I was about ten years old when I first noticed that communication was important to me. My best friend and I spent one whole summer talking to each other with cordless Walkie Talkies. We didn’t see much of each other in person but we did communicate. We had all the ingredients necessary for good communication: a sender, a receiver and a way for our voices to reach each other. I call the communication we had ‘good, effective communication’ because we had fun and we laughed a lot. I’m not sure that we understood the words we were saying to each other all the time but we were communicating.
There are four steps to communicating (a) sending a message, (b) transmission of the message through the medium to the receiver, (c) receiving the message, and (d) giving feedback to the sender.
There are a lot of ways to communicate when you are in the same room with another person. Body language is a good way to communicate if you know how to read the signs. Even just lifting an eyebrow can mean a lot if the right person receives the message behind the movement. Writing to each other using SMS is a fast way to send messages. There are signs all around us that send messages, too, about where to stop, park or giving all kinds of other information.
Communication has many roles. Three of the main functions of communication are (a), to send a message (one-way communication), (b) to send a message and receive feedback in return (two-way communication), and (c) to make a transaction.
Sending a message is a type of one-way communication that can be very frustrating for the person listening. When a person is only interested in giving information but not receiving any feedback it can become difficult to listen. Two-way communication is easier. A speaker sends a message and is open to receiving feedback from the receiver of the message. A transaction could be buying or selling something or making a kind of negotiation with a friend or a boss.
Making a transaction can be difficult because there a so many ways that communication can go wrong. One thing that is very upsetting is talking to someone who is only pretending to listen. Other problems happen like when the Internet connection is not working correctly.
Jobs are an especially sensitive place where communication is very important. It is not only important to listen. It is important to make sure that the people you talk to have understood your meaning. It takes self-confidence to ask them what they heard, but it helps to avoid bad experiences.
Communication is valuable in starting relationships and keeping up with our friends. Our identity is wrapped in the ways we communicate. Now we can communicate 24 hours a day every day of the week. Too much communication is as bad as not enough communication.
The sender of a message needs to use the correct medium so that the receiver can receive the message in the first place. Talking to each other, sending mail or sending e-mail are only three mediums of sending messages. There are also non-verbal ways to communicate. Families and close friends can communicate jokes or memories sometimes without saying a word they will all laugh out-loud at the same time.
Asking questions are a common way of gaining information and getting to know each other. When we talk to people about ourselves it is a way to form our identity. It is also the way we express ourselves whether we are talking our feelings or giving our opinions. When we communicate with our friends we are working on strengthening our relationship at the same time. We can understand what characteristics we like or don’t like about a person. We can decide with that information if we want to keep working on a friendship with them.
Growing up I learned a lot about the world and how things work by the messages communicated in movies. Especially when I was very young I would have one movie that would be my favorite movie for weeks. I would watch that movie over and over again. I was learning about the world and the movie was teaching me about so many things I didn’t know about.
Reading is another way that has been important to me in gaining information and knowledge. I became interested in the outside world by reading the newspaper and magazines. I also learn from listening to the radio and television news. Those have been a big influence on the understanding of how things work in politics.
The most important kind of communicating for me has been having conversations with my parents. They have helped me learn how to be a good listener, too. They were the first people that sat down and looked into my eyes while the listened to whatever I had to say. They taught me that when people are having a conversation quiet spaces are okay because sometimes it is good to pause and think about what you want to say.
Another very important type of communication for me is music. The rhythm helps me to get into a good mood. Dancing with my friends is even a way of communicating with them.