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How well do you manage the three communication goals that influence every interaction that you have with others?

Three goals have a profound impact on the outcome of every interpersonal exchange that we have with others.  These goals are typically unstated and participants in the same conversation often have no idea which of these goals may be motivating those with whom they interact.

During any given conversation, these goals may cooperate, compete or clash as they silently influence the course of each interpersonal exchange.  Interactions with others are so profoundly impacted by these powerful goals that efforts to address our most significant needs may be jeopardized or completely abandoned.  Imbalance among these goals can lead to interpersonal conflict and failure to achieve communication priorities.

In OneOp training webinar, Communication for Interpersonal Relationships, Dr. Leanne Knobloch, Ph.D., Professor and Director of Graduate Studies of Communication at the University of Illinois explained that individuals may tend to be motivated more frequently by one of the goals than others in efforts to communicate.   This may be especially true in times of stress.

Learning how to recognize and manage each of the three hidden goals can help us more effectively navigate interactions with others.  To assess the communication goal or goals that most frequently influence your communication efforts, see the chart below.

  • Instrumental Goals – The priority is the achievement of tangible resources or favors that we would like to get from others.
  • Relational Goals– The priority is preserving or altering the status of our relationship with others.
  • Self-Presentational Goals– The priority is the projection of an image of ourselves to others.

Dr. Knobloch offers evidence-based strategies to help reduce the dangers associated with juggling these communication goals.   One strategy includes the use of High Person-Centered Messages.   High Person-Centered Messages help promote a sense of mutual respect and have been shown through research to be effective in efforts to provide comfort.

If you would like to learn more about using High Person Centered Messages and other evidence-based communication strategies, watch OneOp webinar:  Communication for Interpersonal Relationships.  Complete the post-session quiz to receive available CEU’s.

 This MFLN-Military Caregiving concentration blog post was published on December 9, 2016.