the content and clarifies correct understanding.
    Mirroring feelings: reflecting back to the speaker the emotions he/she is communicating.
    Language communicates not only by what is said but also by how it is said.
    Paralanguage refers to all the non-linguistic accompaniments of speech - volume, stress, pitch, speed, tone of voice, pauses, throat clearing, grunts and sighs (Knapp, 1978; Trager, 1958).
  • 24. Timing, pitch and loudness (Argyle, 1975) are particularly important, as they can dramatically change the meaning of utterances: a rising intonation at the end of a statement transforms it into a question or communicates uncertainty, doubt or need for approval (Lakoff, 1973).
    Low pitch = sadness or boredom, while high pitch = anger, fear or surprise (Frick, 1985).
    Fast speech often communicates power and control (Ng & Bradac, 1993).
  • 26. Communication without words
    Do you:
    Use gestures on the phone?
    Misunderstood/been misunderstood by the meaning of a text?
  • 27. Functions of non-verbal communication
    Collect information about feelings and intentions of others
    Regulate interactions
    Express intimacy
    Establish dominance or control
  • 28. Type of non-verbal communication
    1) Facial Cues
    The human facial expressions associated with basic emotions appear to be relatively universal.
    Ekman and his colleagues (1971) showed people a series of photographs of faces expressing the six basic emotions (happiness, surprise, sadness, fear, disgust and anger)and had them report the emotions being expressed
    People from a variety of Western cultures (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Germany, Greece, Italy, Scotland, the United States), Asian cultures (Hong Kong, Japan, Sumatra, Turkey) and tribal cultures (Borneo, New Guinea) were remarkably accurate in identifying the six emotions from facial expression by people from both the same and different cultures
  • 29. Kinesics
    The study of the role of gestures and other body movements in non-verbal communication.
    Birdwhistell(1970)identified up to seventy basic units of body movement (e.g. flared nostrils) and described rules of combination that produce meaningful units of body communication (e.g. the combination of a shoulder shrug, raised eyebrows and upturned palms).
    There are gender differences: research by Schubert (2004) indicates that men are more likely than women to raise a clenched fist as a symbol of pride or power.
  • 30. Kinesics
    Gestures are often classified as:
    1) Emblems
    2) Illustrators
    3) Adaptors
    4) Regulators
  • 31. Emblems
    Gestures that substitute for words
  • 32. Cross Cultural differences
  • 33. Illustrators
    Gestures that accompany speech and depict what is being said
  • 34. Adaptors
    Gestures that help one to cope with emotional reactions
  • 35. Regulators
    Gestures that accompany speech and help to coordinate turn-taking
  • 36. Touching
    Social touch is perhaps the earliest form of communication we learn.
    From an analysis of 1,500 bodily contacts between people, Jones and Yarbrough (1985) identified five discrete categories of touch:
  • 37. Five categories of touch
    Positive affect - to communicate appreciation, affection, reassurance, nurturance or sexual interest.
    Playful - to communicate humour and playfulness.
    Control - to draw attention or induce compliance.
    Ritualistic - to satisfy ritualised requirements (e.g. greetings and departures).
    Task-related - to accomplish tasks (e.g. a nurse taking one's pulse, or a violin teacher positioning a student's hand).
    Negative affect (gently pushing an annoying hand away) and aggressive touches (slaps, kicks, shoves, punches) were added by Burgoon, Buller & Woodall (1989).
    Study of interpersonal distance.
    The closer two people are, the greater the number of non-verbal cues that can be detected
    We use interpersonal distance to regulate privacy and intimacy: the greater the distance, the more private you can be.
  • 39. Four Zones of space in social interaction: how close is comfortable?
    Anthropologist Edward Hall (1966) identified four interpersonal distance zones:
    Intimate distance
    Personal distance
    Social distance
    Public distance
  • 40. Intimate distance
    Up to 0.5m
    Physical contact can take place.
    Cues come from sight, sound, smell, body temperature, and depth and pace of breathing.
  • 41. Personal Distance
    Transitional area between intimate and formal
    The norm in Western countries for everyday interactions with friends and acquaintances.
    Touching is still possible.
    Many cues are still available but effects of body temperature, smell and breathing are greatly reduced
  • 42. Social Distance
    Typical for both casual and business interactions.
    Many cues are lost, but verbal contact is easily maintained.
    Furniture arrangement helps to achieve this – a bigger desk can signal rank.
  • 43. Public Distance
    Communication cues now lose some impact.
    Common distance for public speakers, celebrities and lecturers.
    Lecterns are usually placed about 3.5m back from the first row of seats.
    Courtrooms use this space to prevent easy exchanges with the judge.
  • 44. Intimacy-equilibrium theory
    Predicts that when intimacy signals are increased in one modality, they are decreased in other modalities (e.g. eye contact with approaching stranger).
    Scenario: crowded lift.
    According to intimacy-equilibrium theory, we reduce intimacy cues by staring at the numbers for each floor level.
  • 45. Research
    Middlemist, Knowles and Mutter (1976) – The urinal test demonstrates how people are often stressed when their personal space is invaded.
    Can differ across age, gender and cultures.E.g. Aiello and Jones (1971) found African Americans and working class children tend to stand closer than White or non-working class children. Argyle & Dean (1965) found people in Southern Europe, the Middle East and Latin America stand closer and some tribal communities in Africa and Indonesia often touch while talking.