Communication is a process where by information is encoded and imparted by a sender to a receiver via a channel/medium. The receiver then decodes the message and gives the sender a feedback. Communication requires that all parties have an area of communicative commonality. There are auditory means, such as speaking, singing and sometimes tone of voice, and nonverbal, physical means, such as body language, sign language, paralanguage, touch, eye contact, by using writing.
It is thus a process by which we assign and convey meaning in an attempt to create shared understanding which requires a vast repertoire of skills in intra and inter personal processing, listening, observing, speaking, questioning, analyzing, memorizing, evaluating e.t.c.
It is through communication that collaboration and co-operation occur directly through education, and by practicing those skills and having them evaluated.
Types of communication
There are three major parts in human face to face communication which are body language, voice tonality, and words. Based analytical research
- 53% of impact is determined by body language–postures, gestures, and eye contact,
- 35% by the tone of voice, and
- 18% by the content or the words used in the communication process
Though the percentage of influence may differ from variables such as the listener and the speaker, communication as a whole strives for the same goal and thus, in some cases, can be universal, methods of signals, such as voice sounds, pitch or intonation, gestures and written symbols which communicate, thoughts and feelings.
If a language is about communicating with signals, voice, sounds, gestures, or written symbols, then,can animal communications be considered as a language?” But animals do not have a written form of language communication, yet use a language to communicate with each another. In exsense, an animal communication can be considered as a different language.
Human spoken and written languages can be described as a lexemes (sometimes called system of symbols) and the rules by which the symbols are used. The word “language” is also refer to common properties of languages. Language learning is normal in human childhood. Most human languages use patterns of sound or gesture for symbols which enable communication with others who surround them. There are millions of human languages, and these seem to share certain properties, even though many of the shared properties have some exceptions. Though there is no defined line between a language and a dialect, but the linguist Bella is credited as saying that “a language is a dialect with a navy or an army”. Constructed languages such as programming languages, and various mathematical formalars are not really restricted to the properties shared by human languages.
A verbal or dialouge is a reciprocal conversation between two or more entities (individuals, animals e.t.c).
The etymological origins of the word in Greek dialete ??? (diá,through) + ?????(logos, word,speech) concepts like flowing-through meaning) do not necessarily convey the way in which people have come to use the word, with some confusion between the prefix ???-(diá-,through) and the prefix ??- (di-, two) leading to the assumption that a dialogue is necessarily between only two parties.
Non verbal communication is the process of communicating through sending and receiving wordless messages through gesture, body or posture languages, facial [removed]eye contact), object communication (clothing, hairstyles or architecture), or symbols or info graphics, as well as through an aggregate of the above, such as behavioral communication.
Nonverbal communication plays a key role in every person’s day to day life, from employment to sexuality to parental responsiblities to romantic engagements.
Speech may also contain nonverbal elements known as paralanguage and prosodic features including voice quality, intonation, emotion and speaking style, rhythm, intonation and stress. Also, written texts may have said to contain nonverbal elements such as handwriting style, spatial arrangement of words, and the use of emoticons.A portmanteau of the English words emotion (or emote) and icon, an emoticon is a symbol or combination of symbols used to convey emotional content in written or message form.
Other communication channels such as telegraphy fit into this category, whereby signals travel from person to person by an alternative means. These signals can in themselves be representative of words, objects or merely be state projections. Trials have shown that humans can communicate directly in this way without body language, voice tonality or words.
Non-Human Living Organisms Communication (NHLOC)
Communication in many of its facts is not limited to humans alone, or even to primates but to every information exchange between non-living living organisms i.e. transmission of signals involving a living sender and receiver can be considered as a form of communication. Though, there is the broad field of animal communication, which encompasses most of issues of ethology. On a more basic level, there is cell signaling, cellular communication, and chemical communication between primitive organisms like virus, bateria, and within the plant and fungal kingdoms. All of these communication processes are sign-mediated interactions with a great variety of distinct co-ordinations.
