I. Naïve and Scientific Knowledge(Michael’s Sound Bite 1-1)
A. We all know how to communicate, learning it from (a) family, (b) friends, (c) school, (d) our jobs, (e) mass media, (f) other sources. This learning accumulates over time. However, this learning is naïve:we think we know HOW to communicate, but instead we just construct a chaotic impressionistic picture of what works for us, moving on through trial and error, constructing our individualized picture of the situation, which is often hard to explain to others. The elements of the picture that we create are hardly discernable or deconstructable.
B.Scientific learningof communication provides a well-structured, sequential, analytical approach to all communication processes. When we learn communication as science, we construct a model storeroom of communication knowledge on various subjects shared by a community and are able to pull out the elements that we need at a particular time. We will: (a) study a set of universal rules; (b) learn sequential steps for improving skills, (c) recognize various aspects of many communication processes, (d) design solutions for complex communication problems.
C.Scientific knowledge of communication will be constructed all through the course we are taking, throughout all four semesters of our program. We begin with study of universal mechanisms, then proceed to studying communication in different cultures, followed by study of interpersonal conflict, and completing with a detailed study of various self-help mechanisms.
II. Defining Communication
According to National Communication Association, communicationis the process through which people use messages to generate meanings within and across contexts, cultures, channels and media.
A. Communication is a process:it unfolds through a series of actions by participants (Michael’s Sound Bite 1-2).
- Our communication is a continuous process; in every communication episode there is certain influence of past events; any communication episode also defines in some way the future of our communication.
- You chose the Communication Program because you have read about it somewhere or heard about it from friends. You bring to class your experiences and expectations. After each class you take away the information you learned.
- What you do in the morning, how you feel and who you meet on the way, determines how you feel and act, what you do and what you plan in the afternoon. Then, all your afternoon activities, thoughts and encounters have an effect on what you do in the evening.
B. Communication uses messages,packages of information. When people exchange messages, they are said to be in interaction.
C. Communication happens in contexts,or situations. (Michael’s Sound Bite 1-3).
Physical context:your physical surroundings: furniture, equipment, lighting; Situational context:birthday, lecture, church prayer, nature outing, examination, etc; Socio-Psychological context:what your relationship is with the your interlocutors, which needs of yours they satisfy; Temporal context:your biorhythms, time of day, events before and after a particular moment; Natural context:season, weather, humidity and temperature; Cultural context:rules, norms and behaviors you are expected to demonstrate.
D. Communication travels through channels.We have five channels – vision, hearing, touch, smelland taste(Michael’s Sound Bite 1-4).
Richard Bandler and John Grinder:Each of us has one or two preferred channels: one for analyzing incoming information, the other for recalling the information. The traditional psychological classification is into: (a) audials–people who analyze the incoming information or recall the prior information through hearing; (b) visuals– people who analyze or recall through vision; (c) kinesthetics–people who analyze and recall through touch, taste and smell, and (d) digitals– people who use logic first.
Most people have a primary channel (the one that analyzes incoming information) and a leading channel(the one that you use to recall things, lead you through memory).
E. Communication uses media:e-mail, text message, Facebook posts, face-to-face conversations, video conferences, phone calls, handwritten notes.
DISCUSSION STARTER 1: What communication media do you use most often? Why do you rely more on these media than others? Does the type of relationship you have with a person—close or casual, personal or professional— influence what media you use for communicating? If so, how?
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