Essential Communication

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Edition: 2nd
Format: Loose-leaf
Pub. Date: 2018-12-14
Publisher(s): Oxford University Press
List Price: $63.99

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This is no ordinary textbook. With its revamped design, highly visual features, and concise coverage, the second edition of Essential Communication is a practical, interactive guide for students. Exercises and self-quizzes help students reflect on their own communication patterns and improve their skills. Focused on the fundamentals, every element of this text helps students become better communicators online, in person, at home, and at work.

Author Biography

Ronald B. Adler is Professor Emeritus of Communication at Santa Barbara City College.

George Rodman is Professor of Television and Radio at Brooklyn College.

Athena du Pré is Professor of Communication and Director of the Strategic Communication & Leadership master's degree program at University of West Florida.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1: Communication What and Why
Communication Defined
Communication is symbolic.
Communication is a process.
Communication is irreversible.
Communication is relational.
Models of Communication
Linear Model
Transactional Model
PAUSE to REFLECT: How ''Noisy'' Is Your Communication?
Communication Contexts
Intrapersonal Communication
Dyadic/Interpersonal Communication
Small Group Communication
Organizational Communication
Public Communication
Mass Communication
The Unique Context of Social Media
Audience size varies vastly.
Users generate their own content.
Networks are highly diverse.
TIPS AND REMINDERS: 5 Tips for Communicating Well on Social Media
Communication Competence
There is no ''ideal'' way to communicate.
Competence is situational.
Competence is relational.
Competence can be learned.
Competent communicators are flexible.
Competent communicators are empathic.
Competent communicators are cognitively complex.
Competent communicators self-monitor.
Competent communicators are committed.
PAUSE to REFLECT: What Are Your Communication Goals?
ASK YOURSELF: What Type of Communicator are You?
Misconceptions About Communication
Myth 1: Communication requires complete understanding.
Myth 2: Communication can solve all problems.
Myth 3: Communication is good.
Myth 4: Meanings are in words.
Myth 5: Communication is simple.
Myth 6: More communication is always better.
COMMUNICATION TAKE-AWAYS: Communication: What and Why
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER: Show Your Communication Know-How

Chapter 2: The Self, Perception, and Communication
The Self-Concept Defined
Communication and the Self-Concept
Significant Others
Mass Media
PAUSE to REFLECT: What Shapes Your Self-Concept?
Mistaken Attributions and Communication
Individuals typically judge themselves more charitably than they judge others.
People often pay more attention to negative impressions than to positive ones.
When individuals do perceive positive qualities, they tend to overgeneralize.
People gravitate to the familiar.
Myths About Gendered Communication
Myth 1: ''Sex'' and ''gender'' are the same.
Myth 2: People are either male or female.
Myth 3: Gender is a continuum.
Empathy, Emotional IQ, and Communication
Display empathy.
Understand the difference between empathy and sympathy.
Cultivate emotional intelligence.
TIPS AND REMINDERS: 3 Steps to Engage in Perception Checking
ASK YOURSELF: How Emotionally Intelligent Are You?
Identity Management
Individuals have public and private selves.
People engage in facework to manage their identities and the identities of others.
Identity management is collaborative.
People have multiple identities.
Identity management may be deliberate or unconscious.
People differ in their degree of identity management.
Roles influence the identities people display.
Identity management can be goal-oriented.
Identity management isn't necessarily dishonest.
PAUSE to REFLECT: Which Identities Do You Enact?
Identity Management and Social Media
Social media can boost self-esteem.
Being genuine matters most.
Self-esteem can enhance emotional resilience.
COMMUNICATION TAKE-AWAYS: Self, Perception, and Communication
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER: Show Your Communication Know-How

