A speaker's job is to connect with the audience. Communicative
climate affects the satisfaction we get from encounters. Dean
Berkley illustrates both favorable and unfavorable climates in
a familiar, school situation.
well I recall my first day of school! Upon entering that one-room
rural school, with fear and trepidation, the teacher said, "We've
been waiting for you." I began to wonder how she knew I
was coming! I am still amazed at the "climate" she
created in her person-to-person communication. Frankly, I must
admit that the following year when I entered the schoolroom she
stood there to meet me. But this time, with hands on her hips
and no evidence of a smile, she said, "We've been waiting
for you." You see, I had created a "climate"!*
*Dean F. Berkley
climate can be as variable as atmospheric climate. However, communicative
climate is more controllable.
our interactions, we establish some sort of rapport or feeling
between ourselves and the other participants. In interpersonal
encounters, we are interested in the attitudes all participants
in the communication encounter have toward each other. In public
communication situations, we are typically concerned with the
attitudes the listeners have toward the speaker or speakers.
We are more likely to be satisfied with exchanges if participants
are credible, ethical, confident, attractive, and supportive.
is the image of a sender of a message that is evoked in a listener
or receiver. Credibility refers to the expertness, trustworthiness,
dynamism, and goodwill projected by a person who takes on the
role of a transmitter.
ranges from low to high. Some sources have low credibility with
receivers because they project images of inexpertness, dishonesty,
dullness, and indifference. Receivers lack confidence in these
transmitters' competence; receivers lack respect for these transmitters;
and receivers perceive these transmitters as not worthy of their
attention or concern. Other transmitters have high credibility
with receivers because they are perceived as knowledgeable, sincere,
dynamic, and caring.
first two components of credibility--being knowledgeable and trustworthy--are
absolutely imperative for a communicator in a free society. Democracy
flourishes only when we have responsible communicators who bring
valid, useful, and reliable information to the marketplace of
is fluid: It changes with different listeners. Different listeners
have different perceptions of speakers. When a President speaks,
the image varies widely among Democrats, Independents, and Republicans.
changes over time. Initial credibility is the image of a source
at the beginning of an encounter. Process credibility is the
image evoked during an encounter. Terminal credibility is the
image at the end of an encounter. Group members may have neutral
feelings about a discussant at a early planning session. They
may have negative feelings when the discussant misses an important
group meeting. But they may end up with very positive feelings
when the discussant secures essential data from a reluctant interviewee.
can be enhanced through extrinsic cues and intrinsic cues.. Extrinsic
cues build the reputation of a source before the communication
encounter takes place. For instance, favorable comments made
in the introduction of a public speaker elevates extrinsic credibility.
Intrinsic cues are revealed by a sender as she speaks. images
are built during encounters by what is said and how it is said.
For example, a person who shows enthusiasm as he relates his experience
with computer software to an interviewer increases his intrinsic
can build your credibility for your encounters. First, there
are things you can do before the encounter takes place. If someone
introduces you, work with that person prior to the encounter.
Often introducers will ask if you want to write portions of the
introduction. For a public speech, give introducers information
that demonstrates your expertise on the topic. Provide materials
that express your sincere concern for the topic. For an interview,
a well-developed resume can enhance your credibility prior to
the interview. Second, you can engage in specific behavior that
will enhance your expertness, trustworthiness, dynamism, and goodwill.
sources are seen as competent, knowledgeable, educated, intelligent,
and qualified. Engage behaviors that will demonstrate your expertise.
on time for your encounter. Promptness shows your willingness
to assume your responsibilities in interviews, discussions, and
well prepared for your encounter. Whether it is an interview
or a public speech, people know if you did your home work. People
are more likely to have confidence in you if you exhibit the confidence
that comes from thorough preparation.
people know about your personal involvement with the topic or
issue under examination. Examples drawn from your own life showing
practical experience with the subject matter establishes your
personal concern for the topic. They are more likely to accept
you as an authority in your encounter.
yourself to credible sources. Cite the reputable sources who
are knowledgeable about your topic or who agree with your position.
