EXT: 7038
Thank you for registering for Communication Science (ACOM 111) and
welcome to the course. I trust that you will find this course rewarding
and enriching. The purpose of this module is to introduce you to the
basic principles of communication and to create an awareness of the
skills and competencies needed to communicate effectively. The
prescribed book for this course is - Communication Studies: an
introduction by Shiela Steinberg. The study guide is also available on
the website
Learning Outcomes
Enhancing your learning skills and developing a variety of learning strategies
Developing your self-responsibility skills
Working effectively with other learners in a group
Motivating yourself to make a positive contribution towards your community
Considering and improving your communicative competence
Stimulating your thoughts on communication as a science
Identifying, formulating and solving practical communication problems experienced personally or
in your community
Being sensitive to multicultural communication
Encouraging you to pursue your studies in communication science
Becoming a successful life-long learner.
Venue & Dates
• Lectures
A1 - 38
A1 - 38
A1 - 38
22 March
18 April
17 May
• Assessments
1st term test
Major Assignment 1
2nd term test
Course Outline
Week 1
Introduction to Communication Science
Week 2
Brief History of Communication
Week 3
Communication and Human Needs
Week 4
The Communication Process
Week 5
Perception, Listening and Feedback
Week 6
Nonverbal Communication
Week 7
Language and Communication
Week 8
Intrapersonal Communication
Week 9
Interpersonal Communication
Week 11
Small Group Communication
Week 12
Public Speaking
Tentative dates
13 Feb – 17
Overview of course
Learning outcomes
Guidelines and Rules
The Stages of Human Communication
20 Feb – 24
27 Feb – 2 Mar 
Purposes of Communication
Effects of Communication
Maslow’s theory
Communication as a scientific discipline
Communication competence
5 Mar – 9 Mar
Defining Communication
Dimensions of Communication
Components of the Communication Process
Models of the Communication Process
12 Mar – 16
19 Mar – 23
Functions of Nonverbal Communication
Aspects of Nonverbal Communication
Categories of Nonverbal Communication
Nonverbal skills
10 Apr – 13 Apr
Uses of Language
Language as a system of signs
Social phenomenon of Language
Communicative functions of language
The self
Intrapersonal variables
Perception of others
Improving accuracy of your perceptions
16 Apr – 20 Apr
23 Apr – 4 May
Buber’s theory of interpersonal relationships
Interpersonal communication and self-disclosure
Interpersonal communication and needs
Interpersonal communication and assertiveness
Presentation skills
Defining a group
Advantages and disadvantages of small groups
Group characteristics
Communication networks in small groups
Leadership and discussion in groups
Differences between interpersonal and group
7 May – 11 May
14 May – 18 May 
Determining the purpose of your talk / speech
Analyzing the audience
Selecting a topic
Researching the topic
Writing the speech
Organisational techniques for specific purposes
Preparing the delivery
Evaluating speeches
Course Rules & Responsibilities
1. Attendance to Lecturers
Attendance to lecturers is compulsory. An attendance register will be taken at
every lecture. Should you become ill, submit a copy of the medical certificate
to your lecturer. Any other reasons for your absenteeism will have to be given
to your lecturer in writing.
2. Assessments and tests
These must be written according to the official time-table. If a student is
prevented from doing so, the student must inform the lecturer before the
commencement of the test
The student must also produce a medical certificate, covering the full period of
absence, immediately upon return.
Should the student not write that test for non-medical reasons, then they will
receive 0% (zero) for that test. There will be no re-evaluation under these
3. Assignments
Assignments are to be submitted during the lecture period (unless
otherwise stipulated by your lecturer)
• Meet deadlines and due dates as stipulated in the course outline.
• Marks will be deducted for each day that the assignment is not late.
• Submit original work, no plagiarizing or cheating.
4. Semester-end examination
• You will write a 3-hour examination at the end of the semester. This mark
will contribute the other 50% of the final mark.
5. Consultation Times
• Students are welcome to consult the lecturer regarding problems during
the times stipulated by the lecturer.
General Guidelines
• Dates of assignments and assessments are provided in advance
so that you have adequate study and preparation time. If you
miss an assignment deadline, your assignment will not be
accepted and you will be given a ZERO. Should you experience
problems, speak to your lecturer before the assignment is due
and not on the due date.
Assignments must be TYPED.
Font size should be 12 and you should use either Arial/Times
New Roman.
• Use 1.5 line spacing.
Cover Page
• Name and Surname
• Student registration number
• Due date
• The Topic
• Lecturer’s name
Content of written assignment
Your written assignment should consist of the following:
Table of contents
An introduction – this should briefly explain how you intend to answer the
question (provide aims of the assignment)
The main section of your assignment will consist of all the readings. This must be
arranged in a logical way and should be the most important part of your
assignment. You should ensure that you have answered the question.
Your conclusion should consist of a summary of the main points.
