Key topic: Supportive & Defensive Communication

When we began studying interpersonal relationships in chapters 6 & 7 of our text, we learned that one of the most critical factors of our relationships is developing a climate that is conducive to open communication. We generally label this as a “supportive” climate. By contrast, we have “defensive” climates, which frequently diminish effective communication skills, are self-serving, and close the opportunities for clear and effective communication.

With this, we discussed the 6 Gibbs’s Pairings, each of which has counterparts for supportive and defensive climates. These pairings accurately describe ways in which we may be either more open to positive, effective communication, or ways we may shut down good communication.

Finally, you may want to look closely at the defensive strategies that we discussed in these same chapters. Those may have an influence in how you understand and are able to articulate your response when asked about communication climates. You may also want to bring in materials relating to chapters 8, 9, and 10, which had to do with interviewing, small groups, and leadership. Remember… making connections is always a good thing!


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