If these sources are not known to your listeners, state their
the conventions that are appropriate to your encounter. People
have expectations about interviews, group discussions, and public
speeches. Play by the rules.
your assertions with solid data. Use examples and analogies to
clarify your points. Use valid evidence and reasoning to verify
the vocabulary associated with your topic. You demonstrate expertise
when you show familiarity with the vocabulary associated with
fluently. Avoid misstatements and vocal fillers.
well organized. Avoid a rambling mode of talking.
sources are perceived as honest, sincere, fair, dependable, opinions
similar to theirs, and open-minded. Engage behaviors that will
demonstrate your trustworthiness.
not misrepresent your purpose for participating in the encounter.
Let your motives become apparent.
how your purpose is compatible with those purposes of other participants.
The more positively people views your intentions, the more credible
your words will seem.
the sincerity of your interest in the encounter. Allow both your
words and actions to express your sincerity.
why the participants need your information. Emphasize the benefits
the participants can gain from your ideas.
Communicate that you are similar to other participants.
Avoid contradicting something you have said in a previous
encounter, unless that is your explicit purpose.
your view in a fair and balanced way. Show your fairness by admitting
that yours is not the only reasonable view.
Distance yourself from ideas, people, groups, and organizations
that others in the encounter do not trust.
sources are viewed as animated, energetic, assertive, and involved.
Engage behaviors that will demonstrate your dynamism.
and sound enthusiastic. If you have a positive attitude about
the encounter, others are likely to become enthusiastic.
of goodwill project images being concerned with listeners and
caring for them. Engage behaviors that will demonstrate your
Do not manipulate or take advantage of other participants.
Show that you have the best interests of others in
your interest in the well-being of the participants. Explain
how your message is relevant, important, or beneficial to them.
Show a sense of humor.
that you care. Show interest and affection.
Evaluate others thoughtfully when asked to do so in
related to trustworthiness and goodwill is the concept of the
ethical responsibility of the speaker. Ethics are the standards
of moral conduct that determine our behavior. Ethical issues
according to Richard Johannesen focus "on degrees or rightness
and wrongness in human behavior." As they create and present
speeches, speakers must often consider ethics, or the rules for
conduct that distinguish right from wrong. Many believe in achieving
personal ends at any cost. Responsible communicators use their
communication talents in the interest of good causes. Because
we are responsible for what we tell others, we should always hold
the highest ethical standards. As speakers, we must communicate
to our audience that we are honest, sincere, and of high integrity.
include both how we act and how we expect others to act. How
we treat those who fail to meet our standards says a great deal
about the importance we assign to ethics. Although ethical codes
are personal, our society has a code of ethics that is implicitly
understood even if unwritten and that operates on at least a verbal
speaker has an ethical responsibility to offer listeners choices
and good reasons in support of what he or she regards as the best
choice. How a speaker handles ethical issues says a great deal
about the speaker as a person and bears directly on credibility.
Ethical speaking helps build respect.
ethical standards are codified into laws.
Fire...Sexual harassment. First speakers must refrain form any
communication that may be defines as constituting a "clear
and present danger." Yelling fire. Inciting panic. Second
speakers must refrain from using language that will defame the
character of another person. Defamation is harming another person
by making statements that convey an unjust unfavorable impression.
Although legal responsibilities are written, what is ethical is
more likely to be a personal matter.
ethics may be judged in two ways: according to the ends they
seek and according to the means they use. When it comes to ends,
such lofty goals as "world peace," "ridding the
world of hunger," and "finding a cure for cancer"
are bound to be perceived as ethical. In contrast, goals such
as "world domination," "profits at any price,"
and "ridding the world of inferior people" can be rejected
outright as unethical.
ethics of a speaker's means are not always so clear-cut. You
may believe that a speech is unethical because it is filled with
error or deception or because the speaker purposely tries to mislead
the audience through propaganda, but the speaker may argue that
the goal is so noble that any means are justified to achieve it.
a speaker who purposely deceives an audience clearly demonstrates
unethical behavior, the problem is more subtle when a speaker
uses white lies, lies by omission, or evades the facts. nonetheless,
small lies, leaving out information that doesn't support the message,
and refusing to confront relevant issues all mislead the audience
and are all unethical.
the end and the means together creates further complications.