List of references/bibliography
A brief history of Communication
• Can you imagine life without your blackberry, facebook, mixit or
• Did you ever wonder how communication began or how it
• Communication has changed dramatically over the past decade.
This is due to the rapid development of new technologies. The art
of communication science has evolved with time and has
undergone various stages to get where it is today.
Stages in the history of human
• Communication as we know it today evolved over a period of time
and went through various stages. In early civilisations there was a
need to communicate and instruments such as a ram’s horn,
drumbeats and smoke signals were used and during the Middle
Ages, homing pigeons were used to transmit messages. In modern
times communication is often available by means of pressing a
button ( phoning someone, sending a message via your cellular
phone, typing a letter on computer or switching on the television)
Age of Speech and Language
The development of communication did not replace anything preceding it. Gestures, the
development of language and the need for interaction with others merely contributed towards
modern-day methods of expression.
It is not very clear how language originated. Some believe words imitated sounds that
accompanied gesture; others believe words came from expression of emotion (crying or laughing)
while another school of thought believes that language resulted because of group activities (like
working together).
There are more or less 3,000 languages spoken worldwide today. In South Africa we have eleven
official languages and each of these languages has been influenced by other existing languages.
Many language characteristics in your mother tongue have been taken over from older
Age of Writing
• In prehistoric times drawings and pictures of animals and people
in cave paintings and cuneiform were used to communicate.
• For generations cave paintings provided people with a way of
recording customs and traditions
• Wedge shaped strokes on clay tables ( known as cuneiformpictographic writing in which symbols represented objects)
represented ideas. Sounds were later added to identify pictures
and in about 3500 BCE ( Before the common era), the Sumerians
used words that sounded similar to create meaning ( for example
“bee” and “leaf” created “belief”). A complete cuneiform system
had more than 600 signs and a cuneiform script discovered in
1929 contained an alphabet of consonants.
Age of Print
• In medieval Europe the preservation of learning was one of the major
responsibilities of the monks. One way this task was done, was by
meticulously copying entire texts onto papyrus (paper had not been
invented yet). Crafts men and manuscript copyists also participated in
this activity to ensure that books were made available and that
information was communicated to people.
In the West, however, at around 1438, the German printer Johan Guttenburg
invented a mould for casting individual letters in metal and published the
first book in the 1450’s. The Gutenberg Bible (1455) was the first work in
Europe to be printed with movable type ( about 200 copies were printed).
News-sheets an early form of the newspaper were later developed, which
flourished and circulated rapidly.
Society was easily influenced with the spread of books and information as
they could share their knowledge. More people began to read and write.
However the release of the newspaper became the first true mass
communication medium.
Age of Electronic Mass Media
• In modern times personal computers have become known as
Multimedia PC’s because various forms of media, such as
cameras, telephones, videos, compact disks and images can be
integrated to enhance the accessibility and distribution of
• Mass media is the term used to denote radio, newspapers,
television and the Internet- media that can be used to reach the
 Radio - Guglielmo Marconi, an Italian that was familiar with the work of Samuel
Morse, invented the first “wireless telegraph” and patented it in England in 1896.
On 12 December 1901 he transmitted his first transatlantic message between
Newfoundland in America and Poldu in England. Today Marconi is credited as the
father of Radio. The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) was
established on 1 August 1936.
 Film - Two Frenchmen, Niepce and Daguerre invented film during the 19th
century. By the early 20th century the movie camera and projector were
available and motion pictures became an important source of entertainment. By
1905 cinemas were built in Europe and United States. In South Africa film can
make an important contribution to the democratisation and development that
needs to take place.
• Television - Television means “to see at a distance”. It is
transmission of images and sounds to distant screens by
means of electrical or radio waves. John L. Baird showed the
live television pictures in London in 1926. The first television
service in South Africa was introduced on 5 January 1976.
Today SABC channels broadcast in all 11 languages reaching
an estimated 18 million people.
Information Age
• Also known as the computer or digital age.
• The rapid development of technology has provided
greater access to information, in terms of both speed
and information.
• The explosion brought about by computer technology
has led to the revision of many laws regulating access
to and communication of information.
The Internet
• The internet makes use of almost any kind of electronic transmission
promoting the sharing of information, enhancing business transactions
in terms of reducing time to send and access information and supporting
global interaction between organisations and people.
• The Internet can be regarded as a universal library, the worlds first viable
commercial democracy. The Internet is not free and users have to
register with a service provider and also pay for the time spent on the
Internet. Some websites provide information free of charge while others
rely on subscription fees.
 E-mail - E-mail has become an essential part of communication within and
between organisations. It has replaced letters, faxes and telephone calls in both
business and personal lives. E-mail is fast, cheap and reliable.
 The World Wide Web (WWW) - is a part of Internet in which information is
presented. Tim Berners-Lee created it in 1989 at the CERN Particle Physics
Laboratories in Switzerland. The WWW combines words, graphics, video and
sound, adds colours and includes advertising and downloadable texts and
programmes. It is possible to search for information on almost any topic using a
key word or phrase. A collection of papers belonging to the same organisation is
called a “web site”.
