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Communication -Challenges of the modern days



Kirjoittanut: Taru Jytilä - tiimistä SYNTRE.

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Esseen arvioitu lukuaika on 14 minuuttia.
Written by Aman, Taru and Hassan
  • Introduction

In order for ideas, thoughts, and emotions to be shared, communication is a fundamental component of human connection. In order to better understand the numerous facets of communication in contemporary culture, this article will examine written, visual, digital, non-verbal, and vocal communication. For the purpose of forming bonds and communicating ideas, each of these forms is essential.

 

The essay also looks at verbal communication’s dynamic character, emphasizing its adaptability and real-time qualities. It does, however, also recognize the difficulties that come with interacting with people in huge companies and amongst individuals. Another intricate topic covered is cross-cultural communication, which involves a discussion of the larger idea of culture and how it affects effective communication.

 

Lastly, the article examines how social media has a ubiquitous impact on communication. It has created new avenues for communication, but it also presents risks and opportunities. We have to face the difficulties and complexities of communication in our modern, globalized society as we make our way through these many facets.

  • Five types of communication

Communication serves as the backbone of human interaction, facilitating the exchange of ideas, thoughts and emotions. There are five different kinds of communications- verbal, non–verbal, written, visual and digital– and their profound significance in contemporary society.

 

1 Verbal Communication: As the basis of human interaction, verbal communication is a dynamic and adaptable way to communicate ideas through spoken words. This type of communication allows people to have meaningful conversations over a variety of platforms, such as phone calls, public speaking, and in-person discussions.

 

The dynamic nature of verbal communication, which permits in-the-moment interaction and feedback, is one of its primary characteristics. Verbal communication allows for an immediate exchange of ideas and thoughts, in contrast to written communication. Since it allows for real-time clarification and adjustment, this immediacy is essential to ensuring that the intended message is understood.

 

One of the many facets of human connection is verbal communication. According to renowned interpersonal communication specialist DeVito (2019), verbal communication is crucial for both expressing emotions and establishing and sustaining relationships. Speaking enables people to communicate not just the facts but also the subtleties and underlying feelings that deepen interpersonal relationships.

 

People can communicate their joy, sorrow, excitement, or concern in an authentic way when they verbally express their emotions. Spoken words have additional layers of meaning that might be overlooked in written communication due to their tonal variations, pitch, and intonations. Verbal communication thus becomes an effective means of fostering understanding and empathy among people.

 

DeVito also highlights the importance of verbal communication in the development and maintenance of relationships. Successful connections are built on effective verbal communication, whether in personal or professional contexts. It encompasses not just the message’s content but also the capacity to actively listen, thoughtfully answer, and modify communication methods to fit various situations and people.

 

2 Nonverbal communication: A major part of non-verbal communication is body language, which is the use of physical cues like posture, gestures, and facial expressions to convey meaning. For example, a slouched position could convey lethargy or indifference, whereas animated gestures could highlight fervor or excitement. These non-verbal cues can have greater influence than spoken words and frequently reveal important details about someone’s emotional state.

 

Another essential component of non-verbal communication is facial expressions, which provide a rich tapestry of emotions. A scowl can indicate confusion or worry, while a smile can indicate warmth or happiness. People who are adept at reading these facial cues can gain a deeper comprehension of the emotional context of a conversation.

 

Communicating with gestures adds layers of meaning, both subtle and overt. Crossed arms can convey defensiveness or disagreement, while a head nod can convey agreement. When nonverbal cues are synchronized with spoken words, communication becomes more impactful and clear overall, leading to a deeper understanding amongst people.

 

The significance of tone of voice in nonverbal communication is often overlooked. Tonality can change a word’s meaning entirely. Based on the tone used, a straightforward statement like “I’m fine” can imply a wide range of emotions, from satisfaction to annoyance. To fully understand the range of a speaker’s intended message, one must be able to identify these tonal variations.

 

The importance of non-verbal communication is highlighted by Mehrabian’s claim that in some situations, non-verbal cues can be more important than verbal messages. It becomes especially important when there is potential for ambiguity in the words used or when emotions are at play. In these situations, people mainly rely on nonverbal cues to interpret a message’s true meaning and emotional overtones.

 

3 Written Communication:  Written communication is essential to upholding professionalism and clarity in formal business settings. Contractual agreements, official reports, and business proposals are just a few examples of documents that frequently require a level of precision that oral communication may not always be able to provide. Because written communication is structured, language can be carefully chosen to ensure that ideas are communicated completely and accurately.