Animal communication is at any behaviour on the part of one animal that has an effect on the behavior of other animals. And of course human communication can be presumed as a highly developed form of animal communication called zoosemiotics which is distinguishable from the study of human communication called anthroposemiotics
has played an important part in the development of ethology, sociobiology, and cognition (the study of animal). This is an evident that humans are able to communicate with animals, especially animals like dolphins and other circuses animals. However, these animals may have to learn the special means in which they can communicate. Animal communication, and the understanding of animal world in general is a rapidly (constant) growing field even in the 21st century so far, many prior understandings related to diverse fields such as personal symbolic name use, animal emotions, animal culture and learning, and even sexual conduct, long thought to be well understood, which have been well revolutionized. Communication is observed within the plant organism, i.e. within plant cells and between plant cells, between plants of the same or related species, and between plants and non-plant organisms, especially in the rootzone. Plant roots communicate in parallel with rhizobia bacteria, with fungi and with insects in the soil. This parallel sign-mediated interactions which are governed by syntactic, pragmatic and semantic rules are possible because of the decentralized “nervous system” of plants. As recent research shows 99% of intraorganismic plant communication processes are neuronal-like. Plants also communicate via volatiles in the case of herbivory attack behavior to warn neighboring plants. In parallel they produce other volatiles which attract parasites which attack these herbivores. In Stress situations plants can overwrite the genetic code they inherited from their parents and revert to that of their grand- or great-grandparents
Fungi communicate to co-ordinate and organize their own growth and development such as the formation of mycelia and fruiting bodies. Additionally fungi communicate with same and related species as well as with non fungal organisms in a great variety of symbiotic interactions, especially with bacteria, unicellular plants and insects. The used semi chemicals are of biotic origin and they trigger the fungal organism to react in a specific manner, in difference while to even the same chemical molecules are not being a part of biotic messages doesn’t trigger to react the fungal organism. It means, fungal organisms are competent to identify the difference of the same molecules being part of biotic messages or lack of these features. So far five different primary signalling molecules are known that serve to coordinate very different behavioral patterns such as filamentation, mating, growth, pathogenicity. Behavioral coordination and the production of such substances can only be achieved through interpretation processes: self or non-self, abiotic indicator, biotic message from similar, related, or non-related species, or even “noise”, i.e., similar molecules without biotic content.
Communication in relation to academic discipline
Communication as an academic discipline, sometimes called “communicology”, relates to all the ways we communicate so it embraces a large body of study and knowledge. The communication discipline includes both verbal and nonverbal messages. A body of scholarship all about communication is presented and explained in textbooks, electronic publications, and academic journals. In the book, researchers report the results of studies that are the basis for an ever expanded understanding of how we all communicate with one individuals or the next.
Communication happens at many levels even for one single action, in many different ways, and for most beings, also in certain machines. 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 narrowly only including human beings within the parameters of human symbolic interaction.
The evaluation of a good visual design is based on measuring comprehension by the audience, not on aesthetic or artistic preference. There are no universally agreed-upon principles of beauty and ugliness. There exists a variety of ways to present information visually, like gestures, body languages, video and TV. Here, focus is on the presentation of text, pictures, diagrams, photos, et cetera, integrated on a computer display. The term visual presentation is used to refer to the actual presentation of information. Recent research in the field has focused on web design and graphically oriented usability. Graphic designers use methods of visual communication in their professional practice.
Visual communication as the name suggests is communication through visual aid. It is the conveyance of ideas and information in forms that can be read or looked upon. Primarily associated with two dimensional images, it includes: signs, typography, drawing, graphic design, illustration, colour and electronic resources. It solely relies on vision. It is form of communication with visual effect. It explores the idea that a visual message with text has a greater power to inform, educate or persuade a person. It is communication by presenting information through visual form.
No one would talk much in society if they knew how often they misunderstood others. – Diplomat Chris E
Many of the problems that occur in an organization are the direct result of people failing to communicate. Faulty communication causes the most problems. It leads to confusion and can cause a good plan to fail. Communication is the exchange and flow of information and ideas from one person to another. It involves a sender transmitting an idea to a receiver. Effective communication occurs only if the receiver understands the exact information or idea that the sender intended to transmit.
