Chapter 1 Getting the Message Across
Communication - A transactional and relational process involving the meaningful exchange of
Communication Theory – A system of explaining ideas for explaining communication.
Rhetoric – The use of language to persuade an audience
Semantics – The study of the words and symbols we choose.
Semiotics – The study of how meaning is assigned and understood.
Cybernetics – The study of how information is processed and how communication systems
Communication can be understood in terms of:
Situated – It is embedded in a particular environment or socio-cultural context
Relational – It involves the ability to interact effectively and ethically according to what is
needed at a given moment.
Transactional – It is a co-operative activity in which people adapt to one another.
For communication to occur there must be a source and a destination. Someone at one end to
formulate the message (Any type of oral, or non-verbal communication that is transmitted by a
sender to an audience.) and someone at the other end to receive it and respond to it.
The participant in the transaction who has an idea and communicates it, by encoding it
in a message.
(Transmitter or communicator)
Encoding – The act of converting ideas into code in order to convey a written, oral, or non-
The sender must be aware of the receiver’s context to choose the right symbols, gestures, and
words to convey the intended meaning.
Is the communication pathway or medium over which a message travels.
A medium can synchronous (enables the communication to take place directly) such as face –
to-face conversation, telephone conversations, Text chat, audio and video conferencing
A medium can be asynchronous (Enables the communication to take time for a response) such
as E-mail, faxes, weblogs, discussion boards. Receiver
The person for whom a message is intended, who decodes the message by extracting meaning
The receiver is responsible for decoding (The act of extracting meaning from spoken, written,
and non-verbal communication) the message that has been sent by the sender.
Certain things may affect the receivers interpretation of the message this is why it should be
clear and precise
The receiver’s response to a message that confirms if the original message was received and
Can be non-verbal such as a head nod or oral like “umms” and “ahhs” or a written response like
from a e-mail or text message.
Feedback is a vital part of communication, allowing for clarification and ensuring that the
message has been properly understood.
An interactional process between two people ( sender and receiver) also known as
Dyadic (a group of two). Usually spontaneous and occurs within a certain context to achieve
Small group Communication
Occurs between three or more people (up to 20). The size of the group must rely on the
free interactions of all participants. The links to the participants are vital for success in the
Communication composed of many interdependent groups focused on common goals.
Takes place in large businesses and industries. Individuals assume specialized roles defined by
formalized behaviours and rules that are part of an “organizational culture”.
Messages between people of different cultures. This type of communication needs
adaption to account for different socially constructed forms of communication behavior.
Mass Communication A small group of people send a message to a large audience. This type of
communication is usually indirect and is mediated through radio and television broadcasting,
newspapers, or magazine articles. Different from face-to-face public communication.
Non – Verbal communication
Communication that does not use words but takes place through gestures, eye contact,
and facial expressions. How a message is encoded depends of the following non-verbal ways of
• Tone, inflection, and other acoustic properties of speech.
• Eye gaze and facial expression.
• Body movements, body posture, gestures, and touch.
• Appearance (bodily characteristics and clothing).
• Personal space and the use of time.
Non-verbal cues have the power to intensify what is trying to be said. These are powerful
indicators of an individual’s feelings and attitudes in verbal communication.
Non-verbal communication can play five roles in relation to verbal communication:
1. Repetition – Non-verbal displays can repeat a message that is being delivered
verbally in the same interaction. (Instructing a technician to repair “this computer” while pointing
at the computer.)
2. Contradiction – Non-verbal messages can conflict with the message an individual is
trying to convey verbally, resulting in mixed messages and adding additional challenges to the
decoder. (A job candidate says she’s “confident” however she has difficulty maintain eye contact
during the interview.)
3. Regulation – Non- verbal displays can also regulate conversations. (Tapping a person
on the shoulder to initiate a conversation)
4. Substitution – A non-verbal display can stand for a verbal message as the sole means
of communication. Actions speak louder than words. (Team members might guess that an
important contract has been lost if the team leader enters the room with a distraught downcast
5. Accenting and complementing – Non-verbal displays can underline, amplify or tone
down a verbal message. (Pounding the table while exclaiming “We have to cut our budget,
now!”.) Complementary non-verbal cues reinforce or affirm a message, making it easier to
remember. (A boss pats an employee on the back while giving praise uses touch to increase the
impact of her message) Non-verbal skills and abilities fall into three general domains, all essential to achieving
competence as a non-verbal communicator:
1. Encoding (emotional expressivity) - The ability to send non-verbal messages
accurately to others.
2. Decoding (emotional sensitivity) – The ability to accurately read another person’s