Chapter 1: Introduction to Communication Studies

Chapter Learning Outcomes

In this chapter you will:

  1. Distinguish between varying language registers.
  2. Identify the needs of a variety of professional audiences.
  3. Select the right tone and diction for specific audiences and professional situations.
  4. Use positive/neutral, objective, and specific diction to respond to readers’ needs.

As most of you already know, the origins of communication studies are traced back thousands of years to ancient Greek philosophers and teachers like Plato and Aristotle, who were the first to systematically study and write about effective public speaking. However, there is much more to the field of communication. Communication students and scholars also study basic communication processes like nonverbal communication, perception, and listening, as well as communication in various contexts, including interpersonal, group, intercultural, and media communication. Our textbook attempts to cover all of these aspects of communication with a focus on managerial and leadership aspects.

Our approach will be audience-focused — that is, we will try to learn the best communication strategies to use with specific audiences in specific professional contexts. In addition, in order to stimulate your development of managerial/leadership skills, we will integrate a series of metacognitive aspects into our learning — that is, we will prioritize learning aspects such as planning, monitoring, and assessing one’s understanding and performance. Specifically, we will focus on understanding why certain strategies may work better than others and we will practice applying them repeatedly, while using self-monitoring to track progress.

Developing an awareness of these processes and engaging in them conscientiously can make your selection and use of the best communication strategies in any professional situation almost automatic. That is because in time, the elements and structures involved will become embedded into your ways of thinking and acting as patterns and pathways that are always available to use. The best communicators are those who train until such best practices become second nature to them and through this course you have the chance to train in this manner. As this and the following chapters show, the professional and life benefits of acquiring such skills are enormous.

Chapter Acknowledgements

This chapter has been adapted from the following texts:


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Advanced Professional Communication Copyright © 2021 by Melissa Ashman; Arley Cruthers; eCampusOntario; Ontario Business Faculty; and University of Minnesota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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