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THE COMMUNICATION PROCESS

What is communication?
ommunication?
It can be defined as:
1. The act of transmitting ideas
2. A giving or exchanging of information, signals, or messages as by talk, gestures, or
writing
3. A system for sending and receiving messages, as by telephone, telegraph, radio, etc.
4. The art of expressing ideas in speech and writing
Types of communication

NonNon-Verbal Communication
Non-verbal communication involves exchanging information or transmitting data

without the use of words. There are many examples of non-verbal communication
everywhere in the world.
While you may not stop to think about it, a red light or a stop sign is a clear form
of non-verbal communication. No one is physically telling you to stop, but you see that
symbol or signal and know immediately what is expected of you.
Likewise, body language and facial expressions are also examples of non-verbal
communication. Over the years, numerous research studies have been done to suggest
that babies respond to smiling faces and that when a person sees someone else smile, he
may become a bit happier as well.

Verbal Communication

It can be written or oral and unlike non-verbal communication, in order for


verbal communication to be meaningful, there must generally be a readily accepted
understanding of the meaning of a series of sounds. In other words, sounds and words

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alone aren't sufficient to communicate: the person transmitting the message and the
person receiving the message generally must have a cultural background or shared
knowledge that allows them to understand what those sounds have come to mean.
Oral Communication
Oral communication is the use of speech to convey ideas and thoughts. Some of
the examples of Oral Communication are: Face to face communication, Telephonic
Communication, Audio & Visual Media (Radio, TV), Lectures, Conferences, Meetings,
Cultural Affairs, among others.
The oral interchange of ideas occurs through the speech communication process,
in which different elements interact, as will be shown below:
FACTORS IN THE SPEECH COMMUNICATION PROCESS (Taken from Brown, 2001)

SPEAKER'S ATTITUDES
In every speaking situation whether person-to-person, group, or public the
speaker's attitude toward self, listeners, and subject significantly affects-what is said and
how it is said.

Speaker's attitude toward self


All of us carry about with us a picture of ourselves as-people a self-conception or
image of the kind of individual we are and of-how others perceive us. We think of
ourselves as successful or unsuccessful, as liked or disliked, as someone whose opinions
are respected or discounted, as competent or incompetent to discuss a given topic or make
a judgment concerning it.
The form our self-image takes influences how we are likely to behave in a given
speaking situation. If we have a low estimate of our ability or are unsure of our behavior
or our subject, we tend to advance ideas timidly and often in a random or confused
manner. Usually, our voice is weak and unsteady, our body stiff and restrained, and our
gaze directed toward the floor or ceiling rather than toward the people addressed. We
may, because of timidity or fear, weaken or qualify the opinions we advance and, as a
result, state them less strongly than the supporting facts or circumstances warrant.
In contrast; if we have an exaggerated idea of our knowledge or abilities we are

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more likely to adopt a strong and overbearing manner, to disregard the need for facts .and
proofs, and to state our ideas with out regard for the opinions and feelings of others. In
both instances, our self-image
image exercises a major, negative influence on the content and
the style of our-message- and, to a considerable extent, determines in advance how our
ideas will be received.

Speaker's attitude toward the listeners.


A second important influence on speaking behavior, regardless on the situation in
which it occurs, is our attitude toward our listeners. Each time we speak, we do so from a
certain status- or role-position
position that
that of seller or buyer, parent or child, teacher or
student, boss or employee, creditor or debtor, doctor or client,
lient, stranger or friend. And as
our role-positions
ositions change, so also do our attitudes toward the persons we are addressing.
As a result, we talk in one way to individuals we know well and in quite a different way to
casual acquaintances or strangers.
Similarly, our speaking manner changes as we communicate with those who stand
above or below us in a social or professional hierarchy. .The middle-management
middle
executive uses a deferential manner when 'talking to the "big bosses," an open and relaxed
style when conferring; with other middle-management
middle
people and an authoritative tone
when addressing executives in a lower range or shop foremen. In addition to social
position and role-relationship,
relationship, how we regard the person or persons we are talking to
influences our speaking behavior in subtle ways. Admiration
Admiration or contempt, sympathy or
indifference,
ence, love or hatred, patience or impatience, approval or annoyance are mirrored
not only in the tone and inflectional patterns of the voice but also in facial expression,
muscle tension,
ension, and bodily posture. Al
Although
ugh for a time we may successfully dissemble or
conceal these states of mind, sooner or later such attempts break down; and listeners are
able to read the telltale signs we are attempting to hide.

