Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Sociological media theories

Three main sociological perspectives on the role of media exist: the limited‐effects theory, the class‐dominant theory, and the culturalist theory.

Limited-effects theory

The limited‐effects theory argues that because people generally choose what to watch or read based on what they already believe, media exerts a negligible influence. This theory originated and was tested in the 1940s and 1950s. Studies that examined the ability of media to influence voting found that well‐informed people relied more on personal experience, prior knowledge, and their own reasoning. However, media “experts” more likely swayed those who were less informed. Critics point to two problems with this perspective. 

First, they claim that limited‐effects theory ignores the media's role in framing and limiting the discussion and debate of issues. How media frames the debate and what questions members of the media ask change the outcome of the discussion and the possible conclusions people may draw. Second, this theory came into existence when the availability and dominance of media was far less widespread. 

Class-dominant theory

The class‐dominant theory argues that the media reflects and projects the view of a minority elite, which controls it. Those people who own and control the corporations that produce media comprise this elite. Advocates of this view concern themselves particularly with massive corporate mergers of media organizations, which limit competition and put big business at the reins of media—especially news media. Their concern is that when ownership is restricted, a few people then have the ability to manipulate what people can see or hear. For example, owners can easily avoid or silence stories that expose unethical corporate behavior or hold corporations responsible for their actions.

The issue of sponsorship adds to this problem. Advertising dollars fund most media. Networks aim programming at the largest possible audience because the broader the appeal, the greater the potential purchasing audience and the easier selling air time to advertisers becomes. Thus, news organizations may shy away from negative stories about corporations (especially parent corporations) that finance large advertising campaigns in their newspaper or on their stations. Television networks receiving millions of dollars in advertising from companies like Nike and other textile manufacturers were slow to run stories on their news shows about possible human‐rights violations by these companies in foreign countries. Media watchers identify the same problem at the local level where city newspapers will not give new cars poor reviews or run stories on selling a home without an agent because the majority of their funding comes from auto and real estate advertising. This influence also extends to programming. In the 1990s a network cancelled a short‐run drama with clear religious sentiments, Christy,because, although highly popular and beloved in rural America, the program did not rate well among young city dwellers that advertisers were targeting in ads.

Critics of this theory counter these arguments by saying that local control of news media largely lies beyond the reach of large corporate offices elsewhere, and that the quality of news depends upon good journalists. They contend that those less powerful and not in control of media have often received full media coverage and subsequent support. As examples they name numerous environmental causes, the anti‐nuclear movement, the anti‐Vietnam movement, and the pro‐Gulf War movement.

While most people argue that a corporate elite controls media, a variation on this approach argues that a politically “liberal” elite controls media. They point to the fact that journalists, being more highly educated than the general population, hold more liberal political views, consider themselves “left of center,” and are more likely to register as Democrats. They further point to examples from the media itself and the statistical reality that the media more often labels conservative commentators or politicians as “conservative” than liberals as “liberal.”

Media language can be revealing, too. Media uses the terms “arch” or “ultra” conservative, but rarely or never the terms “arch” or “ultra” liberal. Those who argue that a political elite controls media also point out that the movements that have gained media attention—the environment, anti‐nuclear, and anti‐Vietnam—generally support liberal political issues. Predominantly conservative political issues have yet to gain prominent media attention, or have been opposed by the media. Advocates of this view point to the Strategic Arms Initiative of the 1980s Reagan administration. Media quickly characterized the defense program as “Star Wars,” linking it to an expensive fantasy. The public failed to support it, and the program did not get funding or congressional support.

Culturalist theory

The culturalist theory, developed in the 1980s and 1990s, combines the other two theories and claims that people interact with media to create their own meanings out of the images and messages they receive. This theory sees audiences as playing an active rather than passive role in relation to mass media. One strand of research focuses on the audiences and how they interact with media; the other strand of research focuses on those who produce the media, particularly the news.

Theorists emphasize that audiences choose what to watch among a wide range of options, choose how much to watch, and may choose the mute button or the VCR remote over the programming selected by the network or cable station. Studies of mass media done by sociologists parallel text‐reading and interpretation research completed by linguists (people who study language). Both groups of researchers find that when people approach material, whether written text or media images and messages, they interpret that material based on their own knowledge and experience. 

