Concept of Communication
1) What is communication ?
Answer : The English word communication comes from the Latin word, Communicare which means to impart or participate or to
transmit. The word Communicare is derived from the root Communis which means to make common or to share. The Oxford English Dictionary defines communication as the action of conveying or exchanging information and ideas.
a) Human beings communicate. So do animals, birds and even insects. We have examples of such communication in the chirping
of birds, their warning calls at the approach of danger; apes’ cries expressing anger, pleasure, fear etc. However, the special qualities specific to human beings separate the human world from the animal kingdom. That is why human communication differs from animal communication.
b) With progress, man‘s needs and communication requirements also increased, which led to the invention of more advanced means of communication. Thus the evolution of communication can be traced from the prehistoric period to our present times. Cave paintings, drawings, pictorial representations etc. The use of these was gradually replaced by language.
c) A communication revolution has, indeed, taken place. While, earlier, man had very limited facilities and access to knowledge and information, modern man faces the problem of an Information Explosion – there is so much available that he has to sift through and select what he wants from the mass of information available.
2) What is the origin of the word communication‘?
Answer : The English word communication comes from the Latin word. So, communication is i) the activity or process of sharing or
exchanging ideas, feelings, information, experience between two or more persons; ii) an act or instance of transmitting; iii) the information actually communicated by some means.
a) Communication occurs all the time. In fact, it is an ongoing activity. For example, interaction between the members of a family, friends, relatives; communication through letters, telegrams, telephone; stopping one‘s vehicle at the red signal and starting it at the green signal; response given to the ringing of the bell by the students in a school. It is clear, then that communication may be either verbal or nonverbal.
b) Is communication a new phenomenon? Definitely not. Communication is as old as man himself. Man felt the need to communicate right from the beginning of human history when, in the absence of language, signs, symbols, and sounds were the only means of communication at his disposal. Thus the evolution of communication can be traced from the prehistoric period to our present times.
c) Invention of languages gave rise to oral communication which was the sole means of communication in society at one time. Gradually, the written script came to be used and propagated, thus giving communication a more lasting value. In those days, dried leaves, marble, stone, papyrus, etc. were used as writing materials.
d) Then, in 1437, came Johann Guttenberg‘s invention of the process of printing, as a result of which communication took a quantum leap. And with the development of science and technology in the 20th century, electronic devices provided a further spurt. The advent of radio, television, telephone, Fax, computer, Internet have changed the face of communication altogether.
3) Give the components of the communication process.
Answer : The Process of Communication: Communication is a remarkable process in which we are all involved. Being a two- way transactional process, it occurs between two or more persons. All communication has some purpose which should be known to both the sender and the receiver. The components or elements of the Process of Communication:
a) The Sender or Communicator:
This is the WHO of the process. The sender plays an important role since he is the source of the message. The process begins with him. He initiates communication using a variety of speech acts, some of which are expressing ideas, feelings, thoughts, opinions directing the participants to do something persuading providing information sharing something with someone (i.e. the receiver)
The message has to be formulated in some way to make it possible for it to be put across. This process is called encoding, which involves selecting, organizing information in a suitable way. This is Verbal communication. However, non-verbal means of communication may also be used, and would be encoded in other ways.
c) The Message:
This is the WHAT of the process, and is an essential element in the communication process because, unless there is some thought or idea to share, there would be no communication.
d) The Medium / Channel:
Since human beings cannot communicate telepathically, they need to use some channel or medium to put across the message. The terms Channel or Medium would imply the physical form that the message takes. A message must necessarily travel through a specific channel. He may use the verbal (oral or written) method, or may use non-verbal ways (e.g. body language, facial expressions, gestures, silence etc.)
e) The Receiver:
The receiver is also an important component in the process of communication because, unless there is someone to receive the message, it cannot be said that communication has taken place. The receiver is the person or group of persons to WHOM the message is directed.
