IM Interpersonal Communication Relating to Others 7th Edition

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IM Interpersonal Communication Relating to Others 7th Edition


Chapter 4: Interpersonal Communication and Cultural Diversity: Adapting to Others
impacts their relationships (Unit 2); or journal about the use of mediated communication to manage their relationships by keeping a record for a period of time on how and why they use technology (Unit 3).
Journal of Activities: Students will complete each of the activities assigned as a Journal Entry. These can be turned in by the week, unit, or semester.
Group Presentation: 150 points
Each student will be assigned to a group to research a specific area of interpersonal communication. Each group will designate a topic, perform research, and present a thirty-minute presentation to the class covering their topic. Students will be graded based on content, delivery, and peer evaluation.
Miscellaneous Assignments: 50 points.
From time to time, various in-class or homework assignments may be given to supplement the learning process.
Class Participation and Leadership: 100 points
Course Schedule: (Exams will be given in class the day after a unit is covered)


Week 1
Introduction to Interpersonal Communication
Chapter 1
Week 2

Interpersonal Communication and Self

Chapter 2
Week 3
Interpersonal Communication and Perception

Chapter 3

Week 4
Interpersonal Communication and Diversity: Adapting to Others
Chapter 4
Week 5

Exam on Unit 1

Journal Submission 1

Week 6
Listening and Responding Skills
Chapter 5
Week 7
Verbal Communication Skills
Chapter 6
Week 8
Nonverbal Communication Skills
Chapter 7
Week 9
Conflict Management Skills
Chapter 8

Week 10
Exam on Unit 2

Journal Submission 2

Week 11
Understanding Interpersonal Relationships
Chapter 9

Week 12

Managing Relationship Challenges
Chapter 10
Week 13

Interpersonal Relationships: Friendship and Romance
Chapter 11
Week 14
Interpersonal Relationships: Family and Workplace
Chapter 12
Week 15

