University Studies goal
Students will enhance their capacity to communicate in various ways—writing, graphics, numeracy, and other visual and oral means—to collaborate effectively with others in group work, and to be competent in appropriate communication technologies.
collaborative cups activity
Using nothing but a rubber band with four strings tied to it, the group was tasked with stacking the cups into a pyramid structure. They then had to do it again - with the cups now upside down.
- Had a rapport.
- Read each other's body language, so nonverbal communication helped.
- Paid attention to the situation
- No one domineered; everyone was collaborative
- There were tidbits of encouragement.
- No one panicked.
- The game would have been slightly more complicated with two more people.
There is a Ted talk on a similar situation by Tom Wujec: Build a Tower, Build a Dream. It was a simple team-building exercise involving dry spaghetti, tape, and a marshmallow. There were some interesting results among different groups that attempted the exercise.
Verbal vs non-verbal communication
Elements of Communication
The Shannon-Weaver, Barnlund, and Transmission vs. Constructionist models illustrate the different ways these are used.
Barnlund, D. C. (2008). A transactional model of communication. In. C. D. Mortensen (Eds.), Communication theory (2nd ed., pp47-57). New Brunswick, New Jersey: Transaction.
Locutionary - What was said
“Have you done the dishes yet?”
Illocutionary - What was meant/performed
Translation: “You need to do the dishes”
Perlocutionary - What happened
You did the dishes. (Or didn’t.)
Transmission vs constructionist models
Ted Talk: 5 Ways to listen Better - julian treasure
Sound expert Julian Treasure remarks that we are losing our listening skills in an ever-increasingly loud world. In this TED talk, he talks about five ways to re-tune your ears to consciously listen to other people and the world around you.
For each scenario, there are two perspectives. One member from each group would start telling their side of the story. The other member would then have to say back what they heard until the first member felt heard. They cannot continue until the first member feels sufficiently heard. This would continue. And then they would switch and the second member would tell their side with the first member making them feel heard.
[Prompts can be found in the document attached below]
Another group felt their scenario actually mirrored a situation they were currently going through (“dirty dishes”), so they found the exercise surprisingly helpful in developing ways to talk to their roommate about the issue. Some participants found it difficult confronting their partner. Explicitizing the issues felt almost too aggressive, even for these hypothetical scenarios.
Conclusion: Why is communication so important?
The situation, “The Great Toilet Paper Debate”, called for a solution to environmentally dispose toilet paper that everyone would accept. After going through a myriad of solutions: burning the used toilet paper (releasing dioxides into the air), burying the toilet paper (same result but in the earth), using water and the left hand (not feasible because of the drought in Greece), rocks, etc. A breakthrough came after a hiker from Washington state found mullein, an abundant, thick, and velvety leaf used by hikers for its “fluffy, flannel-like texture”.
However, such communicative deference results in ambiguity, which had fatal results. From the 1970s to the 1990s, Korean Air experienced 16 accidents or crashes. But, with an update in technology and communications protocols, Korean Air significantly increased flight safety and has not had an accident since 1999.
So why is communication so important? It is a part of our daily lives, from the trivial to matters of life and death. And to be more effective in our lives, if we are to have a healthy impact on the people around us and increase our own quality of existence, we must strive to increase our ability to communicate - to both express and listen to the world around.