Friday, June 17, 2011


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Interpersonal Communication

Interpersonal communication is defined by Michael Cody as the exchange

of symbols used to achieve interpersonal goals(8). Does this definition

include everything, or does it only include certain things?. When we are

Write your communication research paper

dealing with the issue of interpersonal communication we must realize that

people view it differently. In this paper I will develop my own idea or

definition of what interpersonal communication is. I will then proceed to

identify any important assumptions or issues that become important in the

definition that I choose. Finally, I will provide examples of communicative and

non-communicative events based on my definition.

Interpersonal communication, in my opinion, is the exchange of

information verbal or non-verbal between two, no more than 5 or 6, people for

the purpose of getting a feedback and sharing information. Interpersonal

communication is not interpersonal if it involves too many people. When the

number of people exceeds a certain amount it is no longer interpersonal

communication,it then becomes mass communication. In my definition it is vital

that feed-back be given to the person that is doing the communicating. When

feedback is not present then the lines of communication break down and then

there is no communication at all. Even if the message is perceived wrong

interpersonal communication still exists as long as the feedback is given. For

example when you talk to someone that is hard of hearing and you ask them to do

something and they hear you say something other than what you said there is

still interpersonal communication, although it is miscommunication. If the

person, however, does not here the speaker at all and does not give any feedback,

then interpersonal communication has not been established according to my


Another important dimension to my definition is that the information is

exchanged in order to share the information. When the information that is

exchanged is not used to share the information, then interpersonal communication

has not taken place. If you speak in a way in which the person does not feel

receptive to what you are saying then you have not achieved interpersonal

communication. When a boss yells at his employees, or a teacher yells at his or

her students then interpersonal communication has not taken place. True

communication has taken place, but it was not interpersonal communication. The

information is not being shared it is being forced upon people. The information

has to be shared such as when a friend tells another friend about a problem that

he or she is having or when a child talks to his or her parents about something

personal. That information is being shared by two people in order to illicit a


There are many important issues that become important when discussing my

definition of interpersonal communication. One primary assumption is that

communication must be carried on by people that are alive. Michael Cody uses an

assumption like this when he is discussing his definition of interpersonal

communication. Codys assumption says that interpersonal communication occurs

between people who are in a state of being. His state of being is different

form mine in that I mainly imply that the person must be alive in order to

establish interpersonal communication. In Cody assumption his state of being

is three pronged including, 1) people change, ) people are searching for

meaning for development and ) it implies that communication can never be

replicated (Cody 0). When Cody talks about being he is going into more

detail than I would. As stated earlier my state of being means just being alive.

Another important issue that needs to be brought up when discussing my

definition of interpersonal communication is the issue of the number of people.

When dealing with the issue of interpersonal communication the amount of people

being communicated with is of utmost importance. Can a preacher have

interpersonal communication with his congregation on Sunday morning?. According

to my definition he cannot. Interpersonal communication must be done when there

is a certain amount of people. You cannot have one person and have

interpersonal communication, likewise, you cannot have a hundred people and have

interpersonal communication either. Interpersonal communication must be done

when at least two people are present. In order for the communication to stay

effective you cannot have more than six people. The reason for the limitation

is that when too many people get involved it becomes harder to bring forth the

message that you want to send. As I stated earlier if the message is not sent

and shared then interpersonal communication has not taken place.

Finally, I would like to discuss some examples of communicative and non-

communicative events based on the definition that I have given. An example of a

communicative event that would use my definition would be as follows When two

people are talking they are speaking to each other in order to change

information. For example When you walk the street and you see someone you

know you speak and you ask how was your day. The point when you asked how

the persons day was you initiated the process of interpersonal communication.

The person will respond, and the information that the person shares with you

completes the process of interpersonal communication.

An example of non- verbal communication using my definition is somewhat

more difficult. When you are sitting at restaurant and you a start playing foot

tag with your date you are sending a non-verbal form of interpersonal

communication. The first contact of the foot is the initiation of the

communication. When the person responds, favorably or unfavorably, non-verbal

interpersonal communication has taken place.

In conclusion I would like to say that developing a definition for

interpersonal communication is no easy task. Because interpersonal

communication is such a vague topic it makes it that more difficult. With much

effort and practice we can develop a universal definition for interpersonal

communication. Interpersonal communication, in my opinion, is the exchange of

information verbal or non-verbal between two, no more than 5 or 6, people for

the purpose of getting a feedback and sharing information. I have explained my

reasons for choosing this definition and I have also given information and

example that will support it. My definition is by no means exhaustive, but I

think it is a start to developing a universally excepted definition for the term

interpersonal communication.

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