Essentials Of Communication


Free-tuition. Masters and Doctoral Diploma Thru Distance  Education:
Trinity School of Apologetics and Theology

I do not have to convince you about the importance of communication, specially if you have ever struggled with an intimidating or boring book. Unless the writer communicates in the proper manner, it is impossible for anyone to enjoy his creation.

In the field of writing, communication is the art of expressing information in such a way that it captures the reader’s attention and produces the desired results. This kind of communication requires more than using simple words. We will definitely talk a lot about using words, but even before that you should consider the role of your personality in communication.

For genuine and successful communication, you should be sincere and a man of conviction. Further, you should know your audience and should have a genuine desire to help them. Let me explain:

I-Conviction: If you do not write with conviction on different issues, your writings will dissipate into a good for nothing acrobatics. Instead of communicating a clear cut message, your writing will soon become themeless and immediately the readers will reject you.

2-Sincerity: Being sincere is different from having a conviction. One might have a clear conviction about any number of issues, but that does not guarantee that one will sincerely want others to be convinced as well. There are many who know the truth but who have no desire that others also discover truth. Unless a writer is sincere, he will not be able to influence and change his readers.

3-Know The Audience: A person changes his tone, vocabulary and attitude even when he discusses one and the same subject with different people. A child cannot enjoy an adult vocabulary, nor can an adult accept a childish vocabulary or expressions coming from other adults.

The purpose of all writing is communication with the reader. And for the sake of correctly relating it with your readers, it is necessary for you to know beforehand who they are. You should then use language and expression that suits this group of people.

4-A Genuine Desire To Help The Reader: If you have ever struggled with science textbooks, then you know the difference. All textbooks are written for students, but only few writers write them in a way that makes the subject alive to the students. Some of them write merely because they want to produce a textbook while others write because they want to help the student, and that makes all the difference.

Unless you are possessed with a genuine desire to help the reader, you will not be able to put things at his level. Your writing will be neither easy nor persuasive.

Mind The Language

In additional to your personality, you should train your language too for achieving effective communication. The study of language and communication is so vast a subject that one will never be able to exhaust it. However, instead of giving a comprehensive discussion, we will introduce the most important features that you should develop at this stage.

Every beginner in the field of writing should strive to make his language simple, natural, and accurate.

I-Use Simple Language: Many writers believe that the more tough or complex their language, the more superior their writing would be. However, they are greatly mistaken. Of course, if they are writing to show off their abilities then they might use any type of language, but if they are writing to be read then they must keep themselves simple.

If a given idea can be expressed in two ways, a simple one and a complex one, then you should always choose the simpler expression. This will captivate your audience, will communicate the subject better and what’s more, it will bring you untold amount of loyalty from them. Believe me, reader-loyalty is very important for a writer to enjoy demand from editors and also for getting a good price for his writings.

Contrary to what many think, using complex language, where simpler choices exist, is a sign of incompetence, inferiority complex, or an unresolved mind. A writer who uses complex and hard to understand language does so either because of his incompetence, or to hide his weaknesses. Such writers never go far.

Complex expressions and highly technical vocabulary does have a place in scholarly journals, but no beginner is going to write for such publications. Further, even in such publications the editors and readers abhor writings that are unusually difficult.

Further, complexity is not the same as ambiguity. Even if a complex expression becomes necessary, it should be kept straight forward and not ambiguous. Since your expressions are the result of your thinking, ambiguous expressions are obviously the sign of sloppy thinking. No sloppy thinker can ever become a writer of substance.

You should use not only simple expressions, but also easy vocabulary. All languages offer you simple as well as difficult words to express the same or similar ideas. You should always choose the simpler word unless there is a compelling reason to choose the difficult one. Beginners in this field should even try to restrict themselves to the “common vocabulary”. Lists of such words are available for English and also for many other languages.

2-Use Natural Language: Most people speak without becoming conscious about their language. This makes them “natural”. On the other hand, the same people become too conscious when they write, and this makes their writing tense, choppy and jerky. The smooth motion of a well designed car versus the jerky motion of a tractor is a good analogy for comparing natural expressions with jerky ones.

Your language should show the same smoothness of flow in writing that you exhibit in the day to day conversation. Written language might at times be more serious or polished, but that is no excuse for rendering it unnatural or artificial. Good writing should sound as natural to the reader as a spontaneous conversation does to the listener.

