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How Different Settings Affect Communication

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  • 0:04 Environmental Contexts
  • 1:08 Location Affect`
  • 2:04 Time Affect
  • 3:09 Temperature & Weather
  • 3:39 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Joe Ricker
Where and when communication takes place are important considerations to make interpersonal communication as effective as possible. Therefore, there are times and places where taking out your cell phone or giving a presentation might have to be reconsidered.

Environmental Contexts

Where an event takes place is often closely associated to our memory. The city where we were born, the park we played in, the grocery store we shop at, the room where we eat dinner, even the time of year when we were born are all aspects of setting (where or when an event takes place). When we consider communication as an event, setting is an important factor.

Communication varies depending on setting, which depends on the environmental contexts of interpersonal communication. Environmental contexts refer to the physical location, or where the communication is taking place, and when that communication takes place. Environmental contexts can have negative and/or positive effects on interpersonal communication. One negative aspect involves producing barriers, or things that inhibit effective communication. For example, a conversation outside on a park bench during a windy day faces obstacles in communication that might not be present in a quiet room on a sofa. So things like location, temperature, weather, or time of day affect communication and present different barriers for effective communication.

Location Affect

At some point, most of us have seen a scene in a movie or on television where a patient meets with a psychiatrist and reclines on a couch to release their inner angst. The couch and the room where the patient meets the psychiatrist are environmental contexts. Think about the importance of communication between a doctor and a patient in this scenario. Effective communication, concerning environmental contexts like location, depends on comfort. If someone is uncomfortable in their environment, communication might break down, which produces barriers to the effectiveness of the message and how it's received or delivered.

Our technology has, in some ways, improved or enhanced our ability to communicate. However, where we use that technology to communicate is something to consider. Texting in a theater or during a presentation produces a distraction or a barrier for others to receive information. So, it's also important to consider how our communication affects others in an environmental context.

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