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NSE - Interpersonal Communication: Self-Monitoring

The following lesson explores select topics in communication. Such topics include the communication process, self-awareness, verbal and nonverbal communication, self-monitoring, and building communication skills.


While it is important to be aware of the verbal and nonverbal messages you send in a conversation, it is also important to be cognizant of how those messages effect the other people involved in the conversation. This is referred to as self-monitoring. High self-monitors are individuals that are keenly aware of the how their appearance and verbal and nonverbal communication are perceived in a conversation and can adjust their behavior accordingly. Low self-monitors, on the other hand, are oblivious to people's reactions to their messages. Click the play button below to watch “Low Self-Monitor” and identify the low self-monitor in the conversation. 

Were you able to identify the low self-monitor in the video?  If so, how could you tell? Most likely, you observed how he continued using the same verbal and nonverbal message in spite of the perceived discomfort of his co-worker. Sometimes, it's easy to identify the ineffective communication patters of others - particularly when it as obvious as this.  It can be a lot more challenging to assess your patterns when you are in the middle of a conversation.  Mastering this skill requires self-awareness and the ability to read social situations and other people's social cues.  It also requires the ability to adapt with the flow of the conversation. 

New Student Tip: Working in groups in college is practically inevitable. It is important to contribute to all group work by completing assigned tasks in a timely fashion.  It is also important monitor your verbal and nonverbal messages while communication with your group and adjust your behaviors accordingly.  Doing so will minimize miscommunication, reduce your likelihood of being involved in a disagreement with your peers. For tips on how to work effectively in groups, click here

Pause and Reflect

Think about your self-monitoring skills.  Would you classify yourself as a high self-monitor or a low self-monitor?  Psychologist Mark Snyder developed a self-monitoring scale to help individuals more accurately answer that question.  Take the Self-Monitoring Assessment by clicking here.  A new window will open that takes you to the University of Cambridge's Psychometrics Centre website. Read the directions and then press the yellow box that says "Proceed" to begin the assessment.  It should take 2-5 minutes to complete.  Please note: at the end of the assessment, you will be given the option to input your personal information.  You do not have to answers those question.  To skip that section, press "no thanks".  Upon completion, review your results.  To return to this page, press the back button in your web browser to return to this screen and answer the question below. 

Are your results from the assessment similar to your self-evaluation?
Yes, they are similar!: 8235 votes (86.3%)
No, they are way off!: 1307 votes (13.7%)
Total Votes: 9542

To proceed to the next topic, click the "Building Communication Skills" tab above. 

Gamble, Teri K. and Michael W. Gamble. Interpersonal Communication: Building Connections Together. Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications Inc., 2014. Print.

Gamble, Teri K. and Michael W. Gamble. Communication Works. 10th ed. New York: McGraw Hill, 2010. Print.

Floyd, Kory. Interpersonal Communication. 3rd edition. New York: McGraw Hill Education, 2017. Print.