One should not mistakenly think that simple language is automatically natural. While simplicity is an important part of naturalness, it is not sufficient in itself to make one’s

language natural. You must consider the subject matter, the capacity of the listener, the urgency of all task, etc. and then express in a way that is natural in this situation.

Remember, all successful communication takes place in a natural manner. The way a nursing mother talks with her infant, a lover talks to his beloved, a grandson talks to his grandpa, and the way a policeman talks to a criminal are all different from each other, yet are natural in their particular settings. In the same way your language should be natural for the occasion for which you write.

3-Use Accurate Language: Careless use of language can make a person inaccurate and ambiguous. All ambiguity produces communication handicaps, but one does not notice this kind of handicaps while engaged in oral conversation. Even if a person tends to be ambiguous in conversation, mutual interaction and questions raised by the listener often clarify what the speaker wants to communicate. However, mutual interaction is impossible in written language and therefore you cannot escape with ambiguities.

You should write in such a way that listener should not have to strain to understand your meaning. Nor should he have to guess or interpret the intended meaning to arrive at a conclusion. Consider the following statement, for example: “At the age of thirty my father revealed this secret to me.” Can you deduce, without uncertainty, who was thirty years old, the father or the son, when this incident took place ? A definite deduction is not possible here. This illustrates the problems created by ambiguous statements.

You must take care of several things to make your language accurate, and the first is the vocabulary you use. You must meticulously avoid ambiguous vocabulary. Only a regular and critical reading of other’s writings will help you to recognize ambiguous words. Reading articles related to language usage is also very helpful.

Consider the word “typical” for example. The word “typical” means something that is “common”. But most English-speaking Indians use this word to refer to something that is “peculiar”. Therefore if you use this word in an article without adequate explanation, most of the readers will interpret you just the opposite of what you intend to convey. To be safe, you should substitute another word for it.

Not only should you avoid using ambiguous words but should also avoid ambiguous phrases. We have already given you an example in the statement that begins with, “At the age of thirty…”. Consider another example, picked up from the Classified Advertisement columns of a newspaper:

“Needed adoptive parents for a dog, by a man, with a dozen offsprings”.

The meaning hinges precariously upon the two commas placed in the sentence. If the second of these is lost (as it often happens during composing), the statement will look like:

“Needed adoptive parents for a dog, by a man with a dozen offsprings”.

Here it is difficult to decide whether the man or the dog is blessed with half a dozen offsprings. A non-ambiguous restatement is given below:

“A man needs adoptive parents for his dog which has a dozen offsprings.”

Another care to take is to eliminate ALL hasty generalizations. Statements like, “All politicians are cheats” and “All lawyers are liars” should not find a place in your writing. Hasty generalization makes you unreliable, ambiguous, and unbelievable. It is the mark of an impulsive person. Use only those generalizations that can be supported with plenty of data. For example, you can safely say that crows are black, elephants are strong, and tigers are ferocious. But claiming that “fairer people are more intelligent” or “dark people tend to be cruel” is neither right nor motivates accurate thinking.

Since words are the ultimate building blocks for all written communication, you should definitely take up a vocabulary-building program. A richer vocabulary will help you to express your ideas accurately using simple words. You should not be content with labelling a person (who has difficulty with knowledge) as “fool” when you could choose from “innocent, ignorant, fool, idiot, imbecile, or unteachable”. You compromise with accuracy when you label every pleasing woman as “beautiful” when you could have chosen from a range like, “good-looking, attractive, seductive, charming, homely, sweet, or beautiful” to make your description more accurate.

When a choice of synonyms like the one above is given to people, many of them exclaim with surprise. They say they didn’t know that so many words were available to choose from ! Clearly, the problem is not with language or vocabulary, but with people who are not willing to master it.

You should keep increasing your word power throughout your active life. It is not to show off and dumbfound others, but to increase your comprehension and improve your expression. The more your vocabulary, the clearer will be your thinking and the more accurate will be your expression.

Essentials Of Communication

I do not have to convince you about the importance of communication, specially if you have ever struggled with an intimidating or boring book. Unless the writer communicates in the proper manner, it is impossible for anyone to enjoy his creation.

