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How and to whom we communicate

comunications

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How and to whom we communicate

·       1. Communication has specific characteristics

·        I communicate to me, to you, to others, to all

§       3. Professionnalisme : discourse

Objectives:

  • Knowing the importance of words
  • Not forgetting to whom we talk
  • Avoiding speaking in vain
  • Attaining performances in the process of speaking

Applications:

  • Pick up a target group to which you address.
  • Choose a subject to tell something to your fellows.
  • Draw up a chart of objectives: make yourself clear as to why you take the floor.
  • Ask as many opinions as possible about what you said or wanted to say.
  • Put down the objections and measures required.

1. Communication has specific characteristics

It’s good to remember that there are words in pure state exist only in the dictionary, only there one can find their basic sense. Once uttered, they are transformed in messages. Accompanied by the chosen gestures, tone, place and moment they become integral part of our personality. They are our personal style. The words, regardless their importance, are not sufficient as well. The American researchers carried out experimental studies by a camera. They proved, in direct or camera observation behind a tin less mirror that at least 75% in the interpersonal communication is non-verbal.[1]

As a process, communication implies a series of characteristics defining it in equal measure and that, in order to complete the process, have to be implied or subsumed. They may be partly or fully found in a certain type of message.

Such characteristics are:

Reciprocity

Nothing else can be so far away from individualism and egocentricity than communication. In fact, not accidentally, the word origin sends us to a much more profound sense, that is related to the Christian life and that, in the Romanian language, before being communication was the lord’s supper, the eucharist and the sacrament (Constantin Noica wrote a wonderful article on this theme[2]). Communication is a bi-directional process both in the hierarchical relationships and in the relationships between friends. While we are speaking, we listen and prepare the next reply, having in mind what he just have said or heard.

Reciprocity is a characteristic of communication because, in general, communication is a bi-directional process that has no sense without partnership. This truth is valid both when we refer to the hierarchical relations (between the superiors and the subordinates) and when we have in mind the day-by-day life. In both cases, communication implies continuity and simultaneity in transmitting messages. Continuity, because any word, sentence or phrase has to refer to the previous sense or state. This may be even when stages are overlapped – a logic of message is needed. For instance, we talk to someone sitting at the table, and, at a certain moment, the discussion languishes. We can say something on the whether, even if we did not mention anything on the subject so far. But I think this torrid day will not last long, what do you say about this? means in context: I am willing to talk, I do not like that we do not communicate more profoundly, let us try again, it is impossible not to establish any relationship, I would be upset if we said good bye without getting to know ourselves better.    

Purpose

Any communication has a purpose, understood both as a message and as a way of transmitting and receiving the information. Either it is understood or not, the purpose cannot be missing. Even when it has no content, the message transmits something: the truth that it does not contain anything! We frequently use to say, in order to make ourselves clear or to show our altruism “I have no interest in it, I am just saying it…” And there follows the brief description of purpose: ”to make you feel good, not blame me for not telling you, to make you see that I have no interest in it etc.” But these explanations, particularly them, show the existence of a purpose. And if the saying The end justifies the means is or not acceptable in its content, then it would be the subject of another lecture, it is good to know that the means we choose for communicating the purpose are very important. For instance, we saw how many of our contemporaries wished to become neither more nor less presidents of the state, the presidents themselves of Romania. Nothing more beautiful, but everyone has observed that they did not succeed in showing, in communicating to us the real purpose of their intention.

The purpose has to be understood in a wide sense, to be seen as a message that we send with a certain intention and which should offer us a reaction. It can be reduced to simple information, but, gradually it develops and the results are spectacular. The word purpose should not create any complex to us and should not make us think of a mean aspect.

To have a purpose for any action means that we are aware of the words, gestures and finality of our facts. I remember a rather recent situation that occurred to me: I was to be evacuated from the apartment that I used to live in as a tenant because the heirs of the ex owners claimed their rights. It was very normal what they were doing, but I had no place to go. At a certain moment, in the art gallery that I had organised, a person came in and looked with great interest at the pictures. After the first words, I realised she was a painter. The Moldavian accent showed her origin of Basarabia. I was tempted not to protract the conversation with her – she was not a potential buyer. But you have to speak, I said to myself, what I did. I soon found that she had a child and a house that she had to fix, because the Town Hall delivered it in the initial condition. From this moment the purpose of the conversation was another one: I wanted to know how she got the repartition deed from the Town Hall. I was patient, I asked helping questions and, finally she introduced to me the persons that had helped her. The result materialised in an apartment that was distributed as evacuated. It is obvious to me that, if I had not considered it was worth talking to any person, I would not have had this chance, as it is also obvious to me that in a discussion we have to establish our purpose, even if this one is the simple pleasure of exercising the art of conversation. But the exercise of art, not chat.

