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I would like to offer some skills in communication, and it is very important both of you know that not only should you listen to each other; you should have the opportunity to air the issues that afflict the two of you as a pair. In this regard, I perceive effective communication to be a process whereby individuals feel free to say what they mean, meaning what they say, as well as listening with respect while disclosing what their true feelings are. In this regard, both of you ought to be true to each other at all times. For the purpose of effective communication, try to identify the main barriers to your interpersonal interactions. Following this step, you should proceed into developing strategies for active, critical, and empathic listening. This would enable you understand how perceptions, emotions, and nonverbal expression are affecting your interpersonal relationships. In my view, the process ought to culminate in recognizing the manner in which self-concept, defensive, and supportive messages as well as behaviors facilitate the creation of positive and negative communication climates between individuals. This letter is a critical valuation of the aforementioned aspects of communication for the purpose of fabricating the right procedure for enhancing communication and harmonization of ideas (Ziegler & Hiller, 2001).

Barriers to Effective Interpersonal Interactions

Studies have indicated that effective and reciprocal interpersonal interactions are essential and enriching. In every relationship, interpersonal interactions and relationships influence every aspect of life, from the family happiness to the close association between a couple and its friends.  It has also been established to be a vital constituent that assures success in any engagement. Unfortunately, an effective communication of anyone needs, opinions, and feelings have, at times, been difficult. Several types of barriers to individual’s ability to establish and sustain proper interpersonal interactions have been identified. You should consider the understanding of those barriers as the initial step towards overcoming them. There are several categories of barriers. The most common categories include the physical, emotional, language, as well as cultural barriers. Nevertheless, this list is not exhaustive as there are several other minor factors which are not categorized under the aforementioned classes (Sheras & Koch-Sheras, 2006).

Physical Barriers

Although it may appear obvious that there are physical barriers to any effective interaction, the implications of these barriers ought not to be ignored. Most form of physical barriers which bar effective interpersonal communication and interactions include the lack as well as inadequacy to personal proximity.  Between you and that person who you attempt to communicate to should never be technical barriers as these barriers impair communication. There should, therefore, be adequate communication devices so as to overcome some of the inevitable barriers such as distance. An immediate physical barrier like a shut door or access to a partner may present some form of misunderstanding. Studies have indicated that implications of some of the physical barriers are, at times, far-reaching, and they, sometimes, go as far as creating emotional barriers. Definitely, these barriers bar effective interactions between individuals, even when these individuals happen to be partners (Raush, 1974).

Emotional Barriers

In most instances, those emotional barriers which bar effective interpersonal communications are prompted by fear. Some of the lessons that have been learned in studies relating to negative socialization experiences have indicated that excessive fear, nervousness, and mistrust between individuals as they attempt to formulate interpersonal communication are some of the most profound barriers. For instance, an example of a common emotional barrier is the inability to build trust on someone’s thoughts and feelings, especially when one has some underlying ideas that induce the fear of judgment of other people’s contributions. At times, perceived feelings of, say, ridicule accompanies an individual’s judgment, a factor which impairs interaction as well as effectiveness in communication. Some of the physical barriers that have been aforementioned make interpersonal interactions seem unwelcoming, and this results into both emotional and physical barrier (Sheras & Koch-Sheras, 2006).

Language and Cultural Barriers

Communication between partners is necessary since individuals perceive and experience issues and the world quite differently. However, some of the basic differences may instigate cultural barriers which may, in effect, hinder effective interpersonal communication between partners. Every culture possesses its unique customs which determine communication between individuals as well as the manner of addressing someone even when face-to-face communication prompts spatial differences. These differences turn into barriers and they prevent or make communication challenging. For example, if the two of you fear appearing to be offending one another on the basis of your cultural differences, you may tend to avoid mutual communication, a situation which would advance the differences between you. At times, men and women do demonstrate differences, a scenario which would necessitate different communication methods. Nevertheless, if you do not utilize some of these methods carefully, they may end up instigating frequent instances of misunderstandings. For instance, studies have indicated that ladies tend to soften their voices and statements as they utilize qualifiers especially when these quantifiers appear to diminish the importance of some of the statements which may agitate men. Similarly, there ought to be some methods of overcoming language barriers especially when the barrier is between speakers who have had difficulties as they attempt to converse (Sheras & Koch-Sheras, 2006).

