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"Communication is a dynamic process that individuals use to exchange ideas, relate experiences, and share desires through speaking, writing, gestures or sign language." (Glenn et al, 1998, p.39) The ways in which individuals communicate are vast and endless; some dating back to 1970 like the Critical Theory, to more modern technological ways of Computer-Mediated Communication, and more are being developed. This essay will aim to explore 3 of the many ways in which people communicate: Interpersonal Communication, Non-Verbal Communication and E-mail in Computer-Mediated Communication. The information was sourced from books, journals and a website. Interpersonal Communication: Interpersonal communication is "Communication between two persons or among a small group of persons, communication of a personal nature, communication between or among connected persons or those involved in a close relationship." (DeVito, 2007, p.334) Interpersonal communication generally occurs face-to-face. Interpersonal communication involves at least two persons. Each person performs source functions (i.e. creates and sends messages) and performs receiver functions (i.e. gathers and understands the messages). This is called the source-receiver complex and it emphasises that both functions are performed by each individual in interpersonal communication. "Interpersonal communication is best viewed as an ever-changing process." (DeVito, 2007, p.21) Everything in the universe is constantly changing and so is everything involved in interpersonal communication; people and the environment surrounding you are changing. This is a particular strength of the theory because it implies that the theory changes as you change i.e. it is transactional. It can never be out-dated because it can be applied to anybody at any given time.
Smiling is a powerful cue that conveys happiness, warmth and friendliness. Thus, by smiling frequently, you are more likely to be perceived as friendly, warm, approachable and attract positive energy and friends. It also indicates to others that you yourself are happy and content and you are pleased to see the other person. We can, however, also deceive others by giving a fake smile, therefore misleading them e.g. faking a smile when pretending you are pleased to see someone when in reality you are not. The way we dress is also a form of non-verbal communication. The clothes we wear makes a statement about ourselves, "...people we meet and interact with will still interpret our appearance as though we had deliberately constructed a message." (Beck et al, 2002, p.157) Interpersonal and non-verbal communication can be categorized as face-to-face communication because they literally occur face to face. E-mail Communication: The world of communication is constantly changing and central to these changes is the way in which our lives are becoming centrally dependent on communication technology. "E-mail, mobile phones and tele-conferencing have all affected people's working patterns to a point where the workplace itself is a far less significant feature of their lives." (Beck et al, 2002, p.45) Electronic mail, or e-mail has become one of the most popular methods of communication. E-mail is a system that uses the Internet to send messages between people from one computer to another. It is a powerful business tool that can save time, money and energy.
You are always communicating to someone and so it is beneficiary to develop these skills, and the better your skills, the more confident you appear. Non-verbal communication is, however, also important because your body language and facial expressions portray your emotions. You may act confident in class or an interview but your body language may suggest nervousness e.g. legs crossed and hands clenched tight. Maintaining eye contact is also necessary to keep listeners interested and involved, so these skills are important to develop too. E-mail is not as important as face-to-face communication as you are not interacting with other very much. With face-to-face communication, you are addressing people and sending verbal messages them, enhancing interpersonal skills. However, e-mail is a quick and easy way to send the same messages and notices to large groups of people e.g. students. It is also effective as it can be accessed anywhere at any time, and usually allows instant replies, provided the recipient checks their messages, and is actually delivered to them. In conclusion, all three theories are relevant and useful, all with their own strengths and weaknesses. Interpersonal communication focuses on interpersonal skills and having a better understanding of the external world. Non-verbal communication focuses on emphasising points that where made verbally with eye contact, facial expressions, body language. E-mail has become one of the most popular methods of communication because it is quick and easy to use and can save businesses time, money and energy. However, chain-mail is likely to be send which can sometimes contain viruses and messages may not always be delivered. On the whole, all three theories show effective communication skills which are critical to success in life.
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