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Concept of Communication

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Topics: Communication
CONCEPT OF COMMUNICATION
Communication is sharing our feelings, ideas and opinions with others. This can be intellectual, personal, spoken or written in nature. We live in groups and man is invariably a social animal. As the social needs insist that we share our thoughts with others. This can be called communication. It is a two-way process. In spoken communication, we have speakers and listeners who send and receive verbal messages from each other. In written communication, we have writers and readers, whereas in visualization and observation, the symbols and signs are included. Communication motivates, informs, suggests, warns, orders, changes behaviour, and establishes better relationships, to make interaction meaningful and make oneself understood. Communication is effective when a communicator is effective enough to communicate competently, simply, clearly, sincerely and dynamically. Ones communication can be termed as successful, if the receiver acknowledges it, i.e., when a listener or reader understands, reacts, responds to this communication and shapes his/her learning behaviour. The word communication is derived from the Latin word ‘communis’, which means ‘common’, i.e., to share, exchange, send, transmit, write, relate and communicate. The other etymological source mentions that ‘communication’ is derived from the Latin term ‘communicare’, which means to impart or participate. This word often denotes and means different things to different people. In short, we can define communication as sharing ideas and feelings mutually. As it involves interaction, it encourages exchange of ideas until all the experiences become a common profession. Communication is essential for close, sympathetic relationships in the society and for transformation of men, material and thoughts from one place to another. In a classroom, the meaning of communication is related to the messages and counter-messages, which constitute the teaching-learning process. This involves initiation, reception and response that serve as feedback. Communication Process Communication is interactive by nature. The importance and meaning of communication pertain to the fact that receivers and senders of messages are connected through space and time. Communication as a process has two participants – the sender of the message and the receiver of the message. When these messages are transmitted, they activate the person and this response is the purpose of communication. Thus, we can say that communication requires a source, a sender, a message and a person at the receiving end. Human beings are primarily related to the study of communication. Nevertheless, this process is present in all living things and is a fundamental and universal process. Communication influences the activities of the human community at large. Social development is a prominent feature of effective techniques of communication, which is necessary for sustaining the growth and development. Communication Theory All of us have thoughts and ideas, which we would like to communicate. But before that we carefully choose words, pictures, symbols, etc., to effectively convey our information.

The receiver at the other end receives the message and understands it. For example, you go to a railway station to fill a reservation form. You find out that you do not have a pen. You ask a person standing there near the counter whether he could lend you one. If that person understands your language, he /she will respond accordingly. If he / she does not know the language, you can use gestures, signs, symbols, etc. In this way, we communicate regularly in our daily life. Now it is evident that communication is a twoway process. The figure given below will explain to you the model channel of communication: Ideas, Thoughts Feelings, Information Channel (Medium)

SENDER (Encoder)

RECEIVER (Decoder)

The communication model involves the following steps: • An information source, that helps us produce a message. • A transmitter or an encoder, who encodes the message into signals and sends it. • A channel, which processes the signals for transmission. • A receiver, which / who decodes the message from the signal. • A destination, where the message arrives finally. • All this involves the external influence of a sixth element called noise or any other barrier, which acts as a dysfunctional factor in the process of communication

Channel

Source

Result

Sixth Element (Dysfunctional Factor) Noise

Communication is a process that allows us to exchange information by several methods. Communication requires that all parties understand a common language that is exchanged. There are auditory means, such as speaking or singing, and nonverbal, physical means, such as body language, sign language, paralanguage, touch, eye contact, or the use of writing. Communication happens at many levels (even for one single action), in many different ways, and for most beings, as well as certain machines. Several, if not all, fields of study dedicate a portion of attention to communication, so when speaking about communication it is very important to be sure about what aspects of communication one is speaking about. Definitions of communication range widely, some recognizing that animals can communicate with each other as well as human beings, and some are more narrow, only including human beings within the parameters of human symbolic interaction. Nonetheless, communication is usually described along a few major dimensions: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Content (what type of things are communicated) Source (by whom) Form (in which form) Channel (through which medium) Destination/Receiver (to whom) Purpose/Pragmatic aspect (with what kind of results)

