COM 101 01/17/2013
Welleducated Communicator Understands:
The human basis of communication
The power of symbols What is Communication? 01/17/2013
“The imparting or exchanging of information; means of connection between people or places” New Oxford
What is Communication?
Process: it is active, an action.
Communication is a process/an action… sth you do.
A piece of communication is an object… sth you can have.
E.g.: an email is a piece of communication (object) that communicates (action) ideas.
Human: Human/Animal Communication Debate.
Reasons for choosing “human” limitation: easier, more reliable findings, provides boundaries, more
Shared (other people always in there). Can you communicate with yourself? No, communication requires
an actual other, you can’t share anything with yourself. What you have you already have. Is there a time
requirements to “sharing”?
Does it need to be intentional? What if you communicate something different from what you wanted to. Can
you accidentally communicate? What are the directions of intent? Message, Audience, Outcome, etc. Must
it be successful? What determines success?
Common roots create shared meaning: Common, Community, Commune… More than 1.
Communications: multiple objects of communication.
Transactional Model of Communication
People involved: Sender (encoder) and Receiver (decoder).
Idea/Concept: thing that you want to send to somebody else.
Medium/Channel: tool we use to get our ideas across to another person. (text, speaking –tongue, air of
lungs, painting, television, hands –nonverbal, computer, etc.)
Encoding & Decoding Process: when you take your idea and put it into something that is able to transmit it;
what method you are going to use.
Feedback: the response to something that you just did. It is when somebody gives you an answer or they
don’t. Silence and body language is feedback. When you selfcritique or try to say something in a different
way, that is feedback to yourself.
Fields of Experience: you are a unique communicator, everybody interprets things in their own way. All the
things you’ve experienced in your life; they will dictate your vocabulary, the way you walk, write, read, etc.
The more Fields of Experience overlap between the ones who are communicating, the easier it is to
communicate. What is Communication? 01/17/2013
Context/Environment: communication is always contextual. There is always some context in which it occurs
and the context will always influence the communication. The context is everything within the environment.
Noise: anything that interferes with the communication.
Physical Noise: they are outside you. Stuff that physically distract you from the actual message.
(cellphone ringing, sneezing, coughing,
Psychological Noise: they are in you. What you think inside your head.
When you are the sender, you need to encode with the decoder in mind.
It is a two way street. > Feedback
The sender and the receiver have their different fields of experience, they communicate through a channel
and the sender receives feedback from the decoder and these roles interchange. All of this happens in a
specific context. Defining Communication 01/17/2013
Humans are Communicators
Ontology: study of definitions. Why the definition is what the definition is.
“Definition of Man” by Kenneth Burke
Symbol users, misusers and creators . (Symbols that represent another something. Words are
Inventors of the negative . We create the sense of good and bad, attribute positive and negative
values. We us the symbols to create the sense of good and bad, right and wrong.
Goaded by the spirit hierarchy . Moved by a sense of order.
Separated from natural condition by instruments of their own making . Because we have symbols
we can imagine new and better things, different things. We build, more that we need, because we can.
Rotten with perfection . Until something stop us we take everything to the end of the line.
Traditional ContextBased Categories of Communication
Intrapersonal Communication (self) ???
Interpersonal Communication (2 people).
Small Group Communication (3 – 15 people).
Public Communication (few to many, often in person. E.g.: a lecture, the professor is the few who
talks to the many, the students).
Mass Communication (few to very many and always mediated). Language 01/17/2013
What are Symbols?
Any representative of a thought, idea, concept, etc.
Symbols don’t need to be big, deep, highly emotional to “count”.
Words are, by the very nature, symbols: cat, love, intelligence, requirements.
Arbitrary: the name of things changes from context to context, culture to culture, generation to generation,
etc. We have a social understanding to say what the words mean.
Useful: exchanging information about objects that aren’t necessarily present.
Different from Signs and Signals
Do not require immediate or coordinating stimulus
Responses vary more widely
Signs and signals are often interpreted symbolically by humans, but not by animals.
“A collection of symbols governed by rules and used to convey messages between individuals”
Language is always contextual. The words you use and your attitude will depend on your context. (as is all
Language is a choicedriven activity. You choose your words, ways, attitudes…
Language is often an indicator of: education, geographic background, etc.
