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Methods of Communication Essay

The interviewee who agreed to participate in this project is Mrs. Arthur, a 66 year old woman who lives with her husband and five cats as pets. She arrived 30 minutes before the 10.00a.m appointment and so there was time for her and the interviewer to get acquainted. She showed her photos of her cats that she keeps in her wallet before the interview commenced and the passion she exuded made her seem very cheerful. The interviewer had met Mrs. Arthur earlier in the year through her nice, Nicole. Barely an acquaintance, she was considered perfect for this study. The venue of the interview was a restaurant in her locality and the room was very quiet except for the sounds of utensils, cutlery and hushed conversations. The interviewer and the respondent sat adjacent to each other at a dining table which bore a flower vase as display at its middle. This sitting position enabled them to talk in a friendly manner and moreover, the setting chosen was devoid of interferences. The interviewer was comfortable with her client which could be attested to the ability to make eye contact (Seiler & Beall, 2010).

In the interview with Mrs. Arthur, the interviewer sought to find out what made people successful, and her advice towards young people of this day. A set of open ended questions to guide this interview had been prepared in advance but as the interview progressed, these questions led to other questions and thus deeper issues on this subject (Paul et al., 2005). This interview took the form of informal communication. Interpersonal communication skills were utilized whereby the dialogue between the interviewer and the respondent was present as a form of communication between two people (Barker, 2010), and in this case it was face to face. This was a focused interaction whereby the encounter between Mrs. Arthur and the interviewer resulted in conscious communication taking place (Nielsen, 2008). Non-verbal communication was also present in form of gestures and information that was recorded; Mrs. Arthur was able to show the interviewer photographs of her cats and interviewer was able to use questions she had prepared for the interview earlier (Seiler & Beall, 2010). Verbal and non-verbal types of communication were also used in the course of this interview. Another method of communication that was used was intentional questioning. Intentional questioning procedures; probing, secondary and open ended questions were all used to meet the objectives of this interview among others.

The informal methods of communication, as well as verbal and non-verbal methods of communications were used in this interview. The informal communication method worked and this can be attributed to a number of reasons. First, the fact that it took place face to face with client enabled the interviewer to obtain feedback from the client promptly (Paul et al., 2005). Secondly, it was also good for clarification of questions that may not have been clear to the client. Thirdly, the client had the opportunity to ask further questions in case something was not clear (Davis et al., 2009). This method of communication also offered flexibility to the interviewer to ask questions that may have been overlooked during the preparation process. Moreover, it was possible to set the mood of the interview besides giving the client undivided attention (Barker, 2010). On the other hand, this method was faced by one weakness; deviation from the original topic. This may be attributed to the weakness of the interviewer or the dominant personality of the interviewee (Nielsen, 2008). As a result, the interview took longer than had been anticipated (Davis et al., 2009).

As far as non-verbal communication is concerned, the interviewer was sometimes not able to understand the respondent’s unusual figures of speech as she is Italian by birth. Her gestures were also markedly difficult to comprehend. Intentional questioning also worked as a tool of communication in this case. What made intentional questioning effective is unique to each method of intentional questioning. The questions that had been prepared for the interview before the actual interview were open ended. They enabled the introduction of critical areas to which the client’s opinion was being sought (Davis et al., 2009). These are the questions that led to other questions such as recall and process questions among others. Recall questions placed very little demand on the interviewee. They encouraged her to share more thus building a good rapport. Process questions in this case gave the client a chance to underscore what she thought was an important aspect of the topic under discussion. They were also used for the purpose of seeking clarification from the client; they mostly included hypothetical situations, of which the client was supposed to tell how they were related to success of individuals (Nielsen, 2008). Intentional questioning also suffered several setbacks in the course of the interview. This was when the interviewer was unable to express herself sufficiently (Seiler & Beall, 2010). The client was cooperative and asked questions where she felt she had failed to understand.

In the beginning, the interviewer was a bit uneasy and apprehensive as she did not know what to expect from Mrs. Arthur (Nielsen, 2008). However, during the course of the interview, the interviewer relaxed and became comfortable. She was able to understand Mrs. Arthur quite well as a result of being able to relate to the experiences that she had had, as well as the experiences of other people which she had observed. To some extent, the interviewer thought that she was too involved to be objective but on the other hand, the connection felt between her and Mrs. Arthur may be interpreted as a strength. Before the interview, the interviewer had relied on popular concepts of success in life but after it, there was a realization that success in life is a concept whose definition, characteristics and means to achieving it vary according to different individuals, and therefore the modern day concept of success are not accurate guides for success (Seiler & Beall, 2010).

In the course of the interview, the respondents’ personality was well brought out. It was obvious that the respondent was very pleasant to be with, a fact she was aware of; this may be characterized as her “open self” (Barker, 2010). As the interview went further along, she revealed the fact that she sometimes kept grudges, a fact that revealed her hidden self. As the interview progressed, she noticed that the respondent displayed escapist tendencies by refusing to respond to questions she may have considered uncomfortable in spite of the interviewer rephrasing and asking the same questions severally (Davis et al., 2009). She did this unconsciously as was attested by her body language and this pointed out to the blind self of her character. The respondent also considered she was successful as a result of knowing how to treat people well but on the other hand, she reported that once or twice she had become very angry with her employees to a point of firing them without their pay and this came across as a major indicator of her unknown self.

The circular transactional theory of communication was witnessed at play during this interview (Nielsen, 2008). Both the respondent and the interviewer were able to understand each other exceptionally well and in addition, communication between them was continuous whereby what one said influenced how the other responded leading to a logical conversation on the subject. The interviewer played the role of both the sender and the receiver of the messages (Seiler & Beall, 2010). These messages were encoded or decoded when being sent and received by the interviewer. The respondent also played the role of both the sender and the receiver of the messages. These messages were encoded or decoded when being sent and received by the respondent respectively. The interviewer and the respondent both acted as the senders and receivers of the messages; both of them introduced ideas and gave feedback (Paul et al., 2005). The interviewer encoded questions that formed the basis of the subject of the interview whereas the respondent encoded the responses that were appropriate for these questions as well as questions that sought clarification from the interviewer. The channel of communication in this case was face to face (Davis et al., 2009).


Barker, A. (2010). Improve Your Communication Skills: Present with Confidence; Write with Style; Learn Skills of Persuasion. London: Oxford Press.

Davis, M. Fanning, P. & McKay, M. (2009). Messages: The Communication Skills Book. London: Continuum.

Nielsen, J. (2008). Effective Communication Skills. New York: Academic Publishers.

Paul, J., Donoghue, M. & Siegel, M. (2005). Are You Really Listening? Keys to Successful Communication. Philadelphia: Savant Publishers.

Seiler, J. & Beall, M. (2010). Communication: Making Connections (8th Edition). London: Sage.

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