Speaker's attitude towards


toward the subject
Finally, our behavior as speakers inevitably is influenced to a greater or lesser
degree by how we feel about the subject we are discussing. Whether we believe or
disbelieve; what we are saying, whether we regard it as interesting or boring, pertinent or
irrelevant,
rrelevant, crucial or trivial, our attitude not only conditions the ideas we present and the
language in which we express them, but it is reflected also in the same subtle cues of
voice and appearance that reveal our attitudes toward ourselves and toward
towar our listeners.

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Speakers credibility
In every speaking situation the speaker's success in winning agreement, inspiring
confidence, or promoting action depends in large measure upon the listeners' estimate of
his or her worth and competence as a person.
Knowledge of the subject, though important, is not the only factor on which
personal effectiveness in speaking depends. If we wish to have our ideas accepted or our
proposals endorsed, we must possess other qualities as well. Prominent among these are
reputation, character, personality, competence, and dynamism.
Speakers who have acquired a reputation for unreliability or shady dealings, whose
personalities are drab and colorless, who by nature are withdrawn and phlegmatic, or
whose motives are suspect have little hope of winning adherents. On the other hand,
speakers who are, known to be of good character, who have warm and colorful
personalities, who are alive and alert, and who are genuinely interested in their listeners
are always more readily attended to and believed. Traditionally, the persuasive force
residing in the reputation and personality of the speaker was called "ethical proof." after
the Greeks'; word ethos, meaning character." Today it is more often referred to as

source-credibility. Of all the means of persuasion, source-credibility is a perhaps the


strongest and if appropriately reinforced may retain its potency for extended
periods of time. For these reasons, it constitutes an indispensable component of any
speech transaction

THE MESSAGE
In all speech communication the message which the speaker transmits is made up
of the same three variables of content, structure, and style.
Content
The messages which we as speakers wish to transmit to our listeners have a
content are about something we want them to be aware of. What we say may take the
form of an assertion, a question, or an exclamation; it may report an observation, express
a feeling, or, prescribe a course of action; it may or may not be accompanied by visual or
auditory cues that enhance or detract from our meaning. However in every case, the
message has a thought-content or subject matter of some kind.

Structure
Any message we transmit, whether long or short, simple or complex is structured
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or organized in some way. Its structure may be dictated by the nature of the ideas
themselves or may, as in the case of the marriage ceremony or pledge of allegiance, be
imposed upon the ideas by a socially or institutionally approved formula. The structure
may be direct or circuitous, loose or compact, clear or confusing. It may at one extreme,
entail no more than the ordering of a few sentences, or at the other require the
strategic structuring of large-scale unit of thought. We inevitably give the message a
certain structure.

Style
The third variable in every spoken message is style. Just as we must make choices
in the selection and arrangement of units of thought, so also must we make choices in
the selection and arrangement of words to express those thoughts. One word must be
used rather than another, and must be placed in the sentence in one position rather than
another. Depending on the choices we make, our style may be plain or elevated, smooth
or awkward, rhythmical or jumpy, pleasing or irritating.

In communicating ideas

through the use of words, however, we always choose and arrange them in some way
and, therefore, give our message a certain language pattern or style.

THE LISTENER
In all forms of speech communication, the listeners like the speaker have a
goal or purpose in mind. Moreover, the way in which a message is received and
responded to varies according to the following aspects.

Listeners purposes
The listener whether in a person-to-person, group, or public situation wishes
\to achieve some purpose or satisfy some desire. Listeners, no less than speakers, enter
into the speech transaction in search of rewards. Otherwise, they wouldnt listen. They
may wish to be entertained or informed, or they may seek advice or guidance. But
always, consciously or unconsciously, they have a purpose in mindan end or goal they
seek to attain as a result of the listening experience.
In every speech transaction the listeners' interest in the subject condition in a
significant way if the message will be received and responded to. Whether listeners find
speakers ideas easy or difficult to understand depends in part upon how much they
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already know about the subject under consideration. Whether they find those ideas
interesting or pertinent depends in part upon their personal needs and concerns at the
time that the speech encounter occurs. When they are interested in the subject being
discussed or when that subject touches directly upon their health, happiness, or financial
security, the speaker's task is easier, when these elements are lacking, the task becomes
proportionately more difficult. At times, the listeners' previous knowledge of a subject may
be so deficient that there can be no communication at all.