Thus, when researchers ask different groups to explain the meaning of a particular song or video, the groups produce widely divergent interpretations based on age, gender, race, ethnicity, and religious background. Therefore, culturalist theorists claim that, while a few elite in large corporations may exert significant control over what information media produces and distributes, personal perspective plays a more powerful role in how the audience members interpret those messages.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

MODELS AND PROCESSES OF COMMUNICATION

INTRODUCTION 

Have you ever noticed how we express ourselves or interact with each other? Have you ever wondered what communication is and what role it plays in our lives? Communication generally means the exchange of messages with others but it can also be with one’s own self where the self is the sender and receiver of messages. It is an integral part of our lives and is intertwined with all the activities undertaken by us. Human beings communicate right from the moment they are born till death and it will not be an exaggeration to say that communication is indicative of life itself. Thus communication can be equated with other basic needs of life such as food, clothes and shelter as any person, group or community cannot survive without communication. We may communicate with ourselves while thinking, dreaming, reading, watching something or listening to something. We communicate face-to-face with another person or speak with people in group situations. We can also communicate with people located in widespread places, who may be from a heterogeneous group and be anonymous to each other, with the help of technology.

 You may ask, if communication is so omnipresent and integral to our lives, why study communication at all? We need to study communication because it is a complex process which consists of many elements and is also beset with a number of barriers. There is a need to take these elements into consideration and try to remove the barriers so that communication becomes complete and attains its desired goal, which in our case, is to facilitate effective teaching and learning.

 In this unit we shall look at the concept, types, models, process of communication and also deliberate upon the barriers in communication and finally on the strategies for effective communication. We shall also explore the specific areas of education, training and classroom teaching and the role of communication therein. In the last unit of this block, we shall examine the element of interactivity in making the process of communication effective.


OBJECTIVES 

After studying this unit you should be able to:
• explain the concept of communication;
• describe different types of communication;
• examine the various models of communication;
• delineate the process and elements of communication;
 • identify various barriers which exist in the process of communication;
 • suggest strategies for effective communication.


CONCEPT OF COMMUNICATION 

The word communication has it origin in the Latin word 'communis' that means 'to make common'. Communication facilitates sharing of common experiences with others. It involves sharing of an idea, thought, feeling or information with others, which includes thinking, dreaming, speaking, arguing and so on. Thus the scope of communication is very wide. Communication is part skill, part art and part science. It is a skill as it involves certain fundamental techniques, it is an art as it involves creative challenges, and it is science because certain verifiable principles are involved in making communication more effective. All this makes communication a complex process. To understand the concept of communication, let us examine the various definitions of communication as given by different scholars.

DEFINITIONS

 Different scholars have defined communication in various ways. Some of them describe it as 'the transfer of meaning', 'transmission of stimuli', 'one mind affecting other' or 'sharing of experiences on the basis of commonness'. Communication has also been defined as a scientific study which involves the art of communication so that skilled communication can be produced.

Communication is not a static act but a dynamic process, which is continuous in nature and vital for teaching and learning. It involves the usage of a channel. This channel could be signs, symbols or verbal/written language. For communication to be complete and effective it has to achieve the desired objectives as intended by the communicator. For example, in a classroom situation, the teacher has to make special efforts to convey the message to the learners. S/he has to clearly define the objectives of the lesson and the message has to be conveyed with the help of appropriate oral and written signs, symbols and body language.

 Only when the meaning has been understood by the learners and in the same idiom as intended by the teacher, we can say that the communication has been successful. Thus, communication can be defined as a process of sharing or exchange of ideas, information, knowledge, attitudes or feelings among two or more persons through certain signs and symbols leading to a desired response as intended by the communicator. Even our behaviour can communicate messages. For instance warmth towards some one or indifference can be conveyed even without speech or written messages just through gestures, facial expressions and body language.


