PROFESSIONAL COMMUNICATION: UNIT - 1 What is Communication?

The word ‘communication’ has been taken from Latin word ‘communicare’ which means to impart, to share: sharing ideas, facts, and information and so on. The information can be a lot of different things depending on the context. The information can flows with the help of words, gestures, drawings, paintings, songs, music. The means can be: speeches, emails, blogs, forums, text messages, voice messages, poems, essays, books, newspapers, ads, articles, and practically anything you can speak through, write on or draw on. Communication requires a sender, a message, and an intended recipient. The sender and the receiver can be people, animals or devices.

How does communication take place?

Source... As the source of the message, you need to be clear about why you're communicating, and what you want to communicate. You also need to be confident that the information you're communicating is useful and accurate. Message... The message is the information that you want to communicate. Encoding... This is the process of transferring the information you want to communicate into a form that can be sent (e.g.. language and body) and correctly decoded at the other end.

signboards. there can be various types of communication: Types of Communication Based on Communication Channels Based on the channels used for communicating. Decoding. Receiver. The role of receiver is to decode the message and then to give feedback accordingly. it can also arise from decoding errors. This is particularly the case if the decoder doesn't have enough knowledge to understand the message. telephone and videoconferencing. Verbal Communication Verbal communication is further divided into written and oral communication: The oral communication refers to the spoken words in the communication process. The effectiveness of written communication depends on the style of writing. memos and reports. Messages are conveyed through channels. emails. Written communication can be either via snail mail. vocabulary used. Types of Communication Based on Style and Purpose . a smile or a hug can independently convey emotions.. clarity and precision of language. Oral communication can either be face-to-face communication or a conversation over the phone or on the voice chat over the Internet. Spoken conversations or dialogs are influenced by voice modulation.Channel. or listen actively to it.. verbal and nonverbal reactions to your communicated message. Feedback is the response of the receiver.. so is successful decoding (involving. or email. volume and even the speed and clarity of speaking. Receiver is the audience to whom the message is transferred. the hand gestures and overall body movements. or even photographs. which will include the body posture. On the other hand gestures like a handshake. sketches and paintings. Nonverbal Communication Non-verbal communication includes the overall body language of the person who is speaking.) Just as confusion can arise from errors in encoding. with verbal including face-to-face meetings. the process of communication can be broadly classified as verbal communication and non-verbal communication. grammar. Just as successful encoding is a skill. Feedback.. Your audience will provide you with feedback... and written including letters.. Non verbal communication can also be in the form of pictorial representations. pitch. Types of Communication Communication can occur via various processes and methods and depending on the channel used and the style of communication.. The facial expressions also play a major role while communication since the expressions on a person's face say a lot about his/her mood. for example. taking the time to read a message carefully.

Be precise and one can use bullet or numbered points to express complex ideas (if the discipline or organization allows). It does not have any rigid rules and guidelines. illustrations to demonstrate point of view… as ‘they’ say. The ABCs of Technical Writing – 4 Features Technical Writers Need to Know Writing a technical report is often a real challenge for many technical professionals. accurate representation of the findings. Consider placing background and supporting information into an appendix. . which are formal and informal communication that have their own set of characteristic features. Formal communication can also occur between two strangers when they meet for the first time. As much as possible. Hence formal communication is straightforward. give specific information rather than generalizations. One should make sure to clearly indicate where one has expressed an opinion. illustrations. graphs. Typically this can include all sorts of business communication or corporate communication like official conferences. rather than a certain outcome of the investigation. Informal conversations need not necessarily have boundaries of time. keep sentences short (15 to 20 words work well for most readers). They can be called as the ABCS (i. clarity. etc. Use familiar vocabulary and constructions (make sure to think about who will read the report and be prepared to explain potentially unfamiliar words. Informal Communication Informal communication includes instances of free unrestrained communication between people who share a casual rapport with each other. It saves time and checks further confusion or controversy. Clarity: Clarity is the mantra that does miracles in technical writing. and simplicity) and 7C’s of Technical Writing. Accuracy: Accurate reporting of the findings. accuracy. brevity. abbreviations and presentation of figures. official always precise and has a stringent tone to it. There are certain features of technical writing that are essential. figures. perhaps as a glossary.Based on the style of communication. Remember that jargon (specialized terms used in the field) excludes those who are unfamiliar with those words. footnote or endnote reference. written memos corporate letters etc. footnote or endnote). Consider using tables. place or even subjects for that matter since we all know that friendly chats with our loved ones can simply go on and on. Be consistent with terminology. there can be two broad categories of communication. meetings. in accordance with the methods one have used. As far as possible. with only one idea expressed in each sentence.e. Brevity: ‘Brevity is the soul of wit’ Try to keep the document as short as possible – time-poor readers will appreciate that. Formal Communication Formal communication includes all the instances where communication has to occur in a set formal format. accurate presentation of the facts. tables. a picture saves a thousand words.

