Communication does not entail the use of words as reflected by a majority of the people, but a method employed by the sender to convey a particular message to the audience. Irrespective of the method employed, the sender struggles to build relationships and seek for the best tactic that he can utilize to catch the attention of the receiver (Croucher, 2016). The ability of the sender to display the power of building relationship dictates the effectiveness of the communication process. Additionally, the overall effect of the message in the receiver has a direct correlation on the choice of language and features of the message employed by the sender. In this blog post, I will start with the analysis of the advanced theories of communication learnt in my CMN 3109 class, and along with the analysis, I will also talk about how this class inspired me to connect with inner thoughts and help me to prepare for my future career development.
Analysis of the Advanced Theories of Communication Learnt
The process of communication involves the process by which a sender conveys a particular message to the audience. Considering this definition, various basic forms of communication exist depending on the nature of the message delivered, the audience, the effect that the sender intends to build, and the medium available to deliver the message (Croucher, 2016). As my fellow classmates twittered in the class,
the message itself is not the only thing that is important. you also have to consider the sender and the receiver of the message #uoac
— Neesa Mandel (@neesamande) 2 November 2016
And so, in order to have a clear ideas of the relationship between the communication message and the sender as well the receiver, I read some articles related to the process of communication, and there are 3 types of communication forms that draw my attention, which are physical, biological and human communication. As I interpret, physical communication is a form that entails influencing the audience to understand the real physical environment and the manner various things occur. It aims at drawing a picture in the mind to enable the receiver to have an extraordinary imagination regarding what he observes in the environment. It is a perfect form of communication, which substitutes words or other languages especially when it involves passing complex messages that are difficult to explain with common languages.
On the other hand, biological communication aims at passing precise information regarding the living world or living creatures. It goes beyond to explain the cellular components that sum up to make the entire body of a living organism (Deyasi, Upadhyay, & Banerjee, 2016). Likewise, I view that biological communication eliminates the receiver’s burden of drawing an image regarding the message and provokes analysis and examination to gain a thorough understanding of the numerous details contained. It communicates messages that otherwise would require many words to explain and attempts to draw the audience in the condition under description.
The other is animal communication that involves passing information between animals in a manner that affects the behavior of the receiver. The form of communication reveals the way animals interact with each other, pass information, and respond to the environment (Plec, 2013). Additionally, this form of communication involves the use of the basic principles of communication employed by animals as well as the explanation of relevant facts regarding animals. It may also refer to using animals and their behavior to reflect on specific features displayed by humans.
Last on the row is human communication that is distinct from all other forms of communication discussed. It entails the use of language to convey accurate information to the audience, and words play the most significant role. It also involves the use of non-verbal communication such as symbols to describe particular features or detailed information that is difficult to convey using words (Plec, 2013). Human communication advances further into the use of artificial aids to enhance the ability to convey complicated information. It also uses suitable techniques that may assist in preserving the information conveyed permanently and displays a high level of intelligence to induce feelings and direct the thoughts of the audience. In this case, I reflect that human communication is a tool for all kinds of transformation depending on the competency levels of the sender and the medium of communication.
Signs and Symbols
As I mentioned above, signs and symbols as forms of communication play an essential role in human communication, and so in this part, I am going to introduce the definition of signs and symbols, and how they function and influence people’s ability in the human communication. Symbols are cultural representation of reality, and people from different cultures have their own ways to interpret symbols .Signs are usually visual illustrations created by the sender to pass specific information to the targeted group of people. The major objective of a sign, according to Chan and Ng (2013), is to pass information in a manner that the receiver will make perceptive interpretation from the details of the information conveyed. My interpretation draws me to the identification of different types of signs based on the core objective of the sender. Informative signs convey messages regarding facilities or services offered such as directions, maps, as well as an instructional sign. Directional signs indicate the location of facilities, services, and functional areas, among others. Such signs may include directional arrows, signposts, etc. Additionally, identification signs show facilities and services directly such as names of persons, places, rooms, and destinations. Signs can also communicate the presence of security risks or safety instructions.
