3rd Edition

Natural Bridges in Interpersonal Communication

By Randy Fujishin Copyright 2024
    276 Pages 5 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    276 Pages 5 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    With a particularly student-friendly and engaging style, this third edition gives readers the fundamental tools necessary to e□ffectively communicate in interpersonal interactions.

    Natural Bridges in Interpersonal Communication, Third Edition, is a concise and practical book that introduces students to the basic concepts and skills of interpersonal communication in both face-to-face and online interactions in personal and professional settings. Each chapter features human interest stories and review exercises to help students better understand the concepts covered. This edition continues its expanded coverage of foundational research and devotes additional space to discussions of cultural safety, race and ethnicity, issues of mental health, and technology and social media.

    This textbook is designed for communication studies, business, and career and trade courses in interpersonal communication and communication skills at the community college and four-year university levels.

    Online instructor materials that accompany the book include an instructor’s manual, sample exams, and a sample class schedule. They are available at www.routledge.com/9781032355054.


    1. Interpersonal Communication: Building Bridges to Others 

    The Process of Communication 

    Verbal and Nonverbal Communication 

    Verbal Communication 

    Nonverbal Communication 

    Three Models of Communication 

    Linear Model 

    Interactional Model 

    Transactional Model 

    Principles of Communication 

    Communication Is Constant 

    Communication Is a Process 

    Communication Is Irreversible 

    Communication Expresses Content and Relationship 

    Communication Is Symbolic 

    Communication Is Learned 

    Interpersonal versus Impersonal Communication 

    Impersonal Communication 

    Interpersonal Communication 

    Three Qualities of an Effective Interpersonal Communicator 




    Offering A Safe Harbor
    Intercultural Sensitivity


                  Individual vs. Collective Dimension

                  Low vs. High Contest

                  Competition vs. Cooperation

    Guidelines for More Effective Intercultural Communication

                  1.  Increase Your Frame of Reference

                  2.  Don’t Judge

                  3.  Take A Risk

                  4.  Ask Questions

                  5.  Discover Common Ground

    Building Bridges Exercises

    Further Readings 

    2. Perception: Seeing the Best in Others 


    Three Stages of Perception 




    Factors that Influence Perception 

    Position in Space 

    Physical Differences 

    Past Experience 


    Increasing the Accuracy of Your Perceptions

    Awareness of Your Limitations 

    Perception Checking 

    Distinguishing Observation from Inference 


    How Your Self-Concept Is Formed 

    Reflected Appraisal 

    Social Comparison 

    Personal Construction 

    How Social Media Affects Self-Concept

    Three Self-Concept Guidelines for Communication 


    Tune In 


    Building Bridges Exercises 

    Further Readings

    3. Verbal Communication: Saying the Best to Others 

    Verbal Communication 

    Principles of Verbal Communication 

    Language Is Symbolic 

    Language Is Subjective 

    Language Can Be Denotative or Connotative 

    Language Is Rule Governed 

    Language Defines and Limits 

    Language Varies in Levels of Abstraction 

    Language Can Be Creative 

    I-Statements: Owning Your Language 

    The Four Levels of Communication 

    Surface Talk 

    Reporting Facts 

    Giving Opinions 

    Sharing Feelings 


    Self-Disclosure Topics 

    Small Things That Make A Big Difference

    Intercultural Guidelines in Verbal Communication

                  1.  Speak Slowly

                  2.  Enunciate Your Words

                  3.  Avoide Slang, Jargon, and Obscenity

                  4.  Use Metaphors Carefully

                  5.  Use “We” Instead of “Me”

                  6.  Be Mindful of Your Nonverbal Behavior

                  7.  Most importantly, be respectful

    The Most Important Words 

    Building Bridges Exercise 

    Further Readings

    4. Nonverbal Communication: Showing the Best to Others 
    Nonverbal Communication 

    Principles of Nonverbal Communication 

    Nonverbal Communication Is Continuous 

    Nonverbal Communication Is Instantaneous 

    Nonverbal Communication Is Universal 

    Nonverbal Communication Is Multichanneled 

    Nonverbal Communication Is Emotionally Rich 

    Nonverbal Communication Is Function Specific 

    Nonverbal Communication Is Ambiguous 

    Types of Nonverbal Communication 

    Body Movement 

    Facial Expressions 



    Personal Presentation 




    Nineteen Nonverbal Bridges to Others

    Buidling Intercultural Bridges

                  1.  Reframe

                  2.  Rename

                  3.  Retrain 

    Building Bridges Exercises

    Further Readings

    5. Listening: Understanding Others 

    The Listening Process 






    Acceptance: The Basic Bridge to Listening 

    Nonverbal Signs of Acceptance 

    Verbal Signs of Acceptance 

    Active Listening

    Four Steps of Active Listening

    Active Listening for Content (Accuracy)


    Active Listening Questions 

    Active Listening Statements 

    Active Listening for Feelings (Empathy)

