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Communication is something that is common to everyone. Whether verbal or nonverbal, we all have to pass across information to other people. Generally speaking, communication is usually between two parties, the sender and the receiver. Apart from this, two people to communicate, there must be a sense of commonality between them and this might as well be the same language. As human beings, our survival depends greatly on communication. This is because we are interdependent on each other and each person has a role to play in the life of the other person.

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Thus, we must communicate to ask for what we want, to sell our idea to the other person and to make request from the other party. In fact, one might as well say that the heart of human existence lies in communication. According to Pearson, faulty communication causes the most problems (Pearson, 1983). There are a lot of factors that influences our communication. These factors sum up to determine the way a person communicate and how the person responds to the information that he/she gets from the sender.

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These factors might as well be called barriers to communication and they include cultural background, noise, our perception of the receiver, our environment and the greatest among them is our personal self. In this essay, my focus would be on identifying how we stand in the way of our communication and specifically how our personal goals might stand in the way of our communication with other people. As human beings, “some of the factors that cause this are defensiveness (we feel someone is attacking us), superiority (we feel we know more that the other), and ego (we feel we are the center of the activity). ” (Clark, 1997).

All these situations occur when we already have a fixed idea, a specific goal or we are not accommodating to the ideas of the other person. Judging from my personal experience, I will discuss a situation in which my personal goals affected my communication with others. As far back as I can remember, I have always been intrigued by anything that has to deal with the military. Perhaps this was due to the fact that my father once served with the US army and fought in Vietnam. When I was just a toddler, all my toys were collections of fighter jets, decorated military officers, guns and other toys that depicted war.

My father used to tell me stories about Vietnam and how soldiers fought for their country and motherland. At a tender age, my ultimate goal in life was to be a military/combat officer doing the same things in the stories that my father told me. I could not see myself more than being in the battlefront, fighting for the country that I love. This goal grew up with me and I guess it has influenced me all the way. It has formed my belief system, my voting record, those that I choose as role models, who I will vote for in the next presidential elections and the way I communicate with other people.

As a junior high school student, I was chosen to participate in a class discussion on career day. Each student was called upon to choose a profession and talk about it; why you love it, what you admire in the profession and any information you know about the profession. Happy about being given the chance to talk opening about the profession I have admiration for, I stood up and said all I could about being a military officer, what they do and how they lay their lives for their country so that other people can be free and safe.

At the end of each discussion, other students get to ask questions about the profession and that the speaker just discussed. When I was through with my speech, it was time for questions. I stood in front of the class thinking that everybody would agree with what I said. Then, Mark, one of my classmates and football teammate raised his hands and said that he believes that military was just a waste of time and that they just fight for an unjust cause. He said a lot of things about the Vietnam War and how it was a waste of time and money.

I stood there filled with resentment for him but as I was about to lash back at him, our teacher called for a break. However, I felt offended by what he said in the class. Whenever we were together, I try my best to ignore him because I do not him intelligent. I even stopped going to training when he was made the football captain. I would not have anything to do with him and I did not even want to see him. This continued until our final class in high school when we were in the same group in biology class.

Our teacher made me the group leader and he was my assistant. I was not happy about this but I could not do anything about it. Initially, I did my best to avoid him but he was always coming to me with a smile and trying to crack a joke with me. It did take a while but we are now on good terms but we are not as close as before. Years later, I think of how things might have turned out if I had been more evaluative about my goals. I guess what happened to me was that I was too full of myself and I just thought that everybody must agree with me on my beliefs.

For instance, I imagine what would have happened if I have clarified with myself that my goals were personal to me and that other people have the right to kick or speak against them. Perhaps I would have turned the discussion into an interesting and informative topic that would being of interest to my teacher and other students or maybe I would have simply laughed over what he said. Summarily, I have come to discover that it is hard for us as human beings to separate ourselves from our personal goals, belief system and our world view of things.

However, if our communication is to be effective and without bias, we must learn to clearly define these things and keep them personal to ourselves.

Reference:

Pearson, J. (1983). Interpersonal Communication. Glenview, Illinois: Scott, Foreman and Company. Mehrabian, Albert and Morton Wiener, 1967, “Decoding of inconsistent communications,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 6:109-114 Clark, D. (1997). Communication & Leadership. Retrieved from http://www. nwlink. com/~Donclark/leader/leadcom. html on November 1, 2008

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A descriptive essay identifying a personal definition of interpersonal communication.

Interpersonal Communication Interpersonal communication is defined by Michael Cody as: the exchange of symbols used to achieve interpersonal goals(28). Does this definition include everything, or does it only include certain things?. When we are 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 definition. 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 feedback. 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, 2) people are searching for meaning for development and 3) it implies that communication can never be replicated (Cody 30). 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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