What is Communication Anyway? By: Elizabeth Garduno
Communication Theory: “An umbrella term for all careful, systematic and self-conscious discussion and analysis of communication phenomena” --- Ernest Bormann
In other words, “communication” is: A trait that unconsciously has always been used by all living things and was later developed to what we have advanced today. Its difficult to understand, but it is the first trait learned from birth through contact, verbal, sound and visual language.
My Theory:“Communication Indulgence” Understanding how unconsciously, everything we do is a form of communication and without communication we would be completely lost.
What type of theory is this? Communication has two different approaches, but the interpretive approach sends a rhetorical message that influences people in countless ways.
The first time I experience a major impact where I was completely lost in life due to not understanding how to communicate with someone was about 9 years ago. I was fifteen years old, a sophomore in high school and pregnant.
First, you must understand I come from a family of seven, where I was the youngest in my family. I was the child that never got in trouble, always did what asked and told. In other words, I was best defined as the “good girl” in my family with a future going for me compared to everyone else.
For me to be pregnant at 15, and with a child at 16, was not expected at all. So everyone questioned, where did we go wrong if I was almost perfect?
Then they realized, they all assumed I was perfect and did not need to talk to me about where I was going with my life: we had no understanding of the communication we shared, they only assumed.
During my pregnancy, all verbal communication stopped between me and my family.
There was no need for them to verbally state I had dishonored our family, because they visually sent the message.
My eldest brother, who was like a father to me, stopped talking to me the moment he learned about my pregnancy and refused any visual contact.
At no point did he express his real emotions towards me verbally, but it was not required because his message of disappointment was cleared through his actions.
He refused to be in the same room, car, or house I was in and always avoided being anywhere I would be, as if I had a contagious deceased of some type.
For nine months, I hated myself for the mistake I had done and was completely lost with what I was doing with my life because I was isolated with no one to talk to.
Then, I received counseling through school where they helped me express my feelings by sharing what was happening at home and what I should be preparing myself for in the major change I had coming in my near future.
I wanted to ask my brother, amongst the rest of my family, to forgive me for the mistake I had done, but that I would not let this stop me from finishing my education and doing something with my life.
However, most of my brothers stopped talking to me and the only communication we shared was avoiding seeing each other in the same household we all lived in.
From that moment on, I decided to do what they were doing to meand avoid being around them, but not drop out of school so one day I could prove their assumptions wrong.
With my mother’s support, I managed to graduate high school, one year early from my original date of graduation, after my daughter was born.
I was the first in my family to attend college full time and had a decent job at Bank of America.
After 3 years, my actions came across my brother and he was beginning to understand what I once wanted to tell him when I first had gotten pregnant: Yes, I am pregnant and screwed up, but I am not quitting and will make something of my life, you watch and see.
My goal was to have my family turn their opinion about me around and say that they were wrong again, for assuming I was going no where in life due to my teen-pregnancy.
At age 19, I made the second biggest decision of my life and enlisted in the United States Marine Corps, something no one in either side of my family had ever done.
At this time, I had proved more than enough to my family that I was not the typical teenage mother that would not excel in life because I had a child. And finally, my message came across them.
Today, I have been living on my own the past 4 years, have an associates degree and have been successful with the majority of my goals .
I have done more than anyone in my family has, and without realizing it, I delivered my message without any verbal contact. I communicated to my brothers everything I wanted 9 years ago, through the actions I took and they finally understood.
This is when I realized that communication is something we live with and do everyday, even when we don’t realize we are doing it.
At the beginning of my pregnancy I was completely lost because I was isolating myself from everyone around me and had no physical or verbal communication with anyone.
I was ashamed and knew I had let my entire family down, and their actions towards me were of no help.
Not knowing so at the time, I learned to communicate with my brothers the same exact way they were communicating with me, through actions, not words.
Looking back, I realized how all these years I thought I had no formal communication with my brothers, but the entire time, we communicated everyday.
There was no need for any verbal communication, because our actions and body language spoke for itself.
As the years past, I began understanding more and more the phenomena of communication and its importance for understanding.
EVERYTHING reflects on communication. All type of relationships are affected by a communication process in one way or the other; work/school related, friendships, family and intimate relationships.
Without communication, we are just lost, as I was at one point in my life.
Classification: Interpretive Why is this theory Interpretive? My theory is Interpretive because communication is rhetorical. We can change the words spoken, or actions, in one language into another, as if we are translating in order to help others understand the message delivered.