As the sender has to encode the message, that is, put it into some form to facilitate communication, the receiver has to decode the message, that is, interpret the symbols, and understand the meaning of the message. This he does against the background of his age, gender, past experiences, culture, attitudes etc.
After getting the meaning of the message, the receiver provides feedback which he encodes in the form of a response/reaction/reply to the message. Feedback plays an important part in the communication process, because it is desired and expected by both the sender and the receiver. Feedback may be immediate or delayed. However, in the case of a letter, feedback may be delayed as the receiver will take time to reply.
4) Give any one example of a communication situation.
Answer : Consider a situation where a business is introducing a new product and has to convince its target market of its advantages. The marketing department of the business has organized a product launch event, and they want to assure a successful launch and produce significant sales. To raise awareness, pique interest, and influence potential customers to make purchases, effective communication is crucial in this scenario.
a) The business must use a variety of communication tactics in this case. To reach a large audience, they can advertise through print, internet, and social channels. They can also plan press conferences and media briefings to get the product media attention and generate hype. Using word-of-mouth advertising and influencer marketing can also be advantageous.
b) To explain the distinctiveness of the product, the organization must also generate concise and appealing product descriptions, brochures, and presentations. In order to answer questions and establish confidence, businesses should also actively connect with their audience through interactive events, live demos, and Q&A sessions. A comprehensive and consistent communication strategy will aid the business in achieving its goals and a successful product launch.
5) Define business communication.
Answer : As Business Communication plays an important role in any business organization, it is necessary to focus on its meaning. Business Communication is the sharing of information related to business activities and their results. Therefore, it can be considered as a more satisfying and comprehensive definition of Business Communication.
a) Administrative communication is a process which involves the transmission and accurate replication of ideas ensured by Feedback for the purpose of eliciting actions which will accomplish organizational goals. (William G. Scott, Organisation Theory) This definition emphasises on i) the sender‘s or receiver‘s capability of accurate transmission or reception of ideas ii) feedback, iii) eliciting action which will accomplish goals.
b) They, no doubt, enhance our understanding of the concept of communication, which comprises speaking, reading, writing, expressing ideas and opinions, and exchange of ideas, response to signs, signals, symbols and gestures. We may, thus, define communication as a process of sharing facts, ideas, opinions, thoughts and information through speech, writing, gestures or symbols, between two or more persons.
c) Communication has a definite role to play in business, as a business person spends 75-90% of his work-time in communication, whether it be speaking, reading, writing, or listening. Today, technological development, globalization and team-based organizational structures have given rise to a culturally diverse workforce in an organization. It helps quick decision-making.
That is why effective communication is a must. Neglecting communication or underestimating its value and importance will take us back to the dark ages and will deprive us of all the latest developments. Good communication is today‘s need.
6) What is the special feature of human communication that separates it from animal communication?
Answers : Human beings communicate. So do animals, birds and even insects. We have examples of such communication in the chirping of birds, their warning calls at the approach of ‘danger apes’ cries expressing anger, pleasure, fear etc. However, the special qualities specific to human beings separate the human world from the animal kingdom. That is why human communication differs from animal communication.
a) However, the special qualities specific to human beings separate the human world from the animal kingdom. That is why human communication differs from animal communication. For our purpose of study we will restrict ourselves to human communication and the technical means used. A good starting point is recognition of the fact that man is a social animal who prefers to live in society.
b) He is, in fact, born with the capacity to communicate he simply cannot isolate himself. He feels the need all the time to express himself and share his ideas with others. And this attempt we see even in the case of an infant who communicates his needs by cooing, crying, smiling etc. Man‘s very survival depends on communication.
c) With progress, man‘s needs and communication requirements also increased, which led to the invention of more advanced means of communication. A communication revolution has, indeed, taken place. While earlier, man had very limited facilities and access to knowledge and information, modern man faces the problem of an Information Explosion – there is so much available that he has to sift through and select what he wants from the mass of information available.
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