Interpersonal communication is defined by Brooks and Heath (1993) as “the process by which information, meanings and feelings are shared by persons through the exchange of verbal and nonverbal messages (as cited in Dickson and Hargie, 2003, p.1). In order to demonstrate my understanding of effective and non-effective communication skills I have chosen to analyse a dialogue between a seasoned policeman and a hardened criminal taken from the movie Heat.
It is deep and meaningful interaction between two adversaries. After much deliberation I have narrowed down my analysis to the use of rapport building, self-disclosure and empathy, verbally and non-verbally. I will also attempt to identify the barriers to communication in this dialogue and explore the reasons why these skills were used ineffectively, and suggest how they could have been improved upon.
Rapport-building is defined by Robbins (1986, p. 207, as cited in Study Guide) as ‘the ability to enter someone else’s world, to make him feel that you understand him, that you have a strong common bond’ I think it is at the very core of effective interpersonal communication because it ‘is one of the most important features or characteristics of unconscious human interaction’ and without it the purpose of the interaction cannot be achieved. It is ‘commonality of perspective, being in "sync", being on the same "wavelength" as the person with whom you are talking’ (http://www.inspirationalsolutions-lp.co.uk/theimportanceofrapport.pdf).
Following that line of thinking it is essential to establish rapport as soon as possible in a didactic interpersonal conversation, whatever the purpose of the discussion is – to learn, to relate, to play or to help (De Vito, p.80). The very first sentence that Hanna says demonstrates an attempt to establish rapport “Howya doing?” (he does not wait for an answer and continues talking) “Whaddaya say I buy you a cup of coffee?”. He is wearing casual jeans and a white sweatshirt. One...