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WHAT IS COMMUNICATION??

Hi Fabellas,

… Its a another long week and i am physically exhausted. However the show must go on and of course so does this blog.

Thanks for coming back and letting me share what i have learnt this week. I do try to update my blog regularly so you can check back regularly for updates on topics discussed in class as well as research conducted via moi.

This week i am gonna discuss communication… Lets go.

Communication is one of the most persuasive, important, and complex aspects of human life.” (Littlejohn, 2002, p.3)

What is a communication theory?
Theory is an idea of how something happens. It is an attempt to explain or represent an experience. The term communication theory may refer to a single theory or an entire set of theories related to communication. “Theories are not just things to be read and learned. They are constantly evolving works.” (Littlejohn, 2002, p. 25)

History of communication

Since the beginning of time, the need to communicate has been a part of man’s inherent being. The successful survival of mankind was due to their ability to communicate. Human race has communicated though different techniques and methods; the use of symbols, gestures, sounds, drawings and sign languages were some methods of communication used by the early man. Archeological evidence shows that the early men were good artists and have been effectively communicating through the visual sense, the transmission, reception, or reproduction of sound and the study of body movements.
Through the years communication has advanced with the development of technology. “One author describes this development as a “revolutionary discovery”, largely caused by the rise of communication technologies such as radio, television, telephone, satellite and computer networking, along with industrialization, big business and global politics.” (Littlejohn 2002, p.3) Hence it is clear that communication has assumed an immense importance in our time. (Littlejohn, 2002)

Dimensions of Communication:

“Communication is difficult to define”. (Littlejohn 2002, p.6)
Frank Dance found the basic dimension of communication as follows.
a) Level of abstraction or abstractness: The definition of communication may be broad and inclusive or restrictive
b) Intentionality: Some definitions may include only purposeful message sending and receiving while others do not have such limitations.
c) Normative judgment: Some definitions of communication may include a state of accuracy or success while other definitions may not have such “implicate judgments”.( Littlejohn 2002, p.6)
From Frank Dance’s dimensions of communication, we understand that definitions are tools that should be used flexibly. Hence theories may define communication in a variety of ways. (Littlejohn, 2002, p. 9)

Model of communication

In 1942, Claude Shannon formulated a theory explaining the communication of information ( Shannon – weaver model, 2003). Shannon’s Information Theory includes the basic elements of any general communication system. Before we learn about the model of communication it is necessary to know the relationship between information and communication.
Information is the message. Communication is the medium through which the information is transferred and synthesized. (Dr. Gillette, 2006)
According to Shannon, the basic elements of any general communication system includes the following: a) Source b) Sender c) Message d) Channel e) Receiver f) Destination and g) Noise source (2)

An Illustration:

Let us consider that person ‘A’ and person ‘B’ are communicating with each other. Person ‘C’ interrupts the communication between A and B (illustrated in figure 1)
human com.bmp

Here the elements of communication are
a) Source: A’s brain
b) Sender: the transmitting device that A uses to communicate with B (e.g. mouth, hands, eyes, gestures etc.)
c) Message: the idea or thought conveyed by conversation, expression etc.
d) Channel: the medium through which the message travels (e.g. air, sound waves, light waves etc.)
e) Receiver: The receiving device used by B to receive the message (e.g. B’s eye, ear etc.)
f) Destination: B’s brain
g) Feedback: the response from B
h) Noise source: the words or actions of person ‘C’ that interrupts the communication between person ‘A’ and person ‘B’

Communication Components:
The basic components of communication may include one or more of the following. 1) gestures 2) hypothesis 3) action word 4) inquiry 5) interpretation 6) punctuation 7) contradiction 7) clarification 8) rephrasing 9)generalization 10) listening 11) compliance 12) appearance and 13) responsiveness ( Dr. Gillette, 2006)

An analysis:

From the illustration and the listed components of communication, it can be interpreted that communication is not just what we talk. Communication may occur by means of conversations, expressions, gestures or visual sense.(4) But effective communication occurs only when the three important aspects of communication viz., 1) visual (used in seeing: the visual sense) (2) audio (pertaining to, or employed in the transmission, reception, or reproduction of sound) and 3) kinesics (the study of body movements, gestures, facial expressions, etc., as a means of communication) are in the right proportion (The Oxford Mini Dictionary, 1994).

Therefore, in general, human communication may be defined as, “the process in which all of the three important aspects of communication is involved in the right proportion, in order to exchange information between humans in an effective manner.”

Why should we learn about Human Communication?

As leaders, we need to learn to communicate effectively because; effective communication lays the path to success.
According to Dr. Steele, the precondition for success lies in effective communication.
The 7 preconditions for success: (Dr. Steele, 2006)
1. Pay Attention: Always pay attention when someone communicates
2. Mutual Needs: All Communication is based on mutual needs.
3. Circular communication – All communication is circular in nature.( e.g. Giving feedback based in actions or deeds)
4. Communication is language based: For example, in the field of technology we may have a problem where the managers do not understand technical jargons.
5. Purpose: It is necessary to know the purpose of communication in a conversation. Knowing the purpose provides a better focus.
6. One needs to be cooperative but not competitive
7. Human communication is an art and not science.

Why do we learn paradoxes in human communication?

“Every company operates with a lot of paradoxes and ambiguities.” (Dr. Steele, 2006) Learning paradoxes will help us as future managers to handle situations in a business environment.
“Today’s successful business leaders will be those who are most flexible of mind.” (Tom Peters, 1987, p. 474). An effective leader’s premier trait will be to embrace new ideas and live with paradox. “Leaders will have to guide the ship while simultaneously putting everything up for grabs.” (Tom Peters, 1987, p. 474)
Tom Peters in his book, ‘Thriving on Chaos’, lists 18 paradoxes that are indicative of the chaotic business environment. In the first paradox he emphasizes that more flexibility and responsiveness is required to provide a clearer vision and fewer adversary dealings. (Tom Peters, 1987, p. 474) In the 18th paradox, Tom Peters says that “Success will come to those who love chaos – constant change – not those who attempt to eliminate it.” (Tom Peters p. 477)

Classification of Human communication:
Human communication is the field dedicated to understanding how people communicate. It may be broadly classified as,
a) Intrapersonal Communication : people communication among themselves (e.g. daydreaming, reading aloud)
b) Interpersonal Communication: people communicating with others.
c) Group Dynamics: communication within groups
d) Organizational Communication: Communication within an organization
e) Cross cultural communication: Communication across cultures (Wikepedia, 2006)
Whatever may be the type; human communication focuses on discovering persons and is associated with subjectivity.

References:
1. Peters, Tom (1987). Thriving On Chaos: Handbook for a management revolution. New York: HarperCollins Publishers

Love you guys and see yah next week.

Fionalisa!!!-)

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