“Communication in the Real World” – Chapter Summary

Chapter one of the book “Communication in the Real World” provides an overview of the history of communication, the communication process, principles, and competence including its applications and the latest research. In the first part of the chapter, the author defines communication provides a brief history of communication from Aristotle’s time to date. In the past humans communicated mainly through onomatopoeic words and hand gestures which eventually led to the “Talking Era.” What followed was the “Manuscript Era,” the “Print Era,” the “Audio Visual Era” and the current “Internet Era.” The “Internet Era” has lasted for three decades with the spread of the internet, the rapid expansion of personal and digital media as well as new methods of communication. The author also provides different forms of communication including intrapersonal communication, interpersonal, group, public, and mass communication.

In the next section, the author provides an overview of the communication process including the three models of communication. The first two models the interaction and transmission models incorporate several parts including encoding messages, participants, channels, and decoding. The participants are the receivers and senders of information while the messages are the verbal and nonverbal contents. Encoding and decoding are the internal cognitive process allowing people to send and receive information. The messages are also sent through different channels or sensory routes.  The interaction model includes the shifting of participants’ positions as receivers and senders to create meaning by receiving and sending messages in psychological and physical contexts. It is more interaction-oriented. The transaction model includes the creation of social realities in relational, social, and cultural contexts.

Section 1.3 highlights the principles of communication and how communication meets different needs of individuals, how it is integrated into different parts of people’s lives, and its ethical implications. First communication is integrated into different aspects of people’s lives such as academic, professional civil, and personal. It also meets the physical, instrumental, relational, and identity needs of individuals. Communication is a process, it is learned, guided by contexts and culture, and has rules, norms, and ethical implications.

The last section of chapter 1 defines communication competence and provides different ways of developing communicative competence. Communication competence is understanding those to communicate effectively and appropriately and the ability to adapt and use the knowledge gained in different contexts. People can become competent communicators by understanding social, individuals, and cultural contexts, having cognitive knowledge about communication and adapting to different contexts. The levels of communication competence incorporate conscious and unconscious competence and unconscious and conscious incompetence.



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