Chapter 3: Communication and Culture
Culture Defined
Communication and Cocultures
Race and Ethnicity
Regional Differences
Sexual Orientation and Gender
Socioeconomic Status
Political Viewpoints
Physical Ability and Disability
Age and Generation
Ideas about aging change over time.
Stereotypes discourage open communication.
Being young has its challenges.
Generations regard technology differently.
Differences emerge at work.
TIPS AND REMINDERS: 4 Ways to Learn More About Other Cultures
Cultural Values and Norms
Individualism and Collectivism
High and Low Context
Uncertainty Avoidance
Power Distance
Talk and Silence
Competition and Cooperation
PAUSE TO REFLECT: What Cultural Norms Do You Embrace?
ASK YOURSELF: How Much Do You Know About Other Cultures?
Overcoming Prejudice
We tend to think our culture is the best.
We often prejudge and stereotype others.
Judgments can lead to unfair treatment.
Mindful thinking can help.
Coping with Culture Shock
Don't be too hard on yourself.
Homesickness is normal.
Expect progress and setbacks.
Reach out to others.
COMMUNICATION TAKE-AWAYS: Communication and Culture
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER: Show Your Communication Know-How

Chapter 4: Language
The Nature of Language
Language is symbolic.
Meanings are in people, not in words.
Language is governed by rules.
The Power of Language
Accents and Dialects
''Powerful'' and ''Powerless'' Speech
Affiliative Language
PAUSE TO RELFECT: How Does Language Influence You?
Language is equivocal.
Meaning is relative.
Language differs by community.
Language is nuanced.
TIPS AND REMINDERS: 6 Ways to Avoid Misunderstandings
Disruptive Language
Don't confuse fact and opinion.
Don't confuse facts with inferences.
Don't present emotions as facts.
Don't resort to insults.
TIPS AND REMINDERS: 3 Ways to Distinguish Between Facts and Opinions
Gender and Language
ASK YOURSELF: How Do You Use Language?
COMMUNICATION TAKE-AWAYS: Communication and Language
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER: Show Your Communication Know-How

Chapter 5: Listening
The Importance of Listening
People with good listening skills are more likely than others to be hired and promoted.
Listening is a leadership skill.
Good listeners are not easily fooled.
Asking for and listening to advice makes you look good.
Listening makes you a better friend and romantic partner.
PAUSE TO REFLECT: How Can You Improve as a Listener?
Misconceptions About Listening
Myth: Hearing and listening are the same thing.
Myth: Listening is a natural process.
Myth: All listeners receive the same message.
The Listening Process
Listening in a Complex World
Message Overload
Rapid Thought
Psychological Noise
Physical Noise
Cultural Differences
TIPS AND REMINDERS: 3 Ways to Limit Social Media Distractions
Gender: Listening and Responding
Women tend to disclose similar experiences.
Men tend to solve or distract.
Empathy from a woman can feel like a put-down to a man.
Comforting from a man can feel like disinterest to a woman.
Awareness can help.
Hurtful Listening Habits
Pretending to Listen
Tuning In and Out
Acting Defensively
Avoiding the Issue
Ignoring Underlying Issues
Being Self-Centered
Talking Too Much
TIPS AND REMINDERS: 6 Tips for Listening Nondefensively
Skills for Different Types of Listening
Relational Listening
Supportive Listening
Task-Oriented Listening
Analytical Listening
Critical Listening
TIPS AND REMINDERS: 4 Tips for Listening Mindfully
ASK YOURSELF: What Are Your Listening Strengths?
COMMUNICATION TAKE-AWAYS: Communication and Culture
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER: Show Your Communication Know-How

Chapter 6: Nonverbal Communication
The Nature of Nonverbal Communication
Nonverbal communication is impossible to avoid.
Nonverbal behavior is part of identity management.
Nonverbal cues help define relationships.
Nonverbal behavior is ambiguous.
Nonverbal communication is essential.
PAUSE TO REFLECT: How Nonverbally Savvy Are You?
Functions of Nonverbal Communication
Deception and Nonverbal Cues
What cues indicate that someone is lying?
What if the deceiver is a child?
Are my odds better if I know the person well?
Why is it so hard to detect deception?
When do I have the best chance of catching a lie?
Kinesic Nonverbal Communication
Eye Contact
Expressions of Emotion
ASK YOURSELF: How Worldly Are Your Nonverbal Communication Skills?
Nonverbal Aspects of Space, Time, and Place
Nonverbal Cues and Attractiveness
Attractiveness Advantage
Body Art
Overall Effect
TIPS AND REMINDERS: 3 Ways to Interpret Nonverbal Cues More Accurately
Gender and Nonverbal Communication
Gender Differences
Media's Influence
Social Structure
TIPS AND REMINDERS: 3 Ways to Convey Nonverbal Cues More Mindfully
COMMUNICATION TAKE-AWAYS: Nonverbal Communication
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER: Show Your Communication Know-How

