Interpersonal Communication – Definition, Types and Importance

Published by: Hitesh Bhasin

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Interpersonal communication is communication between two or more people through verbal and non-verbal mediums. This information can be anything such as an idea, feeling, or command.

Interpersonal communication is the most basic form of communication that happens between two individuals. While there can be several types of interpersonal communications, the main motto is that a message has to be sent that is sent and received by the recipient who in return sends feedback on the message.

What is Interpersonal Communication?

Definition: Interpersonal Communication is defined as a type of communication that takes place when one person communicates with another person. It is the exact opposite of intrapersonal practices in which communication occurs with oneself.

It has to be a complete mode of communication that means the recipient should get the message, interpret it, and then send feedback on it. According to communication theory, it is the most basic form way of communication that takes place in every language, organization, culture, or society.

There are several examples of successful interpersonal communication in an organization or workplace such as phone calls, meetings, emails, texting, presentations. The skill of interpersonal communication can be enhanced over time to make it efficient and boost up the performance of the organization.

Types of Interpersonal Communications

Types of Interpersonal Communications

Interpersonal communication can be segregated into different types and these are:

1. Verbal Communication

The most common type of interpersonal communication is the verbal form. Whether you are talking to someone face to face or you are talking to that someone over the phone, these are all examples of verbal communication.

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2. Written Communication

Apart from verbal communication, written communication is also one of the most common types of interpersonal communication that take place in personal, business in any organization. This can be in the form of texting, emails, memos, and similar forms.

3. Listening

At times, listening also becomes an eminent type of interpersonal communication. It has to be understood that hearing and listening are two different practices. Hearing is something when you just hear something. But when you are listening to something, you are not just hearing it but also understanding it.

4. Non-Verbal Communication

There are so many times when several non-verbal communication becomes a part of interpersonal communication. Examples of such non-verbal communication are facial expressions, hand signs, and similar others. body language, tone of voice, face communication, etc are the non-verbal cues that communicate effectively during an interpersonal process.

Importance of Interpersonal Communication Skills

Interpersonal communications create an environment where every individual can interact with each other and accomplish the associated objectives. It can provide solutions, resolve conflict and channelize social, cultural, or organizational growth.

Today, a number of people are getting interested in remote working. In such a case, the chances of having interpersonal communication may get reduced many times. But it has been considered that interpersonal communication can benefit any organization in a number of ways, many channels are being used to exchange information and ideas in an interpersonal manner.

Let us have a look at some of the reasons why interpersonal skills are important-

1. Free Flow of Ideas

Interpersonal communications always allow the free flow of ideas between the management.

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This helps in bringing out new policies or ideas for the prosperity of the organization as well as for the betterment of the team.

This happens only when the communicator shares the idea in place of keeping it within.

2. Boosts Teamwork

With an increased amount of interpersonal communication, stiffness between the team members is softened so that a better team can be created.

With better interpersonal relationships developed, a better team spirit is also developed.

3. Increases Productivity

When a good team is prepared and interpersonal relationships are great in the management, this definitely helps in nourishing the performance of the team that ultimately helps in increasing productivity.

It is effective in problem-solving, aligning business goals, developing trust, synchronizing company culture, and optimizing productivity.

4. Clears Confusion

When people talk to each other about any issues, getting a solution is much easier.

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This helps in clearing up confusion and in creating a better platform to work and survive.

5. Transparent Image

Also, when an organization offers its employees the freedom to share ideas and clear confusion, transparency is always maintained.

This helps not only in retaining the employees of the organization but also in attracting customers as well as stakeholders for the company.

Elements of Interpersonal Communications

In order to conduct proper interpersonal communication, there have to be these eminent elements incorporated in the interpersonal interaction-

1. The Communicator

Successful interpersonal communication takes place only when there are two communicators available. The sender sends a message while the receiver on the other end receives it and acts accordingly over it.

2. The Message

What do the sender send and the receiver receive? It is the message that can be in any form such as voice, text, or even expressions.

3. Noise

It is not always that a message travels from the sender to the recipient smoothly. There can be several disruptions along with it such as network issues during a phone call. Such distractions or disruptions are called noise.

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4. Feedback

When the recipient gets a message from the sender, he or she needs to offer feedback on the message after interpreting it. It is only when the receiver sends feedback that the communication is considered complete.

5. Context

When smooth interpersonal communication has started between two individuals, the context of the communication also plays a major role. The context of the communication can be based on several contexts such as relationship, gender, and others.

6. Channel

The message has to flow through a particular channel. There can be different channel options for interpersonal communication such as emails, telephone, face-to-face, and others.

Improving Interpersonal Communication Skills

Improving Interpersonal Communication Skills

Though interpersonal communications are the most common type of communication, there can be several hindrances due to several barriers available. But the communication can get successful if a little bit of extra effort is put into it for improving it.

1. Focus

One of the major problems that happen n any interpersonal communication is a lack of focus. For example, when you are talking to someone, you need to focus on the person completely in place of paying half of your attention to your phone. When you are half-minded, you might miss out on a few points or may even misinterpret certain messages.

2. Be a Good Receiver

Whether you are talking to a person face-to-face or you are reading an email, you need to be a good receiver. This means you need to have the patience to carefully listen or read to the message completely and understand it properly before coming up with any kind of conclusion. Often when you respond to someone without understanding the message completely, this creates trouble.

3. Eye Contact

There are so many times when the communicator may use expressions or signs while speaking. Hence, you need to make eye contact with the person in the case of face-to-face conversation so that you do not miss out on any point.

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4. Do Not Assume

Do not assume anything if you are not sure of a message. Try to understand it completely. If you have questions, ask them out so that you have a clear understanding before you respond to them.

5. Show Empathy

It is said that you can have the best conversation with a person if you can be in the shoes of the person in front of you. Hence, another best way is to show empathy to the person who is speaking to you. When you empathize with the person, you understand his or her situation and this helps you in understanding the message delivered too.

Apart from the above major habits, having these eminent soft skills also helps in having efficient interpersonal communication in the organization-

  1. Courtesy
  2. Integrity
  3. Attitude
  4. Responsibility
  5. Work Ethics
  6. Flexibility
  7. Professionalism
  8. Teamwork

All these interpersonal skills are extremely helpful in enhancing interpersonal communication between team members of the organization.

Often lack of proper interpersonal communication leads to situations of chaos as team members are not able to express their thoughts with each other or the management.

Also, it becomes a suffocating place to work for the employees. This puts an impact on their performance that ultimately brings down the quality and productivity.

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Communication has been always an eminent way to settle down disputes and manage issues. Interpersonal communication has been the most common method of communication and also is one of the smoothest ones.

But in order to gain proper benefits out of interpersonal communication, it is eminent to get some good habits that will help in reducing the chances of disruption in communication.

With lesser hindrances in communication, the message decoded will be accurate and smooth that will definitely lead to better performance of the team and fruitful results for the management.

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Article by:

Hitesh Bhasin

Hitesh Bhasin is the CEO of Digiaide and his vision is to make business knowledge accessible to everyone.