Interpersonal communication is a transactional process in which participants relate by simultaneously sending and receiving messages from each other. Adopting the excellent interpersonal communication skills is very important in a social setup, but still, the communication channel can be altered by elements of perception and stereotyping.
In that effect, we have learnt that perception is a process of attaining awareness and understanding of the environment by interpreting messages, and there is no doubt that people do this differently. Based on various factors in individuals lives and backgrounds such as culture, beliefs, religion, and many other aspects of an environment, individuals would understand and interpret things differently hence leading to a complete distortion or difference in perception of a message. Having learned this in class and observed it practically in a hospital environment where people of different cultures, races, and ethnic backgrounds interact openly, I discovered that these people have a preset perception of someone before they even talk, and this is based on the person’s appearance. As a result, when a person tries to communicate with the recipients, in most cases, he/she already has a present judgment of what is going to be said and this blocks the interpersonal communication process. The class has therefore been very effective in illumination this aspect that blocks the communication process. Therefore, for the effective communication of the message, recipient needs to clear his or her mind of any present judgment or perceptions of person trying to communicate. This is a sure way to help in understanding exactly what someone else is trying to say.
Another important point to note is stereotyping. Stereotypes make judgments about other people based on many factors like gender, race, and many others. Consequentially, this hinders them from having an effective exchange of messages because they have a thought that is blocking them from effectively understanding what the other person is trying to say. For example, in a certain scenario in a hospital, I asked a patient what she was going to do in the afternoon. When she said that she was going to work, which is her own business, I immediately had this intuition that she is a very rich woman. This stereotypic thought alone could now divert everything she said and I would understand it very differently. Concerning that, therefore, the class has taught us that in a communication channel it is very important to listen from an objective point of view rather than letting factors that alter a communication process to set in. This is where the power of excellent listening skills comes in as was taught in class. Mastering the art of good listening therefore completely irons out the barriers of a communication channel (Downs 187).