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Interpersonal Communication Skills

What is Interpersonal Communication?

Interpersonal communication is the process by which people exchange information, feelings, and meaning through verbal and non-verbal messages: it is face-to-face communication.

Interpersonal communication is not just about what is actually said - the language used - but how it is said and the non-verbal messages sent through tone of voice, facial expressions, gestures and body language.

When two or more people are in the same place and are aware of each other's presence, then communication is taking place, no matter how subtle or unintentional.  Without speech, an observer may be using cues of posture, facial expression, and dress to form an impression of the other's role, emotional state, personality and/or intentions.  Although no communication may be intended, people receive messages through such forms of non-verbal behaviour.


Elements of Interpersonal Communication

Much research has been done to try to break down interpersonal communication into a number of elements in order that it can be more easily understood.


Commonly these elements include:


The Communicators

For any communication to occur there must be at least two people involved.  It is easy to think about communication involving a sender and a receiver of a message.  However, the problem with this way of seeing a relationship is that it presents communication as a one-way process where one person sends the message and the other receives it.  While one person is talking and another is listening.


In fact communications are almost always complex, two-way processes, with people sending and receiving messages to and from each other simultaneously.  In other words, communication is an interactive process.  While one person is talking the other is listening - but while listening they are also sending feedback in the form of smiles, head nods etc.


The Message

Message not only means the speech used or information conveyed, but also the non-verbal messages exchanged such as facial expressions, tone of voice, gestures and body language.  Non-verbal behavior can convey additional information about the spoken message.  In particular, it can reveal more about emotional attitudes which may underlie the content of speech.



Noise has a special meaning in communication theory.  It refers to anything that distorts the message, so that what is received is different from what is intended by the speaker.  Whilst physical 'noise' (for example, background sounds or a low-flying jet plane) can interfere with communication, other factors are considered to be ‘noise’.

The use of complicated slang, inappropriate body language, inattention, disinterest, and cultural differences can be considered 'noise' in the context of interpersonal communication.

In other words, any distortions or inconsistencies that occur during an attempt to communicate can be seen as noise.



Feedback consists of messages the receiver returns, which allows the sender to know how accurately the message has been received, as well as the receiver's reaction.  The receiver may also respond to the unintentional message as well as the intentional message.  Types of feedback range from direct verbal statements, for example "Say that again, I don't understand", to subtle facial expressions or changes in posture that might indicate to the sender that the receiver feels uncomfortable with the message.  Feedback allows the sender to regulate, adapt or repeat the message in order to improve communication.



All communication is influenced by the context in which it takes place.  However, apart from looking at the situational context of where the interaction takes place, for example in a room, office, or perhaps outdoors, the social context also needs to be considered, for example the roles, responsibilities and relative status of the participants.  The emotional climate and participants' expectations of the interaction will also affect the communication.



The channel refers to the physical means by which the message is transferred from one person to another. In face-to-face context the channels which are used are speech and vision, however during a telephone conversation the channel is limited to speech alone.

When you have the opportunity to observe some interpersonal communication, make a mental note of the behaviours used, both verbal and non-verbal.


Observe and think about the following factors:

  • Who are the communicators?
  • What messages were exchanged?
  • What noise distorts the message?
  • How is feedback given?
  • What is the context of the communication?
  • By observing others - making a conscious effort to understand how communication occurs - you will think about how you communicate and be more aware of the messages you send.


Uses of Interpersonal Communication

Most of us engage in some form of interpersonal communication on a regular basis, how well we communicate with others is a measure of our interpersonal skills.

Interpersonal communication is a key life skill and can be used to:

  • Give and collect information.
  • Influence the attitudes and behaviour of others.
  • Form contacts and maintain relationships.
  • Make sense of the world and our experiences in it.
  • Express personal needs and understand the needs of others.
  • Give and receive emotional support.
  • Make decisions and solve problems.
  • Anticipate and predict behaviour.
  • Regulate power.


Developing Good Customer Relationships and Building Trust With Customers

How can you make your customers happier?



Think of the last time that you stood in a long line in a store, or struggled to reach the right department in a call centre.  How did it make you feel?


Chances are, you felt frustrated.  But you may also have felt that the company didn't value you as a customer.


Experiences like these can cause you to take your custom elsewhere. In time, if other customers do the same, the company's future will be in jeopardy.


Now think what happens when you have a positive customer service experience.  You're happy, your needs are met, you're likely to return to the company in future, and you may even recommend it to your friends.


In this lesson, we'll look at how you can build and maintain good customer relationships.


Why Good Relationships Matter.


Xcite™ notes the importance of strong relationships.  Xcite™ suggests that companies can build competitive advantage by developing good customer relationships.

These good customer relationships generate income, but they also provide invaluable information about your customers' needs.  If your dealership can respond to these needs, it can become even stronger in the future.


It is very important that you communicate with each dealership correctly.

So as an example, it is your job today to take photos of cars.  You print your sheet and gather all the items you need for the day.  You arrive at your first dealership and you walk inside the dealership to get the keys for the vehicles that you need to shoot.  You walk past an employee at this dealership.  What do you think would be good for you to always do?


It would be good for you to be the first one to say hello to them. Even if you are busy and only have time to walk past, Xcite™ believes you need to say hello.  You are not just a photographer but you are part of a professional team that provides a great service.


If you are shy or do not like to talk to people, you need to change.  You need to open up and talk to the people inside the dealership. Being friendly with the managers and the General Manager will be a benefit to you and will provide a better relationship with them. These dealerships that you look after are your babies, you need to do your best to look after them. They are also your money and you need to give them quality and a friendship to keep them paying.


What if you have been friendly to them and they are really liking your service and they ask you to do something

really unusual that is not part of your job role?

What do you think you should say?

How do you think you should say it?

How should your manner be?


What to say:

If the dealer does ask you to do something that is not part of your job role, then you never say: "NO" or " I wont do it" and walk off.

You should say either one of the following suggestions:

• Mr Dealer the task that you have asked me to do is not part of my job description and legally I wouldnt feel comfortable doing this for you.  I'm a very sorry.

  • Mr Dealer I dont normally do these tasks as I am a photographer, however I can do it for you just this once and I will add the extra cost to your bill.
  • Mr Dealer let me call my manager to ask permission to see if I can do this task.

Any of the above suggestions can be used.  However, you need to make sure you say this with respect and in a friendly manner.


Please remember to present your self in a professional way.


Xcite's™ motto is just be happy.

They way you speak needs to be always friendly, kind and respectful.


You have now learnt a little more about communication skills.  The following lesson will help you in other aspects in regards to communication




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Contact Info

24 Degas Street

Brisbane QLD


1300 789 737


Mon - Sat 09:00 - 17:00

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