General Writing General writing. Technical writing has general guidelines to follow and it has to be clear and concise. is totally different from another style of writing called technical writing. ‘That’s excellent work’ not ‘That’s good writing…. One should not confuse between the two styles as they serve very different purposes and are also meant for vastly different audiences. Correctness. Concreteness. Remember one wants to show the reader the value of one’s work. Consideration are the 7C’s of communication.Simplicity: This is about expressing thoughts with simplicity. Verbosity hinders readers’ understanding. The content is more important than extravagant writing. not what a good writer one is. jargon Follows a set of pattern Simple but effective For specific audience Technical content Language as a Tool of Communication Language is a system of communication that enables humans to cooperate.g. such as writing your thoughts and opinions about a social issue. Clarity. It has to be in first person and avoid passive voice. Conciseness. Make sure to think about the logical progression of the report. Plan the structure of the document so that to lead the readers to the conclusion. Though the basics remain the same (both need to engage the reader and must be free from spelling mistakes and grammatical errors). not simplifying work. In brief: General Writing Subjective Usually informal approach Common vocabulary No set pattern of communication Use of extravagant words Not for a specific audience General content Technical Writing Objective Almost formal Technical vocabulary e. Courteous and Remember that you are writing so that your readers will say.’ Technical Writing vs. General writing is more about arousing the interest of the reader whereas technical writing has the sole objective of making the reader understand a topic in an interesting manner. This definition stresses the social functions of language and the fact that humans use it to express themselves and to . 7C’s of Technical Communication: Completeness. technical writing is considered a little more difficult than general writing as it needs to provide information in a clear cut manner that the reader is able to assimilate and understand.

Language is governed by rules that define which combinations of elements are acceptable and which are not. Similarly. systematicity) are essential for language to work properly. Eight such properties are considered: arbitrariness. Key Properties of Language: Language is highly complex but can be defined in terms of a number of key properties. These speech sounds at the primary level are meaningless if they are uttered in isolation. So. systematicity.e. Systematicity: Language is an orderly method of communicating ideas. Of course. Russian. It is only when these secondary level elements are combined in a systematic way that they have the possibility of conveying meaning. for example. For example. ‘a’ and ‘t’ spoken on their own are meaningless. Each particular language (English. i. the secondary level consisting of the elements The elements of the secondary level combine to form the units of the primary level.e. Consequently.e. as well as in socio-linguistics and linguistic anthropology. whereas ‘c’. the primary level consisting of the units 2. Chinese. Consider. Since language is not exact. and so on. There are also rules that govern the combination of primary level units. we can consider the elements of verbal language to be speech sounds. the vowel ‘a’ and the consonant ‘t’. and ‘t’ are not. French. specialization. which usually has a handle. thoughts. If language were random then there would be no way of ensuring that the intended meaning was conveyed.manipulate objects in their environment. in English we use the word cup to represent a physical object capable of holding liquids. Duality: Language appears to be organized at least at two levels: 1. words. This is because there is no direct relationship between a particular word and its meaning. Arbitrariness is a useful property because it increases the flexibility of language. productivity. Arbitrariness: The choice of symbols used by a language is said to be arbitrary. ‘a’. and cultural transmission. we realize that the utterance the first snows of winter is . many a time it leads to misunderstandings so we can understand it better through its characteristics. consonants and vowels. for example. This view of language is associated with the study of language in a functional or pragmatic framework. and so on) uses a different set of symbols. the word-symbol for cup in French is tasse but in Portuguese it is cop. i. structure-dependence. displacement. cat is meaningful. For example. For our purposes. These speech sounds then combine to form units at the primary level. So. duality. emotions. there is no particular reason why we should use the word-symbol cup. if I just say the sound ‘c’ this has no meaning. how the word cat is formed by the combination of three speech sounds: the consonant ‘c’. for example. and which humans use to drink from. Regularity and order (i.

Upward Communication: This communication travels from subordinates to superiors and continues up the organizational hierarchy. grapevine. complaint systems. handbooks. i. whereas the combination snows winter first the of is not. Displacement: Language also allows us to think of. between managers at same levels or between any . communication between peers. Typical means of upward communication are suggestion systems. Productivity: The fact that language is stimulus-free and that it is flexible leads to the notion of productivity. Lateral / Horizontal Communication: Communication that takes place at same levels of hierarchy in an organization is called lateral communication. If we did not have the ability to use language then it would be largely impossible to transmit our knowledge and experiences to the next generation of humans and each successive generation would have to start afresh. Examples of written downwards communication are memos. group meetings. because we have language we are able to communicate necessary knowledge and social norms of behaviour to the upcoming generation. morale questionnaires and the exit interview.e. that language can be used to construct an infinite set of new and meaningful utterances. However. Downward Communication: Downward communication flows from people at higher level to those at lower levels in the organization hierarchy. So. communication flows in following directions: 1.appropriate. letters. policy statements and procedures. we can discuss last night’s football game even though it has passed. Flow of Communication In an organization. This type of communication is found in participative and democratic organizational environments. we can refer to our new car even though it is not actually in front of us. This kind of communication exists especially in organizations with an authoritarian leadership style. Similarly.. counseling sessions. something or someone that is not immediately present. Downward communication is used by the managers for the following purposes Providing feedback on employees’ performance Giving job instructions Providing a complete understanding of the employees’ job as well as to communicate them how their job is related to other jobs in the organization Communicating the mission and vision of organization to the employees Highlighting the areas of attention 2. Cultural transmission: Language is the means by which humans are able to teach the upcoming generation all that they have learnt to date. and communicate about. appeal and grievance procedures. i. This property of language is known as displacement. for example.e.

Grapevine channels carry information rapidly. External Communication: Communication that takes place between a manager and external groups such as . Grapevine generally develops due to various reasons. The advantages of horizontal It facilitates co-operation among team members. Man as we know is a social animal. vendors. 3. Also. They discuss rumours about promotion and transfer of other employees. Peer group or Grapevine: Grapevine is an informal channel of business communication. the . the employees sense uncertainty. Sometimes the managers show preferential treatment and favour some employees giving a segregated feeling to other employees.horizontally equivalent organizational communication are as follows: It is time saving. Advantages of Grapevine Communication 1. For instance . Thus. the subordinates talk about their superior’s attitude and behaviour and exchange views with their peers. For instance . One of them is that when an organization is facing recession. 2. Thus. the informal channels tend to develop when he interacts with other people in organization. he becomes inquisitive and passes the details then to his closest friend who in turn passes it to other. they go for grapevine network as they cannot use the formal channel of communication in that case. The managers get to know the reactions of their subordinates on their policies. As soon as an employee gets to know some confidential information. financial institutes etc. It is a means of information sharing It can also be used for resolving conflicts of a department with other department or conflicts within a department.suppliers. member. It facilitates co-ordination of the task. It provides emotional and social assistance to the organizational members. It is called so because it stretches throughout the organization in all directions irrespective of the authority levels. It exists more at lower levels of organization. banks.To raise capital the Managing director would interact with the Bank Manager. grapevine spreads like fire and it is not easy to trace the cause of such communication at times. Thus. it spreads hastily. Despite existence of formal channels in an organization. It helps in solving various organizational problems. Generally during breaks in cafeteria. at times employees do not have selfconfidence due to which they form unions. Diagonal/ Crosswise Communication: Communication that takes place between a manager and employees of other workgroups is called diagonal communication. It generally does not appear on organizational chart. Thus.To design a training module a training manager interacts with an Operation personnel to enquire about the way they perform their task. when employees sense a need to exchange their views.

4. mediated by some form of technology. Levels of communication: Extrapersonal communication: Extrapersonal communication involves a communication in between a human and a non human entity e. help and discover. The grapevine creates a sense of unity among the employees who share and discuss their views with each other. Thus. The purposes of interpersonal communication are to influence. Other times.g. Interpersonal communication involves not only the words used but also the various elements of nonverbal communication. The grapevine serves as an emotional supportive value. 3. often for the purpose of clarifying ideas or analyzing a situation. communication in between a pet dog and its owner. Communication is enhanced when the relationship exists over a long period of time. Examples: Radio and television. newspapers and magazines. Because of interpersonal communication’s immediacy (it is taking place now) and primacy (it is taking place here). Three aspects of intrapersonal communication are self concept. Intrapersonal Communication Intrapersonal communication takes place within a single person. who are in an interdependent relationship. The grapevine is a supplement in those cases where formal communication does not work. Importance of Technical Writing in the Engineering Field . as well as to share and play together. Interpersonal Communication Interpersonal communication involves a direct face-to-face relationship between the sender And receiver of a message. Organizational communication: All communication activities that go on within an organization to run an organization is known as organization communication.feedback obtained is quick compared to formal channel of communication. This may be either real time or on a taped delay basis or it may be rooted in the usually recent past. it is characterized by a strong feedback component. perception and expectation. It can be of three types: (a) Interoperation organization communication (b)External organization communication (c) Personal communication Mass Communication Mass communication is a more public form of communication between an entity and a large and diverse audience. 5. grapevine helps in developing group cohesiveness. intrapersonal communication is undertaken in order to reflect upon or appreciate something.

and It provides information for end users so they can understand and enjoy the resulting products and processes.” From the data. cannot make a sketch. It contributes to usability of designs. designs. these barriers are as . it is observed. The technical professionals should have clear organization in writing and logical reasoning. They should follow the standard conventions of grammar. Technical communication serves a number of purposes in engineering and other technical fields: • • • • • It is a way of facilitating communication about projects and ideas throughout the industry.Nicholas D. And finally. Barriers to Effective Communication D. and other mechanics. It is important in documenting discoveries. administration and funding. the following report summarizes the importance of communication very well: Most jobs involve some degree of writing. Nicholas observes. it is the process by which meanings are perceived and understandings are reached among human being. “75 percent of engineering undergraduates take jobs in industry. They should write clear and concise sentences. 67% of salaried employees in large American companies and professional state employees have some writing responsibility. punctuation. As the engineer moves up the managerial ladder. not just professional-level ones). More specifically. According to the National Commission on Writing. But there may be some faults /barriers in the communication system that prevents the message from reaching the receiver. products. The engineers who cannot communicate – cannot spell. and methodologies.” On the lack of communication skills. Sylvester in his book Engineering Education has given data under the title “Engineering Education Must Improve the Communication Skills of its Graduates. this time can increase to as much as 80 percent. and 91% always take writing into account when hiring (for any position. where at least 25 percent of an engineer’s time is spent in the reporting process.E. It helps convey information about the field to non-technical people and external agencies for the purposes of support. McFarland has defined Communication as the process of meaningful interaction among human beings. have difficulty in all phases of communication with others. Students of today need more ability than ever and a key need is to increase the ability to communicate both in speech and graphics. Communication tasks are important to success in the technical professions and constitute a relatively large part of a job. Half of responding companies reported that they take writing into consideration when hiring professional employees.

e.. Communication breakdown occurs if there is wrong perception by the receiver. Gender barriers: There are distinct differences between the speech patterns in a man and those in a woman. features of left-brain thinking. What is the value of learning technical skills? “Value” means different in different sentences. For example: A person is on leave for a month due to personal reasons (family member being critical). When a man talks. Information Overload: Managers are surrounded with a pool of information. Same word may mean different to different individuals.000. When a woman talks. have a vocabulary twice that of boys. the immediate manager might think of replacement because his team productivity is being hampered.000 and 25. This means that a man talks in a linear. The reason for this lies in the wiring of a man's and woman's brains. But any message which is against their values is not accepted.000 and 10. The HR Manager might be in confusion whether to retain that employee or not. Distraction/Noise: Communication is also affected a lot by noise to distractions. It is essential to control this information flow else the information is likely to be misinterpreted or forgotten or overlooked. What is the value of this Laptop? b. or messages are partially given. and unhygienic room.000 words a day whereas a man speaks between 7. the family members might take him as an emotional support. In a haste to meet deadlines. Physical distractions are also there such as poor lightning. All generally want to receive messages which are significant to them. It also explains why women talk for much longer than men each day. features of both sides of the brain. the failure of which has adverse consequences.follows:Perceptual and Language Differences: Perception is generally how each individual interprets the world around him. logical and compartmentalised way. The linguistic differences also lead to communication breakdown. I value our relation? c. In childhood. . the speech is located in both hemispheres and in two specific locations. whereas a woman talks more freely mixing logic and emotion. the formal channels of communication are shortened. Time Pressures: Often in organization the targets have to be achieved within a specified time period. girls speak earlier than boys and at the age of three. not completely transferred. As a result communication is less effective. A woman speaks between 22. his speech is located in the left side of the brain but in no specific area. A same event may be taken differently by different individuals. i. For example: consider a word “value a. uncomfortable sitting.

One cannot always retain what is being told. especially if he is not interested or not attentive. These barriers can be categorized under following rubrics: Intrapersonal barriers: (a) (b) (c) (d) (e) (f) Wrong assumption Varied perception Differing background Wrong inferences Impervious category Categorical thinking Interpersonal Barriers: (a) (b) (c) (d) (e) Incongruity of verbal and non verbal communication Communication selective Cultural variations Poor listening skills Noise in the channel Organizational barriers: (a) Too many transfer stations (b) Fear of superior (c) Negative tendencies (d) Use of inappropriate media (e) Informational overload . This leads to communication breakdown. While he takes it differently if the communicator is happy and jovial (in that case the message is interpreted to be good and interesting). Poor retention: Human memory cannot function beyond a limit. If the receiver feels that communicator is angry he interprets that the information being sent is very bad. more is the chances of communication getting destroyed. Only the people at the top level can see the overall picture while the people at low level just have knowledge about their own area and a little knowledge about other areas.e. Complexity in Organizational Structure: Greater the hierarchy in an organization (i. Emotions: Emotional state at a particular point of time also affects communication. more the number of managerial levels).All these things affect communication in a meeting.