Other Barriers

You may have been experiencing a varying degree of social anxiety, and this may be making it difficult for you to engage at a personal level. Your severe social anxieties could be causing the withdrawal in your relationship which could also be affecting the relationship between you and your friends, co-workers, and family members. This withdrawal may also be manifested as being an avoidance or tendency to avoid closeness with each other. You may also trace these difficulties on the manner in which you engage in such solitary activities as hobbies and one-man games. Sensitivity to individuals’ power dynamics may also instigate barriers to interpersonal communications. Perception of superiority among the partners in a relationship ends up causing anxiety, and as explained earlier, this averts effective communication (Raush, 1974).

Strategies for Active, Critical, and Empathic Listening

It is imperative to practice active listening. This will enable you to hear exactly what your partner is talking about. Several studies have indicated that with regard to effective communication between partners, listening is among those skills that enhance understanding. How effective one listens becomes a major contributor towards enhancing the quality of relationships between partners. Whenever, say, Matt listens to Sue, he is able to obtain correct information and this enhances understanding. Moreover, as much as people listen to enjoy, they do also listen to learn. Although most people perceive themselves as being good listeners, the fact is that they are, in most instances, we are not effective listeners. Additionally, most studies indicate that an effective listener remembers between 25 and 50 percent of whatever he/she hears.  In this regard, whenever you, Sue, communicate with your spouse, he pays attention to not more than half of your conversation. This is the case when you Matt communicate to Sue.

Listening is, actually a skill, and both of you, Matt and Sue, can benefit a lot by improving it. As one becomes a better listener, he/she is able to improve on productivity, and through listening, one is able to negotiate, persuade, and influence. Through listening, you will be able to avert misunderstandings and conflict. All these aspects are very important for the purpose of facilitating success within a relationship. Proper communication skills necessitate adequate self-awareness. Through the understanding of personal styles of communication, you will achieve the creation of lasting impressions on each other. For you to enhance mutual listening, it is imperative to practice active listening. Active listening is the instance where each one of you is required to make conscious efforts for the purpose of hearing the words as well as understanding the entire message being communicating. This calls on you to pay due attention to each other with caution (Sheras & Koch-Sheras, 2006).

The two of you must not allow yourselves to be distracted by those other issues that happen to be around you. This, therefore, avoids the need to institute counter arguments which are geared towards making the partner to stop speaking. Through mutual communication, you will be able to eliminate boredom. By eliminating boredom, each one of you will be able to focus on whatever the partner is saying.

There are several tips to effective communication that the two of you may employ to enhance understanding. For instance, should anyone of you find it challenging to concentrate on whatever the other is talking about, you should attempt to repeat their words and phrases mentally as this serves to reinforce the messages they are addressing besides helping the listener to stay focused. Enhancing the listening skills necessitates each of you to let the other know and appreciate the fact that he/she is being listened to. Messages that partners pass to each other ought to be those that get across, and this makes continued conversation worthwhile (Raush, 1974).

A partner may indicate that he/she acknowledges what the other is saying through nodding or utterances of words such as “uh huh.” Although these gestures may not necessarily indicate agreement with your partner, they serve as indicants that you are keen to listen to what he/she is saying. Other methods of acknowledging your partner’s efforts to communicate include various forms of body language as this prevents the mind from wandering. Whenever anyone of you gets an opportunity to respond to some of the issues which the partner may raise, it is imperative to respond in a manner that serve to encourage him/her to proceed with the conversation. For instance, by saying “uh huh,” you indicate that you are interested. You may also pose occasional questions or comments as these helps in recapping whatever has been communicated. This enables the partners to understand the messages the other member is trying to put across (Guterman, 2006).

