Interpersonal communication includes two dimensions: the explicit content dimension and the relational dimension that conveys meaning tied to the affective state of the interlocutors and their relationship.
- The content dimension corresponds to what is said or expressed.
- The relational dimension corresponds to the way it is said and above all, received.
The relational dimension of communication contains meanings that have as much weight and impact as the content of the message. These meanings are often expressed through non-verbal and para-verbal communication.
The essence of communication does not reside in the transfer of information from a transmitter to a receiver, but in the relational process and the results of the interaction.
Only taking the content dimension into account is like amputating the interaction from its essential meanings. «Communication» problems are rarely a simple misunderstanding about the content.