 Newsgroups and chatrooms - newsgroups and chatrooms enable people who
share the same interests from all over the world to communicate. A chatroom is
an electronic gathering place for people with similar interests.
 Teleconferencing - is a way to hold meetings with people who are in different
distant locations and is a substitute for face-to-face communication.
Videoconferencing and Audioconferencing use telephone and video technology.
 Telecommuting - enables people to work at home three or four times a week.
They are connected to the main office by a computer and is widespread in the
United States.
1. The five major stages of the development of human communication
are distinguished according to different stages:
a) List them in historical order.
b) Write down the medium or technological development that characterised each age.
2. Briefly describe the most important social outcome of the
development of the age of electronic mass media. .
3. To which electronic mass media are you exposed daily and how has the use of these enriched your
The Functions of Communication
• Ever wondered why we communicate???
• Think about your everyday activities…
• When we communicate we have some
purpose in mind.
Purposes of Communication
• The most important purpose of
communication is to satisfy a personal or
social need.
• Needs can be described as the requirements
of life.
• The various purposes of communication are..
 Physical & Psychological needs : physical
needs refer to the basic needs required to
Psychological needs refers to the need of
socialising and communicating with others.
 Relationships
maintenance of relationships with others.
 Sense of self : communication which allows
us to gather an insight into ourselves and
develop self-concept of who we are by the
way people respond to us.
 Information
without information. Information is obtained
and shared for various reasons.
 Decision making : decisions can be made
consciously or unconsciously. It can also be
made together with others.
 Persuasion : we often communicate to
persuade others to think the way we do.
Effects of Communication
• The use of communication can have two effects.
 Intentional effects : refers to the direct and
communicated message.
 Unintentional
effects: refers to the indirect
influences and unpredictable response from the
communicated message.
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs
Self actualisation
• Survival – most basic needs such as the physical wellbeing of a person.
• Safety – feeling free and secure from danger with order in our lives.
• Social – forming meaningful and close relationships with others.
Satisfying the need to be accepted, loved, appreciated and belong to a
• Esteem – the need to be respected by others and yourself. Allowing
yourself to become successful by enhancing your self – image.
• Self-actualisation – fulfilling your potential and achieving all that you can
as a human being. This is the most difficult need.
According to Maslow’s theory, people are motivated to
progress from the most basic needs ( to survive) to achieving
the highest level of needs (to fulfill ones potential and to
become all that one is capable of becoming). Maslow
believed that motivation deals with conscious and
unconscious drives and a primary level need has to be
satisfied before the next level of needs can be satisfied.
Maslow proposed that those people who have fulfilled their
need for self-actualisation can become aware of the fullest
potential of humans at large.
Communication as a scientific
• In modern age there has been a demand for the
scientific study of communication to determine
whether effective communication is taking place at
• Tools such as scientific study, theories, concepts,
models and communication research is used to test
our knowledge and assumptions of communication.
Communication competence
The success of your communication with your partner will depend on a number
of factors, such as communication competence. You will, among other things,
have to formulate the words carefully in order to express yourself clearly and
concisely. You will have to understand and interpret nonverbal communication
and also display the correct and most acceptable nonverbal behaviour.
Communication is a competence which one can learn. Communication skills can
be improved by understanding 1) the communication process; 2) different
communication categories; 3) elements of communication; 4) verbal and
nonverbal communication and by 5) developing effective listening skills.
The Communication Process
Defining Communication
• There is no single approach to communication.
• As years went along theorists developed,
changed or modified communication theories.
• Three definitions of communication will be
The first theory looks at communication as a
linear (one-way)
process. Communication
can be defined as the ‘sending or receiving of
messages’ or ‘the transmission of messages
from one person to another’.
 The second theory is more complex. Along with the
transmission, it includes the interpretation and meaning of
messages. Communication can be seen as a two-way process
in which people exchange messages. Here communication
can be defined as ‘a dynamic process of exchanging
meaningful messages’.
 The last theory also views communication as a
dynamic process of exchanging messages but as a
transaction in which the participants develop a
relationship between them. It focuses on the quality
of the relationship in which participants negotiate di,
Communication is defined as ‘a transactional process
of exchanging messages and negotiating meaning to
establish and maintain relationships’.
Dimensions of Communication
• Are we able to communicate without using
• Communication can take place in various
dimensions such as verbal and nonverbal; oral
unintentional communication.
 Verbal and nonverbal communication
 Verbal communication – refers to spoken or written
signs called words, which make up a language.
 Nonverbal communication – refers to communication
without spoken messages, it deals with body
language such as gestures, touch, facial expressions
and use of space.
 Verbal and nonverbal communication work together
to convey the meaning of a message.
 Oral and written communication
Oral communication – refers to messages
that are transmitted aloud. Daily we speak
and listen to others.
