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Communication is the process by which a sender and a receiver transferred signals or messages through various methods (written words, nonverbal cues, spoken words), and also it is the mechanism to establish and modify relationships. Whilst process, according to Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English (1995) is a series of actions that someone takes in order to achieve a particular result or technically in a legal case, process is considered as a series of actions. The basic concept in communication is when a person is talking, the other person must listen. In question 1, I am going to discuss and explain what is communication process, its elements, and how to ensure the audience received the right message.
There is no doubt we have experience talking for hours or sent thousands text messages in our life, this is called the human communication. And human communication is a complex process with many opportunities for messages to get lost, ignored or misinterpreted (Bovée & Thill. Pg. 11. 2008). We can identify and improve our skills needed to be more successful through communication process.
Choice of Chanel & Media
Barriers in communication
Decoding & Misunderstanding
Figure 1.1 The Communication Process diagram
According to Figure 1.1, there are eight elements in Communication Process which are message, encoding, choice of channel and media, transmission, reception, decoding and understanding, response and feedback. In communication, the person who sends the message and is talking at the time is known as the sender while the person who receives the message is known as the receiver and the person who listens and response to the process is call the feedback. The eight steps of communication process provide a practical overview:
The sender conceives an idea. Communication will be taking place at this moment. It is very important that the sender has a clear idea and conceptualized the idea first, for example, if the manager of a company knows exactly the solution on how to utilize all resources, it will help in saving time and money. After the sender has already had the clear idea, they will want to convey it into a message to be encoded.
When the idea is to be put into a message either in words, images or the combination of both, it is called encoding. Encode means to change (something) into a system for sending messages secretly or to represent (complicated information) in a simple or brief way (Cambridge International Dictionary of English, 1995). This is to help developing the skills needed to successfully encode the ideas into effective messages. It is very important that the message is converse into a form that the receiver will understand. For example, it is easier to use pictures and words both representing the idea, so that the receiver will have a better understanding on the message we are trying to deliver. In this context, the communication is the encoder. Moreover, during encoding, the timing of communication must be considered, so that the required response is created in the mind of the receivers, by the sender.
iii. Choice of channel and media
After the sender have put the idea into a message either in words, images or combination of both, they will now need some way to present the message to the intended audience. There are several choice of medium for transmitting messages, that into oral, written, visual, and electronic forms like letters, sense of touch, sign language, face-to-face conversation or mobile phones. The elements in conversation are to make it simple, clear and understandable.
Transmission is the beginning of the exchanging of message. Nowadays, the increase of technology development has provided new communication channels that the sender can use to transmit the messages. The differences between medium and channel may get vague, but think of the medium as the form, a message takes and the channel as the system used to deliver the message, simply in any method or system capable of delivering messages.
For an audience member to receive the message, three events need to occur: The receiver has to sense the presence of a message, select it from all the other messages bulging for attention, and apprehend it as an actual message (as opposed to random, pointless noise). If all the above goes well, the message had managed the trip through the channel and arrives to the receiver. However, barriers of communication may occur here. The messages are either misinterpreted as noise or ignored.
vi. Decoding and understanding
If the message has arrived, the receiver then needs to extract the idea of the message, this is called decode. Decode is to discover the meaning of information given in a secret or complicated way (Cambridge International Dictionary of English, 1995). In this context, the receiver is the decoder. A received message does not mean anything until the receiver decodes it as the same meaning the sender intended. Even well-crafted communication can fail at this phase because decoding is a highly personal process that is influenced by culture, individual experience, learning and thinking styles, hopes, fears, and even temporary moods. Different languages also influence the received meanings. For example, if you ask an employee to send a report "as soon as possible", does it mean within 10 seconds, 10 minutes or 10 days? Therefore, by clarifying expectation, resolving potential obscurity in the messages and shared more experiences with others, we can minimize the uncertainties.
The message has been delivered, received and correctly decoded. But the receiver will only respond in the way we'd like them to if these three events occur. First, the receiver has to remember the message long enough to act on it. Second, the receiver is able to respond as the sender wish. And third, the receiver has to be motivated to respond. Their motivation t respond will increase by explaining how the receiver will benefit by responding to the messages.
Feedback is the response to the message. For example, when the sender makes a joke, the receiver will laugh, and so the laughter is the feedback. This is the addition to responding to the message. By the receiver giving feedbacks, it can help the receiver to evaluate our communication effort effectiveness.
Barriers in Communication
In the above fifth elements in Communication Process, reception, I have mentioned that barriers of communication may happened, which is noise and distractions, competing messages, filters and channel breakdowns. Multitasking and internal distractions (thoughts and emotions) can prevent the receiver from focusing on the message and needs to be prevented and controlled by the sender.
