Writing Goal Statements Skill

Writing Goal Statements Skill

To get the most from this course, we suggest that you write personal goals to improve specific skills in your own interpersonal, group, and public communication repertoire. Why written goal statements? A familiar saying goes. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Regardless of how serious you are about changing some aspect of your communication, bringing about changes in behavior takes time and effort. Writing specific goals makes it more likely that your good intentions to improve won’t get lost in the busyness of your life.

Before you can write a goal statement, you must first analyze your current communication skills repertoire. After you read each chapter and practice the skills described, select one or two skills to work on. Then write down your goal statement in four parts.

1. State the problem, Start by stating a communication problem that you have. For example: Problem: Even though my boss consistently gives all the interesting tasks to coworkers, I haven’t spoken because I’m not very good at describing my feelings.

2. State the specific goal.A goal is specific if it is measure and you know when you have achieved it. For  example  to deal with the problem stated above you might write Goal. To describe my feeling about task assignment to my boss.

3. Outline a specific procedure for reaching the goal. To develop a plan for reaching your goal, first consult the chapter that covers the skill you wish to hone. Then translate the general steps recommended in the chapter to your specific situation. This step is critical because successful behavioral change requires that you state your objective in terms of specific behaviors you can adopt or modify for example Procedure: I will practice the steps of describing feelings. (1) I will identify the specific feeling I am experiencing. (2) I will encode the emotion I am feeling accurately. (3) I will include what has triggered the feeling. (4) I will own the feeling as mine. (5) I will then put that procedure into operation when I am talking with my boss.

4. Devise a method of determining when the goal has been reached. A good goal is measurable, and the fourth part of your goal setting effort is to determine your rummer requirements for knowing when you have achieved a given goal. For example Test of Achieving Goal. This goal will be considered achieved when I have described my feelings to my boss on the next occasion when his behavior excludes me.

Once you have completed all four parts of this goal setting process, you may want to have another person witness your commitment and serve as a consultant, coach, and suppose person. This gives you someone to talk to about your progress. A good choice would be someone from this class because he or she is in an excellent position to understand and help. (Also, perhaps you can reciprocate with your support for his or her goal statements in return.)

At the end of each sector you will be challenged to develop a goal statement related to the material presented. Provides another example of a communication improvement plant this one relating to a public-speaking problem.

Summary  Communication Perspective

We have defined communication as the process of creating or sharing meaning, whether the context is informal conversation, group interaction, or public speaking.

The elements of the communication process are context, participants, messages, channels, noise, and feedback.

Communication plays a role in all aspects of our lives. First, communication serves many important functions. People communicate to meet needs, to enhance and maintain a sense of self, to develop relationships, to fulfill social to exchange information, and to influence others. Second, communication occurs in interpersonal, group, public-speaking, and electronically.

mediated settings. In addition to communicating in person, we now communicate with each other in email, newsgroups, chat rooms, and nearly any place via cellular telephones and electronic pagers.

Our communication is guided by at least six principles. First, communication is purposeful. Second, interpersonal communication is continuous. Third, interpersonal communication messages vary in degree of conscious encoding. Messages may be spontaneous, scripted, or constructed. Fourth, interpersonal communication is relational, defining the power and affection between people. Relational definitions can be complementary or symmetrical. Fifth, communication is culturally bound. Sixth, communication has ethical implications. Ethical standards that influence our communication include truthfulness, integrity, fairness, respect, and responsibility. And seventh, interpersonal communication is learned.

 A primary issue in this course is competence we all strive to become better communicators. Competence is the perception by others that our communication behavior is appropriate as well as effective. It involves increasing our knowledge of communication and our understanding of the situations we face, identifying and attaining goals, and being able to use the various behavioral skills necessary to achieve our goals. Skills can be learned, developed, and improved, and you can enhance your learning this term by writing goal statements to systematically improve your own skill repertoire.

Communication Is Learned About Diversity & Ethical Issue

Communication Is Learned About Diversity & Ethical Issue

Because communication appears to be a natural, inborn, unchangeable behavior, we seldom try to improve our skills however inadequate they may be. But communication is learned. Thus, throughout this text we will identify interpersonal, group, and public-speaking skills that will be valuable to you in all walks of life. In the next section we look at how to go about learning and improving your skills.