Chapter 7: Communicating in Interpersonal Relationships
Defining Interpersonal Communication
Relational Messages
Metacommunication is often below the surface.
Metacommunication can be used for more than solving problems.
Metacommunication can be risky.
PAUSE TO REFLECT: What Can Metacommunication Reveal?
Self-Disclosure in Close Relationships
Social Disclosure Defined
Social Penetration Model
The Johari Window
TIPS & REMINDERS: 8 Questions to Consider Before Self-Disclosing
Interpersonal Communication Online
Online communication helps people stay connected.
Online communication can feel nonthreatening.
Online communication can be validating.
Online communication has a pause option . . . sometimes.
Online communication can be distracting.
Online communication can be overwhelming.
PAUSE TO REFLECT: Do You Overuse Social Media?
Confirming and Disconfirming Messages
Use confirming messages more than disconfirming ones.
Show recognition.
Acknowledge thoughts and feelings.
Show that you agree.
TIPS & REMINDERS: 4 Ways to Avoid Damaging Your Relationships
Relational Spirals
Positive Spirals
Negative Spirals
Cyclical Spirals
PAUSE TO REFLECT: Is Your Relationship Spiraling Up or Down?
ASK YOURSELF: What's the Forecast for Your Communication Climate?
COMMUNICATION TAKE-AWAYS: Interpersonal Communication
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER: Show Your Communication Know-How

Chapter 8: Communicating with Friends and Family
Friendships and Family Ties
Family Relationships
Friends and Family
How People Evaluate Friendship Potential
You have a lot in common.
You balance each other out.
You like and appreciate each other.
You admire each other.
You open up to each other.
You interact frequently.
You find the relationship rewarding.
TIPS AND REMINDERS: 4 Reasons You Don't Have to be Perfect to be a Good Friend
Types of Friendships
Short-Term Versus Long-Term
Low Disclosure Versus High Disclosure
Doing-Oriented Versus Being-Oriented
Low Obligation Versus High Obligation
Frequent Contact Versus Occasional Contact
TIPS AND REMINDERS: 7 Communication Strategies for Being a Good Friend
ASK YOURSELF: What Kind of Friendship Do You Have?
Gender and Friendship
Do men and women do friendship differently?
Can heterosexual men and women be just friends?
Are there advantages to other-sex friendships?
How does gender diversity figure into friendship?
Communicating with Friends Online
There is greater diversity online.
Many people share more in person, at least at first.
Online communication can be less anxiety provoking.
Online communication transcends time and space.
More online communication isn't always better.
Parenting Relationships
Family Dynamics
Parenting Styles
Sibling Relationships
TIPS AND REMINDERS: 6 Communication Tips for Strengthening Family Ties
PAUSE TO REFLECT: How Does Your Family Communicate?
COMMUNICATION TAKE-AWAYS: Communicating with Friends and Family
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER: Show Your Communication Know-How

Chapter 9: Communicating with Romantic Partners
Stages of Romantic Relationships
TIPS AND REMINDERS: 3 Ways that Communication Influences Romantic Potential
PAUSE TO REFLECT: Where Does Your Relationship Stand?
Gender and Intimacy
Speaking the Languages of Love
Affirming Words
Quality Time
Physical Touch
Acts of Service
ASK YOURSELF: What's Your Love Language?
Dialectical Perspective
Openness Versus Privacy
Connection Versus Autonomy
Predictability Versus Novelty
TIPS AND REMINDERS: 9 Strategies for Managing Dialectical Tensions
Deception in Romantic Relationships
Altruistic Lies
Self-Serving Lies
Ways that Partners Express Conflict
Indirect Communication
Passive Aggression
Direct Aggression
TIPS & REMINDERS: 3 Ways to Protect Yourself from an Abusive Partner
Conflict Patterns that Destroy Relationships
PAUSE TO REFLECT: How Do You Handle Conflict as a Couple?
Applying Win-Win Problem Solving
Identify your problem and unmet needs.
Make a date.
Describe your problem and needs.
Check your partner's understanding.
Solicit your partner's needs.
Check your understanding of your partner's needs.
Negotiate a solution.
Follow up on the solution.
COMMUNICATION TAKE-AWAYS: Communicating with Romantic Partners
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER: Show Your Communication Know-How

