What is interpersonal communication and how does it affect you? As long as you are in an interdependent relationship with others, interpersonal communication skills are essential. They help you gain information about the person you are talking to, and that information can dictate the strength of your relationship. Therefore, if you desire to increase the depth of your relationships, it is important to understand how interpersonal communication functions.
Interpersonal communication differs from the broad definition of communication because it normally takes place between people who have a personal relationship, people who understand one another as individuals.
Here are a few tips on how to improve your interpersonal communication.
1) Be mindful of your body language
In order to be effective at interpersonal communication you should understand how your body language is interpreted by others. Body language can represent more than half of what you intend to communicate.
For example, maintaining eye contact shows you are interested, while looking around can communicate that you are bored or distracted. Shaking hands can reflect a formal relationship, while open arms can reflect an exciting and caring welcome.
It is important to recognize that each of your gestures can communicate the depth of your relationship with the person to whom you are speaking.
2) Speak clearly and concisely
This can aid greatly in interpersonal communication. The act of speaking includes considering the nature of your audience prior to choosing your words and the way you will express them.
For example, you would not choose to speak to a two-year-old the same way you would speak to your boss; or vice-versa! The words you choose and how you express them can send specific signals to the person with whom you are talking.
This may seem surprising, but listening can be as important as speaking when it comes to interpersonal communication. As you listen attentively to others speak, you are telling them you are interested in what they have to say. Listening intently also gives you a greater opportunity to understand what the speaker is trying to communicate.
A deeper level of interest or intimacy can be obtained by minimizing distractions. For example, turning off telephones, and cell phones, or closing your office door to avoid disruptions – all these actions can limit interruption.
4) Avoid the conflict that arises from miscommunication
In the English language, the 500 most commonly used words have over 14,000 different meanings. As a result, miscommunication and the conflict it generates is inevitable.
If you have to deal with conflict as a result of miscommunication, always give the other person the benefit of the doubt. Most people are not looking for conflict. Most people are seeking to be understood. This is an important concept to comprehend prior to attempting to resolve conflict. It will help you gain a better perspective, and help the other person not to become defensive. Remember; your goal is to resolve conflict, not create more conflict.
So, what is interpersonal communication? It is a natural and necessary mode of communication between you and those with whom you have a interdependent relationship. Using the above tips effectively can help you develop effective interpersonal communication skills and thereby achieve productive relationships.