On the other hand, symbols are signs organized in a complicated, multifaceted system to convey a particular message to the viewer. Symbols are useful both for expressive as well as receptive communication (Chan & Ng, 2013). Symbols comprise of objects or pictures with each having a precise meaning to the audience depending on the context. In most cases, a symbol conveys the message more efficiently because it avoids the use of many words to express a simple idea. For example, because of a legal requirement, in most workplaces, organizations use safety signs to remind workers and visitors of important safety messages and instructions for emergency situations. For doing this can assist in keeping workers and visitors in a safe workplace. In addition, a symbol overcomes the language barrier, making it the most relevant communication method in a condition that the sender does not share a similar language with the audience. For example, when the first time I came to Canada as an international student, I was not fluent in speaking English, and I was not able to understand some English words, and so everything for me is strange and tough. I remember the first time I walked into a Canadian restaurant and there was no sigh in the front door, and so I walked to the table directly and sat down without the servers showing me to the table. My Canadian friend was so freaked out by my behavior and told me in Canada, when you walk into a restaurant, you have to wait for the server to show you to the table, otherwise people will assume you are rude and not well-behave. But the next time when I walked into another Canadian restaurant, I found that there was a sign in the front door which was a cartoon character waiting in the door and I understood that I have to wait in the door until someone show me to the table. This experience educated me that a sign can truly help people to overcome the language barrier especially for those people who could not even read and understand other languages.
Effective communication occurs when the receiver can acquire the exact meaning intended by the sender. In this case, the message delivered match context to enable the targeted individual or group to link personal experiences with the message conveyed (Tenzer & Pudelko, 2015). Therefore, for the communication process to be active, the sender must deliver the message in a manner that catches the attention of the target audience. Additionally, the receiver must be in a position of relating popular experiences with the source of the information apart from offering a way of addressing personality requirements.
Additionally, the social condition has a very significant effect in the manner the audience interprets the message conveyed. Artificial censorship is a major hindrance to effective communication and occurs when the receiver stops or distorts the message conveyed by the sender (Tenzer & Pudelko, 2015). In addition, wrong assumptions or premises that involve conveying the message in a manner that will influence the audience to make wrong interpretations or develop negative feelings regarding the information. Therefore, for the communication process to be successful, the sender must demonstrate a high capability of building a positive relationship with the audience. This will come through the ability to link the message and the method of communication to align with the social condition of the target audience.
Furthermore, clarity is a significant attribute that determines the nature of the outcome of the communication process. The attribute, as mentioned by Welsh (2012), is also a function of numerous factors ranging from the interpretation skills of the audience, the extent that the sender designs the message to eliminate ambiguity and the degree that the method employed match with the nature of the audience. Therefore, the sender must be able to understand the audience effectively and employ a method that fits them appropriately to deliver the exact message intended.
Credibility is another factor that dictates the effectiveness of the communication process and involves the degree which the audience trust the sender. In a condition where the audience trusts the sender, positive attitudes build up leading to correct interpretation of the message conveyed (Welsh, 2012). Therefore, before beginning the communication process, the sender must ascertain the extent that the target audience trusts him. On revealing that the level of credibility is low then it is necessary to begin by building relationships to win the loyalty of the audience then proceed and deliver the message. Additionally, the message delivered must be credible to influence inception of the ideas communicated. In this case, dialect as a communication way imposes some kinds of order on reality based on the real evidence can help the sender to build truth and make sure the message can be tested and finally trusted by the receivers. Dialogue is the basic condition to evaluate truth; if you are seeking truth, you have to put yourself in the situation of dialogue.
The other factor is the content of the message delivered if it appropriately matches with the nature of the audience. The content, as suggested by Welsh (2012), must be complete to include all the details desired by the audience to provoke interest that will influence positive feelings regarding the message. The idea is that the message delivery system must contain the appropriate text, figures and support each argument with evidence to convince the audience. Accuracy is a significant factor to avoid influencing confusion leading to the distortion of the message.