Written communication – involves mainly
words and is taking place as you read this
slide. It also has a nonverbal dimension.
 Formal and informal communication
 Communication within this context depends largely
on the situation we in.
 Formal communication – is well structured, more
attention is paid to the way in which we use verbal
and nonverbal communication. We express ourselves
clearly and avoid using of slang. A scene at work or an
 Informal communication – communicating with ease,
less structured. A scene at a friend’s party.
Intentional and unintentional communication
 Intentional communication – refers to
communication with a specific goal in mind.
Unintentional communication – refers to
occasions when communication takes place
without the communicator being aware of it.
Components of the communication
• The communication process can be viewed as a system. A system
is composed of interdependent parts working together to achieve
an intended goal. Example: a car – the individual parts work
together so that it can function efficiently.
• A concept is a word with a specific meaning. Communication
terms or concepts that you will study in this unit include:
encoding, context, message and feedback. Examples will be used
to explain and elaborate each term.
 People : people involved in the communication process
are called the communicator (message source) and the
recipient (message receiver). Communication is a dynamic
process people therefore interactively play both roles.
- The communicator (message source) intentionally forms
purposeful messages and expresses them through verbal
and nonverbal signs.
- The recipient (message receiver) is an active participant
who receives and interprets the message, then responds
to the message and becomes the communicator and the
partner becomes the recipient.
 Message : communication takes place through the sending and
receiving of messages. The message has content which is
conveyed during the communication encounter. Messages have a
meaning that must be understood and interpreted.
 Sign and code : signs represent something such as an idea and a
code is a system for using signs. You have already learned that
communication is both verbal and nonverbal, and that both work
together to convey the message. You also know that nonverbal
signs such as gestures can sometimes be confusing because
people from different cultures use these gestures in different
 Encoding and decoding : encoding is the process of
transforming ideas into verbal and nonverbal signs
(create messages); decoding is the process of taking
the verbal and nonverbal messages and giving it a
 Medium and channel : these are links between the
communicator and the recipient. The medium is the
physical means of transmitting messages. The channel
is the route which the messages travel.
 Meaning : The reason that meaning is so difficult to
define is that it is an abstract concept . The best way
of explaining meaning now is to define it as being the
outcome or product of communication.
 Interpretation : involves adding you own meaning to
what is being conveyed. Interpretation depends
largely on social (shared) and individual (personal)
 Noise : refers to anything that distorts the message. Noise
is anything that makes the recipient receive a message
that the communicator did not intend to convey. There
are three types of noises:
- External noises : stimuli in the environment that distracts
your attention.
- Internal noises : people’s thoughts or feelings that may
interfere with communication.
- Semantic noises : interferences caused by different
meanings of words.
 Feedback : feedback does not always have
to be verbal. It is any response given by the
participants when communicating with each
other. Even silence communicates a message.
 Context : refers to the different settings in
which the encounters take place
Models of the communication process
• Models help to describe and explain the communication process.
• The models capture essential features and help us to visualise the
communication process more clearly.
• Four theories will be discussed
- Laswell’s view of communication
- Shannon and Weaver’s view of communication
- Schramm’s view of communication
- Transactional model
Laswell’s view of communication
- Emphasises the effect of the message on the recipient.
- Communication is a one-way process, the communicator
influences others through the content of the message.
- The communicator is the only active participant in the
- It is not a technical model as it draws attention to the
importance of the content of the message.
 Shannon and Weaver’s view of communication
Shannon and Weaver were mainly concerned with finding solutions to
technical problems, especially noise, which caused distortions during the
transmission process. Also called a technical model
A channel with a lot of noise makes communication between the
communicator and the recipient very difficult.
 Schramm’s view of communication
His model is primarily concerned with the path that a message follows
from communicator to recipient.
Communication is seen as a dynamic interaction by two active
participants and as a two-way process.
The importance of feedback is highlighted.
Communication here may be interpersonal or mass communication.
 Transactional model
Uses all elements from previous models and builds on them to show that
the communication process is a transaction.
the transactional model illustrates the view of the communicator and
recipient. Both participants receive and send messages at the same time.
In other words, they are simultaneously involved in negotiating meaning.
The type of relationship that develops between them is a crucial
outcome of the communication encounter.
Perception, Listening and Feedback
• Have you ever gotten lost because you did not pay
attention to the directions given to you???
• Missed an appointment because you got the times
• These examples illustrate why listening plays a vital
role in the communication process.
 Perception
When we talk about perception, we are referring to your five senses. That is
hearing, sight, touch, taste and smell. These five senses provide you with a great
deal of information about the world and the people around you.
we store perceptual information ( i.e information we get through our five senses)
in our memory. Because we remember information , our perception of new
experiences is to a certain extent, determined by our past experiences. The
simple example of touching a hot stove illustrates this point. Once we’ve burned
ourselves on a stove, we will be far more careful in future.
However the point is that our perceptions of what has happened and what is
happening are sometimes so inaccurate that they give us the wrong impression
of people and events around us, and even of ourselves and how others see us.
