short writing 8

  1. Answer the following questions/questions set in approximately one paragraph each.
    1. Of the types of relational openers discussed in the module, which do you prefer to use when initiating interactions with others? Which would you prefer others use when they initiate interaction with you? Why?
    2. Direct: Clear, straightforward statements expressing a desire to communication
    3. Innocuous: The types of openers tend to initiation communication about a topic other than the communicators themselves.
    4. Cute/flip: These may fall into what we would more classically categorize as “pick up lines,” perhaps even what we would categorize as cheesy. According to Knapp et al. (2013), Kleinke found that men tended to underestimate how off-putting women find these types of openers

    5. Of the functions discussed in the module, which function of small talk do you think is the most important in general? Why? Which function most motivates you to engage in small talk? Why?
      • nclusion needs: At its most basic, small talk may fulfill our interpersonal need for inclusion, as we are engaging in communication with others. We do not have to share significant personal information to feel connected to others – small talk can allow us to feel meet this important interpersonal need.
      • Socialization: Small talk can also helps us learn about the groups or organizations that we are a part of. For example, as we begin working at a new company we may learn about the organization’s hierarchical structure or the way things run through simple communication with our new co-workers.
      • Auditioning for relationships: Perhaps one of the most critical functions is that small talk allows us to learn about others in order to assess whether we would like to get to know them better or continue to develop an interpersonal relationship with them.
      • Maintaining existing relationships: Sometimes small talk sets the stage for more intimate conversations in existing relationships. It is also part of our routines within these relationships that allow us to maintain open communication.
      • Self – presentation: Small talk allows us the opportunity to present ourselves to others in the best light possible. Given that this form of communication tends to revolve around “safe” topics we can tentatively share things about ourselves, and if we find that a potential relational partner is not positively responding to that information we can switch to another topic.
      • Uncertainty reduction: Small talk allows us to learn some information about our communication partner, which can make us more comfortable around that person.
      • Filler: Sometimes small talk can act as filler, or can be used to kill time. This allows us to be engaged in communication in safe ways, and can act as a distraction from other, potentially negative, communication topics.
      • Discovering new topics: Through small talk we may find new topics to discuss with a potential relational partner. We can gauge their reactions (both verbal and nonverbal) to see what interests or excites them and can note what we may want to bring back up in the future.

    6. Which of the frustrations with small talk discussed in the module do you most identify with? Why? How does this frustration impact your willingness to engage in small talk?
    7. No new information is learned: As we mentioned previously, one of the reasons we may use small talk is to learn about a potential relational partner. It’s possible, though, that our communication partner doesn’tshare enough with us in small talk to actually help us learn about him or her. It’s also possible that we do learn about our partner, but don’t find any similarities between a potential relational partner and ourselves.
    8. No breadth: By definition small talk should have a lot of breadth – we should cover many different topics. We may find, though, that our communication partner does not move past a single topic. This does not allow us to learn a variety of information about that person.
    9. Inequality of information exchange: If our communication partner is reticent to engage in small talk we may find ourselves sharing more than them. This inequality may make us feel uncomfortable, as our partner is not equally contributing.
    10. Failure to follow communication rules: We may also find that our communication partner does not appropriately engage in small talk. This could take the form of sharing too much personal information too quickly or bringing up negative topics. For example, if you were to meet someone for the first time and ask “How are you?” you would most likely expect a positive answer (such as “Good” or “Fine”). It may even be acceptable to complain about a shared concern (perhaps sharing how stressed you are about an upcoming test when talking to a classmate). What you certainly wouldn’t expect would be to hear about the fight your communication partner had with his/her significant other or about his/her medical issues. This information is too personal or too negative to be shared during small talk.
    11. Boring or routinized: Finally, to add to Knapp et al.’s list, we may become frustrated with small talk because we find it boring. Given that it is a required form of communication in many situations we may tire of the time and effort that it takes to complete small talk. Its also possible that we have encountered many of the reasons above so many times that we know longer find any value in small talk.

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