Increasing Our Communication Competence

Communication competence is the impression that communicative behavior is both appropriate and effective in a given situation. Communication is effective when it achieves its goals; it is appropriate when it conforms to what is expected in a situation. We create the perception [hat we are competent communicators  verbal messages we send and nonverbal behaviors that accompany them.

Because communication is at the heart of how we relate to one another, one of your goals in-this course will be to learn those things that will increase the likelihood that others will view you as competent. In the Spotlight on Scholars we feature Brian Spitz berg on Interpersonal Communication Competence. Spitz berg believes perceptions of competence depend in part on personal motivation, knowledge, and skills.

Motivation is important because we will only be able to improve our communication if we are motivated that is, if we want to. People are likely to be more motivated if they are confident and if they see potential rewards. Knowledge is important because we must know what is involved in increasing competence. The more knowledge people have about how to behave in a given situation, the more likely they are to be able to develop competence.

Skill is important because we must know how to act in ways that are consistent with our communication knowledge: Skills are goal-oriented actions or action sequences that we can master and repeat in appropriate situations. The more skills you have, the more likely you are to be able to structure your messages effectively and appropriately.

The combination of our motivation, knowledge, and skills lead us to perform confidently in our encounters with others. The rest of this book is aimed at helping you increase the likelihood that you will be perceived as competent. In the pages that follow you will learn about theories of interpersonal, group, and public speaking that can increase your knowledge and your motivation. You will also learn how to perform specific skills, and you will be provided with opportunities to practice them. Through this practice, you can increase the likelihood that you will be able to perform these skills when needed.

Communication Principles

Communication Principles

Now that we have see the elements that comprise the communication process and considered the nature of communication in our lives, we can turn to the principles that guide our communication communication has purpose, communication is continuous, communication messages vary in conscious encoding, communication is relational, communication is culturally bound, communication has ethical implications, and communication is learned.

Communication Has Purpose

When people communicate with one another, they have a purpose for doing so. Kathy Keller man (.1992), a leading researcher on inscription contexts, puts it, all communication is goal directed” whether or not the purpose is conscious . The purpose of a given transaction may be serious or trivial, but one way to valuate  the success of the communication is to ask whether it achieved its purpose. When Beth calls Leah to ask whether she’d like to a project they are working on, her purpose may be to resolve a misunderstanding, to encourage Leah to work more closely with her, or simply to establish a cordial atmosphere. When Kareem shares statistics he has found with other .embers of student government to show the extent of drug abuse on campus, his purpose may be to contribute information to a group discussion or to plead a case for confronting the problem of drug abuse. Depending on the speaker’s purpose, even an apparently successful transaction may fail to achieve its goal. And, of course, different purposes call for different communication strategies.

Speakers may not always be aware of their purpose. For instance, when Jamal passes Tony on the street and says lightly. Tony, what’s happening? Jamal probably doesn’t consciously think, Tony’s an acquaintance and I want him to understand that I see him and consider him worth recognizing.In this case the social obligation to recognize Tony is met spontaneously with the first acceptable expression that comes to Jamal’s mind. Regardless of whether Jamal consciously thinks about the purpose, it still motivates his behavior. In this case Jamal will have achieved his goal if Tony responds with an equally casual greeting.

Communication Is Continuous

Because communication is nonverbal as well as verbal, we are always sending behavioral messages from which others draw inferences or meaning. Even silence or absence are communication behaviors if another person infers meaning from them. Why? Because your nonverbal behavior represents reactions to your environment and to the people around you. If you are cold, you shiver if  you are hot or nervous, you perspire if you are bored, happy, or confused, your face or body language probably will show it. As skilled communicators, we need to be aware of the messages, whether explicit or implicit, we are contaminant sending to others.

Communication Messages Vary in Conscious Encoding

As we discussed earlier in this chapter, sharing meaning with another person involves encoding messages into verbal and nonverbal symbols. This encoding process may occur spontaneously, may be based on a script you have learned or rehearsed, or may be carefully considered based on your understanding of the situation in which you find yourself.

For each of us there are times when our communication reflects a spontaneous expression of emotion. When this happens, our messages are encoded without much conscious thought. For example, when you burn your finger, you may blurt out Ouch. When something goes right, you may break out in a broad smile.

At other times, however, our communication is scripted; that is, we use conversational phrases we have learned from our past encounters and judge to be appropriate to the present situation. To use scripted reactions effectively, we learn or practice [hem until they become automatic. Many of these scripts are learned in childhood.

