Technical Communication: What is Communication?

  • The sentence functions to convey a complete idea based on the meanings of the words used in it (the sentence). To better convey the idea presented in the sentence, images and sounds can be appended to the paragraph.
  • Any complete set of ideas can be described as information.
  • Information can be presented using words (pure text), images (including photographs and illustrations), and sounds. This information can be shared.
  • The act or process of sharing information is called communication.
  • Concatenation (or stringing) of words in a sentence is guided by the laws of grammar and syntax.
  • Concatenation and arrangement of words, images, and sounds in a piece of information are influenced by the targeted audience and the context of sharing. The targeted audience is the people, parties, or viewers who are expected to consume the information, either by reading it, modifying it, or reading it and acting on the ideas presented. The context of sharing is to ensure that the information is transmitted as efficiently and effectively as possible, and this mandates concision, accessibility, and clarity in the way the information is presented. This context is determined by the desired response of the target audience.
  • Effectiveness in communication requires one to understand that there are 2 different modes of communication, and they are:
    1. Written Communication: This is primarily a text-based mode of communication where the targeted audience is expected to consume the information only by reading it. Examples include written reports, proposals, email text, and instruction sets. Consumption of information simply means using the information.
    2. Audiovisual Communication: This uses a combination of images, videos, sound, and text to share information with the targeted audience. Examples include videos, presentations, and interactive infographics.
  • Social media allows one to easily share information. Most social media platforms allow one to use a combination of written and audiovisual communications to share information.
  • The communicator must factor in the following when choosing the mode of communication:
  1. What is being shared? This is the information that is to be shared.
  2. Who is the communicator sharing this information with? This is the targeted audience (who will consume the information).
  3. Why is this information being shared? This is the purpose of communication and provides the context for information sharing.
  4. How is the information to be shared? This is the chosen mode of communication that is dependent on the purpose of communication, information being shared, and the targeted audience, as well as the desired response of the audience after interacting and consuming the information.
  • Understanding the needs and level of knowledge that the targeted audience have is called audience awareness.
  • Lack of audience awareness can create a communication gap that can result in communication failure. Communication failure is the inability of the targeted audience to consume the information, either because they cannot understand it or the information does not reach them.
  • The person who passes the information to the target audience is called the communicator. The communicator can create this information, in which case (s)he assumes the dual roles of a content creator and a communicator. The content creator is the person who writes, speaks, records, designs, and edits the information (hereby described as content) that is to be shared.
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