Functions of Communication

 Communication performs many functions, such as informing and generating awareness, educating, persuading, motivating, entertaining, etc. Let us examine some of these functions:

Sharing of Information: Information is key to progress in any society. Communication plays an important role in information dissemination related to any form of human activity, such as social, political, economic, educational and developmental. Regular exposure to information over a period of time generates awareness on a given issue, problem or matter of concern. To illustrate, if you were not informed about global warming or Pluto losing the status of a planet or the latest technology used in governance, your awareness on these issues would not have been there. Communication provides us with information about the environment we are placed in. It helps in moulding our opinions, formulating decisions and in turn making 'informed choices' to safeguard our interests as well those of the society.

Education and Training: Communication results in sharing of information, which in turn makes people knowledgeable and thus productive members of the society. Right from our childhood we are taught by our teachers in the school and elders at home and we thus gain various new concepts and skills as we grow up. However, we do not cease to learn when we grow up as we continue to learn throughout our lives. In the modern educational scenario , training of personnel is an ongoing process and communication plays an important role in orientation and training of teachers and learners. The degree of learning depends to a great extent not only on the contents of training but also how effectively the information and skills are shared. As we know, knowledge can be constructed through interaction between learners and his/her peers and also with his/ her teachers/sources of information. Hence, effective communication results in effective teaching and training.


Socialization : For the well being of the society, nation and culture it is crucial that we are exposed to different view points so that we understand and appreciate the need for plurality of ideas and diversity of views. Communication fosters the feeling of oneness in a society by exposing the various social groups to different views. It develops the need to share and understand the feelings, emotions, hopes, aspirations and expectations of varied groups in a social system.

Entertainment : To break the monotony of human life, we need to be exposed to art, literature, music, films, dance, drama, sports and other modes of entertainment. Communication provides us with this necessary diversion. Thus entertainment is an equally important function of communication. However, of late, this element has overtaken other functions especially in various mass communication media. Some television news channels are found to be biased towards entertainment value rather than informational content of a news item. . Similarly, cable and satellite television channels are dishing out inane programmes in the name of entertainment. There is a need to strike a judicious balance between the different needs of the audience enabling them to take advantage of the wealth of information on various issues rather than succumbing to the dictates of cheap entertainment.


Motivation: A motivated individual plays a useful and active role in a society. Communication motivates and persuades individuals to meet the mutually agreed upon goals. Sharing success stories of those who have overcome the odds in life and have been able to achieve their goals can do this. This function of communication, although relevant in all walks of life is more pronounced in business and industry where communication is being increasingly used as a tool for motivation.


Persuasion: Yet another important function of communication is to persuade. This may be to influence us towards a new idea, technique or a product and also to persuade us to buy these products. The industrial and corporate houses and advertising agencies, while taking messages of new products to potential consumers far and wide have amply exploited this function. Different mass communication media are used for this purpose. However, many a time unscrupulous advertisers tend to exploit the receiver of communication for ulterior motives. In the wake of globalization and liberalization and the growing competitive environment and consumerist culture, we need to take great care to understand the motives of the source.

Preservation of culture: Communication helps to preserve the culture and heritage of a nation and society. Through communication, stories from the epics, such as Ramayana, Mahabharata, Bible, Koran, etc. are shared with the younger generation. The transmission of values from one generation to another has been taking place orally as well as through written texts, over the ages. In the modern world different mass communication media have taken up this function.


TYPES OF COMMUNICATION

Communication has been broadly categorized into the following four types:
 • Intrapersonal communication
• Interpersonal communication
• Group communication
• Mass communication.

 Intrapersonal Communication 

The word 'intra' denotes 'within'. When we communicate within ourselves, it is intrapersonal communication. This can take the form of thinking, analyzing, dreaming or introspecting. Day dreaming, self-talk and memories are all facets of intrapersonal communication.

Intrapersonal communication is a kind of internal dialogue that takes place within an individual while contemplating, conceptualizing and formulating our thoughts or ideas before we actually express them. Due to individual differences, the levels of intrapersonal communication may vary from one person to another. Writers, thinkers and philosophers generally devote more time to intrapersonal communication.

