Positive Consequence Implied Statement Assignment
Feeling emotionally closer to another person (intimacy) “Being able to talk with you like this makes me feel closer to you.”
Feeling validated or affirmed by the other person “I’m telling you this because I want you to tell me that what I did was right.”
Strengthening your identity “He got mad at me when I said that, but I don’t care.”
Exploring your feelings “The more I talk about this, the more I understand the different feelings I have.”
Achieving a greater sense of authenticity— being true to yourself
“It feels so good to be able to talk about this honestly with someone.”
Relieving the burden of painful or shameful experiences “It is such a relief to get this off my chest.” Source: Adapted from Farber, B. A. (2006). Self-disclosure in psychotherapy. New York, NY: Guilford Press.
However, self- disclosure can sometimes be painful and even harmful. Table 7.2 summarizes some of the n egative consequences of self- disclosure identified by Robin Kowalski (1999). It is also important to keep in mind that alt
hough self- disclosure has an impact on relationships, individuals, and health, it is not always or entirel y beneficial, as we discussed earlier.
Table 7.2: The negative consequences of self-disclosure
Being rebuffed by the other person
Burdening another person with your secrets so that he or she might worry about it, feel responsible for doing something, or identify with your pain
Creating undesired impressions about yourself or being seen as different because of the disclosure and perhaps changing the way the other person sees you
Increasing your feelings of vulnerability or feeling that you have given away too much of yourself
Facing undesirable parts of yourself and acknowledging that you are not the person you wish to be
Giving the other person power over you and being in danger of the other person using that information against you Source: Adapted from: Kowalski, R. M. (1999). Speaking the unspeakable: Self-
disclosure and mental health. In R. M. Kowalski & M. R. Leary (Eds.), The social psychology of emotional and behavioral pro blems (pp. 225–248). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
6.1 Business and Professional Communication
Almost everyone is employed at some sort of job during their lifetime. It may be a part- time summer job between school semesters, a volunteer position with a charity or nonprofi t organization, or a full- time career. Considering the various types of jobs available to you, how would you respond if someone asked you, “Why do you work?” Many people would say, “I work because I have to,” or, “I work to pay the bills.” Although these are our primary reasons for working, and ar e certainly important, most of us derive additional, important benefits from our work. The nonmonetary rewards from our jobs fall into two main categories: self-fulfillment— the feelings of competence, recognition, and personal reward from knowing a job and doing it well—and social interaction— the feeling of being part of a team and having social relationships with coworkers. We main tain these business relationships through communication, which we also use to seek and sh are information, make decisions, coordinate and complete tasks, and influence and motivat e others in business and professional contexts (Myers, Seibold, & Park, 2011).
Business and professional communication (BPC) is a broad communication context that inc ludes all of the different forms of messages exchanged in the workplace or in a professional setting. This definition can include written and oral communication, both verbal and nonve rbal, and can also take place in digital or mediated contexts. Additionally, BPC encompasses the gathering and dissemination of information that is relevant to that particular business setting, as well as the promotion of a specific product, service, or organization. Advertising, public relations, marketing, crisis and reputation management, human resources, event pla nning, and corporate communications are all areas of BPC, and BPC in all of these specific a reas involves how coworkers or members of a professional organization relate interperson ally. Communication in these professional settings is not solely about the work that we do. We al so communicate with our colleagues at work because we like them. We build interpersonal relationships with them that we wish to maintain, and we give and receive social support fr om them. In fact, the interpersonal component of our business and professional relationshi ps is vital. For example, a study examining the demands of work found that support from pe ers in the workplace buffered employees from the negative health effects of job stress and s train, which then reduced employee mortality (Shirom, Toker, Alkaly, Jacobson, & Balicer, 2 011). Arie Shirom and colleagues also found that this colleague support, which involved im mediate coworkers being friendly and helpful with solving problems, reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety (Shirom et al., 2011). This also includes employees who telecommu te— that is, employees who work from a remote location, usually from home or a different office . Telecommuters perceive greater support from their superiors than those who work full- time in an office setting, which then contributes to them reaching their work goals and feeli ng more engaged with their work (Masuda, Holschlag, & Nicklin, 2017). Thus, our interpers onal relationships in the workplace can positively impact our health and our productivity i n multiple important ways, and this chapter focuses on this and other interpersonal aspects of BPC.
The Importance of Interpersonal Communication in the Workplace
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (2018), Americans spend an average of 8.6 hour s working during a typical workday. This significant time devoted to working drives home t he importance of competent communication in business and professional settings. Interper sonal and written communication skills are some of the most important skills you can devel op to help you achieve your academic and professional goals. In business, government, and other professional fields, people communicate to share information, to persuade others, to reach goals and obtain results, and to form positive relationships with clients and customer s (Picardi, 2001).