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CHAPTER 1 - REVIEW OF COMMUNICATION PROCESS > 5. Levels of Communication

5. LEVELS OF COMMUNICATION

Levels of communication are determined on the basis of the number of people involved in the process of communication as well as on the purpose of communication. These levels of communication are depicted in Figure 1.6.

 

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Figure 1.6 Levels of Communication

5.1. Intrapersonal Communication

Intrapersonal communication refers to communication with the self. It may be silent or verbal type of communication. Intrapersonal type of communication approximates with the thinking process, in which the person consciously sends information to himself/herself in order to analyze a situation. This communication strategy is particularly useful when someone has to make important life decisions or is facing a conflicting situation. “Positive self-talk” is a type of intrapersonal communication that can be used as a tool to improve the nurses or client's health and self-esteem.

5.2. Interpersonal Communication

It refers to one-to-one interaction between two persons that often occurs face to face. The purpose of interpersonal communication is to share information, opinion, ideas, and so on (Figure 1.7). Interpersonal communication can be further divided into three types:

 

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Figure 1.7 Types of Interpersonal Communication

5.2.1. Assertive Communication

It is a type of interpersonal communication that has the following characteristics:

  • Confidently expressing what you think, feel, and believe.
  • Raising voice for your rights while respecting the rights of others.
  • Conveying meaning and expectations without humiliating or degrading others.
  • Based upon respect for you and respect for other people's need and rights.

It is noteworthy here that, unfortunately most of the nurses are not using assertive communication in their professional life because of so many reasons. There is a need to change the current situation, and the responsibility lies on young budding nurses so that the professional image of the nurses can be improved in India.

5.2.2. Nonassertive Communication

Nonassertive communication is characterized as follows:

  • Inability to express consistently what you think, feel, and believe.
  • Allowing others to violate your rights without challenge.
  • Reflecting lack of respect for your own preferences.
  • Others can easily disregard your thoughts, feelings, and beliefs.

It cannot be considered a good communication strategy for a professional nurse.

5.2.3. Aggressive Communication

Aggressive communication takes place when someone expresses himself/herself in ways that intimidate, demean, or degrade another person, pursuing what you want in ways that violate the rights of another person. It is considered as an unsuitable communication technique for a professional nurse.

5.3. Transpersonal Communication

Communication that occurs within a person's spiritual domain is referred as transpersonal communication. The purpose of transpersonal communication is to realize self-hood, enhance spirituality, and answer the questions that are spiritual in nature.

5.4. Small-group Communication

This type or level of communication takes place within a small group. The purpose of small-group communication is to communicate information that is of common interest to group members or sometimes to know the opinions of group members to arrive at a decision.

5.5. Public Communication

Public is usually considered as a large group of people or laypersons with a vast difference in a number of factors, e.g., socioeconomic status, literacy level, occupation, and habitat. Communication to public serves some purposes that benefit the common man (e.g., health education) or sometimes to make requests or to get favors from the public in general elections. Public communication requires special communication skills as the size of the group is very large with so many differences among the group members as described earlier. There is a need to maintain different types of eye contact with the public, gestures, and voices, and media materials should be used to communicate messages effectively.

5.6. Social Communication

Social communication takes place in the social context. Being a social animal, human beings establish relationship with other people to accomplish several purposes throughout their life span. In order to keep these social relations alive and being social, one has to communicate with others. “Good morning. How are you?” “How are your children?” This type of communication is one's social obligation to communicate within his/her social group to which he/she belongs.

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