Interpersonal Communication

When two persons communicate with each other, the communication is interpersonal. Our everyday exchanges, formal or informal, which may take place anywhere come under this type of communication. There is certain amount of proximity between the sender and the receiver who may be able to see each other closely, watch the facial expressions, postures, gestures, body language etc. or may make them out from the tone and expressions when they communicate without seeing each other, for instance over telephone. In interpersonal communication, the roles of the sender and receiver become interchangeable. There are many sensory channels used and feedback is immediate. It allows you to clarify your views, persuade or motivate another person more effectively than any other mode of communication.

Interpersonal communication has been analysed from two perspectives: contextual and developmental. The contextual view does not take into account the relationship between those who interact whereas the developmental one defines it as communication that occurs between persons who have known each other for some time. It argues that our interaction with a salesperson is different from our interaction with friends and family members.


Group Communication 

As the name suggests, when people communicate in group situations, this is known as group communication. This is an extension of interpersonal communication where more than two individuals are involved in the process of communication. The groups can be both formal as well as informal depending on the type and objectives of communication but generally they have common interests and goals. The group dynamics can be different as well as complex. For example, the composition, nature, role and objectives of a group that assembles to exercise every morning in a park would be different from the one that gathers to participate in a national seminar of social/educational/political nature or the one which assembles to discuss the problems of shareholders. Sometimes the group can turn into a mob. For example, a peaceful demonstration of students may turn unruly due to break down of the communication process with the management of the school.


The communication process in a group depends on its size, nature, objectives and dynamics. For example, communication in a small group with members at the same place will be close to interpersonal communication as the receiver can see the sender of the message closely and follow his/her facial expressions, body language etc. S/he can pose questions and get the doubts clarified and thus obtain feedback. However, when the size of the group increases, there is less scope for understanding and deciphering the movements, body language and other such things about the speaker. The sender may not follow the response of the individual receiver and thus the feedback is reduced.

Group communication is useful in taking collective decision on a problem, an issue or a matter of common interest. Depending on the quality of group members and leaders, effective decisions can be made incorporating divergent point of views. However, this is not free from limitations. All members of a group may not be able to freely participate in deliberations, as some may be dominant speakers while others too shy or reluctant to express themselves thus affecting a free flow of communication. All these factors have greater implications in group communication. Classroom communication also falls under group communication in which these factors play an important role.

Mass Communication

This type of communication is different from all the three types discussed so far. In mass communication, the communicator is separated from the audience in terms of time and place. Communication takes place simultaneously with the help of an electronic device, in which an institution is involved. These electronic devices are known as mass media such as print, radio, television, the Internet, etc. The audience is 'mass' i.e. it has a heterogeneous profile, are unknown to each other and located in widespread locations. Feedback in mass communication is considered to be weak and delayed as compared to group and interpersonal communication. Today with developments in the field of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), communication through electronic media may be interactive and feedback may not be delayed. Even now print medium for instance, newspapers, journals, news broadcast, etc., engaged in mass communication do not generate as much feedback as the other types of communication.

Due to advancements in the field of ICT and widening accessibility to it, interpersonal and group communication today do not necessitate the physical presence of the communicators. We spend long durations while communicating through telephone, sending and checking e- mails , conferencing, etc.


MODELS OF COMMUNICATION

So far we have discussed the concept and different types of communication. Now let us examine some popular models of communication which help us in understanding the process of communication. Like the nature and concept of communication, models of communication have also been the subject of a vast amount of research. No single theory or model has found a general acceptance.

Before discussing the models of communication, let us first understand what the term 'model' means. A model is a graphic representation designed to explain the way a variable works. It is a pattern, plan, representation, or description designed to show the structure or workings of an object, system, or concept. A model of communication offers a convenient way to think about it by providing a graphical checklist of its various elements. Some of the important models discussed in this section highlight the complexities of the process of communication.

The Greek philosopher Aristotle looked at communication from the rhetorical perspective i.e. speaking to the masses to influence them and thus persuade them. Aristotle constructed a model with three elements: Speaker-Speech-Audience in which the basic function of communication was to persuade the other party. This is accepted by many as the first model of communication. Thereafter in the twentieth century many more models came up. In the latter part of the century, the concept of communication changed due to the advent of various mass communication media such as newspapers, radio, and television. During the First and Second World Wars, communication was also used for propaganda and it was perceived as a magic bullet that transferred ideas and knowledge automatically from one mind to another. However, this was later found to be a very simplistic model which showed communication as a linear one-way flow of communication. Sociologists, political scientists and psychologists who joined the debate around this time argued that communication was a complex process which was dynamic and two-way in nature.

