Human communication is an extremely complex topic. After studying human communication, there is no one theory that will cover the same information or examples. One’s theory can be built in a matter of months, but also continue to evolve over years to come.
This paper will cover various topics within human communication. It will begin with the basic understanding of communication, which will then go in to describing human communication. Finally, the discussion will cover how this topic relates to being successful in the industry today.
Communication: What is it?
Before an individual can completely understand human communication, they must have basic knowledge and understanding as to what communication is. Communication is “the act or process of using words, sounds, signs, or behaviors to express or exchange information or to express your ideas, thoughts, feelings, etc, to someone else” (www.merriam-webster.com). Table 1 is derived from the Transmission Model of Communication online and explains the basic understanding of how communication is delivered. If you follow this link: http://visual-memory.co.uk/daniel/Documents/short/trans.html it will take you to the chart that I was explaining in Table 1. I could not get it the chart to post in this weblog.
As shown in Table 1 on that webpage, communication has a specific path to take to be successful with delivering a message to another individual. First, individual A will determine a message and encode it to travel through the channel. Once the message has gone through the channel, the receiver or individual B can decode the message to successfully deliver the message to the appropriate destination. Now that there is an understand of what communication is, we will cover the concept of human communication.
There is never only one answer to the question of “what is human communication?” or “what is your theory of human communication?” “My understanding of human communication is the way that humans send messages to one another. Communication can be done by yourself, with another individual, or even a group of any size. Messages can be sent verbally or nonverbally” (Turner, 2016). I decided to come up with a very basic definition of human communication so that any audience would be able to understand.
One of my fellow colleagues came up with a great example to interpret human communication. “Human communication is like a tree. A tree has multiple limbs, each with their own individual branches, and from each branch sprouts leaves. Depending on what one’s purpose in studying human communication is, it is more practical to focus on just one limb or branch” (Roche, 2016). This is a great way to easily explain that human communication has various components and theories that make up a very complex topic.
Another colleague of mine defines human communication as “the practice of behaviors, formation of patterns of behaviors, and use of various communication channels that form the relationship between oneself and people around them to establish and reaffirm one’s identity” (Bender, 2016). This take on human communication is more complex, but still takes on the similar understanding of my concept of human communication that was stated previously. As you can see there is no one definitive answer to what human communication is, or even one solid theory.
While researching my theory of human communication, I came across a great example about referring to Adam and Eve. “Two humans are born into a world, knowing nothing of how they came to be and nothing of what is in front of them” (Bender, 2016). This situation really helps to understand how human communication has evolved over time. When Adam and Eve came about, they had to figure out a way to communicate. First through gestures, drawings, and body language; however, over time the ability to communicate verbally evolved between the two of them.
While determining my own theory of this topic, I found that there were specific skills needed to be part of a great theory. The skills are as follows: self-presentation skills, relationship skill, interviewing skills, group interaction and leadership skills, presentation or public speaking skills (DeVito, 2014). Self-presentation skills are a necessity to ensure that an individual is approachable, confident, and credible. Relationship skills are important when trying to build and maintain friendships. Next, interviewing skills must be a skill that individuals excel at to obtain the job they strive for to become successful in the industry they desired. Group interaction and leadership skills are valuable when it comes to being able to work well with a team or be an efficient and effective leader. Lastly is the skill that most individuals fear the most, which ha presentation or public speaking skills. If an individual can overcome this fear, it allows them to develop a skill that will allow the ability to present information to audiences of any size.
Society or Industry Today
Practical theories of human communication allow individuals to “aim to improve life in concrete ways” (Littlejohn, 2011, p 30). The practical theory of human communication allows individuals to achieve goals in any situation because they will be able to adapt to various situations with sets of different challenges. “As we move into an exploration of theories, we need to think about groups or genres if theories – some organizing scheme to help them make sense in relation to one another” (Littlejohn, 2011, p 43). This concept is helpful to find out what communication styles fit your own personality, as well as goals you have set in your personal or professional life.
When approaching situations in the industry today, it is important to understand direct and indirect communication. Direct communication is easy to understand because it is just the verbal messages that are sent to another individual, maybe a hiring manager or boss. Some might not realize when they are sending messages using indirect communication. “Indirect communication is body language. For example, having great posture and a firm handshake can send a message to a potential employer, which can speak volumes in a job interview” (Roche, 2016). Many individuals do not realize these indirect gestures, so it is very important to always be aware of your actions at all times.
Management is about getting work done through people (Peters, 1987, p 544). When discussing human communication in class lecture and how it can relate to the real world, I learned that a great theory is “making other people comfortable is a way to set them at ease” (Gillette lecture, 2016). To be a great leader in a career, or even in graduate course studies, one must be able to know and understand human communication because they will be the person that others look up to or go to when needing assistance with an issue. “Delegation is “hot!” We must learn to let go, or suffer the consequences of unacceptably slow action-taking (Peters, 1987, p 544). A great communicator must be able to successfully delegate tasks to other individuals and give clear instructions when needed about the task, as well as a deadline.
After reading about human communication, it is obvious that this topic is very complex. There are so many theories in the world about this topic, which can be used for any industry. No one will ever have the exact same theory of human communication; however, multiple theories can build upon one another. It is inevitable that individuals will communicate one way or another on a daily basis, so “the more you communicate, the better your communication will be” (DeVito, 2014). Many factors of human communication have been discussed; however, the list of more areas that could be covered is infinite. I will end with a great quote as it ties human communication to the technology industry. “W. Barnett Pearce describes this development as revolutionary, in large part because of the rise of communication technologies: “new technologies of communication have empowered communicators to do more, faster, at greater distances, and with less effort than ever before” (Littlejohn, 2011, p 5).
Bender, Aaron. (2016). Human Communication: The Medium That Makes Us. Ball States University, Center for Information and Communication Sciences.
“Communication”, Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary. Retrieved on August 26, 2016 from www.merriam-webster.com.
DeVito, Joseph A. (2014). Essentials of human communication. (8th ed.). Chapter 1 of online text. Pearson. Retrieved on August 27, 2016 from https://www.pearsonhighered.com/product/De-Vito-Essenials-of-Human-Communication-Plus-NEW-My-Communication-LAb-with-e-Text-Access-Card-Package-8th-Edition/9780205940882.html
Littlejohn, Stephen W and Karen A. Foss. (2011). Theories of Human Communication. (10th ed.). Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press.
Peters, Tom. (1987). Thriving on Chaos: Handbook for a Management Revolution. New York: Harper and Row.
Roche, Megan. (2016). Defining Human Communication Through the Lens of Theory. Ball State University, Center for Information and Communication Sciences.
Turner, Kristina. (2016) What is Human Communication? Ball State University, Center for Information and Communication Sciences.
Transmission Model of Communication. (1994). Digital Image. Retrieved on October 31, 2016 from http://visual-memory.co.uk/daniel/Documents/short/trans.html.