Welcome to Grade 12 Business and Technological Communication. In this course, you will explore what it means to be an effective communicator in the business world. You will be challenged to think and reflect about the ways to improve how you communicate in today’s changing environment.

Let’s get started!

Can you think of a time that you had a great idea in your head, but by the time you shared your idea with the people around you, it didn’t seem like such a great idea after all? Or have you ever sent a message that you thought was harmless, only to receive a negative reaction?

We all have miscommunications from time to time, because communication can be complicated.

You communicate when you have an idea or message that you want to convey to another person. Communication occurs when that message is sent and received. But what if the reaction of the receiver is not what you intended or expected?

Watch this video clip from the television program, “Big Bang Theory” and answer the questions in the space provided. When you’re ready, compare you’re thinking to the suggested answers.

What was the idea that Sheldon was trying to communicate? What was Amy trying to communicate?

How was the message communicated? (in person, over the phone, text message, email)?

Who is the receiver in this example of communication?

What was Amy’s reaction to Sheldon’s communication?

How did Sheldon know if his message was understood?

Try it!

Try this for yourself. Think about a time when you were involved in a miscommunication. Answer the following questions. You will come back to your answers in the next part of the learning activity.

What was the idea that you wanted to communicate or what was your reason for communicating?

How did you communicate your idea (in person, over the phone, text message, email)?

Who were you communicating with?

What was their reaction?

How did they let you know?

Setting yourself up for success: Your notebook

When you come across this icon, you will be prompted to add your thinking to a notebook. So far you have been provided with space on the page to answer questions and add to your thinking. At other times you will be directed to use a notebook, either paper-based or digital. Choose the format that is best for you. Your notes won’t be marked, but they will help you as you prepare for the final project and test.

Effective communication

Effective communication, either in print, online, in film or in person, is very powerful and can influence how you think, act and behave. Equally important is that effective communication can affect how people behave and respond to you.

Communication is a two-way street, depending on both the message that the sender is sending, and the message that the receiver is getting.

Like in your example of miscommunication in the Minds on section, effective communication requires that the receiver understands the message in the way that the sender wishes the message to be understood.

Notebook

Recreate the following diagram, called the Shannon Weaver Communication Model, in your notebook and include the definitions of each part in your own words.

From left to right, blue circle labelled SENDER, with an arrow pointing to a peach box labelled ENCODING, which points to a large grey arrow in the centre of the model labelled CHANNEL, which points to another peach box labelled DECODING, which points to a blue box and the far right of the screen labelled RECEIVER.  A green arrow loops underneath the model, connecting the RECEIVER circle, all the way back to the SENDER circle.  That arrow is labelled FEEDBACK

The sender is the information source.

How the sender converts the message from thoughts into words. For the purpose of business communication, encoding will focus on word choice or diction and tone. How you craft a message is important because words can have a positive or negative connotation.

Tone refers to an author’s use of words and writing style to convey his or her attitude towards a topic. Tone is often defined as what the author feels about the subject.

Connotation refers to an implied meaning that’s associated with a word in addition to its literal meaning. This association can be cultural or emotional.

The channel is the medium that you choose for your message. This can be face to face, on the phone, over email or by text.

How the receiver perceives the message. This can be affected by noise, past relationship with the sender, and the receiver’s identity.

The target of your communication. This is the person or group of people that you are communicating with. Decoding of the message can be affected by the receiver’s identity. Factors affecting identity: gender, race, socio-economic background, level of education, and lived experiences.

Feedback is an important part of the process. It’s where the receiver communicates back to the sender. The process then begins again. Based on the feedback, the sender can determine if the message was received clearly.

Discover More

There are many online resources available to provided additional information about the Shannon-Weaver communication model. Watch “Transmission Model of Communication: Shannon and Weaver”(Opens in new window) or choose another resource that is available to support your understanding.

Check your understanding

Now it’s time to look back at what you wrote previously, in the Minds on section of this learning activity. How do your previous responses fit into the Shannon-Weaver communication model? The example from “Big Bang Theory” has been completed for you as a sample.

From left to right, blue circle labelled SENDER, with an arrow pointing to and yellow box labelled ENCODING, which points to a large grey arrow in the centre of the model labelled CHANNEL, which points to another yellow box labelled DECODING, which points to a blue box and the far right of the screen labelled RECEIVER.  A green arrow loops underneath the model, connecting the RECEIVER circle, all the way back to the SENDER circle.  That arrow is labelled FEEDBACK.

Big Bang Theory - Sample answers

What was the idea that Sheldon was trying to communicate? What was Amy trying to communicate?

How was the message communicated? (in person, over the phone, text message, email)?

Who is the receiver in this example of communication?

What was Amy’s reaction to Sheldon’s communication?