Exam on Unit 3
Journal Submission 3
Week 16
Research Presentations/Exam
Copyright 2014, 2011, 2008 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
Chapter 1: Introduction to Interpersonal Communication Chapter-at-a-Glance
Brief Chapter Outline
Learning Objectives
Instructor Manual Resources
Interpersonal Communication Defined
Objective 1
Activity: 1.1, 1.2
Interpersonal Communications Importance to Your Life
Objective 2
Activity: 1.3, 1.4, 1.5
Interpersonal Communication and the Communication Process
Objectives 3
Activity: 1.6, 1.7
Interpersonal Communication Principles
Objective 4
Activity: 1.8
Interpersonal Communication and Technology
Objective 5
Activity: 1.9. 1.10
Interpersonal Communication Competence
Objective 6
Activity: 1.11
Learning Objectives
After studying this chapter, students should be able to:
1. Compare and contrast definitions of communication, human communication, and interpersonal communication.
2. Explain why it is useful to study interpersonal communication.
3. Describe the key components of the communication process
4. Discuss five principles of interpersonal communication.
5. Discuss electronically mediated communications role in developing and maintaining
interpersonal relationships.
6. Identify strategies that can improve your communication competence.
Copyright 2014, 2011, 2008 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
Chapter 1: Introduction to Interpersonal Communication
Chapter Overview
Interpersonal Communication Defined: Communication, human communication, and interpersonal communication are defined and contrasted. Interpersonal communication is discussed as a distinctive form of communication that involves simultaneous interaction between individuals, usually with mutual influence in order to manage our relationships. Impersonal communication is defined as treating others as objects rather than as unique individuals. An I It relationship is an impersonal one, in which the other person is viewed as an It rather than as an authentic, genuine person. An IThou relationship occurs when you interact with another person as a unique, authentic individual rather than as an object or an It. Interpersonal communication is different than mass communication, public communication, small group communication and intrapersonal communication is communication with yourself. Interpersonal communication involves mutual influence between individuals. Interpersonal communication helps individuals manage their relationships.
Interpersonal Communications Importance to Your Life: Interpersonal communication permeates our lives. Being skilled in interpersonal communication can improve your relationships with family, friends, and lovers, and work and school colleagues, as well as improving your physical and emotional health.
Interpersonal Communication and the Communication Process: Three models for understanding communication are outlined within a historical perspective. Message transfer models focus on the actions involved in communication. Message exchange models introduce the concepts of feedback and context to emphasize a less static and more interactive perspective. Message creation models introduce the notion of simultaneous interaction a transactional process involving mutual and concurrent sharing of ideas and feelings.
Interpersonal Communication Principles: Underlying our understanding of interpersonal communication are five principles: Interpersonal communication connects us to others, is irreversible, is complicated, is governed by rules, and involves both content and relationship dimensions.
Interpersonal Communication and Technology: Today, we use a great deal of technology to transmit interpersonal messages. Electronically mediated messages can be challenging to interpret because they contain fewer nonverbal cues, are often asynchronous (not read or heard at the same time they are sent), and have increased potential for deception. Social presence is the feeling we have when we act and think as if were involved in an unmediated, FtF conversation. Cues-filtered-out theory suggests that emotional expression is severely restricted when we communicate using only text messages; nonverbal cues such as facial expression, gestures, and tone of voice are filtered out. Media richness theory suggests that the richness of a communication channel is based on four criteria. Social information-processing theory explains how quality relationships can be formed via e-mail and other electronic media, even though information exchange may take longer than in face-to-face communication. Mediated communication can be evaluated, in part, according to the richness of the channels being used.
Copyright 2014, 2011, 2008 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
Chapter 1: Introduction to Interpersonal Communication
Interpersonal Communication Competence: To be a competent communicator is to express messages that are perceived to be both effective (the message is understood by others and achieves its intended effect) and appropriate (the time, place, and context of the message is sensitive to the feelings and attitudes of the listener). Three strategies are outlined which can help us become more skilled communicators. These include: becoming knowledgeable, becoming skilled, and becoming motivated. These strategies all find expression in the idea of becoming other-orientedthe opposite of an egocentric approach to communication. Other-oriented communicators are also ethical.
Chapter Outline
