Last post, we learned there are six components to interpersonal communication. Today we will talk about communicators, the message, and noise. It is important to remember that communication is interdependent; communication is never one-way. Interpersonal communication is always a two-way process. Each communicator is actively engaged regardless of whom is speaking. Messages are being sent continuously,whether they are verbal, non-verbal, or emotional. Smiles, nods, and encouraging sounds are all part of feedback during the conversation.

There are several reasons to become aware of various messages. First, our understanding of the message becomes clearer thus lessening misinformation and/or negative emotional response. Second, it keeps us engaged and present during the communication. Third, it can foster a respectful exchange. I have no doubt you can think of more. It is also important to note often we don’t actively listen because we are caught up in thinking about how we will respond. When we are in that communication space, we may find ourselves interrupting (or being interrupted) or some of the message is lost. This can be a hard habit to break but worth it.

Let’s take a look at noise. Often, when we think of noise, we imagine a crowded space, street noise, or construction, etc. All those things do impact a conversation and make communication more difficult. This kind of noise can often be remedied by changing location or postponing the conversation. Communication Theory has a broader definition of noise:

“The use of complicated jargon, inappropriate body language, inattention, disinterest, and cultural differences can be considered ‘noise’ in the context of interpersonal communication. In other words, any distortions or inconsistencies that occur during an attempt to communicate can be seen as noise.”

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How do we manage this kind of noise? One of the easiest methods is to stay present during the interaction. More importantly: acknowledge when you don’t understand and ask respectful questions. People will always disagree on issues, belief systems, and any number of things but doesn’t mean a respectful, information-laden communication cannot take place! Becoming aware of your own “noise” can be very helpful. Remembering that others have their own noise is crucial.
Communications in Directing
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Today’s challenge: pay attention to “Noise” during your interpersonal communications while still being engaged! Note any exterior noise and later examine how that impacted the interaction. Reflect on communication theory “noise,” both yours and the other person’s. Check to see if your emotions changed, if you feel you got the entire message, and ask yourself if you were too busy formulating a reply? This is a fun experiment to do.
Have fun, be aware, and have a wonderful day!
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Lori Brandt