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Introduction

To most people, communication is about exchanging information from one party to another but looking from a deeper perspective there is more to communication than to what we usually perceive. Communication is defined as a learned skill; since a majority group is born with a talking skill but there is always need to learn how to speak and communicate with others effectively.

Our ability to speak, listen and understand verbal and nonverbal meanings develop in various ways and depends on different situations. These situations rely on observing, teaching in the class, and practicing what is learnt to be evaluated by others (Anon, n.d). Effective communication is always advisable in order to convey the desired information to the receiving party.

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Information Communication Revolution

As time has progressed so has technology; this has made things much easier for human beings. Researchers have divided communication into three revolutions. The first revolution consisted of drawing immobile objects while the second revolution was associated with transfer of information to others. The third revolution consisted transfer of information through waves and electronic signals and this is the generation we are still in.

Types of Communication

Nonverbal communication:

This is the process of receiving wordless messages from one entity to the other and these non-verbal forms of communication are usually determined by the posture, gesture, body language, eye contact, and facial expression among others. Non-verbal communication plays a key role in every person’s day-to-day life from ordinary life to other special engagements in life. Speech as a non-verbal communication may contain elements of non-verbal communication such as Para-language, which may include voice quality, emotion, and speaking style. The features of non-verbal communication can be divided into static and dynamic. Static features of non verbal communication include posture (e.g. lying down) while dynamic features include facial expressions frowning and yawning among others.

Visual Communication

This is the process of conveying message in a form that can be read; primarily, it is involved with two-dimensional images e.g. signs, drawings, and graphics. Visual communication relies on vision (what can be seen). It explores the notion of power in visual messages. Visual communication is mostly reliable when a case of future reference is needed or when similar message need to be sent to many receivers and when conveying of the message requires a step-by-step procedure.

Oral Communication

The process of conveying messages or information through the word of mouth is defined as oral communication. This method of communication is mostly used when discussions are needed and when immediate reaction is needed from the other side. Among the above methods the best depends on the purpose of conveying the message, resources required when stressing the importance of the information needed among other requirements.

Principles of Communication

Listening

This is an art in communication and has rules to be followed. Researchers say that when we listen, we learn, and we grow. Listening involves mutual acknowledgement of the other party and also creates an emotional atmosphere. Acknowledgement of the other person presence enhances better communication.

It is always advisable to listen first to whatever you are being told and then you acknowledge before you can express what your point of view is. Acknowledging at least confirms to the other party that atleast you were listening. Listening and repeating the information in your own words makes it easier to understand the situation by putting yourself in the other person’s shoes.

Perception

Among the many problems that are faced in the communication process, perception is one of the worst. It usually happens when we judge people by the way they look but not by their deeds or by the information they present. Some people are written off during presentations just because of the way they appear or the way they are dressed. Prejudice hinders the effectiveness of communicating with other parties since the cloud is formed at the first instance of what is expected.

Audience

To connect with the audience is also a very important principle during communication. The presenter should always have prior information of who his or her audience will be so as to enable him prepare psychologically in advance of what to present and what the audience expects from him.

Topics

Before the presentation of any information, the informer should be well versed with all the details about the topic to avoid embarrassments from the crowd who may be curious about more information and as the conveyor, you find yourself being cowed of not knowing much about the topic (Hall & McCrorie, 2006).

Credibility

This is perhaps one of the most important in terms of technical knowledge. How friendly, warm, accessible up to date and knowledgeable is the source of your information.

Objections: when presenting any information you must be aware that some of the listeners may not agree with your sentiments thus you should listen to what they may have to say and then you share your opinions.

Persuasion is the art of convincing your listeners of the credibility or the benefits to what your claims are as a better change agent it is always advisable not to oversell or overstate your case. Clarity and simplicity should also be embraced and you should cover the relevant aspects so as not to have a hard time when trying to convince the other party.

Barriers of Effective Interpersonal Communication

The presence of the following hinders effective communication between parties

Pretending or putting an act: the presenter should never try to make or appear what they are not. E.g. some people assume to know everything while it is a well known fact that no one knows everything but everyone knows something. The former if wrongly established can be destructive to the person who thinks as well as for the others he is interacting with.

Use of stereotypes

Stereotypes are wrong over generalized mind pictures that are applied universally to all things in a particular class. E.g., the stereo types about urban dwellers, blacks, or whites. When an individual applies a mind picture to a given class without any consideration to the personal differences he or she creates complete absence of truth and tends to create a self-fulfilling prophecy in whatever they present (Garner, 1996).

Suspicious behavior

Most of the times the foremost problem in relating with people is distrust with its counterpart being the defensive interpersonal behavior. Suspicion is created by behavior or acts which suggest that you are making judgment about the other person rather than listening to what the person is saying or you are simply trying to control the other person it makes you feel superior and needless to say such behavior should be avoided completely.

Failure to listen

Most people are better talkers than listeners. There can be no true interaction or mutual influencing of one another without each person taking turns listening and talking by taking into account what the other party is trying to communicate.

Cultural gaps

Culture determines people’s behavioral patterns, varying cultures can be a barrier to effective communication e.g. a lifestyle way of thinking life concerns and modes of communication may be so different from one another that accurate communication and mutual understanding becomes difficult. The above factors present among many other barriers which most of the time depend with the situation and the place you are in (Garner, 1996).

