The Basics of Effective Interpersonal Communication

Before you begin 

Get the most from this program by answering these questions for yourself before you begin. You will evaluate your growth at the end.  

 

What do I already know about interpersonal communication? What are my learning goals for this program? What are my supervisor s expectations, if any, for my participation in this training? How do I think I will be able to apply my learning on the job?

Course Content 

This online program will cover: 
     

What communication is Why and how we communicate Barriers to communication Sharing ideas Getting information from others Giving constructive feedback Body language

Writing materials will be useful for jotting down your thoughts as your proceed through the course

Course Objectives  The objectives of this program are to:    provide a basic overview of verbal and non-verbal interpersonal communication processes identify personal obstacles to effective interpersonal communication define some strategies for improving individual and group communications .

What is communication?  What do you think communication is? How would you define it? Take a few moments to write down some of your thoughts .

news. tidings  . communion. discussing. conversing. intelligence. word. talking. language. contact. words.Communication  Communication is defined as the interchange of thoughts or opinions through shared symbols. exchange. intercommunication. interchange. advice. commerce. intercourse. conversation. converse. talk. discussion. directive.g. phrases Some synonyms of the word communication are: message. e.

Four facets of communication  Three are four facets in all types of communication:     Sender Receiver Information Behavior .

Four facets of communication  In any communication:     The Sender is the person trying to communicate a message The Receiver is the person at whom the message is directed A message is sent to convey information Information is meant to change behavior .

Shared symbols  Sometimes when we communicate we assume we are using shared symbols when we might not be Think about the term asap . as soon as possible . What does it really mean? Think about how the meaning might change in the situations on the next slide   .

but you are already rather busy. asks you to type a memo for her asap. She needs you asap. .Shared symbols  How might your meaning of asap change in these situations?    Someone from another department calls. whom you like to please. but you already have a stack of other jobs to finish. but you have another job to finish before lunch. Your immediate supervisor. He needs some detailed information asap. A coworker comes to you for help with an assignment.

 . but you are already rather busy. It might be tomorrow or the next day. He needs some detailed information asap. In this situation.Shared symbols  Someone from another department calls. you might interpret asap as when I have finished all of my own work and have a chance to get to it.

In this situation. you might interpret asap as after I have finished my own work. I will help out after lunch .  . but you have another job to finish before lunch.Shared symbols  A coworker comes to you for help with an assignment. She needs you asap.

whom you like to please.Shared symbols  Your immediate supervisor.  . asks you to type a memo for her asap. In this situation. you might interpret asap as I ll do this now and finish my other work afterwards . but you already have a stack of other jobs to finish.

Shared symbols are not always completely shared. The message intended is not always the message received. we ve seen the meaning of asap change from in a few days to immediately .Shared symbols  In the previous examples. Many other words and phrases are also vague and have different meanings for different people.   .

As the Supervisor implemented it. As the Art Dept. As Marketing wrote it up.Missed communication As the Manager Requested it. designed it. As Purchasing ordered it. What the Employee really wanted! .

Why do we communicate?  What do you think? Take a few moments to write down some of your thoughts .

Why we communicate We communicate to: Share our ideas and opinions Provide feedback to others Get information from others Gain power and influence Develop social relationships Maintain self-expression and our culture and other ideas you may have thought of .

How do we communicate?  Think of the many ways in which you communicate Take a few moments to write down some of your thoughts .

art.How we communicate  We communicate and build interpersonal relationships through:      Speech Writing Listening Non-verbal language Music. and crafts .

        In person: one-to-one In person: meetings. large groups Letter Memo Note Email Voice mail . one method of communication may be better than another. small groups In person: presentations.Choosing your medium  Depending upon the situation.

important.Choosing your medium  To determine the best medium for your message determine:     What you as the sender need to achieve What the receiver needs to know. and or personal the information in the message is Which behavior you want to influence and how . What the receiver wants to know How detailed.

Choosing your medium  How would you communicate      an organizational change in your unit the introduction of a new employee a change in someone s job duties a reprimand notice of a meeting Take a few moments to write down some of your thoughts .

Choosing your medium  The best way to communicate      an organizational change in your unit by memo and small group meetings the introduction of a new employee by group and one-on-one meetings a change in someone s job duties by memo and one-on-one meeting a reprimand in a one-on-one private meeting notice of a meeting by memo and email .

Barriers to communication 

What are barriers to communication that exist in any work setting?

Take a few moments to write down some of your thoughts

Barriers to communication 

Some common barriers to interpersonal communication include: 

Unclear process:

The receiver and sender may not share the same language, slang, jargon, vocabulary, symbols 

Chain of command:

There may be too many layers that a message passes through between sender and receiver 

Large size of an organization, geographic distance: Large numbers of receivers require good message
sending methods 

Personal limitations:

Physical and mental disabilities, and differences in intelligence and education may interfere with mutual understanding

Barriers to communication 

Additional common barriers to interpersonal communication include: 

Human nature: Peoples
can get in the way

egos, prejudices, and traditions 

Conflicting feelings, goals, opinions: If people
feel on opposite sides of an issue they may not share 

Power: The idea that knowledge is power can lead to
information hoarding and other ideas you may have thought of 

Sharing your ideas  Why and when is it necessary to share your ideas? Take a few moments to write down some of your thoughts .

vision.Share your ideas to         State an opinion or position Give instructions or directions Announce a change Make presentations Participate in meetings Give information in emergencies Communicate the organizational mission. and values and other ideas you may have thought of .

