The Dimensions of Communication

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It is a general knowledge that communication occurs between two people, among a group of people, or between a Speaker and a group of Listeners. Yet, we see situations such as someone crying, quarreling, or feeling hurt because of a misunderstanding with a friend, a parent, or a stranger (e.g., a salesperson or a co-passenger in a bus). So what do you think the quarrel was about? How did it end (if it did)? 

Communication breakdown or Miscommunication can lead to a total cessation of interaction. We see people stop talking to each other, sometimes until the end of their lives. Leaders of some countries that do not have friendly relations or have stopped talking to each other sometimes end up going to war against each other.

It was previously noted that communication occurs between two people, among a group of people, or between a Speaker and a group of Listeners. Yet, we see situations such as someone crying, quarreling, or feeling hurt because of a misunderstanding with a friend, a parent, or a stranger (e.g., a salesperson or a co-passenger in a bus). So what do you think the quarrel was about? How did it end (if it did)? Communication breakdown or Miscommunication can lead to a total cessation of interaction. We see people stop talking to each other, sometimes until the end of their lives. Leaders of some countries that do not have friendly relations or have stopped talking to each other sometimes end up going to war against each other.

This encompass the use of language, the words chosen (Verbal Dimension) and the facial expressions, and the gestures and bodily movement used (Nonverbal Dimension). Verbal and nonverbal dimensions must be used together to clearly impart the message. A misunderstanding may happen when words contradict actions. He/she may say “yes” but the facial expression says “no’: To illustrate further, a politician may say that he is a man of the people, but then refuses to shake hands with them. In this dimension, it is important that what is shown or done agrees with what is said. Otherwise, the Listener will be confused and miscommunication will occur.

These two mean spoken communication (Oral Dimension) and the transcription of thoughts and ideas (Written Dimension). While the Verbal Dimension talks of the use of language and the choice of words to convey a written Message, the Oral Dimension imparts the Message following the Principles of Delivery. The Written Dimension takes care of putting down the words while the Oral Dimension takes care of delivering those words (although that may not necessarily happen).

These speak of the factors that may or may not highlight traditional and conventional communication. The Formal Dimension usually means the meticulous observation of appropriateness in dress, language, and setting, while the Informal Dimension is the opposite. That is, it uses a more casual approach with no regard for the formalities.

These rely on the fact that Messages always have a Purpose. There is an intention when people communicate with others. In fact, this intention is why we want to communicate in the first place. One wants to say something, but what one may intend may not be the actual result. Sometimes people laugh at something that was said, even if the Speaker meant it to be taken seriously. It must be remembered that every Message has an unintended meaning. In fact, the Speaker may not even be aware of it. The Speaker only finds out after, when the Listener reacts by saying that the Speaker has been discourteous, dishonest, or has hurt the Listener’s feelings; or when the Listener claps or laughs, when the Speaker did not expect that reaction.

ACTIVITY

Recall a misunderstanding, a quarrel, or a fight between you and another person (friend, sibling, parent, or relative). Analyze why it happened and what caused it by looking at the Dimension(s) of Communication that was (were) not properly understood.Then recall how the problem was resolved.

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