Some important models of communication are Lasswell Model, Shanon and Weaver Model, Osgoods Model and Schramm Model. Let us now discuss these models.

Lasswell Model (1948) :

One of the early models of communication was developed by the political scientist Harold D. Lasswell who looked at communication in the form of a question:

Who
Says What
In Which Channel
To Whom
With What Effect

This verbal model focussed attention on the essential elements of communication and identified the areas of communication research. 'Who' raises the question of identification of the source of the message. 'Says what ' is the subject of analysis of the message. Communication channel is the medium through which the message has traveled. 'To whom’ deals with the characteristics of the receivers and audience and 'what effect' can be seen as evaluation of the effect of the message. These essentially comprise the basic components of communication. This model implied that more than one channel could carry a message. It was considered an oversimplified model which implied the presence of a communicator and a purposive message.


Shannon and Weaver Model (1949): 

This model of Claude Shannon and Warren Weaver has been considered as one of the most important models of communication and it has led to the development of many other models. It is referred to as the transmission model of communication as it involves signal transmission for communication.


 
In this model, the information source produces a message to be communicated out of a set of possible messages. The message may consist of spoken or written word. The transmitter converts the message into a signal suitable for the channel to be used. The channel is the medium that transmits the signal from the transmitter to the receiver. The receiver performs the inverse operation of the transmitter by reconstructing the message from the signal. The destination is the person or thing for whom/which the message is intended.

This model introduced the concepts like 'noise' i.e. disturbances or errors in transmission, problems in accepting the signal (message), etc. and the need for maintaining necessary balance between 'entropy', which means the degree of uncertainty and 'redundancy', which refers to the uniqueness of the information. This implied that for effective communication the greater the noise in communication, the greater is the need for building redundancy i.e. repetition of the message which reduces the relative Information Source Transmitter Channel Receiver Destination Noise Source entropy or in other words, the uncertainty about the message. This model was criticised for being based on the hardware aspect developed for engineering problems and not for human communication. Another criticism was that it did not take the element of feedback into account. 

Charles Osgood's Model (1954)

Osgood in his model showed communication, as a dynamic process in which there is an interactive relationship between the source and the receiver of the message (M). An individual engaged in the communication process sends as well as receives messages and as such encodes, decodes and interprets messages through a number of feedback mechanisms.

 

Osgood stressed the social nature of communication. This model was found more applicable in interpersonal communication in which the source and receiver were physically present. For example when a teacher teaches, the learners interact by raising queries, answering questions, etc. The role of interpretation of the message has also been highlighted in this model for decoding a message .

Schramm Model (1954):  

Wilbur Schramm, a well-known communication expert did not make a sharp distinction between technical and non-technical communication. But drawing upon the ideas of Shannon and Osgoods, Schramm proceeded from a simple human communication model to a more complicated one . His first model has a lot of similarity with Shannon and Weaver Model.


 In the second model, Schramm visualized the process of communication as a process of sharing of experience and commonality of experience of those communicating. It introduced the concept of shared orientation between sender and receiver. The circles in this model indicate the accumulated experience of two individuals engaged in communication. The source can encode and the destination can decode in terms of the experience.

In this model the accumulated experience of two individuals engaged .in communication is emphasized unlike in the linear models discussed earlier in which interaction, feedback and sharing of experiences find no place. . The source can encode and the destination can decode in terms of the experience/s each has had. Communication becomes easy as both the participants have a common field of experience. If the circles do not meet there is an absence of such common experience which makes the process of communication difficult.

Schramm further elaborated his model by highlighting the frames of reference of the persons engaged in communication. He took into account the wider social situations and the relationships of both source and destination. He maintained that when both have the same kind of situations, the message is selected, received, and interpreted according to the frames of references in which noise and feedback play important roles. He also included the idea of feedback by expressing that communication is reciprocal, two-way, even though the feedback may be delayed. The weakness of this model is that it is a less linear model, but it still holds good for bilateral communication. The complex, multiple Field of experience Field of experience Signal Source Encoder Destination Decoder levels of communication among several sources that may take place simultaneously, say in a group discussion, is not accounted for.

