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The Powerful Grip of Communication

Aristotle said “He who is unable to live in a society, or who has no need, because he is sufficient for himself, must be either God or beast.” In accordance to man’s psychological and biological needs, he is linked with the society due to his emotional build-up and he has a desire of being among other people. The man’s need for fellowship is because of the carving for sympathy as he is easily affected by it. Since the beginning, man is busy in evolving a system of signals through which he could communicate his ideas and over centuries this process has become complicated day by day. (Yousaf, 1989)

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For communication language has been the most important thing as it is not only an organized system of speech but also an important source of communication among human beings. Languages have controlled all forms of devices through which ideas can be transmitted. (Bari, Lectures of chapter Introduction to Mass Communication).

No aspect of our life has escaped the powerful grip of communication. With adding color to human life it has invaded his privacy.

Communication is a process through which information, ideas or feelings are transmitted. It is to make others understand your ideas or to be in touch through words or symbols. Communication for a mass audience use technology for transmitting information. It establishes a commonness of information or ideas among the sender and the receivers of it. (Yousaf, 1989)

According to Charles E. Osgood, “in most general sense, we have communication when one system, source, influences another, the destination by manipulation of alternative signals which can be transmitted over the channel connecting them.”

Clauds Shannon and Warren Weaver state, “The word communication includes all the procedures by which one mind may affect another. This process involves not only written and oral speech but also music, the pictorial arts, the theatres, the ballet and in fact all human behavior.”

According to Edward Sapir communication is an important social process. The definitions differ widely in terminology but the all agree to the point that it transmits information.

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James C. Mecroskey said communication is the transference of messages from one place to another and secondly it is the process through which a person mind is stimulated by others’ ideas through messages. (Yousaf, 1989)

Process of communication includes following elements:

  • Source: An individual who starts the process of communication. He is the one who disperses information through words or symbols
  • Message: Message is the content of communicative act. Messages should be designed in a way that they attract the attention of the intended destination. It can only be done if the message lies within the frame of reference of the receivers.
  • Channel: It is a pathway through which the message is carried out. Channel highly affects the process of communication. Sensory channels are used in interpersonal communication.

(Bari, Lectures of chapter Introduction to Mass Communication).

The process of communication is divided into four types from social point of view which are as follows:

Intra-Personal Communication

It is a process of communication which is operated by the people consciously an unconsciously. Other types of communication have evolved basing on the structure of intra-personal communication. The human ears and eyes are the sender of the message while nervous system is the medium of communication and brain is the receiver.

Inter-Personal Communication

It is the process of communication in which the components of communication play an effective role. In inter-personal communication, a person affects the mind of others through a meaningful message. It is a face-to-face communication usually about things and persons which are not present there.

Extra-Personal Communication

It is the communication between human and his environment. It gives rise to man’s impression on plants and animals.

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Mass Communication

It is the form of communication which is supported by mass mediums. They serve as channels through which messages are transmitted such as newspaper, magazine, film radio, television or books or the combination of these mediums.

It is the most effective type of communication as it affects a large, heterogeneous group of people by simultaneously affecting all the geographical areas of the world. (Yousaf, Exploring Journalism)

Elements of Mass Communication

Source

In mass communication sender is a group of people who work together in predetermined roles having little personal information about their audiences. For example, newspaper which is an extensive print medium with a large amount of worker who collect, process and distribute information among their audiences. Reporters gather news, editors forms editorial, cartoonist draws cartoons while advertising department lays advertisements. The editor puts all these content on a sample page while the technician prints the final copy which is given to delivery staff for distribution, the publisher pays for all the expenses.

Encoding

It is a process through which sender translates his ides that are perceived by his senses. It is a thought process. Encoding can be a single or a multi-staged process. In mass communication, encoding is a multi-staged process. A film producer has an idea; he then explains it to the screen-writer who produces the script. The script is then sent to the director who translates it for camera. Cinematographer captures the scenes. The raw film goes to an editor who forms the final copy. The film is then sent to motion pictures where it is displayed on the screen where the audience watches it.

Message

It is the physical form of the information or ideas that the source encodes. In mass communication, messages are public i.e. same message is sent to a large group of people. The termination of the message is easiest in mass communication as within seconds the channel can be flipped in electronic media or disposed off in print, if the message does not attract the audiences.

Channel

The pathway through which the message is carried out is called a channel. In mass communication one or more channel is used to transfer messages.

Radio signals travel electromagnetic radiations which are transformed into sound waves by the receiving sets, which are traveled through air to reach the destination. Here the devices which can transform the radiations into waves and air acts as a channel since they both are carrying messages to make sure that the intended message reaches its audiences.

Decoding

It is the process in which the physical message is transformed in an eventful meaning for the receiver. It occurs before the message is reached to the audiences because if the message is not decoded then it will be indecipherable by the receivers thus ending the process of communication. Mass communication involves multiple stages of decoding. For example, in television there are two types of decoding. Firstly the light waves are decoded from the film to form a picture which is shown on the screen simultaneously the electromagnetic waves are translated to sound waves so that the audience can have the visual and audio, both forms of message at the same time.

