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Rosamelia Solorzano Rivas

Forum 3

The Process of Interpersonal Communication

Concerning interpersonal communication, Stewart (2012) familiarizes us with the metaphors of inhaling and exhaling. He goes on to discuss how people receive information with a focus on the principle of inhaling. Inhaling has a lot of deal to do with a perception that Stewart (2012) describes as “a social and cognitive mechanism in which people give meaning to sensory cues” (p. 163). Regrettably, only because we perceive information in a certain way does not mean that we understand it correctly. If perceptions are generalized or wrong, while somebody is inhaling information, it is effortless to communicate ineffectively (Stewart, 2012).

Worse still, incorrect inhaling, combined with poor perception, can lead to attribution formation (p. 171), stereotyping (p. 172), quick thinking (p.174), making snap decisions (p. 175), making attributional errors (p. 175), and more (Stewart, 2012). These improper assumptions may undesirably affect interpersonal communication and may cause the speaker to upset and even harm the listener. Fortunately, the question of poor perceptions during the inhalation process is resolved through; mindful listening (Stewart, 2012, p. 186).

In contrast, exhaling appertains to how people convey information (Stewart, 2012). Exhalation is an essential element in the process of communication. Stewart (2012) provided advice to encourage speakers to interact with intent and authority; to invite speakers to feel able to disclose information about them (p. 211-212), to talk with consistency and power (p. 218), to warn of self-sabotage (p. 221), not to disregard the subject (p. 222), and more. Stewart (2012) indicated that the expression of information (exhalation) is just as crucial as the receipt of information (inhalation). Good exhaling and inhaling abilities can promote superior communication between individuals. It is essential to use both skills simultaneously to ensure excellent interpersonal communication. Failure to establish or maintain healthy interpersonal communication can be very detrimental.


Stewart, J. (2012). Bridges not walls: A book about interpersonal communication (11thed.). New

York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education. ISBN 9780073534312

Second reply:

Kaedian Schimmels

Forum 3-Mindful Listening


In Bridges not wall: A book about interpersonal communication, author John Stewart, discusses mindful listening and the importance of mindfulness in interpersonal communication. As I’m writing this discussion board post, my son interrupts and is speaking to me about something. Throughout our conversation, I’m thinking about the discussion board topic and an important phone call that I need to make in an hour. I’m also thinking about a work email that I forgot to respond to. At the end of the conversation, I can’t fully recall what was discussed as I was not actively listening, but rather multi-tasking and not being mindful as to what was being said during the conversation. Multi-tasking can be good but regards to interpersonal communication, Stewart (2012) cautioned about the misuse of multi-taking as it can lead to mindlessness (Stewart, 2012, p. 188). Stewart (2012) described mindlessness as the inability to concentration on the speaker as the mind/self is bombarded with private thoughts that takes away from the speaker (Stewart, 2012, p. 190-191). Being mindful during active listening requires the listener to be connected to the here and now and the listener is focusing his/her attention solely on one thing at a time (Stewart, 2012, p. 190). From the essay on mindful listening, Sharif (2000) described mindful listening as “the ability to receive the spoken work accurately, retain information, sustain attention, attend to your own responsive speech, and encourage the speaker” (Sharif, 2000). Mindfulness requires the listener to actively participate by seeing, hearing, and feeling during the conversation (Stewart, 2012, 187). Therefore, the listener is not mentally or physically multi-tasking, but focusing directly on the conversation.

My son interrupts my writing a second time and this time I practice mindful listening. I shift my eyes away from the computer and make direct eye contact with him. I focus on his voice, mood, and body language (focusing on the present/here and now). I reflect on what he is communicating during pauses (sustain attention). I’m able to respond appropriately (attentive to my responsive speech). I was not only able to retain and remember the conversation, but also the experience after our communication had ended. This conversation was much more satisfying for both my son and me.

Hopefully, I will remember this during other conversations and during my prayer time when I can be so easily distracted.

In our prayer/communication with God, we must practice mindfulness. We see an example of this as David prays for guidance in Psalm 5, “Give ear to my words, O Lord, consider my meditation. Give heed to the voice of my cry; My King and my God, for to You I will pray” (The Holy Bible, 2010. Psalm 5:1-2). David is focus on God and God’s sovereignty during his prayer and he knows that God listens intently to his prayers. In our Christian walk, we are also urged to focus on Christ abiding in Him as He abides in us (The Holy Bible, 2010, John 15:5).

Word count: 494


Sharif, R. Z. (2000). The zen of listening: Mindful communication in the age of distraction. Quest Books.

Stewart, J. (2012). Bridges not walls: A book about interpersonal communication (11th ed.). McGraw-Hill.

The Holy Bible: New King James Version. 2010. Thomas Nelson.