But understanding how it occurs and the consequences it could have can help us
to improve our communication with ourselves and with the people whom we
- The two major causes of this sort of distortion are
perceptual inaccuracies and the fact that any perception
process is always subjective ( subjective means that we
interpret things from our own point of view).
perceptual inaccuracies : which is figure is longer??
- look how easy it is to be deceived by the evidence of your
own eyes.
- The perception process occurs in three
principle stages:
 selection
 organisation
unconsciously and almost simultaneously.
 Listening
- A great deal of time is spent on listening.
- But the major limitations in establishing and maintaining
relationships is the inability of partners to listen efficiently.
- The listening process consists of four stages:
 sensing and attending : sensing the sound vibrations, once
identified your brain attends to these sounds.
 Understanding and interpreting : understand and interpret the
meaning of the message.
 Remembering : storing the meanings received and recall later on.
 Responding: providing feedback to the speaker.
Types of listening
 Listening for enjoyment
 Comprehensive or discriminative listening
 Critical listening
 Conversational and reflective listening.
 Feedback
Verbal and nonverbal feedback by partners in communication indicate the level
of understanding or agreement between them.
Feedback indicates whether the message is understood and perceived positively
or negatively.
Successful communication depends on the giving and receiving of feedback.
Nonverbal communication
• Nonverbal communication is used to describe all
intentional and unintentional messages that are
not written or spoken.
• Body movements, gestures, facial expressions,
tone of voice, eye movement and the use of
space, time and touch are all part of nonverbal
Functions of nonverbal communication
- We cannot study nonverbal messages in isolation. We always
study them in relation to the verbal part of the message because,
together, they make up the total message.
- Nonverbal functions in the following ways:
• Reinforces the verbal message
• Adds to ( or complements) the verbal message
• Replaces the verbal message
• Contradicts the verbal message
Regulates the flow of messages
 Aspects of nonverbal communication
- Nonverbal messages are sometimes misunderstood
- Three possible reasons are:
 Leakage : leaking information about ourselves that
we cannot hide.
 Contextual : nonverbal communication primarily
feelings) depending on the context.
 Culture: different cultures have different codes of
acceptable behaviour in different situations.
 Categories of nonverbal communication
Kinesics: “Kine” means motion or movement. Movement of ones body, arms, legs, face or eyes
are therefore included in the word kinesics.
Proxemics: comes from the word “proximity” which refers to closeness or nearness in space.
Haptics: has also been described as “tacesics” which refers to our tactile sense ( our sense of
Chronemics: comes from the word “chronological” which means arranging events according to
dates or a time sequence.
Paralanguage: “Para” can mean beside or by the side of something; the something in this case is
language. That is way the word paralanguage includes the quality of the speakers voice,
hesitations between words, and other sounds, as well as the speed or rate or the volume and
pitch of the speakers voice.
Language and Communication
- Language denotes different things to different people, but language
consists of signs (arbitrary and symbolic) , has different levels of
meaning (denotative and connotative) and has various functions,
uses and purposes.
- Language is needed for people to interpret their social world, to
think about experiences and to share information with others
because language is the tool by means of which communication
processes are mediated. None of the intrapersonal or interpersonal
communication processes would be possible without the use of
verbal language.
• Uses of language
- Language is our primary means of exchanging messages.
- We can discuss our feelings, thoughts and experiences of
the world by using languages.
• The three possible levels of meaning of words which can
be distinguished are the
- Denotative level of meaning
- Connotative level of meaning
- Mythological or ideological level of meaning
• Functions of language
The following communicative functions of language can generally be
Referential function: conveys concrete, objective information about the
content of the message. Example : news reporting or science writing.
Expressive function : ability to communicate our emotions, beliefs and
opinions and attitude towards a subject. Example : debating a sensitive
Conative function : use of language to persuade the recipient. Example
: political speeches and adverts.
1. Phatic function : use of language for making and
sustaining contact with others. Idle chatter which can be
meaningless. Example : weather and greetings.
2. Poetic function: use of language for intrinsic pleasure
and draws attention to sound, diction and syntax.
Example : poetry and proverbial sayings.
3. Metalinguistic function : explore and reflect upon a
message. Example : phrases like “understand” or “you
• Language as a system of signs
Language can be defined as a unified system of signs and the grammatical rules
that permit sharing a meaning.
We construct messages using linguistic signs or words using the rules of the
language that we speak.
English, isiZulu, French and so on are classified as language systems.
Words are signs that stand for something. There are natural and arbitrary
(symbolic) signs.
Natural signs refer to a natural connection such as a sneeze which refers to
Arbitrary signs are those signs that people created and are common. a tree can
represent vegetation because people have chosen to associate it with vegetation.
