As social beings, people can use verbal and non-verbal messages to exchange information, feelings, and meanings. The two or more people exchange messages, thereby establishing communication. Verbal messages are shared through voice, while nonverbal messages are exchanged through text, tone of voice, facial expressions, gestures, and body language. Interpersonal communication is made up of several elements, which are: communicators, message, channel, context, feedback, and noise. There is a need to understand all elements of communication to establish effective interpersonal skills. Effective interpersonal communication is essential in establishing interpersonal relationships and promoting good leadership.
Elements of Interpersonal Communication
The first element of interpersonal communication is the messages which need to be exchanged. Communication involves the exchange of information, which forms the message element of communication. The message exchanged between communicators is composed of both verbal and non-verbal information (DeVito 18). The message is shared between communicators, made up of a sender and a receiver of a message. For communication to take place, then the message should be exchanged between two or more people. However, although communicators’ conventional delimitation is sender-receiver, which insinuates that interpersonal communication is a one-way process, the process is a two-way process. The role of sender and receiver applies to both communicating parties depending on the direction of the message’s flow.
The effectiveness of communication is based on the context where it takes place. The context of communication is based on situational and social contexts in which it takes place. A message to travels from sender to receiver is transmitted through a channel depending on the context. In face-to-face communication, speech and vision are the channels, while phone communication uses speech only. On the other hand, a letter uses written text as the channel. Once the message is received, feedback is relayed back to the sender to convey their reaction (Evans 292). Interruption can happen during communication, thus distorting the message. This is referred to as noise, and it has significance in communication. Physical noise such as background sounds, complicated words, cultural differences, and inappropriate body language can be noise during transmission.
Benefits of Interpersonal Communication
All people engage in the form of interpersonal communication regularly. This is important in establishing interpersonal relationships between individuals in a social setup. Individuals in each social setup can create contacts and foster better relationships by communicating with other people personally. Interpersonal communication allows people to give and obtain information that is important for different purposes. Sharing of information is vital in the exchange of knowledge on various aspects of life. For instance, people would find it easy to share information about what they need, such as food can share information about how to swim, and the receiver of the message will, in turn, gain essential life skills from such conversations. Furthermore, through communication with another person, an individual would influence the behavior and attitudes of those within their social circles.
Interpersonal communication is a life skill that can help make sense of the world and the experiences of others. For instance, when someone experiences the loss of a loved one, they need to communicate with other people who have experienced similar situations before helping them cope with their existing condition. This is important as it acts as an emotional support system, which is achieved by simply communicating with other people.
Communicating with other people is also crucial as it can exchange ideas and provide solutions to existing problems. Interpersonal communication allows the exchange of knowledge which helps individuals share knowledge on given domains that can be used in problem-solving. Furthermore, informed decision-making is attained when different parties can share their perspective and a consensus agreed upon on the best course of action (Evans 305). Interpersonal communication can also be used in anticipating and predicting the behavior of individuals. Based on the elements of communication, a message is conveyed from both verbal and non-verbal cues. The choice of message encoding is important as it allows the prediction of behavior. Proper understanding of communication tenets helps to regulate power within a social group.
Interpersonal Communication and Good Leadership
Social relationships are formed and fostered through effective communication. Therefore, interpersonal communication plays an essential role in establishing social and interpersonal skills. There are different types of leadership approaches, such as authoritarian, democratic, and servant leadership. However, all other forms of leadership require that the leaders develop their interpersonal and social skills to deal with different people. One of the primary roles of a leader is to communicate their vision to those being led (Evans 299). As a result, a good leader should be able to undertake effective communication by overcoming barriers. A good leader needs to use interpersonal communication and skills to influence their followers, such as active listening, negotiation, empathy, and conflict management. As a result, the interaction between a leader and their followers is essential in ensuring that the leader’s vision is achieved.
In conclusion, effective interpersonal communication is essential in establishing interpersonal relationships and promoting good leadership. Compelling interpersonal communication is based on the communicators’ ability to understand and apply all communication elements. Interpersonal communication is used in the sharing and exchange of information and ideas. Through the information exchange, parties can develop interpersonal relationships fostered through practical interpersonal communication skills. Effective communication is vital in establishing social skills and order. Furthermore, an individual with the ability to undertake proper communication is a good candidate for successful leadership roles. This is because a leader needs to be able to effectively communicate their vision to their followers while at the same time listening to their feedback actively.
DeVito, Joseph A. The interpersonal communication book. 15th ed., Pearson Education, 2019
Evans, Corinth M. “Interpersonal communication application to leadership.” Encyclopedia of strategic leadership and management. IGI Global, 2017. 296-316.