Communication is Simple, Right?
I Wish We Took the Communication Field More Seriously — Here’s Why:
Let’s start with a technical definition of communication:
The process of a continuous series of behaviors leading to a purpose through which people create and manage relationships exercising mutual responsibility in creating shared meaning.
Simple, I know.
- There is this constant act of giving and receiving messages that have a goal to them.
- This act shapes the people involved while being dependent on the uniqueness of each person involved.
- Which creates the shared meaning that results from the interaction.
Maybe an image would help:
You have a sender and a receiver. The sender sends a message using various symbols that have meaning and the receiver receives it. Once received, the receiver gives feedback using the same kind of message.
Except that, interchangeably and constantly, the sender and receiver switch roles. While the sender is sending a message, the receiver is also sending a message as a sender that the original sender is receiving and they are both giving feedback to those messages at the exact same time.
But then, there are a bunch of other messages impacting the communication process.
- The context — which could be the physical setting, the social situation based on the nature of the individuals and their relationship, the historical setting that each brings into the process, the psychological situation of each participant, and the cultural situation that must be navigated based on who is involved, where they are from, and what values, meaning, expectations, norms, and beliefs come from their cultural understanding of the world.
- Or the noise — anything that distracts from the communication. Whether external effects like sounds or visible effects of the room or the internal noise of how each participant is feeling or thinking.
- You also have the channel — the component that the sender and receiver might not be in a room and they might not even be in the same space — the media or channel used to communicate a message can be almost anything or anywhere.
If we are going to talk about communication, we must acknowledge that this process is pretty messy.
It would be convenient if communication was constricted to two people sitting in a vacuum of a space where they say one completely understood word at a time with no visuals, noise, context, or complexity.
It would also be much less valuable.
All these parts are constantly happening and it makes for an infinitely difficult process. For something that is supposedly innate to our daily existence, this should trouble us…just a little bit.
Because we might not be intentionally understanding the very dynamic that shapes the totality of our lives.
And we could go into the depth of interpersonal communication, group communication, public communication, mass media, non-verbal communication, listening, or even intrapersonal communication — this field is incredibly deep with content that shapes every part of our lives — but my hope is to simply reveal that what is unconsciously normal to us might deserve a deeper look.
Because communication is essential to our thriving and the more aware we are of it, the more effective communicators we will be.
The more effective communicators we are, the better we will be as human beings.
That’s why I wish communication was the field at the top of everyone’s list — because, through it, the world will be changed.
Why Communication Matters
Here are just some of the functions of communication that should prompt us to take this more seriously:
- Communication is how we meet our social and psychological needs.
- Communication is the medium for us to achieve our goals in daily, corporate, or even organizational life.
- Communication is how we develop a sense of self — namely that our self is social and the world arounds us reflects back to us who we are like a mirror. We find out who we are from others.
- Communication is how we acquire information.
If we are going to become who we are not yet, but ought to be — understanding our communicative life that we seemingly take for granted might be the best place to start.
The more aware we are of this infinitely dynamic process then the more effective we will be with ourselves and with one another.
The more effective our communication, the more health we will be able to bring into our relationships, culture, & world.
I invite you, therefore, into the discipline of the waking up to the communicative model in every facet of your life.
This describes, quite literally, everything you do, all the time.
The communication field is the foundation for who we will become & how we will meet our needs.
- Consider what messages you are sending.
- Consider how you respond to the messages you receive.
- Consider what medium or channel you are using to communicate and how it is positively or negatively affecting your message.
- Consider what outside influences are impairing or affirming your messages.
- And consider the context of everything you are communicating.
My hope is simply that you are more open & in tune with the conversation about understanding our communication & its overarching implications for every aspect of your life.
This is my plea to begin intentionally learning more about the communication process and understanding its constant impact on everything you do.
May you be more aware of your communication and may it exponentially grow towards health.
I’m trying to discover how to “Become More Human”
If you’re interested, I’d be happy to share what I’m finding to help craft how you live, too. You can find more here: