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NSE - Interpersonal Communication: Interpersonal Communication

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.

Interpersonal Communication - Department of Communication - The University  of Utah

Characteristics of a Competent Communicator

Are you a good communicator?
Yes, I am an awesome communicator!: 7976 votes (32.74%)
No, I am a horrible communicator!: 925 votes (3.8%)
Well, it really just depends on the situation.: 14714 votes (60.39%)
Wait, what makes a good communicator?: 750 votes (3.08%)
Total Votes: 24365

Here is the good news: communication is a skill that can improve with practice.  Therefore, regardless of your perceived skill level, you can evolve into a great communicator.  

So what is a great communicator? Author Kory Floyd suggests that a competent communicator is one who communicates "in ways that are effective and appropriate in a given situation" (25).  He offers that competent communicators have five characteristics in common. Review each of the characteristics and their respective descriptions below.  


 Based on the information above, answer the questions below. 

Pause and Reflect

Which is your strongest characteristic?
Self-awareness: 4426 votes (20.45%)
Adaptability: 4441 votes (20.52%)
Empathy: 7179 votes (33.16%)
Cognitive complexity: 2893 votes (13.36%)
Ethics: 2708 votes (12.51%)
Total Votes: 21647

Pause and Reflect

What is your weakest characteristic?
Self-awareness: 4548 votes (21.08%)
Adaptability: 4060 votes (18.81%)
Empathy: 3854 votes (17.86%)
Cognitive complexity: 6972 votes (32.31%)
Ethics: 2146 votes (9.94%)
Total Votes: 21580

Our Focus

By pausing and reflecting on your strongest and weakest characteristics, you're one step closer to becoming a competent communicator.  Such reflection is key to enhancing your self-awareness. All of the other characteristics are important, but we will we will focus our attention on self-awareness, self-monitoring, and cognitive complexity. After all, it is quite difficult to improve on the other characteristics if you are not aware of your current conversational behaviors and how they impact other people. So, let's first take a look at verbal and non-verbal communication.  

To proceed to the next topic, click the "Verbal/Non-Verbal Communication " 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. 

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