Interpersonal Communication- Definition, Types and Elements

When it comes to defining interpersonal communication, it is actually quite simple. The most basic, straightforward meaning of this form of communication is face-to-face communication. But, when it comes to an effective form of this communication, there is so much more to understand.

Interpersonal communication skills make up a really important part of your success in the workplace, especially when you’re vying for positions like that of a project manager. According to a study, 97% of employees believe that their communication skills are impactful on their task efficacy in the workplace.

Interpersonal Communication 101

This form of communication involves feelings, ideas, and information being exchanged non-verbally or verbally between two or more people. A face-to-face form of communication means that this form usually involves feeling, seeing, and hearing gestures, facial expressions, and body language. According to a study, 71% of employees feel much more productive when they are able to communicate in the workplace.

In different terms, this form of communication involves the exchange of feelings, meaning, information, and opinions between two or more people via verbal or non-verbal means. Even though this form of communication is also referred to as face-to-face communication, the advancement of technology has forced us to improve our interpersonal communication skills and expand it to also include media such as online messaging and phone calls.

To understand the interpersonal forms of communication, you also need to understand what intrapersonal communication means, as these terms are related to each other. The term ‘inter’ means dealing between other people and groups, whereas the term ‘intra’ means within a group or a person. So, intrapersonal communication is how we communicate within ourselves or with ourselves. This includes an accurate idea of your concepts, expectations, and perceptions.

Types of Interpersonal Communication

The first step in understanding the interpersonal type of communication is breaking it into some distinct types:

Verbal

In easier terms, speaking. This type covers the words that you use when you are talking, how persuasively you are able to communicate, the language that you make use of, the words that you put emphasis on, and even the short and affirmative phrases that you use such as “uh-huh” and “yep.”

Listening

When it comes to interpersonal communication skills, listening can be termed the most important one. It involves the ability to give your attention to the speaker and listen to them, even if you are listening to them ‘in-person’ or through some digital means. Listening also involves special sine means such as clarification and reflection. The best listeners are those who can make use of their attention and focus it on the speaker in such a way that the speaker feels like the one and only person in the room.

The Written Word

Due to the age of the internet and the situations that demand isolation, this form of communication skills also demands good writing skills. It doesn’t matter if you are texting on your phone, in the workplace, or on social media; you need to know how to get your point across to the reader. This type involves grammar, emojis, tone, clarity, and even punctuation.

Non-Verbal

The final type of interpersonal form of communication is non-verbal. This type involves facial expressions, body language, gestures, and tone of voice. Additionally, it is very important that your listener picks up and interprets your non-verbal cues correctly.

These four kinds of communication types make up the interpersonal form of communication.

Elements of Communication

Now that the types of interpersonal forms of communication have been established, the next step is breaking them down into six different elements that help you in understanding the interpersonal communication examples.

The Communicating Parties

There can be no communication without a receiver and a sender. But, sometimes people make the mistake of assigning only one listener and one speaker to a conversation. When you are aiming for an effective interpersonal form of communication, then you need all the parties to assume both roles. This means that both parties are receiving and sending messages at the correct time.

The Message Communicated

The next element of an interpersonal form of communication is the message that needs to be communicated. You need to cover all the information in all the possible forms. This also includes non-verbal communication and speech communication.

Extraneous Noise

The next element is extraneous noise. This element involves anything that overpowers or distorts the message that you are hoping to communicate. This can involve physically-based noise, such as traffic sounds, or some abstract difficulties, such as overblown corporate jargon, a cultural misunderstanding, inappropriate body language, or showing disinterest. These elements of communication are something you need to be careful about when looking through interpersonal communication examples.

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Feedback

The next element is responsible for blurring the line between the sender and the receiver, but it is also different enough to be considered separate entities. Feedback is limited to the immediate reactions that the listener has to a message that has been communicated. It can be verbal reactions such as: “I agree” or “Can you explain yourself?” to non-verbal cues such as changes in body stance/language or changes in facial expressions.

Context

The next element that is extremely important in an interpersonal form of communication, but is seldom talked about is the context. Have you ever heard the phrase: “Read the room!” This phrase means that the speaker should be focused on the atmosphere of the room and the general mood of the speaker. The element of context involves social context, emotional climate/mood of the listeners, and physical location.

The Channel

The final element that you should look out for when considering interpersonal communication examples is the channel of communication. This element involves the message from the sender to the receiver and also involves the vision and the speech.

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Summing Up!

Interpersonal communication skills are a valuable brand of soft skills in several job descriptions. If you have strong skills in this field, then you can express your opinions and emotions properly. You can also cultivate a stronger sense of empathy and understanding toward others.

This skill makes you a vital part of the team and is also the key to making you the group leader. One with solid communication skills can clearly express their thoughts and intentions, thus enriching their personal and professional relationships. Simple misunderstandings can give rise to a lot of conflicts, and your skills in interpersonal forms of communication can help you in reducing these misunderstandings.

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