Unit One
Introduction to Interpersonal
A first look at Interpersonal
What is Interpersonal
• Interpersonal Communication is defined by Redmond and
Beebe as: a distinctive form of human communication
that occurs when you interact with another person and
mutually influence each other usually for the purpose of
maintaining relationships.
• Interpersonal communication is described as like
breathing: It is a requirement for life and is inescapable.
Because unless you live in isolation you communicate
interpersonally EVERY day.
Why do we communicate?
Why is communication important?
•Physical Needs
•Identity Needs
•Social Needs
•Practical Goals
The Process of Communication
• A Linear View of Communication
• “the sender encodes a message and sends it through a
channel where the receiver decodes the message and
receives it.”
The Process of Communication
• A Transactional View of Communication
– “Communication occurs with others.”
– Environments
– Noise (external, physiological and
Communication Principles
• Communication can be intentional or
• It is impossible not to communicate
– We are like “transmitters” constantly
transmitting messages at all times.
• Communication is irreversible
• Communication is unrepeatable
Communication Misconceptions
• Meanings are not only in words
• Successful communication does not
always involve shared understanding
• More communication is not always
• Communication will not solve all
Types of Communication
• Intrapersonal Communication
• Interpersonal Communication
• Mass Communication (Mediated)
• Small Group Communication
• Metacommunication
• Organizational Communication
• Intercultural Communication
What makes and effective
• Communication Competence is: the ability to
choose a communication behavior that is both
appropriate and effective for a given situation.
(Spitzberg & Cupach, 1984)
• There is no “ideal” way to communicate.
• Competence is situational
• Competence is relational
• Competence can be learned
Characteristics of a competent
• A wide range of behaviors
• The ability to choose the most
appropriate behavior based on context,
goals and knowledge of the other
• Skill at performing behaviors
• Cognitive complexity
Characteristics of a competent
• Empathy
• Self Monitoring
• Commitment to the other person and to
the message
Technology and Interpersonal
• CMC is computer mediated communication
• CMC can increase the quantity and quality of
interpersonal communication
• Personal and Impersonal Communication is a
matter of balance with technology

Unit One Introduction to Interpersonal Communication