If a speaker's goal, for example, is to persuade children to refuse
to take car rides with strangers--a good and just goal--does
it matter whether the speaker uses terrifying but true stories
to demonstrate what happens to children who accept such rides?
Anything less dramatic may not get the desired result. On the
other hand, scaring children can have consequences far beyond
teaching them to refuse to ride with strangers. Does the end
justify the means? Are the means ethical?
the truth. Lying is unethical. Do not falsify information
in order to make your point.
2. Do not
distort or exaggerate information in order to make your point.
Grossly exaggerating or distorting facts is unethical.
personal attacks against those who oppose your ideas. Name
calling is unethical.
the complete picture. Suppressing key information is unethical.
If you have material to support your views, you should present
it. If you have a motive that affects your view, you should
divulge it. Audience members have the right to make a choice,
but they must have full information in order to exercise that
sources when information is not your own and cite your sources
accurately. Keep in mind that when you use a direct quotation,
it is necessary to credit the person who formulated it. Using
any quotation or close paraphrase without crediting its source
6. Do not
try to trick audience members into accepting your point of view
or ridicule them for not agreeing with you. Show respect for
7. As listeners,
we are also responsible for what we accept from others. Therefore,
we should verify the integrity of the information we receive.
speakers do not use fallacies, mistakes in logical reasoning,
to build their case...fallacies such as hasty generalization,
questionable cause, appeal to authority, appeals based on statistics,
ad hominem argument. An ad hominem argument is a fallacy occurring
with an attack on the person making the argument rather than
the argument itself.
Unethical artifices and stratagems
3 NON SEQUITUR
speakers use many other clearly unethical methods, such as faulty
generalizations, faulty particularizations (deductions), and
Ethically Gray area
to popular feeling or prejudice
to sympathy or pity
the burden of proof
to the man
stereotypes, ridicule, and sarcasm
the 'bandwagon' technique
foregoing and other methods of rationalization are used in convincing
speeches, in addition to stimulating ones. When rationalization
is used to supplement logic, it may be ethical; when use to supplant
logic or to serve ignoble ends, it is dishonest and should be
there is a difference between actually having integrity and being
perceived as credible by listeners or an audience. Unfortunately,
it does a communicator very little good to have integrity if he/she
is not seen that way by others. Sadly, there are irresponsible
communicators in our society who exude self-confidence and appear
credible to their receivers. With these rascals, it is the listeners
who must be the responsible communicators by analyzing and evaluating
what they hear.
create a favorable communicative climate, we need to possess integrity,
to project credibility, and to display self-confidence. Speaking
in a dynamic manner that establishes our interest and involvement
in the topic and in the audience projects credibility. It is difficult
for people to believe someone who appears tentative and uncomfortable.
What traits characterize a poised and self-confident speaker?
Among other things, he has an erect but comfortable posture; easy
movements free of fidgeting or jerkiness; direct, eye-to-eye contact
with his listeners; earnestness and energy in his voice; and an
alertness of mind which enables him to adapt his remarks to the
demands of the occasion.
factors help determine the degree of nervousness a speaker may
feel--including the amount of sleep he had the night before and
the quantity of mince pie he ate for dinner. The observance of
the following simple rules, however, should help increase your
poise and self-control.
Self-confidence is so essential to becoming an effective
speaker that most of this book's content is aimed at helping you
to improve and strengthen this quality.
anxiety occurs when our bodies secrete hormones and adrenaline
that eventually overload our physical and emotional responses.
These chemical reactions are similar to those you might experience
if you suddenly meet a growling dog or a person holding a gun.
Your heart begins to beat faster and your blood pressure begins
to rise. Consequently, more sugar is pumped into your system.
