Communication is extremely essential in daily living especially on the education, family and career issues. Scholars in communication describe interpersonal communication in different ways (Guffey & Loewy, 2010). It can involve a person to person conversation or a group of individuals, or a group of people interacting with many other people in the society. It can also occur within contexts such as organizations. Interpersonal communication skills enable people to understand and appreciate the various people act and behave as they communicate (Guffey & Loewy, 2010). It helps understand the way different people use different methods to construct or develop and exchange a social reality. Interpersonal communications involve sending and reception of a message between individuals. This includes communication aspects such as nonverbal communication, listening, asserting and persuasion, among others.
On the various interpersonal communication styles, this paper will review adversarial and collaborative styles (Gerson, 2007). Starting with the collaborative style; for example, the participant individuals depend on the assumption that the other participant individual’s idea is correct, and he is just not able to understand the idea in the right way. The recipient of the message may ask the sender to explain or relay the message again. The recipient may be asked to explain the message in other terms, or in his own language to confirm he has got the message right (Gerson, 2007). A collaborative discussion may take place between the communicating individuals; building off each other’s ideas. The communicating individuals can be said to be “working together” it can be assumed the participants are working together towards a common goal. The results of the communication include contribution from all the participants.
According to this journal, the hiring of medical personnel has been to a significant extent depended on the communication skills. Today, almost all the hospitals have a strong team with interpersonal communication skills; which is considered as one of the most influential criteria for success in managerial positions. These employers name interpersonal communication skills as critical for success of their hospitals. People communicating at interpersonal levels may use all aspects of communication, depending on whom they are and whom they are communicating with. For instance; when an individual is communicating to a member of his family, the conversation will be totally different to that when the same individual is conversing with a doctor.
These communications can take place by means of both direct and indirect communication mediums; for example face-to-face, phone or computer mediated communication. For the communication to be effective, both the receiver and the sender of the message must interpret and comprehend the message at the same level of understanding and implication. There must be a source of information to be transmitted during interpersonal communication. Regardless of the source of this information they use the information; including redefining the information to get a message across to the various intended destinations. Individuals naturally process information; to make easier to relay, make it more “productive” and even to help the individuals justify their decisions at that juncture.
A critical critique to this journal is that a typical work place is not a remarkably easy place for one to practice and maintain an interpersonal relationship. This is due to the diverse communication styles and cultural expectation that leave no time for interpersonal relationship. Another reason for this situation is the heavy reliance on the electronic form of communication, which is antithetical to the ways in which traditional human beings create and maintain relationships. Therefore, hiring people with the best interpersonal skills is not a guarantee to successful management of an institution.
Social Uses Of Interpersonal Communication Technologies in a Complex Media Environment
According to the authors of this journal, most of the times people use the term phrase “interpersonal relationship” to differentiate a face-to-face interaction from an electronic or written message (Petric%u030C, Petrovc%u030Cic%u030C & Vehovar, 2011). Others will use the phrase to refer to exclusively personal relationships with friends, coworkers and family. Neither of these two characterizations apprehends the complexity of interpersonal relations within a business setup. Interpersonal communication can simply be explained as taking place when one individual interacts with another (Petric%u030C, Petrovc%u030Cic%u030C & Vehovar, 2011). It can also represent a perspective where a person treats another person as an exceptional human being regardless of whether the communication was electronic or direct.
Interpersonal communication can be explained as being more about the character and content of the exchange, rather than about the mechanism through which the communications happen or with whom. A business person uses interpersonal communication to maintain a business relationship, share knowledge, motivations and values (Petric%u030C, Petrovc%u030Cic%u030C & Vehovar, 2011). In a similar way, a family guy will use interpersonal communication skills to express emotions and values towards the rest of his family.
This journal creates a picture that effective communication with other people means a person has excellent interpersonal skill. However, this is not the case because effective communication depends even on non-verbal or facial communication styles. Therefore, having good interpersonal skill does not mean effective communication.
Communication Styles and Conflict
According to Jourdain journal, interpersonal communication can be defined as the communication occurring between people who know each other (Levin, 2006). This communication is irreversible, contextual and complicated. Interpersonal communication styles can also refer to the different manners in which individuals communicate while interacting with one another. They comprise of the ways in which people relay information and create expectations in return, or expectations for forthcoming behavior of the involved participants of the communication (Levin, 2006). There are various interpersonal communication models as this journal explains. Interpersonal communication can be said to be Complementary, when the source of information and the response pattern from the recipient are parallel that is, from one ego state to a parallel ego state.
