What is Communication

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The simplest way to describe communication is to define it as a thought or idea converted into an understandable form and transmitted to another in such a way that is it received and understood.

Therefore there are four steps in communication:

  • come up with a thought or idea

  • transmission of that thought or idea

  • reception of that transmission

  • comprehension (understanding) that reception

If any stage is left out then communication cannot exist. All four step must happen for communication to exist. If any of the steps is not completed then you will have a lack of communication or miscommunication. Miscommunication occurs when the received transmission is misunderstood. A lack of communication occurs when one of the steps has not completed. Now that there is a basic understanding of what communication is a better understanding of the process should be made.

The first step of communication is transforming a conceived notion, that is a thought or idea, into a form that can be transmitted, received, and understood. The form in which this conceived notion takes depends on the form of transmission. For instance, if the conceived notion is to be transmitted by mouth then the conceived notion should be converted into words or if the conceived notion is to be conveyed through sign language then the conceived notion should be converted to hand signals.

Once the conceived notion has been converted, it can be transmitted. The converted conceived notion should be transmitted in a way that can be received and understood. That is to say, you cannot use sign language to communicate with the blind. Before transmitting that conceived notion, you must make sure that the transmission can be received and understood. When making a phone a greeting is exchanged before conversation begins. In electronics this is called handshaking. Once the handshaking has completed transmission of the converted conceived notion can commence. Some forms of transmission are:

  • Verbal (conversing by word of mouth)

  • Sign language

  • Written in regular text and braille

  • Electronics: telephone (landline), telephone (mobile to include text and voice), computers (e-mail, instant messaging, internet relay chat (irc/chat rooms), radio, television.

Note transmission and reception must be of the same type and same protocol. Language is a type of verbal and written protocol. If a person is trying to convey a thought using Mandarin (Chinese) and the person receiving the thought only understand Swahili, then there is no communication. One of the prerequisites is that the transmission and reception is using the same protocol. This is one of the purpose of the handshaking (greeting) to ensure the same protocol is being used on both ends (transmitter/receiver) before transmission of thoughts are made.

Reception works the same as transmission except it works in reverse. Once received, the transmission is converted back into a thought or idea that hopefully the receiver understands. Once the transmission is understood the receiver may respond as they feel and as to what is appropriate for the particular situation.


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