 

Guffey and Loewy (2018) also stress the significance of written communication in terms of documentation. In a variety of academic and professional settings, a written record provides a concrete and enduring record of the information shared. This permanence creates a clear communication trail that can be reviewed or referred to as needed, and it also establishes accountability by offering a trustworthy reference for later use.

 

One major benefit of written communication is the accuracy it provides. Conveying complex ideas in a clear and concise manner is made possible by the ability to precisely construct sentences and select words. This accuracy is especially helpful in documents that need to be understood clearly, like technical manuals or legal documents.

 

Written communication is used in many aspects of our daily lives, not just in formal settings. Examples include emails, texts, and various online platforms. Written communication is an effective means of rapid information exchange because of its brevity and immediate nature. People can communicate ideas and thoughts across time zones and distances thanks to written communication’s versatility, which adds to the modern world’s interconnectedness.

 

4 Visual Communication: Visual communication is a potent tool used in marketing and advertising to draw in customers and deliver messages in an engaging way. Advertisements use eye-catching pictures and graphics to make a strong impression right away. They frequently seek to elicit strong feelings or establish a brand’s identity. In this case, the proverb “a picture is worth a thousand words” is especially true, as a well-made image can communicate a point more effectively and memorable than a long passage of text.

 

Graphs and charts are essential for visualizing complex data sets so that a wide range of viewers can comprehend and find them easier to understand. Visual aids help people understand complex information more quickly and easily. This is especially important in educational settings where visual aids can help make statistical data or difficult concepts easier to understand. Learning experiences are known to be improved by educational materials with visual components because they accommodate various learning styles and increase information retention.

 

Another level of engagement is added when videos are used in visual communication. Videos can provide a more immersive experience by dynamically conveying information. Videos can elicit feelings and establish a connection with the viewer in addition to conveying information. Visual communication is used by digital platforms like YouTube, social media, and online courses to effectively deliver content to audiences around the world.

 

The power of visual communication to communicate across language barriers and across cultures is what makes it so effective. In a world where information is often absorbed quickly, visual aids such as pictures have the ability to communicate ideas clearly and quickly. Visual communication increases the overall effectiveness of the message, whether it’s through an engaging video in an educational module, an impactful infographic in a presentation, or a memorable logo in branding.

 

5 Digital Communication: Communication has undergone a revolution thanks to the digital age, which has ushered in a new era marked by information sharing via social media, instant messaging, and video conferencing, among other digital channels. Trenholm and Jensen (2013) shed light on how real-time interactions and global connectivity have been made possible by digital communication that has surpassed geographic boundaries. Digital communication is now essential in today’s linked world, impacting both personal and professional domains.

 

5.1 Social Media: Social media platforms have become indispensable instruments for digital communication, enabling people to interact, share, and connect on a worldwide level. These social media platforms—Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter, among others—allow information to be shared instantly and create communities that cut across geographic boundaries. Social media has grown to be a ubiquitous force, influencing not just individual relationships but also opinions, trends, and even societal movements.

 

5.2 Instant Messaging: Instant messaging services have completely changed how people communicate with each other in real time. Group discussions, multimedia exchanges, and direct message exchanges are all made possible by services like Telegram, Messenger, and WhatsApp. Instant messaging’s accessibility and speed enhance the effectiveness of interpersonal communication, and they are also useful in business contexts where they facilitate quick teamwork.

 

5.3 Video Conferencing: A key component of digital communication, particularly in work settings, is video conferencing. Notwithstanding geographical limitations, in-person conversations are made possible by platforms such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meet. This has changed the way that conferences, business meetings, and teamwork are conducted, enabling teams that are spread out over the world to work together effectively.

 

5.4 Transcending Geographical Boundaries: Trenholm and Jensen (2013) highlight the remarkable aspect of digital communication’s ability to transcend geographical boundaries. Communication is no longer hampered by distance, as people can instantly connect with people anywhere in the world. This has significant effects on interpersonal relationships because it allows friends and family to remain in touch no matter where they are in the world. Businesses can easily collaborate internationally in the professional sphere, creating a truly global marketplace.

 

5.5 Real-Time Interactions and Global Connectivity: Real-time interactions are essential to digital communication because they allow for immediacy and responsiveness. This dynamic quality is particularly important in the rapidly evolving digital world. Digital communication channels enable global connectivity, which guarantees smooth information transfer between continents. In addition to being a defining feature of the digital age, this interconnectedness is also what propels the quick spread of innovations, ideas, and news.