In the field of writing, communication is the art of expressing information in such a way that it captures the reader’s attention and produces the desired results. This kind of communication requires more than using simple words. We will definitely talk a lot about using words, but even before that you should consider the role of your personality in communication.

For genuine and successful communication, you should be sincere and a man of conviction. Further, you should know your audience and should have a genuine desire to help them. Let me explain:

I-Conviction: If you do not write with conviction on different issues, your writings will dissipate into a good for nothing acrobatics. Instead of communicating a clear cut message, your writing will soon become themeless and immediately the readers will reject you.

2-Sincerity: Being sincere is different from having a conviction. One might have a clear conviction about any number of issues, but that does not guarantee that one will sincerely want others to be convinced as well. There are many who know the truth but who have no desire that others also discover truth. Unless a writer is sincere, he will not be able to influence and change his readers.

3-Know The Audience: A person changes his tone, vocabulary and attitude even when he discusses one and the same subject with different people. A child cannot enjoy an adult vocabulary, nor can an adult accept a childish vocabulary or expressions coming from other adults.

The purpose of all writing is communication with the reader. And for the sake of correctly relating it with your readers, it is necessary for you to know beforehand who they are. You should then use language and expression that suits this group of people.

 

People Are Automatically Drawn To Those Who Wish To Help Them !!

4-A Genuine Desire To Help The Reader: If you have ever struggled with science textbooks, then you know the difference. All textbooks are written for students, but only few writers write them in a way that makes the subject alive to the students. Some of them write merely because they want to produce a textbook while others write because they want to help the student, and that makes all the difference.

Unless you are possessed with a genuine desire to help the reader, you will not be a
ble to put things at his level. Your writing will be neither easy nor persuasive.

Mind The Language

In additional to your personality, you should train your language too for achieving effective communication. The study of language and communication is so vast a subject that one will never be able to exhaust it. However, instead of giving a comprehensive discussion, we will introduce the most important features that you should develop at this stage.

Every beginner in the field of writing should strive to make his language simple, natural, and accurate.

I-Use Simple Language: Many writers believe that the more tough or complex their language, the more superior their writing would be. However, they are greatly mistaken. Of course, if they are writing to show off their abilities then they might use any type of language, but if they are writing to be read then they must keep themselves simple.

If a given idea can be expressed in two ways, a simple one and a complex one, then you should always choose the simpler expression. This will captivate your audience, will communicate the subject better and what’s more, it will bring you untold amount of loyalty from them. Believe me, reader-loyalty is very important for a writer to enjoy demand from editors and also for getting a good price for his writings.

Contrary to what many think, using complex language, where simpler choices exist, is a sign of incompetence, inferiority complex, or an unresolved mind. A writer who uses complex and hard to understand language does so either because of his incompetence, or to hide his weaknesses. Such writers never go far.

Complex expressions and highly technical vocabulary does have a place in scholarly journals, but no beginner is going to write for such publications. Further, even in such publications the editors and readers abhor writings that are unusually difficult.

Further, complexity is not the same as ambiguity. Even if a complex expression becomes necessary, it should be kept straight forward and not ambiguous. Since your expressions are the result of your thinking, ambiguous expressions are obviously the sign of sloppy thinking. No sloppy thinker can ever become a writer of substance.

You should use not only simple expressions, but also easy vocabulary. All languages offer you simple as well as difficult words to express the same or similar ideas. You should always choose the simpler word unless there is a compelling reason to choose the difficult one. Beginners in this field should even try to restrict themselves to the “common vocabulary”. Lists of such words are available for English and also for many other languages.

2-Use Natural Language: Most people speak without becoming conscious about their language. This makes them “natural”. On the other hand, the same people become too conscious when they write, and this makes their writing tense, choppy and jerky. The smooth motion of a well designed car versus the jerky motion of a tractor is a good analogy for comparing natural expressions with jerky ones.

Your language should show the same smoothness of flow in writing that you exhibit in the day to day conversation. Written language might at times be more serious or polished, but that is no excuse for rendering it unnatural or artificial. Good writing should sound as natural to the reader as a spontaneous conversation does to the listener.

One should not mistakenly think that simple language is automatically natural. While simplicity is an important part of naturalness, it is not sufficient in itself to make one’s

language natural. You must consider the subject matter, the capacity of the listener, the urgency of all task, etc. and then express in a way that is natural in this situation.

