The Anxiety / Uncertainty Management Theory Of Effective Communication Essay

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The Anxiety/Uncertainty Management Theory of Effective Communication is to explain how managing uncertainty and anxiety help achieve effective communication with “strangers”. The theory argues that most of our communication involves both interpersonal and intergroup processes, but communication with outgroup members has more intergroup than interpersonal factors, which causes higher uncertainty and anxiety. Managing uncertainty and anxiety is a main contribution to effective communication (e.g., measured by mutual understanding) given that they mediate other superficial factors that influence effective communication. Effective communication requires that both uncertainty and anxiety be between our minimum and maximum thresholds, and we should have mindfulness which involves creating new categories, being open to new information and aware of different perspectives. Uncertainty is our cognitive phenomenon which prevents us from predicting strangers’ attitudes, behaviors and thoughts. Where our uncertainty is above maximum, we do not have confidence in predicting strangers’ behaviors. Where our uncertainty is below minimum, we do not pay attention to cues to potential misunderstanding. Anxiety is an affective phenomenon which prevents effective communication with strangers. Where our anxiety is above maximum, we do not feel comfortable and process information based on our negative stereotypes in intergroup interactions. Where our anxiety is below minimum, we do not have any
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