What is communication?
Communication is the process of transmitting and exchanging messages between a sender and a receiver.
Communication derives from the Latin c ommunicatĭo which means to share, participate in something or share.
Through the communication process, human beings share information with each other, making the act of communicating an essential activity for life in society.
The term communication is also used in the sense of connection between two points, for example, the means of transport that makes communication between two cities or the technical means of communication (telecommunications).
The following elements can be identified in a communication process:
- Sender: is the one who transmits the message
- Receiver: is the one who receives the message.
- Code: is the set of signs that will be used to create the message (words, gestures, symbols).
- Message: is the information or data set that is transmitted.
- Communication channel: it is the physical medium that will be used to send the message, such as a letter, telephone, television, internet, etc.
- Noise: they are all the distortions that can influence the reception of the original message, and can be from the sender, the channel or the receiver.
- Feedback or feedback: in the first instance, is the response of the receiver to the received message. If the sender subsequently responds to the sent by the receiver, it is also considered feedback.
- Context: are the circumstances in which the communication process develops. They have a direct influence on the interpretation of the message (physical space, cultural frame of reference of the sender and receiver, social context, etc.)
Steps in the communication process
For communication to occur, some basic steps that characterize this process are necessary, namely:
- The intention to communicate: it requires one or more senders who want to send a message.
- Coding the message: the sender prepares the message according to the type of communication to be used (verbal, non-verbal, written or visual).
- The transmission of the message: implies the use of means or channels appropriate to the code used in the message (an email or an instant message to send a written message, a call or chat for verbal communication, etc.)
- The reception of the message: in order for the message to be received, the recipient must know the code in which the information was sent to him. For example, if a letter is sent to a person who cannot read, the communication process will not take place.
- The interpretation of the message: here the context of the receiver comes into play, since depending on biological, psychological, emotional or socio-cultural factors, the message can be interpreted in multiple ways that do not necessarily have to coincide with the intention of the sender to the time to communicate.
Types of communication
Communication can be divided into two main types:
Verbal communication is a form of communication exclusive to human beings and therefore is the most important. It has two subcategories:
- Oral communication: it is the exchange of messages through speech.
- Written communication: in this case, the communication process occurs through written language.
It is expressed through body language, proximity, non-linguistic signs and wordless sounds.
Characteristics of communication
Communication is a process with several outstanding characteristics:
- Requires a sender and a receiver: in order for the message to be sent it requires the intervention of a sender, in the same way that the receiver is essential for the message to be received and interpreted.
- It is a dynamic process: the roles of sender and receiver can be exchanged in the communication process. In this way, once the receiver sends its feedback, it becomes a sender.
- It is essential for the interaction of individuals and promotes social organization: communication serves to reaffirm the individual by allowing him to express himself and transmit a message, and at the same time, influences the interaction of social groups that share a common code.
- It is impossible that it does not take place: communication is a process that occurs continuously and at different levels. This is described in the five axioms of communication established by the psychologist Paul Wazlawick. The first axiom stipulates that it is impossible not to communicate.
Within the communication process, five basic functions are distinguished:
The message transmits objective information and supported by verifiable data. Television news and print media have this function.
It is about convincing the recipient of the message or modifying their behavior for a specific purpose. Political propaganda and publicity respond to this communicational function.
The intention is to transmit messages that generate new knowledge in the receiver, and that this incorporates them into his belief system. Communications processes in educational settings have this function.
It is about creating messages designed for the enjoyment of the receiver. Music, movies and series generally do this.
Assertive communication is one in which the sender manages to express a message in a simple, timely and clear way, considering the needs of the receiver or interlocutor.
It is an important social skill associated with emotional intelligence and non-verbal communication.
Social media are systems for transmitting messages to a wide, dispersed and heterogeneous audience. This designation essentially defines the so-called mass media in the areas of the newspaper, radio, television, cinema and the internet.