“Communication Indulgence”Understanding how unconsciously, everything we do is a form of communication and without communication we would be completely lost. Symbolic Convergence Theory: Symbolic Interaction: In symbolic interaction we theorize that we deal with 3 core principles being: meaning, language and thought. They believe language is required for meaning, otherwise symbols are only arbitrary signs. We must talk to others in order to ascribe the meaning and develop a universe of discourse. As I do agree that talking to others will give us a better understanding of the meaning being delivered, my theory believes we can communicate without having to verbally speak our meaning. Because everything we do, whether is by body language or our actions taken, is a form of communication. In the symbolic convergence theory, Ernest Bormann discovered that the sharing of group fantasies builds a sense of community or a group consciousness. This theory is mainly concerned with the group’s response, where they may begin talking about themselves individually, but later venture into a group and include everyone. This theory relates to my theory in the aspect that in order to communicate, you must share your discussions for a sense of belongingness.
“Communication Indulgence”Understanding how unconsciously, everything we do is a form of communication and without communication we would be completely lost. Uncertainty Reduction Theory: Cognitive Dissonance: Focuses on how human communication is used to gain knowledge and create understanding. The main purpose of talking to people is to “make sense” out of our interpersonal world. Without this curiosity of wanting to learn more about another individual we would be lost at understanding who they are. Therefore, we read every sign, action, speech or body language they make where they are communicating, but we don’t realize it because its not verbal like we are costume to. Is the distressing mental state that people feel when they find themselves doing things that don’t fit with what they know or have opinions that are not the same as what other people’s opinions hold. You provide yourself an acceptable explanation for abandoning your efforts to reach whatever it is you wanted. In this theory, our mental guard is down when our purpose for being with others is enjoyment or pleasure. We seek acceptance from others by avoiding our own opinions in order to fit in and not feel lost in the crowd.
“Communication Indulgence”Understanding how unconsciously, everything we do is a form of communication and without communication we would be completely lost. The Rhetoric: Media Ecology: The searching study of audience psychology, where rhetoric is the discovery of the available means of persuasion. It makes truth seem more probable to an audience that isn't completely convinced through the way you present your message. Rhetoric, depending on how it is used, is interpretive. Based on the method you deliver your message, you persuade people to understand what you are trying to deliver or accomplish based on their communication through; dialog speech, character presentation and words used to emotionally connect your message. The study of different personal and social environments created by the use of different communication technologies. Changes in technology have alter the symbolic environment. The media has turned our perceptions, experiences, attitudes and behavior, resulting for us to not be able to view the message. We have build a different sense of communication where we communicate differently and as an outcome, we are missing the main idea.
Relationships: Looking back at my past relationships, I have learned that the reason things never worked out for me was due to my lack of communication. In all my past relationships, I have always failed to communicate what I really wanted and instead my actions took control. When it comes to relationships, I do not like talking about commitment. Therefore, I do not talk about the relationship I have build with that certain individual and I just let things be. Well, on my last relationship I assumed we both understood each other during the 8 months we were dating, but I was wrong. My actions stated that I enjoyed being with my partner, but I did not want a relationship at all. I never showed any emotions of how much I really did care about him, I assumed he should know because I was still talking to him. He tried discussing the issue a couple times, but I was not comfortable talking about the subject because it was not necessary in my point of view. So, after trying enough times, he never brought the subject up again. I let time pass and then realized we had completely lost the little communication we did have and the only physical communication we shared was no longer the one we started with. Unfortunately, I took too long to realize we needed to talk and our affection for each other began to drift away due to our self pride. He refused to be the first to say how much he really cared, and I refused to be the first to show any emotions. We both fell in this childish game where we assumed that if neither one of us cared enough, then why should we continue talking. We then somehow stopped contact completely, and it was then when I realized what I had done wrong, again. I really cared about my partner at the time, but I assumed it was not necessary for me to tell him because by me being with him was sufficient. I felt that the little things I did for him were enough for him to know I cared, but it was not until I had lost him that I realized my wrong actions. In public I never showed affection and was very distant, I never called him or did any of the things he did for me that showed me he did care for me. It was only inedible for him to get tiered of my “game” and understood the real mixed signals I unintentionally was communicating to him. Due to my actions and wrong communication, he understood the wrong message I was giving him subconsciously and moved on with his life, giving up on me.