Strategies on How to Improve Inter Personal Communication

Interpersonal communication is central to us so that we can become what we are. It is the response of others to our actions thus; we can take the measure to guard ourselves. Do not speak one way and act in a different way: it is always advisable to speak what you know you can do. As they say do not preach water and then take wine for a good. In interpersonal relationship it is always advisable to adhere to what you tell others to do

Listen: in any conversation people always meet questions and sometimes objections it is always advisable to be very attentive when being asked a question listen carefully so as to enable you answer effectively. In case you are faced with objections it is always advisable to listen to the other party views and then you give your own views about the situation from your angle of understanding this enables both parties to understand each other (Diggs, 2010).

Cultivate self-interest: it is advisable to always cultivate self-interest between you and the listening partners. As the leader you must always present your information in an brief and exciting way so as to make it easier for the audience to listen and follow every point of the presentation. This ensures that the topic is well understood in return reducing chances of unnecessary questions.

Respect the views of the other person: if among the listeners some one does not share the same sentiments with you it is always advisable to respect their views rather than dismissing them. Always respect what other people uphold as their true status, understand their point of view and also make your views be well understood by the opposing party and this may lead to establishment of a neutral ground thus reducing chances for any conflict.

See it from their side- This is easily achievable if we take heed of what we say then staying in touch with our feelings due to the fact that if you are cut off from your feelings then you are unable to put yourself in your audience shoes (Hernandez, ND)

The Impact of Gender and Culture on Interpersonal Communications

Gender refers not simply to an attribute determined by the biological or cultural processes rather it is something that one enacts or does on going basis by presenting oneself as masculine or feminine in routine daily interactions through languages dress and demeanor. Gender is socially constructed through interaction. It suggests that gender arises through interaction and organization practices and it is a pervasive way of organizing and differentiating features of all social life woven into all aspects of life within outside of the work place (Afolabi, Awosola & Omole, 2010).

The role of gender is a set of behaviors associated with males or females in a given social group or system. There has been rejection of gender stereotypes especially by women who enter the traditionally perceived male careers and dominate in them e.g. the field of mechanics shows that how we view other gender in changing moments and in future it wont be male or female communicating rather it will be the deeds of a certain person talking for him or herself.

In some communities particularly in Africa gender plays a great role in an interpersonal relationship example in solving a conflict e.g. in case a husband disagrees with his wife and she goes back to her parents. Incase the man feels that he needs his wife back he meets his father who requests the clan elders to go and meet the elders of the wife clan and after a discussion the solution is reached thus this is one of the examples of the role and the impact of gender on interpersonal communication.

The role of gender is also experienced during the early period of life for example between a mother and her child in that in case the child is hurting it is only the child mother who can soothe the child. It usually creates an attachment.

Culture has and will always be part of a conflict resolution. Cultures shape our perceptions, attributions and ideas both of own and the other party. Though cultures are strong as often experienced across every place in the world, they are often unconscious and sometimes influence conflicts though always try to solve conflicts in impeccable ways.

Culture is shared in forms of ethnicity, nationality, skin colour sexual orientation among other socio economic factors. The most important factor to note about cultures is that they are not static, they are always changing and relate to certain places but not to all places. Culture includes what one group knows and the other does not that is why culture is not uniform.

The role of culture in an interpersonal relation is quite interesting in that cultures prohibits and culture allows e.g. in some cultures during mourning all the family members are required to shave their hairs while to others you just dress in black. Though the occasion is the same the way people act depicts to what their culture demands from them

In order to solve any conflict brought about by culture we need to practice the following: build trust and respect amongst ourselves, read more about other people cultures and appreciate them the way they are and no matter what never try to make your culture appear superior than the others since that can initiate conflict.

Conclusion

From the above we can clearly confirm the fact that what we communication is a basic etiquette for all living human beings thus effort need to be put in order to learn the best ways of communicating with other people and which methods are best suited for which form of communication.

The study also allows us to understand the barriers we may come across as we try to make communication easier and effective. Another factor, which we have found to have a huge impact on communication, is gender and the culture these two were found to influence the way we communicate and relate with others in day to day living. It is my hope after that the study will help you in understanding the basic requirements for a good if not perfect communication.

Reference List

Afolabi O A, R, Awosola R. K and Omole, S. O. (2010). Influence of Emotional Intelligence and Gender on Job Performance and Job Satisfaction among Nigerian Policemen Department of Psychology, Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Edo State, Nigeria. Retrieved October 16, 2010 from
http://www.maxwellsci.com/print/crjss/v2-147-154.pdf

Anonymous, (2010). What is communication? Retrieved October 16, 2010 from http://www.tarunpatel.net/MSc/Communication%20skills.pdf

Diggs, A. (2010). All, How to improve interpersonal communication skills. Helium, Inc. Retrieved October 16, 2010 from http://www.helium.com/items/1541449-how-to-improve-interpersonal-communication-skills

Garner, E. (1996). Seven Barriers to Great Communication. Retrieved October 16, 2010 from
http://www.hodu.com/barriers.shtml

Hall, A. and McCrorie, P. (2006). Principles of communication. Retrieved October 16, 2010 from
http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/content/BPL_Images/Content_store/Sample_chapter/9781405139854/9781405139854_4_001.pdf

Hernandez, C. (Not dated). Ten Ways to Improve Your Interpersonal Skills. Retrieved October 16, 2010 from
http://www.allbusiness.com/human-resources/careers-career-development/11134-1.html?sms_ss=face

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