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Definition, Theory, and Principles of Interpersonal Communication

Interpersonal communication is a very unique process, meaning that it is unlike any other activity. In addition, interpersonal communication also requires an act of giving and receiving between the actors involved in the communication. With this exchange, communication is referred to as a transactional process.

In addition to fulfilling and completing one of the assignments for the Communication Psychology course, this paper also aims to:
  • Can understand and understand how the communication process occurs, especially interpersonal communication
  • Analyzing examples of interpersonal communication processes in our daily lives as communicators

Background of the problem

Communication is the process of sending and receiving information or messages between two or more people effectively so that the intended message can be understood. In the delivery or recipient of information there are two parties involved, namely:
  • Communicator: A person or group of people who convey information or messages.
  • Communicant: The person or group of people who receive the message.
Communicants and communicators are the two most important elements in the process of interpersonal communication. The success of communication is the responsibility of the communication participants. The closeness of the relationship between the communicating parties will be reflected in the types of messages or their non-verbal responses, such as touch, expressive eye gaze, and very close physical distance. Although everyone in interpersonal communication is free to change the topic of conversation, the reality is that interpersonal communication can be dominated by one party.

This interpretation process is different for each individual. Because each individual has a different personality, which is formed due to different experiences. Communication skills don't just refer to how we communicate with other people. But includes many things such as the way how we respond to the other person we are talking to, body movements and facial expressions, and our tone of voice.

We usually think of hearing and sight as primary senses, but touch and smell are equally important in conveying intimate messages. Interpersonal communication has the potential to influence or persuade others because we can use the five senses to enhance the persuasive power of our messages.

As the most complete and perfect communication, interpersonal communication plays an important role at any time, as long as humans still have emotions. And in fact, this face-to-face communication makes people feel more familiar with each other, in contrast to communication through mass media such as newspapers and television or the most sophisticated communication technology.

Definition, Theory, and Principles of Interpersonal Communication
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Interpersonal Communication as a Process

Before communication can take place, what is stated as the message to be conveyed must exist. The message is passed between the source (sender) and the receiver. The message is converted into symbolic form (called encoding) or coded or encoded and delivered through some medium (channel) to the recipient who retranslates the sender's message (called decoding) or code reduction or decryption of the cipher.

The result is the transmission of intent from one person to another. Sending a message by encoding thought. Four conditions affect the effectiveness of the encoded message: the skill, attitude, and knowledge of the sender and the socio-cultural system. The beliefs and values ​​we act on influence what and how we communicate.

As a process, interpersonal communication is a series of actions, events, and activities that occur continuously or can be said to be dynamic. This means that everything involved in interpersonal communication is always in a state of change, namely the actors, the message, and the environment.

The process of interpersonal communication can be described as a circular process (meaning that everyone involved in interpersonal communication acts as a speaker as well as a listener and as an actor as well as a reactor) and continuous (as a continuous process means that communication takes place without stopping, so the initial limit is and the end of interpersonal communication becomes unclear).

In general, interpersonal communication can be interpreted as a process of exchanging meaning between people who communicate with each other. Communication occurs face to face (face face) between two individuals.

In this sense it contains 3 aspects:
  1. Understanding the process, which refers to changes and actions that take place continuously.
  2. Interpersonal communication is an exchange, namely the act of conveying and receiving messages reciprocally.
  3. Containing meaning, which is something that is exchanged in the process, is a common understanding between the people who communicate with the messages used in the communication process.

Eight Elements That Determine Communication Effectiveness

1. Sender

People who initiate communication.

2. Recipient

People who through their senses receive messages from the Sender.

3. Encoding

The process of converting ideas or information into a series of symbols or signs. In this process, ideas or information are translated into symbols (usually in the form of words or signs) that have the same meaning as the symbols owned by the Receiver.

4. Order

The physical form of information or ideas that have been modified by the sender. Messages are usually given in forms that can be perceived and captured by one or more of the recipients' senses. Non-verbal messages are a very important form, especially in emphasizing meaning or giving open reactions.

5. Decoding

The process of translating messages sent by the sender to the recipient. This process is influenced by past experiences, the use of personal interpretations of symbols or signs, expectations, and mutual understanding with the sender. Communication is more effective and efficient if the message translated by the recipient is balanced or by the message. -message intended by Sender.

6. Channel

Way or channel or way of sending a message. This can often be separated from the message. For communication to run efficiently and effectively, the channel must match the message to be sent.

7. Noise

Disruptive factors in the course of communication. The appearance of this disorder can be at any stage of communication.