In addition, your stomach may begin to churn. When you experience
these reactions, you may feel as if your body is operating in
high gear and that little or nothing can be done about it.
can be acquired. A common initial reaction of the beginning speaker
is that of apprehension, commonly termed 'stage fright.' Some
students let trembling hands and knees, perspiring palms, dry
mouths, tremulous voices, breathlessness, loss of memory, and
'butterflies in the stomach' serve as stubborn roadblocks to improvement.
Further elaboration of the symptoms of stage fright is probably
unnecessary. A student once confessed that until his high school
teach described in vivid detail the symptoms of stage fright he
had felt reasonably confident about speaking. Upon hearing of
the panic felt by some at the prospect of facing an audience,
he became fearful that a barrage of similar reactions might attack
him. This apprehension triggered a fear reaction each time he
spoke thereafter. Before you tend to react similarly, let us
leave the symptoms of stage fright and look for its causes and
you suffer from the fear of speaking before an audience--a condition
known as speech anxiety, it may help to know that you are not
alone. In fact, even the most experienced speakers confess to
having some anxiety about speaking before a group, but they are
able to control it.
you have had the opportunity to speak before a group, you probably
know a little about speech anxiety, the number-one fear of Americans,
according to a national survey. The important thing to remember
is that having some anxiety about giving a speech before a group
is normal. It only becomes a serious problem when you cannot
control your anxiety or choose not to communicate.
who suffer from speech anxiety often overestimate how much the
audience notices about their behavior. The audience, on the other
hand, tends to underestimate or overlook a speaker's anxiety.
with Nervousness All speakers feel nervous as they approach their
first speech. labels: stage fright, speech fright, shyness, reticence,
speech apprehension... a fear or anxiety about public speaking
or State. A trait is a relatively ongoing characteristic of an
individual; a state is the state of mind that a person experiences
for a period of time...Research has shown that up to 20 percent
of the population may experience trait communication nervousness...As
much as 80 percent of the population admits to some public-speaking
nervousness. If you have no major problems in interacting with
people in other communication situations, your nervousness at
the thought of giving a speech is likely to be less of a problem
than you might think.
nervousness may be cognitive (in the mind) or behavioral (physically
displayed). Cognitively, speaker nervousness comes at the thought
of speaking in public. Behaviorally, speaker nervousness is represented
by such physical manifestations as stomach cramps, sweaty palms,
dry mouth, and the use of filler expressions as "ums, "
"likes," and "you knows."
more important question is whether it is harmful. Phillips has
noted that "learning proceeds best when the organism is in
a state of tension." In fact, it helps to be a little nervous
to do your best: If you are lackadaisical about giving a speech,
you probably will not do a good job.
at least some tension is constructive, our goal is not to get
rid of nervous but to learn how to cope with our nervousness.
Phillips study of people one and three years later..."apparently
they had learned to manage the tension; they no longer saw it
as an impairment, and they went ahead with what they had to do."
Nervousness Recent research has shown that a small number of
students may need more help than the ordinary speech course provides...don't
drop the course...see your professor...systematic desensitization...cognitive
restructuring...The purpose of a speech course is to help you
learn and develop the skills that will allow your to achieve even
when you feel extremely anxious.
with Nervousness According to a study by R. H. Bruskin Associates
in which people were asked to pick items for a list of things
that frightened them, 40.6 percent said they were frightened by
speaking in public--more than anything else on the list, including
heights, insects, flying, sickness, and death!
Speech Anxiety. There are no simple cures for speech anxiety--only
ways to reduce, manage, or control it.
successful speaking experiences. During the preparation period
you can also be "psyching yourself up" for the speech.
Prepare yourself mentally for success. Believe that you are
going to be successful and you probably will be.Third, Prepare
Your speech will do something for your listeners.
You know more about the subject than your audience does.
You appear more confident than you feel.
Others share your misgivings.
Audiences are friendly.
Heightened feeling is essential to effective speaking.
Tension usually decreases with experience.
an interesting subject. Pick a topic you are comfortable with.