Irreversibility

The Romanian folklore abounds in proverbs that draw the attention on the value of words, but also on the concern for the utterance. Someone says: Words may pass but they never come back. Somebody else is simply ironical: A word flew from your mouth, but you had better coughed. The next one is even more meaningful: Word is like wind, neither the stallion nor the greyhound can keep the pace with it. This means that once sent, the message cannot be taken back. Unfortunately, we are very little aware of this feature of the message, and we, Latin characters, we frequently make mistakes before sending it. If we realised every time that the message was irreversible, we would think more before speaking, we would read a few times an e-mail before pressing the button send, we would make plans and analyse our phrases before dialling a phone number.  

The Romanian proverb „a close mouth catches no flies” focuses on the fact that the message sent without thinking first altered the good impression that we had made before speaking, communicating, because, in this case, silence communicates more efficiently than words. Irreversibility must be seen in close interdependence with the impact that the message may have on the receiver.

As the word shows it, the message, once sent, cannot be withdrawn. Irreversibility has to be seen in a close interdependence with the impact that the message may have on the receiver. Anton Pann noted the proverb that best illustrates this situation: you had better coughed than speak.  

Symbolic process

Communication uses symbols, these being used for transmitting ideas. The word symbol comes from French, fr. symbole, taken by French from the Latin symbolum. The Greeks had the word symbolon that meant identification sign.

It is about an image or a concrete sign by which the characteristic features of some abstract phenomena or notions are shown. The importance of symbol in communication is so high that it leads to a real literary current, symbolism extending on all the arts and even on the daily activity. The importance of symbol and its manifestation at the level of words are analysed from the beginning of the XXth century, at the moment of publication, in 1916, of the well-known course of Ferdinand de Saussure, Cours de linguistique generale. ” The symbol, according to Saussure, has the characteristic of never being totally arbitrary; it is not empty; there is a rudiment of natural relationship between the significant and the signified. The symbol of justice, the balance, could not be replaced by anything else, for instance, by an armoured car.”[3]

It is a frequent process in our daily life. Even if we are not permanently aware of the process, the communication among people contains symbols at every step, either in speaking or in the non-verbal language. Most frequently, symbols are used when the transmission of an idea is desired, but the transmission of feelings also needs symbols. When we wake up in the morning and we say I am terribly hungry we speak metaphorically. The tie that we put to our neck is a symbol of elegance, and when we say bye to our wife, we do not communicate only good bye, but also I kiss you, I am looking forward to see you, I will be at supper on time.      

Real process

Precisely because people find themselves in a relation of interdependence, because they need to communicate and they do this every day, appeared the fear, not at all artificial, that in fact we could not communicate. In reality, individuals, in everything they do, they communicate. By this process, there appears the system of values, beliefs and attitudes of individuals. We communicate by our simple presence, by words and by silence, by the way we get dressed, by the perfume we use, by the car that we own, by the dog that we walk. Nothing is more concrete in our life than communication. That’s why it requires a lot of concern, not only because of the academic obligations that impose the hearing of or reading this lecture … The importance of real communication in my life, for instance, is shown even by the dreams that I have, and I refer to the concrete dreams, during the night, when I say to somebody something that I could not say during the day or in a past incident. Not to mention the nightmares, rare, but existing, when misfortunes are about to happen, and I cannot prevent them because I have my mouth shut, I am not able to speak or to shout. It is the job of psychoanalysts to find out what this incapability means, but I am sure it is a communicative default.  

