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Process of Communication

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Process of Communication

Communication means sharing - sharing of information or intelligence. The most common form of communication is language. While speaking we often resort to physical gestures. We wave our hands, shrug our shoulders, smile and nod to reinforce what we say. We also use non-linguistic symbols such as traffic lights, road signs, railway signals to convey information relating to movement of vehicles and trains. We also use telegraphic code for quick transmission of messages and secret codes for communicating defence and highly confidential information. In all of these situations, the process of communication is two-fold. The first phase commences when the sender encodes his message and transmits it to the receiver. The second phase begins when the receiver decodes the message in accordance with his own frame of reference, encodes it and formulates it in the form of response. When this message reaches the original speaker and he decodes it in accordance with his own frame of reference, we say that the entire loop of communication is complete. The manner and mode of receiving a transmitted message is contingent upon which of the senses is predominantly active at the moment. If it is auditory, then without doubt, there is greater comprehension as all the listening faculties are geared towards performing their best. If it is any other sense, probably listening is impaired as the receiver is not able to concentrate on the spoken word. All communication is goal-directed. Identification and provision of direction towards the goal is a must, if coherence in the interaction is to be maintained. Not only the speaker, but also the receiver must be aware of the goal of communication. The following strategies could be crucial:

1. Propelling the listener to perform some action conforming to the goal of communication.

2. Manipulating the listener's process of inference.

3. Creating a new frame of reference for the listener to correspond with his already existing one.

4. Conveying information about something which is already known.

5. Capturing the listener's attention by cleverly-designed strategies directed to achieve the desired goals.

The convergence of the goals of the sender and the recipient is what makes communication effective.

For our purpose of explaining communication process let us observe a case of face-to-face situation where verbal communication occurs most. The sender formulates the message and transmits it into the receiver's/recipient's environment. The major phases of the process are as follows:

i. Reception of Signals: As the sender is talking with the receiver his sensory receptors are picking up the signals from his communication environment. In spite of infinite number of signs from the environment, the sender picks up the receiver's words which the receiver is sending into the sender's environment. When the receiver picks up this verbal signs the communication process begins as the detected signs now travel through the sender's nervous system and on to his/her brain and reechoes/reverberates into the nervous system often referred to preverbal neurophysiological stage of communication.

ii. Flow to the Brain: The reverberations/stimuli the sender's nervous system develops reach his/her brain. They enter as a continuous stream, and from time to time will vary in its speed of flow and in its volume. Sometimes it will run rapidly, as when the sender's environment is filled with strong signs and his mind is keenly alert. At other times it will run slowly when the receiver is in a stupor and his/her communication environment lack signs strong enough to break the spell. The stream is mostly between these extremes.

iii. Role of Filter: When the stream of stimuli reaches the sender's brain with its resulting reverberation effect, it goes through the mind's filter, where the sender's brain gives meaning to the stimuli received. The meanings given depend largely on the makeup and current condition of the sender's filter. The filter is the sum total of all that the sender knows, all he thinks, and all he thinks he knows, including emotional makeup and all of his opinions, attitudes, and beliefs. The mental filters process the words the sender sends and give the word signs meaning. The meanings the signs produce clear, mixed or confused meanings.

iv. The Symbolizing Stage: The symbolizing stage begins when the mind searches for symbols (usually words) with which to express the intended meaning. Here, the sender's communication uses words that will convey the intended meaning. The sender's intellect and knowledge of language relate directly to competency in symbolizing. The symbolizing stage is highly imperfect.

v. Act of Encoding: The symbolizing stage ends when the sender encodes his response. Now, the sender sends the symbols to the receiver. Since the sender and the receiver are involved in face-to-face communication, the former encodes with vocal sounds i.e. he speaks words. He could supplement words with body movements, gestures or facial expressions too. The encoding of the message completes the first cycle of communication, the cycle that describes the role of the communicator in the process.

vi. The cycle repeated: In the second cycle, the communicatee/receiver of words begins an identical cycle. The symbols the sender encodes move into the receiver's environment and vie for his/her other signs that the receiver's receptors are capable of picking up. The signs the receiver picks up go through his/her nervous system and on to his/her brain for decoding. Here they are processed through his/her filter. The receiver's filter - it has experience and knowledge and emotional makeup of its own - may differ from

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