Studying the communication process is important because you coach, coordinate, counsel, evaluate, and supervise through this process. It is the chain of understanding that integrates the members of an organization from top to bottom, bottom to top, and side-to-side.
The Communication Process
Communication: That is what we try to do Speak to those near us
First, information exists in the mind of the sender. This can be a concept, idea,
Information, or feelings know as “Thought”
Next, a message is sent to a receiver in words or other symbols
Lastly, the receiver translates the words or symbols into a concept or
Information that he or she can understand known as Decoding.
During the transmitting of the message, two elements will be received: content and context. Content is the actual words or symbols of the message which is known as language – the spoken and written words combined into phrases that make grammatical and semantic sense. We all use and interpret the meanings of words differently, so even simple messages can be misunderstood. And many words have different meanings to confuse the issue even more.
Context is the way the message is delivered and is known as paralanguage – it is the nonverbal elements in speech such as the tone of voice, the look in the sender’s eyes, body language, hand gestures, and state of emotions (anger, fear, uncertainty, confidence, etc.) that can be detected. Although paralanguage or context often cause messages to be misunderstood as we believe what we see more than what we hear; they are powerful communicators that help us to understand each other. Indeed, we often trust the accuracy of nonverbal behaviors more than verbal behaviors.
Some leaders think they have communicated once they told someone to do something, “I don’t know why it did not get done. I told Jim to it.” More than likely, Jim misunderstood the message. A message has NOT been communicated unless it is understood by the receiver (decoded). How do you know it has been properly received? By two-way communication or feedback. This feedback tells the sender that the receiver understood the message, its level of importance, and what must be done with it. Communication is an exchange, not just a give, as all parties must participate to complete the information exchange.
Barriers to Communication
Nothing is so simple that it cannot be misunderstood. – Freeman Teague, Jr.
Anything that prevents understanding of the message is a barrier to communication. Many physical and psychological barriers exist:
Culture, background, and bias – We allow our past experiences to change the meaning of the message. Our culture, background, and bias can be good as they allow us to use our past experiences to understand something new, it is when they change the meaning of the message that they interfere with the communication process.
Noise – Equipment or environmental noise impedes clear communication. The sender and the receiver must both be able to concentrate on the messages being sent to each other.
Ourselves – Focusing on ourselves, rather than the other person can lead to confusion and conflict. The “Me Generation” is out when it comes to effective communication. Some of the factors that cause this are defensiveness (we feel someone is attacking us), superiority (we feel we know more that the other), and ego (we feel we are the center of the activity).
Perception – If we feel the person is talking too fast, not fluently, does not articulate clearly, etc., we may dismiss the person. Also our preconceived attitudes affect our ability to listen. We listen uncritically to persons of high status and dismiss those of low status.
Message – Distractions happen when we focus on the facts rather than the idea. Our educational institutions reinforce this with tests and questions. Semantic distractions occur when a word is used differently than you prefer. For example, the word chairman instead of chairperson, may cause you to focus on the word and not the message.
Environmental – Bright lights, an attractive person, unusual sights, or any other stimulus provides a potential distraction.
Smothering – We take it for granted that the impulse to send useful information is automatic. Not true! Too often we believe that certain information has no value to others or they are already aware of the facts.
Stress – People do not see things the same way when under stress. Our psychological frames of references – our beliefs, values, knowledge, experiences, and goals, influence what we see and believe at a given moment.
These barriers can be thought of as filters, that is, the message leaves the sender, goes through the above filters, and is then heard by the receiver. These filters muffle the message. And the way to overcome filters is through active listening and feedback.
Hearing and listening is not the same thing. Hearing is the act of perceiving sound. It is involuntary and simply refers to the reception of aural stimuli. Listening is a selective activity, which involves the reception and the interpretation of aural stimuli. It involves decoding the sound into meaning.
Listening is divided into two main categories: passive and active. Passive listening is little more that hearing. It occurs when the receiver of the message has little motivation to listen carefully, such as when listening to music, story telling, television, or when being polite.