Nothing is more real than communication, even if it is based mainly on words, on comments that have no materiality. But people, in everything they do, in a way or another, communicate, and by this process appear the systems of values, beliefs and attitudes of the individuals. The reasons for the dissolution of a marriage may be numerous, but everything falls down when partners realise that they have nothing to say to each other anymore. Communication is the unique door by which you can enter somebody’s heart, somebody’s thought, and it is a transfer of feelings and the unique certitude that man is not alone. There are a lot of young men that believe money is the main element of life or success. It is true only on the surface. In fact only communication leads to the accomplishment of the purpose. Let us refer to only one situation: I think it is obvious for all of us that we cannot buy somebody’s love, even if we can pay a meal in a fancy restaurant and that person could accept us for a few hours. We also can try to make impression with the fancy car that we own and with the trip on the road, at the mountain or at the seaside that we can suggest. And so on, but without exaggerating, not more than a passing satisfaction. In exchange, communication also assures money obtaining, it may persuade the person that is important for us of the depth of our feelings, it makes impossible for Mrs. Right to live without us. Communication assures the friendship relation, offers resistance in front of difficulties, it offers hope and even certitudes.   

Complex process

There is a rather complicated process upon which changes occur between the sender of the message and the receivers. In sociological plan, according to Emmanuel Pedler[4], the most recurrent observations allow us to take note of the fact that, endowing the great majority of people by means that, a few decades earlier, only the privileged people possessed, the most successful electronic techniques are the starting point of some new inequalities and of some new forms of inequalities”. But this truth is valid not only when referring to technique. Just as the teacher depends on his pupils or students during the educational process, the sender (the reporter, the priest, the orator, the social activist) depends on his addressees, so that he will have to change his message according to their needs or demands. Or, the moment somebody modifies his message, there begins the process for the modification of his thinking system and for relating to the reality. Obviously, these changes are not instantaneous and they do not occur in the same manner at several persons, but in a relatively long period of time, according to modalities that relate to the personality of each individual, to the sender that may be a very powerful character or a very malleable and adaptable person.    

As regards the addressee manipulation, there is no need to insist upon this subject now, because precisely the intention to communicate, not to mention the communication itself, has as a main purpose to inform, but also shape the partner. 

Even if we are tempted to believe that nothing is easier than speaking, we are finally obliged, as we are becoming aware of the necessity to integrate within the society, to accept the complexity of communication. From speaking, because you can open your mouth to speak, to really speaking and knowing what you are saying, there is a distance from the articulated sound to the aria of an opera. The importance of communication becomes even more obvious when we take into account the fact that major transformations occur between the sender of the message and the receiver. Sometimes changes occur and they have incalculable consequences. We receive in the same way as we give. It is difficult to determine who offers more and who receives more in a love relationship (and even if we knew, what would be the benefits?) On the contrary, when reproaches are made on I did and you didn’t, or yes, you tried something, but not on time and not as it should have been, then an analysis imposes: love is fading away, there should be more communication, discussions, there is more to be offered…). The reciprocal situation is also met in the pedagogical process: a teacher, for instance, offers himself to students, and they, in their turn, offer their share during the instructive-formative activity. The teacher brings in maturity, certitudes, information, experience, and the student, new things, doubt, energy, questioning. And no matter how much we liked to discuss and gloss on the conflict between generations, between parents and children, between young and old people, between teacher and pupil (student) there is a permanent change, a beneficial flux and reflux, a perfect symbiosis, if we know how to avoid the details and if we are able to analyse things in depth, by dealing with them calmly.     

 With me, with you, with others, with all of them

According to the interlocutors’ position, communication may be carried out directly, in an interpersonal form, with precise address and reciprocal change of messages, or indirectly, in the form of mass-media productions, of press communicates.

According to the number of participants, communication may take place to another level:

·          intrapersonal,

·          interpersonal,

·          in small groups,

·          within the public communications.

  

Intrapersonal communication 

         Intrapersonal communication represents a type of communication that exists inside each individual, implying thoughts, feelings, the way of seeing the others. « Although it does not imply the existence of distinct communicators, the inner dialogue that we have with ourselves represents an authentic communication process, where we can even notice the falsification of the information meant to mislead the interlocutor (we refer to the frequent situation of people that lie or fool themselves).[5] Being centred on himself, as regards this type of communication, the individual is both the sender and the receiver. It is the meeting of the individual with himself, the moments of auto-analysis, the evening dialogs, that evolve from the deep inner of each individual. It is the communication in front of the mirror of mind, when everything around is quiet and the individual found himself after an exceptional, traumatic or euphoric experience. It also may be the communication with himself while praying, the tranquillity in the church, the moments of peace in front of a coffin, the fear of the total blank in front of an empty tomb. It is the mute communication with the starry sky, with the silence of the night, with the murmur of a river discovered in a forgotten wood. It is happiness without words. The intrapersonal communication, according to Mihai Dinu’s opinion in the quoted volume, does not necessarily imply the messages coding and decoding, because these ones do not have to cross a physical space, but a mental one. « The individual may talk to himself without using words, but this does not mean that verbalisation of thoughts is not a very frequent phenomenon. ». We believe that also as concerns the intrapersonal communication, it is impossible to abandon the idea of using words, and when the individual thinks that he talked to himself without naming his thoughts or feelings, his plans or concerns, he only was in a state of pre-communication or post-communication, at most in a communicative field, and not in a prime process of communication. Not communicating by words with yourself during the meeting only means to relax, in this case, communication being replaced by rest or pleasure, sometimes even by the illusion of communication.

               Even if it has no witnesses and consequently it cannot contribute to the creation of our image, it is important to give the necessary attention to this communication with the own self, because what we will do and how we will express ourselves in other people’s presence depends on how we behave when we are not seen and heard. Therefore, it is necessary that we get used to talk seriously to ourselves even when speaking in mind, or maybe only in mind. We should not despise ourselves, we should not talk to ourselves as if we were nobody, we should not believe that if we refuse to name the truth, this one does not exist. Closing the intrapersonal communication by the conclusion « leave me alone » or « I”ll see what I do » does not mean communication, but lack of communication, truancy from the meeting with the own self.

         Interpersonal communication

         It is the process of communication in which each individual addresses to the other individual, generally in an informal and unstructured formula. The process takes place -between two individuals, but it may also include several individuals. It is the type of communication between two lovers, parents, between parents and the children of the family, between brothers, between the two-three members of the operational management within a company or institution. For Habermas a theory of the communicative competence should explain the performances that the speaker or the listener assumes first, when it transforms the sentences in utterances. He takes as a starting point the fact that the speaker/listener use in their utterances sentences in order to become understandable in relation to certain states of facts.[6] Jurgen Habermas notes that the speaking elementary units have a double own structure, where this one mirrors itself. Generally, the interpersonal communication ( two or several people that speak together) is the most efficient form of communication. It is so, because the message is backed, supplemented by gestures, mime, intimacy, the voice tone and of the possibility of an immediate feedback. If the listener asks something or seems confused, the speaker has an immediate clue and he can reformulate the information or may accentuate an idea.

This is also valid for the meetings in small groups, but the barriers of an efficient communication could amplify as it passes to large groups, and, finally, to mass-media. In other words, mass-media may benefit from a large audience, but the physical and psychological distance between the sender and the receiver is considerably large. This determines a less efficient communication, because public is not intimately related to the speaker anymore. An immediate feedback is not possible and the message may contain distortions undetected by the persons in charge with the media.”[7]

         An act of speaking is consequently formed of a performative sentence and of the sentential content of a sentence that depends upon this one. The dominant sentence contains a personal pronoun in the first person, as subject expression, a personal pronoun in the second person, as object expression and a predicate, that is formed with the help of a performative expression in the form of present ( „I promise you that …”). The dependent sentence contains a name or a characterisation as subject expression, that designates an object, and a predicate expression for the general determination that is assigned or refused to the object.[8]

         The interpersonal communication has a typical of its own. It begins interpersonally. If anyone wants to express a feeling or an idea and wants to transmit a message that contains them, it is first necessary to transpose them in verbal and non-verbal codes that may be understood. The selected codes for transmitting what the individual intends to – the words, gestures and the voice tone – shall be determined by the speaker’s purpose, by the given situation and by the relation with the interlocutor, as well as by other factors, as for instance the age, the cultural background and the emotional state. The process of transposing the ideas and feelings in messages is called codification.[9]

The interpersonal communication presents some defining features: 

Face to face meeting: the interpersonal communication implies the face to face meeting between two participants; that’s why, it is deliberately excluded any type of communication that might be entitled “mediated”, as for instance the phone conversation, where certain artificial backgrounds perform the conversation between two participants. This is because any background has characteristics with certain consequences for the communication, even if, in the day-by-day life, we are not aware of these characteristics or we do not take them into consideration. It is this lack of awareness that may lead to misunderstandings. That’s why we have to resort permanently to the interpersonal communication, in other words, to talk to ourselves and to realise which is our place in the process of communication, how we speak, whom we speak to, why we are speaking and which are the immediate or future consequences of our communication. This communication is so important and its results are so efficient, that it is very hard to imagine a situation in which two normal persons, that take their existence in serious, are speaking and are not reaching to any conclusion. Even in very serious confrontations, at the end of fearful fights, an armistice, a peace is reached or a treaty is signed. This is valid for the situations in which the fight field is full of corps, the gun powder feels in the air, and one of the partners shall sign the renunciation at territories, wealth, or maybe even the kingdom. The beneficial result of the comprehension between two persons is even more plausible when the stake is, in general, only the renunciation at a prejudice or the fact of forgetting an insult, a thoughtless word or the reminder of a scowling look.  

Particularisation of the participants roles: the interpersonal communication implies two persons with variable roles and that are in relation – the individuals have to communicate with a view to develop the personal relations as follows: 

·         where a high degree of confidence is possible

·         when every person is ready to discuss openly on the own feelings and emotions

·         where there is preoccupation and mutual relationship among the participants. 

          In this sense, the non-interpersonal communication is the activity of people that communicate simply because they have to. Double sense: The interpersonal communication always takes place in both senses, in the interpersonal situations always existing a bi-directional flow of communication. The interpersonal communication does not imply only the change of messages; in essence it implies creation of certain symbols, the change of signification and concern for a certain message. This means that the sent signals, regardless of their form, have to be clear and ambiguous, if daily communication is involved, because if we refer to artistic communication otherwise mentioned in another chapter, then we can say that ambiguity is not only allowed, but also compulsory. Communication also requires that affirmations made by the sender should be verified, in a way or another, by the other participants in the discussion too. More exactly: to be verifiable. And – even more closer of what we want to emphasise– to be real, not to raise suspicions after they were uttered.

            In reality, the elimination of ambiguity is very difficult, rather impossible. Even when the idea of the human behaviour ambiguity could be expressed, in the same time, almost any affirmation that somebody could make at a certain moment may be interpreted in several ways. That’s why, in order to understand the process of communication, it is advisable to analyse the way in which the individuals give sense to the situations they may occur.

            At this point, we must make a statement that is not easily to accept: the interpersonal communication is partially or entirely intentional. This is because we do not communicate absolute truths and neither we express ourselves in realities, but in words that, in their turn are symbols. If anyone desires to pick holes in our coat may do this easily, by showing, while we are speaking, that we are wrong-headed. Let us remember a poem written by Eminescu inspired from a poem of Fr. Schiller, The Glove. Let us stay for one moment in our reality. A young man, for instance, tells a young girl he loves her. She asks: Do you mean it? He answers: Of course I mean it. She has one more curiosity: are you a Christian? He, more or less accidentally, is a Christian. It is all right, she says, you should commit suicide because you love me, and a Christian kills himself for the person that he is in love with… It is obvious that we got in the absurd, by choosing the sense that we liked most from an entire process of communication with multiple semantic valences.     

The interpersonal communication is rather a permanent process, and less an event or a series of events. Usually, each of us, when thinking of an event, we have in mind something very clear, an incident, an action, a fact that have an obvious start and an obvious end. But if we adopt another point of view, the importance of understanding the interpersonal communication appears more like a continuous process, an on-going activity, that cannot be submitted to certain hours and could not be the result of a decision related to a schedule. 

The interpersonal communication is cumulated in time. Even if a person made a statement at a certain moment, this one should be interpreted according to what has been said in the past and what is deemed to be said in the future. If we want to understand the relationship between two persons that communicated previously, then we have to take into account the history of their relationship and the way in which each person interprets the other person’s remarks, because these ones will not be understood in pure condition, but will be influenced by the past or the future perspective. Everybody heard close persons admitting that they did not believe a single word of what another person said, because three or four years ago, let us say, this one said and did, and then… that’s why the listener does not believe anything. According to Professor Golu « the most important psychological component of attitude is the motivational-emotional one, that signifies the attitude valence: positive, negative, indifferent or ambivalent. « When a person communicates with another person, the partners focus on the distinctive features of the external aspect, they read “the experienced emotions, each sees and deals with the other person’s behaviour in a certain way, he decodes in a way or another the purposes and reasons of that behaviour.»[10] These ones lead to a certain differentiated attitude in the sender according to the human side that caused It.« There are psychological situations when a certain side of the attitude controls more or less the others. For instance, somebody may like the outside appearance, somebody else may like the way of treating people, his indestructible optimism, but in the same time, that person might feel indignation towards the political views of its partner. Sometimes, this dominant aspect may reach such an intensity that the other sides of the attitude are neutralised or inhibited».[11]

A special sector of the interpersonal communication is the communication between parents and children, especially when the latter became teenagers, the most difficult and unknown period of the people’s life.