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Receivers

They are the intended destinations of the message. They are always targeted otherwise the message won’t be perceived or understood by them making the process of communication of no use. In mass communication, the receiver is a large heterogeneous group of people scattered all around the world. They differ in age, intelligence, beliefs, and ethnicity. They are always out of the sender’s physical reach. Sometimes they are self –defined as they may choose to access to the message which is not intended towards them. For example, an old aged man may watch a program which is targeted to a younger generation. (Dominick, 2002)

Strategies to improve communication

The process of mass communication is affected by the following factors. Strategies be formed on the basis of these factors.

Noise

It is something that interferes with the process of communication. It affects the ability of the message to reach its audience. There are three major types of noises. Semantic disturbances deal with the phrasing of words. The wrong choice of words can change the actual meaning of the message. Here it is the duty of the gatekeeper, (the one who filters the information) to keep a check on the flow of the information. The team members of the gatekeeper are increased in order to ensure the perfect ness of the meaning of the message. The words change the scene of the market. The messages should be formed in a way that the punning doesn’t make the sender lose his market. Like the example below

Our Brand Gives You More

Here the receiver of this message will assume that more benefits or facilities be given to them by this particular brand. However, they have not clarified what this ‘more’ refers to.

The second type of noise produced during the process of communication is the environmental noise. It can be produced when the actual message is misheard. For example, if someone is watching television or listening to radio and suddenly some other person goes by and blows the horn or raises his volume while talking or is distracting the receiver in any way. This kind of noise is not in the control of the sender in mass communication.

The last major kind of noise is produced by the machineries or the technological equipments used in the process of communication called mechanical noise. The problem can occur in the sound recording or the printing machine, disrupting the flow of information.

The media organizations should be well equipped making sure that there message are not affected by one or more of the above noises. The use of technology must be of a kind which is available to the audiences so that the message can be properly decoded.

Feedback

It is the response of the receivers of the messages. Feedback highly affects the process of communication. The positive feedback encourages communication but if the sender doesn’t consider the feedback, he then won’t know that his message is being received in the intended way.

The media houses must hire efficient staffs that analyze the responses of their audiences towards messages and can plan the content of communication so as to reach and widen their market.

Context and Its Effect

All forms of communication occur in a context which alters the messages that are being transmitted. The mass communication practitioners may create a context which can increase the sale of their messages or in other words which can reach to larger audiences. These contexts highly affect the audiences as they may persuade or dissuade the audiences. (Gamble, 1989)

The sale of a CD comprising of national songs can be increased when it is marketed during the national days. More national songs are heard during national events. The trend that has been started by many cellular phone services of sponsoring the national song and by playing them during the events increases the market of that song and also it may broaden the market of the product since it may increase the viewer ship of it.

Such strategies be followed by the media practitioner and he must be shrewd enough to utilize an event or celebration in a way that it brings profit to his organization.

Frame of References and Field of Experiences

Field of experience shapes our frame of references. The number of new things that we experience in our life broadens our perception of events thus making a clear picture of reality in our mind.

The messages must be easy that they line within the spectrum of the mindset of the receiver so that they may easily understand the eventful meaning of it.. The claim below made by a chocolate company will make us understand the way the perception due to our experiences forms the meaning of the statement.

New, improved our brand chocolates now contain twice as many pieces per package.” (Gamble, 1989).

Here the advertiser has not clarified what does this ‘new’ indicates to. Due to our experiences when we say the word new, it generally means that it would be better than the old one so here the audience would consider that the new chocolate would be better that the old one though the advertiser has not mentioned any such thing.

By keeping these few things in mind we can have an effective form of communication with the pun of words creating an image which may slightly exaggerate the reality.

This work has clarified the importance of communication in our daily life and through what process would we be going so as to complete our communication and sending the message to its intended place.

The media practitioner should tone his frame of references and field of experiences on the level of the audiences for effective communication. If the receiver would not be having any prior knowledge of the meaning of the message then he would not be able to perceive it or for him the message will have different meaning which lies in the context of his mindset. (Bari, 2009)

For example, if you are talking about a Chinese food of which the receiver has never heard of, then he may take it as a name of a place until and unless you don’t clarify it. Sometimes the sender of mass communication may not clarify the meaning of his message considering it as being obvious since he takes the targeted audience as a group rather than taking them individually which can further complicate the process of forming message.

The people or the consumer of media rely heavily on their information so it is the duty of mass communicator to make his message as authentic as possible in least possible amount of time consumed. The message should be so much persuasive that the receiver set their life style in accordance to the media message thus benefiting its originator. (Gamble, 1989)

References

Dominick, J. R. (2002). The dynamics of Mass Communication. Athens: University of Georgia.

Bari, I. (2009), Images at Work in chapter Introduction to Mass Communication. Outline presented in a classroom lecture at University of Karachi, Karachi.

Gamble, M. W., & Gamble, T. K. (1989). Introducing Mass Communication. New York: Mc Graw-Hill Book Company.

Yousaf, M. M. (1989). Exploring Journalism. Lahore: A-one publishers.

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