(All key terms appear in bold)
I. Interpersonal Communication Defined
Communication is the process of acting on information.
Human communication is the process of making sense out of the world and sharing
that sense with others by creating meaning through the use of verbal and nonverbal
Interpersonal communication is a distinctive, transactional form of human
communication involving mutual influence, usually for the purpose of managing
A. Interpersonal Communication Is a Distinctive Form of Communication
1. Interpersonal versus Impersonal Communication
There is a continuum running from impersonal communication, which
occurs when you treat people as objects or relate to them as roles, to interpersonal communication that occurs when you treat others as unique and relate to them as authentic individuals.
2. I-It and I-Thou Relationships
Impersonal communication involves an I-It relationship where you have
a role to perform and there is mechanical, stilted interaction.
Interpersonal communication involves an I-Thou relationship that is true
dialogue and honest sharing.
It is unrealistic to think that all communication will be interpersonal.
3. Interpersonal Versus Other Forms of Communication
Mass communication occurs when one person issues the same message to
many people at once.
a) The creator of the message is usually not physically present.
b) There is virtually no opportunity for listeners to respond to the speaker. c) TV and radio messages are good examples of mass communication.
Public communication occurs when a speaker addresses an audience in person.
Small group communication occurs when a group of from three to people meet to interact with a common purpose and mutually influence one another.
Intrapersonal communication is communication with yourself.
B. Interpersonal Communication Involves Mutual Influence Between Individuals
Copyright 2014, 2011, 2008 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
Chapter 1: Introduction to Interpersonal Communication
Every interpersonal communication transaction influences us.
a) The degree of mutual influence varies a great deal from transaction to
b) Long-lasting interpersonal relationships are sustained not by one
person giving and another taking, but by a spirit of mutual equality.
c) Both you and your partner listen and respond with respect for each
d) There is no attempt to manipulate others.
The concept of an IThou relationship includes the quality of being fully present when communicating with another person.
a) To be present is to give your full attention to the other person.
b) The quality of interpersonal communication is enhanced when both
you and your partner are simultaneously present and focused on each
C. Interpersonal Communication Helps Individuals Manage Their Relationships
A relationship is defined as the connection we make when we communicate with another person.
a) When two individuals are in a relationship, what one person says or does influences the other person.
b) People in relationships are affected by the situation in which they are communicating, the personal skills they possess, and the moves and counter-moves of their relationship partner.
You initiate and form relationships by communicating with others whom you find attractive in some way.
a) You seek to increase your interactions with people with whom you wish to develop relationships, and you continually communicate interpersonally to maintain the relationship.
b) You also use interpersonal communication to end or redefine relationships that you have decided are no longer viable or need to be changed.
You are increasingly likely to use social media to connect with friends and manage your relationships.
a) Research has found that instant messages (including text messages) have an overall positive effect on your relationships.
b) E-mail, texting, and other forms of instant messages appear to be primarily used to maintain existing relationships.
c) E-mail, texting, and other forms of instant messages also play a role in establishing initial contact with others.
d) Online and instant messages at first are perceived as lower quality than face-to-face interactions, but over time are judged just as positively.
II. Interpersonal Communications Importance to Your Life A. Improved Relationships with Family
Relating to family members can be a challenge.
You can develop more options for how to respond when family communication
challenges occur.
Copyright 2014, 2011, 2008 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
Virginia Satir calls family communication the largest single factor determining the kinds of relationships [we make] with others.
Communicating with our family members and loved ones is the fundamental way of establishing close, personal relationships with them.
B. Improved Relationships with Friends and Lovers
Unmarried people have reported that developing friendships and falling in love are
the top-rated sources of satisfaction and happiness.
Losing a relationship is among the most stressful experiences.
Individuals between the ages of 19 and 24 years report having already had five to
six romantic relationships and to have been in love once or twice.
Studying interpersonal communication can offer insight into our behaviors in
friendship, romance, and love.
C. Improved Relationships with Colleagues
Colleagues at work are like family members.
While we choose friends and lovers, we often cannot choose colleagues.
Understanding how relationships develop at work can help you avoid conflict and
