COMM001 Study Guide

Unit 2: Interpersonal Communication

2a. Identify competencies in interpersonal communication

  • Define each of these four competencies.
  • Provide examples of these competencies.

Verbal and nonverbal communication are competencies that are universal to human communication as a process. Four other important competencies to master as part of interpersonal communication include listening, negotiation, conflict management, and self-disclosure.

How we share information and what information we share with others influences our success in developing interpersonal relationships. Using the Johari window model, name and describe the four quadrants of self-disclosure.

To review the competencies necessary for interpersonal communication, see Interpersonal Communication Processes and Interpersonal Communication.


2b. Use language accurately, expressively, and appropriately in communication settings

  • Explain three types of messages that create confirming and disconfirming communication climates.
  • Explain when it is most appropriate to use each of the above types of messages.
  • Name six common types of unsupportive messages or use of language.
  • Explain how nonverbal communication can be used to support verbal communication.

Interpersonal communication is communication between individual people, like a conversation. We also call it dyadic communication. How we use language in conversations with friends, family, and colleagues at work or in school can have a powerful influence on our relationships and the outcome we hope to get from the interaction or transaction.

To review the competencies necessary for interpersonal communication, see Interpersonal Communication and "I" and "You" Messages in Conflict. You may also want to reflect on More on Interpersonal Communication.


2c. Identify relationship development, both personally and professionally

  • Name and define the six basic stages of relationship development.
  • Name the seven stages of romantic relationship development and the five stages of relationship deterioration.
  • Compare and contrast how personal relationships and professional relationships are developed using the relationship development model.
  • What makes relationships within families more complex than relationships between friends or coworkers?

Relationships are important to all humans. We use communication to develop relationships at the personal level (friends and romances) and the professional level (with coworkers, superiors, and subordinates).

To review, see Interpersonal Communication ProcessesInterpersonal Communication, and Stages of Relationship Theory.


2d. List the components of conflict and identify strategies for conflict management

  • Describe how conflict between individuals can be both destructive and productive.
  • Describe the following five types of conflict in interpersonal relationships: affective, conflict of interest, value, cognitive, and goal.
  • Describe five major strategies for managing conflict in interpersonal relationships. Which of the five conflict management strategies do you favor when dealing with interpersonal relationships? What factors affect the strategy that you choose?

Conflict between individuals is inevitable. We cannot expect to agree with everyone all of the time. And sometimes, we need to be able to defend our ideas with others.

To review conflict as a concept and strategies for managing your response while in conflict with others, see Interpersonal Communication Processes, Interpersonal Communication, and "I" and "You" Messages in Conflict.


2e. Explain the role of critical and active listening in various communication climates

  • Describe the five stages of listening and two types of feedback.
  • Describe the four listening styles.
  • How do we balance critical listening with responding to others in each of the communication climates?

Listening is a skill we learn through practice. It is also a process. Understanding that people satisfy their individual needs from interpersonal relationships, describe the three relational dialectics: autonomy-connection, novelty-predictability, and openness-closedness. Relational dialectics become the foundation for both stronger relationships and conflict between individuals. Name three ways to manage relational tensions. Listening is a critical component of human communication in general and specifically for interpersonal communication. Through our thoughtful and gracious acts of listening, we come to know other people and learn.

To review the concept of listening and its practice, see The Importance of Listening and 5 Simple Ways to Become a Better Listener.


2f. List barriers to effective listening and strategies to improve critical listening

  • Describe the four types of noise and how each can be a barrier to being a good listener.
  • How do personal bias and attention span affect our listening skills?
  • What are six strategies for improving critical listening?

Reflect for a moment on the stages of the listening process and the components of the communication model. It is a compliment to be called a good listener and a quality that everyone can benefit from in our personal and professional relationships.

To review the process and barriers of effective listening, see The Importance of Listening.


Unit 2 Vocabulary

This vocabulary list includes terms that might help you answer some of the review items above and some terms you should be familiar with to be successful on the final exam.

  • communication climate
  • conflict
  • dyad
  • proximity
  • self-identity