Selecting a topic you enjoy and know something about helps to
reduce anxiety since the more you know about a subject, the
easier it is for you to talk about it. Select a topic that you
are familiar with and that you enjoy. First, Choose subjects
that you strongly wish to discuss with your listeners.
your subject thoroughly. The better prepared you are, the better
you will cope with nervousness. Take time to prepare fully.
Being prepared. Second, Prepare thoroughly.
thoroughly the sequence of ideas you intend to present.
allow yourself to give up.
the time you enter the room before your speech until you have
concluded your remarks, try to 'accentuate the positive' and
'eliminate the negative.' Think affirmatively. If you act
as if you are confident, you may begin to feel more confident.
focus inwardly, that is, avoid being overly concerned about
how you look, sound, or feel.
concentrate on how well you are doing or whether the listeners
like you personally, think you are nervous, or consider you
to be an ineffective speaker.
your attention on your audience. Know your audience and the
surroundings where your presentation will take place. Concentrate
upon the process of communicating your ideas to the listeners.
Meet squarely the gaze of your listeners. Talk directly to
them. Consider them receptive persons who are pulling for you
to do well. Remind yourself that your task as a speaker is
to engage them in a meaningful dialogue on your topic.
Use physical activity to reinforce your ideas. In addition,
experienced speakers learn to channel their nervousness. Try
to move about a little during the first few sentences--sometimes,
a few gestures or a step one way or another is enough to break
some of the tension. Attempt to convert nervous energy into
appropriate outlets of animated vocal and physical delivery.
Without going to extremes, engage in sufficient activity to
release the tension in antagonistic muscle groups. Be vigorous.
If you feel like doing so, try some gestures. Turn toward one
section of the audience and speak directly to it; then turn
toward another section. Occasionally change position on the
platform. Use a pointer to direct attention to some element
of a visual aid. Try to maintain the lively, flexible vocal
and physical delivery of forceful conversation--expanded to
meet the needs of public speaking....What is your prognosis?
If you follow the simple principles outlined in this section,
your chances of avoiding excessive nervous tension are excellent.
to schedule your speech at a time that is psychologically best
for a few seconds before you begin. When you reach the stand,
pause a few seconds before you start.
a deep breath; this may help get your breathing in order.
Inventory yourself...What did you think...What did
you feel..What did you do during the encounter?
are in good company...famous people get nervous. Realize that
almost everyone has some anxiety about presenting a speech--you
are not alone.
nervousness, you can make it through your speech.
are not as likely to recognize your fear as you might think.
that some nervous tension is both natural and good for you.
as often as you can. The more experience you get in speaking,
the better you can cope with nervousness.
yourself in appropriate situations. The nonassertive person
does not stand up for his or her rights when they are threatened
Assertiveness entails verbalizing your position on an issue for
purposes of achieving a specific goal. Assertiveness may involve
describing feelings, giving good reasons for a belief or feeling,
or suggesting a behavior or attitude you think is fair, without
exaggerating for dramatic effect or attacking the other individual
I'm really feeling anxious about not getting to talk with you
about my paper. I'm afraid that if we don't talk I'm likely to
make the same kinds of mistakes again. Could we please meet to
talk about my writing before Thursday?
really need to talk to you before I turn in my next paper. I
don't want to make the same mistakes I made last time. Can we
please get together before Thursday?
are some people hesitant to assert themselves? Probably for one
or several of the following reasons.
believe it's not worth the time or effort.
question their self-worth.
accept others' expectations.
Passive Behavior. When people believe they have been wronged,
they are likely to behave in one of three ways: passively, aggressively,
or assertively. When people behave passively, they do not try
to influence the behavior of others. People who behave passively
are reluctant to state opinions, share feelings, or assume responsibility
for their actions. Thus, they often submit to the demands of
others, even when doing so is inconvenient or against their best
Two types of nonassertiveness--situational and generalized
assertive individuals are willing to assert their rights, but
unlike their aggressive counterparts they do not hurt others in
the process. Assertive individuals speak their minds and welcome
others doing likewise. Behavior which enables a person to act
in his own best interest, to stand up for himself without undue
anxiety, to express his honest feelings comfortably, or to exercise
his own rights without denying the rights of others we call assertive
behavior. Norton and Warnich found assertive people to be open,
not anxious, contentious, and not intimidated and not easily persuadable.
to communicate your feelings and thoughts characterizes nonassertive
behavior (also called passive behavior). Linked to avoidance
strategies, nonassertive behavior virtually ensures that your
concerns go unsatisfied.
