Levels and Modes of Communication

Topics: Linguistics, Language acquisition, Emotion Pages: 4 (1113 words) Published: October 29, 2013
The Levels of Communication: A Cheat Sheet
Nan Peck, Northern Virginia Communication College
Phatic Communication: Using conventional messages to establish rapport, to break the ice, and/or to end a conversation. You might hug, kiss, shake hands, bow, smile, make eye contact, and face one another. We exchange pleasantries by using cliches. Clichés are overused expressions that have lost their original (content) meanings and have taken on new relational meanings. We expect phatic communication at the beginning and end of every conversation, regardless of our feelings about a person. Examples: Hello. How are you?

I’m fine. How are you?
Hi. Paper or plastic?
Thanks for coming. Have a nice day.
You’re welcome.
Factual communication: Using events, making observations, offering knowledge to others in a manner which can be called chit chat or small talk. At business parties, we rely upon factual communication to network, to schmooze, and to work the room. Factual communication includes reporting what you’ve read in a textbook, what you’ve studied for a test, showing pictures of your children, and exchanging biographical information about yourself. Factual communication is relatively safe and most do this well. Examples: I’m majoring in business administration.

I’m married with three children, two sons and one daughter. Did you watch the basketball game last night?
What did we do in class last Friday?
Evaluative communication: Offering opinions, ideas and judgments to others. This is risky business because the odds are that others will reciprocate with their own evaluations, which may be different from yours. When people consistently use evaluative communication, they must be prepared for eventual conflict. Many U.S. Americans enjoy sharing at this level and feel that disagreeing with others is useful and invigorating. Unfortunately, many of us don’t use evaluative communication with a high level of competence....

References: Peck, Nan. The Levels of Communication: A Cheat Sheet. From http://www.nvcc.edu/home/npeck/handouts/communicationlevels.htm
CARLA (Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition). Process: Communication Modes. From http://www.carla.umn.edu/assessment/vac/modes/p_1.html
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