Please pass the sugar, followed by Thank you when scorner complies. This conversational sequence rookies from your table man.If  script, you may have had drilled into you at home. Scripts use messages that are appropriate to the situation and are likely to increase the effectiveness of our communication. One goal of this text is to acquaint you with general scripts (or skills) that can be adapted for use in your communication encounters across a variety of relationships, situations, and cultures.

Finally, messages also may be carefully constructed to meet the particular situation. Constructed messages are those that we encode at the moment to respond to the situation for which our known scripts are inadequate. These messages help us communicate both effectively and appropriately.

Creatively constructed responses are perhaps the ideal communication vehicle, especially in public-speaking settings. When you are able to both envision what you want to say and construct how to say it, you are likely to form messages where your intended meaning can be shared. Another goal of this text is to help you become so familiar with a variety of message forming skills that you can use them to construct effective and appropriate messages.

the past, if a person was not home, he or she had to go to a place where a telephone was housed. But now large numbers of people have their own telephone booths with them. They can make and receive telephone calls from wherever they happen to be in a car, on a bus, in a classroom, or on the street.

As we consider various communication skills, we will consider how they can be applied to electronic as well as in-person communication.

Communication Is Relational

Saying that communication is relational means that in any communication setting people not only share content meaning but also negotiate their relationship. For instance, in an  interpersonal communication setting when Laura says to Jennie I’ve remembered to bring the map,” she is not only reporting information, but through the way she says it, she may also be communicating. You can always depend or I am superior to you if it weren’t for me, we’d be missing an important document for our trip.

Two aspects of relationships can be negotiated during an interaction. One aspect is the affect (love or hate) present in the relationship. For instance, when Jose says, Hal, good to see you,the nonverbal behavior that accompanies the words may show Hal whether Jose is genuinely happy to see him (positive affect) or not. For instance, if Jose smiles, has a sincere sound to his voice, looks Hal in the eye, and perhaps pats him on the back or shakes hands firmly, then  Hal will recognize the signs of affection. If, however, Jose speaks quickly with no vocal inflection and with a deadpan facial expression, Hal will perceive the comment as solely meeting some social expectation.

 Another aspect of the relational nature of communication seeks to define who is in control (Watzlawick, Beavin, & Jackson, 1967, p. 51). Thus, when Tom says to Sue, I know you’re concerned about the budget, but I’ll see to it that we have money to cover everything, he car through his words and the sound of his voice, be saying that he is in charge of finances, that he is in control. How Sue responds to Tom determines the true nature of the relationship. The control aspect of relationships can be viewed as complementary or symmetrical.

In a symmetrical relationship people do not agree about who is in control. As one person shows a need to take control, the other challenges the person’s right and asserts his or her own power. Or, as one person abdicates power the other refuses to assume it. For example, Tom may say, I think we need to cut back on credit card expenses for a couple of months, to which Sue may respond, No way. I need a new suit for work, the car needs new tires, and you promised we could replace the couch. Here both people are asserting control.

Control is not negotiated in a single exchange. Relational control is determined through many message exchanges over time. The interaction of communication messages, as shown through both language and nonverbal behavior, defines and clarifies the complementary or symmetrical nature of people’s relationships. In complementary relationships open conflict is less prevalent than in symmetrical ones, but in symmetrical relationships power is more likely to be evenly shared.

Communication Is Culturally Bound

What message is formed and how it is interpreted depends on the cultural background of the participants. Cultural diversity, variations between and among people  affects even aspect of communication, Even though we both speak English, our cultural differences will influence the meanings we share.

Because we are a nation of immigrants, we are likely to differ in some message formation and interpretation skills. We often intercommunicate with one another because we unknowingly violate a cultural rule or preference of the person or misinterpret a message based on our own cultural rules or preferences. For example, Madison and Lee are newly acquainted freshman roommates. Madison is fourth-generation Swedish American from a small town in Iowa. Lee is first-generation Chinese American from San Francisco. Both women are excited about the opportunity to live with and learn from someone who has a different background. Over lunch with several other students, Madison suggests to Lee that they save money on books by  haring the cost of the boo that is required for the Introduction to Psychology class they are both taking. Lee doesn’t want to do this. Because other people are present, Lee follows the Chinese cultural rule of avoiding embarrassing Madison in front of their friends. So she lowers her eyes and quietly says, That might be nice. Based on this conversation, Madison stops by the bookstore and purchases the book.

