When two or more people are sharing information, they both are sending and receiving at the same time, sometimes without even saying a word but by simply sending and receiving certain signals. Listening makes one the receiver and at the point when you respond, you become the sender and this interchanging and complex role shifting happens very fast. Non verbal sending and receiving is just as complex. A child could be crying (sending a message) and the parent put her arm around her for reassurance (receiving), when the parent pats the child’s back (sending), the child calms down receiving). The attitude of the people involved will largely determine the quality of their sending and receiving and the strength of their signals may affect how the messages are received. Messages a. Everything that is communicated is categorized into symbols. A symbol is something that stands for something else. Symbols are everywhere around us. The eagle in the United States stands for that country, the Statue of Liberty stands for freedom. The complex issue is that; any one symbol may have hundreds of interpretations depending on what sense the receiver makes out of the symbol.
Any one symbol may have many contrasting definitions largely depending on cultural backgrounds. The human communication is made up of two kinds of symbols. The words that are used in a language are verbal symbols. Where no words are used, then that becomes nonverbal symbols. When the word refers to a physical object like someone says, ‘pads’,, this is called a concrete symbol because it represents an object. A female listener may think the sender is referring to the sanitary pads and the motor mechanic may assume that the sender is referring to the brake pads.
Symbols are subject to different interpretations largely depending on the attitude, culture and background of the listener. Even more complex are the abstract symbols, these are the intangible or non figurative symbols like the word ‘love’. Various and interesting assignations may be given to the word depending largely on culture and background. A child brought up in a strict religious order may think it refers to the love that the Deity has over mankind and yet on the other hand a child raised by a mother of loose morals, may construe it to mean lust or the desire that may shared by two consenting and sexual partners.
In nonverbal symbols, the communication has no written or verbal words. These symbols include but not limited to; facial expressions, gestures, posture, vocal tones and appearance. A yawn may mean that you are tired or bored and yet in another culture it may mean that you are sleepy and need to rest. Over ninety percent of messages sent and received by Americans are nonverbal. Thus, we see complexities arising out of the symbols, care and due diligence is therefore critical in deciphering symbols to be as near as possible to the intentions and definitions of the sender.
Channels This refers to the channel or route that we use when communicating. In verbal symbols, we use sound and sight. The receiver has to interpret the sound and what he/she is seeing to come to a conclusion of what the sender is trying to send out. In nonverbal communications, people use several channels, like a firm handshake may denote confidence, jittery and nervous expression at a presentation may mean poor preparation and shallow knowledge. Use of a wrong channel will give a wrong message altogether and defeat the purpose of the communication. Feedback
Feedback refers to the responses that the sender gets from the receiver. In a conversation, both sender and receiver get feedbacks as they talk. Feedback helps to assure the sender that the receiver is attentive and is responsive. When no feedback is given, it may send a wrong signal to the sender. In a lecture, if students don’t ask questions after the presentation, then the deliverer may assume that they have understood when in fact they have not. Noise Any interference that prevents a message from the sender from being delivered to the receiver is called ‘noise’.
Noise is found in three forms; external, internal and semantic. External noise comes from the outside, the environment. While having a good conversation with your Pastor, you may be disturbed by the Pastor’s mate asking for the car keys from their mate or a squashed sitting area in a taxi might make you unbearably uncomfortable to lose out on what the person sitting next to you just said. Internal noise refers to what the receiver may be going through internally that he/she may fail to hear what the teacher just said. These are internal thoughts, and distractions… Setting
This refers to the environment in which the communication process occurs. The setting affects and influences the kind of communication process that will take place. The setting itself communicates a message to the participants. A divorcing couple would chose to meet in the lawyer’s office as that is perceived as neutral. From the above discourse, it is clear that the communications elements can pose a great challenge to the whole process of communication. Parties to the process should make sure that all the elements are in the ideal size, to effectively communicate as desired.
Complexities will always exist, the parties to communication can only minimise them to enhance the process. Self Perception A human being is a complex individual. The process of communication starts with the self perception and the value that humans put on themselves. Self concept is how a person thinks about themselves. Sometimes in a communication process, people are so worried about how other people think they are and this ideally makes them less effective in their communication process and fail to either deliver their message or fail to get the correct message as intended by the sender.
Social comparisons occur when people compare themselves on how they measure up to other members of the communities. When we fail to measure up to a certain standard that we see ion others, most likely we lose all home and get de-motivated and in worst case scenarios, become emotional wracks. The way in which the individual sees himself/herself is called self perception. Self perception is largely grounded on the past experiences. Positive experiences will influence a better perception and the opposite also holds true.
The state of mind about oneself eventually impacts on performance. Its becomes dangerous when self esteem is too high as a failure results in negative and bad attitudes. Acts of perception require a form of expectations. ‘Without expectations, or constructs through which you perceive your world, your surroundings would be booming, buzzing confusion’ The perception process involves; selecting the information, organizing it and interpreting it. Perfect perception is always because of deletions, distortions, and generalizations. There are also perceptions filters.