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Communication Rules, Principles and Laws

Communication Rules, Principles and Laws
Communication Rules, Principles and Laws

Communication Rules, Principles and Laws

Your success in the workplace, with family, friends and business is relying on your ability to communicate effectively. It is important therefore to learn these communication rules, principles and laws.

Interpersonal communication is the process by which people exchange information, feelings, and meaning through verbal and non-verbal messages: it is face-to-face communication.

Interpersonal communication is much more than what is said. It takes into consideration not only the language used but how it is said and the non-verbal messages sent through, facial expressions, tone of voice, hand gestures and body language.

The following article written by Donnell King provides some insight into the principles of interpersonal communication:

Four Principles of Interpersonal Communication:

Interpersonal communication is inescapable

We can’t not communicate. The very attempt not to communicate communicates something. Through not only words but through tone of voice and through gesture, posture, facial expression, etc., we constantly communicate to those around us.

Through these channels, we constantly receive communication from others. Even when you sleep, you communicate.

Remember a basic principle of communication in general: people are not mind readers. Another way to put this is: people judge you by your behaviour, not your intent.

Interpersonal communication is irreversible

You can’t really take back something once it has been said. The effect must inevitably remain. Despite the instructions from a judge to a jury to “disregard that last statement the witness made,” the lawyer knows that it can’t help but make an impression on the jury. A Russian proverb says, “Once a word goes out of your mouth, you can never swallow it

Interpersonal communication is complicated

No form of communication is simple. Because of the number of variables involved, even simple requests are extremely complex.

Theorists note that whenever we communicate there are really at least six “people” involved: 1) who you think you are; 2) who you think the other person is; 3) who you think the other person thinks you are; 4 ) who the other person thinks /she is; 5) who the other person thinks you are, and 6) who the other person thinks you think s/he is.

We don’t actually swap ideas, we swap symbols that stand for ideas. This also complicates communication. Words (symbols) do not have inherent meaning; we simply use them in certain ways, and no two people use the same word exactly alike.

Osmo Wiio gives us some communication maxims similar to Murphy’s law (Osmo Wiio, Wiio’s Laws and Some Others (Espoo, Finland: Welin Goos, 1978):
• If communication can fail, it will.
• If a message can be understood in different ways, it will be understood in just that
way which does the most harm.
• There is always somebody who knows better than you what you meant by your message.

• The more communication there is, the more difficult it is for communication to succeed. These tongue in cheek maxims are not real principles; they simply humorously remind us of the difficulty of accurate communication.

Interpersonal communication is contextual

In other words, communication does not happen in isolation. There is:
• Psychological context, which is who you are and what you bring to the interaction.
Your needs, desires, values, personality, etc., all form the psychological context.
(“You” here refers to both participants in the interaction.)
• Relational context, which concerns your reactions to the other person the “mix.”
• The situational context deals with the psycho-social “where” you are communicating. An interaction that takes place in a classroom will be very different from one that takes place in a bar.

Here is a video: How to Have a Good Conversation | Celeste Headlee | TEDxCreativeCoast