 

II.5.6 Integral to Personal and Professional Spheres: Digital communication is becoming more than just a convenience in today’s world. It now plays a crucial role in both the personal and professional spheres, influencing communication, teamwork, and information sharing. Virtual social events and online business negotiations are just two examples of how digital communication permeates every facet of contemporary life.

  • Verbal vs non-verbal communication

 

Two essential components of human interaction are verbal and nonverbal communication, both of which are vital for building relationships and transmitting messages. Being the main way that ideas are exchanged through spoken words, verbal communication is a flexible and dynamic form of communication. Instant feedback and real-time communication are made possible by it, which promotes meaningful dialogues on a variety of platforms, including phone calls, public speaking engagements, and in-person meetings (DeVito, 2019).

 

The ability to clarify and amend in real time is made possible by the immediate nature of verbal communication, which guarantees that messages are understood as intended. Verbal communication is essential for developing and maintaining relationships as well as for expressing emotions, claims DeVito (2019). People can strengthen interpersonal relationships by communicating not just the details but also the nuances and underlying emotions through speech. Verbal communication is an effective way to foster empathy and understanding among people because spoken words have additional layers of meaning that might be missed in written communication because of their tonal variations, pitch, and intonations.

 

On the other hand, nonverbal communication enhances spoken messages with layers of meaning through body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice. A person’s posture, gestures, and overall body language can all be used to communicate attitudes and emotions. These cues can often provide crucial information about how they are feeling. In order to better understand the emotional context of a conversation, facial expressions offer a rich tapestry of emotions. Along with spoken words, gestures and voice intonation are important components of nonverbal communication. People communicate more effectively and clearly overall when nonverbal cues and spoken words are timed accurately, which promotes mutual understanding (Mehrabian).                                                                                                                        

                                                                                                                                                                                 

  • Cross-cultural communication 

Communication can be challenging between two or multiple individuals even without any barriers, such as language. It is a whole topic that big companies design for their internal system in order to function in an efficient way. Therefore, to understand cross-cultural communication, it is a must to first understand the meaning of culture as a general topic and then move to more specificalities that need to be addressed.

 

A relatively big number of people’s activities are influenced by culture, which is defined by Lustig and Koester (2010) as “a learned set of shared interpretations about beliefs, values, norms, and social practices” (p. 25). Now, cross-cultural communication, also known as intercultural communication, is the study of verbal and nonverbal communication between people from various backgrounds, places, and cultures (O’Donoghue, 2023)

Because cross-cultural communication is how people from various cultures communicate with one another, confrontations between cultures are unavoidable. Prioritizing diversity in recruiting is one strategy for reducing these confrontations. When people from different cultures collaborate to achieve a similar objective, the chances of unpleasant misconceptions decrease and job quality increases.

The importance of cross-cultural communication can be highlighted even more in multicultural organizations. Prioritizing cross-cultural communication skills in multicultural workplaces promotes positive work environments, removes misunderstandings, and fortifies bonds between individuals from different backgrounds. This facilitates information exchange and propels business growth by offering distinctive insights into consumer behavior. Embracing cultural differences also raises employee engagement and lowers turnover. (O’Donoghue, 2023)

Thais Compoint as a specialist in inclusive leadership (blog series, 2018), divided the barriers of cross-cultural communication into six key challenges:

 

ETHNOCENTRISM: 

It is human nature for us to view other civilizations through the prism of our own. When we unconsciously think that our method of doing and viewing the world is the only way to accomplish things, it is called ethnocentrism. Consequently, we tend to see behaviors that deviate from our worldview unfavorably. We think other people’s actions are strange and inappropriate. Additionally, ethnocentrism fosters a potentially harmful “us versus them” mindset.

STEREOTYPING:

Relying on simplistic stereotypes about individuals from many cultures is another prevalent practice. Actually, there are a lot of cross-cultural training programs available that promote stereotyping by emphasizing memorization of cultural differences. Acquiring knowledge about distinctions can serve as a beneficial foundation. However, people are all different, and you can never tell how someone would behave just because of their ethnicity.

PSYCHOLOGICAL BARRIERS

It takes a certain kind of elasticity to successfully manage cross-cultural teams. Going against one’s innate tendencies is not simple. It’s possible for people to feel inadequate and untrue. This may be the case, for instance, when providing feedback in a nation where the majority of comments are constructive, whereas more favorable comments may be given in other locations.