Communication Cycle Communication is purposeful and comprises of six components. They are: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Sender of the message Receiver of the message Message Medium Setting Feedback

Communication is cyclical and therefore a bi-directional process. The chain of communication involves physiology, physics and the involvement of human effort. When we speak something the whole process of communication takes place with the help of our articulatory organs. In fact, all living beings produce sounds to communicate. These sound waves travel in the air, get transmitted and are finally received by the decoder. This receiver at the other end may be a machine or a human being with an inbuilt capacity to interpret and decode the messages. The cycle of communication works as follows:

Formulates
Sender

Encodes Via Transmits Message Medium

Via Medium Message Transmits Formulates Decodes Interprets
Receiver

The cycle of communication works effectively when a sender formulates the message, encodes it and transmits the sound waves properly. This message is channelized via a medium to reach the receiver. The message can be termed as communicated when the receiver successfully interprets it, decodes the message, formulates the counter message (feedback) and transmits it back to the person at the other end via the medium. This has been the way messages are communicated through ages. In both spoken and written forms, technological process of communication remains the same. In a basic system of communication, sender, message, medium and receiver are the primary elements. Several linguists and communication specialists might have proposed various theories of communication. Even then, the basic model is repetitive, as only the dysfunctional factor or noise comes in as an extra element. Factors Affecting the Process of Communication • • • • • • • • Emotional factors Need Motivation Attitude Intelligence Understanding Filtering Overloaded Information

• • •

Defensiveness Cultural difference Jargon

The process of communication starts from the sender and ends with the receiver who decodes the message. Hence, it is necessarily a cycle (when the receiver receives the message in fact he / she reacts to the message). This in turn, compels the earlier sender to act as a receiver and decode the message. In this way, the cycle of communication goes on till the conceptualization of the message at both the ends concludes. We experience a number of barriers in day-to-day communication. As a result of these barriers, the receiver does not decode the intended message of the sender. This in turn, makes the communication ineffective. So, for communicating effectively in any classroom situation, the teacher has to identify the barriers and the means to overcome such hindrances. Types / Channels of communication There are different types of communication. They are: 1. Person to person 2. One person to many persons 3. Many persons to many persons There are three major modes of communication. 1. Speaking – Listening In this mode of communication the possible interaction is face-to-face and personto-person. It includes body language, sharing of ideas and immediate feedback as well as reinforcement. In a classroom situation pupils can ask questions, clarify doubts and derive satisfaction. This mode of communication is generally used in seminars, classrooms, debates and etc. This communication channel is more lively and effective. 2. Writing – Reading In this mode of communication, the receiver or decoder is not physically present in front of the sender or encoder. Still, there is a chance for the sender and receiver of messages to enjoy and appreciate the feelings of each other. Language is always the vehicle for communication and often changeable into other forms. For example, English language can be changed into visual symbols, graphic signs and even Braille system of language for the blind. Reading is possible in all the forms and equally effective as it is in the face-to-face communication. Though instant feedback is not possible immediately, this is perhaps the most used mode of communication. 3. Visualising – Observing

