It was already noted that many think of “communication” as public speaking or as a situation in which one Speaker addresses many Listeners. Others think of it as involving only two people talking to each other, but communication can involve more than two people or an audience. It can be a group discussion on cancer awareness, an organizational program to save the environment, a radio or TV show focused on corruption in government, or it could even be a showcase of tribal dances from all over the Philippines. Indeed, communication may be classified into different types based on the number of participants in the Process.
The first Type of Speech Context is INTRAPERSONAL Communication, meaning communicating with oneself. What does this mean? Intrapersonal Communication may be seen in situations involving talking to or writing to oneself, even thinking to oneself. To clarify further, talking to oneself may mean repeating a song heard while looking in the mirror, memorizing out loud a dialogue in a play, or berating oneself in a mutter on the way to school for forgetting one’s homework. A teenager may write in a diary or on a private blog which nobody else is supposed to read. One also writes on sticky notes to remind oneself of things to be done. And, of course, there is daydreaming, meditating, or mental planning.
Clearly, in Intrapersonal Communication, the Speaker and the Listener are one and the same: YOU. You send the Message to yourself and you yourself receive that Message.
Beyond INTRAPERSONAL Communication are several Types of Speech Context which we are more familiar with, such as INTERPERSONAL Communication which involves more than one person. Of course, it is not just the number of participants that determine each particular type of communication. They can each be differentiated by its purpose. Remember? Communication is always intentional.
Dyadic Communication involves only two participants forming the DYAD. One Speaker and one Listener come together to exchange thoughts, ideas, opinions, ‘ and information. The roles of Speaker and Listener are not fixed, they are interchangeable. Conversation is informal dyadic communication, while interview and dialogue are formal dyadic communication. Conversation is the most common, the most frequent, and the most popular of all dyadic communication. Talking with others is one way people amuse themselves. Dialogues usually happen during guidance counseling, consulting with a priest, or heart-to-heart talks with a trusted person. One bares heart and soul to go deeper into their motivations, attitudes, and beliefs. Interviews are almost always highly formal compared to conversation, but not as in-depth as a dialogue is.
Small Group Communication
Small Group Communication requires from 3 to 15 people to study an issue, discuss a problem, and come up with a solution or a plan.This is not just a gathering of people with no goal in mind but to pass the time. The group has an agenda, a leader, and an outcome to accomplish. Because everyone can be both Speaker and Listener in this setting, rules must be followed to facilitate the order. Order allows for a full discussion, which leads to a compromise and the hoped for result: a solution or a plan. Small groups may be divided into two according to purpose: Study Groups and Task-oriented Groups. Study Groups are meant to look into a problem but not necessarily come up with a solution. It is the Task- oriented Groups that study an issue such as the perennial traffic problem of Metro Manila or the pollution of Laguna de Bay to come up with a plan to resolve that issue. Examples of Small Groups are panel discussions, symposia, roundtables, etc.
Public Communication is different from Dyadic or Small Group Communication in that one Speaker addresses many Listeners, collectively known as an Audience. There is no interchanging of the Speaker and Listener roles. Many Public Communication events are formal. The speech is well prepared, the Speaker is dressed appropriately, and the Listeners are set to listen to the Message. Moreover, there is usually a stage, a lectern, and a microphone coupled with a sound system and, sometimes, spotlights.
Usually, the programs are formally structured, with a Master of Ceremonies or MC (emcee), a Welcome Address, an Introduction of the Keynote Speaker, the speech by the Keynote Speaker or Paper Presenter, and Closing Remarks. The informal version of Public Communication does not necessarily have a stage, the Speaker may be dressed informally, and there may or may not be a microphone or, sometimes, just a megaphone. With no sound system at all, the Speaker has to project his/her voice to be heard by the Audience. This informal form of Public Communication happens when the gathering is impromptu such as family reunions and is most often seen during protest rallies, especially while participants are moving through the streets.
Mass Communication is any of the above human verbal interactions carried out with the aid of mass media technology. Mass media used to mean only radio and television, which reached more people with the use of their technical systems. With the advent of the Internet and the worldwide web, Mass Communication now includes Social Media, which allow for the use of technology by everyone, not just journalists, broadcasters, and technical crew. Social Media cover videos that go viral on the Internet as well as webcasts/ podcasts which reach millions, more than radio or TV ever could. In fact, radio and TV have joined Social Media by putting up their own websites to communicate to a larger audience.
Organizational Communication refers to the interaction of members along the links in an organizational structure. There are two variations of Organizational Communication. Formal Organizational Communication uses the proper channels graphically illustrated by an organizational chart. Memos, announcements, and reports are passed along to the members of the organization following the chain of command. An example is a memo on salary increase, which is issued by the company president, sent along to the vice president, then is passed on to the managers, and, finally, handed on to the supervisors before reaching the employees. The Informal version bypasses the links, skips forward or backwards, or even goes sideways just to achieve the same goal: for example, to pass on a memo, announcement, or a report. The memo on salary increase will probably reach the employees faster than the formal announcement because the secretary who typed the memo told another secretary who told the supervisor who shared it with co-workers. This is not to say that one is more important than the other, or that one is bad, the other not. Both types of Organizational Communication are necessary for the organization to survive.
Intercultural Communication is the exchange of concepts, traditions, values, and practices between and among people of different nationalities and ways of life. It goes beyond showcasing folk dances, local songs, and native delicacies. To make the exchange more meaningful, there should be a deeper understanding and awareness of what makes various nationalities different and unique, but also similar and familiar. For example, a roundtable discussion to exchange views about how we relate with our families can show the differences and similarities in Korean and Philippine Cultures. A lecture on the Chinese way of doing business might enlighten Filipino businessmen. Chatting with a friend from Abu Dhabi might bring out the difficulties of a Catholic Filipino migrant worker in a Muslim country.
All Communication, whatever the Speech Context, has to have a Purpose. Each Context that one may be engaged in is according to what best suits the Purpose and how best to accomplish it, but the Contexts are not mutually exclusive. Before Public Communication can take place, the Speaker subjects himself/herself to Intrapersonal Communication by thinking, writing, and talking to oneself. Small Group Communication happens because of something that came up in a Dyadic Communication, and so on. Given the Context and Purpose, Communication Strategies are also based on different types of Speech Styles.