What is Communication?. Barber’s definition: The transmission of information by speaking, writing, or other means (Barber, 1998) This also can be illustrated by a diagram known as the Shannon-Weaver model. Noise. Noise. Sender. Receiver. Message. Feedback.
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The transmission of information by speaking, writing, or other means (Barber, 1998)
This also can be illustrated by a diagram known as the Shannon-Weaver
People have been thinking about communication in a systematic way for
a long time.
The oldest communication book in existence (dating back to 2675 BCE) is a
collection of tips on effective communication.
Written nearly 2500 years ago by Aristotle, the Rhetoric combined theory and
application, with an analysis of the principles that govern all communication
and lots of practical advice on how to apply them.
Aristotle’s primary interests:
- understanding how we influence each other through our public messages?
- how we establish credibility and authority to speak?
- how we accommodate our different audience?
- how we can best structure our messages to win a hearing from those with whom we wish to communicate?
The most important part of Aristotle’s theory is a model of communication.
That has come to be know as the rhetorical triangle.
In contrast to the Shannon-Weaver model, the rhetorical triangle emphasizes
the dynamic, interactional nature of communication.
Aristotle understood that it is frequently the speakers credibility that most
determines the way a message is received. He named this feature of
Communication as “ ethos”.
refers to what is revealed about a speaker or writer by the style and tone of the message.
Three important qualities of ethos:
(1) Good will
- genuine respect and concern for others’ interests and views
(2) Good judgement
- a sensible and reasonable point of view based on a full understanding of what is at stake
(3) Good character
- integrity and credibility
A successful communicator must establish a bond with the audience.
To do so, a writer or speaker needs to demonstrate an understanding of the
Audience by recognizing and affirming the things that they value, need, hope
for, fear, or care about.
A communicator must also exhibit respect and concern for the audience.
Aristotle called this aspect of communication “pathos”, so named for its
recognition of the feelings and concerns of others.
A speaker or writer must demonstrate a thorough knowledge of the issues
being discussed, show a command of both style and subject matter, and avoid
This aspect of communication Aristotle called “logos”, a word that meant
Both logic and word.
In other words, a speaker or writer must attend carefully both to the
arguments and evidence offered, and to the language in which the arguments
Add ethos, pathos, and logos to the rhetorical triangle, we have:
interaction between people. (Interaction)
This most fundamental of the nine axioms emphasizes the dynamic nature of
communication represented by the rhetorical triangle .
Communication is not simply some thing you do (an action), nor is it an
exchange (a transaction). Instead, communication is a living process in which
two people participate together (an interaction).
All communications involve building or maintaining human relationship.
This element of a message is called “relation”, and it is frequently as
important as-and sometimes more so than- the content or information
that message contains.
3. All communications involve an element of footing as well as content. (Authority)
All communication establishes some kind of relationship, or footing, between
- refers to the foundation upon which your credibility rests in a given interaction. (authority)
The impact of the footing relation on commutation is intense and long-lasting, and when it goes wrong, it leaves a persistent, often permanent impression.
4. All communication take place within a context of “persons, objects, events, and relations”. (Context)
Messages do not stand alone, and they are all products of their social,
historical, professional, and personal context.
We must consider not only the informational requirements of our
communication, but also the background, history, interpersonal qualities,
professional constraints, and social consequences of the situation into which
they are introduced.
5. Communication is a principal way of establishing ourselves and maintaining credibility. (Credibility)
Whether we like or not, people judge us by how effectively we communicate.
In fact, a professional’s ability to communicate is frequently the only basis
others have for assessing that person’s competence and authority.
6. Communication is the main means through which we exert influence. (Influence)
Influence – the ability to gain cooperation and compliance from others – is a
fundamental requirement for our survival, comfort, and success.
Satisfaction and success depend on our ability to achieve the cooperation of
7. All communication involves an element of interpersonal risk. (Risk)
Our worthiness as professionals and as individuals is judged by how
effectively we communicate.
- both our self-worth and our sense of public affirmation
- the risk of being judged and possibly rejected
- each encounter with others carries the risk of “losing face”
8. Communication is frequently ambiguous: what is unsaid can be as important as what is said. (Ambiguity)
All human communication is complex, and involves much more than the
explicit verbal content of any message.
Some of the unspoken content of a message is contained in nonverbal cues
such as eye contact, facial expression, vocal tone, gestures, physical
movement, stance and posture, manner of dress, personal hygiene, or overall
Nonverbal expressions commonly referred as “body language”.
9. Effective professional communication is audience-centred, not self-centred. (Audience-centred)
Effective professional communication is rhetorical.
-the word we use to describe communication intended to “produce action or change in the word” by appealing to those who are in a position to make this change, it is means by which we exercise influence in order to get things done
Rhetorical communication always depends on engaging an audience,
motivating their concern, and enabling them to make decisions or take an
action that the speaker believes to be essential or desirable.
10. Communication is pervasive: you cannot not communicate. (Pervasiveness)
People are immersed in a social environment filled with message.
Participating in this pervasive environment is inevitable, because each action
of yours will be read by others for its communicative meaning.
Even a refusal to participate in communication becomes a form of
communication that others will interpret, just as we read meaning in the
non-message of others.