Communication Climate
Tamara Arrington
COM 252
Today we’ll talk about…
• What is a communication climate?
• Disconfirming & confirming messages
• Defensiveness
• Supporting behaviors
• Your response to criticism
Is this what the communication
in your relationships is like?
Or, is this more like it?
What is a communication
• The term communication climate refers to
the emotional or social tone of a relationship.
It involves the way people feel about each
It is a relational climate.
Communication climates affects/reflects
Every context has a climate – this class, your
workplace, and your home.
Communication Climates and
• Communication climate is an extremely
significant factor when people have
Factors That Affect The
Communication Climate
• Disconfirming and confirming messages
• Defensiveness
• Your response
to criticism
Confirming and Disconfirming
Developing positive and negative
communication climates
Confirming Communication
• Messages that convey valuing other
• Recognition (making contact)
• Acknowledgment (listening)
• Endorsement (agreement)
Disconfirming Communication
• Messages show lack of regard for other
• Verbal aggression & verbal abuse
• Complaining
• Interrupting
• Impervious responses
(ignoring other person’s
attempt to communicate)
What is
• Protecting oneself from attack
• Increased defensiveness creates/reflects
negative communication climates.
• Decreased defensiveness creates/reflects
more positive communication climates.
Gibb Categories of Defensive
and Supportive Behaviors
Increasing and Decreasing
Evaluation Vs. Description
• Evaluative communication involves the
listener perceiving judgmental statements
that show lack of regard for the listener.
• “You” language one form of evaluative
• “You are the most disorganized person
I’ve ever met.”
Evaluation Vs. Description
• Descriptive communication focuses on the
speaker’s thoughts and feelings.
• Descriptive messages often expressed as
“I” language.
• “When you don’t put tax information in
the proper file, it makes it difficult for us
at tax time.”
Control Vs. Problem Orientation
• Controlling communication when speaker
seems to be imposing solution on listener
with no regard for listener.
• Non-controlling communication focuses on
finding a solution that takes into
consideration both communicators.
Strategy Vs.
• The terms dishonesty and
manipulation capture the essence of
• Spontaneity means expressing yourself
Neutrality (Indifference) Vs.
• Neutrality (indifference) implies other
person is not important to you.
• Empathy shows care for the feelings and
thoughts of others.
Superiority Vs.
• People who act superior communicate
they don’t want to relate on equal terms
with others.
• Communicating superiority encourages
others to feel defensive.
• Best to project feelings of equality.
Certainty (Know It All) Vs.
Provisionalism (Open-minded)
• A know it all (certainty) regards his/her
opinions with certainty while disregarding
the ideas of others.
• Demonstrate a lack of regard for the
thoughts and opinions of others.
• Open-minded (provisionalism)
communicators no corner on the truth and
willing to change with new information.
Responding Nondefensively to
Seek More Information
• Ask more information
• Ask for specifics
• Guess about specifics
• Paraphrase the speaker’s ideas
• Ask what the critic wants
• Ask about the consequences of your
behavior and ask what else is wrong
Agree With The Critic
• Agree with the truth
• Agree with the odds
• Agree in principle
• Agree with the critic’s perception

Communication Climate - Interpersonal Communication at BCTC