a 1,750 to 2,100-word paper that applies three of the communication theories you have studied so far to your personal and/or professional life. For each theory you discuss, provide three examples of the theory at work in your life: ·How might you communicate differently in the future?
Title: Applying Communication Theories to Personal and Professional Life
Communication plays a pivotal role in our personal and professional lives. It is crucial to analyze and understand the theories that underpin effective communication to enhance our interactions. This paper aims to explore and apply three communication theories to the author’s personal and professional experiences. Three examples will be provided for each theory, highlighting their relevance and potential impact on future communication practices.
Theory 1: Social Penetration Theory
The social penetration theory, developed by Altman and Taylor (1973), posits that relationships develop through gradual and systematic self-disclosure. As individuals reveal more personal information, relationships deepen and become more intimate. Applying this theory to my personal life, I have observed the following instances:
Example 1: Building New Friendships – When starting college, I found it challenging to establish friendships. By applying the social penetration theory, I gradually shared personal experiences, interests, and values with potential friends. Consequently, these relationships evolved from superficial acquaintances to more meaningful connections.
Example 2: Improving Family Relationships – I used to have limited communication with some family members due to previous conflicts. However, by implementing the social penetration theory, I initiated open and honest conversations over time. As a result, our relationships improved, as we were able to understand each other’s perspectives and strengthen our bond.
Example 3: Romantic Relationships – In my romantic partnership, applying the social penetration theory has been beneficial. By disclosing personal feelings, fears, and aspirations, my partner and I have fostered greater trust and emotional intimacy. This has enhanced our understanding of one another and strengthened our relationship.
In future interactions, I intend to apply the social penetration theory by gradually opening up and sharing personal experiences with new acquaintances. I understand that this process takes time, but by being more open and vulnerable, I can build deeper and more meaningful relationships.
Theory 2: Cognitive Dissonance Theory
The cognitive dissonance theory, proposed by Festinger (1957), suggests that individuals experience discomfort when inconsistency exists between their beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors. They are compelled to reduce this dissonance by adjusting their attitudes or behaviors to align with their beliefs. The application of this theory in my personal and professional life is evident:
Example 1: Ethical Dilemmas – As a professional in the healthcare field, I have often encountered situations that challenge my ethical beliefs. When faced with conflicting values, I experienced cognitive dissonance. To address this, I engaged in critical reflection, sought guidance from colleagues, and adjusted my behaviors to maintain ethical integrity.
Example 2: Decision-Making – In my personal life, cognitive dissonance occurs when faced with making difficult decisions. For instance, when contemplating a career change, I encountered conflicting thoughts and emotions, leading to cognitive dissonance. To alleviate this discomfort, I engaged in contemplation, sought advice, and finally made a well-informed decision.
Example 3: Political Opinions – In the current sociopolitical climate, I have found myself exposed to diverse political perspectives. Cognitive dissonance arises when encountering viewpoints that challenge my pre-existing beliefs. To reconcile this dissonance, I engage in critical thinking, gather additional information, and consider alternative viewpoints.
In the future, I aim to deal with cognitive dissonance more effectively by actively seeking diverse perspectives and engaging in reflection before making decisions. By doing so, I can reduce discomfort and ensure my actions align with my beliefs and values.
Theory 3: Expectancy Violations Theory
The expectancy violations theory, developed by Burgoon (1978), asserts that individuals have certain expectations regarding communication behaviors. When these expectations are violated, individuals perceive the violator differently and must reevaluate their relationship. This theory is apparent in both personal and professional settings:
Example 1: Workplace Interactions – In a professional setting, communication that deviates from expectations can significantly influence relationships. If a supervisor offers unexpected praise and recognition, violating the expectation for regular feedback, this violation can enhance employee morale and job satisfaction. Conversely, if a coworker constantly interrupts and shows disregard for others’ opinions, this violation can lead to strained relationships.
Example 2: Personal Boundaries – In personal relationships, individuals have varying expectations regarding personal boundaries. If a friend unexpectedly shares personal information that violates one’s boundaries, it may lead to feelings of discomfort or violation. Conversely, when a partner respects and adheres to the boundaries, trust and satisfaction in the relationship can be strengthened.
Example 3: Cultural Norms – Cultural norms and expectations play a significant role in shaping communication behaviors. A person visiting a foreign country may inadvertently violate an established cultural norm, potentially leading to misunderstandings or negative perceptions. However, by adapting to and respecting the cultural expectations, the visitor can foster positive relationships.
In the future, I will strive to be more aware of others’ expectations in various contexts. By staying attuned to their preferences and norms, I can reduce the likelihood of violating these expectations, thus maintaining positive and harmonious relationships.
This paper explored three communication theories – social penetration theory, cognitive dissonance theory, and expectancy violations theory – and provided examples of their application to personal and professional life. By applying these theories, individuals can enhance their communication skills and forge meaningful connections with others. In the future, I aim to incorporate these theories into my interactions, implementing conscious and deliberate communication strategies.
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