Obstacles to sharing ideas  What can make sharing ideas difficult? Take a few moments to write down some of your thoughts .

Obstacles to sharing ideas         Your own shyness Fear of rejection Peer pressure Unorganized thinking Others possibly becoming defensive Physical disabilities (impaired sight. speech) Having to deal with aggressive people and others you may have thought of . hearing.

me. my I think. not for others:  Speaking for yourself sounds like:   I. you. John.Speak for yourself  To ensure your messages are clear. I want to know that It. some people. Mary said  Speaking for no one sounds like:   Speaking for others sounds like:  . speak for yourself. they decided We. everyone. I feel.

SHARE your ideas      a model State the main point of your message Highlight other important points Assure the receiver s understanding React to how the receiver responds Emphasize/summarize your main ideas .

if you can line up the guest speakers . Highlight other important points We need to discuss the new schedule. I ll develop the schedule and make the room reservations. . locations. Assure the receiver s understanding Do you need me to further clarify how we are making invitations ? React to how the receiver responds I understand your concern about parking . Emphasize/summarize your main ideas To wrap-up. and presenters .SHARE an example State the main point of your message I d like to talk to you about the new employee welcome program .

Getting good information  Why is it necessary to get good information from others? Take a few moments to write down some of your thoughts .

Get good information to        Find out facts and details Get directions or instructions Try to understand another s point of view Help someone solve a problem Resolve a team conflict Solve work problems and other ideas you may have thought of .

Obstacles to getting good information  What can make getting good information difficult? Take a few moments to write down some of your thoughts .

Obstacles to getting good information         Lack of trust Assuming you already know it all Jumping to conclusions Not valuing diverse opinions Weak reading skills Weak listening skills Weak questioning skills and other ideas you may have thought of .

.The power of listening The philosopher Epictetus stressed the power of listening in this quote: Nature gave us one tongue and two ears so we could hear twice as much as we speak.

share another s views. Don t do anything else (writing. and broaden your own knowledge . reading.Listen actively     Prepare to listen by focusing on the speaker Control and eliminate distractions so that you can focus on the message. email) but listen Establish appropriate eye contact to show interest See listening as an opportunity to get information.

Focus instead on the content of the message. Monitor the way you listen by asking yourself questions such as Did I really pay attention or was I thinking about what I was going to say next ? Was there information I missed because I allowed myself to become distracted ? .Listen actively     Create a need to listen by thinking about what you can learn from the speaker Set aside the time to listen so that you won t feel rushed or become distracted by other responsibilities Don t prejudge the message based on who is delivering it.

That s a good question!      Close end questions limit the answer to yes or no Open end questions allow the responder total freedom in answering Direct questions ask for specific information. limit answers to brief fact statements Probing questions follow up other questions to solicit additional information Hypothetical questions present a theoretical situation to which receiver responds See examples of each on the next slide .

Good question . if you had not had the chance to present your idea at the meeting ? . Hypothetical question What would you have done.examples Close end question Did you attend the staff meeting this morning ? Open end question What was discussed at the staff meeting this morning ? Direct question Which topics were listed on the meeting agenda ? Probing question Can you tell me more about the first agenda topic ?.

FOCUS on information a model      Focus the discussion on the specific information you need Open-end question to expand the discussion Close-end question to get specifics Use active listening skills to understand what you are hearing Summarize and close the discussion .

Open-end question to expand the discussion What kinds of decisions were made regarding expansion of our departmental system ? Close-end question to get specifics Did the committee decide to buy Dell computers ? Use active listening skills to understand what you are hearing What I think I heard you say was that the decision was made ? Summarize and close the discussion So to wrap up. . Thanks for keeping me up to date . the system will expand and we will be using Dells.FOCUS on information an example Focus the discussion on the specific information you need I need to ask you about the computer meeting you attended yesterday .

Giving feedback  Why is it necessary to give constructive feedback to others? Take a few moments to write down some of your thoughts .

and strengthening relationships instead of being right .Give feedback when       Someone asks for your opinion Work errors occur frequently A coworker s habits disturb you A coworker s behavior has negative consequences There are unresolved problems and other ideas you may have thought of Constructive feedback focuses on facts not people. solving problems instead of placing blame.

Obstacles to giving constructive feedback  What makes it hard to give constructive feedback? Take a few moments to write down some of your thoughts .

Obstacles to giving constructive feedback          Separating the person from the problem Others becoming defensive or angry Fear of negative consequences (especially if the other person is a supervisor) Dealing with potential conflict (especially if the other person is aggressive) Avoiding hurt feelings Preserving relationships Not having all the facts and jumping to conclusions Choosing the right time so that the other person is most receptive and other ideas you may have thought of .