Aggressive Behavior. When people behave aggressively, they lash
out at the source of their discomfort with little regard for the
situation or for the feelings of those they are attacking. Unfortunately,
too many people confuse aggressiveness with assertiveness. Unlike
assertiveness, aggressive behavior is judgmental, dogmatic, fault-finding,
Indirect aggression is the expression of concerns in a
disguised way. Rather than stating the real issue, you attack
in various ways:
the person directly, attacking the person indirectly, lying about
your real feelings, manipulating the situation, embarrassing the
person, hinting about the problem, withholding something from
the other person, inviting the person to feel guilty, using sarcasm.
Indirect aggression is risky.... other person my miss the point....person
may understand but ignore you...people may feel manipulated and
Direct aggression, unlike nonassertiveness and indirect
aggression, is easy to recognize. Direct aggression is the open
expression of feelings, needs, wants, desires, and ideas at the
expense of others. People who use direct aggression try to dominate
and possibly humiliate the other person by acting self-righteously,
as if they're superior, certain of themselves, and know what's
best for everyone.
Assertive Behavior. When people behave assertively, they state
what they believe to be true for them, describe their feelings
fully, give good reasons for their beliefs or feelings, suggest
the behavior or attitude they think is fair, avoid exaggerating
for dramatic effect, and take responsibility for their actions
and feelings without personal attacks. To be assertive, then,
you should (1) identify what you are thinking or feeling and (2)
state it in the most interpersonally sound way possible.
Assertion is the direct statement of needs and wants.
Because it is direct, assertion is more closely related to direct
aggression than to either indirect aggression or nonassertiveness.
Assertive communication lacks an important element of direct aggression;
it express thoughts and feelings directly and clearly without
judging or dictating to others. it is hones and has as its goal
the resolution of conflict.
Principles for increasing assertiveness and decreasing
the assertive and nonshy behavior of others.
your own behavior.
assertive and nonshy behaviors
5. Do it
attraction or speaker attractiveness refers to being perceived
as personable and likable. Attractive communicators are viewed
as people of goodwill. If participants in communication describe
each other as friendly, there is likely to be a favorable communicative
gloomy, cheerful, irritable, good natured, unpleasant, pleasant,
second area of analysis centers around the interpersonal attraction
participants in interpersonal encounters have for each other.
For the public encounter, this aspect is referred to as speaker
attractiveness. Whether we refer to it as interpersonal attraction
or speaker attractiveness, the basic issue is likability. Do
the members of the group like each other? Or do the audience
members like the speaker?
should be noted that credibility and attraction (attractiveness)
can operate independently of each other. For instance, an employee
may not like a supervisor but may respect her competence, integrity,
and vigor. Or a father may love his child but may not respect
his judgment when it comes to money matters.
Audience perceptions of personality are often based on first impressions
of such characteristics as attractiveness. Although physical
attractiveness is a genetic quality over which we have little
control, speakers can behave in ways that will increase audience
perception of your attractiveness. For instance, speakers can
dress, groom, and carry themselves in an attractive manner. The
old compliment "He/she cleans up really good" is one
to remember. It is surprising how much an appropriately professional
dress and demeanor will increase audience perception of attractiveness.
addition audiences react favorably to a speaker who acts friendly.
Friendliness is an important component of personality. A smile
and a pleasant tone of voice go a long way in developing a quality
of warmth that will increase an audience's comfort with a speaker
and her or his ideas.
key behaviors that increase an audience's favorable perception
of a speaker's personality are enthusiasm, eye contact, and vocal
communication. HUGHEY'S 315 NOTES Ego threat (Defensive communication)
nature of ego threat...Internal, the superego versus the id...external,
between people. The dynamics of ego threat...