• Language as a social phenomenon
o Verbal language is used when people interact (communicate) with
one another and to build relationships between people. Verbal
communication is conveyed either orally or in printed form and
can be found in different settings, such as face-to-face
communication, mass media or when using the Internet.
o Before people can effectively communicate with one another by
means of a language, they need to acquire an understanding of
what words actually mean and a mutual understanding of
connotations attached to words.
 Intrapersonal Communication
• As humans we are constantly involved in
planning, dreaming, thinking and worrying
about what is going on around us – i.e
communication within the self to the self.
• The Self
- The self is used to describe who and what we
think we are (personal identity).
- It is made up of 2 dimensions : internal (private
self) and social (public self).
- We in fact have many features to ourselves
including the physical, emotional, intellectual,
and moral selves.
• Self concept
- Refers to everything that we think and feel about ourselves.
- It is the mental image that we communicate with to other through
the way we behave in a particular situation.
• Development of self concept
- Self concept is shaped by our relationships with others.
- The way we perceive ourselves depends largely on how we
believe other see us.
- If you are positive about yourself, you will develop a positive self
concept. If you feel negative about yourself and the impression
others have of you, the more negative your self concept will be.
• Intrapersonal variables
We all have intrapersonal variables. Whether or not we realise it.
Intrapersonal variables are our attitudes, values, beliefs, opinion and
prejudices. And of course, the people with whom we interact also have
attitudes, values, beliefs, opinions and prejudices which do not always
coincide with ours.
o Values are the moral and ethical judgements we make about things that are
important to us.
o Attitudes are the learned reaction to a person or implies a
negative or positive evaluation of someone or something.
o A Belief is anything that is accepted as true without judgement, an opinion
is your personal viewpoint and prejudices are usually stereotypes which are
accompanied by strong emotions.
• Perception of others
- We often judge others by their appearance. We use
the way someone dresses, walks, speaks and even the
car they drive to label him or her. It is only after closer
investigation that we realise that the older man who
drives a battered car is in fact a professor, or that the
blonde woman who always wears daring mini-dresses is
in fact a computer whizz. However as you know by now,
we cannot always rely on the evidence of our senses.
• Improving the accuracy of your perceptions
- Recognise your own strengths and weaknesses
which will allow you to get to know yourself.
- Develop a positive but accurate self image of
- Your perceptions of others are not always
correct so allow yourself to revise them.
• Interpersonal communication
- This unit is mainly concerned with one-to –
one, face- to – face relationships- in other
words, relationships between two people, who
are in each other’s physical presence, who can
watch each other during the communication
process, and who can give each other
immediate feedback.
• Buber’s theory of interpersonal relationships
- Buber suggested that the basis of human
existence is that people are communicating
- He identified two types of interpersonal
 I – you relationships
 I – it relationships
• The difference lies in the nature of the communication
that takes place between them. The concepts dialogue
and monologue makes it easier to understand the
• Dialogue : is a conversation in which both participants can
equally express and interpret each others messages.
• Monologue : is a conversation where the communicator
is seen as the only participant, as he does not take into
account the other persons view or allow them to respond
• I – you relationships
- Partners approach each other with mutual respect,
sincerity, honesty with the intention of participating
in a reciprocal relationship.
- A space opens up between people which Buber calls
an interhuman domain - the dialogue unfolds and
“you” and “I” become “we”.
- The
(acknowledge and understand their differences) and
• I – it relationship
- The attitudes and intentions of the I is that his partner
is not an equal subject but an object to be manipulated
for personal gain.
- The intention of the I is to persuade the views and
needs by conducting a monologue.
- This relationship is characterised by self centeredness,
pretence, manipulation and exploitation.
- It does not include the option of agreement to differ.
• Interpersonal communication and needs
- Theories
interpersonal needs and allow us to understand
why we and others behave the way we do in our
- Schutz developed an interpersonal theory that
people need people. He suggests that we need
to satisfy three basic human needs to develop
interpersonal relationships with others.
• Schutz’s interpersonal needs theory.
- Need for inclusion : a desire for social contact,
be in the company of others and maintain a
feeling of mutual interest with them.
 Oversocial
companionship of others.
 Undersocial people : prefer being left alone.
 Adaptable – social people : balance their need for
inclusion and privacy.
- Need for affection : we all need opportunities to
show and receive affection from others. To form
emotionally close relationships and express the
affection verbally and nonverbally.
 Overpersonal people : have a high need of relationships
with others, confide in others and express feelings freely.
 Underpersonal people : avoid close ties, value privacy and
have little need for affection.
 Personal people : express and receive affection when
desirable but can maintain a distance when necessary.
- Need for control : the desire both to successfully
manage and influence events and people around you
and allow other to establish control.
 Autocrats : dominate others, must be in charge and
become anxious if they are not in charge.
 Abdicrats : people with a strong need to be controlled,
prefer not to make decisions or accept responsibility,
submissive and abdicates all power to their partners.
 Democrats : know when it is appropriate to control but is
also comfortable submitting to others when necessary.
• Homan’s social exchange theory
- This theory suggests that, when we enter into
communication, we look at what we get from the encounter.