Importance of Language
1) Language shapes and reflects attitudes Language 01/17/2013
2) Language creates and alters reality
3) Is necessary from a practical perspective
1) Terministic Screens: the way we talk filters and shows us our attitudes and dictates behavior.
The words we choose shapes and reflects our attitudes: individually, socially. The Power of Symbols 01/17/2013
Language Creates and Alters Reality
Suzanne Langer: Virtual Time & Virtual Space
The language we choose and the language we use changes the way we understand the world around us
and changes the way we behave.
Language drives our understanding of time. The words we use changes our reality. We create
measurements of time.
Language drives our understanding of space.
Nonverbal Symbols Also Create & Alter Reality
Nonverbal reflects and shapes attitudes.
Nonverbal Symbols Include:
Auditory symbols that do not include words
Kinesics: gestures, movement.
Illustrators: illustrates what you are saying.
Regulators: gestures and motions that we do to keep the conversation going. The Power of Symbols 01/17/2013
Adaptors (actually signals of physiological or psychological state, but usually interpreted symbolically).
Affect Displays: things you do to show emotions, feelings.
Proxemics: use of space.
Establishes parameters of relationship.
Edward T. Hall Distance Zones:
Public Zone: 12 feet
Social Zone: 412 feet
Personal Zone: 1.54 feet
Intimate Zone: 01.5 feet
Contextbased: in class, elevator, etc.
Fixed space: the space available.
Vocalics: vocal communication. Mumbling, talking really slow, fucking shouting, etc.
Haptics: the use of touch.
Remember: nonverbal symbols can have different meanings. Multiple Meanings – Interpreting Symbols 01/17/2013
Type of Meaning:
Most widely shared meaning. Shared meaning that we try to be objective of what something means.
Attempts to be “objective”.
Akin to a “dictionary” definition (usually first entry in a dictionary, subsequent entries attempt to capture
other types of meaning).
Add some subjective elements.
More emotionally charged meanings.
Includes interpretive value.
Often based on personal experience.
Includes socially charged interpretations.
Complexity of Meanings:
Arbitrary and Flexible nature of Symbols.
Complex Cognitive Structure of Humans:
Humans are a blend of Rational and Emotional. Humans react to feelings.
Ability to Create Symbols.
Mass Communication: share meanings.
Influences of Meaning:
Context Multiple Meanings – Interpreting Symbols 01/17/2013
Vocalics: the way we say something.
Example: Emphasis, if we change emphasis we change meaning.
Fields of Experience
Linear, chronological, orderly.
Words, mathematical equations, sheets of music (read as music).
Rulesbased: rules indicate “ proper” reading.
Easier for building argument:
Argument: “a reason or set of reasons given with the aim of persuading others that an action or idea is
right or wrong”.
Allows for varying levels of precision.
Emotional appeals take more time/effort but are very possible.
Complete, multifaceted, presented as a whole.
Painting, photograph, sculpture, sheets of music (read as music).
Order is not that important. Multiple Meanings – Interpreting Symbols 01/17/2013
More readily elicits emotion.
Not as obviously rules based; less overtly rational.
Prone to more varied interpretations.
Precision still invites multiple “readings”.
Arguments are more challenging to make clear, but can be done.
Blending Discursive and Presentational:
Most memorable and effective.
Simultaneous rational and emotional appeals:
Emotion encourages initial action. (gets people to act)
Reason encourages longer commitment. (gets people to keep acting)
Appeals to broader audiences.
Allows for more creativity and sometimes more clarity.
Blending Two Forms:
Front page of a newspaper (image + text).
Many advertisements (photographs with one who relates a story, ad in magazine with words enough to
interpret the picture).
Making Effective Messages: Multiple Meanings – Interpreting Symbols 01/17/2013
Is a discursive approach appropriate for the audience, context, and purpose of the message?
What types of discursive forms are most appropriate in this situation?
What language considerations should you make?
Do your language selections follow the 6 Cs of effective language use?
Six C’s of Effective Language Use:
Clear: Say what you mean… What you actually mean.
Don’t assume your audience will “get your meaning” if you don’t say it clearly.