Gibb provides us with an insightful analysis of supportive and
defensive climates which should enable us to see the specifics
that go into making these two very different classes of communication
behaviors. Gibb analyzed and divided these specifics into six
categories, each of which has a supportive and defensive dimension.
A defensive climate is created by
If you are evaluative rather than descriptive:...First, evaluation
does not inform; it places a judgment on what has been said or
done. Misunderstanding often results from a shortage of information...Second,
evaluations are likely to make other people defensive, especially
if the evaluation is personal, negative, or contrary to the other
person's perception. Defensiveness is a negative feeling and/or
behavior that results when a person feels threatened.....Open
communication without a secret underlying motive--hidden agenda--promotes
supportiveness rather than defensiveness. Interpersonal communication
works best when the people involved understand what is going on....
and evaluation. When we perceive a communication as being a request
for information or a description of some event, we generally do
not perceive it as threatening. We are not challenged and have
no need to defend ourselves. On the other hand, a communication
that is judgmental or evaluative often leads us to become defensive,
to back off, and to otherwise erect some kind of barrier between
ourselves and the evaluator.
is likely to generate defensiveness on both sides of the dyad.
The insecure speaker seems especially prone to use evaluative
language, to claim that this is right and this is wrong, to argue
that this person is the cause of that problem, and to make moral
and ethical judgments about people and about their interactions.
Problem orientation and control. In working with one person or
with a group of individuals on a particular problem, we have probably
all notices that some individuals will readily focus on the specific
problem or find a solution, while other individuals will just
as readily attempt to control the group processes, to impose their
own values on the other members of the group, and to otherwise
infer that they are somehow better than the other members.
in all attempts to alter another person," says Gibb, "is
the assumption by the change agent that the person to be altered
is inadequate. That the speaker secretly views the listener as
ignorant, unable to make his own decisions, uninformed, immature,
unwise, or posses of wrong and inadequate attitudes is a subconscious
perception which gives the latter a valid base for defensive reactions."
Spontaneity and strategy (manipulative strategy). Individuals
who are spontaneous in their communications, individuals who are
straightforward and open about what they think, generally receive
the same response--straightforwardness and openness. But in may
situations we feel that certain people are hiding their true feelings--that
they have some hidden plan that they are attempting to implement
for some unrevealed purpose. This strategy approach leads us
to become defensive and to resist any attempts at manipulation.
Empathy and neutrality (detached neutrality, clinical neutrality).
In interacting with another individual on a personal level we
often reveal certain things about ourselves that we feel are extremely
important. When our listeners react neutrally, we have been betrayed;
they are, we feel, not seeing how important these things are to
us. On the other hand, when our listeners respond empathetically
and we can feel that they are placing themselves in our own position,
we feel supported. When a friend fails a test and confides his
or her worry to us, we feel supported. Responding with a "so
and/or Relationships grow best when communication between people
indicates equality rather than superiority....Whatever the basis
for the assumption of superiority, however, projecting it often
results in a negative rather than a positive communication climate,
particularly when others involved are not convinced of that superiority.
A positive communication climate may be achieved by choosing language
that conveys an attitude of equality rather than superiority.
Equality implies that two people exist on the same level, that
they perceive each other as being of similar worth.
and superiority. When we work we work on a problem or some kind
of task with other individuals and make it clear that we are participating
equally in the experience, they are generally more apt to be open
and responsible. If, on the other hand, they perceive that we
feel superior to them, they are going to resent us--they will
feel that their efforts are not going to be perceived as equal
to outs, or that their talents or abilities are inferior. We
should not deny differences in abilities or knowledge, but we
should recognize clearly that when working together on a project,
everyone has something to contribute. Use the language of equality.
certainty. Provisionalism helps cope with defensiveness...Provisional
wording suggest that the ideas expressed are thought to be correct
but may not be; dogmatic wording leaves no room for discussion...
and certainty. We are probably all familiar with teachers who
say they want all their students to think for themselves, to develop
inquiring minds, and to explore all sides of the question--to
have open minds, to leave room for differences or opinion and
new facts, and so on. Most teachers will verbalize some such
goals at some time in their classes. Such teachers are encouraging
provisionalism among students. Unfortunately, however, these
same teachers are often in practice very dogmatic. know it all,
Anxiety, a sign that self esteem is in danger, is aroused.