stress and increase your sense of satisfaction.
Success and failure often hinge upon how well we relate with supervisors and
The abilities to listen to others, mange conflict, and develop quality interpersonal
relationships with others are usually at the top of the list of skills that employers are
seeking in job applicants.
D. Improved Physical and Emotional Health
The lack or loss of a close relationship can lead to ill health and even death.
Widowed or divorced patients experience more medical problems than do married
a) Grief-stricken spouses are more likely than others to die prematurely,
especially around the time of the departed spouses birthday or their
b) Childless, middle-aged wives were almost two and one-half times more likely
to die in any given year than those who had at least one child.
c) Terminally ill patients with limited social support die sooner than those with
stronger ties to friendships.
d) Without companions and close friends, opportunities for intimacy and stress-
minimizing interpersonal communication are diminished.
Interpersonal Communication and the Communication Process (Three models are discussed in order of oldest to newest.)
A. Elements of the Communication Process
The most basic components of communication include these elements: source,
message, channel, receiver, noise, feedback, and context.
Sourcethe originator of a thought or emotion, who puts it into a code that can
be understood by a receiver.
Messagethe written, spoken, and unspoken elements of communication to
which people assign meaning.
Channelthe pathways through which messages are sent.
Copyright 2014, 2011, 2008 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
Chapter 1: Introduction to Interpersonal Communication
Chapter 1: Introduction to Interpersonal Communication
Receiver person who decodes the message and attempts to make sense of what the source has encoded.
Noisethe interferences that keeps a message from being understood and achieving its intended effect.
a) Literal noise can be actual noise like the roar of a plane.
b) Psychological noise can be competing thoughts, worries, and feelings that
capture our attention.
Feedback is a response to the message and without it, effective communication
rarely occurs.
Context is the physical and psychological environment for communication.
B. Models of the Communication Process
1. Communication as Action: Message Transfer
The oldest and simplest model is a transferring of meaning.
Communication takes place when a message is sent and received. 2. Human Communication as Interaction: Message Exchange
In the interaction model, two new components are added to the earlier model: feedback and context.
The interaction model is more realistic than the action perspective, but it still has limitations.
The model is limited because it characterizes communication as a linear, step-by-step sequence rather than a simultaneous process.
3. Human Communication as Transaction: Message Creation
Most scholars view this as the most realistic model for interpersonal
Employs the same components as the other models.
Adds the notion of simultaneous interaction of components. As we
talk, we also interpret our partners nonverbal and verbal responses.
Based on systems theory that describes the interconnected elements of a system in which a change in one element affects all
of the other elements.
A transactional approach to communication suggests that no single
cause explains why you interpret messages the way you do.
Communication is the coordinated management of meaning through episodes or sequences of interaction between individuals during which the message of one person influences the message of
IV. Interpersonal Communication Principles
A. Interpersonal Communication Connects Us to Others
It is through inescapable interpersonal communication with others that we affect
and are affected by other human beings.
The quality of interpersonal relationships stems from the quality of
communication with others.
Communication is inescapable since it occurs even when you are not conscious
of what you are doing.
People judge you by your behavior, not your intent.
Copyright 2014, 2011, 2008 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
Interpersonal Communication Is Irreversible
Our communication with others is irreversible.
Communication continues to be shaped by events, thoughts, and experiences of
communication partners.
You can never take it back.
Interpersonal Communication Is Complicated
Whenever you communicate with someone, there are at least six people
a) Who you think you are;
b) Who you think the other person is;
c) Who you think the other person thinks you are;
d) Who the other person thinks he or she is;
e) Who the other person thinks you are; and
f) Who the other person thinks you think he or she is.
Humans use symbols to communicate.
a) Symbols are words, sounds, or visual devices that represent a
thought, concept, or object.
b) Symbols can have various meanings and interpretations, as they are
merely a representation of something else.
c) In English, symbols do not resemble the words they represent.
d) Because multiple factors result in the creation of meaning in peoples
minds, its not accurate to assume that there are always simple
Chapter 1: Introduction to Interpersonal Communication
solutions to communication problems. D. Interpersonal Communication Is Governed by Rules
A rule is a followable prescription that indicates what behavior is obligated, preferred, or prohibited in certain communication situations or contexts.
