Communication Theories Essay

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Skilss in Interpersonal, Group and Organizational Communications

The objective of this study is to examine interpersonal communication and spoken skills. This work will examine communication skills using the theories of Pragmatic Perspective, Psychological Perspective, Social Constructionist, and social responsibility theory. Trenholm (2008) states that communication "is very important to everyone. One form of communication that occurs among individuals is known as interpersonal communication. Interpersonal communication is a term "reserved for two-person, face-to-face interaction and is often used interchangeably with the term dyadic communication."

Interpersonal Communication: Speaking and Listening Skills

Interpersonal communication can be understood as the interaction that takes place between individuals and concerns the deliver and receipt of information or a message. Involved in interpersonal communication are listening as well as nonverbal forms of communication and speaking. Listening is the capacity to both understand and provide appropriate response to what others are saying. Listening requires the evaluation of what is being heard and is an active process. The capacity to listen to others involves the realization that listening is actually work in that in order to listen effectively one must be able to concentrate on what is being said and one must refrain from speaking while others are talking in order to listen effectively. In addition, effective listening involves keeping an open mind and putting aside any preconceptions about what the other person is saying. When listening it is important that one not let their own emotions get in the way of what the other person is saying and that one not become distracted while listening to the other person. As well, the maintenance of a listening posture is very important while listening to the other individual speak. It is also important to understand that body language, as well as eye contract and expressions and gestures are all nonverbal type cues that are of critical importance during communication. While it may appear that words are the most effective form of communication, this is not always the case and nonverbal forms of communication are very effective in expressing how one feels about that which is being discussed. Nonverbal communication includes the distance that is placed between oneself and the other person and the manner in which one's body is oriented in regards to the other person and one's physical posture and the amount of physical contact used during the conversation. Additionally, facial expressions can be effectively used to express one's thoughts or opinions on the matter under discussion. Eye contact is also effectively used during communications. Finally, the use of physical gestures is an important part of interpersonal communication although these gestures are often unconscious gestures.

Volume and tone are important to consider during interpersonal communications since speaking too loudly may cause the other individual to feel that one is being overly aggressive and speaking too softly can be viewed as a form of passive aggression or signal a lack of confidence. The tone one uses is also an important aspect of communication sine the tone of one's voice send a message to the other person whether the tone is one of anger, impatience or even sarcasm. Maintaining a positive tone is an important aspect of interpersonal communication. It is important that when one is very engaged in the topic under discussion that they do not jump into the conversation interrupting the other individual who is speaking. Finally, one's wording is an important aspect of communication.

II. Relationship Skills

Relationship skills involve the ability to both speak and listen effectively. The Pragmatism theory of communication is reported in the work of Thorgersen (2005) to be such that "has never been clearly defined." (p. 1) Thorgersen writes that communication, "according to Mead (1926) is "about sharing experience. It is therefore a social process requiring at least two persons who want to put themselves in each other's places. To achieve this we use language which is described as a set of symbols of which a social group agrees upon the meaning." (2005, p. 2) As stated by Dewey "one has to assimilate, imaginatively something of another's experience in order to tell him intelligently of one's own experience." (1916, p. 6 cited in Thorgersen, 2005, p. 2) Communication is reported, from the Pragmatists view to be "real-time interaction consisting of symbols, which the participants who are directed towards each other, agree upon. They are therefore able to share experience and thereby communicate." (Thorgersen, 2005, p. 2) From the Social Constructivist view, there are "communal origins of knowledge" as well as "centrality of language" and finally the "ideological saturation of knowledge." (Pearce, 2009, p. 1) Reported as the key assumptions of the social constructivist's view are the following: (1) a critical stance toward taken-for-granted knowledge; (2) historical and cultural specificity; (3) knowledge sustained by social processes; and (4) knowledge and social action go together. (Pearce, 2009, p. 1) In other words, knowledge is formulated through daily interactions with others and the constructions of the world support patterns of social interaction while excluding other forms of social interaction.

Communication from the view of social responsibility theory is reported to have become "the modern variation in which the duty to one's conscience was the primary basis of the right of free expression. It is reported "is theory can be said to have been initiated in the United States by the Commission of The Freedom of Press, 1949. The commission found that the free market approach to press freedom had only increased the power of a single class and has not served the interests of the less well-off classes. The emergence of radio, TV and film suggested the need for some means of accountability. Thus the theory advocated some obligation on the part of the media to society. A judicial mix of self-regulation and state regulation and high professional standards were imperative." (Suresh, nd, p. 1) Psychological perspectives on communication are examined in the work of Ramaraja (nd) who states "Psychology is generally concerned with studying the mind, the brain, and human behavior. The frame work of human cognitive architecture is helpful in discussing how different types of thought, as well as the corresponding areas of psychology, relate to each other along a continuum, and how this continuum, in turn, relates to human communication processes." (p.1)

III. Group Communication Skills

Group communication requires specific communication skills and the first of these requires that one be observant of others since communicators who are faster-paced do a great deal of talking and slower-paced communicators do more listening that they do talking. Communication priority must also be observed since those who are people oriented prefer to speak about "events, people, situations, family, friends, stories and experiences." (About Leaders, 2014, p. 1) however, task oriented individuals speak more about "results, data, processes, procedures, goals and their job." (About Leaders, 2014, p. 1) One needs to base their communication to a group on the delivery of the message and how the message will be received and it is important to understand that when speaking to a group it will be difficult to communicate to all individuals in the way that they best receive messages so one will have to modify and shift their methods of communication frequently during communication to a group. Five characteristics of communication may be verbal, body language use, use of facial expressions, use of focused listening and the use of proper and timely response to what the other individual is saying. If the individual is territorial in their communications they may cross their arms in front of their chests while speaking or listening. The individual's personal space bubble affects communication with others by either displaying openness or alternatively displaying less interaction with the other speaker. Family communications are often guided by the family member with the most clout and this affects the communication methods that occur…[continue]

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