Essay by kaaanchCollege, UndergraduateA, September 2010

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Defining Communication

A definition is a useful and logical place to start our exploration of communication. Definitions clarify concepts by indicating their boundaries. They focus attention on what is important about whatever it is we are defining. Unfortunately, no single definition of communication does this to everyone's satisfaction.

Communicating well or poorly can spell the difference between success and failure in human relationships of almost every kind. Most of us already have deeply established communication habits that serve us well or poorly and may be difficult to change. But whatever skill we may possess, we can always improve. Gaining in the ability to communicate with and influence other brings significant rewards.

Communication is the act of transmitting verbal and non-verbal information and understanding between seller and buyer. The process by which information and feelings are shared by people through an exchange of verbal and non-verbal messages. In the context of medical education, its primary function is to establish understanding between patient and doctor.

In an atmosphere of effective communication, patients improve faster, cope better with post-operative pain, require less psychotropic drugs, and experience numerous other health benefits.

The creation of shared understanding through interaction among two or more agents. Communication depends upon interpretation of some message by the listener. Shared understanding is constructed through the detection and repair of misunderstandings (as opposed to a one-way transmission of data). The understanding created through communication can never be absolute or complete, but instead is an interactive and ongoing process in which common ground, i.e., assumed mutual beliefs and mutual knowledge, is accumulated and updated.

The interchange of ideas across space. Its fullest definition is the consideration and action of impelling an impulse or particle from source-point across a distance to receipt-point, with the intention of bringing into being at the receipt-point...