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Outline a basic model of interpersonal communication - Essay Example

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The word communication is difficult to define. The best that can be done is to illustrate the meaning of communication through the means of a model. In this paper we will focus on interpersonal communication i.e. communication between two persons. By the term process of communication we mean to convey that communication is an ongoing activity, an activity to transmit our ideas, thoughts, wishes, emotions e.t.c to other persons.
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Outline a basic model of interpersonal communication
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Interpersonal Communication (Factors affecting the sender, message and the receive) The word communication is difficult to define. The best that can be done is to illustrate the meaning of communication through the means of a model. In this paper we will focus on interpersonal communication i.e. communication between two persons. By the term process of communication we mean to convey that communication is an ongoing activity, an activity to transmit our ideas, thoughts, wishes, emotions e.t.c to other persons.
S.M.C.R model
As discussed in the beginning several models can be used to explain the communication process, the difference lies in the approach with which each model looks at the process. [4] The model that best suits our purpose of explaining interpersonal communication is the S.M.C.R model or the sender-message-channel-receiver model. [4]
Sender and Receiver
The sender or source is the person who wants to transmit a message. Let us look at the factors that influence the sender and the receiver in the communication process:
1. Communications skills
2. Knowledge
3. Position in the social system
4. Culture
5. Attitudes
It is important to note that these factors also influence the receiver in the same way and so they will also apply to the receiver.
First and foremost are the verbal communication skills. There are five communication skills in human beings that determine the ability (to communicate).Two for sending; writing and speaking and two receiving skills; reading and listening. The fifth skill namely reasoning, affects all the above mentioned skills and is important to both sending and receiving. [1]
Humans can also communicate through non-verbal communications skills. An angry or 'disapproving' look can communicate how one person feels towards a message.
The second factor is that of Knowledge or more precisely the level of knowledge about the subject in focus during communication (of either the sender or receiver). Take for example an electrical engineer talking to a doctor on medical issues might be ill at ease and vice versa since the knowledge domains of the two are entirely different. AT the same time, however both might be quite comfortable in discussing the current political situation. [1]
The position of the sender and the receiver in their respective social systems is also one factor that affects the nature of communication. The position can be looked at from different dimensions such as those of age, gender, religion or other demographic factors as well as social status, income level e.t.c. one can either be in a similar, higher, or lower position in their respective social systems. This determines how a sender conceives and delivers a message and how well a receiver absorbs it. [2]
Culture also influences the process of communication. [4] It is common observation that communication between persons belonging to similar cultural backgrounds is easier and effective (not necessarily). Consider two managers working in different parts of the world of a multinational organization. Even though both managers might be at the same hierarchal level but if they belong to different cultures the way these managers communicate with the employees is not the same, if both are substituted in each others places then things will not necessarily be the same. [3]
Another important factor is that of attitude. The attitude of the receiver or the sender is how that individual feels about a certain thing (be it an idea, though e.t.c or even another individual). Attitudes automatically influence our thoughts and decision towards specific notions which we favor. Now, attitude can affect communication in three ways:
1. Attitudes of the sender toward him/her self.
This determines how the sender conducts him/her self while delivering the message. A favorable self-attitude will be reflected through the self-confidence of the sender and vice versa. An overdose of self-confidence will show through haughtiness or if the sender is too overbearing, this will mar communication.
2. Attitude toward subject matter
This affects communication by unconsciously influencing the way the sender or the receiver thinks about a certain subject A person in favor of setting up a toxic waste processing facility in the neighborhood will usually only focus on the positives of the topic while communicating with the others
3. Attitude toward the receiver or receiver's attitude towards the sender
It is not surprising to note an individual's response or the way he/she communicates the same message to another person, one whom he/she likes and the other whom he/she dislikes. The tone changes are obvious even when either the receiver or sender is known as compared to a stranger. This is also applicable in superior- subordinate relationships. [3]
The message is the idea or the thought being conveyed by the sender. A message has two key features: content and treatment.
The content is the actual subject matter or body of the message, including appeals, assertions, arguments e.t.c.
The treatment of the message is how the receiver arranges the message. Treatment of the message can be verbal, visual such as charts or graphs or written.
The nature of content and the treatment used will obviously be affected by factors influencing the sender as well as the receiver. The selection of appropriate content and the treatment is vital to the success of the communication process. [5]
There are two types of communication channels:
1. Sensory - five basic human senses: sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste,
2. Transmission through medium/ Institutionalized - Telephone, face-to-face, television, electronic media (e-mail e.t.c), printed materials.
Transmission medium always require one or more sensory channels to be involved. Multi-channel transmission is usually more effective, such as using both audio and visual aids while delivering a presentation is more effective in getting the message across. [5]
1. Bovee, C.L., & Thill, J.V. (1992). Business Communication Today. NY, NY: McGraw-Hill
2. Burnett, M.J., & Dollar, A. (1989). Business Communication: Strategies for Success. Houston, Texas: Dane.
3. Gibson, J.W., & Hodgetts, R.M. (1990). Business Communication: Skills and Strategies. NY, NY: Harper & Row.
4. B. Adler, Ronald & Rosenfeld, Lawrence B. (1989) Interplay: The Process of Interpersonal Communication. United Kingdom: Thomson Learning.
5. Bowman, Joel P. & P. Branchaw, Bernadine (1987) Business Communication. United Kingdom: Thomson Learning. Read More
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