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Eye of the Optimist-Immediacy Theory

Immediacy Theory, from study.com
Ch. 13, Lesson 9 Immediacy in Communication: Definition & ConceptInstructor: Shawn Grimsley
  • An important component of communication is often signaling a positive desire and willingness to communicate. In this lesson, you'll learn about immediacy in communication and some related concepts. You'll also have a chance to take a short quiz.
  • DefinitionImmediacy in communication is the way we signal closeness, willingness to communicate and positive feelings to another person. According to Peter Anderson in his article in the Encyclopedia of Communication Theory, '(i)mmediacy behaviors are actions that simultaneously communicate warmth, involvement, psychological closeness, availability for communication and positive affect.' These behaviors are both verbal and nonverbal.Verbal Immediacy BehaviorsYou exhibit verbal immediacy behaviors when you signal warmth and a willingness to connect to the receiver of the message, and when you use language that expresses immediacy. Keep in mind that cultural differences may make some of these verbal signals inappropriate.This is a fairly abstract concept, so let's look at some examples of verbal behaviors of immediacy:
  • Pronouns. Using plural pronouns such as 'us' and 'we' instead of individual pronouns such as 'I' and 'you' demonstrates immediacy in communication. The use of plural pronouns brings people together, while individual pronouns tend to make people feel separated.
  • Manner of address. Using informal means of addressing one another also signals immediacy in communication. For example, you address the receiver of your message by her first name or nickname rather than use of a title such as Ms., Dr., or Professor along with the person's last name. Again, informality tends to bring the communicators closer together and makes communication easier. Keep in mind cultural differences here - informality may be viewed as disrespectful in some cultures.
  • Openness. Being open in communication and being willing to disclose information are also immediacy behaviors. However, be mindful of cultural differences.
  • Compliments. You can gain a lot of traction through complimenting the other person because it will help encourage positive communication and signals immediacy in communication.

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