“Communication is deeply intertwined with the human existence. It is an integral part of it. One cannot think of human life without communication” (UKEssays, 2018). Everyone communicates every day, whether it is face-to-face, digitally, calls or messages. No-one can live without communication, small insignificant things that people usually ignore such as gestures and emotions are also communication. Communication is done every day and somehow, communication barriers are still a thing and usually happen during a communication between people of different cultures, beliefs, point-of-view, group of peoples and languages.
Some communications are not verbal, or also called as non-verbal communication. “Nonverbal communication cues - the way you listen, look, move, and react - tell the person you’re communicating with whether or not you care, if you’re being truthful, and how well you’re listening.” (Segal, 2018) Nonverbal communication is often forgotten by the sender when delivering a message but is usually received by the receiver without realizing and that’s what creates the impression of the other person.
Phases of Communication Process
In every communication, steps are usually not thought about because what generally is known about the communication process is just that it is the process of sending and receiving information. But there are actually phases in order to do communication effectively which are usually not realized by most people. Those phases are Sender, Encode, Message, Channel, Decode, Receiver, and Feedback are usually the steps that most conversation goes through.
“In the communication process, the sender is the individual who initiates a message and is also called the communicator or source of communication.” (Nordquist, 2019) In this phase, a sender has a thought about something that he/she wanted to share with others, in this case the individual that is going to be told the thought is the receiver. The sender required to fully acknowledge the sender condition in able to complete the output of the message.
“In order to convey meaning, the sender must begin encoding, which means translating information into a message in the form of symbols that represent ideas or concepts. This process translates the ideas or concepts into the coded message that will be communicates.” (Baiden, 2018)
Encoding is the process of turning thoughts into communication. It means convert the ideas into words or gestures. It is also important to consider the choice of words used so that what the sender meant is what the receiver perceived it to be.
Message is basically the product of the encode process and will be delivered to the receiver via the chosen channel. The message is the form that the thought of the sender came out. The message includes verbal and non-verbal. As a same message between the sender and the receiver will have a different understanding, this may cause by the concept of each individual or the sender provide some non-essential information.
According to (BusinessDictionary, 2020), communication channel is a medium through which a message is transmitted to its intended audience. Immediacy of the feedback, how formal the conversation is and the content of the message are some of the things to be considered when choosing a channel. Some examples of channels that are often used day-to-day are: face-to-face, messaging, email, letter, writing and telephone.
This stage is actually in a way the reverse of encode stage. It is to capture and decode what the message is. As written in a blog post by (Pascal, 2018), the important things in order to do this stage well is to be able to listen well by training one’s listening skills because due “to mobile devices keeping us in permanent contact with everything that's happening worldwide, we are living in the age of distraction. Julian Treasure argues that we are losing our listening skills” and also by avoiding distractions such as phones and irrelevant browser tabs.
Or this stage can also be called the meaning stage as the receiver tries to understand the meaning of the message, or at least that is what it is supposed to be. “The person to whom a message is directed is called the receiver or the interpreter. To comprehend the information from the sender, the receiver must first be able to receive the sender's information and then decode or interpret it.” (Nordquist, 2019). This individual might have a different idea on the subject of communication and that is why most miscommunication can happen.
Created when the receiver receives the message sent by the sender, feedback can be anything from responding to the statement or question made by the sender or confirming whether what the receiver get is what the sender meant. An effective communication usually includes a lot of responses as it indicates understanding and an effort to understand further.
Nonverbal communication among cultures
Nonverbal communication is sending message without the direct use of voice for example: body language, postures and gestures, body movement and tone of your voice. Everyone does it unknowingly but is easily observed by others. In different culture, common nonverbal cues such as putting one’s hand a certain way can have a very different meaning.
“In most Western cultures, eye contact is considered to be a good thing. It demonstrates attentiveness, confidence and honesty” (SilverSageMagazine, 2019). Meanwhile in Asia, the Middle East, Hispanic cultures and Native American cultures, eye contact are usually considered as a bad manner or a sign of aggression. In the most of the Eastern cultures, women show having eye contact with men as it as a sexual interest. “In some cultures, staring at someone is normal but, in most cultures, staring is considered rude” (SilverSageMagazine, 2019).
