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Chapter Outline

  1. Why we communicate—Communication is important. We all need to communicate.
    1. Physical needs are affected by communication, as its presence or absence affects physical health.
    2. Identity needs are met through communication, which is the major way we learn who we are as humans. Our sense of identity comes from the way we interact with others.
    3. Social needs are met through communication, as it is the principle way relationships are created. Communication is the primary goal of human existence.
    4. Practical needs are met through communication, as it serves important functions (e.g. tell stylist how much hair to cut, tell doctor where it hurts, tell plumber broken pipe needs to be fixed now, etc.).

  2. The Communication Process—Communication, using messages to generate meaning, is a complex process with many factors.
    1. A model of communication
      1. Began creating models in the 1950s to capture the communication process.
      2. The one-way linear model was composed of a sender, message, and receiver.
      3. Later models began to incorporate feedback.
      4. Communication theorists develop sophisticated transactional communication models in an attempt to depict all the factors that affect human interaction.

    2. Insights from the transactional communication model
      1. Sending and receiving messages are usually simultaneous. The communication model replaces the roles of sender and receiver (which can be impossible to distinguish) with the term "communicator."
      2. Meanings exist in and among people. Messages (verbal or nonverbal) don’t have meanings in themselves because meanings reside in the people who express and interpret them.
      3. Environment and noise affect communication.
        1. Environments are fields of experience that help people make sense of others' behavior.
        2. Noise is anything that interferes with the transmission and reception of a message.
          1. External noise includes different kinds of distractions that are outside the receiver that make it difficult to hear.
          2. Physiological noise involves biological factors that interfere with reception.
          3. Psychological noise refers to cognitive factors that lessen the effectiveness of communication.

      4. Channels make a difference, as channels are the medium through which messages are exchanged, and the selection of the channel depends in part on the kind of message that is being sent.

    3. Communication Principles—In addition to the insights of the communication model, there are other principles that guide understanding of communication.
      1. Communication is transactional. Communication is a dynamic process that the participants create through their interaction with one another.
      2. Communication can be intentional or unintentional, as all behavior has communicative value.
      3. Communication is irreversible; it is impossible to "unreceive" a message, as words and deeds, once said or done, are irretrievable.
      4. Communication is unrepeatable, because the same words and behavior are different each time they are spoken or performed.
      5. Communication has a content and a relational dimension. The content dimension involves the information being explicitly discussed, while the relational dimension expresses how you feel about the other person.

    4. Characteristics of interpersonal communication. Four features distinguish communication in highly personal relationships from less personal ones.
      1. Uniqueness
      2. Interdependence
      3. Self-disclosure
      4. Intrinsic rewards

    5. Communication misconceptions—Avoiding these common misconceptions can save you trouble in your personal life.
      1. Not all communication seeks understanding. It is a flawed assumption that the goal of all communication is to maximize understanding between communicators; instead, social rituals we enact every day attempt to influence others. Deliberate ambiguity and deception are examples of communication in which understanding is not the primary goal.
      2. More communication is not always better, as excessive communication is unproductive or even aggravates a problem. There are times when no interaction is the best course of action.
      3. Communication will not solve all problems, because even the best-timed and best-planned communication cannot fix all problems.
      4. Effective communication is not a natural ability, because most people operate at a level of effectiveness far below their potential.

  3. Communication competence is defined as communication that is both effective and appropriate.
    1. There are several characteristics of communication competence.
      1. There is no single ideal or effective way to communicate. The definition of what communication is appropriate in a given situation varies considerably from one culture to another.
      2. Competence is situational, as communication competence exists in degrees or areas of competence.
      3. Competence can be learned. To a great degree, competence is a set of skills that anyone can learn.

    2. There are several common characteristics that characterize effective communication in most contexts.
      1. A large repertoire of skills.
      2. Adaptability is the ability to choose the right behavior for the situation.
      3. Ability to perform skillfully
      4. Involvement - Effective communication occurs when the people involved care about one another and about the topic at hand.
      5. Empathy/perspective taking
      6. Cognitive complexity is the ability to construct a variety of different frameworks for viewing an issue.
      7. Self-monitoring describes the process of paying close attention to one's own behavior and using these observations to shape the way one behaves; this generally increases one's effectiveness as a communicator.

  4. Social Media and Interpersonal Communication Social. Social media collectively describes all of the channels that make remote personal communication possible.
    1. The characteristics of social media are, in some ways, similar to face-to-face communication; however, there are important differences.
      1. Leanness - Richness describes the abundance of nonverbal cues that add clarity to a verbal message. Leanness describes messages that carry less information due to a lack of nonverbal cues. Leanness of social media channels encourages increased use of hyperpersonal communication, which is accelerated discussion of personal topics and relational development.
      2. Asynchronous communication occurs when there is a gap in time when a message is sent and received. Synchronous communication is two-way and occurs in real time.
      3. Digital messages are permanent, so think twice before you say something you might regret later.

    2. Mediated communication affects relational quality. Mediated communication might have a negative impact on closeness, connection and conversation quality. But social media can also be rich and satisfying. Can make communication easier.
    3. Communication competence with social media can be improved by using the following guidelines.
      1. Be careful what you post.
      2. Be considerate by respecting others' need for undivided attention and keeping the tone civil.
      3. Be mindful of bystanders.
      4. Balance mediated and face time.


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