a) Rules help us to define appropriate and inappropriate communication in a given situation.
b) Rules may be explicit or implicit.
c) Rules are developed by those involved in the interaction and by the
culture in which they are communicating.
d) Rules are mutually defined and agreed upon.
There are some general rules for relationship development and maintenance (research by Michael Argyle and colleagues).
a) Partners should respect the others privacy.
b) Partners should not reveal each others secrets.
c) Partners should look the other person in the eye during conversation.
d) Partners should not criticize the other person publicly.
Interpersonal rules are learned from observing and interacting with family members and friends.
E. Interpersonal Communication Involves Both Content and Relationship Dimensions 1. Content Message: refers to the information, ideas, and suggested actions the speaker wishes to sharewhat is said.
2. Relationship Message: the relationship dimension of a communication message offers cues about the emotion, attitudes, and amount of power and control the speaker feels; it is how the message is communicated.
Copyright 2014, 2011, 2008 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
Chapter 1: Introduction to Interpersonal Communication
3. Metacommunication Message: metacommunication is communication about communication. It can be nonverbal or verbal.
a) Accurately decoding these unspoken or even verbalized metamessages helps you understand what people really mean.
b) Meaning is in people, not in words or gestures.
V. Interpersonal Communication and Technology
Electronically mediated communication (EMC) communication that is not face
to face, but rather is sent via a medium such as a cell phone or the Internet.
EMC is not new; people have been communicating without being face to face for
Whats new is that there are so many different ways of immediately connecting with
We frequently use our technology to make and keep friends, to share information, to
listen and respond to and confirm and support others.
Mediated communication relationships can be as satisfying as face-to-face
relationships; people seamlessly and easily switch from EMC to FtF context.
If you are already rich in terms of the quality of face-to-face
interpersonal relationships, you will also enrich your online interpersonal
Hyperpersonal relationships are relationships formed primarily through EMC that
become even more personal than equivalent face-to-face relationships, in part because of the absence of distracting external cues (such as physical qualities), smaller amounts of personal information, and idealization of the communication partner.
If youre shy in person, you also may be less likely to tweet or IM, yet there is some evidence that shy or introverted people may be more comfortable using instant messaging.
There are gender differences in text messages and IMs in that womens text and instant messages use more words, longer sentences, and more emoticons, and they discuss and include more social and relational information than mens messages.
A. Differences Between EMC and FtF Communication
There are six key differences between electronically mediated interpersonal
communication and face-to-face communication.
1. Time: When you interact via EMC you can do so asynchronously, and the
message is not read, heard, or seen at the same time it is sent; synchronous messages are those that are sent and received instantly and simultaneously.
The more technology simulates a face-to-face conversation, the more
social presence it creates.
Social presence is the feeling that communicators have of engaging in
unmediated, face-to-face interactions even though messages are being sent electronically.
a) It takes longer to tap out a typewritten message than to speak or to
convey a nonverbal message.
b) When texting, participants may expect to see a response to their
message very quickly, which is one reason text messages are often very short and concise.
Copyright 2014, 2011, 2008 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
c) Texting someone (as well as sending e-mail, instant messages, and tweets) allows you time to compose your message and craft it more carefully than you might in an FtF interaction.
Varying Degrees of Anonymity.
You may not always know precisely with whom you are communicating
when you receive an e-mail message or are friended or poked by
someone you dont know.
Being anonymous may tempt you to say things that arent true.
Potential for Deception
Because with many forms of EMC you cant see or hear others, its easy to
Online deception is almost as easy as typing.
The ease with which someone can create a false persona means that you
need to be cautious in forming relationships with strangers over the
Internet. Nonverbal Cues
Role of the Written Word
Reliance on the written word affects EMC interactions.
Your skills in typing as well as your ability to express yourself in writing
affects how others may perceive you.
Your written messages provide insights to others about your personality,
skills, sense of humor, and even your values.
You communicate a message about the nature of a relationship based on the
formality or informality of your language and whether your style reflects
what the receiver expects. Distance
There is often a great deal of distance between two people engaged in EMC.
We can easily send a message to someone across the globe as to someone in the same building we are in.

