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8: Communication Climate

  • Page ID
    136563
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    Learning Objectives

    • Define communication climate and describe how it develops.
    • Distinguish between supportive and defensive patterns of communication.
    • Apply skills to promote confirming communication climates.

    In this chapter, we define and explore the basic principles of communication climate. Then, we lay out some strategies for identifying, achieving and responding to supportive and defensive patterns of communication. Lastly, we explore some skills to support confirming communication climates. Understanding climate can help us communicate more purposefully to achieve our interpersonal needs and goals.

    • 8.1: Introduction to Communication Climate
      Do you feel organized or claustrophobic in a small workspace? Are you more of a morning person who is productive earlier in the day, or are you a night-owl whose productivity increases after sundown? Just as factors like physical space and the weather impact us, communication climate can influence our interpersonal interactions. Communication climate is the "overall feeling or emotional mood between people" (Wood, 218).
    • 8.2: Confirming and Disconfirming Climates
      Confirming climates occur when we receive messages that show we are valued from those with whom we have a relationship. Conversely, we feel disconfirming climates when we receive messages that suggest we are devalued and unimportant. Obviously, most of us like to be in confirming climates, because they foster emotional safety as well as personal and relational growth. However, it is likely that our relationships fall somewhere between the two extremes.
    • 8.3: Context Can Play a Role in Identifying Confirming and Disconfirming Responses
      This idea of high context communication and low context communication can also be used to discuss the characteristics of in-group and out-group communication within a culture as well. Context plays a major role in our interpretation of the communication climate of a situation and whether we feel confirmed or disconfirmed by our conversation partner.
    • 8.4: Supportive versus Defensive Communication
      Defensive communicators focus on protecting ourselves and our interests and supportive climates create more calm and productive communication outcomes. In 1965, psychologist Jack Gibb came up with six pairs of supportive and defensive behaviors to help provide a better context for learning about and understanding communication climate. Here, we examine each climate pair and consider its potential behaviors and outcomes.
    • 8.5: Skills to Support Confirming Communication Climates
      In this section, we’re going to learn how to respond non-defensively to feedback and criticism, how to manage frustration while remaining professional, and how to provide positive feedback as well.
    • 8.6: Summary and Review
    • 8.7: References

    Thumbnail: Silhouette of people gathering under full moon at night Moon-space-night by Pixabay


    8: Communication Climate is shared under a not declared license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Kim Yee & Armeda Reitzel.

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