People speak at 100 to 175 words per minute (WPM), but they can listen intelligently at 600 to 800 WPM. Since only a part of our mind is paying attention, it is easy to go into mind drift – thinking about other things while listening to someone. The cure for this is active listening – which involves listening with a purpose, It may be to gain information, obtain directions, understand others, solve problems, share interest, see how another person feels, show support, etc. It requires that the listener attend to the words and the feelings of the sender for understanding. It takes the same amount or more energy than speaking. It requires the receiver to hear the various messages, understand the meaning, and verify the meaning by offering feedback. Below are some few traits of active listeners:
1. Spend more time listening than talking.
2. Do not finish the sentences of others.
3. Do not answer questions with questions.
4. Are aware of biases. We all have them. We need to control them.
5. Never daydreams or become preoccupied with their own thoughts when other talks.
6. Let the other speakers talk, Do not dominate the conversations.
7. Plan responses after the others have finished speaking, NOT while they are speaking.
8. Provide feedback, but do not interrupt incessantly.
9. Analyze by looking at all the relevant factors and asking open-ended questions. Walk others through by summarizing.
10. Keep conversations on what others say, NOT on what interests them.
11. Take brief notes. This forces them to concentrate on what is being said.
Knowledge When you know something and say what you know and when you don’t know something, say that you don’t know. – Engr. A.T
The purpose of feedback is to alter messages so the second communicator will understand the intention of the original communicator. It includes verbal and nonverbal responses to another person’s message.
Providing feedback is accomplished by paraphrasing the words of the sender. Restate the sender’s feelings or ideas in your own words, rather than repeating their words. Your words should be saying, “This is what I understand your feelings to be, am I correct?” It not only includes verbal responses, but also nonverbal ones. Nodding your head or squeezing their hand to show agreement, dipping your eyebrows shows you don’t quite understand the meaning of their last phrase, or sucking air in deeply and blowing it hard shows that you are also exasperated with the situation.
Carl Rogers listed five main categories of feedback. They are listed in the order in which they occur most frequently in daily conversations. Notice that we make judgments more often than we try to understand:
1. Evaluative: Making a judgment about the worth, goodness, or appropriateness of the other person’s statement.
2. Interpretive: Paraphrasing – attempting to explain what the other person’s statement means.
3. Supportive: Attempting to assist or bolster the other communicator.
4. Probing: Attempting to gain additional information, continue the discussion, or clarify a point.
5. Understanding: Attempting to discover completely what the other communicator means by her statements.
Imagine how much better daily communications would be if listeners tried to understand first, before they tried to evaluate what someone is saying.
Non verbal Behaviors of Communication
To deliver the full impact of a message, use nonverbal behaviors to raise the channel of interpersonal communication:
1. Eye contact: This helps to regulate the flow of communication. It signals interest in others and increases the speaker’s credibility. People who make eye contact open the flow of communication and convey interest, concern, warmth, and credibility.
2. Facial Expressions: Smiling is a powerful cue that transmits happiness, friendliness, warmth, and liking. So, if you smile frequently you will be perceived as more likable, friendly, warm and approachable. Smiling is often contagious and people will react favorably. They will be more comfortable around you and will want to listen more.
3. Gestures: If you fail to gesture while speaking you may be perceived as boring and stiff. A lively speaking style captures the listener’s attention, makes the conversation more interesting, and facilitates understanding.
4. Posture and body orientation: You communicate numerous messages by the way you talk and move. Standing erect and leaning forward communicates to listeners that you are approachable, receptive and friendly. Interpersonal closeness results when you and the listener face each other. Speaking with your back turned or looking at the floor or ceiling should be avoided as it communicates disinterest.
5. Proximity: Cultural norms dictate a comfortable distance for interaction with others. You should look for signals of discomfort caused by invading the other person’s space. Some of these are: rocking, leg swinging, tapping, and gaze aversion.
6. Vocal: Speaking can signal nonverbal communication when you include such vocal elements as: tone, pitch, rhythm, timbre, loudness, and inflection. For maximum teaching effectiveness, learn to vary these six elements of your voice. One of the major criticisms of many speakers is that they speak in a monotone voice. Listeners perceive this type of speaker as boring and dull.