The linear models of communication held that a message flows only from the sources to the recipient as for instance from a radio to a listener. Later on the interactive model was developed which takes into account bilateral communication. Then the transactional model of communication was developed. It includes the components of linear model as well as the interactive ones. It emphasizes both the content, i.e. what is being communicated and also includes the component of relationship of the source and the recipient. 

Example: A teacher and learners will interact more if the content taught is based upon the experience of the learners and also if the teacher is friendly and has a good relationship with the learners, there will be more interactions.  


COMMUNICATION PROCESS

From the preceding discussion, you would have observed that the process of communication is dynamic, ongoing and ever changing. We also used some terms such as sender, message, channel, receiver, noise and feedback. These are known as Elements of Communication that makes it a continuous process. Now let us examine these elements in some detail and understand the type of interrelationship that exists among them. 

Source: The source of communication is the sender who has a message to impart. The sender has to decide how to communicate a message, which channel is to be selected for the message and what type of strategies should be planned so that the message makes the desired response. The sender provides verbal or non-verbal cues that can be received, interpreted and responded to by the receiver. 

Message: Message is a set of signs and symbols which are given by the source to create meanings for the receiver. Simply put, message is the content which is shared between the participants in the communication process. To make the message effective, the sender has to understand the nature and profile of the receiver of the message, his/her needs and expectations and possible response to the message. This is important in both face-to-face as well as mediated situations. 

Channel: Channel is the medium used to communicate a message from the sender to receiver. The channel could be spoken word, printed word, electronic media, or even non-verbal cues such as signs, gestures, body language, facial expressions, etc. In modern communication parlance, the word 'channel' mostly refers to mass communication media such as newspapers, radio, television, telephone, computers, internet etc. The selection of an appropriate channel is crucial for the success of communication. 

Receiver: Communication cannot take place without a receiver for whom the message is meant. We receive a message, interpret it and derive meaning from it. You have already studied that for successful communication, the receiver should receive the message in the same way it was meant by the sender. In interpersonal communication, the receiver shares a close relationship with the sender which gradually gets diluted in group and mass communication.

Noise: Noise is distortion in a message which affects the flow of communication. Noise could be due to internal as well as external sources. Noise creates barriers in communication and it could be of many types. There are various types of noises which have implication in the process of communication and how these can be overcome for facilitating effective communication are discussed in the next section.

Feedback: The response given by the receiver to the message of the sender is known as feedback. Communication being a two-way process, without the element of feedback any discussion on the process of communication is incomplete. You have read that interpersonal communication allows greater scope for feedback as both sender and receiver can decipher the facial expressions, body movements and cross question each other to remove their doubts/queries. In fact, their roles are intertwined and cannot be distinguished. The element of feedback gets gradually diluted when the number of participants in communication activity increases.

BARRIERS IN COMMUNICATION

We have referred to the term 'Noise' while discussing the models and elements of communication in the previous sections. Barrier or Noise is a term used to express any interference in communication between source and receiver. A successful communication is the one in which the message is conveyed undiminished with least distortion. However, it is not always possible as a number of barriers make the process of communication complex. Some of these barriers could be physical, psychological, cultural, linguistic (semantic), technical or due to information overload. Let us try to understand these barriers and how these can be minimized for effective communication.

Physical barriers: If the source is not visible to the receiver and s/he is not comfortable in the environment, it may create barriers in communication. Geographical distance may also create barriers, as people may like to communicate with one another but due to physical distances may not be able to do so. For example, people may be interested to communicate with an expert in a particular area who is not available in other areas/ regions as there is physical barrier.

Psychological barriers: Due to individual differences, attitudes, interest and motivation levels, we perceive things and situations differently. Apart from this, the varied levels of anxiety, inherent prejudices and previous experiences also create barriers in communication. Studies have revealed that due to the process of selective perception, selective recall and selective retention, we perceive, retain as well as recall a message selectively thus creating barriers in communication.