Chapter 10: Communicating to Land a Job
Networking Strategies to Find a Job
View everyone as a networking prospect.
Engage in online networking.
Seek referrals.
Conduct informational interviews.
Show appreciation.
TIPS AND REMINDERS: 5 Strategies to Build a Career-Enhancing Network
Managing Your Online Identity
Take stock of strengths and goals.
Build a professional identity.
Avoid embarrassing posts.
Monitor your online presence.
Do damage control.
Beware mistaken identities.
Don't be scared off.
Don't stop when you get hired.
TIPS AND REMINDERS: 5 Steps to Follow When Applying for a Job
Preparing for a Job Interview
Do your research.
Prepare for likely questions.
Dress for success.
Bring along copies of your résumé and portfolio.
Know when and where to go.
Reframe your anxiety as enthusiasm.
TIPS AND REMINDERS: 4 Ways to Answer "What Is Your Greatest Weakness?"
TIPS AND REMINDERS: 7 Strategies for Creating a Presentation About Yourself
PAUSE TO REFLECT: What Do You Have to Offer?
Interviewing and the Law
Know the law.
Prepare in advance.
Participating in a Job Interview
Mind your manners.
Follow the interviewer's lead.
Keep your answers succinct and specific.
Describe relevant challenges, actions, and results.
Ask good questions of your own.
Follow up after the interview.
Interviewing by Phone or Video
Present a professional identity.
Practice with technology in advance.
Ensure that you have the right time for the interview.
Ask in advance how long the interview will last.
Look at the camera, not at the screen.
Conduct a dress rehearsal.
COMMUNICATION TAKE-AWAYS: Communicating to Land a Job
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER: Show Your Communication Know-How

Chapter 11: Communicating in the Workplace
Communication Skills Boost Career Success
Good communicators work well in teams.
Good communicators enhance client satisfaction.
Good communicators build public awareness.
Good communicators make good leaders.
Good communicators inspire others.
Communication Mistakes to Avoid at Work
Making Fun of People
Overlooking Cultural Differences
Doing Less Than Your Best
Losing Your Cool
Fixating on a Mistake
TIPS & REMINDERS: 8 Ways to Communicate in a Professional Manner Online
Communication Strategies for Leaders
Characteristics of Effective Leaders
Trait Theories of Leadership
Situational Leadership
Transformational Leadership
Behaviors that Demonstrate Leadership Potential
ASK YOURSELF: What's Your Leadership Style?
Working with a Difficult Boss
Put in extra effort.
Make up the difference.
Seek advice from others.
Try to clarify and improve the situation.
Manage your expectations.
Keep a professional demeanor.
Consider moving on.
TIPS AND REMINDERS 5 Steps to Leave a Job Without Burning Bridges
Pause to Reflect: What Has Shaped Your Leadership Approach?
Power in the Workplace
Legitimate Power
Expert Power
Connection Power
Reward Power
Coercive Power
Referent Power
Communication in Small Groups
Definition of a Small Group
Motivational Factors
Rules in Small Groups
Roles in Small Groups
Advantages of Group Problem Solving
Groups have more resources than individuals do.
Group members can catch errors.
Group work enhances buy-in.
Groups benefit from diverse ideas.
Groups are best at solving some problems.
TIPS AND REMINDERS: 4 Stages in Decision-Making Groups
PAUSE TO REFLECT: How Do You Feel About Group Work?
Making the Most of Group Meetings
Encourage equal participation.
Avoid information underload and overload.
Avoid pressure to conform.
Make the most of diversity.
A Structured Problem-Solving Approach
Identify the problem.
Analyze the problem.
Identify criteria for success.
Gather relevant information.
Identify supporting and restraining forces.
Develop creative solutions.
Evaluate possible solutions.
Implement the plan.
Follow up on the solution.
TIPS AND REMINDER: 5 Ways to Reach a Group Decision
COMMUNICATION TAKE-AWAYS: Communicating in the Workplace
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER: Show Your Communication Know-How

