One-to-One Communication
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Lesson Objectives:

  • Describe several factors involved in becoming an effective communicator.
  • Identify and explain the important nonverbal aspects of one-to-one communication.
  • Describe and practice effective use of the telephone in social and business situations.
  • Identify at least 3 important factors to consider when you are being interviewed for a job.

One-to-one communication plays a very important part in almost to everyone's life.  This type of communication occurs most often in face-to-face conversations and in telephone speech skills.

The Verbal Aspects of Conversation

 Face-to-face conversation is the most common form of one-to-one communication.  Conversation consists of talk about various matters of common interest to both of the people involved.  Conversations, unlike many other types of communication are usually not planned or rehearsed beforehand.

There are a few rules you should be aware of if you want to be an interesting person to talk with.

Send and Receive Messages Accurately:  It is important that when you are conversing that you send and receive accurate messages.  Choose words you are sure your receiver will understand.  Your word choices should largely depend on who your listener is.  You should also consider your listener's age and experience when communicating.  For example, you should not use technical words to describe an automobile engine to someone who's not familiar with the terms.  Finally, pay close attention to the feedback you receive to make sure the listener understands you.

Be Courteous:  Good conversation involves taking turns.  Each person should take turns speaking and then listening.  You must be willing to "yield the floor" regularly when conversing.  Avoid interrupting to express an idea of your own while the other person is speaking.

Be Able to Speak on a Number of Topics:  Conversation deals with topics of interest to both people involved.  In order to develop stimulating conversations, you should try to develop a variety of interests.  When you switch to a new topic of conversation, be sure to relate the new topic to the previous one.  This allows the conversation to flow smoothly.

Learn to Enjoy Conversation:  Good conversation is an art you can develop.  During periods when you are the speaker, speak dynamically and enthusiastically.  No one wants to converse with someone who's conversation is flat, full monotone with a deadpan face and no gestures of any kind.  Make sure you develop your conversation with enthusiasm for your topic.  It should show in your voice and body movements.

The Non Verbal Aspects of Conversation

Non-verbal aspects of communication are important.  This can be body movement, timing, eye contact, and vocal variety.  You are essentially adding feeling and life to the words of the message.  Your first impressions when you met someone were largely based on such matters as the amount of enthusiasm shown, the facial expressions used, the ways in which the persons moved and gestured as they spoke, and the warmth of their smiles.

Various types of non verbal communication are:

Using Body Motion (Kinesics): There are types of kinesic communication that people use regularly.  This typically is with the "eyes".  Strong messages about your feelings and attitudes are conveyed by how you look at another when speaking, how frequently you look, and how long you gaze into another's eyes.

Your facial muscles can also display facial expressions, which allows the person you are conversing with to show the degree of interest you have in the conversation.  Arm and hand movements can also be an expression.  These can be used to describe, locate, emphasize, and symbolize.

Using Space (Proxemics): When two people sit close to another, this is just one way people use "space" to communicate non verbally.  Sitting close with family and friends shows that "I like you", "I trust you", etc.  Sitting too close during an interview or while talking with a new acquaintance may cause problems.  Most people have an "invisible territory" around them that makes crowding them feel uncomfortable.

Using Time:  Time has an enormous impact on your life.  You eat at certain times, you sleep for certain lengths of time, and you often ask what time it is.  You close your birthdays, anniversaries, etc.  Time has a great impact on communication.

Using Appearance:  Appearance also acts as a non-verbal form of communication in two-person communication.  Hair style, clothing, height, weight, neatness, all communicate something about you.  The visual image you present influences others' image about you.

Using Paralanguage:  Paralanguage refers to forms of communication connected with vocal sounds.  If you scream at someone, then these vocal characteristics communicate anger.  Many speakers us "vocalized pauses", when they filling the spaces between words with words like "uh", "er", "like", or "you know".  Some vocalized pauses are accepted, but if they occur too frequently, a negative impression is made.

Speaking On The Telephone

The telephone is a marvelous aid to human communication.  There are some rules for conversing on the telephone.

