Module Two: The Big Picture

When we say the word, “communication,” what do you think of? Many people will think of the spoken word. People who are hearing impaired, however, might think of sign language. People who are visually impaired might think of Braille as well as sounds.

In this module, we will explore the different ways in which we communicate.

What is Communication?

The dictionary defines communication as, “the imparting or interchange of thoughts, opinions, or information by speech, writing, or signs.”

It is also defined as, “means of sending messages, orders, etc., including telephone, telegraph, radio, and television,” and in biology as an “activity by one organism that changes or has the potential to change the behaviour of other organisms.”

The effectiveness of your communication can have many different effects on your life, including items such as:

  • Level of stress
  • Relationships with others
  • Level of satisfaction with your life
  • Productivity
  • Ability to meet your goals and achieve your dreams
  • Ability to solve problems

How Do We Communicate?

We communicate in three major ways:

  • Spoken: There are two components to spoken communication.
    • Verbal: This is what you are saying.
    • Paraverbal: This means how you say it – your tone, speed, pitch, and volume.
  • Non-Verbal: These are the gestures and body language that accompany your words. Some examples: arms folded across your chest, tracing circles in the air, tapping your feet, or having a hunched-over posture.
  • Written: Communication can also take place via fax, e-mail, or written word.

Other Factors in Communication

Other communication factors that we need to consider.

  • Method: The method in which the communicator shares his or her message is important as it has an effect on the message itself. Communication methods include person-to-person, telephone, e-mail, fax, radio, public presentation, television broadcast, and many more!
  • Mass: The number of people receiving the message.
  • Audience: The person or people receiving the message affect the message, too. Their understanding of the topic and the way in which they receive the message can affect how it is interpreted and understood.