Remember, all successful communication takes place in a natural manner. The way a nursing mother talks with her infant, a lover talks to his beloved, a grandson talks to his grandpa, and the way a policeman talks to a criminal are all different from each other, yet are natural in their particular settings. In the same way your language should be natural for the occasion for which you write.

3-Use Accurate Language: Careless use of language can make a person inaccurate and ambiguous. All ambiguity produces communication handicaps, but one does not notice this kind of handicaps while engaged in oral conversation. Even if a person tends to be ambiguous in conversation, mutual interaction and questions raised by the listener often clarify what the speaker wants to communicate. However, mutual interaction is impossible in written language and therefore you cannot escape with ambiguities.

You should write in such a way that listener should not have to strain to understand your meaning. Nor should he have to guess or interpret the intended meaning to arrive at a conclusion. Consider the following statement, for example: “At the age of thirty my father revealed this secret to me.” Can you deduce, without uncertainty, who was thirty years old, the father or the son, when this incident took place ? A definite deduction is not possible here. This illustrates the problems created by ambiguous statements.

You must take care of several things to make your language accurate, and the first is the vocabulary you use. You must meticulously avoid ambiguous vocabulary. Only a regular and critical reading of other’s writings will help you to recognize ambiguous words. Reading articles related to language usage is also very helpful.

Consider the word “typical” for example. The word “typical” means something that is “common”. But most English-speaking Indians use this word to refer to something that is “peculiar”. Therefore if you use this word in an article without adequate explanation, most of the readers will interpret you just the opposite of what you intend to convey. To be safe, you should substitute another word for it.

Not only should you avoid using ambiguous words but should also avoid ambiguous phrases. We have already given you an example in the statement that begins with, “At the age of thirty…”. Consider another example, picked up from the Classified Advertisement columns of a newspaper:

“Needed adoptive parents for a dog, by a man, with a dozen offsprings”.

The meaning hinges precariously upon the two commas placed in the sentence. If the second of these is lost (as it often happens during composing), the statement will look like:

“Needed adoptive parents for a dog, by a man with a dozen offsprings”.

Here it is difficult to decide whether the man or the dog is blessed with half a dozen offsprings. A non-ambiguous restatement is given below:

“A man needs adoptive parents for his dog which has a dozen offsprings.”

Another care to take is to eliminate ALL hasty generalizations. Statements like, “All politicians are cheats” and “All lawyers are liars” should not find a place in your writing. Hasty generalization makes you unreliable, ambiguous, and unbelievable. It is the mark of an impulsive person. Use only those generalizations that can be supported with plenty of data. For example, you can
safely say that crows are black, elephants are strong, and tigers are ferocious. But claiming that “fairer people are more intelligent” or “dark people tend to be cruel” is neither right nor motivates accurate thinking.

Since words are the ultimate building blocks for all written communication, you should definitely take up a vocabulary-building program. A richer vocabulary will help you to express your ideas accurately using simple words. You should not be content with labelling a person (who has difficulty with knowledge) as “fool” when you could choose from “innocent, ignorant, fool, idiot, imbecile, or unteachable”. You compromise with accuracy when you label every pleasing woman as “beautiful” when you could have chosen from a range like, “good-looking, attractive, seductive, charming, homely, sweet, or beautiful” to make your description more accurate.

When a choice of synonyms like the one above is given to people, many of them exclaim with surprise. They say they didn’t know that so many words were available to choose from ! Clearly, the problem is not with language or vocabulary, but with people who are not willing to master it.

You should keep increasing your word power throughout your active life. It is not to show off and dumbfound others, but to increase your comprehension and improve your expression. The more your vocabulary, the clearer will be your thinking and the more accurate will be your expression.


Free textbook. No Tuition. Masters and Doctoral Diploma Thru Distance  Education. Mentor For Each Student. International Faculty:
Trinity School of Apologetics and Theology

3 comments for “Essentials Of Communication

  1. Rev. James
    October 7, 2008 at 6:02 am

    Wow, So much importance

  2. Samson
    July 30, 2010 at 3:04 pm

    Dear Teacher,

    I am really very thankful to you, God bless you.

    Your student,
    Samson

  3. Robert
    November 14, 2010 at 5:17 am

    Just thought I would mention that the above article is repeated on this page twice.

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