Interpersonal communication refers to the process of message exchange between two or more people. It can be of several types. In other words, it is not just limited to the verbal aspect. It can also occur through non-verbal mediums such as facial expressions, body language, hand gestures, or other such non-verbal cues. It is significant for humans as they are social animals. They are part of a society that means that they are frequently required to interact with the people around them for many things. It is basically essential for their survival. New-born babies express their hunger or pain by crying. They smile when they are comfortable or happy around a person. Although they cannot speak, they somehow convey their message. Specially-abled people also extensively employ non-verbal techniques to interact with the world. Similarly, the old people or the ones on the death bed, who cannot utter a word, also try their best to explain themselves and their needs in some way.
Components of interpersonal communication
The first and foremost requirement for interpersonal communication to take place is a speaker. A speaker includes a verbal speaker and a non-verbal one, who usually uses sign-language or other non-verbal cues.
In the case of verbal communication, the medium would be the voice of the speaker. On the other hand, if the message transmission is taking place non-verbally, all the non-verbal cues would comprise the medium.
A listener is the third essential component for interpersonal communication to happen. A listener is somebody who listens to a person’s voice in the case of a verbal speaker. However, in the case of a non-verbal speaker, the receiver would be the one who understands sign-language and can interpret other non-verbal cues correctly.
Indeed, you should not interrupt the speaker frequently. However, you do not need to be a passive listener also. Always try to be an active listener who understands or at least try to comprehend what the speaker is saying. To ensure whether you received the right message, you should paraphrase the speaker’s words and ask them whether you misunderstood something. This will definitely lead to better interpersonal communication.
Why and when do we use it?
We communicate with each other for several reasons. We express our needs, wants, and desires to our parents or caregivers. We clear misunderstandings with our partners to sustain our relationship with them. We talk to our friends to get and provide emotional support. We persuade our bosses for a pay raise. Other people, such as politicians, convince the citizens of a country to vote for them. Salesperson and advertisers depict their products as the best by offering uncountable reasons. This list can go on and on. This is because interpersonal communication is central to human existence.
How to be good at it?
Speaking skills are essential especially for motivational gurus, CEOs, a parliamentarian or anybody involved in public-speaking. An excellent speaker can quickly and effectively get his/her message across. Also, you can be the center of attraction at every party or gathering if you speak effectively. You would easily make friends as you will not hesitate to approach strangers. Sometimes, your dream job is just one talk away. Hence, work on your speaking skills as they will definitely help you be better at interpersonal communication.
- Be loud or clear enough while expressing
Most of the time, the listeners lose interest, or the communication fails to happen when there are voice-related problems. Hence, if you speak to an audience, it should not be too loud, feeble, or fast that the listeners fail to understand your message. If you are attending an online meeting or conference, which has become a part of the new normal today, ask the attendees whether your voice is clearly audible or not. Thus, this is also very important for interpersonal communication to take place in a better manner.
Do not listen just for the sake of listening. Instead, try to understand what the other person is saying. Only then can you sympathise or empathize with them. Also, never start talking about your own problems when somebody is sharing theirs. Furthermore, you should not use your phone to scroll through your Instagram feed or text people when somebody is talking to you. Just make an eye contact and listen properly to them. This will help the other person feel more connected and comfortable with you. It will also help them open up to you or show their vulnerable side. A therapist’s example can be taken here to explain this point in a better way. Psychologists and therapists listen compassionately to their patients who suffer from mental disorders. The patient, after noticing that somebody is actually listening, easily confide in them. Hence, great listeners can even heal other people. Thus, being a good listener is the second requisite for effective interpersonal communication.
Not everybody is confident enough to talk verbally or find it comfortable. Sometimes, the person is a complete stranger to you, but you still want to know them without actually speaking to them. Thus, at times like these, you are required to focus on their body language. There are many courses available online, which teach you how to understand the body language of a person accurately. However, since emotions are universal, all of us express them through our body language in similar ways. Thus, if you are aware of how your body reacts or behaves when you feel different emotions, you can judge somebody’s body language correctly to a great extent. Thus, use this power of yours as much as possible, especially in situations where verbal communication is not possible.
Undoubtedly, humans cannot go about their day-to-day life without interpersonal communication. It is indeed true that introverts do not like talking to other people as much as extroverts. However, nobody can afford to live in isolation except the saints and monks. In fact, they also interact with birds and animals around them. Hence, having no interaction with another being is impossible for humans. Thus, interpersonal communication of an integral part of our lives, and we should definitely work hard to be better at it.
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