Communication and Relationships


Chapter 9


 “The most important single ingredient in the formula

of success is knowing how to get along with people.”


Theodore Roosevelt, Politician





Learning Objectives

•      Describe the six elements of communication.

•      Summarize the forms and functions of nonverbal

•      communication.

•      List several skills necessary for effective speaking and active listening.

•      Explain the relationship between stereotypes, prejudice, and empathy.

•      Define intimacy and explain how to develop it in a relationship.

•      Cite the characteristics of satisfying intimate relationships.

•      Explain how to handle conflict effectively.

Effective Communication

•      Communication  A process of giving or exchanging messages; a back-and-forth exchange of thoughts and feelings.


•      Interpersonal Communication  One-on-one, usually face-to-face communication.


     Activity 46: How Much Do You Know About Communication?


Success Secret

•      Good communicators are self-aware.


Elements of Communication

•      Sender  The person can be a writer, speaker, or one who sends a nonverbal (wordless) message. 


•      Message  Expression of a thought or feeling that can be written, spoken or nonverbal.


•      Channel  The medium in which the message is delivered: face-to-face, text, voice-mail, email, etc.


•      Context  The time and place of communication. Being aware of context helps you choose the right words.


•      Receiver  The person who receives the message and provides feedback.


Elements of Communication

Communication Breakdown

•      Physical Barriers -background noise, poor acoustics, speaker’s appearance and tone of voice, your physical discomfort: hot, cold, tired, ill, etc.


•      Emotional Barriers -sadness, excitement, boredom, anxiety, etc.


•      Language and Cultural Barriers –geographic areas, groups, taboos, etc.


•      Feedback -the receivers response: agreement, disagreement, questions, confusion, anger, delight, etc.


     Activity 47: Analyzing Communication

Nonverbal Communication

Speaking without words, nonverbal cues…


Functions of Nonverbal Communication


•     Managing Conversations  Using signs to start, manage, and end conversations.


•     Providing Feedback  Signs tell you a lot about what the other person is thinking and feeling.


•     Clarifying Messages Voice tone, body language, and personal distance clarify verbal messages.


Nonverbal Communication continued….

Forms of Nonverbal Communication


•      Voice  Speed, pitch, volume and tone.


•      Personal Distance  The amount of space between sender and receiver from 4 feet to 0 inches dependent upon the relationship, i.e., stranger, friend, family, partner.


•      Body Language  Facial expressions, posture and gestures.


•      Most non-verbal clues have multiple meanings.



Influences on Nonverbal Communication

Improving Your Communication Skills

•      Become an Effective Speaker


•    Speak clearly


•    Use a large and expressive vocabulary


•    Use positive body language


•    Tell the truth


   Examples of each skill?

Improving Your Communication Skills 2

•      Welcome feedback


•      Pay attention to listeners’ nonverbal signals


•      Show respect for other people’s feelings and points of view


    Examples of each skill?


    Personal Journal 9.1 “I” Statements

Improving Your Communication Skills 3

•      Be an Active Listener  (EAR)

     Listen with an understanding and pay close attention to what is being said…


BE Encouraging 


•      Ask the person to continue talking (“go on,” “you were

     saying . . .”).


•      Use brief words, sounds, or gestures to let the person know you are listening.   Examples?


•      Remain silent to give the speaker room to continue.


•      Use positive body language such as eye contact to indicate interest.     

Improving Your Communication Skills 4

BE Attending

•      Being focused, alert, and open to receiving information. This can be difficult to do when tired or bored.

•      Examples of attending?


BE Responding

•      Give constructive feedback with reflecting and paraphrasing.

•      Examples of responding?


     Activity 49: Giving Feedback

Healthy Relationships

•      Relationship  A meaningful connection with another human being.


•      Group Relationships A set of people (3 or more) who influence each other.


•      We can choose some groups; club, school, or company, but we can’t choose our family, age group or ethnic group.

Group Relationships

•      Conformity A change in behavior caused by a desire to follow the norms of a group.


•      Think about how group norms affect your behavior. Examples?


•      Groupthink  Simplistic thinking to maintain the status quo rather than thinking critically.

     Tragic example: Challenger Deaths, 1986

Rejecting Stereotypes and Prejudice


•      Prejudice  A negative feeling or attitude toward a group that results from oversimplified beliefs.


•      Discrimination  Treating a person or group differently based on a characteristic.


•      Stereotypes and You

     Personal Journal 9.2 Understanding Diversity

     Personal Journal 9.3 Circles of Yourself

Developing Empathy

•      Empathy  Awareness of and sensitivity to the feelings, thoughts, and experiences of others.  Examples:


•      If I were my boss, how would I feel about having an employee like me? Would I think I was a good worker? Reliable? Responsible? Nice to work with?


•      How would I feel if I were an immigrant who had just arrived in America? Would I feel isolated? Unsure of whom to trust? Challenged? Hopeful?      


     Perform an empathy check up on yourself.

Interpersonal Relationships

   Interpersonal, intimate, relationships between two people, whether platonic or sexual, differ from casual relationships. Two people:



•       Know much private information about each other


•       Influence each other often, and in a meaningful way


•       Feel great affection for one another


•       Think of themselves as “us”


•       Trust one another


•       Share breadth (many topics) and depth (inner feelings)


    Activity 50: Your Close Relationships

Self Disclosure

•      Communicating your real thoughts, desires, and feelings…


•      According to the Johari Window Model, all information about you falls into 4 categories:


•       Open Self -things you know about yourself and that you have no reason to hide from other people.


•       Hidden Self -things you know about yourself, but that you hide from other people.


•       Blind Self -things that other people can see about you, but that you cannot see about yourself.


•       Unknown Self -things that no one can see about you, such as unknown talents, abilities, and attitudes, and forgotten and repressed experiences and emotions.

Successful Intimate Relationships

•      To be emotionally rewarding, successful intimate relationships require all of three characteristics: 


       Sharing,  Emotional Support,  Sociability


Success Secrets

•      To build intimate relationships you need to reveal your true self.


•      The more you invest in a relationship, the more you get back.

Providing Emotional Support

•      Be self-aware and emotionally aware.


•      Show, and truly feel, empathy.


•      Practice active listening.


•      Consider the other person’s motivations and needs.


•      Display concern, caring, and genuine interest.


•      Provide encouragement and emotional support.


•      Avoid hurtful behaviors such as dishonesty, selfishness, dependency, attempts at control, and physical or psychological abuse.

Handling Relationship Conflict

•      Conflict Disagreement that occurs when individuals or groups clash over needs, values, emotions or power.  Examples?


•      Every relationship, no matter how harmonious, occasionally faces conflict.


     Personal Journal 9.4 Dealing with Conflict


Success Secret

•      Focus on solutions, not blame.

Resolving Conflict

•      Effective communication is the key to resolving conflicts.


•       Move away from confrontation.  Accept that there is a problem, then focus on the facts, not on blame.


•       Listen actively. Pay full attention and withhold judgment.


•       State your needs. Be open about your needs and remember that you and the other person have an equal right to have your needs met.


•       Generate options. Brainstorm possible solutions, then discuss how well each one would work.


•       Commit to a solution. Once you choose a solution, follow through and do what you promised.