    Observing the Speaker’s Nonverbal Communication 

    Reflecting the Speaker’s Nonverbal Behavior 

    Responding to the Speaker’s Verbal Behavior 

    Four Types of Questions 

    Closed Questions 

    Open Questions 

    Probing Questions 

    Loaded Questions 

    Questions That Can Deepen Conversation

    Poor Listening Styles 

    Refusing to Listen 

    Pretending to Listen 

    Listening Selectively 

    Listening to Evaluate 

    Listening to Rescue 

    Barriers to Listening 

    Guidelines for Listening 

    Avoid Parroting 

    Avoid Overuse of Active Listening 

    Avoid Inappropriate Use of Active Listening 

    Being Smart With Your Smart Phone While Listening

    Building Bridges Exercises

    Further Readings 

    6. Conversation: Sharing with Others


    The Three Types of Conversations 

    Acknowledging Conversation 

                  Entertaining Conversation 

    Sharing Conversation 

    Principles of Conversation 

    The Building Blocks of Communication 

    Dialogue Not Monologue 

    Interest in Others 

    The Power of Questions 

    The Importance of Self-Monitoring 

    Enlarging Impact 

    Components of Conversation 

    The Welcome 

    The Body 

    The Good-Bye 

    Healthy Smart Phone Usage

    Building Bridges Exercises 

    Further Readings

    7. Encouragement: Enlarging Others

    Enlarging Others 

    Acknowledging Others 

    Acknowledge Their Presence 

    Acknowledge the Relationship 

    Remembering Names 

    Repeat the Name 

    Spell the Name 

    Visualize the Name 

    Match the Name 

    Associate the Name 

    Respecting Others 

    Respect Others as Equals 

    Respect Boundaries 

    Respect Other’s Opinions and Feelings 

    Looking for the Best in Others 

    Saying the Best to Others 

    Complimenting Others 

    Compliment Appearance

    Compliment Achievement 

    Compliment Character 

    Compliment Effort 

    Compliment the Invisible 

    Reframing Negatives 

    Supporting Others 

    Verbal Support 

    Physical Support 

    Guidelines for Enlarging Others

    Be Expressive 

    Be Sincere 

    Be Specific 

    Be Limited 

    Be Altruistic 

    Be Persistent

    Being An Encouraging Online Participant

                  1.  Be Prepared

                  2.  Be On Time

                  3.  Be Affirming

                  4.  Be Respectful

                  5.  Be Cooperative 

    Building Bridges Exercises

    Further Readings

    8. Conflict Management: Collaborating with Others 

    Interpersonal Conflict 

    Five Responses to Conflict

                Avoiding Style

                Accommodating Style

                Competing Style

                Compromising Style

                Collaborative Style       

    Myths of Conflict 

    Myth 1: Conflict Should Be Avoided at All Costs 

    Myth 2: Conflict Is Always Someone Else’s Fault 

    Myth 3: I Must Like and Be Liked by Everyone 

    Myth 4: Everything Should Go My Way 

    Myth 5: There Is Only One Solution to Any Problem 

    Myth 6: All Conflicts Can Be Resolved 

    Benefits of Conflict 

    Expanded Awareness 

    Improved Interaction 

    Increased Satisfaction 

    Increased Bonding 

    Developed Maturity 

    Flowing with a Complaint: A Basic Skill 

    Step 1: Remain Silent 

    Step 2: Restate the Speaker’s Complaint 

    Step 3: Validate the Speaker’s Feelings 

    Step 4: Agree with the Truth of the Complaint 

    The ABC’s of Collaboration 

    Step 1: Analysis

    Step 2: Brainstorming 

    Step 3: Consensus 


