We all engage in interpersonal communication every day; we interact with family, friends, colleagues, and people in public places. According to WikipediA, interpersonal communication is defined as:
“an exchange of information between two or more people. It is also an area of study and research that seeks to understand how humans use verbal and nonverbal cues to accomplish a number of personal and relational goals. Generally, interpersonal communication research has contributed to at least six distinct categories of inquiry: 1) how humans adjust and adapt their verbal communication and nonverbal communication during face-to-face communication, 2) the processes of message production, 3) how uncertainty influences our behavior and information-management strategies, 4) deceptive communication, 5) relational dialectics, and 6) social interaction that is mediated by technology.”
Sounds dry and scientific, right? Interactions between human beings are rarely that cut and dry; sometimes it can be down right messy! That is where research and science comes in. There are techniques that can be learned and utilized by anyone who wants to improve relationships of all kinds. Once learned, does this mean that all of our interactions will go smoothly or that we will achieve the desired outcome every time? No, of course not; people are very complex creatures. However, good communication skills can definitely positively impact most interactions. Well-honed interpersonal communication skills can make our interactions with family deeper and less contentious. These skills can certainly help us at the office or just in public spaces, generally.
Just for clarity, I am including the definition of intrapersonal communication:
:intrapersonal communication refers to one’s internal thoughts and expressions, particularly those that determine solutions to problems. You practice intrapersonal communication when you are deep in thought or when you are meditating, praying or journaling.” (Arkansas State University article).
Our discussions about the inner-critical voice could be thought of as intrapersonal communication, of the most negative kind! We will talk about intrapersonal communication in another post. In our next post, we briefly look at some of the concepts around interpersonal communication before looking at specific skills.
For today, be mindful of what you are saying. And hearing. Ask questions. Clarify if you can. As always: be kind to yourself, breathe, and take timeouts as needed!
“Communication is an art form that is crafted throughout our lives.” Asa Don Brown