Human Factors in Communication

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Slide 1: 

Communication – The Human Factors A Presentation by Rajiv Bajaj

Some Definitions… : 

Some Definitions… American Society of Training Directors: Communication is the interchange of thought or information to bring about mutual understanding and confidence or good human relations Newman & Summer: An exchange of facts, ideas, opinions or emotions by two or more persons

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Communication is the bridge of meaning that forms the basis of understanding between the members of the organisation Effective Communication is one where a message is understood in the same sense in which it has been communicated

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It is communication which gets the world going… It is the lifeblood of any group or organisation Communication connects all Human Beings. The need for communication arises from their desire to express themselves in a meaningful manner

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The Process Of Human Communication “Meanings are in people, not in words.”

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Although we view business communication as a network of information flow, we must keep in mind that a business organisation consists of people It is therefore important for our basic understanding of business communication to know how communication among people occurs Let us now review how the Process Of Human Communication Works

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1 6 2 5 7 8 3 4 Medium Medium Sensory world KELLY JUSTIN

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1. Kelly sends a message to Justin through a carefully selected medium

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2. Justin’s senses pick up the message but also pick up competing information from his sensory world

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3. Kelly’s message is filtered through Justin’s unique mind and is given a meaning

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4. The meaning given may trigger a response (feedback) which Justin’s unique mind forms

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5 - 8. Justin sends the message to Kelly. It enters her sensory world and a second cycle begins that is the same as the first cycle

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THE BEGINNING – A Message Sent Although steps involved may suggest that Justin & Kelly are communicating in separate actions, the actions occur simultaneously As one is sending, the other is receiving

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Let us begin with Kelly, the sender, communicating (or encoding) a message through a carefully selected medium to Justin, the receiver Her message could be in any number of forms – gestures, facial expressions, drawings, or, more likely, written or spoken words. Whatever the medium, Kelly sends the message to Justin

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ENTRY IN THE SENSORY WORLD Kelly’s message then enters Justin’s sensory world. By Sensory World we mean all the noise that surrounds a person that SENSES (Sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch) can detect. Justin’s sensory world contains more than Kelly’s message.

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DETECTION BY THE SENSES From his sensory world, Justin picks up STIMULII (messages) through his senses. We must note however, that Justin’s senses cannot detect ALL that exists in the world around him

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How much he can detect depends on a number of factors. One is the ability of his senses. Not all eyes see equally well and not all ears hear equally well. Same is the case with all other senses Another factor is Justin’s mental alertness. There are times when he is keenly alert, other times when he is dull – in a stupor, daydreaming etc

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Then there are distractions – noises that occur around Justin at that moment. They can weaken, or perhaps, even eliminate, the stimuli sent Justin’s cultural background has sensitised him to some stimuli more than others Another limiting factor is Justin’s will

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In varying degrees, the mind is able to tune in and tune out events in the sensory world For example, in a noisy room, the conversation of a single person can be selected and other voices ignored When Justin’s senses pick up Kelly’s message, they relay it to his brain – that is, as much or as little of the message that they detect

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Kelly’s message is not all that Justin’s senses pick up In addition to Kelly’s message, his sensory world may contain outside sounds, movements of outside objects, facial expressions His senses are continuously picking up messages from the world around him – Kelly’s Message is just the primary one at the moment.

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There are other secondary messages around, and they may interfere with Kelly’s message The filtering process – When Kelly’s message reaches Justin’s brain, it goes through a sort of filtering (decoding) process. Through that process, Justin’s brain gives meaning to Kelly’s message In other words, the message is filtered through the contents of Justin’s mind

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These contents are made up of all that he knows, thinks, and that he thinks he knows It includes his entire emotional makeup and all his opinions, attitudes and beliefs It includes all cultural influences of his family, his organisation memberships, his social groups etc. In fact, it includes all he has learned, experienced and thought throughout his life

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Obviously, no two people have precisely identical filters, for no two people have minds with exactly the same contents ! Because people’s filters differ, meanings they may give to comparable messages may differ Thus, the meaning that Justin may give to Kelly’s message may not be the same one that someone else would give it. And it may not be the same one that Kelly intended

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For Example, assume that Kelly used the word LIBERAL in the message Now assume that Kelly & Justin have had sharply different experiences with that word To Kelly, the word is NEGATIVE, for her exposure & background has made her dislike all things that are liberal To Justin, the word is POSITIVE

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Therefore, the message that Justin receives from the word would not be precisely the message Kelly sent Same could be the case with other words used in the message Moreover, even the meanings that they give to the same messages may differ under different circumstances