Next, compassionate, as hinted by Tenzer and Pudelko (2015), is a significant feature that makes the communication process effective. In this case, the message must protect the feelings of the audience and possess persuasive features. Showing kindness will not only deliver the message to the audience, but also help to build strong relationships that will influence continuous examination and interpretation to draw more lessons and meaning from the message. The idea will also influence repeated view and reviews and greater inquiry to find new ways of enhancing the understanding of the information.
Now we have known that in an effective communication, both the senders and the receivers are essential in sending and receiving credible information of the message, and so when you want to build a message, what is the things you have to pay attention?
One of the essential factor of building a message is grammar, as the professor mentioned in the class, grammar is all about meaning. When you are going to build a credible message, you have to first understand the meaning of grammar and the components of grammar. For example, index as a meaning of reference in a message, playing a role as indicating time, place, persons, and objects in a message, can help both the sender and the receiver to have an exact idea in which the message takes place.
Also, the other aspect is rhetoric in which senders can use this tool to create a powerful message to convince the audiences. Rhetoric began 2500 years ago as the study of the form of communication in ancient Ancient Greek. Rhetoric is the study of written, spoken and visual language. The aim of rhetoric is to explore how language is used to organize social groups, to construct meanings and identities, to produce changes, and to create knowledge in the society. As the arts and sciences, the study of rhetoric experienced a re-birth during the Renaissance period. However, even after hundreds of years, the importance of rhetoric has not changed from the ancient time and the importance of it has still played an essential role in today’s human communication. For example, there are 3 types rhetorical strategies which are Logos, Ethos, Pathos, are still being used in arguments in order to support claims and responds to opposing arguments. The purpose of Logos is to create a proposition where everyone agree on, while Ethos is to create a connection with your audiences so that they identify with you. And also, Pathos is to make an emotional appeal to audiences. Hence, sounding honest, appealing honest and feeling honest can strengthen the message to be a believable information.
Besides, 5 cannons of rhetoric could also help communicators to create more effective persuasion. These 5 cannons are: invention, arrangement, style, memory and delivery. Invention is a way for finding argument, in this way, writer and speaker can talk about everything, but he must first use research in order to find arguments to support his ideas. There are 2 types of persuasion in invention, non-artistic and artistic. Logos, Pathos and Ethos belongs to the artistic type, while non-artistic is used in judicial arguments and presentations. Arrangement is the systematical of the parts of a discourse. Another important cannon is style. Style the adaptation of words and sentence to the matter, and style help words to flow beautifully. In style, writer and speakers have to choose words properly. The other cannon is memory, which is memorizing speeches, that means a constant practice of a virtue well-rehearsed speech. For example, if you want to have a public speech, first you have to write a good speech draft, and then you have to memorize your draft because it can add value to your speech, and it can also help you to convey your topic clearly and convincingly. Finally, delivery is the other cannon that help both the writer and the speaker to create effective persuasion. Delivery is the regulation of voice, countenance, and gestures as the speakers speak, which allows the speaker to convince, persuade, and win over the audience to their arguments. These 5 cannons of rhetoric provide a template for the criticism of discourse, and at the same time they give a pattern for rhetorical education. Learning the rhetoric journey also inspired me that no matter in my school studying, or in my future career development, I should always keep the rhetoric strategies and 5 cannons of rhetoric in minds when I encounter a communication problem, because they can help me to be more persuasive in any types of communication.
The Art of Communication in Yoga journey
The reasons why I named this section as The Art of Communication in Yoga journey is because after 3 months advanced theory communication course study, I realized that communication is not in only happen in communicating with different people, it also happens in communicating with ourselves, which is being called intrapersonal communication. In order to use of language to persuade people, we, as human, have to first communicate with ourselves and so expand our inner thoughts to others. For example, I am recently attending a yoga teacher training, and the responsibility for yoga teacher is not only teach students with the proper postures, but also you have to be very careful with the language you use, that being said, you have to master the communication skills where you can build truth and persuasion with your students in order to let you students understand your teaching method and follow your instructions. At the beginning of yoga teacher training, I was afraid of saying wrong words to make wrong instructions, and I started to doubt and wonder if anyone will actually pay attention to the subtle nuance of my instructions? How could I let students listen to me entirely and persuade them to believe in my yoga instructions? Luckily, In the class of CMN 3109, I finally learn the secret of language using in different types of communication, which make me realize that in order to convince people to agree with my thoughts, I should first learn the power of language, and use this power to create message that appeals to sensations and feelings as well as language that applies to reasons. And so I was looking for a person to practice my communication skills so that I can better communicate in a yoga class, but finally I realized that the most trustful person who can help me to be a better communicator is myself.
