The Dynamics of Dyadic Interpersonal Communication

The Dynamics of Dyadic Interpersonal Communication

Dyadic interpersonal communication is a powerful, dynamic bond between two counterparts that constantly evolves and intensifies. And that bond can prove to be the starting point of great success aime at whatever performance target – moving or stationary.

It’s all there in the television series The Dukes of Hazzard. The tight-knit cousins Bo and Luke, the stars of the show, react and anticipate each other, nearly knowing what the other is thinking. Able to dupe the county highway patrolmen with ease, they often react simultaneously, jumping into their beloved car, General Lee, one to the passenger side, the other glancing off the hood to take the wheel. No arguments, no discussion—it’s just understood.

The director might have done better to dodge a formulaic plot, but he well understood the nature of Bo and Luke’s relationship. These cousins are tight. And that bond allows them to read each other with great precision; thus the continued success they maintain over the county’s bumbling, squabbling highway patrolmen. The key to their dominance is their dyadic interpersonal communication. It’s more than just contrived, it’s actually a human chemistry.

According to Sarah Trenholm, a writer from the University of Maine’s education department, the potential for dyadic interpersonal communication is profound; not only because of the bond, but because of what we can learn about ourselves. Dyadic relationships provide comfort and support. They help form our self concepts and allow us to validate and maintain, or even change, ourselves over time.

Dyadic interpersonal communication happens between two individuals or two groups and is particularly powerful because it is direct and personal. During dyadic interpersonal communication:

  • Knowledge becomes more intimate.
  • Feedback is immediate and of high quality.
  • The roles of speaker and listener are seamlessly  interchanged.

Furthermore, as the communication becomes more intimate, those involved begin to predict and anticipate each other’s behavior. It is on this level that the dyadic interpersonal communication is formed.

Marshall McLuhan, a communications educator and theorist, proposes in his master work, Understanding Communication: The Extensions of Man, that the most effective groups are those with low organization and high participation, and that is exactly the structure of a dyadic relationship.

Often we overlook the power of the two-person relationship on a business level. After all, it is normal to look to the strengths of personnel on larger scales, or even to the strengths of individuals.

But dyadic relationships can prove to be a valuable bond in the work place. Trenholm argues that, being aware of the nature of dyadic relationships, we can:

  1. improve our role play in it and
  2. self disclose more effectively. This is especially important for those who typically keep business relationships shallow or impersonal.

By deepening the dyadic bond, co-workers can elevate their level of performance, being able to anticipate each other’s choices and style of work. Furthermore, co-workers can use techniques outlined by Trenholm when they encounter a disagreement or need feedback on an issue. She identifies five areas important to respect during a confrontation:

  1. Acknowledge your own messages.
  2. Don’t apologize for having feelings.
  3. Make messages specific and behavioral.
  4. Ensure that verbal and nonverbal behaviors validate one another.
  5. Omit negative criticism and mean-spirited judgement.

So while speeches are sharp and presentations fine-tuned, there is something to be said about the impact of the one-to-one dyad relationships. The depth, the bond, the openness of such relationships can improve performance, speed-up production, and enrich the quality of work and quality of life for those engaged in such relationships.

It is the portal that helps establish Trust as a baseline to clarity, understanding, buy-in which leads to engagement and ultimately a higher performing individual. Dyadic Interpersonal Communication is the new personal and corporate directive.
To learn more about communication, visit Integro Performance Group.

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