In this mode of communication, sender encodes the messages in the form of symbols and signs. Receiver decodes these signals and feels the impact of the ideas conveyed. Dramatization and audio-visual experiences come into this category. Communication carried out is many to many and person to many. In spite of separation between the producer of the signs and receiver of the signals, the clear expression of language leaves a greater impact. If we analyse the types of communication they can be classified as oral and written communication. In the case of oral communication, direct interaction saves time, creates greater impact, gives personal touch and provides space for immediate feedback and reinforcement, which leads to proper evaluation and flexible action. Still, oral communication is not completely rid of gap, which can be physical, social and economic in nature. Written communication which is a permanent record conveys more information. It involves more time and investment. Apart from these two types of communication there are a number of ramifications. Ramifications in formal communication 1. Downward communication: In this type of communication, superiors communicate with their sub-ordinates and it is directive in nature. Orders, commands, comments, memos, rules and regulations, etc., come in to this category. 2. Upward communication: This communication is processed from sub-ordinates to their superiors. This gives feedback to he employer or management. Sometimes this feedback or upward communication helps the superiors to carry out downward communication. 3. Lateral communication: Also termed as horizontal communication, this includes interaction and communication between the sub-ordinates of same cadre. To interlink activities of different branches, lateral communication is very helpful. It always avoids the small delays caused by downward communication. Ramifications in informal communication The kind of communication carried outside the formal system is called as informal communication or grapevine communication. It is further classified into the following patterns. 1. The straight chain pattern: When the communication is of simulating nature, secrecy is maintained. It is then that the straight chain pattern is followed. The communication carried out is linear in fashion. For example,

A

B

C

………………..

2. The informal star pattern: In this pattern of communication, one single person communicates with many people and gives the information. This information given may be slightly different from person to person and it is often related to rumours or other kind of false information.

4

3

5

1

2

6

3. The probability pattern: In this type of communication one person will convey the message to one or two persons and they in turn will communicate with others. This pattern has the Possibility of inadvertence and this creates a problem. Some persons may not get the information or they may be left out.

2 3 4 5

1

7

6

10 9

8

4. The cluster net pattern: In this mode, one single person gives message to others, which they give to others either in a linear pattern or grapevine model. A number of informal communications follow this pattern. Example, take a look at the figure given below.

Raj

Usha

Mita

Sita

Mira

Rani

Ram
Hari

In a typical classroom that is neither conventional nor contemporary in nature, all the above-discussed patterns, types and modes of communication are followed. But this is all is not enough for communicating ably in a classroom, because more than a few barriers prevail in any given situation and they hinder the flow of communication process. It is very useful to know in detail, what are the barriers of communication. Barriers to Effective Communication The process of communication can be affected by the following barriers: • • • • • Linguistic incompetence Lack of clarity Lack of motivation Socio-economic background Improper body language

• •

Distrust Low IQ levels

Along with the above listed barriers, excessive verbalism, verbosity, confusion, daydreaming, limited perception and physical discomfort too act as barriers in communication. Overcoming the barriers of communication
• • • •

Simplify Language Constrain Emotions Listen Actively Feedback

Business Communication Business Communication encompasses a variety of topics, including Marketing, Branding, Customer relations, Consumer behaviour, Advertising, Public relations, Corporate communication, Community engagement, Research & Measurement, Reputation management, Interpersonal communication, Employee engagement, Online communication, and Event management. It is closely related to the fields of professional communication and technical communication. In business, the term communication encompasses various channels of communication, including the Internet, Print (Publications), Radio, Television, Ambient media, Outdoor, and Word of mouth. Business Communication refers to internal communication within the organization to maintain the internal interaction as well as external communication that is interaction with the others in the field, public sector, clients and customers. Business communication is somewhat different and unique rather from other type of communication since the purpose of business is to get profit. Thus to make good way for profit the communicator should develop good communication skills. Everyone knows that in the present day trends the knowledge alone won’t be a fruitful one to have sustainable development. By knowing the importance of communication many organizations started training their employees in betterment of Communication techniques. There are several methods of business communication, including:
• • • • •

Web-based communication - for better and improved communication, anytime anywhere ... video conferencing which allow people in different locations to hold interactive meetings; e-mails, which provide an instantaneous medium of written communication worldwide; Reports - important in documenting the activities of any department; Presentations - very popular method of communication in all types of organizations, usually involving audiovisual material, like copies of reports, or material prepared in Microsoft PowerPoint or Adobe Flash;

• • •

telephoned meetings, which allow for long distance speech; forum boards, which allow people to instantly post information at a centralized location; and face-to-face meetings, which are personal and should be succeeded by a written followup.

