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1: Introduction to Interpersonal Communication

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    Learning Objectives

    • Define and identify the main functions of interpersonal communication.
    • Discuss human needs and how interpersonal communication fulfills those needs.
    • Examine the principles of communication.
    • Explain the different parts of the model of communication.

    • 1.1: Introduction to Interpersonal Communication
      Communication is fundamental to our lives but much of the time it remains unconscious and unexamined. We communicate because we must. But just because we communicate doesn’t mean we do it effectively. In this first chapter we will define interpersonal communication, examine why communication is so fundamental to our existence, lay out the various models of communication, explore fundamental communication principles, and finally talk about what constitutes ethical communication.
    • 1.2: Defining Interpersonal Communication
      As we begin our exploration of interpersonal communication together, we need to start with a basic understanding of what we mean when we say communication. The examples provided in our introduction demonstrate that when we communicate, we understand that it is happening but, if we step back and try to define what is happening in each of those interactions it can be more difficult. Take a minute and define communication in a sentence or two. It is more difficult than it seems!
    • 1.3: Communication Principles
      As we develop our understanding of not only communication as a whole, but more specifically interpersonal communication, there are some basic principles of communication that will lay the groundwork for our exploration in the chapters ahead. In this section we will discuss how communication is learned and then we will focus on the continuous, unrepeatable, irreversible, nature of communication.
    • 1.4: Models of Communication
      Communication is not linear, we are simultaneously sending and receiving, encoding and decoding, managing several channels, across contexts, all while we try and block out noise. There are many models of communication and there are many components within these models that will be discussed in detail throughout this chapter.
    • 1.5: Interpersonal Communication Fulfills Our Needs
      Studying communication is important for several different reasons. Improving communication will help us better understand the role that communication serves in our lives. In this section we will talk specifically about physical, instrumental, social, and identity needs.
    • 1.6: Tools of Interpersonal Communication
      Throughout our course of study, we will explore facets of interpersonal communication, in order to set our goals of communicating effectively and appropriately throughout our learning journey. It is important to remember that communication is not “one-size-fits-all” and as we have discussed throughout this chapter, there are a wide variety of ways in which the complexities of communication can appear. By understanding these complexities in more depth, we are better able to overcome these misconc
    • 1.7: Ethical Communication
      Ethics in the broadest sense asks questions about what we believe to be right and wrong. Communication ethics asks these questions when reflecting on our communication. Everyday we have to make communicative choices, some of these choices will be more or less ethical than other options. It is because we have these different options that our ethics are tested. We can never really say that something is completely ethical or unethical especially when it comes to communication.
    • 1.8: Summary and Review
      We hope this chapter has helped laid the foundation for a deeper exploration of interpersonal communication in the coming chapters. Now that you have a basic understanding of communication we hope you are as excited to explore interpersonal communication as we are.
    • 1.9: References

    Thumbnail: People on laptops in a coffee shop Studying, Sean Benesh, Unsplash

    This page titled 1: Introduction to Interpersonal Communication is shared under a CC BY 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Multiple Authors (ASCCC Open Educational Resources Initiative (OERI)) via source content that was edited to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.