The ability to speak clearly, eloquently, and effectively has been recognised as the hallmark of an educated person since the beginning of recorded history. Systematic comment on communication goes back at least as far as The Precepts of Kagemni and Ptah-Hopte (3200-2800 B.C.) Under the label ‘rhetoric’, the study of the theory and practice of communication was a central concern of Greek, Roman, Medieval, Renaissance and early modern education. In the United States, rhetorical training has been a part of formal education since Harvard’s founding in 1636. It continues to be important.
Communication is a process of transferring information from one entity to another (Wikipedia).
Everything is Communication
Everything we do has something to do with communication. Often we think it is something that happens when we are talking or listening. We accept that the person hearing the information doesn’t necessarily need to be present (e.g. watching the television or listening on the radio) but we know that for communication to have taken place, something must have happened within the listener. It also has to do with understanding the intent of the person speaking and acceptance of that information or the meaning intended by the speaker.
But communication is more ubiquitous than that. Communication – the passing and receiving of information – happens within us as much as between speakers and listeners. The messages beliefs, values and stories we tell ourselves, about ourselves, is also communication. Our self-concept, what we think we are capable of, the self-talk that fills a busy mind, is all communication. This internal stream of thoughts, particularly if unchecked, confounds our openness to possibilities for change with ourselves as much as with other people. This self-talk also colours our beliefs and expectations of other people. It inhibits our ability to remain open-minded and available to others so that we truly listen and make decisions based on deep understanding or a filtered version of what we anticipate another is saying. The quality of communication also depends on the ability of the speaker to galvanise their thoughts, access sufficient vocabulary, and adapt their message to suit the audience, convey feelings as well as content, and adopt sophisticated skills to investigate social dynamics and potential conflict. Communication is as much relationship building as it is conveying of information. Communication takes place within the context of relationships: relationships with ourselves, with others, with ideologies, with belief systems and in the case of politics, with a nation or globally. So whilst communication between audiences has something to do with understanding the intent of the person speaking and acceptance of that information and its meaning, the context of relationship must always be taken into account for what is not said is as powerful as what is said. It is however, more complex which the following examples indicates.
Two managers work in the same organisation. Brad, a senior planner has called a meeting with Helen, the marketing manager of a medium sized PR company. The purpose of the meeting set out in the email sent is to discuss the timeline needed to launch a new product to their existing customer base. The meeting begins and Brad shares 텍사스홀덤 his department’s progress in finalising the product and Helen listens avidly, nodding and adding the appropriate aha’s which Brad assumes indicates that she is impressed or at least understands what he is saying. We might assume from first glance that the outcome of the meeting will be considered a success with the product soon to be launched on the market. If we had the ability to read minds however, we might find that something else is being communicated. Imagine that Helen has a strong attraction to Brad but has never expressed it, believing that workplace romance is unprofessional and probably a recipe for disaster. But alone with Brad in this meeting she finds him irresistible and during his presentation she hasn’t heard a word about the project. She thinks he likes her because the more she nods and expresses understanding, he becomes more animated, laughing and clearly pleased to be in her company. Brad, on the other hand, has a girlfriend, a successful career woman who works long hours. Because he wants to start a family, he has developed an irritation with ambitious young women who even offer to work on the weekend to finish projects. Realising however, that his quarterly performance depends on launching this product, he hides his prejudice and works hard at impressing Helen with his skills – in the boardroom that is, not the bedroom.