Presenting Yourself While facing interviews or introducing yourself, the following few factors should be kept in mind: 1. Don’t talk at length about your family. 2. Regarding the academic background start with schooling or your highest degree first. Don’t mention your grades / percentage of marks / the number of attempts you made to pass / or the fact that you discontinued some course. Your presentation should convey a positive image of you – not a negative one. If the interviewer asks about your marks, tell him. If your performance has been outstanding then tell him about it. If you are a merit scholarship holder / a school or college topper / gold medallist it is advantageous to tell the interviewer. Or talk about it. 3. These days almost everyone looking for a job is expected to be computer literate. Depending on the post you have applied for talk about your computer literacy. 4. Never underestimate your achievements. Your achievements can be anything ranging from a prize you won at a quiz competition, a paper presented at a seminar, your ability to organize funds for flood victims / conduct an intercollegiate chess competition. 5. Organizations and interviewers are looking for multi faceted personalities. It’s not enough if you are good academically or technically. It’s an advantage if you have another dimension to your personality. Interesting hobbies and special interests add value to your profile. 6. Students often don’t know what their strengths and weaknesses are. If you don’t know, spend some time and write down. It’s called the SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats). It is bound to give you some clarity in life. You should be able to look at yourself objectively and work towards overcoming your weaknesses and converting them to strengths. • Strengths should include – being ambitious, good at analytical skills, assertive, confident, sincere, honest, mature, good team leader, organizer, good at problem solving, capable of taking risks, empathetic, a good listener, hard working, trustworthy, punctual, creative, patient, caring, generous, co-operative, good at interpersonal skills, perfectionist, optimist. • Weaknesses could be – laid back, impatient, clumsy, envious, nervous, introvert, pessimist, short tempered, diffident, procrastinate, suspicious, insecure, confused, delay decisions.

Starting Conversation - Safe and Unsafe Topics

A lot of educated, confident, well-placed people avoid social gatherings or any kind of interaction, especially with unknown people, as they are unable to make a small conversation. It is not surprising to come across professionals, entrepreneurs and executives who are comfortable talking only about their work and business. They are incapable of even discussing the weather. It is not very difficult to start a conversation and keep it going if you follow some ground rules and practice them. There are some safe and unsafe topics when it comes to making small talk. Safe Topics • Family background • Personal background • Academic background • Job / business • Hobbies • Weather • Achievements Unsafe topics • Caste and community • Religion • Age • Salary / income • Political belief • Spiritual

Control Fear

Fear is the defense mechanism to protect ourselves. We fear destruction of our selfesteem. Who we are is precious to us. Others’ words about us can seem like building blocks either supporting us or crashing on us. Fear focuses on the worst thing that can happen – “I’ll fail, I’ll forget what I am going to say, I’ll be humiliated, I’ll panic, I’ll stop breathing”. Instead shift your focus to • Listening • Visualizing the positive outcome • Deep breathing and relaxation • Control your negative self-talk • Know what you want to say. • Speak from the heart rather than the ego

Mind Mapping

Mind mapping is a system of recording our thoughts so that we employ both left brain and right brain thinking, i.e., whole brain thinking. In order to do this, we use key words, symbols and colour. Mind mapping allows us to generate and organize thoughts at the same time. • Write down a main point, central thought or idea. • Circle the main thought, and then use interconnecting branches to show associated ideas. • In note taking, mind map things you are thinking about. You will generate more ideas, see relationships among key words, and write less than in conventional note taking. • While making telephone calls, mind map who are going to call, your purpose for calling, when you intend to call, what question you want to answer, what comments you want to make and what information you want to share.

Essentials of good Communication • • • • • • • • • • • • Find out the real purpose of your communication See that your ideas are clear before communicating Where appropriate, consult others while planning communication Be sincere and honest in your communication Communicate in a simple, clear and effective way Know the basic content of your message Study all the conditions, physical and human, whenever you communicate Whenever possible convey something of help or value to the receiver Communicate in advance as mush as possible Ensure that your actions are consistent with your communication Follow up all communications promptly Be a good listener

Dr. D. Ashalatha

Professor and Head, Department of HAS

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