How words create and affect attitudes, behavior, and perception

There are several key components of listening actively. These components facilitate the hearing of the partner’s contributions on issues at hand. It is for this reason that paying undivided attention is encouraged as non-verbal communication has the capacity to speak loudly. Paying undivided attention calls on one to look at the partner directly as he/she speaks. As you look at the partner directly, try to avert distracting thoughts and never attempt to formulate rebuttals. Also, make every effort to ward off distractions that are caused by environmental factors. As partners, you should also learn to listen to the body language and also refrain from any side conversations.

While holding any conversation with your partner, it is very important, as indicated earlier, to demonstrate that you are listening to whatever he/she is saying. At all times, it is important to utilize gestures and other forms of body language for the purpose of conveying your attention. For instance, it is necessary to nod occasionally, smile, and have a posture which is inviting and open. This encourages the partner to proceed with such verbal comments as uh huh and yes. Communication is two-way, and in this regard, you should learn to provide adequate feedback to the partner’s contribution. As much as your personal beliefs, judgments, assumptions, and personal filters distort the information being assimilated, proper listening calls on both of you to make all attempts in an aim to understand some of the most important aspects that are being communicated. This, of course, may necessitate reflecting on the information being said as well as asking questions (Guterman, 2006).

How perceptions, emotions, and nonverbal expression affect interpersonal relationships

Matt and Sue, although non-verbal communication is vital in a relationship, several people have been found to pay very little attention to body signals and other non-verbal messaging. They concentrate mainly on worlds, and there is a misconception that the ideas being expressed in words are more significant that the manner in which they are said. Nevertheless, there is evidence that only a mere 7 percent of the information that we communicate to each other is expressed in words. Much of the remainder, i.e. 93 percent, is expressed in non verbal forms. This means that if you, as partners, fail to de-code the non-verbal communication that each one of you express towards each other, misunderstandings and communication problems cannot be avoided. In fact, as it is said, you must expect the actions that you demonstrate to each other to speak louder than the words you speak. This is the case as, on many occasions, you will realize that difficulty in communication result from the tendency to hide one’s feelings behind some carefully chosen utterances (Guterman, 2006).

In addition to the aforementioned issues, it would be beneficial for you to understand that non-verbal communication involve subconscious responses of your bodies. In this regard, it is challenging to control, and it is, most probably, genuine. Since words have been found to have serious limitations, non-verbal communication should be regarded as the most appropriate alternative in situations where you find yourselves in such serious interaction problems. Various studies have shown that signals and other non-verbal communications facilitate the empowerment of interaction as they make the content of discussion to appear convincing. For the purpose of summing-up this point, it is evident that non-verbal messaging facilitate the clarification of misunderstandings, and this eliminate communication barriers (Raush, 1974).

Creating positive and negative communication climates through self-concept, defensive, and supportive messages as well as behaviors

Matt and Sue, it is very important that you try as much as possible to have an environment that is conducive for communication. An effective communication climate facilitates the exchange of ideas and words between partners, and this ends up promoting the love between them. In this regard, if you two manage to establish a positive interaction climate, then the overall happiness in your relationship will be highly improved. Encourage one another to contribute to those ideas which are meant to make your relationship grow stronger. Conveying messages to each other is central and valuable for the success of your relationship.

Take each other’s personal and cultural factors into consideration as you attempt to solve those challenges which your relationship faces. Respect each other’s values and avoid all your personal biases. In fact, avoid all the terms which imply some form of bias towards those ideas that your partner holds. Every time there is a disagreement, try to balance some of the negative criticisms with positive feedbacks. Commending your partner’s accomplishments by way of positive accolades and verbal gestures helps ignite passion in the relationship (Somers & Kean University, 2008).

Conclusion

This letter has been addressing the critical valuation of the aspects of communication for the purpose of fabricating the right procedure for enhancing interaction and harmonization of ideas. It has offered some skills in communication which would enhance the relationship between the two of you. This letter has offered some tips that may help you to resolve issues relating to inadequate communication. The letter has also helped explicate that a relationship, just like any other association, may not escape some conflicts. Nevertheless, the letter has explicated the courses of action which, should they be properly addressed, your relationship would improve. Moreover, mutual understanding would, indeed, reduce conflict between the two of you. These tips a just a section of the whole idea behind improving relationship. However, abiding by these tips would significantly improve the relationship between you. Thank you so much.

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