Friendship: In 2008 through 2009, a friend and I volunteered to go on a 13 month deployment to Iraq. Being that he was the only real friend I had in deployment, our friendship grew strong during our time out there. On our 3rd month in Iraq, we joined a course that was being offered for us to gain a higher training belt, called “MCMAP”. Everyday we attended this course for about 3 months and had agreed the day we were ready to test out, we would both be partners to help one another out. One week prior to our test day, we got in a big argument over a misunderstanding. We stopped talking to each other and tried avoiding each other as much as we could. Finally, our test day finally came up and we both showed up for our last training session. However, since we had stopped talking, I took a different partner who would test out with me because I assumed he would have done the same as well, but he didn’t. I tested out first since I had a partner, then when his name came up the instructor said if he had no partner he would not be able to test out. It did not take much for me to read my friends body language and eye contact when he turned my direction and glanced at me. As soon as he looked my way, I understood his silent message where he asked if I would still be his partner. He did not have to speak for me to know what he was saying, and I did not have to answer for him to read my actions when I got up and stood in front of him to be his partner. After the test was finally over, we glanced at each other and made a simple eye contact where we understood how foolish we had been acting. My friend did not have to verbally apologize to me, nor did I have to verbally apologize to him, our body language and eye contact did all the talking necessary. Once the training session was over, we both grabbed all our gear and walked out together like the friends we were a week ago before our argument. There was no need to speak or explain what had happened, our actions spoke for themselves and we just new things had not changed between us, because we were still the same good friends from 3 months prior.
Family: Upon my return from deployment in 2009, I got myself in trouble with the law where the outcome almost ruined my whole career. I was arrested for a DUI and was punished by both, the State of California and the Marine Corps. The moment I was arrested I knew I had ruined my career. I knew I had thrown away everything I had worked so hard for in the Marine Corps. I was devastated at knowing what awaited me in my command. I lost my billet as an NCO, lost my rank, was put in 60 days of restriction and lost A LOT of money. All due to a stupid mistake I had done in one night. While I was pending all these charges, I was still standing tall and strong at work not showing any sign of weakness. However, deep down inside I was drowning in complete isolation, shamefulness, disappointment, anger, and the biggest depression I have ever been through. At the time I was living by myself because my daughter was finishing the school year down in San Diego, where she had being during my time in deployment. I had no one to talk to and I was still going through one of my biggest heartbreak of my lifetime. I did not tell anyone how depressed I really was and acted like nothing was wrong. In reality, I felt I was drowning inside and did not care much to see the day of tomorrow, which scared me because I had never felt that way before. One day, I drove home for the weekend on Father’s Day and without realizing it, I broke down in front of my mother. She did not know what was happening, nor did she understand how everything I had worked for was being taken away in the military. I did not tell her what I was feeling and how I was crying myself to sleep everyday for the past 3 months, but she understood. I did not ask my mother for nothing nor did I tell her how I was feeling. I simply walked out the house that day saying I was fine and came home. That night, as I was crying myself to sleep again, my doorbell ranged and to my surprise it was my mother at the door with a suite case. In the moment she had seen me break down, she said I did not have to tell her what was wrong with me because she already knew something was not right. My actions, body language and attitude were not the usual, so there was no need for me to tell her something was seriously wrong with me. I had commuted her the message prior to my accidental breakdown and she was there to help me from sinking in the depression I was drowning myself in to.
What I have I learned from “human communication” When I was first asked what defines communication, my answer was people having any type of conversation. I never really studied the real meaning of communication. When I first read Ernest Bormann’s definition of communication, I did not understand his meaning. However, as I continued to read the chapters, I can now honestly say I have a different understanding of what communication really is. Communication is a phenomena because every living thing in this world, unconsciously uses communication everyday. We do not have to speak to be heard and deliver a statement. Everything we do, our physical appearance, our attitudes, our actions, face expressions and eye contact are all different ways of communicating everyday. From the moment we are born, communication has played a huge role in our lives. A new born does not need to be told they are loved because they feel their mother’s love as an embryo. When a love one is upset at something you have done, it is not always necessary for them to tell you they are upset because you already know through their actions, face expressions or attitude. When you are not wanted somewhere, it is not necessary to have this stated to you, because the actions are clear. This are all different ways we communicate everyday without having to verbally make a statement. Looking back in our ancestors history, communication has always played a role in our culture. It’s the way we have learned to survive and have been able to advanced to where we stand today. However, our advancement has resulted for a new type of communication we live in today. We no longer communicate the way our ancestors did million of years ago. Today, we have new technologies that help us communicate better, but that has also caused us to loose the true message of communication. I have also learned the different approaches to communication and how is it that we are able to clearly understand and feel certain speeches by professional speakers, such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Communication is a trait we cannot live without and subconsciously use daily with every movement we do, every expression we make and every sign we deliver. Without communication there is no understanding and you are just isolated and lost.
Works Cited Griffin, E. (2009). A First Look at Communication Theory. 7th ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.