What is Communication?

Topics: Communication, Culture, Cross-cultural communication Pages: 8 (2404 words) Published: November 22, 2008
•Explain communication as a process and as a transaction.

Communication is the way in which we express feelings, ideas and share information. This activity begins from birth. A new born baby communicates with his mother ― when baby cries this sends a message to his mother, either that baby is hungry or sleepy. Communication develops as we get older. A child at age seven wouldn't cry to show she is hungry but rather cry when she falls off her bike while playing to express pain. To express hunger, she may simply state to her mother that she is hungry. This method of communication is called speaking. Other types include reading, writing and listening.

Hybels and Weaver (2007) define communication as "any process in which people share information, ideas and feelings. It involves not only the spoken and written word but also the body language, personal mannerisms and style - anything that adds meaning to the message.

Since communication is a process this implies that it is continuous. It is a continuous action as long as the participants prolong the exchange. Communication consists of various elements which include sender-receivers, messages, feedback, channels, noise and setting. These elements wield the outcome of communication, stated differently; these elements influence the results of the communication process.

The process of communication begins with conceiving a message. The sender is one who wants to transfer a message. If one has something to share - feelings, ideas or information - one forms whatsoever he/she wants to communicate.

The second step is encoding the message. This involves structuring the message in such a way that the receiver understands. Language, tones and gestures are part of encoding the message. This severity of those factors would depend on the situation. For example a manager conceives that he wants to address Kerry a subordinate in his office. The urgency of her presence in his office would be translated by him in the way he encodes the message.

This crosses into the next step of the communication process, selecting an appropriate channel. This step is the method the sender uses to convey the message to a receiver. Telephone, internet, letters are communication channels. In face-to-face communication sight and sound are the two main channels. One could see the receiver (sight) and hear (sound) the receiver.

Once an appropriate channel is selected and used the receiver now receives the message. Here he/she must decode the message. Meaning is attached to the various symbols and the channel used by the sender and now the receiver must interpret the message. This interpretation involves gaining an understanding from the message and is influenced by the receiver's personal experiences, relationship with the sender, knowledge, perceptions and culture.

Feedback is the final step in the communication process. Feedback is the response the receiver sends to the sender. In feedback the receiver conceives, encodes and selects the channel just like the original sender did. The original sender then becomes the receiver since he decodes, interprets and responds (feedback) to the response (feedback) the original receiver sent. Hence communication is a process, it is continuous. It informs the sender on the effectiveness of the message and allows the sender to clarify misinterpreted meanings. "Feedback plays an important role by indicating significant communication barriers: differences in background, different interpretations of words, and differing emotional reactions" (Bovee & Thill, 1992).

Since communication is an act of sending and receiving it can also be described as a transaction. A transaction in general relates to some form of exchange thus giving and receiving. Transactional communication consists of three principles, the first being that participation is continuous and simultaneous. One could both be a receiver and a sender for instance Rob is crying over the death of his...

Bibliography: Saundra Hybels and Richard L. Weaver (2007) Communicating Effectively, Eighth edition, p. 4-14, 30-31, 56-57, 107-109•John W. Slocum Jr. and Don Hellriegel (2007) Fundamentals of Organizational Behavior p.340•Robins and Coulter, Management, 9th edition Chapter 8, Strategic Management•Management informationAvailable at: http://articles-home.com/management/20946.phpDate Accessed: [October 19th 2008]•Communication Process by Nick SanchezAvailable at:http://web.njit.edu/~lipuma/352comproc/comproc.htmDate Accessed: [October 16th 2008]
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