The cardinal principle in conversation is one must be quiet and do not disturb when the sender is conveying a message. This is to make sure the sender send the message clearly and that the receiver understands and gets to interpret the message correctly.
The sender can ensure that the intended audience has received the right message by asking back the receiver to repeat the message they had received. Other than that, the receiver can also ask the sender to ask questions regarding anything that they would probably did not understand. By informing receivers the priority of the message will also help to overcome the distractions.
In a nutshell, we can see that the most important phase in communication process are the encoding and decoding of the message. They are the potential source of communication failure if the decoder failed to decode the message into the exact idea the sender is trying to tell.
Bovée, C. L., Thill, J. V., 2008, Businees Communication Today Ninth Edition, Pearson Education, Inc., United States of America.
Belch, G. E., Belch, M. A., 1998, Advertising and Promotion Fourth Edition "An Integrated Marketing Communications Perspective", The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., United States of America.
Bovée, C. L., Thill, J. V., 2008, Businees Communication Today Ninth Edition, Pearson Education, Inc., United States of America.
Bovée, C. L., Thill, J. V., 2011, Excellence in Business Communication Ninth Edition, Pearson Education, Inc., United States of America.
In this question, I will explain the methods, the mediums, and the vehicles that I will use to communicate with my target audience to persuade them to buy our soon-to-be-launched product which I am the Product Manager.
Our product is called ChipMouse. Basically it is an optical mouse, but wireless. And since it is our new own product that no other technology companies has ever come up with before, we have added a new feature, an infrared keyboard. On the left side of the mouse we have added a button which by pressing the button, an infrared keyboard will appear on the desk. The keyboard works like other usual keyboard with still the same features but only when needed by the ChipMouse user. And with this, the user will not need to bring the big keyboard anywhere they go and just bring the ChipMouse which is more mobilized and small. And our target audience are those aged 15 to 35 years old, who like gadgets, technology and like to travel.
METHODS OF COMMUNCATION
Method is defined as a planned way of doing something, especially one that a lot of people know about and use (Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, 1995). Communication methods can be divided into two types:
i. Above the line
Above the line communication means anything that use electronic as ways of communication. A few examples of electronic usage are radio and television (TV).
Radio: Most people nowadays listens to radio whether they are at home doing homework or chores, in their car or maybe when they are having lunch in a restaurant who turn on certain radiobroadcast for customer. And it is one of the most effective ways in promoting a product. Having a very limited frequencies available, radio has a few uses for business communications matter. For marketing and promoting purposes, many companies use radio as methods of communication because radio ads are more cheaper than television ads. These ads are sold on a package that has been set by the radio station. The number of ads, when the ads are to be put on air and the lengths of the ads are consider in the package basis. And what is more important for this way of advertising is to get them on air at the times the potential customers are probably are listening to the radio. However, this method is not suitable for our product because it cannot be seen by listeners. They probably cannot even imagine how ChipMouse works.
TV: And just like radio, TV broadcasting is most used on business purposes. TV commercials also have the same package basis and priced like radio ads. And although TV is usually not available at work place, it can also be watch via web since most of TV networks use satellite to transmit TV programmes. Some companies would not consider using TV ads because it is more expensive than other major forms of advertising. However, it is the most effective way to promote our product. Most people who works might not have time to watch TV during working hours, but once they go back home, other than going to sleep, they usually watch television as a way to get rid of tiredness after a hard day. And I would get our company's TV commercials on air during this period when my potential customers might watch the TV, which is in the evening and at night. The advantage of using TV commercial is that TV reaches a much larger audience than other form of advertising during a short period of time. The TV commercials should be simple and clear. Since our product is a technology gadget the commercial should be something modern and can attract our potential customers to buy our product. A demonstration on how to use the ChipMouse can also convince people to buy our soon-to-be-launched product. The commercial should be composed in the national language of the country we are airing the TV commercial on, but it is preferable to use English language as it is the world language nowadays to communicate even with people from across the world. Moreover, by making an offer for example an 'identity campaign' for promotion purposes, with low starting price only for a week or a month will make potential customers to want to try our product. Other than that, brand awareness advertising makes a product or a company more known among consumers. The consumers may not want to buy it immediately, but when they want to buy it in the future, they may choose to buy a product from a company that they recognise the company's name through the directory. Therefore, by airing TV commercials regularly will make the product and company better known.
ii. Below the line
While below the line communication is a way of communication that is a non-media form of communication. Examples of non-media communication are exhibitions, magazine and posters.
