The Levels of Communication: A Cheat Sheet
Nan Peck, Northern Virginia Communication College
Phatic Communication: Using conventional messages to establish rapport, to break the ice, and/or to end a conversation. You might hug, kiss, shake hands, bow, smile, make eye contact, and face one another. We exchange pleasantries by using cliches. Clichés are overused expressions that have lost their original (content) meanings and have taken on new relational meanings. We expect phatic communication at the beginning and end of every conversation, regardless of our feelings about a person.
Examples: Hello. How are you?
I’m fine. How are you?
Hi. Paper or plastic?
Thanks for coming. Have a nice …show more content…
This is risky business because the odds are that others will reciprocate with their own evaluations, which may be different from yours. When people consistently use evaluative communication, they must be prepared for eventual conflict. Many U.S. Americans enjoy sharing at this level and feel that disagreeing with others is useful and invigorating. Unfortunately, many of us don’t use evaluative communication with a high level of competence. It’s important to consider the value of critical and creative thinking, as well as the relational meanings of messages that are exchanged. When using evaluative communication, consider carefully the importance of descriptive, provisional, and responsible expressions. Strive to avoid cautionary language, sarcasm, and nonverbal put-downs (e.g., rolling your eyes in response to another’s …show more content…
Teachers will recognize the incorporation of the four-skills view of language proficiency in the Standards, but the Interpersonal, Interpretive, and Presentational modes present a more complete and authentic model of communication.
The Five ‘C’s
The five goals of the National Standards—Communication, Cultures, Connections, Comparisons, and Communities—are goals for instruction. Although the five 'C 's appear equally significant in the Standards ' symbol of interlocking rings, it is clear that the Communication goal is the heart of the Standards. Learning scenarios, such as those included in Standards for Foreign Language Learning in the 21st Century or Proficiency-Oriented Language Instruction and Assessment: A Curriculum Handbook for Teachers, provide examples, lessons, and units that interweave the five C 's in instructional