This change as the participating parties varies from one condition to the next. For instance, when the communication is between a parent and his child, the child ego will contribute almost nothing to the effectiveness of the communication (Levin, 2006). In the non-complementary transactions, the source and the recipient are not parallel egos. For instance, the communication between mother and child after a child has sustained an injury from falling accidentally. There are different interpersonal communication styles used by different people depending on their personality (Levin, 2006). A person’s personality determines the manner in which he presents a message in order to communicate. Other things that impact on communication style include feelings, moods and situations prevailing at the time of communication.
Although this journal highlights the main components that are essential to communication, a person’s personality does not necessarily reflect his or her communication style. It is possible to find a humble person having an exceptionally poor communication style.
Exploring Gender-Based Communication Styles
According to the journal by James and Cinelli, an effective interpersonal communication process has the following steps; first the participants must be able to understand or acknowledge the message and its importance. Regardless of the personality of the participants, the message can be selfish, confusing or pointless (James & Cinelli, 2003). It can be selfish in the sense that the recipient fails to understand, or acknowledge the individual needs of the individual who initiated the communication. The message can be confusing, resulting from failure to express the message as intended. For one reason or another, the message may become “cloudy”, without a clear identification of the issues, which may cause confusion or frustrate an individual in the communication process, for example, when an individual “beats around the bush”. The message becomes pointless when its importance is not clearly communicated and stated, unless the recipient understands and the point and intensity of the message, communication will not be effective. Omitting or overlooking a step make communication, situations, moods and feelings may also alter the way an individual relay or expresses the message (James & Cinelli, 2003).
The basic principles of human communication are evidently true across all organizations, cultures individuals and personalities. Interpersonal communication skills take into account all the social standing, cognitive style and individual preferences (James & Cinelli, 2003). A group of people who have shared experiences for a long time, such as the people of the same generation will have similar interpersonal communication patterns and will easily get along with one another. Every person has a unique way of interpreting information depending on factors such as genetic makeup, cultural and environmental factors (James & Cinelli, 2003). This means that every person has something unique about his or her interpersonal communication skill; that is distinctive, an example being the accent in speech when individuals from different ethnic and racial backgrounds use the same language to communicate.
This journal fails to give the reasons behind the different communication styles exhibited by the different genders. It does not give a detailed exploration of why for example, women show or speak in a certain way.
Communication Styles as Dimensions of National Culture
According to this article, the adversarial style is fundamentally the exclusive approach to communication where two ideas enter and only one leaves in a national culture context (Smith, 2011). The default idea of this style of communication is that one of the participant’s ideas is wrong, and the other person’s idea is right but has to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. This style uses the crucible of conflict to attack the weaknesses of ideas and face them out; leaving only the strong ideas and strengthening them further (Smith, 2011). Here, each conversation is a battle and one idea wins and the other loses. There is some differentiation of interpersonal communication styles.
The collaborative style is advantageous in the sense that where a decision is critical; every participant's ideas are to be included getting to the final decision. Participants will have a sense of belonging by working together with each other (Smith, 2011). On the other hand, the shortcoming is that this style is not competitive. For instance, the case where a decision is critical, the best decision may be compromised by the addition of ideas from other decisions from the other participants since all the participants have to be involved. This kills the primal urge to compete and win among participants which is less natural to the modern day people (Smith, 2011).
This journal claims that collaborative communication is always advantageous. However, this is not the case always, collaborative communication leads to detailed decision making. This communication can bring enormous losses to a company especially in a situation where decision is required in the shortest time possible.
In conclusion, the collaborative style can be a better communication style. When it comes to the education and company world, where the participants are workers who are nominally on the same side. In such a case, the people to make the decisions are involved in the implementation of the same decisions. This will create a generous and well-motivated work force, as well as a conducive environment for the workers to air their opinions, which could significantly influence the company’s performance. The idea of having collaborative interactions in a company or a school will be more effective in the long run, compared to an adversarial discussion where some of the participants will feel like losers. There are also situations in which the adversarial style is most appropriate. A perfect example here is between institutions or inside courtrooms. Within a single company, the collaborative style is more beneficial than the adversarial style. The adversarial approach brings in an atmosphere of mistrust, creating a repellant force whereby not many individuals (especially those who have lost in the process) will ever want to be put through the same process again.
On the different articles summarized above, there are several similarities evident in all of them. The first one is the message; which must be there for the interpersonal communication to take place. The message in all cases has to be expressed clearly in order to generate the expected response regardless of the prevailing settings; whether on an institution, a business endeavor or a family encounter. Another similarity is the presence of the source of the message (or information), the medium through which the message is transmitted (electronic or direct) and the recipient of the message regardless of the message or the intentions behind it. For any form of the transaction to take place, interpersonal communication has to take place in the correct way so that the involved parties are able to express themselves and allow the respondents to respond appropriately to their expressions. All geared towards achieving a goal or satisfying a human need.