When she arrives back at the dorm room and presents the book to Lee, she is  dumbfounded by Lee’s refusal to pay half the cost. Lee is equally surprised that Madison misinterpreted her face saving comment as actual agreement! Because the people who live in the United States come from a variety of cultures, opportunities for misunderstanding abound. Cultural diversity in the United States continues to grow. At the end of the twentieth century 30 percent of the population of the United States was comprised of people with Hispanic, Asian, or African roots. Within the next twenty years this figure is predicted to rise to more than 40 percent Chronicle of Higher Education, 1999, p. 7). Of course in your own corner of the country the ratios may differ.

Different regions of the United States vary in the proportion of residents with various cultural backgrounds. For instance, in 1996 of the 3.5 million residents of Los Angles, more than 1 million (29 percent) reported that they were Hispanic, whereas in neighboring San Francisco, a city of 750,000, more than 250,000 (39 percent) reported being from Asian backgrounds. In some Midwestern cities, such ‘as Cincinnati and St. Louis, more than 40 percent of the population is African American (Carpenter, 1996). In contrast, the residents of some western states are more than 90 percent European in background (Horner, 1998).

The most widely discussed aspects of cultural diversity are ethnicity and race, but cultural diversity in communication is also occasioned by gender, age, sexual orientation, class, education, and religious differences among people. Just as people of different ethnicity may have different rules that guide message construction and interpretation, so too do ‘people who differ in age or sex or who profess different religions. Many older people consider it rude to address someone by his or her first name unless invited by that person to d.. so. By many younger people refer to everyone. by first name with no disrespect intended.

Within each chapter of the book we will discuss ways in which various cultural groups are different and similar to each other in their communication practices.This addition the feature Diverse Voices, which is found in some of the chapters, will focus on the way cultural diversity in communication has affected one person. This will give you an opportunity to empathize with a variety of people who come from different cultural backgrounds.

Communication Has Ethical Implications  

In any encounter we choose whether or not we will communicate ethically. Ethics is a set of moral principles that may be held by a society, a group, or an individual. Although what is considered ethical is a matter of personal judgment, various groups still expect members to uphold certain standards. These standards influence the personal decisions we make. When we choose to violate. the standards that are expected, we are viewed to be unethical.

When we communicate, we cannot avoid making ethical choices with ethical implications. To understand how our ethical standards influence our communication, we must recognize the ethical principles guiding our behavior. Five ethical standards influence our communication and guide our behavior.

1. Truthfulness and honesty are standards that compel us to refrain from lying, ~ cheating, stealing, or deception. An honest person is widely regarded as a  moral person, and honesty is a central concept to ethics as the foundation for a moral life (Terkel & Du val, 1999, p. 122). Although most people . accept truthfulness and honesty as a standard, they still confess to lying on occasion. We are most likely to lie when we are caught in a moral dilemma, a choice involving an unsatisfactory alternative.

The operating moral rule is to tell the truth if you possibly can. The fundamental requirement of this rule is that we should not intentionally deceive, or try to deceive, others or even ourselves. Only when we are confronted with a true moral dilemma involving making a choice that we deem justified by the circumstances (not warning an enemy about a planned attack in order to save lives) or selecting the lesser of two evils (protecting confidentiality over lying) should we even consider lying.

2. Integrity means maintaining a consistency of belief and action (keeping promises). Tarkel and Du val (1999) say, A person who has integrity is someone who has strong moral principles and will successfully resist the temptation t? compromise those principles. Integrity then is the opposite of hypocrisy. A person who had promised to take a friend to the doctor would live  p to this promise even if he or she had an opportunity to go out with a friend.

3, Fairness means achieving rue right balance of interests without regard one’s unfeeling and without showing favor to conflict. Fair all the relevant facts, consider only circumstances relevant to the decision at hand, and not be swayed by prejudice or irrelevancies, For example, if two of her children are fighting, a mom is exercise fairness if she allows both children to explain their side before she decides who is at fault.

4. Respect means showing regard or consideration for a person and for that person’s rights. Often we talk of respecting another as a fellow human being. For instance, someone’s affluence, job status, or ethnic background should not influence how we communicate with the person. We demonstrate respect through listening to and understanding others points of view, even when they are vastly different from our own.