3. An ego defense mechanism is brought into play which
takes energy away from the goal of the communication encounter.
Defense mechanisms...Characteristics...They are largely unconscious,
they are universal, they create a diversion from the real problem
facing the individual (they are designed to cope with reducing
anxiety; energy is diverted from problem-solving to reducing the
leave the threatening condition either physically or psychologically.
(aggression)-to express an emotion toward a less threatening person
or object when one cannot express it directly towards its proper
person or object--scape-goating; boss bawls out underling, underling
argues with wife, wife screams at little boy, little boy kicks
dog; Hitler, Germans hungry and miserable--take it out on the
reason for taken or to be taken which seem plausible, but which
are not the real ones, lying to one's self. When you have a fool
of ourselves you tell yourself "They didn't hear me.";
sour grapes, convincing one's self that something isn't worth
having when he or she finds it is impossible to obtain--"Those
lousy Cadillacs, I wouldn't have one." "Who wants A's--I'd
rather have an education." "Morality is for little
old ladies, honey." Sweet lemons (convincing one's self
that something is highly worthwhile when one is forced to accept
it. Pollyanna and Candide. Last in line and kindergarten..."The
attribute one's unacceptable feelings to others to avoid attributing
them to ones self. Prejudice "They look sneaky," "They're
drive thoughts and memories from consciousness into unconsciousness...Selective
forgetting and selective retention....the three faces of eve.
relate one's self to another person, ideal, group, or institution
in such a manner that its successes become one's own-to gain feelings
of worth. Little girls and mothers; little boys and fathers...Happy
in 'Death of a Salesman'.
FORMATION-to express attitudes which are the reverse of what one
would like to express to protect one from accepting the latter
as one's own--as they are too threatening. She protests too much.
reject the idea that a problem exists, or that it is as important
as it really is. "It can't happen here", convincing
one's self that a threatening event will not occur to one's self
or in one's location. Fatalism, denying of responsibility for
an event by treating it as inevitable. Humor, any kind of comic
reaction, jest, lightness, ridicule or laughter which removes
the threatening qualities from an event by making it appear less
real or less important, thus reducing the necessity for action.
Avoid arousal of anxiety, promote a supportive climate: Description,
Problem orientation, Spontaneity, Empathy, Equality, Provisionalism.
for creating positive communication climates--descriptive, open,
provisional, and equal. open--agenda & hidden agenda.
Supportiveness and confirmation.
Because it depend on "I" language, supportive language
is descriptive and not evaluative.
Because it focuses on immediate thoughts and feelings, supportive
language is spontaneous and not manipulative.
Because it focuses on accepting the other person's feelings and
putting yourself in the other person's place, supportive language
is empathic and not indifferent.
Because it focuses on remaining open to new ideas, perspectives,
and the possibility of change, supportive language is provisional
and not certain.
When anxiety or defensiveness is present, identify the defensive
mechanism and then use a smooth transition, accented transition,
abrupt transition, and or reassurance technique.
summary, receivers are more likely to listen to and believe a
person whom they like and see as informed, honest, and animated.
Listeners find it easier to give attention to friendly people
than apathetic or hostile ones. A favorable communicative climate
produces communication satisfaction.
communicators want to achieve their purposes and create favorable
communicative climates at the same time. They want both success
and satisfaction. But a clerk may get us to purchase an item
using an abrasive approach. He may be successful at the expense
of producing bad feelings. It is important to recognize early
in this course that all communication has a control dimension
and a relational dimension. These dimensions can be at odds with
each other. Careful attention must be paid to the remaining four
role requirements if both the desire for control, success, and
the desire for good feelings, satisfaction, is to be realized
in an encounter.