WHAT IS COMMUNICATION?
Communication is the process of transmitting and receiving of information through verbal or nonverbal behavior. At the center of any definition of communication must be the intention of conveying a message, even if the message is abstract (eg. modern poetry).
WHY WE COMMUNICATE
Why do we communicate?
The purpose of any given communication may be:
* To initiate some action
* To impart information, ideas, attitudes, beliefs or feelings * To establish, acknowledge or maintain links or relations with other people.
HOW WE COMMUNICATE
The communication cycle
Effective communication is a two-way process, perhaps best expressed as a cycle. Signals or ‘messages’ are ‘sent’ by the communicator and ‘received’ by the other party. He ‘sends’ back some form of confirmation that the ‘message’ has been received and understood: this is called ‘feedback’. Message
The Stages of Communication Process
* Impulse to communicate
* Encoding the Message
* Relay of Message
* Decoding the Message
Impulse to communicate
* Deciding to communicate and deciding what to communicate is the first stage of the process. * Messages should ideally be reviewed and put into some working order in the brain before mouth, body or machinery are used to articulate and present the idea for someone else’s benefit.
Encoding the message
* At this stage, the sender puts his message into words, gestures and expressions in the form that both sender and receiver understand. * We have to bear in mind however, that a symbol that we use and understand may be ambiguous (have more than one possible meaning) or mean something different to a person of different age, nationality, experience or beliefs. Just because we understand what we mean, it does not necessarily mean that someone else will. Relaying the message
* Once the idea has been encoded as a message, the sender needs to choose how to ‘transmit’, or get it across to the receiver. The particular route or path, via which the message is sent, connecting the sender and receiver, is called the channel of communication. (eg. a notice board, newspaper column, online bulletin board). * The tool which is used to communicate is called the medium which often takes the form of; i. Visual communication – eg. gesture, chart, picture or screen display; ii. Written communication – eg. a letter, memorandum, note, report or list; or iii. Oral communication which includes both face-to-face and remote communication – eg. by telephone or television.
Choice of medium
The choice of medium will depend on such factors as:
* the Time, depending on its urgency.
* the Complexity, which medium will enable it to be most easily understood. * the Distance, the message is required to travel and in what condition it must arrive. * the need for a written record, eg. for legal documents. * the need for interaction, immediate exchange or instant feedback. * the need for confidentiality or conversely, the spreading of information widely and quickly. * Sensitivity to the effect of the message on the recipient: the need for personal involvement, persuasive power or impersonality. * Cost, for the best possible result at the least possible expense.
Decoding the message
The first step in communication from the receiver’s point of view is the ‘decoding’ of the message i.e understanding what it says. The receiver must * grasp the meaning of the words or symbols used by the sender. * interpret the message as a whole. What it says is not necessarily what it means. Reading between the lines or inferring may be necessary to establish the underlying meaning of the message.
* Feedback is the reaction of the receiver which indicates to the sender that the...