5. Responsibility means being accountable for one’s actions. A responsibility is  something that one is bound to do either through promise or obligation or because of one’s role in a group or community, A responsibility may indicate a duty to a moral law or to another human being. Some would argue that we have a responsibility not to harm or interfere with others. Others would argue that we have a responsibility not only not to harm others but to help others.

6. At various places in this text we will confront situations where these issues come into play, We often face ethical dilemmas where we must sort out what is more or less right or wrong. In making these choices we usually reveal what values. we hold most dear. So in this book, at the end of each remaining chapter, you will be asked to think about and discuss various ethical dilemmas that relate to the chapter content.

Communication Settings

Communication Settings

In this book you will be introduced to skills that you can choose from to help you achieve communication competence in interpersonal settings, problem solving groups, and public-speaking settings.

Interpersonal communication settings Most of our communication takes place in interpersonal communication settings that are characterized by informal conversations between two or more people. Talking to a friend on campus, chatting on the phone with your mother, arguing the merits of a movie with friends, and comforting 3 friend who has been jilted by his girlfriend are all examples of interpersonal communication.

In our discussion of interpersonal communication, we will focus on holding effective conversations listening and responding emphatically, sharing personal information, self disclosure and feedback, and developing, maintaining, or improving relationships.

Problem-solving group settings Problem-solving group settings are characterized by participants who come together for the specific purpose of solving a problem or arriving at a decision. For many of us, this kind of communication takes place in meetings.

In our discussion of problem-solving group settings we will focus on group interaction, problem solving and decision making, and leadership.

Public speaking settings. Some of our most important communication occurs in speeches. Public speaking settings are characterized by a speaker delivering a prepared formal message to an audience in a public setting. All the variables of communication are present in this one-to-many situation, but their use in public speaking differs greatly from their use in other situations.

In our discussion of communication public speaking settings, we will focus on determining goals, gathering and evaluating material, organizing and developing material, adapting material to a specific audience, and presenting the speech, as well as variations in procedure for information exchange and persuasion.

Electronically mediated communication settings Today we are increasingly likely to communicate with others in ways that are electronically mediated. Electronically mediated communication settings are characterized by participants who do not share a physical context but communicate through the use of technology. As a result, the meaning of a message that is normally transmitted non verbally is unavailable to the receiver.

For a growing number of people a common way to keep in touch with distant family and friends is through email, electronic correspondence conducted between two or more users on a network. Today more than 25 percent of the U.S. population has access to email, and a great number of those use it as their primary way of communicating with others long distance.

Likewise, an increasing number of people are communicating with people they don’t know but with whom they share a common interest through news groups the past, if a person was not home, he or she had to go to a place where a telephone was housed. But now large numbers of people have their own telephone booths with them. They can make and receive telephone calls from wherever they happen to be in a car, on a bus, in a classroom, or on the street.

As we consider various communication skills, we will consider how they can be applied to electronic as well as in person communication.

Communication Functions

 Communication Functions

Communication serves several important functions for us.

1. We communicate to meet needs. Because we are by nature social animals, we need other people just as we need food, water, and shelter. Two people may converse happily for hours gossiping and chatting about inconsequential matters that neither remembers afterward. When they part, they may have exchanged little real information, but their communication has served the purpose of meeting the important need simply to talk with another human being.

2. We communicate to enhance and maintain our sense of self. Through our , communication, we learn who we are, what we are good at, and how people react to how we behave. We explore this important function of interpersonal communication in detail. Perception of Self and Others.

 3. We communicate  to fulfill social obligations. We use such statements as How are you doing? to a person we sat next to in class last quarter and that’s happening or simply Hi when we pass people we know in order to meet social obligations. By saying, Hi, Josh, how’s it going?” we acknowledge a person we recognize. By not speaking we risk being perceived as arrogant or insensitive.

4. We communicate to develop relationships. Not only do we get to know others through our communication with them, but more important, we develop relationships with them relationships that grow and deepen or stagnate and wither away. We discuss how relationships begin and develop Communicating in Relationships.

5. We communicate to exchange information. Some information we get through observation, some through reading, some through television, and a great deal through direct communication with others. Whether we are trying to decide how warmly  dress or whom to vote for in the next pres identical election, ail of us have countless exchanges that involve sending and receiving information. We discuss communication as information exchange. Conversation  Participating in Group communication and Informative Speaking.

