Chapter 1. Conditions That Hinder Effective Communication

J. William Pfeiffer

A person's interpersonal life is dependent on that person's facility for making his or her thoughts, feelings, and needs known to others and on that person's receptiveness to the attempts of others to share similar data with him or her. Communication, a multifaceted phenomenon, is the result of efforts by individuals toward this end. Communication can be considered in simplistic terms as the sending and receiving of messages, as both elements must be present for communication to take place. However, the fundamental transaction of message sent and received does not presuppose that communication has occurred. Often, it has only partially occurred or has been aborted entirely as a result of the circumstances surrounding the occasion when the communication attempt was made. These circumstances may be environmental, emotional, verbal-skill oriented, phenomenological, or resulting from a host of conditions present within the individuals who are attempting to relate.

An analogy may help to clarify the concept of the effect of circumstances on the effectiveness of sending and receiving messages. In the late afternoon when you observe a sunset, the sun often appears to be a deep red, larger and less intense than it seems at midday. This is due to the phenomenon of refraction, the bending of the light rays as they pass through the earth's atmosphere, and the higher density of dust in the air through which the light ...

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