Words and graphics become more important in EMC than in face-to-face communication, because when communicating electronically you must rely solely on words to carry nonverbal messages.
Text users can capitalize messages, add emoticons, make letters bold, and so on to compensate for the limited emotional cues available in some forms of electronic communication.
There is typically less emphasis on a persons physical appearance online than in FtF situations, unless youre using Facebook, Skype, or other video messages.
Chapter 1: Introduction to Interpersonal Communication
B. Understanding EMC
Three theories help explain and predict how EMC works:
1. Cues-Filtered-Out Theory suggests that communication of emotions is restricted when people send messages to others via e-mail or other electronic means because nonverbal cues such as facial expression and tone of voice are filtered out and that because of the lack of nonverbal cues and other social
Copyright 2014, 2011, 2008 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
Chapter 1: Introduction to Interpersonal Communication
information, well be less likely to use EMC to manage relationships because
of its limited ability to carry emotional and relational information.
2. Media Richness Theory identifies the richness of a communication medium based on the amount of feedback it allows, the number of cues receivers can interpret, the variety of language it allows, and the potential for
emotional expression.
There is some evidence that those wishing to communicate a negative
message, such as a message ending a relationship, may select a less rich
communication medium.
Similarly, people usually want to share good news in person, when they can
enjoy the positive reaction to the message.
3. Social Information-Processing Theory suggests that people can communicate relational and emotional messages via the Internet, although such messages take longer to express without nonverbal cues.
This theory also suggests that if you expect to communicate with your electronic communication partner again, you will likely pay more attention to the relationship cues.
EMC can actually develop into more socially rich relationships than face-to- face communication can.
When using EMC, we ask questions and interact with others to enhance the quality of our relationship with them.
EMC makes it possible for people to develop interpersonal relationships with others, whether they are miles away or in the next room.
VI. Interpersonal Communication Competence
A. Become Knowledgeable, Skilled, and Motivated
1. Become Knowledgeable: You must know how interpersonal communication works by learning theories, principles, concepts, and rules.
2. Become Skilled: by translating knowledge into action.
Learning skills requires breaking it down into sub-skills you can learn
and practice (four steps: hear it, see it, do it, and correct it).
Skills require practice.
3. Become Motivated: You need to be motivated to use your knowledge and skill.
B. Become Other-Oriented
Become an other-oriented communicator by considering the thoughts, needs,
experiences, personality, feelings, motives, desires, culture, and goals of your
communication partner, while maintaining your own integrity.
Being other-oriented involves a conscious effort to consider the world from
the point of view of those with whom you interact.
Sometimes we are egocentric communicators, such as when we create
messages without giving much thought to the person who is listening.
a) Being egocentric is detrimental to developing healthy relationships with
b) Other people can often perceive whether were self-focused or other-
Copyright 2014, 2011, 2008 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
Chapter 1: Introduction to Interpersonal Communication
c) Speaking without thinking may occur when we need to purge ourselves or to confirm our sense of self-importance.
It may undermine our relationships with others.
A self-focused communicator often alienates others.
We can adapt to our listeners by asking questions, finding topics of mutual interest, selecting meaningful examples, and avoiding topics that are uncomfortable for our communication partner.
Being empathic able to experience the feelings and emotions of others is especially important in becoming other-oriented.
Other-oriented communicators are ethical.
a. Ethics are the beliefs, values, and moral principles by
which people determine what is right or wrong.
b. Ethical communicators seek to establish trust and reduce
interpersonal barriers.
c. Ethical communicators do not intentionally decrease
others feelings of self-worth.
d. Becoming other-oriented, as evidenced through knowledge,
skill, and motivation, can enhance your interpersonal communication competence and the quality of your life.
Discussion/Journal Questions
Ask your students how many have taken a communication course in the past. Invite them to assist you in distinguishing interpersonal communication from other types of communication, especially intrapersonal communication, small group communication, and public address. Note that the functions of each differ: interpersonal communication focuses on initiating, building, maintaining, and terminating relationships.
Have students journal for a week, noting each time they engage in interpersonal, intrapersonal, and impersonal communication, noting with each entry the context of the communication as well as the result.
Activities and Assignments
Activity 1.1: Icebreakers
Look up almost any YouTube clip from the sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond (an episode called The Angry Family works particularly well). Instruct the students to write down everything they notice about the communication of the participants. When the clip has finished and students have had time to write down their reactions, ask them what they saw. This should generate a great deal of discussion that may include the following:
Verbal communication (raised voices, etc.)
Nonverbal communication (proxemics, kinesics, paralinguistics, haptics)
Copyright 2014, 2011, 2008 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