8. Feedback

Reaction or expression of the Receiver to the messages he has received and communicated to the Sender. With feedback, the sender can find out how far the messages he has sent can be received by the recipient.

The Components of Interpersonal Communication Are Interdependent

The components in interpersonal communication are interrelated and interdependent. Each component of interpersonal communication has links both with other components and with components as a whole. Therefore, in interpersonal communication, there is no sender without a receiver, no messages without a sender, and no feedback without a receiver. Because they are interdependent, changes that occur in one component will cause changes in other components. Thus it can be said that changes in the actors of communication will lead to other aspects.

Due to the interdependence and change in interpersonal communication, there is no repeatable action or reaction. No action is the same from time to time. Interpersonal communication has a characteristic that cannot be repeated. Thus interpersonal interaction is a new experience.

Actors in Interpersonal communication Act and React

In the traditional process, everyone, taking action, reacts to action as a whole human being. People cannot act only with thoughts and emotions, but involve thoughts, emotions, attitudes, body movements, previous experiences, and others.

The characteristics of communication as a process can be grouped into various principles:

a. Inevitable

In many ways, we often communicate without purpose or thought in advance. When we are in a crowd of people we will look at or respond to everything that is around us.

b. Cannot be changed

Something we have communicated, cannot be changed. For that, we need to be careful what we say to other people. Avoid apologizing for the words we have said, especially in a conflict situation with a tense atmosphere.

c. Has content and relationship dimensions

Every communication message has a content dimension wherefrom the content dimension, we can predict the dimensions of the relationship that exists between the parties that carry out the communication process. Conversations between two friends, between lecturers and students in different classes, have different content dimensions.

The dimension itself is divided into two, namely:
  1. The dimension of content (verbal), shows the content (content) of communication, namely what is said.
  2. The relationship dimension (nonverbal), shows how to say it which also implies how the message should be interpreted.
Therefore, the same content can have different meanings if conveyed in different ways. For example, a lecturer said to his students "meet me after class is over" with "please, after lectures we will meet in the lecturer's room". The content is the same but a different way of conveying it can produce different meanings. The first maybe because it is said in a high tone, we can guess what will happen later, maybe students will get angry.

d. Involves the adjustment process

Communication can take place if they give each other the same signal system. On the other hand, communication becomes less smooth if the actors have different signal systems. This is seen when two people with different languages ​​communicate with each other. Maybe they will have difficulty understanding each other's messages. However, in reality, no two people have the same signaling system. Different cultures and sub-cultures, even if we use a common language, often have different non-verbal communication systems. The wider the differences between these systems, the more difficult communication will be. This principle emphasizes that through communication we learn the signals of others, communication involves each actor adjusting to each other.

e. It can be seen as an asymmetrical relationship or a complementary relationship.

In a symmetrical relationship, one person's behavior reflects the other's behavior. Someone's behavior will be responded to with the same behavior. This relationship is a similarity to reduce the differences between two people.

In a complementary or complementary relationship, two people use different behaviors. In this relationship, the differences between the people involved in the communication are enhanced. This complementary relationship is important for members occupying different positions. Such relationships can be shaped by culture.

Judy C. Pearson has the following characteristics:
  1. Interpersonal communication begins with the self. Various perceptions of communication concerning meaning are centered on us, meaning that they are influenced by our experiences and observations.
  2. Interpersonal communication is transactional. This assumption refers to parties who communicate simultaneously and are parallel, conveying and receiving messages.
  3. Interpersonal communication includes aspects of message content and interpersonal relationships. This means that the content of the message is influenced by the relationship between the communicating parties.
  4. Interpersonal communication requires physical closeness between the communicating parties.
  5. Interpersonal communication involves parties who depend on each other in the communication process.
  6. Interpersonal communication cannot be changed or repeated. If we say something wrong to our partner it cannot be changed. Can forgive but cannot forget or erase what has been said.
  7. Interpersonal communication takes place between two individuals, therefore the understanding of communication and interpersonal relationships places an understanding of communication in the psychological process. Each individual in the act of communication has a personal understanding and meaning of every relationship in which he is involved.

Psychological Function

The most important thing from the psychological aspect of communication is the assumption that the individual's self lies within the individual and cannot be observed directly. This means that in interpersonal communication, observation of a person is carried out through his behavior based on the perception of the observer. Thus the psychological aspect includes observations on two dimensions, namely internal and external. But we know that the external dimension is not always the same as the internal dimension.

The psychological function of communication is to interpret signs through observable actions or behaviors. This interpretation process is different for each individual. Because each individual has a different personality, which is formed due to different experiences.