Socio-cultural barriers: In communication process, socio-cultural barriers also operate. To illustrate, in the Indian context, some women may not like to discuss their health related problem with a male health worker. Similarly, some issues may be perceived as personal and not fit for discussion outside the realm of family, thus creating barriers. Some societies are less vocal which may affect their level of communication with those from other cultures who are more vocal or aggressive in behaviour.

Linguistic barriers: During the process of communication, faulty expressions, poor translation, verbosity, ambiguous words and inappropriate vocabulary create barriers. Moreover, words and symbols used to communicate facts and information may mean different things to different persons. This is due to the fact that meanings are in the minds of people who perceive and interpret meanings in different ways according to their individual frame of mind.

Technical barriers: While using technology, technical barriers also make the process of communication complex. When audio quality is poor or video signals are weak, the message may not clearly reach the target group. Erratic power supply also creates barriers in communication.

Barriers due to information load: At times too much information is imparted which we may not able to comprehend and assimilate, thus creating a barrier in communication. To illustrate, in a meeting when a speaker provides information at a fast pace for considerable period of time many of the issues and concepts may get lost at the end. While using media, this type of barrier can greatly affect the level of comprehension and utilisation of the message. Hence, great care needs to be taken while deciding the amount of information in a communication transaction.

STRATEGIES FOR EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION 

We have discussed in detail the various types of barriers that affect the process of communication and it may not always be possible to completely remove all these barriers. However, with proper planning and special efforts these can be minimised to a great extent. Some of the ways of facilitating effective communication could be: clarity of message, reinforcement of ideas, selection of appropriate channel, motivation, proper environment and feedback. Let us elaborate each of these ways.

Clarity of message: In any type of communication, it is important that the objective of communication is well defined, the level of language is kept simple, brief and clear. It has been found that most of the complex ideas can be presented simply. Short and simple sentences can express an idea completely, coherently and cogently. Too many conjunctions make a sentence complex and difficult to understand. Proper phrasing, punctuation, emphasis, voice modulation facilitates clarity of message and increases the impact of communication.

Reinforcement of ideas: For clarity of the message, an element of redundancy needs to be introduced. Difficult or technical words and expressions need to be substituted with simpler expressions and words of everyday usage. However, care needs to be taken to see that the message does not become repetitive and boring. The level of audience needs to be constantly kept in mind.

Appropriate channel: Depending upon the type and objective of communication, selection of appropriate channel is crucial for the success of communication. The use of technology also helps to overcome geographical barriers. However, for selecting a particular channel, especially the more expensive one, some questions need to be constantly asked such as why this channel? Is there any specific need? Will it help to meet the objective of communication? Is it possible to avoid unnecessary investment? and so on. Many a time, a simple channel may convey a message more effectively as compared to the more glamorous ones.

Motivation: Motivation also helps to remove some of the barriers, especially psychological and socio-cultural barriers. The receivers in the communication process need to be encouraged to express their views, opinions and doubts. They need to be drawn into the interactive process by persuading them to pose questions. Appreciation of their (receivers) views increases their self-esteem and builds confidence.

Proper environment: Proper seating arrangements, visibility of the source and relatively comfortable environment facilitate communication. This is especially conducive in overcoming some of the physical barriers discussed above.

Feedback: Feedback is an integral component of any communication activity. Regular feedback at appropriate levels facilitates understanding of the needs and views of the receiver/s. It helps to bridge the gaps, if any, in the communication approach and improves the process of communication.

SUMMARY 

In this Unit, you were introduced to the concept of communication and its importance in our lives. You were also exposed to different types of communication which included intrapersonal, interpersonal, group and mass communication. The various models, such as Lasswell model, Shannon and Weaver model, Osgoods model and Wilbur Schramm and the transactional models highlighted the complexities of the communication process. The dynamics of communication were discussed by delineating the various elements such as the source, message, channel, noise, receiver and feedback. The element of noise was further elaborated upon and various barriers which affect the communication process were thoroughly analysed. How effective communication strategies can be planned with clear unambiguous message, selection of appropriate channel, reinforcement of ideas, motivation and feedback were examined in some detail. We hope that this analysis will help you to apply the principles of communication in your day-to-day interaction in general and for education and training in particular.


CREDITS : http://www.dmcodyssey.org/