LANGUAGE BARRIERS

Though everyone in a team speaks the same language, social distance arises when individuals are not as proficient as others. Individuals with lesser English proficiency tend to withhold information from others in global teams, which might prevent the team from receiving all the necessary input. Excessive use of slang or rapid speech might make it difficult to understand what is being stated. The way that people are viewed for their performance and competence may also be affected by this.

GEOGRAPHICAL DISTANCE

People in international virtual teams don’t have the same opportunities to socialize and form bonds with one another as they would in an office setting. Additionally, you share less information with others the less you understand about them. As a result, working together in virtual teams is harder. Apart from the headquarters, groups may also experience exclusion. However, some in the head office group may believe that their colleagues are not making a contribution. Time zone differences might sometimes be difficult. You’re frequently expected to put up with less convenient meeting times if you’re not at the headquarters.

CONFLICTING VALUES

This part cannot be limited to just one aspect or dimension. But generally, it is about the priorities of each person with a certain culture. For example, in one team, there could be two people, one is task oriented and the other is relationship oriented. One likes direct communication and the other prefers indirect communication. One chooses to be formal and the other refuses it. When it comes to meetings, one is pretty sharp and structured with the time frame whereas the other is more flexible.

Embracing and respecting cultural differences is essential to overcoming the urge to see unfamiliar relationships as aberrant or incorrect. This requires developing self-control over the tendency to see those who are “different from me” as “less than me.” (Avruch, 1993)

Raising awareness of cultural differences without allowing them to separate us, enabling efficient communication, and encouraging understanding may all lead to cross-cultural collaboration. Questioning presumptions, taking note of different communication methods, and realizing that cultural generalizations should advance knowledge rather than cause oversimplification or stereotyping are all crucial. Successful cross-cultural communication requires a combination of critical thinking, empathy, and an openness to challenging preconceived notions about the “correct” way to communicate. Building good communication and collaboration across varied backgrounds also benefits from considering historical events, power inequalities, and the richness of human identities beyond cultural conventions. 

  • Negative effects of social media on communication skills

 

“The widespread usage of social media has developed a sense of necessity to share daily life stories among people, provided an inside perspective of faraway locations, and made digital presence more personal.” – Amna Khan

Social media has a big influence on how we communicate. Although it has opened up new channels for communication and cooperation, there are dangers and difficulties as well. 

With the introduction of email and the internet in the 1990s, social media took off and completely changed how people communicated. MySpace, LinkedIn and SixDegrees.com were the next social networking sites to go live in 1997. The advent of Facebook in 2004 signaled the start of the modern era of social media, nevertheless.

Since then, social media sites have expanded to include a wide range of functionalities, such as live streaming, photo and video sharing, and text-based messaging. Social media has become an essential part of our everyday lives due to the increasing use of smartphones and other mobile devices, which enable us to interact and communicate in real time with people all over the world. (Varsity College, 2023.)

Over 50% of adults between the ages of 18 and 24 check their social media accounts more than ten times a day. Social media has developed into an effective and economical instrument for communication. Through social media, businesses can engage with customers directly, forge relationships, and raise brand awareness. ( Khan, 2023. )

 

“It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.” Albert Einstein.

There is also positive impacts, that social media culture has created for us:

Global, effortless communication: social media has facilitated connections with individuals, irrespective of time zones or geographical location. We may now contact with friends, family, and coworkers anywhere in the world. Social media has made it possible for us to start and join groups of people who share our interests. People who might not have had a platform before now have one thanks to social media. It has made it possible for people to communicate with a larger audience about their thoughts and experiences as well as to disseminate crucial information on a variety of topics, including politics and the environment. (Varsity College, 2023.)

But with good comes the bad as well:

With social media providing us with regular notifications and updates, we all know how hard it is to concentrate on a work. This results in a lack of focus and inadequate communication abilities in practical settings. The possibility of misunderstanding: It’s far too simple for communications to be misunderstood in the absence of non-verbal clues like tone of voice or facial expressions. Unfortunately, trolling, bullying, and harassment are now frequent on several social media platforms because of anonymity. (Varsity College, 2023.)

