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Communication


Communication (from Latin commūnicāre, meaning "to share") is the act of conveying intended meanings from one entity or group to another through the use of mutually understood signs and semiotic rules.

The basic steps of communication are:

The study of communication can be divided into:

The channel of communication can be visual, auditory, tactile (such as in Braille) and haptic, olfactory, Kinesics, electromagnetic, or biochemical. Human communication is unique for its extensive use of abstract language.

Nonverbal communication describes the process of conveying meaning in the form of non-word messages. Examples of nonverbal communication include haptic communication, chronemic communication, gestures, body language, facial expressions, eye contact, and how one dresses. Nonverbal communication also relates to intent of a message. Examples of intent are voluntary, intentional movements like shaking a hand or winking, as well as involuntary, such as sweating. Speech also contains nonverbal elements known as paralanguage, e.g. rhythm, intonation, tempo, and stress. There may even be a pheromone component. Research has shown that up to 55% of human communication may occur through non-verbal facial expressions, and a further 38% through para-language. It affects communication most at the subconscious level and establishes trust. Likewise, written texts include nonverbal elements such as handwriting style, spatial arrangement of words and the use of emoticons to convey emotion.



The technical problem: how accurately can the message be transmitted?
The semantic problem: how precisely is the meaning 'conveyed'?
The effectiveness problem: how effectively does the received meaning affect behavior?
It assumes communicators are isolated individuals.
No allowance for differing purposes.
No allowance for differing interpretations.
No allowance for unequal power relations.
No allowance for situational contexts.
  • In "radical reading" the audience rejects the meanings, values, and viewpoints built into the text by its makers. Effect: message refusal.
  • In "dominant reading", the audience accepts the meanings, values, and viewpoints built into the text by its makers. Effect: message acceptance.
  • In "subordinate reading" the audience accepts, by and large, the meanings, values, and worldview built into the text by its makers. Effect: obey to the message.
  • Physical barriers- Physical barriers are often due to the nature of the environment. An example of this is the natural barrier which exists if staff are located in different buildings or on different sites. Likewise, poor or outdated equipment, particularly the failure of management to introduce new technology, may also cause problems. Staff shortages are another factor which frequently causes communication difficulties for an organization.
  • System design- System design faults refer to problems with the structures or systems in place in an organization. Examples might include an organizational structure which is unclear and therefore makes it confusing to know whom to communicate with. Other examples could be inefficient or inappropriate information systems, a lack of supervision or training, and a lack of clarity in roles and responsibilities which can lead to staff being uncertain about what is expected of them.
  • Attitudinal barriers- Attitudinal barriers come about as a result of problems with staff in an organization. These may be brought about, for example, by such factors as poor management, lack of consultation with employees, personality conflicts which can result in people delaying or refusing to communicate, the personal attitudes of individual employees which may be due to lack of motivation or dissatisfaction at work, brought about by insufficient training to enable them to carry out particular tasks, or simply resistance to change due to entrenched attitudes and ideas.
  • Ambiguity of words/phrases- Words sounding the same but having different meaning can convey a different meaning altogether. Hence the communicator must ensure that the receiver receives the same meaning. It is better if such words are avoided by using alternatives whenever possible.
  • Individual linguistic ability- The use of jargon, difficult or inappropriate words in communication can prevent the recipients from understanding the message. Poorly explained or misunderstood messages can also result in confusion. However, research in communication has shown that confusion can lend legitimacy to research when persuasion fails.
  • Physiological barriers- These may result from individuals' personal discomfort, caused—for example—by ill health, poor eyesight or hearing difficulties.
  • Bypassing-These happens when the communicators (sender and the receiver) do not attach the same symbolic meanings to their words. It is when the sender is expressing a thought or a word but the receiver take it in a different meaning. For example- ASAP, Rest room
  • Technological multi-tasking and absorbency- With a rapid increase in technologically-driven communication in the past several decades, individuals are increasingly faced with condensed communication in the form of e-mail, text, and social updates. This has, in turn, led to a notable change in the way younger generations communicate and perceive their own self-efficacy to communicate and connect with others. With the ever-constant presence of another "world" in one's pocket, individuals are multi-tasking both physically and cognitively as constant reminders of something else happening somewhere else bombard them. Though perhaps too new of an advancement to yet see long-term effects, this is a notion currently explored by such figures as Sherry Turkle.
  • Fear of being criticized-This is a major factor that prevents good communication. If we exercise simple practices to improve our communication skill, we can become effective communicators. For example, read an article from the newspaper or collect some news from the television and present it in front of the mirror. This will not only boost your confidence, but also improve your language and vocabulary.
  • Gender barriers- Most communicators whether aware or not, often have a set agenda. This is very notable among the different genders. For example, many women are found to be more critical in addressing conflict. It's also been noted that men are more than likely to withdraw from conflict when in comparison to women. This breakdown and comparison not only shows that there are many factors to communication between two specific genders, but also room for improvement as well as established guidelines for all.
  • Paralinguistics are the voice involved in communication other than actual language and involves tones, pitch, vocal cues etc. It also include sounds from throat and all these are greatly influenced by cultural differences across borders.
  • Proxemics deals with the concept of space element in communication. Proxemics explains four zones of spaces namely intimate personal, social and public. This concept differs with different culture as the permissible space vary in different countries.
  • Artifactics studies about the non verbal signals or communication which emerges from personal accessories such as dresses or fashion accessories worn and it varies with culture as people of different countries follow different dressing codes.
  • Chronemics deal with the time aspects of communication and also include importance given to the time. some issues explaining this conceptpt are pauses, silences and response lag during an interaction. This aspect of communication is also influenced by cultural differences as it is well known that there is a great difference in the value given by different cultures to time.
  • Kinesics mainly deals with the body languages such as postures, gestures, head nods, leg movements etc. In different countries, the same gestures and postures are used to convey different messages. Sometimes even a particular kinesic indicating something good in a country may have a negative meaning in any other culture.
  • Environmental noise. Noise that physically disrupts communication, such as standing next to loud speakers at a party, or the noise from a construction site next to a classroom making it difficult to hear the professor.
  • Physiological-impairment noise. Physical maladies that prevent effective communication, such as actual deafness or blindness preventing messages from being received as they were intended.
  • Semantic noise. Different interpretations of the meanings of certain words. For example, the word "weed" can be interpreted as an undesirable plant in a yard, or as a euphemism for marijuana.
  • Syntactical noise. Mistakes in grammar can disrupt communication, such as abrupt changes in verb tense during a sentence.
  • Organizational noise. Poorly structured communication can prevent the receiver from accurate interpretation. For example, unclear and badly stated directions can make the receiver even more lost.
  • Cultural noise. Stereotypical assumptions can cause misunderstandings, such as unintentionally offending a non-Christian person by wishing them a "Merry Christmas".
  • Psychological noise. Certain attitudes can also make communication difficult. For instance, great anger or sadness may cause someone to lose focus on the present moment. Disorders such as autism may also severely hamper effective communication.
  • Innis, Harold. Empire and Communications. Rev. by Mary Q. Innis; foreword by Marshall McLuhan. Toronto, Ont.: University of Toronto Press, 1972. xii, 184 p. N.B.: "Here he [i.e. Innis] develops his theory that the history of empires is determined to a large extent by their means of communication."—From the back cover of the book's pbk. ed. pbk
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