Why is interpersonal communication important

Improve interpersonal communication

Communication is a broad term and not everyone understands the same thing. In short, communication can be described as the exchange of information, but also of thoughts, feelings, opinions, knowledge, experiences - in short, everything that can be communicated verbally or non-verbally. The word comes from the Latin verb communicare and means "to communicate, to participate, to do together, to share, to unite". Even the origin of the word presupposes that several people are involved in communication. To specialize the term on communication between two people, one speaks of interpersonal communication, a communication situation that is not always easy.

"You can't not communicate," noted the well-known communication scientist, author and psychotherapist Paul Watzlawick. And he was right about that, because we communicate at all times, even when we are not speaking. We also communicate with the environment through non-verbal communication such as facial expressions, gestures, posture, clothing - actually only through our presence. No wonder that communication in general can lead not only to better understanding, but also to misunderstandings and problems. However, these mostly arise from a lack of or misdirected communication. Improving interpersonal communication should therefore be a concern for many people.

The sound makes the music

It is not only important what you say, but also how you say them. Not only particularly sensitive people hear an irritable, snippy or arrogant tone of voice. In order to avoid misunderstandings or a dispute, one should therefore try in some cases to express criticism, suggestions or comments as calmly and neutrally as possible, so that the interlocutor can concentrate on the content of what has been said and not on the tone of voice. Often, after all, you're just tired, distracted, or annoyed about something else. Not showing your own feelings is of course difficult, this also applies to non-verbal communication, such as facial expressions and posture. It therefore helps to verbally communicate these feelings to the person you are speaking to - they will probably no longer be so annoyed about an irritated tone of voice.

Express yourself clearly

Most problems in interpersonal communication are that the other person understands what is said differently from what it was meant to be. This is not surprising, after all, all people are different and no one can read minds. You can expect empathy from your conversation partner, but you should still express yourself as clearly as possible and not assume that he will read everything between the lines. This type of communication, in which partners are expected to understand each other without words, often leads to problems, especially in relationships. Saying “It looks like it is here again” is not the same as “I would be happy if you cleaned up a little more often”. The second statement is linked to a clear wish to which the partner can react, while the first statement merely states something, and in a tone of reproach.

Listen better

An interaction involves two people, so interpersonal communication is not only based on active talking, but also on listening. If you try to understand your partner and want to respond to them, listening leads to success faster than hasty discussions. Good listeners differ non-verbally from bad listeners in that they look at the other person while speaking. Good listeners may nod when they have understood something, indicating to their interlocutors that they are actively listening and not just waiting for their turn to speak. Listening does not mean that you only hear what is said, but also process it. Targeted inquiries not only signal to the interlocutor that you are interested, but also that you are willing to understand him and to respond to his point of view.

Conscious communication through communication training

Most people have one thing in common: They mostly do not communicate consciously. If we talk about the weather or do not respond appropriately to another person's feeling, it is neither for deeper reasons nor out of bad intent. Most react as they see fit - according to their own character and individual feelings. In the interaction this leads to a clash of different opinions, interests, roles as well as expectations and conflicts cannot of course be ruled out. If you cannot find a way out of a difficult communication level on your own, you can take part in communication training. This step is especially interesting in relationships where a lack of communication could lead to a breakup. Communication training for bosses and employees is also carried out in companies to improve the working atmosphere.

Image: © puckillustrations - Fotolia.com

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