 

People frequently utilize abridged and abbreviated language when using messengers to type and deliver messages as fast as possible. However, people who become accustomed to them may find it difficult to communicate with others in real life. These forms of communication are far less effective than conventional or rather, traditional, since contractions, slang, and abbreviations like “brb,” “gm,” “m8,” “dunno,” and so on have already become almost conventional. ( Academic Help, 2023. )

“Experts say kids are growing up with more anxiety and less self-esteem.” Rachel Ehmke.

Many parents are concerned about the potential developmental effects of technology use on young children. We don’t want our preschoolers spending hours glued to an iPad to slow down the astonishing rate at which they are learning new social and cognitive abilities. However, adolescence is also a crucial time of rapid development, and not enough of us are considering the effects of our teens’ use of technology—far more extensive and personal than a three-year-old fiddling with their father’s iPhone—on their well-being. In fact, experts are concerned that the ubiquitous nature of social media and text messaging in adolescence is contributing to anxiety and low self-esteem. ( Ehmke, 2023. )

  •  Conclusion

The study of contemporary communication reveals the dynamic interaction between spoken and nonspoken forms, with spoken communication acting as a direct and sensitive instrument that is essential for fostering connections. DeVito’s observations highlight the spoken word’s power to express nuanced subtleties and emotions in real time, therefore building empathy and understanding. In addition, Mehrabian emphasizes that nonverbal communication enhances the landscape of communication through body language, facial expressions, and voice tone; yet, accurate timing is necessary for the best possible mutual comprehension.

 

Focusing on cross-cultural communication, it is to find that it is a complicated requirement for the modern, globally integrated world. It is essential to promote understanding, effective communication, and an awareness of cultural differences without letting them become a source of division. Critical thinking, empathy, and a willingness to question preconceived beliefs about the “correct” way to communicate are all necessary for effective cross-cultural communication.

 

When it comes to how technology affects communication, especially in the adolescent age group, Ehmke’s findings underscore the necessity for a comprehensive comprehension. The emphasis on adolescents highlights the widespread and intimate use of technology, prompting concerns about its possible impacts on young children’s development even as worries about its ability to cause anxiety and low self-esteem remain. A balanced and knowledgeable approach is essential to negotiating the complexity of modern communication, stressing the development of empathy, critical thinking, and an understanding of the rich human fabric that shapes our relationships.

 

REFERENCES:

Koester, J. Lusting, M. 2010. Intercultural Competence: Interpersonal Communication Across Cultures.

O’Donoghue, D. 2023. What Is Cross-cultural Communication and Why It Matters. G2. Link: https://www.g2.com/articles/what-is-cross-cultural-communication

Compoint, T. 2018. SIX BARRIERS TO CROSS-CULTURAL COMMUNICATIONS (PART 2 OF 3). Declicinternational. Link: https://declicinternational.com/6-barriers-to-cross-cultural-communications/

Avruch, K. Black, P. 1993. Conflict Resolution Theory and Practice: Integration and Application. edited by Dennis Sandole and Hugo van der Merwe. New York: St. Martin’s Press.

Academic help, 2023. Read on 29.11.2023. Link:

https://academichelp.net/samples/academics/essays/cause-effect/the-effects-of-social-media.html

 

Rachel Ehmke, Child Mind, 2023. Read on 29.11.2023. Link:

https://childmind.org/article/how-using-social-media-affects-teenagers/

 

Amna Khan, 2023. Read on 29.11.2023. Link: https://medium.com/@amnakhaan/is-there-any-correlation-between-social-media-and-communication-skills-a8e040a72675

 

Varsity College, 2023. Read on 29.11.2023. Link: https://www.varsitycollege.co.za/articles/the-relationship-between-social-media-and-communication

 

DeVito, J. A. (2019). _The Interpersonal Communication Book (15th ed.)_. Pearson.

 

Guffey, M. E., & Loewy, D. (2018). _Essentials of Business Communication (11th ed.)_. Cengage Learning.

 

Lester, P. M. (2019). _Visual Communication: Images with Messages (7th ed.)_. Cengage Learning.

 

Mehrabian, A. (1971). _Silent Messages: Implicit Communication of Emotions and Attitudes_. Wadsworth Publishing Company.

 

Trenholm, S., & Jensen, A. (2013). _Interpersonal Communication (7th ed.)_. Oxford University Press.

DeVito, J. A. (2019). The Interpersonal Communication Book. Pearson.

Mehrabian, A. (n.d.). Nonverbal Communication. Retrieved from http://www.kaaj.com/psych/nonnull.html

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