Chapter 12: Preparing Speeches
Analyzing the Audience
Demographics and Political Affiliation
PAUSE TO REFLECT: Where Do You Stand?
Attitudes, Beliefs, and Values
Audience Perception of the Occasion
Planning Your Speech
Step 1: Choose a topic.
Step 2: Define your purpose.
Step 3: Write a purpose statement.
Step 4: State your thesis.
Step 5: Gather information.
Step 6: Double check your sources.
TIPS & REMINDERS: 3 Ways to Evaluate Online Information
Structuring Your Speech
Speaking Notes
Organizational Patterns
Creating the Introduction
Capture attention.
Preview the main points.
Set the tone of your speech.
Demonstrate the importance of your topic to your audience.
Establish credibility.
TIPS & REMINDERS: 9 Ways to Capture the Audience's Attention
Designing Conclusions and Transitions
The Conclusion
PAUSE TO REFLECT: How Did You Come to That Conclusion?
Types of Supporting Material
Styles of Support
PAUSE TO REFLECT: What Kind of a Gatherer Are You?

Chapter 13 Presenting Speeches
Managing Speech Anxiety
Facilitative and Debilitative Anxiety
Past Negative Experiences and Irrational Thinking
TIPS AND REMINDERS: 4 Types of Irrational Fears About Public Speaking
PAUSE TO REFLECT: Are You Thinking Rationally?
ASK YOURSELF: Do You Suffer from Speech Anxiety?
TIPS AND REMINDERS: 5 Ways to Overcome Debilitative Speech Anxiety
Choosing a Type of Delivery
Selecting Visual Aids
Objects and Models
Word and Number Charts
Using Visual Aids
Chalkboards, Whiteboards, and Polymer Marking Surfaces
Flip Pads and Poster Boards
Other Electronic Media
Presentation Software
TIPS AND REMINDERS: 5 Rules for Using Visual Aids Effectively
TIPS AND REMINDERS: 4 Steps for Practicing a Speech
Visual Aspects of Delivery
Facial Expression
Eye Contact
TIPS AND REMINDERS: 6 Tips for Online/Virtual Delivery of Speeches
Auditory Aspects of Delivery
TIPS AND REMINDERS: 4 Ways to Improve Your Articulation
PAUSE TO REFLECT: How is Your Articulation?

Chapter 14 Speaking to Inform and Persuade
Informing Versus Persuading
Informative Speeches
Persuasive Speeches
Techniques of Informative Speaking
Define a specific informative purpose.
Use clear, simple language.
Emphasize important points.
TIPS AND REMINDERS: 3 Ways to Make It Easy for the Audience to Listen
Generate audience involvement
TIPS AND REMINDERS: 4 Ways to Handle a Question-and-Answer Period
Techniques of Persuasive Speaking
Set a specific persuasive purpose.
Adapt to your specific audience.
Establish common ground and credibility.
Draw upon Aristotle's Triad.
TIPS AND REMINDERS: 3 Types of Persuasive Appeals
PAUSE TO REFLECT: Informative and Persuasive Speaking
Logic, Ethics, and the Art of Persuasion
Step 1: Structure your basic argument.
Step 2: Describe the problem.
Step 3: Describe the solution.
Step 4: Describe the desired audience response.
Sample Outline Using Monroe's Motivated Sequence
Structuring Reasoning within Your Argument
Claims and Subclaims
The Toulmin Model
TIPS AND REMINDERS: 6 Fallacies and How to Avoid Them
ASK YOURSELF: Can You Identify Common Fallacies?

Appendix A
Appendix B

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