Chapter 1: Introduction to Interpersonal Communication
Defensiveness and self-protection
Ask the students why they were laughing during the clip. Why is the depiction of brokenness in relationships funny to us? Why do we laugh when we see the sort of strains and tensions among people as evidenced in this clip? Do media of this sort help us in our communication with one another, or does it reinforce norms that support brokenness in relationships?
Immediately following this discussion, show a clip from the Robin Williams movie Patch Adams. (The clip should be the scene where Robin Williams character Patch Adams, a medical student, resists objectifying a hospital patient who has a serious illness, and who is being dispassionately diagnosed by a team of medical students headed by their supervising physician.) In the clip, Patch asks the one question no one else thinks to askWhat is her name? Lead your students in a discussion that includes the following:
Patch Adams focus
How he touches the woman, reaching through to her in her pain and anxiety
How he asks her name and bridges over to her humanity, refusing to objectify
His eye contact and vocal cues
End by asking the students who, in their lives, speaks to them like Patch Adams spoke to the sick woman in the hospitalthat is, who gives them good words. This exercise has a lot of appeal to students because it has media clips they will enjoy, and it clearly demonstrates how interpersonal communication can both damage and heal human relationships.
Activity 1.2: Power and Influence
Many communication scholars suggest that each interaction is accompanied by a power dynamic. That is, one of the interactants has more power over the other. Thus, it would seem that the person with more power would be in a position in which s/he could nearly always have more influence that the person less power. Have the class discuss the concept of mutual influence and how they influence others with whom they have different types of relationships (friendships, romantic relationships, work relationships, and so on) and how the other people in their interactions influence THEM.
Activity 1.3: People Skills
Robert Bolton, author of People Skills, asserts that 80% of the people who fail at work do so for one reason: they do not relate well to other people (Simon & Schuster, 1986, p. 7). Ask students to provide concrete examples of how they have seen communication negatively or positively impact work environments they have been part of.
Copyright 2014, 2011, 2008 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
Chapter 1: Introduction to Interpersonal Communication
Activity 1.4: Impersonal vs. Interpersonal
Have each student prepare a list of the ways (positively or negatively) in which s/he communicates with various members of his or her family (parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and so on), not using real names. Then, have students form small groups (3-5) to discuss the ways in which each may or may not have learned relationship communication skills from those people in his or her early life. Finally, debrief the small groups in the larger, full class.
Activity 1.5: Myths About Communication
1. More words will make the meaning clearer.
Encourage students to discover their preferred learning style: visual, auditory, kinesthetic, or any combination.
Suggest that other-oriented communicators recognize their preferences but select channels that the recipient prefers for best results. For instance, when asking a visual boss for a raise, showing her/him a list of reasons for this pay boost may be more effective than a simple discussion. Likewise, an auditory friend may prefer a phone call to a HallmarkTM card.
Investigate learning styles, using channel preferences. See Michael Brooks Instant Rapport (Warner, 1989).
2. Meanings are in words
Ask students to describe the meanings of their names. Do they respond differently to people if they use their full name (e.g., Michael Joseph) rather than a shortened version of their name (e.g., Mike)? Discuss this.
A number of situation comedies on television rely upon semantic noise to create humor. Nearly every Seinfeld and Friends episode portrays bypassing. Consider showing a portion of a show to illustrate how meanings are in people, not in words.
Write the following words on the board (or on PowerPointTM):
Ask students to comment about the meaning of these words. Discuss the value of punctuation and how syntactic rules are important for discerning meanings of words. Do point out that whatever punctuation is used, both statements are sexist and untrue.
3. Information equals communication.
Ask students to discuss or journal about using a set of instructions. Were they clear? Did they help in understanding?
Bring a set of instructions for a game, building project, or recipe. Discuss how these instructions may be misinterpreted and what the possible outcomes might be.
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Chapter 1: Introduction to Interpersonal Communication
4. Interpersonal relationship problems are always communication problems.
Ask students to journal about a problem that was not related to communication in comparison to a problem that was communication based.
See if some students want to support the argument that all relationship problems can be solved through communication.
Activity 1.6: Understanding the Models of Communication
Models of human communication are complex. Often, students must learn new definitions for terms for which they had pre-existing definitions, and the components can seem overwhelmingly abstract. Illustrating the models visually can help students to comprehend and remember the components.
The linear model:
Bring in any ball to demonstrate how a message/ball is transferred from one
communicator to another.
A two-toned NerfTM football makes a good model of a communication message.
Explain that the colors denote verbal and nonverbal codes/cues. Discuss how the
message is encoded, and transmitted to a receiver.
Explain further that all communication messages contain a nonverbal element but that
not all contain verbal codes.