STATE feedback  a model     State the constructive purpose of your feedback Tell specifically what you have observed Address and describe your reactions Tender specific suggestions for improvement Express your support and respect for the person .

Address and describe your reactions I feel as though you are unsure of yourself when you read . . Tender specific suggestions for improvement I can help you develop a PowerPoint presentation so that you can use the screens as a cue instead of being tied to your notes . Tell specifically what you have observed I notice that you rely heavily on your notes . Express your support for the person You know a lot about the subject. With practice you can become a good trainer .STATE feedback an example State the constructive purpose of your feedback I d like to give you some feedback about your training style so that your evaluations will be more positive and you will enjoy it more .

Body language  Nonverbal communication. known as body language sends strong positive and negative signals. This is how much it influences any message: Words Tone of voice Non-verbal cues Message 8% 34% 58% 100% .

Body language includes       Face Figure Focus Territory Tone Time Each of these is described in the following slides .

Body language .g.. e. it usually indicates you are interested in what someone is saying What message are you sending if someone is presenting a new idea and you are frowning? .face  Face includes:    Your expressions Your smile or lack thereof Tilt of the head. if your head is tilted to one side.

figure  Figure includes:    Your posture Your demeanor and gestures Your clothes and accessories such as jewelry What message are you sending if you are dressed casually at an important meeting? .Body language .

For most Americans    Staring makes other people uncomfortable Lack of eye contact can make you appear weak or not trustworthy Glasses may interfere or enhance eye contact What message are you sending if you are looking at other things and people in a room when someone is speaking to you? .Body language .focus   Focus is your eye contact with others The perception of eye contact differs by culture.

Most Americans are comfortable with an individual space that is about an arm s length in diameter What message are you sending if you keep moving closer to a person who is backing away from you?  .territory  Territory focuses on how you use space. It is also called proxemics.Body language . The perception of territory differs by culture.

Body language .tone  Tone is a factor of your voice    Pitch is the highness or lowness of voice Volume is how loud your voice is Emphasis is your inflection What message are you sending if during a disagreement you start speaking very loudly? .

Body language .    Pace is how quickly you speak Response is how quickly you move Punctuality is your timeliness What message are you sending if you are consistently late for meetings? .time  Time focuses on how you use time. It is also called chronemics.

Ideas to walk away with     People are always communicating The meaning intended by the sender is never exactly the message gotten by the receiver We can help to overcome barriers to communication by being aware of them Verbal and non-verbal communication is important in sending our messages .

opinions. information. True___ False___ 2.Test yourself 1. large size of an organization or geographic distance. receiver. Unclear process. True___ False___ 3. personal limitations. The four facets of interpersonal communication are sender. conflicting feelings. and behavior. True___ False___ . and power are examples of barriers to communication. Communication is defined as the interchange of thoughts or opinions through shared symbols. goals. human nature. chain of command.

close end. open end. Describe the steps of the FOCUS model for getting good information focus. Describe the steps of the STATE model for giving constructive feedback state. use.Test yourself 4. highlight. assure. address. Describe the steps of the SHARE model for giving good information share. Describe the the six aspects of non-verbal communication (body language): . react. tender. express: 7. emphasize: 5. tell. summarize: 6.

information. 2. goals. large size of an organization or geographic distance. personal limitations. receiver. True 3. chain of command. opinions. conflicting feelings. The four facets of interpersonal communication are sender. power are examples of barriers to communication. True . Communication is defined as the interchange of thoughts or opinions through shared symbols.answers 1. human nature. and behavior.Test yourself True . Unclear process.

The steps of the FOCUS model for getting good information are:      Focus the discussion on the specific information you need Open-end question to expand the discussion Close-end question to get specifics Use active listening skills to understand what you are hearing Summarize and close the discussion .answers 4.Test yourself      . The steps of the SHARE model for giving good information are: State the main point of your message Highlight other important points Assure the receiver s understanding React to how the receiver responds Emphasize/summarize your main ideas 5.

The the six aspects of non-verbal communication (body language):       Face expressions. volume. dress Focus eye contact Territory use of space Tone voice pitch. The steps of the STATE model for constructive feedback are:  State the constructive purpose of your feedback  Tell specifically what you have observed  Address and describe your reactions  Tender specific suggestions for improvement  Express your support for the person 7. demeanor.answers 6. gestures.Test yourself . tilt of head Figure posture. emphasis Time the use time . smile.

Apply what you ve learned  When you started this program we asked you to consider some questions. for participation in this training? How will you be able to apply your learning on the job? . Let s wrap up:     What new things did you learn about interpersonal communication? Did you meet your learning goals for this program? Did you meet your supervisor s expectations. if any.

What s next?  We hope you have enjoyed this program as an overview of the basic verbal and non-verbal communication skills needed in the workplace.  . The Professional Development Program offers classroom sessions on this and other topics which include numerous individual and group exercises to enhance your learning.