What Is Interpersonal Communications

What Is Interpersonal Communications

Whether you are talking about Joseph LeDoux, The Emotional Brain: The Mysterious Underpinnings of Emotional Life, Ichak Adizes, Managing Corporate Lifecycles or DR Cloe Madanes, Strategic Family Therapy the fundamentals of interpersonal communications remain the same.

Is there an opportunity for two or more parties to engage with one another and walk away with mutually exclusive benefits, outcomes that support their interests?

The answer is yes! The challenge is getting there!

From my brief foraging into the world of human interaction, I find that there are multiple perceptions, beliefs, perspectives that play a role in how we engage with one another. The most common at this time is, ‘I don’t have any time for this’. Then put me on your calendar and we can schedule the time needed to optimize your desired outcomes for engaging with me in the first place…or were you just killing time.

The baggage of what we bring to a conversation in many cases clouds our ability to engage effectively. We now refer to this state as ‘intentionally engaging’ and while we believe we can multi-task, our attention span is used to what we have experienced from a similar encounter that may have and usually has nothing in common with the one we are currently in. How sad when we haven’t even opened our mouths to speak with one another.

Two people engaged in an activity, a third joins in to express their thoughts without inquiry as to what stage a conversation has reached. Ouch!

Colleagues are working on a project when a comical reference is made about another’s speech pattern. A lose of intellectual capital is now experienced due to poor judgment and optimal levels of outcome will not be realized. Shame!

In business cash flow is crucial, (see articles when GE could not make employee payments due to the financial crisis of 2008) and the lack of communications with respective parties falls to the wayside. Enter legal recourse. Higher fees ensue. Ugh!

Just because you are familiar with the parties in a conversation, does not ensure favorable outcomes nor expected understandings and acceptance will prevail. The benefit of taking the time to ‘get on one’s wavelength’, is crucial to achieving desired outcomes for all stakeholders that will be impacted by the decisions made and acted upon.

Kim Giffin and Bobby R Patton in their book Fundamentals of Interpersonal Communications share timeless insights into how we identify, classify and label the components of interpersonal communications. Yet it is in the execution of the sender of the information as to the intent and earnestness of the message through the eyes of the receiver(s) that determines how successful we are in working together.

The next time you engage with a familiar group of employees, colleagues and business partners be sure you are all on the same page. You just might piss-off the key decision maker in the group that would otherwise support your needs.



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Be seeing you
Ronald M. Allen


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