List the various functions of Communication? IGNOU Solved Question

The word 'communication' comes from the Latin word communis, meaning common. This implies that when we communicate, we are trying to establish a 'commonality' with someone through a message. Communication then is a conscious attempt to establish commonality over some idea, fact, feelings and the like, with others. In essence, it is a process of getting a source and a receiver tuned together for a particular message or a series of messages. 

Definitions of communication are many. But a few selected ones are given:

1. Communication is anything that conveys the meaning that carries a message from one person to another (Brooker, 1949).

2. Communication is all of the procedures, by which our mind can affect another (Weaver, 1966).

3. Communication is the mutual interchange of ideas by any effective means (Thayer, 1968).

4. Communication may be defined as a process by which an individual - the communicator, transmits (usually verbal symbols) to modify the behavior of other individuals - communicatees ( Hovland, 1964). 

5. Communication is a process by which two or more people exchange ideas, facts, feelings, or impressions in ways that each gains a common understanding of the meaning, intent, and use of the message (Leagans, 1961).

6. Communication is the process by which messages are transferred from a source to a receiver (Rogers and Shoemaker, 1971).

7. Communication is the process of sending and receiving messages through channels that establish common meanings between a source and a receiver (Van den Ban and Hawkins, 1988). 

List the various functions of Communication?

Functions of Communication Communication has four basic functions as follows.

Information Function – The basic requirement of adapting and adjusting oneself to the environment is information. There must be some information about what is going on in the environment which concerns the people. The getting or giving of information underlies all communication functions, either directly or indirectly. 

Command or Instructive Function – Those who are hierarchically superior in the family, society or organization, often initiate communication either for the purpose of informing their subordinates or for the purpose of telling them what to do, how to do, when to do, etc. The command and instructive functions of communication are more observable in formal organizations than in informal organizations.

Influence or persuasive function – According to Berlo (1960), the sole purpose of communication is to influence people. The persuasive function of communication i.e. to induce people is extremely important for extension in changing their behavior in the desired direction. Integrative function – A major function of communication is integration or continuously offsetting any disintegration at the personal or organizational level. This helps to maintain individual, societal or organizational stability and identity.

Elements of Communication Process

Successful communication involves six key elements: a skillful communicator sending a useful message through proper channels effectively treated to an appropriate audience to evoke the desired response.

1. The Communicator

This is the person who starts the process of communication in operation. He is the source or originator of messages. He is the first to give expression to messages intended to reach an audience in a manner that results in the correct interpretation and desirable responses. The communicator may be a Village Development Officer, a Principal, an Instructor in a Training Centre, a Block Development Officer, a villager, an administrator, or any other person. In order to be effective, the communicator should possess the following characteristics.

  • He should have knowledge of the message, objective, and audience.
  • People should have faith in the communicator.
  • He should have an interest in his audience and their welfare.
  • He should select and treat the message properly.
  • He prepares a plan for communication
  • He knows how to organize his message.
  • His language and cultural compatibility should be in the line with the receiver.
  • He should have a positive attitude towards the message and the audience.

2. Message
A message is an information a communicator wishes his audience to receive, understand, accept and act upon. Messages, for example, may consist of statements of scientific facts about agriculture, sanitation or nutrition; descriptions of the action being taken by individuals, groups or committees; reasons why certain kinds of action should be taken; or steps necessary in taking given kinds of action. The key objective of communication is to transmit useful messages so that all receivers understand it clearly and successfully. A good message should have the following characteristics.
1. In line with the objectives to be attained.
2. Clear and understandable by the audience.
3. In line with the mental, socio-economic, and physical capabilities of the audience
4. Related to economic and social needs, interests, and values of the audience.
5. Specific, factual, correct and no irrelevant material should be included.
6. Appropriate to the channel selected.
7. Relevant to the audience.
8. Cover only one point at a time.

3. Channels of Communication
Channels are the physical bridges between the sender and the receiver of messages - the avenues between a communicator and an audience on which messages travel to and fro. They are the transmission lines used for carrying messages to their destination. Thus, the channels serve as essential tools for the communicator. A channel may be anything used by a sender of a message to connect him with the intended receivers. The crucial point is that he must get in contact with his audience. The message must get through. Common channels of communication in the extension situation are the 'Extension Teaching Methods.

4. Treatment of Messages
It is the way of handling the message in such a way that the treated message be sent over the channels with the maximum probability of reaching the destination effectively. It relates to the techniques or details of procedure or manner of performance essential to have expertise in presenting the message. Hence treatment deals with the design of a method for presenting the message. 

5. The Audience

An audience is the intended receiver of messages. It is the consumer of messages. An audience may consist of one person or many. It may comprise men, women, or both; youth groups, villagers or their leaders. An audience may be formed according to occupation groups such as farmers or artisans; professional groups, as engineers, educators, administrators, etc. The more homogenous an audience is, the greater the chances of successful communication. Likewise, the more a communicator knows about his audience and can pinpoint its characteristics the more likely he is to make an impact. Communication to be successful must be target oriented. The communicator must know the target, their needs, interests, resources, facilities, constraints and even their approximate number and location. 

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