The exchange is two-way: each partner has something the
other desires or values, so , for Homan’s, communication is
similar to a commercial exchange between a buyer and a
seller. In the same way that we do not go into business with
the expectation of losing money, we do not put time or
effort into a relationship we feel we are getting nothing or
little out of it.
-Homan’s theory uses economic terms such as “profit"
and “loss” to describe an interpersonal outcome or
“exchange”. If, for example, an interaction between two
people, is positive, the outcome of the relationship is
regarded as a profit. If the interaction is negative, the
outcome of the relationship is regarded as a loss. A
profit or reward means that you gain something for
yourself; it does not have to be money. Cost , on the
other hand, has a negative meaning, and can be
regarded as a kind of punishment.
• Interpersonal communication and self-disclosure
- self-disclosure means to reveal personal information
such as inner experiences and private thoughts. We
usually hide this type of information from others.
- Please note that while self-disclosure is essential to
the growth of meaningful interpersonal relationships,
it is in intrapersonal communication that we decide
how much information about our private self we are
willing to reveal to other people.
A model of self-disclosure (The Johari window)
- The window represents yourself. The self includes
everything about you, including things you do not even
know about. Do you agree that, as a relationship becomes
closer, the open pane grows larger? And that the hidden
quadrant in the window is usually fairly large at the
beginning of a relationship, but becomes smaller as the open
pane grows larger? As you learn and disclose more about
yourself to others, the unknown quadrant becomes smaller
and smaller.
• Because we can never know ourselves completely, the
unknown pane will always exist. But, as people get to know
us better, they may tell us thinks about ourselves that we did
not know about- in other words, information that comes
from the unknown pane. As this happens, the blind panethat is, the pane that contains information about ourselves
that we do not know – will become smaller. This is how our
close relationships help us to gain self-knowledge. Too see
how the size of the panes changes as we self-disclose, look
at the two Johari windows drawn below. Start your analysis
by looking at the biggest pane.
Open pane
Blind pane
Open pane
Hidden pane
Blind pane
Unknown pane
Window A
Hidden pane
Window B
The four quadrants are interdependent, thus a
change one quadrant will affect the others.
• Window A has a large hidden pane and a small
open pane. Window A represents someone who
is not prepared to share his or her self with
others. It is usually very difficult for this sort of
person to form close relationships.
• Window B has an extremely large open pane
and a very small hidden pane. Window B is
regarded as being the ideal window for an
intimate relationship.
• Interpersonal communication and assertiveness
- Assertiveness training has become common practice, more
recently, assertive behaviour as a communication skill has
begun to be valued in South Africa. Everyone needs to learn
assertiveness as a communication skill.
- What exactly is assertiveness? The first point to remember
is that being assertive is not the same as being aggressive.
Being assertive enables you to express yourself clearly and
confidently without putting down yourself and without
putting other people down.
• Assertive styles
- Three communication styles of coping with situations.
passive style : suppressing feelings to avoid conflict and
- aggressive style : lashing out at the source of discomfort
with little concern for the situation or feelings of others.
- assertive style : neither avoid conflict nor dominate a
relationship but communicate feelings and opinions
honestly and clearly without hurting others.
• Small Group Communication
- All of us spend time in groups.
- Some groups are formal and others informal.
- Socially oriented(human need for social
contact) and task oriented (problem solving/
achieving specific outcomes).
 Defining a group
- a group is a collection of individuals who see
themselves belonging, interacting, occupying
certain roles to achieve a certain goal.
- A small group is composed of twelve or fifteen
others and being influenced by others.
 Advantages of small groups
- Pooling of resources and information to achieve goals
and reach decisions.
- increase in individual motivation and commitment to
the tasks.
- Superior decisions and solutions are often reached
because groups are better equipped than individuals.
- Having one’s ideas confirmed by others provides a
feeling of personal satisfaction.
 Disadvantages of small groups
- the temptation to allow others to do all the
- The temptation for forceful people to take over
and dominate the group.
- Personal goals of the group members sometimes
conflict with group goals to the extent that they
interfere with group objectives.
 Group characteristics
- optimum number of members : small group
consists of three to twelve or fifteen people. Five
to seven people in a group is the most productive
size as it is large enough to share information and
workload it also allows each member maximum
participation. An odd number makes it easy to
vote and will prevent tie votes.
- Good working environment : promotes interaction among
its members. Seating that is too formal or too informal
inhibits free discussion. The ideal arrangement of tables
allows everyone to see each other and everyone has a equal
status, establishing a climate of equal opportunity for all.
The climate concerns the atmosphere in the group and I
dependent on the communication styles of the members.
Group climate affects the cohesiveness and commitment of
the members to the task in hand and to group norms.
- Cohesiveness and commitment to the task :
groups that succeed in achieving their goals are
committed and strive to meet the group's
goals. Effective groups are usually cohesive in
that every member actively work together as a
group and help one another as group members.