Ask students to think of examples of communication working in a linear model. This
may include television, telegraph, etc.
The interaction model:
Have students toss the message/ball back and forth to demonstrate this model of communication.
Discuss how the roles of sender and receiver change.
Ask students how they have to adapt in order to catch the message.
Ask students to identify examples of the interaction model. This may include fax, e-
mail, or mail.
The transactional model:
Ask students to create their own model for this perspective.
How would they represent examples of noise and channel?
*For an intercultural perspective, ask students in the class who have international backgrounds, or backgrounds from outside the majority group in the class, to share how the norms in their culture of origin influence the models of communication they would choose or be most comfortable with. Where would their norms differ from the norms of this culture?
Activity 1.7: The Team Project
A few days prior to this activity, ask students to bring several magazines to class. The instructor should be prepared to supply a poster board, scissors, and paste for each group. For this activity, have small groups (3-5) cut out images from the magazines and create, using those images and pasting them to their poster board, a) an action model, b) an interactional model, and c) a
Copyright 2014, 2011, 2008 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
Chapter 1: Introduction to Interpersonal Communication
transactional model. Tell the class that each group will be expected to explain how the images their group chose illustrate each model.
Activity 1.8: Communicating on Facebook
Interpersonal communication is governed by rules, and these rules can be extended to new media as well. Ask students to make a list of the norms governing communication on Facebook. For example, do they think it is appropriate for a professor to be Facebook friends with a student in his or her class? What sort of communication is appropriate on Facebook? Who should and shouldnt be friends? What new rules do they think should apply to this sort of communication? Ask students to share any examples of poor communication practices theyve seen on Facebook. Where would they place this sort of communication on the impersonal to interpersonal continuum? What advantages does mediated communication like this have? What disadvantages? How can the technologies of communication function in ways that facilitate the spreading of rumors? How can the technologies of communication strengthen and help relationships?
Activity 1.9 EMC
Electronically mediated interpersonal communication is different from live, FtF interactions in six distinctive ways: (1) time, (2) varying degrees of anonymity, (3) potential for deception, (4) availability of nonverbal cues, (5) role of the written word, and (6) distance. Have students form six (6) small groups (in a very large class, you may want to have twelve small groups and assign two groups to each area). Assign each group one (1) of the six differences. Then, each group is to create a fairly exhaustive list of the ways each difference can be a) detrimental to effective communication and b) helpful in achieving effective communication. Once these lists are completed, each group should be given time to present and discuss their list to the class.
Activity 1.10: Hyperpersonal Relationships
Hyperpersonal relationships are relationships formed primarily through EMC that become even more personal than equivalent face-to-face relationships, in part because of the absence of distracting external cues (such as physical qualities), an overdependence on just a few tidbits
of personal information (which increases the importance of the information), and idealization of the partner. Have students work with a partner to discuss the relationships each has that were created through EMC and which of these relationships is equivalent to face-to-face relationships or not as personal as their face-to-face relationships. What factors make some online relationships equivalent? What factors prevent some online relationships from being equivalent?
Activity 1.11: Investigating Communication Strategies
1. Become Knowledgeable
To learn more about the what makes a communicator competent, check out this University of Kentucky take on the topic:
2. Become Skilled
Ask students to write for five minutes about whether they believe there are any sure-fire strategies for interacting with others.
For instance, is honesty always the best policy?
If you cant say something nice, should you refrain from saying anything at all?
Copyright 2014, 2011, 2008 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.

Chapter 1: Introduction to Interpersonal Communication
Invite students to consider other proverbs.
Following the writing exercise, invite students to comment on the need for flexibility in communication.
3. Become Motivated
While each individual must develop a degree of self-motivation, there are ways to improve each area of communication and by knowing these, a person can become more motivated to be a competent communicator. Visit this site and see Effective communication skills #4: Emotional awareness to learn more about motivation:
4. Become Ethical
Talk about civility and the need for interpersonal competence. Some students who work with customers will offer excellent examples of the need for civility. Ask students about their experiences with civility while engaged in electronic mediated communication.
5. Become Other-Oriented
Share with students these words by John Luther:
Natural talent, intelligence, a wonderful educationnone of these guarantees success. Something else is needed: the sensitivity to understand what other people want and the willingness to give it to them. Worldly success depends on pleasing others. No one is going to win fame, recognition, or advancement just because he or she thinks its deserved. Someone else has to think so too. (From Bits & Pieces, The Economics Press, 1992, Vol. M, No. 1.)
Copyright 2014, 2011, 2008 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.

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