Levels of Communication
Communication is a universal activity. There are so many levels at which people or organizations can communicate. These are
1. Interpersonal Communication
All communication, which takes place between persons or among people, is interpersonal communication. It can be both formal and informal. This form of communication is very advantageous because direct and immediate feedback is possible. If there is a doubt, it can be easily removed.
Non-verbal parts of communication play a significant role in interpersonal communication. The tone, eye contact, gestures, physical appearance etc. increases the importance of what is being said or listened.
Who is an Effective Communicator?
An effective communicator is the person who understands his own frame of reference/maps through which he views the territory. Building harmonious relationships and achieving mutual understanding can be difficult. We all live in the two worlds- the private subjective world inside our heads and the real, objective world outside. We would call the former frame of reference/maps and the latter the Territory. From time to time, we have experiences that change out frame of reference or the map through which we view the territory, the objective world. When this happens, our behaviour often changes to reflect the new frame of reference. An effective communicator understands these facts very well.
Following are the seven challenges for excellent interpersonal skills
(i) Listening more carefully and responsively.
(ii)Explaining the conversational intent and inviting consent.
(iii)Expressing more clearly and completely.
(iv)Translating complain and criticisms into transformative requests.
(v) Asking more open ended questions and creatively.
(vi)Expressing more appreciation, gratitude encouragement and delight.
(vii)Seeing every conversation as an opportunity to grow.
2. Organisational Communication
An organisation is a composite of many individuals working together, towards its growth. They are constantly interacting with each other and with people outside the company. On this basis, communication can be categorized into two parts
(i) Internal Communication
Interaction among members of the same organisation is called internal communication. This communication takes place in order to achieve the following goals
• Maintaining and improving the morale of the employees
• Giving orders to workers
• Prescribing methods and procedures
• Announcing policies and organisational changes
Internal communication can be oral or written. Written media may be memos, reports, bulletins, posters, notes, electronic bulletin board, and even internal faxes. Oral communication may take the form of staff meeting reports, face-to-face discussions, presentations, telephonic-chats, teleconferences etc.
(ii) External Communication
Communication does not only take place with the people within the organisation but with the people outside the organisation as well. If a company has to survive in the competitive environment, it has to adopt external form of communication. All the communication that takes place between one organisation and other organisation is known as external communication.
This communication takes place in order to achieve the following goals
• Selling and obtaining goods and services
• Informing to the governmental agencies about the financial condition
• Creating a favourable climate for operating business
External communication can be oral or written. Written media may be letters, reports, proposals, telegrams, mails, advertising etc. Oral communication may take the form of face-to- face discussion, telephonic-chats, presentations etc.
3. Mass Communication
Mass communication means to communicate messages to an entire populace. The prime minister addressing the nation, a politician speaking to public, a celebrity advertising a specific product is some of the; well-known examples of mass communication, newspapers, pamphlet, journals, magazines, periodicals, television, e-mail, Internet etc. are used as means of mass media. This type of communication is very effective because it is more persuasive and has a great appeal.
It is the message sent from person/group through a transmitting device (A Medium) to a large number of audiences.
It is rewarding and give you brand and name recognition and increase your credibility. It occurs when a small number of people send message to a large anonymous and usually heterogeneous audience through the use of specialised communication media.
The units of analysis for mass communication are the messages, the mediums, and the audience.
We are to a large extent dependent on regular contact with the mass media for information, entertainment, ideas, opinion and many other things. In the olden days we were influenced by the situations and things like our surroundings, family, friends, school, work, and neighbourhood. In other words, the small-scale communications and interactions we have on day-to-day basis with the place we live in and the people around us. This kind of culture is known as situated culture.
Since the mid 19th century, we have come to live not only in a situated culture, but in a culture of mediation. The press, film and cinema, television and radio and more recently, the Internet, have developed to supply larger scale means of public communication. The introduction of the term ‘global village’ in the 1960’s illustrates how much our world has changed and the change is due almost to the development of mass communication.
Most of the communications are done on a direct face-to-face; and known to be a two-way process. The received message can be responded to instantly. There is feedback.
Four main distinctive features, of Mass communication are as follows:
i. There is a gap or an institutional break between the ‘sender of the message and the ‘receiver*. The makers of the media texts, the ‘sender* of the messages, do not have an obvious feedback relationship with the audience. It is a one way process. Producers have to target imaginary, generalized or stereotypical audiences. They also make assumptions about audiences that are based on conceptual ideas of what people are like, rather than how they really are.
ii. The Internet Specialized technologies have begun to affect the one-way system of communication. In addition, these technologies have made it possible to ‘capture’ messages in a very physical form (photographs, film, and tape-recordings) which has led to historical permanence or records.
iii. Media messages can be extended ‘outwards’, so that events taking place regionally or locally now have global coverage. Audiences are frequently calculated in billions!
iv. Media messages have therefore become a modern commodity-an industry-a product. Market forces thus have a definite impact on the production and distribution of media text. It is argued that as mass media have become ‘facts of life’ and we have all become socially and culturally more dependent on them.
It is sure that the media now occupy a central role in defining and interpreting the very nature of the world according to certain values, cultural principles and ideologies.
Mass media has a political and a persuasive power over us. Radio, TV, the press and film can manipulate the whole societies. General public is so much influenced by all these media sources and leading their lives dictated by them. Political propaganda, advertising and the so-called ‘mind-bending power of the media are long-standing causes of debate and concern.
Since the 19th century there has been a mistrust of so-called ‘popular culture’, which is thought to debase or degrade cultural traditions and standards. Indian culture is aping the western, culture and this is how this degradation in culture is due to mass media.
The most contentious issue concerns the effects of the mass media on social behaviour, in particular violence and sex. The media have regularly been accused of ‘causing’ outbreaks of unrest in society.
Evolution of Mass Communication
• News papers and print media from the 1850’s
• Photography from the 1880’s
• Cinema in the 1900’s « Radio in the 1920’s
• Television in the 1950’s
Mass media -> situated culture -> mediated culture —> popular culture —> modern culture —» post modern culture.
Now we are in the age of post modem culture. Following are the four areas of post modern culture.
• Now a days modern culture and media images dominate the world. This in turn dominates the sense of reality. The world is now ‘inter-textual (images, copies, simulations and so on are so global that there are no authentic originals any more). The result is that imaginary, contrived and the simulated has replaced the reality of experience and history.
• Postmodernism is about style, pastiche, collage, bricolage (the mixing and re-using of images, signs and symbols) are emphasised at the expense of content or substance.
• Time, space history and place have become less secure- more confused. The forces of global communication and networks are eroding national culture. This caused tension and uncertainty.
• Postmodernism has no relationship with absolute truths, artistic, scientific, historical or political.