Listeners' attitudes
In every speech encounterwhether person-to-person, group, or publicthe listeners' attitudes toward self, speaker, and subject significantly affect how the message will
be' interpreted and responded to. Just as a speaker's behavior in sending a message is
influenced by his or her attitude toward self, subject, and listener, so these same factors
influence how a listener responds to the message. Listeners who have poor images of
themselves and little confidence in their own judgments tend to be swayed more easily
than those whose self-esteem is higher. Listeners also tend to be more readily influenced
by views which confirm opinions they already hold. Finally, listeners, as a rule, seek out
speakers whose positions or issues they already agree with; and they retain longer and
more vividly; ideas of which they strongly approve.
These are not, however, the only relevant variables. People also differ considerably
in their skill as listeners. Some are able to follow a chain of ideas more easily than others;
some are quicker to catch errors in inference or note deficiencies in evidence. How much
of this difference in listening skills is the result of differences in training and how much
of it reflects differences in native ability remain open questions. Listening ability does,
however, differ from person to person and is, therefore, an important variable.

THE CHANNEL
All speech communication- whether person to person, group or public is conditioned
to a greater or lesser extends by the channel over which the message is transmitted. When
participants in a speech transaction meet face-to-face, tow channels usually are
employed, the speaker's message being communicated in part by what is said (the oral
channel) and in part by gestures, expression, and posture (the visual channel). When, as
with the message transmitted by radio or telephone, the speaker cannot be seen, the vocal
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mechanism alone must do the work it normally shares whit the rest of the body. Always,
however, there must be a channel or pathway over which the message is carried from
originating source to intended destination.

THE COMMUNICATIVE SITUATION


All speech communication whether person to person, group, or public is conditioned
by the physical setting and social context in which, it occurs.
Physical setting
The physical setting in which a speech act occurs affects to a considerable extent the
listeners' anticipations or expectancies as well as their readiness to respond. Persons
waiting in the quiet solemnity of a great cathedral for the service to begin have quite a
different expectancy than do theatergoers gathered to witness the opening of a new
Broadway play or musical revue. Similarly, listeners at an open-air political rally held in
the midst, of an exciting campaign have a different expectancy than students gathered to
hear a scholarly lecture on political theory presented in a college classroom.
The furniture and decor of the room in which speaker and listeners find themselves
also make a difference. Words of love are best spoken in soft light or before an open fire.
Comfortable chairs and pleasant surroundings tend to put the members of a discussion
group at ease and to promote a more productive interchange.

Social context
Even more important than physical setting in determining how a message will be
received is the social context in which it is presented. Custom and good manners decree,
to a considerable extent, the kind of message and the style of presentation appropriate
under a given set of circumstances. To engage in "shop talk" at a social gathering or to
dwell on a subject that is of interest to only one or two members of group is usually
considered poor taste. At business luncheons, serious discussion of the matter at hand
often is delayed until the conferees have finished eating. Committee meetings frequently
are opened with few moments of general conversation of a personal or incidental nature.
In the public situation, memorial services and award dinners are not considered proper
places at which to launch attacks upon a politic; opponent or to engage in discussions of
philosophical questions.
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Besides influencing structure and content of the messages frame by the speaker,
social context also is influential in determining how the listeners will receive the
messages. When people are in the company of others especially large numbers of others
they generally are more highly suggestible, and therefore more easily swayed,
than when they are alone. Persons in the middle of an audience tend to .respond more
readily than those on the periphery. Persons crowded closely together or sitting elbow-toelbow tend to react a unit; a handful of listeners scattered at random throughout a large
auditorium show less uniformity of response. Facts reported or opinions expressed at a
party often are taken less seriously than the same facts or opinions stated at a
congressional hearing or as part of a formal lecture. Advice offered in moments of crisis
usu all y is accepted more readily than advice offered under less pressing circumstances.
The behavior of the listener not less than the speakers is conditioned by the physical, the
psychological, and the socio-cultural circumstances surrounding the speech act.
Summary Chart
COMPONENT

DEFINITION

EXAMPLE

Speaker

Person who originates the message

Teacher

Listener

Person who gets the speakers message

Student

Message

Any verbal or nonverbal stimulus that

The news

stimulates meaning in a listener


Channel

The means by which a message is carried

Television

from one person to another


Situation

The place and social context where

A college classroom, a

communication occurs.

bussiness luncheon

Taken from:
Brown (2001) en Martnez (2010). Oral Expression Module. Universidad Nacional
Experimental Francisco de Miranda.
http://answers.yourdictionary.com/language/what-is-communication.html
http://www.elearnportal.com/courses/communications/oral-communications-models-ofcommunication

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