Interpersonal Communication Dynamics

Interpersonal Communication Success Tips

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Each of us is a radar machine constantly scoping out our environment. Human beings are sensitive to body language, facial expression, posture, movement, tone of voice, and more. They watch and listen to all of the vocal and nonverbal communication dynamics that are part of communication in addition to words.

For this reason, people often find it difficult to convey conversational tones via email, instant messages, or texting.

If you know people well, you can practically hear their voices as you read their emails. But, someone you don't know well?

It's very easy to misunderstand their tone. Sarcasm can come across as a direct statement and misunderstanding can occur. While most people would catch sarcasm when spoken, it can be difficult to ascertain in written word.

To effectively communicate, these interpersonal communication dynamics must match your words. Words are distantly useful for people who are scoping out the meaning of a communication. We know this instinctively.

When an employee says, “That's just great!” with a huge smile on her face and a rising tone, you know that she is happy with the result. On the other hand, when an employee says, “That's just great,” in a flat or downward tone, with a grimace on her face, you know that the situation is anything but great.

Without awareness of the whole person who is doing the communicating, including the factors in interpersonal communication dynamics, you miss much of what the person is trying to communicate.

People who are on the Autism spectrum often have difficulties understanding tone and facial expression. This does not mean that they aren't capable of advanced communication, but they may need carefully chosen words that can convey the meaning on their own.

Your Opportunities as a Communicator

At the same time, if you communicate without understanding all of the interpersonal communication dynamics your listener sees and hears, you fail to use powerful aspects of communication.

Think about the last time you saw a professional public speaker.

She probably seemed to command the whole stage. She did not just read from power point slides. If you read the text of her talk after hearing her, you were probably puzzled as to why it was so fantastic. It's all about the style of presentation.

If you want to improve your own presentation and communication skills, try watching a few of the most popular Ted Talks and see how these people hold themselves on stage, use hand gestures, and make faces to go along with their subject matters.

Your body language, facial expression, posture, movement, and tone of voice can help you emphasize the truth, sincerity, and reliability of your communication. People often think they can tell if you are lying or telling the truth based on how you speak, not just on what you say.

Trained interrogators know how to use these signals to help them figure out what really happened, when people are telling the truth and when they're not.

They can also undermine your communication if the words you use are not congruent with the message you send via the interpersonal communication dynamics. If you are pretending to be happy (or sad) about something, your body language can betray you.

Sometimes our bodies completely override us. Have you ever cried unintentionally at bad news? That's your body taking over.

Since communication is shared meaning, your words must send the same message as the other interpersonal communication dynamics. The consistent message ensures effective communication.

If you're a people manager and people often misunderstand what you are saying, it could be that your body language isn't matching your words, leaving people confused. Ask your HR department for help in finding training or coaching that will help you match your meaning to your words.

You may think that your job doesn't involve communication, but you are wrong. Let's say you write computer code all day long. While you're not speaking to people, you are writing things that help others communicate - ideas, data, or even fun.

If you work on a development team, with shared responsibility for the product outcomes, your ability to effectively communicate with  your team will make or break your success in development.

Everyone needs to learn solid interpersonal communication skills if you want to experience success in your career.