When we communicate, we are sending or receiving a message.
What exactly is a message?
A message is a discrete unit of communication and can be information, facts, opinions, feelings, sensations, stories, news or ideas.
A message can be verbal (have words) like an email.
Sometimes, facial expressions and hand gestures are used together like this emoji.
Hand gestures have different meanings in other countries. To prevent misunderstanding, it is a good idea to be aware of the meaning of hand gestures before visiting another country or talking to a person from another country.
Music and art can convey emotional messages and are also forms of communication.
A comic book can have words and also pictures.
Braille is a verbal system of “touch” reading and writing for blind people. Raised dots represent letters of the alphabet.
Sign language is used by and with deaf people. Sign language is non-verbal and combines hand gestures, facial expressions and body movements to symbolize words. It is used along with verbal finger spelling where various hand gestures represent letters of the alphabet. Some deaf people are also able to "read the lips" of speaking people.
|This sign means curvy road ahead.|
|This flag symbol means there are scuba divers below.|
The way messages are transmitted is called the medium. Examples include:
|Electronic Medium||Non Electronic Medium|
|Regular mail letter|
|E-Book||A baby on your lap cooing|
|Digital news||Shaking hands|
Three things must be present for communication to take place:
- A message is sent.
- A message is received.
- A message is understood.
Sometimes there is interference that causes confusion or prevents the communication from happening. For example:
Perhaps, you typed out a text, but forgot to hit send. Or perhaps, you sent the text, but the intended recipient’s phone is not charged. Or perhaps, the recipient received the sent text, but doesn’t understand an abbreviation like LOL. Or maybe your language is not their first language and they don’t understand an idiom you wrote like “break a leg” meaning good luck. In spoken communication, sometimes you just can’t hear the person talking because of other noise or because you have on headphones. Sometimes, the person isn’t speaking clearly or speaking too quietly or you don’t understand the language they are speaking.
Good communication is an important skill in interpersonal relations, work performance, political cooperation and government – in just about anything you can think of. So, work to improve your writing and speaking skills, and especially, your reading and listening skills.
Images for kids
||Article author: Diane Nelson. Diane taught communication and other subjects in public school for 23 years. She is also a public health nutritionist, and taught nutrition at NYU. Diane has traveled extensively throughout the world. She presently teaches ESL part time.|
Communication Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.