    Forgiving Those Who Ask for Our Forgiveness 

    Forgiving Those Who Are Not Apologetic 

    Asking Others for Their Forgiveness 

    Guidelines for Forgiveness 

    Forgiveness Is a Decision, Not a Feeling 

    Forgiveness Requires the Suspension of Your Ego 

    Rehearse Your Request 

    Some People Will Not Forgive You 

    Forgiveness Is a Never-Ending Process 

    Building Bridges Exercises 

    Further Readings

    9. Relationships: Joining with Others 

    Conversations Can Lead to Relationships 

    Four Types of Relationships 





    The Six Stages of Relationship: B.R.I.D.G.E 

    Stage 1: Beginning 

    Stage 2: Relating 

    Stage 3: Intimacy 

    Stage 4: Diverging 

    Stage 5: Grounding 

    Stage 6: Experimenting 

    The Circular Nature of Relationships 

    Principles of Relationships 

    Relationships Are Not Perfect

    Relationships Do Not Give You Everything 

    Relationships Need to Be Nurtured 

    Relationships Are Both Pleasurable and Painful 

    Relationships Require Flexibility 

    Creating Conditions for a Healthy Relationship: B.O.N.D. 

    Condition 1: Bridging 

    Condition 2: Openness 

    Condition 3: Nurturance 

    Condition 4: Discovery 

    Open Questions That Can Deepen Relationships

    Being Smart With Your Social Media

    Rating Yourself as a Friend 

    Encouraging Growth in Others 

    Step 1: Have Them Discuss Their Dream 

    Step 2: Have Them Experiment with Their Dream 

    Step 3: Acknowledge Experimental Successes 

    Step 4: Motivate the Dreamers 

    Building Bridges Exercises 

    Further Readings

    10. Workplace Communication: Working with Others 

    Communicating with Equals 

    Communicating with Superiors 

    Impromptu Speaking

    The One-Point Impromptu Speech 

    Guidelines for Impromptu Speaking 

    Leading an Effective Meeting 

    Goal-Directed Guiding Behaviors 

    Task-Guiding Behaviors 

    Social-Guiding Behaviors

    Guidelines For Leading Online Meetings

                  A Limited Agenda

                  Provide Online Participant Ground Rules

                  Before the Online Meeting

                  During the Online Meeting

                  After the Online Meeting

      The Employment Interview

                   Self Examination

                   Getting the Interview

                   Preparing for the Interview

                   During the Interview

                   After the Interview

    Your Journey

    Building Bridges Exercises 

    Further Readings



    Randy Fujishin is the author of nine books in the field of human communication. He has taught communication studies at the college level for 40 years, has served as a clinical therapist for 30 of those years, and is also a keynote speaker for corporate conferences and retreats. Randy is, most importantly, a loving husband, caring dad, and fun grandpa, and he rides an Italian motorcycle.

    "Natural Bridges in Interpersonal Communication is an ideal book for undergraduate students. It offers the students very practical down to earth suggestions as to how to be a better interpersonal communicator and overall human being. Not only does the book address communication theory, but it also offers practical ways for the students to implement theories in their daily lives. Many of my students have mentioned how much the book meant to them as well as their friends and family who they have shared it with. Having used this book for many years, I highly recommend it."

    Erik Christianson, City College of San Francisco, USA