Communication is an exchange of information,
exchange implying conversational turns & therefore, always occurring in the context of relationship.
Three Key Pieces of Communication
The process of communication is complex, but essentially, there are 3 key pieces to a successful information exchange…
Communication begins with words. They can be spoken, written or signed. One might share something they know, a bit of the day’s news or express their opinion or feelings.
Next, communication is words that are heard. Whether you are writing to a pen pal, jotting some thoughts in a journal, or making a phone call, there is a place where your words are received.
Lastly, communication involves feedback, a response to what has been spoken – perhaps an answer to a question, an acknowledgement that you’ve been heard or some words of encouragement.
The above is inspired by this children’s book. It’s great for starting conversations with kids about communication.
Two Kinds of Communication
We always communicate in the context of either intrapersonal or interpersonal relationships.
Intrapersonal communication is communication with yourself, experienced when thinking silently, speaking aloud to yourself or writing yourself a note. For example, we may say something like “I’m just thinking outloud” and we may not always associate this intrapersonal experience as communication, but it is. The words you speak to yourself as you experience life communicate information that plays a role in developing your view of yourself, others & your world.
Interpersonal communication involves another person & is what we most often mean when we use the term communication. The key ingredient in this type of communication is taking turns. Feedback can come in many forms – in person, over the phone or written – but the words you hear impact your worldview, and thus, how you communicate & interact with others.