One example in most of the Asian country, staring at a person is considered as challenging them. As that it will be more polite to look at people in a brief eye contact in most situations. But in western country like the US, having a good eye contact mean showing interest of someone, hence in another way if avoid eye contact would show lack of confidence or disrespect for the person.
“Touching is something we do every day, whether it involves patting someone on the back or giving someone a hug to show that we care. While touching is one of our most important senses, we are often not aware of the affect that touch has on others” (EverydayHealth, 2017). Touching is one of the first communication method that one learned since birth and is one of the most basic forms of communication.
An example of physical contact is professional touch which is referring to the touch in professional settings such as a handshake. “The handshake is a form of touch often used in professional settings, and although it seems innocent, it can convey many things about the relationship between two people,” (EverydayHealth, 2017) which can be different in different cultures for example in the western culture it is just a firm handshake while in some Asian cultures are usually softer and sometimes accompanied with a slight bow.
Another example of professional touch is a pat on the back which signifies encouragement or support and usually done by one in power or that have authority such as the boss in a company to the employees.
“Hand gestures are an integral part of communication, particularly if we are speaking in a foreign language. They are a great way of making sure we’re getting our point across and underpin what we’re trying to say.” (Miller, 2018) Although it is convenient to use hand gestures, there are also some “risks” such as when communicating with people that is from another country or culture, the same hand gesture can mean a different thing in other cultures.
One of the examples are the V sign or the peace sign, in western culture it meant peace or victory. But in other culture, if gestured with the palm facing a certain way can mean a bad thing an example is “the one that caused George W. Bush some problems when he flashed it to an Australian crowd with the palm facing inward, which is a major insult” (Miller, 2018).
The other hand gesture that have other meaning in different culture is OK sign, or to be more specific it is the gesture where the index finger touches the thumb making a circle while the rest of the fingers open, it looks normal to most of the people and means an OK, meanwhile Brazil it is considered a rude sign, even worse than a middle finger.
Communication plays an important role in everyday life. It can take place verbally or nonverbally, verbally means that the message is sent through voice while nonverbally can occur in many ways such as eye contact, physical contact, and hand signal which people usually do without realizing but the receiver usually got it. There are 7 steps in communication, or specifically the 7 steps in an effective communication, which are Sender, Encode, Message, Channel, Decode, Receiver, and Feedback.
Communication can also be done nonverbally such as through eye contact, physical contact, and hand gesture which all can have a different meaning in different culture and can lead to misunderstanding.
- Baiden, P. (2018). What is encoding in communication process? Retrieved February 11, 2020, from https://www.researchgate.net/post/What_is_encoding_in_communication_process
- BusinessDictionary. (2020). What is communication channel? definition and meaning. Retrieved February 11, 2020, from http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/communication-channel.html
- EverydayHealth. (2017). The Impact Of Touching Behavior. Retrieved February 24, 2020, from https://www.everydayhealth.com/healthy-living/impact-touching-behavior/
- Miller, C. (2018). The Meaning of Hand Gestures Around the World. Retrieved February 25, 2020, from https://englishlive.ef.com/blog/english-in-the-real-world/hand-gestures/
- Nordquist, R. (2019). Definition and Examples of Senders in Communication . Retrieved February 11, 2020, from https://www.thoughtco.com/sender-communication-1691943
- Pascal. (2018). The 6 Streamlined Stages of the Communication Process. Retrieved February 18, 2020, from https://www.userlike.com/en/blog/communication-process
- Segal, J. (2018). Nonverbal Communication. Retrieved February 20, 2020, from https://www.helpguide.org/articles/relationships-communication/nonverbal-communication.htm
- SilverSageMagazine. (2019). Top 8 Differences in Nonverbal Communication Across Cultures . Retrieved February 23, 2020, from https://www.silversagemag.com/top-8-differences-nonverbal-communication-across-cultures/
- UKEssays. (2018, November). Importance of Communication in Daily Life. Retrieved February 20, 2020, from https://www.ukessays.com/essays/english-language/communication-is-integral-to-human-life-english-language-essay.php?vref=1