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Importance of Interpersonal Communication

Uttara Manohar Sep 29, 2018
Learn how effective interpersonal communication affects different areas of our lives, especially at the workplaces.
To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.
― Anthony Robbins
Efficient interpersonal communication is a very good quality that helps people in every aspect of life, be it personal or professional. It is the process where a person expresses his thoughts through a well-designed message, sends it across a communication channel (oral, visual, written) and the receiver receives the message and replies via the channel.
Interpersonal communication can be a formal dialog between two people at a workplace, or even an informal tête-à-tête between two friends.
It can occur with or without words and through a number of communication media.

1. Oral (Speaking face-to-face or on the phone)
2. Written (Writing emails, letters, instant messaging and texting)
3. Visual (Body Language or sign language)

Factors that Determine the Efficiency of Communication

1. Clarity of Message

How the sender presents a message, plays a vital role in success/failure of communication. Frame it considering the receiver's frame of mind and simple language that conveys correct meaning.

2. Communication Channel

Choose the right communication channel as per the situation and the receiver. Think whether in a particular situation having a face-to-face conversation would be a better option instead of speaking on the phone, or writing an email.

3. Rapport between Sender and Receiver

If the sender and receiver share a background and have faced similar experiences, it increases mutual understanding and enhances outcome of communication.
The development of rapport will depend on the educational background, social background, family upbringing, and the kind of experiences the person has come across.

Styles of Interpersonal Communication

There are various styles of this form of communication, and that we adopt into our lives depending on how we need it.

Controlling Style

The controlling style is a style, wherein the sender leaves little or no room for the receiver to provide feedback or reply. People who are generally senior in workplace hierarchy use it to communicate with their subordinates.
Although, this style might prove to be an efficient form of communication during crisis situations, it can intimidate the receiver or the audience and can actually create a communication gap.

Egalitarian Style

Egalitarian style is more efficient than controlling one. It facilitates two-way communication where information is shared mutually. It urges people to express ideas and creates a healthy atmosphere.

Structuring Style

This style is used to communicate specific goals and bring coordination to an organization. To avoid a one-way conversation, it is better keep it more open to responses from the audience.

Dynamic Style

This style is a high-energy approach, which involves use of motivating words and phrases to encourage the person to get inspired and achieve a certain goal.
However, this style cannot function when the receiver does not have enough knowledge about the required action desired out of him/her.

Relinquishing Style

The relinquishing style is highly open for ideas to the extent that it can transfer the responsibility of the communication to the receiver.
This style works well when the sender and the receiver are equally interested in carrying the conversation ahead.

Withdrawal Style

It is ironic to call this process a style of interpersonal communication, since the withdrawal style is basically the failure or lack of communication.
This is a style where a person shows complete disinterest to participate in the communication process or carry it forward.
So, we now have a clear idea about effective interpersonal communication, factors that determine its efficiency, and its various styles. Let's use it to our advantage, and reap the benefits.