4 Principles of Interpersonal Communication

Behind all the skills and techniques you can learn to enhance your communication, there are four principles worth understanding:

1. It’s inescapable.  You cannot NOT communicate.  Even your body sends a message when you are silence.

2. It’s irreversible.  Once you’ve send something (verbally or non-verbally), it’s out there.  You can reword it or ask to take it back, but it’s out there.

 3. It’s complicated.  Words are actually symbols, given different meaning by different people in different circumstances.

4. It’s contextual – psychological, cultural, situational….When and where you speak will have a bearing on the meaning of your message and how it is received.

Thanks to Donnell King for this list.  You’ll also find discussion of these and other concepts in Communication Case Studies: Enhancing Interpersonal Skills in the Veterinary Practice.