Euphemisms and other vague language is only useful if your purpose is to leave room for ambiguity
(passed away=death, make love=have sex).
Avoid using “big” words for their own sake, but…
Use words appropriately.
Never use 10 words when 3 will do.
Don’t make something more complex than it is. Multiple Meanings – Interpreting Symbols 01/17/2013
Always use number of words necessary.
A healthy vocabulary can help be concise.
Concrete: (vs. Abstract)
Transportation > Automobile > Car > Sports Car > Classic Sports Car > 1956 Corvette > Showing an image
Colorful (or Creative):
Adjectives and adverbs exist for a reason.
Use language tools to make yourself clear and interesting.
Don’t use just for the sake of adding words – make sure they ADD to your message.
Avoid sexist language: the “generic he” is sexist language – so is the “generic she”. AVOID SEXIST
Avoid racist language.
Avoid homophobic language.
Know your audience and yourself.
Think about Burke’s Terministic Screens.
Correct: Film & Television 01/17/2013
tTelevision, Films, YouTube, Hulu, etc.
You need to understand the audience.
Demographics: people who like a certain type of shows don’t like the shows that other people like.
Read news, know popular culture, read literature or know something about it, know the new technologies.
Always say thank you.
Write things down at meetings.
Listen to people, look at them, engage.
Premise: involves a situation and a character.
Sympathetic, identifiable or compelling characters.
Characters have needs with obstacles.
Subplots: in some way has to make the character richer.
Mounting Tension – raised stakes. Tension is built in the middle.
Reaches a peak or catharsis.
Resolve or closure. Film & Television 01/17/2013
Has a Purpose.
Structure like a story:
Reveal character or progress story or both.
Different from novel:
Only what seen and heard.
Setting, action. Sound dialogue (what characters are doing to each other).
Artistic interpretation of the script.
Let the audience understand the inner tension of the characters.
“Turn psychology into behavior” – make inner life of the scene photographical. Discursive and Presentational Considerations 01/17/2013
Making Effective Messages Discursive and Presentational Considerations 01/17/2013
Is a discursive approach appropriate for the audience, context and purpose of the message?
What types of discursive forms are most appropriate in this situation? Book, written text, news article,
mathematical equation, music.
What language considerations should you make?
Do your language selections follow the 6 Cs of effective use?
Six Cs of Effective Language Use:
Colorful (or Creative)
Culturally Sensitive Discursive and Presentational Considerations 01/17/2013
Rules of grammar exist to facilitate communication.
You only have the right to break the rules once you’ve demonstrated that you know them.
Otherwise there is no purpose behind the rule breaking and you simply sound ignorant or uneducated.
Failure to follow the rules can result in miscommunication.
Correct: Word Choice
Use words correctly.
Remember connotative and denotative meanings change which word is “correct”.
Common usage is not always “correct”
Since vs. Because
Fewer vs. Less
Have denotative and connotative meanings, too.
Influence the “feel” of a message.
Provide an experience and pseudo experience for the receiver.
Alter our understanding of reality. Discursive and Presentational Considerations 01/17/2013
E.G.: color, angle, cropping, audio & visual editing.
Visual and Audio Edits
Set a mood or tone
Give a sense of time and/or movement of story (montage)
Keep in Mind:
All communication is contextual.
There is a time and place for breaking the rules.
Learn to assess the communication environment and adapt accordingly.
All communication is about finding the right balance and the appropriate strategy to achieve your
goals. Communication Theories 01/17/2013
Educate, expand knowledge, gossip.
Catharsis, voyeurism, escapism.
Adopt, dissuade, reinforce, deter.
Each is a form of influence.
Communication Scholars study the influence of communication on individuals and society.
Explanations of how communication works/doesn’t work = Communication Theories.
Communication Theories can guide message creation.
When you create a theory, you adjust your behavior, you use your theory.
Evidence that exists outside of the message.
Statistics, examples, testimony, etc.
Artistic Communication Theories 01/17/2013
Ethos: all about credibility. Getting somebody to trust you. Gets audience to trust you.
Competence increases ethos.
Topic Competence: know what you are talking about.
Communicative Competence: how you communicate your message. Know how to talk about it.
Power. People perceive the position of power as having competence.