- Group norms : norms are the rules of
behaviour expected for a group to operate
effectively and to develop cohesiveness.
- Group interaction and group procedure are
two important areas of norm development.
- Filling role requirements : members of the
group play or fulfill certain prescribed roles.
In effective groups, members understand and
maintenance roles that enable the group to
function. Problems arise when members
deliberately play self-centered roles and
dominate the discussion.
 Communication networks in small groups
- The structure of the group plays a major role
in the effectiveness of communication in the
group. Communication networks provide a way
of looking at a group structure. Communication
networks are recurring patterns of interaction
(who talks to whom in a group). Draw diagram
from textbook
• The wheel, chain and Y are centralised
networks. In centralised networks the person
with the most channels of communication
tends to become the group leader.
• The circle and all-channel patterns are
decentralised and sometimes leaderless.
 Leadership in groups
- Leadership is defined as any behaviour that
facilitates group task accomplishment. Effective
leaders are able to help a group attain both
task and maintenance functions. Many theories
Leadership traits and leadership styles will be
- Leadership traits : effective leaders display
consistent traits which relate to ability, sociability,
motivation and communication skills.
- Leadership styles : quality of work produced by
groups depends on the style of leadership of the
group leader. There are three different leadership
styles, namely authoritarian, democratic and
laissez-faire styles.
 Authoritarian leaders are strongly task oriented and
have opinions on how to achieve the groups goals.
They exercise direct control, make decisions without
consulting the group which causes conflict and group
satisfaction is low.
 Democratic leaders are people oriented. They guide
rather than direct by involving all members. Produces
high quality results, opportunities, motivation and
desire to communicate.
 laissez-faire leadership usually does not
direct the group at all. They supply
information but do not actively participate in
group decisions. The group has the final say.
The group can suffer from loss of direction
and the quality of work they produce suffers.
 Public speaking
- How would you react if someone asked you to give a
speech at some occasion?
- “Sure, any time!” or “Me, give a speech? Forget it!”
- Public speaking is seen as a context of communication
science- something that takes place in the public domain. It
can also be seen as a skill that a person acquires and
practises.. there are people who have a natural talent for
giving speeches, but with a few basic principles under the
belt, anyone can give a speech.
• Determining the purpose of your talk / speech
- The topic might be selected by the person or
organisation that has invited you or you may be
free to select the topic yourself.
- The first step should be to decide the purpose of
your talk.
- Most oral presentations have four purposes: to
inform, to instruct, to persuade or to entertain.
• Analysing the audience
- Asses the nature, needs and interests of the people who
will be listening to you.
- Gather information about the audience which can help
you decide on a topic that will capture their interest and
attention and guide you in organising and presenting the
- Three factors to consider: characteristics of group,
psychological makeup of listeners and the place in which
you will be talking.
• Selecting a topic
- The subject area of the talk
- Specific topic within the subject area
- Purpose of the talk
- Topic statement
• Researching the topic
- Information you provide must be correct and soundly
- Two sorts of material: information for the content of
your talk and illustrations, statistics, expert opinions
and quotations.
- Research can be done using materials at libraries or
on the internet, conducting interviews and drawing
on personal experiences and observations.
• Writing the talk
- The written preparation determines the
quality of the end result. Organise in a logical
order, making it easier for the audience to
- Three main parts : introduction, body,
- Introduction: states the purpose of your talk,
- Body:
introduction using a logical pattern.
- Conclusion: reinforces the central idea, sum up
and tie up main points together, remind and
motivate audience to think or act on ideas
• Organisational techniques for specific purposes
- Informative talks : increases the audiences
knowledge and understanding of topic. If the
main idea is abstract you need to support it with
concrete evidence.
- Use statistics, specific examples and quotations
to achieve this.
- Instructive talks : you usually want the
audience to be able to do something.
- Using information and putting it into practice
by using a variety of props or aids to
demonstrate what you are describing.
- Persuasive talks : the goal is usually to
establish a need and show how it can be met
or describe a problem and provide solution.
• Preparing the delivery
- Using notes : serves as reminders, small cards
with the main ideas in point form.
- Language of oral message : must be personal
and direct and give the listener instant
comprehension of meaning. Use your active
voice and use vocabulary they will understand
or explain any technical terms used.
- Using your voice : you must be clear and the
enunciation correct and distinct.
- Body movement : nonverbal messages increases
your chances of success. You appear relaxed and
natural and it helps measure the audiences
reactions. The way you dress is also a nonverbal
message. Clothing and personal appearance
influences the audiences initial impression.
- Dealing with questions : decide in advance
when the audience can pose their questions.
This allows the speaker to clarify points
raised in the talk. Remain courteous and
avoid sarcasm.
• Visuals : using visuals or graphics increases
the effectiveness of your presentation. They
help to attract and hold the audiences
• Evaluating speeches : One of the best ways of
sharpening your public speaking skills is to
evaluate your own and other speaker’s