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Higher Education


Ronald B. Adler, Lawrence B. Rosenfeld, Russell F. Proctor II, and Constance Winder

Interplay: The Process of Interpersonal Communication, Second Canadian Edition
ISBN 13: 9780195429879

About the Book

Interplay: The Process of Interpersonal Communication provides a comprehensive and engaging introduction to communication in interpersonal relationships.

Part One emphasizes the relational nature of communication; students learn that communication is something we do with others, not to them. Students are encouraged to explore how they use communication strategies to influence others' perceptions of themselves. Various physiological, psychological, social, and cultural factors that affect our perceptions of others are explored and students are taught to recognize how these influence communications with others.

Part Two explores the various components of a message: the language used to encode a message, the non-verbal aspects of a message, listening to and the reception of the message, and the emotional components that influence how we assign meaning to the message. Language both reflects and shapes the perceptions of its users. In Chapter Four, the authors provide guidelines for expressing emotions constructively and suggest methods for coping with difficult emotions that inhibit rather than help communication. Chapter Five examines how competent communicators can use language to control the precision or vagueness of their message, to accept or deny responsibility. It also outlines how language use reflects one's gender, social status, social philosophy, and occupation. Good listening skills are at least as important for personal and professional success, and Chapter Seven suggests that effective listeners will employ several listening styles, depending on the situation, the other person, and their own motivations.

Part Three examines the dynamics of interpersonal relationships: why we form relationships; how compliance-gaining strategies function in a relationship; the balance between intimacy and distance in relationships; degrees of self-disclosure in relationships; positive and negative communication spirals; and strategies for managing conflict.

Throughout the book, the authors emphasize that competent communicators are able to use a large repertoire of skills in a flexible manner to adapt to various communication contexts. Part Four focuses on communication within specific contexts: within families and in the workplace. The authors examine a variety of traditional and non-traditional family configurations to determine the characteristics that affect their ability to communicate effectively. The authors conclude with guidelines for establishing productive working relationships, both formal and informal.

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