What Makes Humans, Human?

What Makes Humans, Human?


Human communication is currently in app aspects of human life. Drawing on textbooks and a best-selling book, as-well-as other documentary sources, my theory of communication examines the nature of current efforts and the state of communication in today’s society. This review indicates that a collaboration of professional theories can help determine the importance of human communication throughout the world. This paper encourages the acceptance of newer methods, as-well-as traditional methods, to help different cultures understand multiple ways to effectively communicate.



Communication is a term hat has been in use for a long-time. Since it was first introduced and used, the meaning of the term has evolved. Merriam-Webster dictionary defines communication as “the process by which information is exchanged between individuals through a common system of symbols, signs, or behaviors.” (Communication, n.d.) This definition gives some examples of how to communication, and this allows everyone to keep up with the fast-paced society. As you continue to read, you will see how a collaboration of “theories” will help to determine my own “theory”.


Development of Communication


An example of how communication methods keep up with society, is when Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press in the 1440’s. This is an important milestone in the timeline of communication because it shows the adaptability of Gutenberg. This invention was a way to send information to a hoarde of people. A colleague of mine, Natalia Nazareth, says that “Communication allows us to share information, create ideas, and make progress. I also believe communication is everywhere and we can no longer choose to ignore it” (Nazareth, 2016). This quote was something that Gutenberg had in mind when inventing the printing press. Since then, several other inventions have help evolve what we know today as communication. These inventions include telephones, computers, and the internet. The example given have helped individuals communicate easier and faster.

A well-known theory about communication is also important to note. The Shannon-Weaver Model of Communication, tell us the basic path for communication.


Figure 1: Shannon-Weaver Model of Communication

As you can see in Figure 1, there is a process for any level of communication. First, you need to have a sender. In this instance, imagine someone extends their hand to you. The person extending their hand, is the sender. There are then multiple “in-betweens” such as encoder, channel, noise, and decoder. Within a handshake greeting, every aspect of the Shannon-Weaver model takes place. A CICS scholar, says that “Human communication is evident in every aspect of our lives. From what we are trying to say to how we go about relating it, it is our responsibility to make sure the intended message gets to the receiver” (Vellenga, 2016). In addition to this quote and the Shannon-Weaver Model of Communication, it is important to keep in mind this statement: Communication is about building relationships. Without communication tools, the world would be a different place. “Human communication is, at a most fundamental level, a tool for survival” (Atkinson, 2016). As you can see, communication has evolved and therefore a collaborative approach was used to help determine the development of human communication over the years.


The Messenger

As stated previously, human communication is essential for living. The messages being sent in communication help explain why. Merriam-Webster dictionary defines messages as “a piece of information that is sent or given to someone” (Message, n.d.). No matter what tool you use to get your “message” across, there are several ways to interpret it. Stephen W. Littlejohn and Karen A. Foss, writers of Theories of Human Communication, say that “Messages are created to meet multiple goals and designed to achieve several levels of meaning” (Littlejohn and Foss). For instance, there are several ways of introducing yourself. In America, you may shake someone hand, but in the Asian culture, it is polite to bow (Hiser, 2016). The point being that both are meant to introduce and get the message across.

Another form of messages to know about are sign. “Understanding means to know the significance of information signs” (Gillette, 2016). Although signs are a part of a message, they are still considered a tool of human communication.


The Listener

I believe one of the most important tools on human communication is listening. A former CICS scholar, Jake Feick, says that “Nobody takes notes like that anymore” (Feick, 2016) His notetaking skills pointed out that he was a great listener. Being a good listener allows you to utilize other tools pertaining to communication.

In the workplace, listening can actually help you. A quote from Tom Peters, author of Thriving on Chaos, says that “To begin with, good listeners get out from behind the desk to where the customers are” (Peters, 2016). In this case, caring about what customers have to say and what, can be beneficial. For example, car manufacturers make their cars based off of what the customers want, that’s why some are still around to this date.

To be a good manager, or leader, you have to communicate. “Management is the art of communicating through people” (Gillette, 2016). No matter what your profession is – CEO, teacher, consultant – the people you work with, customers matter. Being able to communicate effectively, and having them listen is important.



No matter how you look at it, human communication plays a big role in everyone’s life. Based off of this, my theory of human communication is based on the principal that, without the evolution of technology and the collaborative approach to explain human communication, it would be difficult to understand the term. With all the resources at my disposal, human communication is a relatively simple term to understand.



by: Randall Hiser

  • Communication. (n.d.) In Merriam-Webster’s collegiate dictionary. Retrieved from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/communication
  • Littlejohn, J. W., & Foss, K. A. (n.d.). Theories of Human Communication (10th Edition ed.). Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press, INC.
  • Gillette, J., (2000) Information is Knowledge in Motion. A Practical Framework for       Understanding Knowledge Management. Muncie, IN
  • Hiser, R., (2016) Defining Human Communication, Unpublished Manuscript. Ball State           University
  • Personal Communication, Feick, J., September 7, 2016
  • Personal Communication, Atkinson, N., August 31, 2016
  • Personal Communication, Gillette, J., August 31, 2016
  • Personal Communication, Nazareth, N., August 31, 2016
  • Personal Communication, Vellenga, J., August 31, 2016
  • Peters, T. (1987). Thriving on Chaos. New York, NY: Harper & Row.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Skip to toolbar