Exhibitions: This type of promotional activity is popular and the most used nowadays. The target audience are the consumer, sole trader or both. For example, if there is a technology exhibition, many companies will join to promote their product. In this way, not only potential customers came, but also those who also want to open their own technology company and to ask for consultation regarding their product.
Magazine: Although there are web-search engines, some people still prefer to buy magazines according to their interest. Some of them may want to keep the magazines for easy future reference. And sometimes, a magazine is mostly full with ads. This is made purposely because it is targeted for those who are looking for a particular thing to buy for example someone bought a camera guide magazine to view camera features that he or she wants to buy later. Magazines ads can get quite expensive, it depends on the size and colour and the position of ads in the magazine.
Poster: Poster is large printed notices, photographs or pictures usually being used to advertise something. If it is placed a place where the potential customers will actually notice them, it will be a very good way of advertising and promoting products. The best place to place the posters is where potential customers frequently visit and bulletin boards.
MEDIUMS OF COMMUNICATION
A medium of communication is the method of device that we used to communicate with others. We could not understand each other if there is no communication. When we talk about communication, many people thought it is just an exchange of information or ideas between two people using words or simply speaking. This situation is also called verbal communication. Verbal means connected with words or using words or spoken. It can happen on one-on-one, in group or over the phone. By being able to see the person we are communicating with, it will be easier for them to really get what we are trying to deliver. We can also see their body language and whether they are actively participating in the dialogue. Verbal communication is best used when we need to discuss something in detail and complimenting or reproach someone. And it is the most used one in our daily life.
According to Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English (1995), nonverbal means not using words. Nonverbal communication is the type that is more similar to how animal communicate with each other. Consciously or subconsciously, without using any words we are actually using nonverbal communication to communicate with others. The most ubiquitous examples of nonverbal communication are body language and expressive behaviours. For example, when a person rolls their eyes at someone, they are expressing scepticism about something that someone had said. Vocal sounds that are not words such as grunts, whimpers and gasps are also examples of nonverbal communication. Words are not used to convey that message, but we use our understanding of the nonverbal cues without explicitly have to say, "Anything you wish." to the speaker.
The way we dress can also be addressed as nonverbal communication. For example, when a man is going for a job interview, he will wear a suit and tie which shows to the interviewer he is a very professional person and suitable for the job.
Gestures and postures are important and needs to be controlled when using nonverbal communication. Vocal characteristics such as voice tones must also be controlled so that the audience will not feel irritated and can concentrate on what we are talking about. Making it simple will optimize the usage of time and space when conversing.
VEHICLES OF COMMUNICATION
The meaning of vehicle is something that we use as a way of spreading our ideas, expressing our opinions or to achieve something. A vehicle of communication is how we are going to approach someone; in this case it is how we are going to approach our potential customer to buy our soon-to-be-launched product. There are six rules in communication vehicles:
i. Keep it simple: Avoid using jargon words since it can create confusion among the listeners. Use appropriate language. Do not use slang when having a conversation. The sentences should also not be unfocused and run-on sentences.
ii. Use metaphors and analogy: Consumer usually will be more able to understand more about the product if we use metaphors and analogy. Concurrently, it may helps to explain complex ideas simply and effectively more if we use just plain colourful language.
iii. Use many different forums to spread the words: It is not only used between two person conversations, but may also be use in meetings and formal presentations. The more it is spread, the more people will hear about it.
iv. Repeat key messages: Sometimes some people did not understand us fully about what we are saying, so even if the consumers hear us correctly, it will be more secure if the messages are to be repeated several times as possible. One should also plan available communication which includes the developing the key messages.
v. Lead by example: At this stage, one can apply the AIDA model of persuasive communication which is to grab the consumers' attention first. After gaining their interest, we must keep their attention on talking about our product. Expanding the words at this time is also necessary. Next, we need to create the desire goal that is so that the consumers know more about our product. Do not force them to buy at that moment, but make them think and take a look first at the product or simply do a survey on their own. Give them our website address. And action will be the last step which is to make an ad on our product.
vi. Listen and be listened to: Communication should be a two way communication. When a person is talking, the other person must listen. After explaining the vision, wait for the feedback from the consumer.
As a conclusion, I have chosen television as the method to communicate with potential customers on buying our new product, ChipMouse. There are more than the ways of communication methods I have given above. They are, e-mail, intranet, letters or newsletters, billboards, papers, video conferencing, audiotape, mobile phones, CD-ROM, fax and meetings. Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages when using it.
There are two types of mediums of communication which are verbal and nonverbal communication. While the six rules of communication vehicles are keep it simple, use metaphors and analogy, use many different forums to spread the word, repeat key messages, lead by example and listen and be listened to.