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Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne Department of Communication
COM 212-06L – Interpersonal Communication – Spring Semester 2008
Instructor: Irwin Mallin

Response Paper 1
Evaluation of Interpersonal Communication Competence
Due at the start of class on Thursday, February 21


On the top of page 39 of your textbook, your author offers six bullet-pointed items.  Consider the middle four of these:

• Describe situations in which you don’t feel as competent as you’d like to be

• How well do you adapt your communication to different goals, situations and people?

• How consistently and effectively do you engage in dual perspective when interacting with others?  How can you tell when you really understand another’s point of view?

• How well do you monitor your communication so that you gauge how you come across to others?

Now reflect on your activity as a communicator in face-to-face interaction. Think of particular events when you were (a) very satisfied and (b) very dissatisfied with your performance.


Write an essay in which you respond to these four bullet-pointed items.  What do you see as your current strengths? Your weaknesses? Do these strengths and weaknesses vary with particular situations?  Use specific examples as you are comfortable doing so.

The best papers will analyze just one or two specific instances of communication in some depth and support your evaluations of competency with specific examples of what you said and how you said it. Think of a few specific examples of your face-to-face conversations with similar types of people (e.g., conversations with friends or conversations with family or conversations with intimate partners, etc.). Think about what you said and what you did, how you reacted, how you wish you would have reacted, what you wanted to say, your goals, your command of the situation, etc. Generalizations will not lead to good papers. Support any assertion you make with a specific example from your interaction. When I read the paper I should be able to "see" the communication interaction to which you're referring.   Try to remember exactly what people said and did as best you can.

The best papers will have reasonably detailed analysis, display creativity, insight, and  be logically organized.  Of course, they’ll also be grammatically correct and free of spelling and punctuation errors.

The essay should be between three and five pages in length.  It should be typed (double spaced, margins of 1" all around, font no larger than 12).  It should also be stapled.  Be sure and keep a copy of your paper.

Organize the paper into the following sections, using the following section headings:
Introduction  (includes attention-getter, thesis statement and preview)
I. Problematic Situations
II. Adaptation
III. Dual Perspective
IV. Monitoring
(each of these four sections should include the argument you make in response to the question, backed up by one or more interactions)
Conclusion (includes summary and review and ends gracefully)

Hints for success for this paper:

•Make sure you do everything called for in these directions.
•You have four weeks so start now, take your time, and use the services of  the Writing Center in Kettler G19  if you need to.
•You are invited to show me a draft or discuss potential paper topics in office hours or by appointment.

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Last Updated: 18 January 2008