6. We communicate to influence others, It is doubtful whether a day goes by in which you don’t engage in behavior such as trying to convince your friends to go to a particular restaurant or to support a political candidate, to persuade your spouse to quit smoking, or (an old favorite) to convince an instructor to change your course grade. We discuss the role of influencing others in Member Roles and Leadership in Groups and in Persuasive Speaking.

The Communication Process

The Communication Process

Communication is the process of creating or sharing meaning in informal conversation, group interaction, or public speaking. The process includes participants, context, messages, channels, presence or absence of noise, and feedback.


The participants are the people who communicate, assuming the roles of senders and receivers during communication. As senders, participants fern messages and attempt to communicate them to others through verbal symbols and nonverbal behavior. As receivers, they process the messages and behaviors that they receive and react to them.


Context the physical, social, historical, psychological and cultural setting in which communication occurs.

Physical context: The physical context of a communication event includes its location, the environmental conditions (temperature, lighting, noise level), the physical distance between communicators, any seating arrangements, and time of day. Each of these factors can affect the communication. For instance, the boss sitting behind her desk in her office talking with members of her staff creates a different context-from her talking with those same people while sitting at a round table in the conference room.

Social context The social context includes the purpose of the event as well as the existent relationships between and among the participants. Whether a communication event takes place at a family dinner, a formal wedding, or a business meeting, and whether it occurs among family members, friends acquaintances, work associates, or strangers influences what and how messages are formed, shared, and understood. For instance, most people interact differently talking with their children across the dinner table than when talking with  a customer at work.

Historical context The historical context includes the background provided  by previous communication episodes between the participants that influence understandings in the current encounter. For instance, suppose one morning Chad tells Shelby that he will get the draft of the report that they had left for their boss to read. As Shelby enters the office that afternoon, the sees Chad and says. Did you get it? Another person listening to the conversation would have no idea what the it is to which Shelby is referring. Yet Chad may well reply. It’s on my desk. Shelby and Chad understood one another because of the contents of the earlier exchange.

Psychological context The psychological context includes the moods and feelings each person brings to the communication. Suppose Corinne is under a , great dear of stress as sherries to finish a report .due the next morning. If her husband jokingly suggests that she take a speed-typing course, Corinne, who is normally good matured, may explode with an angry tirade. Why? Because her stress level provides the psychological context within which she hears this message and it taints what she understands.

Cultural context: The cultural context includes the beliefs, values, attitudes, meanings, social hierarchies, religion, notions of time, and roles of a group of people (Samovar & Porter, 2000, p. 7). In the United States the dominant ethnic culture is European American. Many white Americans may not think of themselves as ethnic, but as Sonia Nieto (2000) points out, we are all ethnic, whether we choose to identify ourselves in this way or not (p. 27). Because our dominant ethnic cultural context is European American, a general assumption when interacting with others has been that they share the beliefs, values, and norms common to this American experience. But because the United States is a nation of immigrants, its citizens are quite culturally diverse. As a result, a wide variety of other cultural contexts also exist and influence communication.

Communication takes place through sending and receiving messages, which include the elements of meaning, symbols, encoding and decoding, and form or organization.

Meaning Meanings are the ideas and feelings that exist in your mind. You may have ideas about how to study for your next exam ,what your career goal is and whether taxes should be raised or lowered; you also may have feelings such as jealousy, anger, and love. The meanings you have within you, however, cannot be transferred magically into another’s mind.

Symbols To share.meanings, you form messages comprising verbal and nonverbal
symbols. Symbols are words, sounds, and actions that represent specific content meaning. As you speak, you choose words to convey your meaning  the same time facial expressions, eye contact, gestures, and tone of voice all nonverbal cues accompany your words and also affect the remaining tenner receive  from the symbols you use. As you listen, you use both the verbal
symbol is and the nonverbal cause to make sense of what is being said.

Encoding and decoding The cognitive thinking process of transforming ideas and feelings into symbols and organizing them into a message is called  encoding a message; the process of transforming messages from another back into one’s own ideas and feelings is called decoding. Ordinarily you may not consciously think about either the encoding or the decoding process. Bur when  you have difficulty communicating, you become more aware of them. For example, if during a speech you see puzzled frowns, you may go through another encoding process to select expressions that better convey your meaning. Likewise, you may become aware of the decoding process when you must figure out the meaning of an unfamiliar word based on its use in a particular sentence.

