THE CONCEPT OF COMMUNICATION SKILLS
Communication is the natural exchange of ideas and interpretations of messages
It is a two –way process which essentially involves sharing of messages, ideas or attitudes that produce a degree of understanding between a sender and a receiver.
It includes discussing, asking and answering questions, handling meetings, making suggestions, causing exchange of experiences, knowledge and skills between two/more parties/stakeholders.
Communication is the transfer of information from sender to a receiver, with the Information being understood by the receiver.
It is the process of transmitting information, feelings or knowledge from one person to another through a given media or channel
ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS OF COMMUNICATION
There are eleven essential elements of communication, namely: motivation, aim, information, sender, message, medium, channel, receiver, noise, distortion and feedback
What are the reasons that would compel someone to communicate?
Motivation is the reason for communication, i.e. what pushes someone into communicating (e.g. to ensure that students perform better in National Examinations, to do a job properly, to get paid for it at the end of the week/month etc.).
The aim is a more particular reason why one has decided to communicate. It could be:
<> to inform (tell someone about something e.g. in a notice, letter, articles in newspapers; announcement over the radio, TV Mobile Announcer in a truck etc.);
<> to influence (to persuade someone to adopt a particular way of thinking); and
<> to initiate action (get a reader or listener to do something, e.g. send claim form so that payment is done);
The information is the material from which communication will be constructed, i.e. the content of the message to be transmitted to the reader/listener. These could be facts or opinion/ideas.
The person or body that is sending a message is called the sender. It could be an individual, a group, department, ministry, LGA, company, school etc.
The encoded information that is ready for transmission is called message. It could be encoded into a letter, memo, telephone call or just a smile, shrug of shoulders or other gestures.
This is the means by which the message is conveyed. There are three forms/methods; verbal, nonverbal and visual communication. Thus, a message can be conveyed verbally, nonverbally or by visual means.
A: Verbal Communication
Verbal communication is a form of communication in which the message is delivered through the use of words, i.e. directly by two or more people meeting or remote by use of telephone.
Verbal communication can be used in different situations depending on the need at a particular time as follows:
<> In unplanned exchange such as when people meet just by chance and exchange a few words;
<> In planned talks such as meetings;.
<> interviews – e.g. for employment, promotion, appraisal, disciplinary;
<> telephone call, committee meeting, staff meeting, group meeting formal presentation;
Verbal communication can be further divided into:
i. Oral Communication
Oral communication uses spoken words and includes face-to-face conversations, speech, telephone calls or the voice chat over the internet, video conferencing, lectures, conferences, radio and television.
ii. Written Communication
This is the communication whereby written words are used for communication. It is a method of communication that uses written words.
The words can be in the form of traditional handwritten notes, memos, notices circular letters, typed electronic documents such as press releases, snail mail, e-mails, text chats, SMS, reports, books, newspapers, posters etc. as explained hereafter.
In groups of five, brainstorm on the advantages and disadvantages of both oral and written communication
Differences Between Oral and Written Communication
|Oral Communication||Written Communication|
|It is faster||It takes time to write and then transmit it.|
|Once spoken out it is done. It is easy to make errors while speaking||It can be carefully planned and revised before it is handed in as a written document. So there is less chance for errors.|
|Allows personal contact when on face to face (not phone). Facial expression can be seen, tone can be heard||One cannot tell what the speaker or receiver actually had in mind, by just reading the written document.|
|Allows exchange of views, thus arriving at an agreement within a short time.||The writer has time to think over it and even investigate on it before (s)he puts it in writing and makes it accessible for other people to read.|
|Allows the negative side to be detected through facial expressions and tone, especially if one party disagrees.||Once submitted, it cannot be altered or modified especially if it has led to negative effects/reactions.|
Advantages and Disadvantages of Oral and Written Communication
|Oral Communication||Written Communication|
|Usually, no recording is done except for formal meetings.||It provides record for every message that is sent, and allows for future reference because it can be saved in files.|
|Easy to maintain confidentiality than in the written medium unless there is someone listening, i.e. on the phone.||It may not be easy to maintain confidentiality as the written documents pass through many hands before they reach the intended person (especially in an office).|
|The receiver has time to ask for clarifications if the message is not clear enough.||No time to ask the writer. The same message may mean two different things to two different people who will not have the time to query it immediately.|
|There is instant feedback||Does not bring instant feedback.|
|Takes less time to prepare, sometimes its is instant.||Takes time in preparing it.|
|Can tell what the speaker is thinking about, whether (s)he is trustful or not, through the tone, pitch, facial expression etc.||Cannot detect any tricks from the written document.|
|It is faster to prepare and present.||It takes time to write and then transmit it.|
B: Non-Verbal Communication
Non-verbal communication entails communicating by sending and receiving wordless messages. They usually reinforce verbal communication, although they can stand on their own and convey complete messages.
Messages in non-verbal communication are conveyed through the use of gesture, body language, posture, tone of voice, facial expressions and visual diagrams or pictures.
Non-verbal communication is concerned with the body language of the speaker. Non-verbal communication has the following elements: appearance, body language and sounds.
This includes the clothing, hairstyle, neatness and use of cosmetics by the speaker; as well as the environment surrounding the place where the communication is taking place. This includes the size of the room, the lighting, decorations, if any, furnishing etc.
ii. Physical non-verbal or Body language
This includes eye contact, facial expressions (e.g. smile or frown), hand gestures (e.g. wave, pointed finger), handshake, a hug, and body postures of the speaker. All these say a lot about the speaker’s mood.
These include the tone of the voice, the volume and speech rate.
iv. Visual Communication
Non-verbal communication can also be in the form of pictorial representations, signboards, photographs, charts, sketches and paintings, whereby it is sometimes referred to as Visual communication.
Visual communication reinforces written communication, and may sometimes replace written communication altogether because of the technological advancements that are taking place around the world.
Visual communication can use static images such as photographs, pictures and drawings), moving images such as videos, or graphic images such as charts, tables, diagrams and graphs. All these could be used on their own or as part of verbal or written presentations.
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