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Communication Case

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October 21st, 2008

1.) Explain the main components of the interpersonal communication process including the barriers to an effective communication.

- The communication process describes the transmission of information and the

exchange of meaning between at last two people.

The second part of this definition is very important, because it points out that communication is not just the exchange of "data". If someone asks you a question it is not only the words that give you the information, but also the way he says them and the way he moves. That means that you can get a lot more information than just the one the other is willing to give you. If he asks you a question by being very nervous it is quite obvious to you that he might be in a hurry or that he is concerned about something.

Shannon and Weaver set up a model in 1949 to explain the process of interpersonal communication:

In this model they have the transmitter, who is coding the message, where coding is defined as the stage in the interpersonal communication process in which the transmitter chooses how to express a message for transmission to someone else. This could be in a friendly or very loud and aggressive way...

Then the transmitter chooses his channels, the medium to convey the message from the sender to the receiver, such as direct channels like controlled body movements, certain facial expressions or the use of words in a certain manner, or indirect channels, such as the not controllable body language that reflects the inner emotions and kinesics.

After this has happened the receiver has to decode the message which is defined as the stage in the interpersonal process of communication in which the recipient interprets a message transmitted to them by someone else.

The final aspect of this model is feedback. When the receiver gets the message he sends a feedback to the transmitter, even if he does not want to. This may be the way he answers or the way he looks like - annoyed or interested.

If the transmitter feels because of this feedback that his message was not interpreted correctly, he may have to "recode" it.

Sadly, communication is a pool of errors. That is why the model contains one last, but very important aspect: The perceptual filters.

Perceptual filters are individual characteristics, predispositions and preoccupations that interfere with the effective transmission and receipt of messages.

Therefore it may happen, that two people coming from different cultures and social surroundings may not be able to communicate in an effective way, because they perceive the messages of the other in a completely different way than they were supposed to.

This indicates that the interpersonal communication process suffers strongly from certain barriers.

One of the main barriers can be found in the communication between an employee and his superior. Research has shown that the superior often has a limited understanding of the subordinates' role, experiences and problems, because he has a different point of view and is not able or willing to put himself in his position.

Another barrier exists between men and women, because generally they use different conversational styles, which often lead to misunderstanding.

Also the physical surroundings such as the size of a room or its layout can influence the ability to get the right message, because we might be distracted by it.

This leads us right to the point that it is important to choose the right place and time to deliver a message. It might not be very effective to talk about a serious topic of work during a funny evening in a pub, but instead this should be done in the office and in a serious surrounding.

Another very obvious problem for an effective communication is the language. This can be the accent or just the missing ability to express oneself properly, because then the receiver will not be able to interpret your message in the way you would want him to.

And of course, as I have already mentioned, plays the cultural diversity a very important role, because the Chinese might interpret something as very rude which would be very friendly in the western world.

Obviously there are several other "noises"- factors extraneous to the communication process which interfere with or distract attention from the transmission and reception of the intended meaning- that arouse during the communication process such as health, anxiety, stress, pressure and excitement, that all for themselves influence the transmitter as well as the receiver.

2.) Explain and illustrate the main processes and problems in person perception,

including false attribution, halo effects and stereotyping.

- Generally, perception is defined as the dynamic psychological process responsible for attending to, organizing and interpreting sensory data. That means that we do not understand the world around us in a logical way, but every single one of use perceive the world in a different way. For example, it might happen that a person thinks the weather is great and the one standing right next to that person thinks it's horrible.

This makes it often very difficult to understand someone's behaviour.

The main elements in the perceptual process are illustrated by the "bottom-up" processing and by the "top-down" processing.

The "bottom-up" processing contains the sensory input, which indicates the way we handle the raw data we get by using our eyes, ears etc...

This is where we move on to the selective attention, because we can't pay attention to everything and therefore we have to choose from the given data and filter out the non relevant information to be able of focussing on the important parts.

The selective attention is affected by external factors (stimulus factors and context factors), such as the size, the volume and the movement of things or such as the context of for example the word fire, in the case of a marine officer or of a



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