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COMMUNICATION COMPETENCE AND ETHICS

Two Dimension of Good Communication


Good Communication is Competent Communication
Communication competence is essential to satisfy fundamental human needs (Communication and
survival):

o Safety the need to feel protected from dangers, difficulties, and privations that threaten our
physical well-being
o Security the need to feel relationally accepted, cherished, and unconditionally loved by
others
o Self-efficacy the need to feel that weve impacted our world in a way that makes a difference
through our own unique capabilities
o Significance the need to feel appreciated, respected, and esteemed by others for our
worthwhile contributions
Only cooperation accomplished through communication can satisfy our fundamental needs
o If we don't communicate, then we will die physically or psychologically
Core Components of Competent Communication (Spitzberg & Cupach)
Knowledge
Skill
Passion
Compassion

Competent
Communicator

Appropriate for
Relationships
Effective
Content

Four prerequisite factors or ingredients for competent communication


o Two interconnected capabilities:

Knowledge know what to say

Skill know how to say it


o Two interconnected motivations:

Passion care about what to say

Compassion care about who its said to


Two characteristic outcomes or results of competent communication
o Relational appropriateness satisfies our expectations

Social expectations common to cultural context


Interpersonal expectations unique to relationship

Conflict management expectations rules of engagement


o Content effectiveness accomplishes my goals

Instrumental goals winning your cooperation to achieve what I desire

Self-presentation goals getting you to see me the way I want to be seen

Relational goals developing the kind of relationship with you I hope for
Dual Dimensions of Competently Communicated Messages
Two dimensions of every message: relationship and content
A communicator can focus on neither, either, or both of these dimensions when communicating

low

fearful

high

Content

frank

Relationship

low

competent

high

friendly

Practical application competent communicators think before they speak:


o Frank think about how our relationship should govern and guide what is said
o Friendly think about how my goals can be clearly and convincingly articulated
Good Communication is Necessarily Ethical Communication
Because communication is unavoidable . . .
o One cannot not communicate
Because communication is irrevocable . . .
o A message cant be reeled back in like a fishing line
Because communication is consequential . . .
o Others will respond with thoughts, feelings, and/or actions
Therefore, good communication is not only communicating well (or competently), but also
communicating ethically (or morally)
Dialectics of ethical and moral communication
Communication dialectics principles that are best practiced in a state of tension (like a rubber
band), helping to avoid destructive forms of unrestrained extreme speech (Terrorism, Protest)
The dialectic of conveying messages to others:
o Sincere truthfulness transparently conveying the whole truth with honest, passionate
conviction
o Caring respect rendering to others the same concern and dignity you would hope to receive
from them
The dialectic of responding to messages from others:
o Thoughtful evaluation critically pondering and scrutinizing to make discerning judgments

o Humble teachability being an open-minded learner because no one knows everything about
anything