How did Sheldon know if his message was understood?

Try it!

Now try filling in the sections of the diagram in your notebook based on an example of your own. You can either use your example from the Minds on section or create a new one. If needed, check the hints for each section of the diagram.

When you can confidently answer each of the following questions, you are ready to move on. If not, review the examples provided so far.

Hints

What was the idea that you wanted to communicate or what was your reason for communicating?

What system of meaning does the sender use to compose the message? (language, word choice, image)?

How did you communicate your idea (in person, over the phone, text message, email)?

Who were you communicating with?

What was their reaction?

How did they let you know?

What causes miscommunication?

Miscommunication often occurs when noise interferes with the effective transmission of the message.

In this case, noise is the name given to any number of outside factors that affect the way the message is sent and/or received.

Definition - Noise

Noise is any type of disruption that interferes with the transmission or interpretation of information from the sender to the receiver. It is one of the most important concepts to understand when it comes to communication and miscommunication.

Source: Wikipedia (Opens in new window)

Watch this short scene from the comedy show “Seinfeld”. In this scene, the noise in Elaine’s head is literally making effective communication impossible.

Compare your experiences with noise to Elaine’s. What solutions did you (or would you) try to make communication clearer?



Types of Noise and Communication

Explore the following four types of noise in relation to communication: physical or environmental noise, physiological noise, psychological noise, and semantic noise.

Physical or Environmental Noise is literally background noise that interferes with you hearing a message. It could be loud music in the shopping mall as you are trying to check your voicemail, or a distracting co-worker talking loudly as you try to make a message on the phone. Physical noise will affect verbal communication more than written communication.

Physiological Noise is a distraction caused by physiological processes that interferes with the communication process. It originates from within the sender or receiver and has to do with a physiological process of the body. For example, if the sender of a message is experiencing stress, anger, fatigue, or hunger, it will affect the way that he or she encodes his or her message. If the receiver is tired, he or she may not decode the message clearly and accurately. Sometimes physiological noise may simply be the receiver’s ability to hear the message, like the example earlier from the show, “Seinfeld.”

Psychological noise results from preconceived notions we bring to conversations, such as racial stereotypes, reputations, biases, and assumptions. When we come into a conversation with ideas about what the other person is going to say and why, we can easily become blinded to their original message. Most of the time psychological noise is impossible to free ourselves from, and we must simply strive to recognize that it exists and take those distractions into account when we converse with others.

Definition

Stereotype: a stereotype is an over-generalized belief about a particular category of people.

Source: Cardwell, Mike (1999). Dictionary of psychology. Chicago Fitzroy Dearborn. 978-1579580643.

Bias: is disproportionate weight in favor of or against an idea or thing, usually in a way that is closed-minded, prejudicial, or unfair. Biases can be innate or learned. People may develop biases for or against an individual, a group, or a belief.

Steinbock, Bonnie (1978). “Speciesism and the Idea of Equality”. Philosophy. 53 (204): 247–256. doi:10.1017/S0031819100016582. Archived

Semantic Noise caused by the sender. This type of noise occurs when grammar or technical language is used that the receiver cannot understand clearly. The sender’s encoding or diction is usually the problem in this case as it does not match the receiver’s ability or identity. (This will be discussed more thoroughly when we learn about purpose and audience).

Check your understanding

At the end of each learning activity, you will have the opportunity to reflect, both on what you have learned and how you are developing as a self-directed learner. In this first consolidation, you will engage in some self-assessment.

Self-assessment and reflection

This is a self-assessment, which will help you:

  • assess and evaluate your own work;
  • determine where you are in your learning, where you need to go, and how best to get there; and
  • prepare and demonstrate your learning for the final test.

Using either the "Big Bang Theory" or "Seinfeld" video clip from earlier, write a paragraph identifying two types of noise. Use specific examples to support your thinking.

You may find it helpful to use this following paragraph template (Opens in new window).

Once you have completed your paragraph, use the following checklist to assess your progress. Rate each success criteria, where 1= with limited effectiveness and 4=with a high degree of effectiveness.

Agree or Disagree statements
Success Criteria 1 2 3 4
I correctly identify two types of noise.
I provide accurate examples from the video to explain and support each type of noise.
I use of language is appropriate for purpose and audience.
I can write a proper paragraph, with a topic sentence, examples with explanations and a concluding sentence.

Notebook

When you have completed the checklist, ask yourself the following reflection questions:

  • What did I do well?
  • What concepts do I need to improve upon?
  • What are my next steps to ensure I understand all the concepts?
  • What steps can I take to improve and grow as a learner?

Add your answers to your notebook.

Review

Do you need to review paragraph writing? Review some helpful tips from ILC: Reviewing Parts of a Paragraph, below.