What does it mean to communicate?
Communication has many forms. For instance, we use communication as a journalist to acquire and relate information from a particular source too another. A manager needs to articulate and thus communicate what he requires of his employees. A football coach must communicate what plays his players need to use on the field.
These are different examples of communication but they all, as Merriam Webster’s dictionary states, use communication as a “Process by which information is exchanged between individuals through a common system of symbols, signs, or behavior.”
To further understand Communication let’s break some of these meanings up and use them in everyday examples.
How we conduct ourselves to others is considered behavior. The method of our behavior can be read through our expressions. A sigh, keeping eye contact, walking away when someone is talking. These are expressions of our behavior and are forms of communication.
Listening is an action that takes place before one can understand someone with whom they are communicating. Example being: a clerk communicates to me the total price of the groceries was $40.82. In order to understand what it is I need to pay, I first had to listen. Listening is the greatest tool we have in communicating with someone. In journalism terms, whether we are the interviewer or interviewee we both need listening skills to accomplish the basic goal of communication and understanding what it is the other person desires.
Since knowledge is “facts, information, and skills acquired by a person through experience or education; the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject.” In order to relay something to another individual, we need knowledge of what it is we are asking, or knowledge of a discussion or question we need to be involved in or reply too. To better gain that knowledge, one must acquire the skills to help in all forms of communication. For example, a person needs the skill to relate to another human being through technical devices and a one-on-one approach.
Motivation is an action word and “the reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way.” She was motivated to tell her boss she was ready for the next promotion.
“A symbol is a word, action, or object that stands for or represents a unit of meaning. Meaning, in turn, is a perception, thought, or feeling that a person experiences and might want to communicate to others. These meaning-full experiences could include sensations resulting from a room’s temperature, thoughts about a teacher in a particular course, or feelings of happiness or anger because of what someone said. However, the private meanings within a person cannot be shared directly with others. They can become shard and understood only when they are interpreted as a message. A message, then, refers to the ‘package’ of symbols used to create shared meanings.” –Intercultural competence by Myron W. Lustig and Jolene Keoster.
Merriam Webster describes a sign as “A motion or gesture by which a thought is expressed or a command or wish made known.” Here are two examples:
- He held out his hand and bowed slightly indicating he wanted to dance with the lady before him.
- The librarian put her finger to her lips informing the talkative group of middle age students they needed to quiet down.
With these different ways of communicating, each person has multiple opportunities to share and receive communication from others. From family members and colleagues to friends that live across the globe our lives are connected through some type of communication.
Don’t be fooled. Communication skills are a SKILL that can be used in two ways. Poorly when not practiced properly or extremely well when one has taken the time to accurately study and use them.
With that said, I will leave you to your thoughts and hope I have communicated clearly to you a life skill needed in today’s world.