There is only one person with whom we communicate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year, every single year of our life, and that person is ourselves. And so I decided to use the knowledge that I have learnt in the class to communicate with myself and then I can develop a deeper understanding of my thoughts and every single posture and make them become more satisfying and interesting. For example, dialectic is a way as language does to impose some kinds of order in reality based on real evidence, and that being said, dialectic enables us to have a sense of belonging. In order to find this sense of belonging, I have to be aware of the language skills that can create the consciousness of my body, my thoughts in which I can further illustrate the commitment, the consistency, and compassions of the yoga instructions to the students.
Moreover, this advanced theory of communication not only taught me how to be a good speaker, but also in the class, I learnt how to be a good listener. For example, in the class, the professor encouraged students to participate in the class Q&A section by twittering through the internet, which allows every single student to have a chance to ask questions, and at the same time also encourage students to listen to other students’ ideas toward the subject. We, as students in the class just need to focus on the speech that the professor have given to the students, and catch the content in which we have questions, doubts, and raise our questions by twittering in order to get answers from the professor, while the professor also need to listen to students opinion by checking out the course tag. For doing so, students have equal chances to listen and get their answers from the professor, and also students get an opportunity to listen to or inspired from other students’ learning stories( storify, blog post ).This teaching method is very interesting to me, because as a university student, what I want from the university is not just a piece of degree certificate, but also an opportunity to develop the ability to think extensively, solve problems, and challenge myself. To be honest, before I took this class, I was so tired of university, because I found that every single class I took at the University of Ottawa was really boring, and most students included me was more like machine, though we kept going to every class, and studied hard, we just wanted a better grade, and after exams or assignments, we just simply forgot what we have learnt in the class. This situation made me feel nervous and I started to doubt my university life and wonder if university could really help me in my future development?
Luckily, the CMN 3109 class strongly changed my mind toward university, because in the class, under the unique teaching method of the professor, I realized that if I just focus on grades, there’s a strong possibility that I won’t be as prepared for the world outside of university. But if I focus on learning as much as I can, and engage with all the opportunities presented by the class, I will be in a much better position to thrive after I graduate. It is just like how those communication techniques inspired me to how to be a better yoga instructor, this course has truly encouraged me to build my knowledge of the whole communication process, and rebuild my confidence to prepare for my future yoga teacher career positively.
Last but not least, I truly want to thank you so much my dear professor, as a teacher, you know what you want from students and have such a strong responsibility that encourage students to learn how to be a effective communicator. Thanks for this beautiful journey, I will remember this learning journey and use the communication techniques to effectively prepare for my future development in the rest of my life.
Thank you, and wish you a very Merry Christmas and happy new year!
Croucher, S. M. (2016). Understanding Communication Theory: A Beginner’s Guide. New York: Routledge.
Chan, A. S., & Ng, A. Y. (2013). Signs and Symbols in the Workplace and Public Use. Hauppauge, New York: Nova Science Publishers, Inc.
Deyasi, K., Upadhyay, S., & Banerjee, A. (2016). Communication on the structure of biological networks. Pramana: Journal of Physics, 86(3), 617-635.
Plec, E. (2013). Perspectives on Human-Animal Communication : Internatural Communication. New York: Routledge.
Tenzer, H., & Pudelko, M. (2015). Leading across language barriers: Managing language induced emotions in multinational teams. The Leadership Quarterly, 26(4), 606-625.
Welsh, J. (2012). Overcoming language barriers when teaching interprofessional groups. Emergency Nurse, 20(6), 33-36.