Factors Affecting Individuals in Interpersonal Communication

As mentioned above interpersonal communication starts with the individual. The appearance of communication that appears in each of us communicates reflects the personality of each individual who communicates.

Understanding the process of forming the personality of each party involved in communication is important and affects the success of communication. In this module, the reality of interpersonal communication is analogous to the phenomenon of the iceberg (the communication iceberg).

This analogy explains that various things influence or contribute to how each form of communication displays.

The visible iceberg is analogous to a form of communication that is observed or visible (visible/observable aspect), namely:

· Interactant

Namely people who are involved in communication interactions such as speakers, writers, listeners, and readers with various situations.

· Symbol

Consists of symbols (letters, numbers, words, actions) and symbolic language (Indonesian, English, etc.)

· Media

The channel is used in every communication situation.

Meanwhile, the bottom part of the iceberg that supports the iceberg is invisible or unobservable. This is what is called the invisible/unobservable aspect. It is precisely this part that is important.

Although it is not visible because it is covered by water, it supports the appearance of icebergs that appear poking the surface of the water. Without it, the iceberg would not exist. Likewise with communication, where the appearance of communication that is observed/visible is influenced by various factors that are not visible, but whose influence is felt, namely:

· Meaning (meaning)

When the symbol is there, then the meaning is there and how to respond to it. Voice intonation, facial expressions, words, pictures, etc. Is a symbol that represents a meaning. For example, high intonation is interpreted as anger, the word tree represents plants, etc.

· Learning

The interpretation of the meaning of symbols appears based on communication patterns associated with experience, interpretations arise from the learning gained from experience. Interpretation appears in all actions following the rules obtained through experience. Experience is a series of processes to understand messages based on what we learn. So the meaning we give is the result of learning.

Our communication patterns or behavior do not depend on genetics, but meaning and information are the results of learning about symbols in their environment. Reading, writing, and counting are learning processes in a formal environment. So, our ability to communicate is the result of learning (learning) from the environment.

· Subjectivity

The experience of each individual will never be the same, so in encoding (composting or designing) and decoding (receiving and interpreting) messages, none of them are the same.

Interpretation of two different people will be different for the same object.

· Negotiation

Communication is an exchange of symbols. The communicating parties each have the goal of influencing others. In that effort, negotiations took place in the selection of symbols and meanings so that mutual understanding was achieved. The exchange of symbols is the same as the process of exchanging meaning.

Each party must adopt the meaning of the other.

· Culture

  1. Each individual is the result of learning from and with others.
  2. Individuals are participants of groups, organizations, and community members
  3. Through participation in sharing symbols with other people, groups, organizations, and society. Symbols and meanings are part of the cultural environment we accept and adapt to. Through communication, culture is created, maintained, and changed. Culture creates a point of view.

· Interacting levels and context

Communication between humans takes place in various contexts and levels. The scope of communication for each individual is very diverse, ranging from interpersonal, group, organizational, and mass communication.

· Self-reference

The behavior and symbols used by individuals reflect their experiences, meaning that what we say and do and the way we interpret people's words and actions are reflections of our meanings, experiences, needs, and expectations.

· Self-reflexivity

Self-awareness (self-consciousness) is a condition in which a person sees himself (self-mirror) as part of the environment. The essence of the communication process is how the parties perceive themselves as part of their environment and that affects communication.

· Inevitability

We can't communicate. Even though we don't do anything, our silence will be reflected in the visible nonverbal, and it reveals the meaning of communication. The various aspects discussed above confirm that a physical communication process looks simple, even though if we look at the communication pattern that occurs it explains to us. something very complex. So it can be concluded here that interpersonal communication is not something simple.

From a psychological point of view, interpersonal communication is an activity that involves two or more people who have a similar level of self. When two people communicate, they must have certain similarities, say a man and a woman. They individually and simultaneously expand each other's self into the act of communication through thoughts, feelings, beliefs, or in other words through their psychological processes. This process continues as long as both are still involved in the act of communication.

The importance of psychological processes should be carefully understood, meaning that the intrapersonal processes of communication participants are not the same thing as interpersonal relationships. What happens in the individual is not interpersonal communication but a psychological process. However, the psychological process of each individual affects interpersonal communication which in turn also affects interpersonal relationships.

Examples of Interpersonal Communication Processes in Daily Life

Anggia came to Dinda to tell her a funny incident that happened that day. Then Anggia began to describe what events she experienced. However, in the middle of the story, Dinda just remembered that she had to do an assignment. Finally, Dinda's focus on listening to Anggia's story was disturbed.