Communication Strategies and Levels


This is basically about the different ways that people relay information as individuals and in groups. Communication is usually classified into various levels and types. However, such classifications are to some extent vague in view of the fact that types of communication more often than not rest upon a range and less than in separate groups. To gain insight into the various communication strategies, it is vital for one to put various aspects into consideration for instance; the number of communicators, the physical proximity of the communicators to each other, whether the communication process is taking place in real time or it is delayed etc. Communication levels include; intrapersonal communication, interpersonal communication, intragroup as well as intergroup (Brown, 2001).

Intrapersonal Communication

This is the type of communication that takes place within a lone individual. It is often geared towards explanation of ideas or analyzing a situation. It can also take place when someone is reflecting upon or is in appreciation of something (Knapp, 2003). This communication strategy is broadly defined by three aspects namely;

  1. Self concept/awareness. This defines the way a person sees him/herself and how that person is oriented to others. This is usually influenced by three factors namely beliefs, values and attitudes.
  2. Perception. This is the outward look that a person has in relation to the outside world. It is also influenced by beliefs, attitudes and values. It has a symbiotic relationship with self awareness since it fosters a general understanding of both oneself and one’s world (Bolton, 2000).
  3. Expectations. These are projections of some learned ideas.

When an individual uses Intrapersonal communication, he usually uses the following communication activities:

  • Internal discourse. This involves thinking, concentration and analysis. Psychologists have daydreaming and nocturnal dreaming ( Brown 2001).
  • Solo vocal communication. This is simply talking loudly to oneself.
  • Solo written communication. This is the type of writing that is not meant for others for instance making an entry into a personal diary. Below is a short story depicting the students understanding of the mentioned subject.

One day as I was walking through a section of South Bronx in the United States I encountered a group of young men having a heated exchange. The two groups were about twenty men in their early twenties. They were a mix of African Americans and others of Caucasian origin. Listening to the argument, I discovered that it was about one of the Afro American young man who was being accused of hanging around that particular block with the intention of stealing a car. However the other African Americans were arguing that indeed the suspected thief was an upcoming basket ball player on his way for practice. On close scrutiny, I discovered that indeed that fact was true since the said lad happened to live in my own block. That is when I decided to intervene and diffuse the rising tensions. I moved closer to the group and tried to explain to the accusers was indeed not a thief. However my pleas fell on deaf ears. At first I was taken aback by the group’s unreasonable nature but after awhile I began to comprehend the genesis of all the animosity being depicted. This was as a result of some deep rooted mistrust between these two communities. I was able to remember that I had learned that ones self awareness, perception and expectations greatly influence how one communicates to one another. In this case, each community held deep rooted perceptions about the other which in turn forced them to have skewed expectations about the other. Having discovered this, I was able to diffuse the tensions. I was glad that through my internal discourse I was able to analyze the situation and come up with an effective solution.

Interpersonal Communication

This is the process through which one communicates his or her ideas, thoughts and feelings to another person. Since this type of communication is assumed to be taking part “now”, and “here’, it thus has a very strong element of feedback. It not only embraces the spoken word but also other non verbal forms of communication. It can be categorized by the number of participants involved i.e.

  1. Dyadic communication. This involves two people communicating.
  2. Group communication. Involves three or more people.
  3. Public communication. Involves a large number of people using a one way monologue and generating little feedback. The following short story is an illustration of the student’s grasp of the concept of interpersonal communication: Last year I was doing voluntary work at a safe house that took in women who had experienced different forms of abuse. I was working under Miss Lillian who is a counselor. One particular incident I can vividly remember was encountering a woman who had been battered badly by her spouse. She was deeply traumatized by her ordeal and it was not easy to get her to narrate her story. However my supervisor was able to do it. I observed closely as the battered lady was talking to the counselor and was able to discern how the counselor’s interpersonal skills came into interplay. I was able to discover that she was a active listener by her use of non verbal forms of communication for example gestures, eye contact etc which encouraged the victim to open up. Furthermore her perception showed that she had a great understanding of the situation. She was also quite ardent at maintaining neutrality and managing emotions. These factors fostered a great ease in communication and I was able to use them to talk to some victims of domestic violence myself.

Intragroup communication

This is the relaying of ideas, thoughts and feeling occurring within a group of people. This is influenced by various factors for instance the level of communication skills present, attitudes, the level of knowledge present, the social position of sender, culture and the received feedback. Below is a story depicting the students grasp of the mentioned concept.

When I was fifteen years old, I was the captain of my school’s rugby team. At first our season seemed to be coming along just fine. This was the case until we started losing even our home matches. I pondered on this matter for quite awhile to see whether I would identify where the problem was and maybe come up with solutions. Afterwards I discovered that communication between the team members on and off the pitch was the problem. I noticed that the team had six players who had recently immigrated from countries where English was not spoken. Hence these players had difficulties communicating with the rest. They could not also understand the coaches instructions. There was also a problem with attitude since some of the players felt that it was too much for them to explain to those who could not understand. Having discovered this I was able to instigate a series of meetings where these issues were addressed. We carried numerous team building exercises which increased our interpersonal relationships hence fostering better understanding among the players. This had appositive influence on our performance since the members of the team were able to communicate with each other effectively. Improved communication reduced anxieties and hence fostered an ease in communication.

Intergroup communication

This is the exchange of ideas, thoughts and feeling between different groups of individuals. It is influenced by various factors such as the level of knowledge, inherent culture, gender, age etc. The following short story is a demonstration of how intergroup communication takes place.

After conducting general elections, the political leaders of a certain country in Africa could not agree among themselves about who had won in the elections. Various political parties claimed victory regardless of the results as presented by the National Electoral Commission (ILEC). This bickering polarized the whole country along tribal lines and inevitably there was a break out of tribal clashes. This prompted these leaders to call upon the secretary General of the UN to come and mediate for peace. He was able to broker a peace deal among the warring sides. My observation was that the secretary General of UN acted as a liaison between the antagonistic sides. This helps to illustrate the importance of a liaison in effective intergroup communication. The Secretary General also used very high levels of interpersonal skills, neutrality and emotional restraint.

This last story highlights the challenges that a particular communication problem that the student has in his hands and how he intends to overcome it. Next summer I have been selected to visit a neighboring state to help my local church in distributing relief supplies to victims of the recent earthquake. Most of these victims are really traumatized and are not fully fluent in English. Since I also intend to carry out some interviews so as to gauge the social and economic impacts that the earthquake has had on the victims, I know that I will have to conduct several interviews. I acknowledge that I will experience problems due to language barrier but I intend to do the following to ease the course of the interviews; I will exhibit high levels of interpersonal skills such as being an active listener and make use of non verbal communication styles to elicit understanding for example use gestures, maintaining high levels of perception so as to

show understanding of the situation on the ground, maintaining a respectable degree of neutrality and managing my emotions during the course of conducting my interviews.

References

Bolton, R. (1979). People skills: how to assert yourself, listen to others, and resolve conflicts. New York: Simon Schuster, 1979.

Nancy Ebre. Digital Materials. Web.