Interpersonal Communication FALL NOTES.docx

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Boston College
COMM 1040
Bruce Morrison

Interpersonal Communication NOTES Why study communication? • You get a new look at the familiar topic. • We spent so much time communicating • We can all benefit from increased effectiveness. Why do we communicate? • To address our physical needs: life/death, emotions, at the hospitals. • To find our swag/identity: introducing yourself, analyzing oneself, find/ discover our heritage. o We often rank ourselves in terms of where we stand in society. • To satisfy our social needs: make connections through language. • Practical needs: solving problems, direction Maslow’s hierarchy of needs: (from best to worst) • Self-actualization: feeling individuated in the fullest sense; completeness • Esteem: self-esteem, respect from others, confidence • Love/belonging: friendship + family • Safety: security of body + family • Physiological: sex, like Communication process: • Early models: o Linear, one-way event. Sender communicates to another person. • Later models: o Tennis game: senders and receivers exchange messages. • The transactional Model of communication: o The person communicating is the sender. The listener is also the sender in terms of how much attention is given to the speaker (i.e. eye contact, dozing off, etc…) o Communicators send/receive messages simultaneously. o Meanings exist in and among people. o Communicators bring unique environments. o What are the three types of noise and how do they affect communication? 1. Internal 2. External 3. Psychological o What is a channel and how does the choice of channel make a difference in communication? 1. Whereabouts of one’s communication. It can be personal (talking in rl), no so (phone), nawh (online) 2. Tones, attitude, meaning, intimacy. Communication principles – guiding our understanding of communication • Communication is transactional: mutual influence, interdependent behaviors, uniquely created • Content and relational dimension: conveying your attitude, how you feel about one person • Intentional vs. Unintentional • Irreversible: people will always remember • Unrepeatable: repeating yourself won’t convey different messages for the listener. Are Statements About Communication Always True? • All communication seeks understanding • More communication is always better. Qualitative interpersonal communication VS. less personal exchanges 1. Uniqueness: 2. Irreplaceability: 3. Interdependence: having an impact on a person 4. Disclosure: sharing something personal (can be intentional or unintentional); vulnerability 5. Intrinsic rewards: A matter of balance between personal and impersonal communication: • Sometimes difficult to classify interactions as strictly personal or impersonal • All interactions have varying degrees of impersonal or personal elements Communication Competence • Involves effectiveness and appropriate • A competent communicator effectively communicates when he/she sends the message across. • A competent communicator appropriately communicates when he/she speaks formally (not rude). • There is no single ideal or effective way to communicate. (i.e. introverts and extroverts) • Competence is situational; Characteristics of Competent Communicators • A large repertoire of skills • Adaptability • Ability to perform skillfully • Involvement • Empathy (putting yourself in another’s shoes)/ perspective taking • Cognitive complexity • Self-monitoring (being able to adjust behavior/ tone to achieve whatever you want to achieve. Fundamentals of Culture • Culture: there are 500 possible definitions. o Working definition: “The language, values, beliefs, traditions, and customs people share and learn.”  Traditions are self-expression of a culture  Beliefs are how they go about living life  Customs are how we distinguish between cultures  Bound by perception and definition  In-group: people who are of your culture _____________________________________________ Intercultural Communication Degrees of Cultural Significance • Least intercultural: cultural difference means little. • Most intercultural: differences, backgrounds, and beliefs are noteworthy. • Salience: the weight we attach to a particular person or phenomenon. Cultural differences as Generalizations • Cultural practices aren’t totally different. • There are similarities than differences among humans • Sometimes, greater differences exist within cultures than between cultures High VS. Low-Context Cultures • Anthropologist Edward T. Hall: o Low-context culture – language expresses thoughts, feelings, and ideas as directly as possible o High-context culture – relies heavily on subtle, often nonverbal cues to main social harmony. • How do these cultural norms impact communication? • How do low-context cultures communicate? o Low-context cultures will talk around the subject. Individualism VS Collectivism • Individualistic culture: primary responsibility is to help oneself. • Collectivism culture: loyalties and obligations to the in-group, extended family, community, or work organization, making everyone feel good. Power distance • Power distance: a degree to which members of a society accept an unequal distribution of power • How is power distance identified in different cultures? Morals and language • How does power distance impact personal relationship in low- or high-context cultures? Uncertainty Avoidance • Uncertainty Avoidance: How one behaves when one is surprised. The degree to which members of a culture feel threatened by ambiguous situations and how much they try to avoid them. Achievement VS Nurturing • Achievement: societies that place a high value on material success and focus on the task at hand. • Nurturing: cultures that regard the support of relationships as an especially important goal. Section 3: Codes and Culture • Verbal codes – language affects expression of identity • Minority speakers either assimilate or refuse to accommodate • Individualist orientation: own name first. • Collectivist orientation: own name last. Verbal Communication Styles • Three important differences: directness and indirectness. • Elaborateness and succinctness • Formality and informality Nonverbal Codes • Nonverbal codes – people of all cultures convey messages through facial expressions and gesture. • What cultures have large “personal space” zone? In the west there are four zones: “intimate zone (18inches), personal zone (arm’s length), social zone, public zone Decoding Messages • Translation – potential for misunderstanding is always present • Attribution Variations: we form some sort of interpretation of what others’ words and actions mean. o Ambiguous behavior is challenging • Patterns of thought: affected by systems of logic Developing Intercultural Communication Competence • Motivation and attitude o Desire alone is not enough o Culture-general attitudes needed • Tolerance for ambiguity o Living with uncertainty • Open-mindedness o Beware of ethnocentrism • Knowledge and skill o Mindfulness o Passive observation o Active strategies learning o Use appropriate self-disclosure. ________________________________________________________ Social Media in a Changing World – characteristics of social media Differences in Communication via Social Media • Message richness • Hyperpersonal communication • Asynchronous communication vs synchronous communication: IM, Tweet, Email. • Permanence of digital messages. Mediated Communication and Relational Quality • Research o Lacks richness o Discourages community o “alwa
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