Chapter 8 Interpersonal Communication Interpersonal Communication • Components of the communication process 1. The sender 2. The receiver 3. The message 4. The channel 5. The noise – “any stimulus that interferes with accurately expressing or understanding a message”. 6. The context – environment Nonverbal Communication • General principles of nonverbal communication 1. It conveys emotions 2. It is multichanneled 3. It is ambiguous 4. It may contradict verbal messages 5. It is culture-bound (e.g. eye contact) Figure 8.9. Detecting deception from nonverbal behaviors. This chart summarizes evidence on which nonverbal cues are actually associated with deception and which are believed to be a sign of deception, based on a research review by DePaulo, Stone, and Lassiter (1985). More Effective Communication, continued • Conversation skills: five steps for making successful “small talk” 1. Indicate you are open to conversation by commenting on your surroundings. 2. Introduce yourself. 3. Select a topic others can relate to. 4. Keep the conversation ball rolling. 5. Make a smooth exit. More Effective Communication, continued • Self-disclosure – “the act of sharing information about yourself with another person” is important to adjustment for several reasons. 1. Sharing problems with others plays a key role in mental health. 2. Emotional self-disclosures lead to feelings of closeness. 3. Self-disclosure in romantic relationships is associated with relationship satisfaction. More Effective Communication, continued • Tips for effective listening 1. Signal your interest in the speaker by using nonverbal cues • • • • Face the speaker squarely. Lean toward him or her. Try not to cross arms and legs. Maintain eye contact. More Effective Communication, continued Tips for effective listening, continued 2. Hear the other person out before you respond. 3. Engage in “active listening” by – Asking for clarification if information is ambiguous. – Paraphrasing what the person said by restating the speaker’s main points to ensure you have interpreted correctly. 4. Pay attention to the other’s nonverbal cues. Communication Problems • Communication apprehension – “or anxiety caused by having to talk with others” is usually followed by one of four responses: 1. Avoidance – choosing not to participate. 2. Withdrawal – “clamming up” in conversation you cannot escape. 3. Disruption – the inability to make fluent statements. 4. Overcommunication – (e.g., nervous speech). Communication Problems, continued • Barriers to effective communication 1. Defensiveness – “excessive concern with protecting oneself from being hurt”. 2. Ambushing – listening carefully only to then verbally attack the speaker. 3. Motivational distortion – hearing what you want to hear. 4. Self-preoccupation – being so self-absorbed the other person cannot equally participate. Interpersonal Conflict • Beliefs about conflict – Most people believe any kind of conflict is bad. – However, avoiding conflict is usually counterproductive and leads to a selfperpetuating cycle (see Figure 8.12). Figure 8.12. The conflict avoidance cycle. Avoiding conflict can lead to a self-perpetuating cycle: (1) people think of conflict as bad, (2) they get nervous about a conflict they are experiencing, (3) they avoid the conflict as long as possible, (4) the conflict gets out of control and must be confronted, and (5) they handle the confrontation badly. In turn, this negative experience sets the stage for avoiding conflict the next time—usually with the same negative outcome. (Adapted from Lulofs, 1994) Interpersonal Conflict, continued • Five types of conflict 1. Pseudoconflict – false conflict from game playing. 2. Fact-based conflict – disagreement about factual issues. 3. Policy conflict – disagreement about how to handle a situation. 4. Value-based conflict – disagreement that occurs when people hold opposing values. 5. Ego-based conflict – emphasis on winning over resolving the conflict. Interpersonal Conflict, continued • Styles of managing conflict – Two dimensions (concern for self and concern for others) underlie five distinct patterns of managing conflict (see Figure 8.14). 1. Avoiding/withdrawing (low concern for self and others). 2. Accommodating (low concern for self, high concern for others). 3. Competing/forcing (high concern for self, low concern for others). Interpersonal Conflict, continued Styles of managing conflict, continued: 4. Compromising (moderate concern for self and others). 5. Collaborating (high concern for self and others). – While compromising simply involves “splitting the difference”, collaborating involves finding a solution that is maximally satisfying to both parties. Interpersonal Conflict, continued • Dealing constructively with conflict – Make communication honest and open. – Use specific behavior to describe another person’s annoying habits rather than general statements about their personality. – Avoid “loaded” words. – Use a positive approach and help the other person “save face”. Interpersonal Conflict, continued Dealing constructively with conflict, continued – Limit complaints to recent behavior and to the current situation. – Assume responsibility for your own feelings and preferences. – Try to use an assertive communication style. Verbal Judo: Handling Criticism • Only 1 person in this world has the • power to put you down – You. Other’s criticism is either right or wrong. – If they’re wrong then there’s no reason to be upset – If they’re right then there’s still no reason to be upset unless you believe you must be perfect. Verbal Judo: Handling Criticism • How to respond to criticism to enhance your sense of mastery and self-confidence – Step 1: Empathy • Ask a series of specific questions to find out exactly what he or she means. • Avoid being judgmental or defensive • This tends to defuse anger & hostility • This encourages problem-solving Verbal Judo: Handling Criticism • Step 2: Disarming the critic –Complementary communication –Find some way to agree with the critic –Avoid sarcasm or defensiveness –Always speak the truth (find the grain of truth in the criticism) Verbal Judo: Handling Criticism • Step 3: Feedback & Negotiation –Assertively present your point of view with diplomacy. –Make the conflict one based on fact rather than personality or pride. Developing an Assertive Style, continued • The nature of assertiveness – Assertiveness – “involves acting in your own best interests by expressing your thoughts and feelings directly and honestly”. – In contrast, submissive communication involves “giving in” to others. • Individuals who use this style report feeling bad about being “pushovers”. Developing an Assertive Style, continued The nature of assertiveness, continued – Aggressive communication is different from assertiveness and “focuses on saying and getting what you want at the expense of others”. – Assertive communication is more adaptive than either submissive or aggressive communication, and is a skill that can be learned through assertiveness training. Developing an Assertive Style, continued • Steps in assertiveness training: 1. Understand what assertive communication is. • Don’t forget about nonverbal cues. 2. Monitor your assertive communication. • Identify when you are not assertive, find out who intimidates you, on what topics, and in which situations. Developing an Assertive Style, continued Steps in assertiveness training, continued 3. Observe a model’s assertive communication. 4. Practice assertive communication by using • Covert rehearsal – imagine using assertiveness in a situation that requires it. • Role playing – ask a friend to play the role of an antagonist so you can practice. 5. Adopt an assertive attitude.