Essay: Interpersonal Communication Skills

Pages: 9 (2258 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 2  ·  Level: College Junior  ·  Topic: Communication  ·  Buy This Paper

SAMPLE EXCERPT:

[. . .] Gender-based differences

Males and females, of all ages, communicate in fundamentally, and at times, frustratingly different, ways. Interestingly, men and women even listen differently (Hybels & Weaver, 2007). Also, gender influences the language style men and women utilize. As Hybels & Weaver (2007, pg. 124) note "Men are more likely to use report-talk, a language that maintains their status, demonstrates their knowledge and skills, and keeps them at the center of attention. In contrast, women are more likely to use rapport-talk, a language that leads to intimacy with others, establishes relationships, and compares experiences." This, in turn, can have a dramatic effect on communication goals, understanding needs, expressing feelings and a feeling of openness and connectedness between men and women.

Men and women gain and validate their self-concepts through different methods. The formation of the male self-concept is premised primarily on social comparisons, while the female self-concept tends to emphasize the importance of reflected appraisals (Hybels & Weaver, 2007). In fact, male self-confidence derives primarily from achievement and attainment, while female self-confidence is rooted in emotional connections and attachments to others (Hybels & Weaver, 2007). Clearly, then, the communication tools and skills that men and women utilize, while different, require some accommodations to obtain, if not understanding, compromise.

Intimacy

With all of these contradictory communication styles, it is a wonder that men and women continue to form intimate connections. While intimacy has been widely studied and researched, it is not, seemingly, easy to achieve. Hook et al. (2003, pg. 462) observe that "intimacy is a multidimensional concept consisting of several specific components: love and affection, personal validation, trust, and self-disclosure." Similarly, Sternberg (1997, p. 315) writes that "Intimacy refers to the feelings of closeness, connectedness, and bondedness in loving relationships." While intimacy may seem, and perhaps be, the product or precursor of an elusive emotion, it does not come without pitfalls and drawbacks. Overcoming the barriers to effective communication in intimate relationships are as decisive as they are divisive. While men believe that "doing is showing" women tend to believe that "being is showing." These differences in emotive demonstrations require significant accommodations in both communication and self-concepts. Hence, a type of accommodation, "strategic fleixibility," may provide some foundation for communication endeavors to progress.

Strategic flexibility

Hybels & Weaver (2007, pg. 6) observe that "contributions of perception, self-concept, and emotional intelligence" foster a sense "strategic flexibility." It is this strategic flexibility, this ability to expand one's communication repertoire, that allows us as individual communicators, to select and utilize differing communication skills appropriate to a given interpersonal communication setting. Whether this be in our communications with ourselves, our colleques, our spouses, our children or people with differing cultural beliefs and customs, that allow us, as human beings, to be less rigid, less stringent, and improve upon our ability to foster and engender a more open, a more tolerant communication process, than what would otherwise be possible.

Conclusion

It is difficult to understand the vagaries and nuances of effective communication among all of the differing theories asserted in the field of "communication." However, I've found that, while I may not be the most effective, the most efficient communicator, I have developed skill sets, a type of flexible communication repertoire; a strategic flexibility that allows me to communicate with greater precision than I was able to prior to this course. While I understand that communication is a "two way street," I also appreciate the differences that exist in thought, opinion, and, perhaps most importantly, perception among those that interact with daily. With the knowledge that I have gained from studying the concepts in this class, I find myself more open, more receptive, and more empathetic than I thought I could be in my communications with both myself and others. This has allowed me to pursue and acquire more meaningful connections with others, and myself, than I thought possible.

References:

Barnes, S.B. (2003). Computer-mediated communication: Human-to-human communication across the Internet. Boston: Pearson Education.

Campbell, a.; Converse, P.; and Rodgers, W. (1976). The Quality of American Life: Perceptions, Evaluations, and Satisfactions. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.

Forney, W.S., Forney, J.C., Crutsinger, C. (2005). Gender, Delinquent Status, and Social Acceptance as Predictors of the Global Self-Esteem of Teens. Family and Consumer Sciences Research Journal, 33, 3, 208-219.

Hook, M.K., Gerstein, L.H., Detterich, L., & Gridley, B. (2003). How close are we? Measuring intimacy and examining gender differences. Journal of Counseling and Development, 81, 462-472.

Hybels, S. & and Weaver, R.L., (2007). Communicating Effectively (8th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.

Sternberg, R.J. (1997). Construct validation of a… [END OF PREVIEW]

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