Basic Concepts of Effective Communication
Objectives: * Describe the nature of communication in science and technology; * Understand the meaningful process of communication; * Explain the components of communication; * Overcome their difficulties in communication; * Consider the most describable characteristics of an effective style for technical writing; and * Compare and contrast technical writing from nontechnical writing. The nature of Communication Communication comes from the Latin word con-meaning with, munus- meaning a business, communis meaning common, and commonico-to confer or to relate with one another.
In layman’s language, communication emanates from the need to share ideas or information from one person to another by the use of symbols such as words, pictures, figures and graphs.
Common Concepts about Communication Different authorities have common concepts about communication. Some of these are present hereunder. * Communication is a purposive activity which is prompted by need to express ideas, feelings, attitude and course of action to attain a predetermined goal * Communication is the process of conveying and exchanging facts, ideas, and research results.
Communication is a two-way process which entails a communicator and a receiver. * Communication is a continuing process which Is interactive. * Communication emerges in response to the different functions and contexts that it calls for. Be it oral or written, people communicate to ask and give information explain something, agree or argue with others, narrate or describe an event, report an accomplishment, and so forth. * Communication is needed when recent discoveries, inventions and developments in science and technology are to be disseminated.
Its importance is also felt when pertinent information should be imparted through letters, reports and memoranda. People are by nature social beings. They have to interact to attain a common goal. In so doing, use of language to communicate their ideas, opinions and feelings is undeniably inevitable. In communication, the skillful use of language can readily influence the opinion beliefs, values and behaviors of the members of an organization. Particularly, the use of simple, concise and accurate language in giving instructions in a certain industry or firm can facilitate mutual understanding between and among employee and employers.
Effective communication is one of the determiners of success in any organization. It is an essential instrument in implementing the goals and objectives of a company. It serves as a tool in decision- making , providing permanent record, information from top to bottom level of management, and the like. As such, it plays an important role in the operational efficiency of a form. Written communication, specification reports, could be considered as the prime mechanism by which technical men and businessmen transmit their messages to action. Likewise, jobs to be done in any firm or organization are formally requested through communication.
Findings of researches are known through oral and written communication. Oral presentation of reports is usually done in top-level management meetings. Consider the following illustrations: * In the morning, the engineer listens to the weather bureau’s forecast for the day over the ratio. * For a panel discussion, the computer technician presents through Powerpoint each detail of the researcher’s report. * A Veterinary Medicine sophomore writes a research paper on “The Effects of Rabies on Humans”. Each of the abovementioned situations illustrates the call for communication.
The individual, in each of the examples cited, enters the common, shared world of other human beings. Aside from oral and written communication, there are other means of communication like facial expressions, Gestures, nods, signal, marks on paper, electric data and others. However, the raw materials of language are the sounds made by the human voice and the written patterns that are formed from with them. The Process of Communication The cycle of communication, according to Eugene White , can also be applied in oral communication for science and technology.
This is usually done in presenting/reporting periodic activities during meetings with top management. The presentor will undergo eight stages: thinking, symbolizing, expressing, transmitting, receiving, decoding, reacting and monitoring. The speaker will think of what information will be provided to the audience. These ideas which will be transformed into words and sentences will be expressed to the listeners through an organized report. Such will affect the receiver via sound waves. As the message is sent, the reciever’s mind starts decoding the information.
The value of the information to the listener/receiver and the clarity of presentation will affect the reactions. Being aware of the audience’s reaction, the presentor and ends with his monitoring activities. Components of the Communication Process The communication process consists of the following components: A. Communication Situation- the particular context by which a need to tell something arises; B. Communicator- the provider of the information; C. Medium- this consist of oral and written modes of communication; D. Information-the message that will be imparted to a particular audience and; E.
Receiver- the reader or listener of the information Reports in Communication Process The communication process consists of the following components: A. Communication Situation- the particular context by which a need to tell something arises. B. Communicator- the provider of the information. C. Medium- this consists of oral and written modes of communication. D. Information- the message that will be imparted to a particular audience. E. Receiver- the reader or listener of the information. Reports in the Communication Process How do reports fit into the communication process? It requires a minimum of two persons to communicate.
In the case of superior-subordinate relationship, communication usually emanates from the former if he/she wants a certain course of action to be done. The subordinate, who is the report writer, will research and gather facts in fulfillment of the assignment give to him. If the supervisor is satisfied with the information given, the communication process will stop temporarily. But if it does not meet his standards, additional work will be asked for. Thereby, the process of communication will start again. In sum, communication process is unsending- it’s a continuing process.
Suppose the writer developed a description of the three phenomena, all in one paragraph. The paragraph would run quite long. Instead of one long paragraph, write three shorter ones, one on each phenomenon so that the material can be separated into small units. The style which is characterized by objectivity accuracy and conciseness should be utilized to communicate with people who belong to specialized professions. Example: Operation was becoming uneconomical both labor and full costs were more than what had been anticipated. -Adapted The word operation has different meanings to different people.
In this case, it means a military action or mission. The scientific style of writing uses the third person and the passive voice for an impersonal approach in writing. If possible, avoid using “I” which will only lead to subjectivity. Technical writing is concerned with the action being done and not the person who has done action. This concept does not imply that the use of personal pronouns and verbs in the active voice is erroneous. However, the adaptation of such will also create another style of writing. Example: Set up the testing equipment in the laboratory and run three tests before I read the conclusions stated in this report. First Person, Singular, Active Voice) The testing equipment was set up in the laboratory and three tests were run before the conclusions stated in this report. (Third Person, Passive Voice)
-Adapted The second example is the style commonly found in technical reports. Qualities of Good and Effective Scientific and Technical Style Some of the qualities that could lead to a good and effective scientific and technical style are the following : * Honesty about facts * Care in obtaining and evaluating the facts * Accuracy in Presenting Data * Dignity and Restraint in Manner Objectivity in Analyzing and Interpreting Information Ways of Presenting Information Different companies have varied ways of presenting information. Some follow standard formats and others adopt their own format. This denotes that all technical writers must consider the usual practice of a certain company and the expectation of the receiver of the message. Hence, the use of formal or informal style is dependent upon context. Personal communication between business associates or personal friends calls for a Personal Writing Style while major reports which are submitted to top management are usually Impersonal in Style.
It requires the format of a report. Requisites of a Technical Style The following are the requisites of a technical style in writing: Factual- refers to the orderly presentation of facts and ideas which could be achieved through careful planning. Functional- gives pertinent information and does not amuse or argue with anybody else. Informative- conveys facts and information. Objective- free from biases and prejudices, personal beliefs, emotions and attitudes. Concreteness- tantamount to definiteness, therefore generalizations should be supported by concrete facts or evidences.
Consistency- the shift of tense and point of view in presenting a report will lead to inconsistency. Shifting of such will affect the personality of the writer and his style as well. For long and formal reports, it is better to use the third person consistently. Dignity- is achieved when the writer avoids colloquial/slang expressions and contractions. Simplicity- simple and familiar words are more emphatic and striking, hence, highfalutin words are less preferred in technical writing.