When asked to distinguish interpersonal communication from communication in general, many people say that interpersonal communication involves fewer people, often just two. according to this definition, an exchange between a homeowner and plumber would be interpersonal, but a conversation involving parents and four children would not. although interpersonal communication often involves only two or three people, this isn’t a useful definition. Perhaps you are thinking that intimate contexts define interpersonal communication. using this standard, we would say that a couple on a first date in a romantic restaurant engages in more interpersonal communication than an established couple in a shopping mall.
The best way to define interpersonal communication is by focusing on what happens between people, not where they are or how many present.In simple way, we can say that interpersonal communication is a distinct type of interaction between people.
Barriers to Effective Interpersonal Communication
One way of looking at communication barriers is to divide them into internal and external barriers, or environmental barriers.
It is important to be aware of all the possible barriers to communication, and to consider how these can be overcome, so that effective interaction can take place either in business or at a personal level.
Psychological barriers may include shyness or embarrassment. Sometimes, a person may present herself as being abrupt or difficult when she may actually be nervous. One person’s stereotyped views of the other party or the group he belongs to may also provide a barrier to communication. If she is already prejudiced before meeting him, this will cause a barrier.
Acceptable styles of communication vary between cultures. In some societies physical gestures are extravagant, and touch is more acceptable. In these societies, it is generally acceptable to hug and touch a person’s arm when you are speaking to him. In other societies this would be unacceptable. Some religions have a taboo about members of the opposite sex communicating and particularly touching. Casual hugging and kissing would be completely unacceptable.
A communication barrier may be present because the parties do not share a common language. Interpreters and translators may be used to good effect in these circumstances. If a person is deaf or visually impaired, this presents an obvious barrier that needs to be addressed prior to the meeting. Speech impediments or dysphasia as a result of a stroke or other brain problem can present a barrier. The use of jargon and over-complicated language creates barriers to communication.
Environmental barriers to communication can include noise and lack of privacy. An environment which is too hot or cold will not be conducive to effective communication. Some places of business are busy with many distractions, such as constantly ringing telephones and other messaging systems.
Three internal barriers that could affect your communication
* Negative emotions
* Low self-esteem
* Lack of commitment
The negative emotions from previous experiences, if not released, continue to hunt us and get expressed when we expect less. They are triggered by similar situations that show up in our life, without consciously recognizing them. Did it occur to you to get upset or raise the tone of your voice for something that… was not really a big deal? It could be one of those situations, that triggered past emotions not released. As long as you don’t identify and release them, they could affect your interpersonal communication since others won’t really know from where your overreaction is coming from.
Low self-esteem takes a huge toll on interpersonal communication. Not having the courage to express your ideas (because you believe they’re not worthy), could send a different message than the one you want to project. It might mislead other people, leaving them to believe whatever they want (which might be different from what you want). Low self-esteem could also show up as lack of confidence, or by not taking responsibility for your own actions. Do I have to mention the impact on the interpersonal communication?! Who would like to spend more time or collaborate with someone who doesn’t take responsibility for his actions? Or who does not trust himself, and is waiting for help all the time?
Lack of commitment comes usually from not knowing what you want, or from not having the courage to take the right actions. Lack of commitment plays a huge role in interpersonal communication, since its so easy to spot it… and no one likes it. How to communicate effectively with someone who is not committed, who doesn’t pay attention or simply ignores you? If you found yourself at least once in the situations listed above, when do you think it’s the best time to work on your own issues: when a similar situation occurs? or in advance, so you are better prepared to communicate more effectively in any situation?