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FORMATION & SENDING OF RESPONSE After his mind has given meaning to Kelly’s message, Justin may react to it If the meaning that he received is sufficiently strong, he may react by communicating some form of response (feedback) This response may be through words, gestures, physical actions, or some other means

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When Justin decides to communicate a response, through his mind he determines the general meaning (ENCODING) that the response will take This process involves the most complex working of his mind, and we know little about that ! There is evidence, however, that ability, here and throughout this stage, is related to one’s intelligence and the extent that one permits the mind to react

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Justin’s ability to evaluate filtered information & formulate meaning is also related to his ABILITY with LANGUAGE Ability with language equips one with a variety of symbols – Words & other ways of expressing meaning And the greater the number of symbols one possesses, the better one can be at selecting and using them

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Justin ends this stage of communication process by forming a message – He converts meanings into symbols (decodes mainly into words), and sends these symbols to Kelly – by written words, spoken words, gestures, movements, facial expressions, diagrams on paper etc

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THE CYCLE REPEATED When Justin sends his message to Kelly, one cycle of the communication process ends, and a Second Cycle begins. This one involves Kelly rather than Justin, but the process is the same. Justin’s message enters Kelly’s sensory world. Her senses pick it up and send it through her nervous system to her brain.

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There HER unique mental filter influences the meaning she gives Justin’s message. The filtered message also may bring about a response.. If it does, then Kelly, through her mind, selects the symbols for her response, and sends them to Justin, and another cycle of communication begins The process may continue, cycle after cycle, as long as they both want to communicate

Slide 32: 

Attitudes, Beliefs, Values, Norms & Experiences – Their Impact on Communication

Perceptions : 

Perceptions Refers to discernment, reception of a stimulus and an act by which the mind refers its sensations to an external object as cause In other words, perception is a process of making sense of events – the process by which we perceive meaning of any event Perception and reality are not necessarily one and the same – different people will have different perceptions

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Perceptions influence human behaviour in a variety of ways. They qualify or evaluate individuals or events as either – Complete or Incomplete Beautiful or Ugly Sincere or Manipulative Fair or Unfair Precise or Exaggerated Good or Bad Reasonable or Unreasonable

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Good communicators recognise the fact that others may not necessarily perceive their intentions as they themselves do A classic example: Two salesmen of a shoe company visit a remote village and make the following observations: Salesman A – “There is absolutely no scope. No one wears shoes here !” Salesman B – “No one wears shoes here. There is tremendous scope !” Although the event or information base is the same, the inferences are quite different !

Attitudes : 

Attitudes Attitude exercises a strong influence on human relationships in any sphere It essentially relates to a predisposition and concerns an individual’s likes or dislikes Attitudes can be both positive and negative. Positive attitude contributes to the effectiveness of any process Negative attitude hinders the process

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A negative attitude hinders communication – it acts as a barrier as a person with the wrong attitude is often unwilling to listen or to understand reason Negative attitude brings negative feelings that undermine the achievement of personal and organisational objectives Attitudes, however, are not necessarily permanent in nature – it is possible, with conscious effort, to change the attitude of a person

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Behavioural psychologists stress on the need to develop RMA – Right Mental Attitude People work together better by developing the RMA Effective communication, like other aspects of human behaviour, relies heavily on positive thinking and the Right Mental Attitude

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YOUR Decision !

Beliefs : 

Beliefs The word belief has different shades of meanings – faith, intuition, judgment, trust or confidence, acceptance as truth, or existence of something etc Like perceptions and attitudes, people have their beliefs as well – they are not easily changed Belief in God, fate, superstition, religion, future… So strong are such beliefs, that quite often people spend much of their time and efforts in their pursuit

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While appropriate to recognise their existence, it is not always desirable to make a judgment on various beliefs The fact that one individual or a group believes in a particular faith or judgment does not mean that all others necessarily subscribe to it For communication to be effective it is necessary to recognise that people have beliefs which can have an impact on the process of communication on both sides

Norms & Experiences : 

Norms & Experiences A norm relates to a rule, pattern or an authoritative standard – also understood as the most frequent value or state – normal standards Norms may also relate to do’s & don’ts Human beings too may face a variety of experiences in their lives and work situations People tend to relate events or messages to their previous experiences in dealing with them

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People associated with the communication process should take cognizance of this fact Based on past experiences, people may form generalized opinions about events, and react to them accordingly, whereas what may have applied in past situations may not actually hold good for the current one A good communicator should be aware of such perceptions and impressions, and try to overcome negative impressions through conscious efforts

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Thank You ! Questions ?

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