Legitimate Power. E.g.: president of USA, CEO of a company
Informal Charismatic Power. E.g.:
Pathos: Communicate feelings, emotions. Gets audience to act.
Logos: building a solid argument with statistics, quotes, etc., in order to build your argument. Reasoning,
getting people to think. Gets audience to continue to act.
Like presentational and discursive forms, the types of proofs are most effective when combined.
Cognition: thinking, thoughts.
No Relationship: thoughts that are not related to each other.
Consonance: they go well together. You think you are a healthy person, you also go to the gym and you
also cook healthy food. You think you are intelligent, you get an A.
It is comfortable and fine.
Dissonance: they do not connect to each other. You think you are intelligent and get a D. You think you are
healthy and you smoke a pack a day. Communication Theories 01/17/2013
Cognitive Dissonance as a Persuasive Strategy: change, or make excuses, restore consonance by
changing cognition. Create a sense of dissonance and create a new attitude as your resolution.
By Maxwell McCombs & Donald Shaw
Attention Paid to Issues Implies Importance
Repetition of Coverage
News attention influences what we think about (no claims on influence on opinion)
Attention makes covered topics and ideas more salient to the audience.
Not telling you what your attitude should be what should be important.
Pop Culture (magazines talking about what men want, sports, movies, etc.)
Tells your audience what they should be paying attention to, what is important.
Setting the parameters of the discussion.
Providing a perspective for interpretation.
Indicates particular perspective.
Limits “viewpoint”. Giving it a focus, and angle, a perspective.
Tells you how to pay attention to it. Indicates a particular way of looking at it.
Context: may imply something due to the layout.
Setting expectations/piquing interest in your audience. Sets expectations.
Gives the receiver a sense of what is coming.
Sender guides interpretation by highlighting particular elements for the receiver.
Examples: previews, movie trailers,
Cultivation Communication 01/17/2013
First Amendment: Congress should make no law to prohibit free speech and press. Protects individuals and
most likely the minority.
The Supreme Court decides.
At first, Advertising was in the same place as obscenity, it wasn’t protected by the First Amendment.
Libel : printed
Invasion of Privacy
Intrusion: intruding into your legally protected sphere.
Not protected by the 1 Amendment.
Local standards – can be obscene in one place and not in another.
Indecent speech prohibited in broadcasting 6am10pm.
Prevents others from stealing your work.
Nature of the use – Commercial vs. Educational
The character of the copyrighted work. Prevents work from being copyrighted that should be in the public
domain, you can’t protect works that the public deserves to have.
The amount of the copyrighted material used.
The effect of the use on the copyrighted work’s market potential.
It defends criticism – if everything is protected then nobody can touch it so nobody can criticize it. Media 01/17/2013
“The medium is the message”
The way we say something is more important than what we say.
Pay attention to the medium.
Basic Influence of individual Medium:
Doesn’t take much effort.
The medium conveys part of the message.
Broader Social Impact of Dominant Media.
Evolving Methods of Communication
The Oral Tradition – Speaking.
Close relationship between source and receiver.
Highly malleable information.
The Literate Tradition – Print.
Spread of Technology
Weakened Relationship Between Source and Receiver.
Significantly Less Malleable.
Yet, allows for creation of groups (e.g.: nation building, everybody is reading the same book)
The Electronic Age – Radio, TV, Internet.
Special considerations: adoption of innovations, cost, development of technologies.
First radio station: 1897, England.
AM radio first aired in 1906.
First college radio station: 1920 (Union College).
1930s = FM radio.
1960s transistor radio devices emerge.
1992 satellite radio launched.
2001 Apple presents the iPod. Media 01/17/2013
8% of CO101 reports listening to the radio on any given day.
CO101 students spend an avg. 45 min per day listening to MP3 player.
The “PseudoOral Tradition”(initially)
Relationship between Source and Receiver
Pseudorelationships / Parasocial relationships.
Malleability of information
Changes with evolution of the medium.
Community vs. Individual focus
Also changes with evolution of medium.
People gathered around the radio, now people listen to MP3 players individually.
Evolves to Primarily Passive Receiver.
Television – 20 century
1884 first electromechanical television system developed.
1907 first cathode ray tube television created.
1927 first working television system developed – disp