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Communication is when information is passed from a sender to a recipient using a medium. There are different media that can be used:
- Visual communication (using body language or gestures)
- Communicating with sounds (like human language, but may also be the barking of a dog)
- Communication using touch
- Using smell
- Using writing
Communication can be spoken (a word) or non-spoken (a smile). Communication has many ways, and happens all the time. Not only humans communicate, most other animals do too. Some communication is done without thinking, such as by changing in posture.
Communication that tries to change somebody's mind may be called persuasion or propaganda.
How communication works[change | change source]
Communication works by exchanging information or messages. In very basic terms
- The sender makes a message, from an idea. This is usually called encoding
- The sender transmits the message through the medium.
- The recipient receives the message and decodes it.
Besides the content of the message, there are other things that are important. These are not part of the message itself, but rather of its context
- Who is communicating, and what status does the communicator have?
- Communication messages usually do not come alone, but are accompanied by other messages. These are also interpreted.
For a message exchange to be successful, the sender and the recipient must have agreed on a vocabulary that avoids ambiguity. For example, the word hedge can mean completely different things based on the context. In botany a hedge is a row of shrubs or trees that make a barrier or form a border. In finance, a hedge is an investment made to reduce the risk of another investment. In linguistics a hedge is a word or set of words that make other words less important. Without information it is therefore very difficult to know which hedge is really meant by the speaker.
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