Follow Conversational Rules for Social Calls:  The telephone is very useful for extending invitations, deepening friendships, correcting misunderstandings, or simply enjoying good conversation.  The telephone is especially valuable when distance makes face-to-face conversation impractical.

When you are the caller, you are disturbing the privacy of another person's home, thus you should make social calls at times when you are least likely to disturb the family or individual.  Early in the morning or late at night, or at meal times are not good times to call.  Always identify yourself when someone answers the phone.  Give your name first, then ask to speak to the person you are calling.  When the person you are calling reaches the phone, always identify yourself again. 

If you are calling to extend an invitation or correct a misunderstanding, you will want to make some brief opening comments before proceeding with your main purpose for calling.  If you simply called to visit, a more relaxed approach is acceptable.

Follow More Formal Rules for Business Calls:  Business calls are made for specific purposes.  They may be made to give or receive information, to sell or buy a product or service, to make appointments, or to resolve problems.  When making business calls, efficiency is of great importance.

Taking Part In An Interview

Unlike conversations, an interview is a more formal kind of communication event with a particular and definite goal in mode.  It may last several minutes or several days, but it is ordinarily planned in advance and directed toward a definite outcome.

Being Interviewed
If you are being interviewed, you must................
a) Prepare Thoroughly:  A good job interview demands three things of the interviewee:  thorough preparation, active participation, and good follow-up.  Thorough preparation includes finding out all you can about the organization, the job, and the interviewer beforehand.  It means preparing answers to the types of questions you can expect to be asked.  It also means readying questions of your own to ask the interviewer about aspects of the job and organization that interest you or may be unclear to you.

Here are the types of questions that an interviewer may ask:

  • Why do you want to work for this company?
  • What experience have you had that prepares you for this position?
  • What kinds of grades did you receive in school?
  • What would you expect as a starting salary?
  • If you were hired for this job, how long would you expect to be with this company?
  • What are you long-range career goals?
  • What hobbies or outside interests do you have?
  • What do you feel are your major strengths for this job?

Here are the types of questions that you may ask the interviewer:

  • What would my specific duties be?
  • Can you tell me a little bit about the people with whom I would be working directly, including my immediate supervisor?
  • What kinds of fringe benefits accompany this position?
  • At what salary would I start?
  • What is the likelihood I would be asked to move to another town to keep my job or get a promotion?  Would the company pay my moving expenses?

 Be An Active Participant
Your skill at verbal and nonverbal communication probably creates the single most important impression during an interview.  Here are some suggestions for interviewing:

  • Be on time for the interview
  • Make sure you have a resume.  A resume is a neatly typed summary giving your name, education, and previous work experience.
  • Be certain your appearance is neat, clean and conservative.
  • Answer the interview's questions completely, do not ramble.
  • Do not lie during an interview.
  • Emphasize your past experiences, and show that you have been in a position of responsibility or leadership, no matter how insignificant they may seem to you.
  • Speak in a voice that can be clearly heard.
  • Listen carefully to everything the interviewer says.

Follow up
If you are not offered the job at the close of the interview, correct follow-up may determine whether you will get it later.  This generally consists of mailing a business letter to the interviewer thanking them for the opportunity to interview.

Conducting An Interview

Interviews are a major source of information.  Businessmen, government officials, and news reporters use interviews to gather material.  Students may also conduct interviews when preparing material for reports or speeches.

There is a major difference in being the interviewer (one who interviews) and the interviewee (the person who is being interviewed).  If you are the interviewer, do the following:

Prepare Thoroughly: If you are the interviewer, decide on the information you need to chose the best person to interview.  You may also need to study any background material about the topic or subject that you will be interviewing on.

Manage the Interview Carefully:  If you are the interviewer, make sure your appearance will make a good impression.  Arrive promptly and greet your interviewee with a firm handshake and express your pleasure to be able to talk with him or her.  Be sure to start the interview by explaining the purpose of the interview, allow the interviewee to talk in the event you need to ask more questions, then begin asking your questions for the interview.  If you are using a tape recorder during the interview, be sure to ask permission of the interviewee.  If unable to use a tape recorder, then take good notes.

Follow-up:  Follow up by sharing the outcome of your interview with the interviewee.