The encoding process is made more difficult when verbal and nonverbal cues conflict. For insurance, if a coworker says, Yes, I’m very interested in the way you arrived at that decision,the meaning you decode will be very different if the person leans forward and looks interested or yawns and looks away.

Form or organization When meaning is complex, we may need to organize it in sections or in a certain order. Message form is especially important when one person talks without interruption for a relatively long time, such as in a public speech or when reporting an event to a colleague at work.


A channel is both the route traveled by the message and the means of transportation. Messages are transmitted through sensory channels. Face to face communication has two basic channels: sound (verbal symbols) and light (nonverbal cues). People can and do communicate by any of the five sensory channels, however, and a fragrant scent or a firm handshake may contribute as much to meaning as what is seen or heard. In general, the more channels used to carry a message, the more likely the communication will succeed.


Noise is any external, internal, or semantic stimulus that interferes with sharing meaning.

External noises are sights, sounds, and other stimuli in the environment that draw people’s attention away from what is being said or done. For instance, while a person is giving directions on how to work the new food processor, your attention may be drawn ‘away by the external noise of a radio playing an old favorite of yours.

Internal noises are thoughts and feelings that interfere with the communication process. If you have ever tuned out the words of the person with whom you are communicating and tuned into a daydream or a past conversation, they have experienced internal noise.


Feed back is the response to a message. Feedback indicates to the person sending a message whether and how that message was heard, seen, and understood. If the verbal or nonverbal response indicates to the sender that the intended meaning,was not heard, the originator may try to find a different way of encoding the message to align the meaning that was understood with the initiator’s original personal meaning. This re encoded message is also feedback because it gives meaning to the original receiver’s response. In all of our communication, whether interpersonal, small group, or public speaking, we want to stimulate as much feedback as the situation will allow.

A Model of the Process

Illustrates the communication process between two people. In the minds of these people are meanings, thoughts, or feelings that they intend to share. The nature of those thoughts or feelings are created, shaped, and affected by their total field of experience, including such specific factors as values, culture, environment, experiences, occupation, sex, interests, knowledge, and attitudes. To turn meaning into messages, people encode a thought or feeling into words and actions and send it via sending channels in this case, sound (speech) and light (nonverbal behavior).

Meanings that have been encoded into symbols are turned back into meaning by participants through the decoding process. This decoding process is affected by the participants’ total field of experience that is, by all the same factors that shape the encoding process.

The area around the people represents the physical, social, psychological, and cultural contexts in operation during the communication. During the entire  transaction, external, internal, and semantic noise may be occurring at various points that affect the people’s ability to share meanings.

In a conversation among several people, in a problem-solving group or in a public-speaking situation, for example, all these elements of communication operate simultaneously and differently-for everyone present. As a result, communication among more than two people becomes more complex. Whereas some people focus on the speaker’s message, others may be distracted by noise whether external (the hum of their conditioning), internal (preoccupation with personal matters), or semantic (a reaction to the speaker’s choice of words). Furthermore, all the participants bring their unique perspectives to the communication transaction. Less skillful communicators are oblivious of such of whether they  being groundcloth or even heard. Skillful communicators  verbal and nonverbal feedback and adapt their words and nonverbal behavior  confident that listeners have received the meanings  intend to share.

Communication in Our Lives

Communication serves many functions, takes place in many settings, and is as likely to occur electronically as in person.

Communication Perspective

Communication Perspective

As the selection committee deliberated they felt they had for viable candidates for the position.They all look good on paper  Carson said, but I must admit I was especially impressed with the way Corrie Jackson presented herself to us. Not only did she have a clear vision for where we need to be five years from now, but she also explained that vision with precise. concrete statements was really convinced that she was on the right track. She gets my vote.

Your presence in this course may be far more important to you than you imagined when you chose (or were required) to take it, for communication effectiveness is vital to success in nearly every walk of life. For instance, studies done in the last several years conclude that for most any job two of the most highly sought-after skills in new hires are oral communication skills and interpersonal abilities (Goleman, 1998, pp. 12-13). So, whether you aspire to a career in business, industry, government, education, or almost any other field you can name; communication skills are likely to be a prerequisite to your success. In this chapter we will explain the communication process, provide an overview of the role of communication in daily life, discuss major communication  principles, and consider means for becoming a competent communicator.