Hints on Speaking
Speak comfortable words in other to comfort others
When speaking or trying to explain something, ask and ensure that the
Listeners are on track with you.
Ensure the Listeners has a chance to comment or ask questions.
Try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes, consider the feelings of the
Listeners. Be clear about what you say.
Make sure your words match your tone and body language (Nonverbal
Behaviors). Vary your tone and pace.
Do not be vague, but on the other hand, do not complicate what you are saying
With too much detail.
Do not ignore when you see any sign of confusion.
Communication Per Say (a few random thoughts)
In the mid 1980s, Paul Martias studied emotions and discovered six facial expressions that almost everyone recognizes worldwide: happiness, sadness, anger, fear, disgust, and surprise. Although they were controversial at first (he was booed off the stage when he first presented it to a group of anthropologists and later called a fascist and a racist) they are now widely accepted. One of the controversies still lingering is the amount of context needed to interpret them. For example, if someone reports to me that they have this great ideal that they would like to implement, and I say that would be great, but I look on them with a frown, is it possible that I could be thinking about something else? The trouble with these extra signals is that we do not always have the full context. What if the person emailed me and I replied great (while frowning?). Would it evoke the same response?
Trust your instincts. Most emotions are difficult to imitate. For instant, when you are truly happy, the limbic system and other parts of the brain, which are not under voluntary control, control the muscles used for smiling. When you force a smile, a different part of the brain is used – the cerebral cortex (under voluntary control), hence, different muscles are used. This is why a clerk, who might not have any real interest in you, has a “fake” look when he forces a smile.
Of course, some actors learn to control all of their face muscles, while others draw on a past emotional experience to produce the emotional state they want. But this is not an easy trick to pull off all the time. There is a good reason for this part of our emotions evolved to deal with other people and our empathic nature. If these emotions could easily be faked, they would do more harm than good.
So our emotions not only guide our decisions, they can also be communicated to others to help them in their decisions – of course their emotions will be the ultimate guide, but the emotions they discover in others become part of their knowledge base.
We often hear that the content of a message is composed of:
55% from the visual component 38% from the auditory component 7% from
However, the above percentages only apply in a very narrow context. A researcher named Martin was interested in how listeners get their information about a speaker’s general attitude in situations where the facial expression, tone, and/or words are sending conflicting signals.
Thus, he designed a couple of experiments. In one, Martin and Fernando (1989) researched the interaction of speech, facial expressions, and tone. Three different speakers were instructed to say “maybe” with three different attitudes towards their listener (positive, neutral, or negative). Next, photographs of the faces of three female models were taken as they attempted to convey the emotions of like, neutrality, and dislike.
Test groups were then instructed to listen to the various renditions of the word “maybe,” with the pictures of the models, and were asked to rate the attitude of the speaker. Note that the emotion and tone were often mixed, such as a facial expression showing dislike, with the word “maybe” spoken in a positive tone.
Significant effects of facial expression and tone were found in that the study suggested that the combined effect of simultaneous verbal, vocal and facial attitude communications is a weighted sum of their independent effects with the coefficients of .07, .38, and .55, respectively.
Mehrabian and Ferris also wrote about a deep limitation to their research: “These findings regarding the relative contribution of the tonal component of a verbal message can be safely extended only to communication situations in which no additional information about the communicator-addressee relationship is available. yet the percentage derived can vary greatly depending upon a number of other factors, such as actions, context of the communication, and how well they know that person.
Trying to speak of something as missiles as communication in technical terms seems to be another form of math and science argument, i.e., math and science and technology are the answer to all of our problems
But what forms of human behavior are not missiles? Learning is not antiseptic, yet it is discussed all the time, we do not leave it to the academics, such as Leadership and management seems to be even messier, yet we categorize it, build models of it, index it, chop it and slice it and dice it, build pyramids out of it, and generally have a good time discussing it. But when it comes to “communication,” we call it too messy to play with and use it to communicate almost every single day of our lives, which is much more than we will ever do with learning or leadership.
Thus, what can be concluded is that when people communicate, listeners derive information about the speaker’s attitudes towards the listener from visual, tonal, and verbal cues