Communication is a tool with which we exercise our influence on others, bring out changes in our and others’ attitudes, motivate the people around us and establish and maintain relationships with them.
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Communication makes a major part of our active life and is a social activity. This social activity is pursued verbally through speech, reading and writing or non-verbally through body language.
Factors That Condition Communication Skills
Communication skill is not language specific. It is not as though speakers of a particular language have refined communication skills whereas, the speakers of some other language have unrefined communication skills.
But communication skill is related to the culture of the group to which the individual belongs.
All messages that we send or receive are processed by a mental-filter. This mental-filter or the mindset is forged by our family, friends, neighbourhood, the school and society.
In most of the developing and under-developed countries, even caste and community contribute to the making of this mental-filter. This mental-filter or mindset makes us understand each other better or even leads to misunderstanding.
Unless, we understand the attitude, the mindset and background of the person with whom we interact, our communication skill would be imperfect and ineffective.
Complex Nature of Human Communication
Though communication exists even among some species of animals, birds and insects, it is limited to certain noises like chirping and crying, or movements and is related to their instinctive needs like hunting, preying and mating.
Being human communication is more complex, varied and has several objectives. It is complex because of the use of language, a repertoire (Store-house) of previously accepted and agreed oral and written codes. It is varied because it ranges from simple gestures or facial expressions to the most advanced e-mail technologies.
Related: Facial Expressions
General Objectives of Communication
Why do we communicate at all? In general terms they are as follows:
1. We communicate to persuade:
It means that we want someone to do something and this desire of ours is communicated. The mother patting the child to stop crying, the advertiser displaying a model in a new T-Shirt and the politician haranguing (urging) his audience to vote for him are all having the same objective of persuading, while communicating it differently.
2. We communicate in order to give or provide information:
The science teacher demonstrating an experiment, the bank announcing a reduction in interest rates and the finance minister, presenting the budget are all communicating to provide information.
3. We communicate seeking information:
A passer by asking you the way to the post-office, the student asking the teacher for some clarification or the investigating policeman making discreet enquiries are all seeking information by using this communication skill.
4. We communicate to express our emotions:
To express our emotions like courage or fear, joy or sorrow, satisfaction or disappointment with appropriate gestures and words. Some people have unlimited skill to emote, (i.e., to display excessive emotion) to suit the occasion. Our politicians are capable of emoting well, which by itself is a communication skill.