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Topics: Communication, Writing, Writing system Pages: 24 (3608 words) Published: February 23, 2014
Topic  Introduction to 

1

Communication 

LEARNING OUTCOMES
By the end of this topic, you should be able to:
1. Explain what is meant by the word „communication‰ in general; 2. Identify the main elements in the communication process;
3. Differentiate between oral and written communication;
4. Highlight some basic tips on writing; and
5. List the common pitfalls to avoid in written communication.

INTRODUCTION
This topic gives you an overview of communication and introduces you to the main elements in the communication process. It also highlights the importance of writing clear, positive messages and offers you some basic tips and guidelines on this form of communication so that you may become more proficient in the kind of writing needed at home as well as in the college and workplace. You will also learn about some of the common pitfalls which may impede the effectiveness of written communication.

1.1

WHAT IS COMMUNICATION?

Communication is a learned skill. However, while most people are born with the physical ability to talk, not all can communicate well unless they make special efforts to develop and refine this skill further. Very often, we take the ease with which we communicate with each other for granted, so much so that we sometimes forget how complex the communication process actually is.

2

TOPIC 1

1.1.1

INTRODUCTION TO COMMUNICATION

Elements in Communication

Have you ever wondered why some people can communicate so well while others fail to get their message across? What are the elements that must be present in the communication process before it can be successful and effective? Well, communication has been defined as the act of giving, receiving or exchanging information, ideas and opinions so that the „message‰ is completely understood by both parties. Look at Figure 1.1 below. The illustration shows clearly that in a communication process, there must be a sender who speaks or sends a message, and a receiver who listens or receives the message.

Figure 1.1: The communication process

The sender sends a message with a certain intention in mind. The receiver of the message tries to understand and interpret the message sent. He then gives feedback to the original sender, who in turn interprets the feedback. This process, repeated continuously, constitutes communication.

Clearly, there are several major elements in the communication process a
sender, message, channel, receiver, feedback, context. There is both a speakerÊs intention to convey a message and a listenerÊs reception of what has been said. Thus, listening skills are just as important as speaking skills in order for communication to be effective.

This means that if you want to get your message across accurately, you need to consider these three things:


The message;



The audience or receiver; and



How the message is likely to be received.

TOPIC 1

INTRODUCTION TO COMMUNICATION

3

A message is only considered successfully communicated when both the sender and the receiver perceive and understand it in the same way. If this does not happen, then there may be a breakdown in communication, which may ultimately stand in the way of you realising your goals, either personally or professionally.

ACTIVITY 1.1
The meaning of communication lies in the way that it is received. Do you agree with the above statement? Discuss with your friends during the next tutorial session.

1.1.2

Factors Affecting Communication

As mentioned earlier, effective communication is a two-way process but there are a number of factors which may disrupt this process and affect the overall interpretation and understanding of what was communicated. Myriad problems can pop up at different stages of the communication process. These can relate to any of the elements involved the sender, message, channel, receiver, feedback and context. It is therefore important to understand some of the factors that affect...
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