Interpersonal Communication

Interpersonal Communication

Communication is more than just speaking, hearing, or having a good vocabulary. This course explores strategies for success in everyday interpersonal communication. You will explore clear examples of verbal and nonverbal habits, effective listening, self-concept, differences in conversational styles, and conflict management. You will also learn about practical strategies you can use to improve communication at home, in social situations, and in the workplace.

6 Weeks Access / 24 Course Hrs
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Communicating successfully depends on effective use of communication strategies and behaviors. Words, facial and body movements, tone of voice, even clothing and situation, all form an intricate symbol system that must be quickly translated by those who want to communicate.

It has been said that there is no communication unless a mutual sharing of meaning takes place. It has also been said that one cannot NOT communicate. These two ideas seem to oppose one another, but they are two sides of the same coin. A smile can have many meanings, but so can silence.

This course will show you how to manage the conscious and unconscious codes of meaning people send to each other and how to respond with appropriate codes in turn. You will explore concepts of verbal and nonverbal expression, including personal style, listening, relationship dynamics, self-esteem, conflict management, and cultural and gender communication differences.


Your first lesson introduces two detailed models that explain the complex nature of communication. You will learn how words, thoughts, the situation, and even the environment are all connected—and that they all change from one communication event to the next.

Have you ever been in a situation where you don't know whether to say less, say more, or say nothing? In this lesson, you will learn seven premises of communication that will help you through those times. This lesson introduces two strategies for improving communication competence.

In this lesson, you will learn how individual emotions, beliefs, attitudes, and values as well as self-esteem and group belonging influence how people communicate. You will also explore how everyone seeks gratification of specific human needs through the unique and complicated communication process.

This lesson focuses on the ways in which language affects reasoning abilities. You will learn about constructing useful word maps that benefit your decision making as well as strategies you can use to avoid mental traps that can clog your thinking process.

Can you say something without uttering a word? In addition to voice, facial expression, and body movement, this lesson covers other ways people send messages without making a sound. You will also learn about nonverbal communication behaviors—sending messages of either inclusion or exclusion.

This lesson explores cultural identity and how it molds habits of communication no matter what the language of the culture is. You will learn how cultures of the world are divided into two main categories. You will examine how groups generalize others and the psychological reasons for doing that.

This lesson introduces different types of listening. You will learn about the barriers to effective listening, and strategies you can use to improve your listening habits. You will also compare poor listening to empathic listening and evaluate the effects each has on communication success.

In this lesson, you're invited to examine gender identities from the inside out. You will learn how brain structure as well as physical structure helps determine how men and women communicate. You will learn the differences in masculine and feminine behavior and how these identities manifest themselves.

In this lesson, you will learn the three main characteristics that make up any relationship as well as the stages that all relationships go through. You will explore how self-disclosure and psychological balance affects relationships and discover the role lying plays in relationships.

This lesson examines several communication theories that will be useful in analyzing and understanding communication behaviors of yourself and others. You will learn three rules for effective communication behavior that will help you know when and how to adjust your communication behavior.

In this lesson, you will learn how people can change the direction of a conversation to advance a personal agenda. This lesson explores the strategies of persuasion, characteristics of credibility, and how to achieve a sense of control in a communication situation.

Your last lesson identifies various types of interpersonal conflicts. You will also explore the ways that different cultural groups and identities approach and resolve conflict. You will then learn how to dissect a conflict and apply four steps to successful conflict resolution.



There are no prerequisites to take this course.


Hardware Requirements:

  • This course can be taken on either a PC, Mac, or Chromebook.

Software Requirements:

  • PC: Windows 8 or later.
  • Mac: macOS 10.6 or later.
  • Browser: The latest version of Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox are preferred. Microsoft Edge and Safari are also compatible.
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader.
  • Software must be installed and fully operational before the course begins.


  • Email capabilities and access to a personal email account.

Instructional Material Requirements:

The instructional materials required for this course are included in enrollment and will be available online.


Laurel Bragstad

Laurel Bragstad combines her understanding of communication theory and human relationships to design curriculum in interpersonal communication, public speaking, journalism, persuasion, and theory and research. With a Master of Arts degree in interpersonal communication and rhetoric, she has taught a wide range of courses to undergraduate and graduate students. Her publications include several articles in ETC: The Journal for the International Society of General Semantics, a chapter in Classroom Exercises for General Semantics (published by the International Society of General Semantics), and a novel entitled In the Comfort of Shadows.


The subjects covered were very interesting and helpful to my day-to-day life. The writing style was clear. I really enjoyed this course. I am pursuing other communication courses!!!

Thank you so much for the opportunity in utilizing this course! I can already see the difference in my ability to communicate well to others and understand and know when and when not to speak or simply wait my turn. This course was wonderful.

Working through this course has helped me recognize many aspects of communication. I found it very informative and have already applied some of the techniques to my daily communications. I especially benefited from the lessons on effective listening and conflict resolution, however, each lesson was of value to me. I truly enjoyed your course.

This course surprised me in that it was very good indeed and not at all what I expected. There are so many courses from which to choose so this choice was really a shot in the dark. I appreciated the history and background and I could see the instructor at the front of the room with a PowerPoint presentation sharing the information. I deal in the clinical area of research and have a clinical background of more than 30 years. I need to deal with scientists who know the science, but cannot apply it to patients. Communication with them is difficult to say the least. I must say that the listening chapter was the most valuable. Hopefully I will have the opportunity to share what I have learned with them at least by example.

I found this course to be extremely helpful have already experienced significant changes in my relationships with people. I would definitely recommend this course to everyone!

I thought that this course was organized and presented in a very efficient manner. I thought the writing style of the lessons were great. I loved the conversational style that they were presented in. It felt like the instructor was actually speaking to us and not reading out of a text book.

Found the course to be interesting and as an individual in law enforcement, it has helped me communicate much better with people from a diverse background.

This was my first online class, so I was hesitant when I registered. It was most beneficial and I have no regrets. I strongly recommend it. The instructor is absolutely wonderful. Thank you so much.

Thank you Dr. Laurel for a great course! You have a very interactive and conversational style of writing which prevents the course reading from being boring. Your examples and analogies were easy to grasp and helped with understanding each lesson. I learned a lot in every lesson and have been able to apply what you've taught us to both my personal and professional relationships. This course superseded my expectations and I'm so happy I chose to take it, especially with you as the instructor!

Thank you so much. Because I took this course, I was able to initiate and partake in a conflict mediation resolution to resolve a situation at work. [...] I am fortunate to belong to an organization that promotes interpersonal relations. It was an emotional experience, but I was able to address my concerns and I feel validated as they were legitimate. It was an incredible experience and I achieved success due to taking this course and the Get Assertive course. Thanks again for helping me resolve conflict.

Self-Guided Course Code: T9179
Instructor-Moderated Course Code: ipc