It was ascertained that the teenagers crave for dialogue „not any type of dialogue, but an open one, sincere and free of pressures. This dialogue would answer the questions specific to their age, to the need of relating himself to others, to the need of affection and sincerity “.[12] As expected, obstacles arising from the feeling experienced by many young persons, that is, the fact that the adults do not understand them may obstruct the dialogue. „To the lack of communication between teenagers and their parents contributes the categorical hypothesis of the most of the young persons that their parents will never be able to understand them or their interests, or the situations they experience. They do know, intellectually speaking, that their parents were once teenagers but it is impossible for them to believe that the problems of the adolescence their parents had to deal with are relevant in any way to the situation they are experiencing now”[13]. They do not want or accept the moralising lessons the adults try to give them. On the contrary, they prefer sincere confrontations of opinions, as severe as these ones may be, various solutions and even variants of these solutions, they want that the validity of the points of view to be demonstrated. Hence, the refusal to confess in the presence of adults or the lack of appetite as regards the desire to require them a piece of advice; „the young man or the young woman tend to see in their parents „the negative character” due to their advises and in consequence they prefer to isolate themselves. Sometimes the parents impose certain rules or viewpoints of their own, fact that makes the teenagers even more reticent as regards the communication. They do believe that their parents will never be able to understand them.”[14]. The teenagers become in this way attracted by the persons being of the same age as they are, by the desire of distinguishing themselves within their group. „Very characteristic to this period of growth is the diminution of the communication with the members of the family and the creation of relations in extra-family environments, usually between colleagues or even outside the schools. The child separates psychologically (sometimes he brakes psychologically) from (with) the family and establishes his own identity, preferring the company of his colleagues and friends instead of that of his family. The parents have difficulties in accepting this new type of relationship of their child and feel frustrated.”[15].

Even if the adults do not agree with the idea, they have to understand the preference of the teenagers for the persons of the same age, as well as their reasons, explicit or not, for their choice; with tact and patience, they have to tolerate and even to stimulate, within the dialogue, the exposure of some points of view that, subsequently, will reveal also to the young persons as being wrong. For the moment, without communicating with them, we are not able to realise what they are thinking, and without knowing that, we are not able to act. The excuses I cannot communicate with him, he doesn’t listen to me, I do not understand what he has in his mind, may not be solutions for remedying the lack of dialogue. The refusal to communicate with the adult seems paradoxical in the conditions in which the teenager needs affection. The parents „accuse the teenagers that they refuse their love and protection and the teenagers accuse their parents that they refuse their independence“[16].  The affection of the parents is, without any doubt, necessary in this period, even if the teenager pretends he doesn’t need anything, he got tired of being protected, of being surrounded with such a parents’ love, the only thing he wants is to be left alone. The parents’ love, in order to have positive effects, has to be constant and unselfish, without reproaches and severe declarations such as I sacrificed myself for you, if I knew how things will be, I would have renounced to pregnancy, etc. The ultimate declarations have to be avoided: it is the last time I am telling you that, if you do not like at home follow your nose. ” The parent’ love is very important, but it should not suffocate the life of the teenager who is about to mould his personality. Some parents exaggerate in taking care of their “little boy” or “little girl”, determining them either to become dependent of their parents to such an extent that they will not be able any more to solve on their own the most insignificant problems, or to become impatient to get rid of their “loving parents”, in order to become themselves.”[17]. The base of a solid relationship with the child, with the teenager consists in offering an unconditioned love, but there must be found modalities of communicating, of transmitting this love.

The teenager considers that there isn’t anything sure as regard the truths transmitted by others, that the only truths are those truths he discovers himself. Once arrived at this conclusion, consciously or unconsciously, the child ceases to be so transparent to his parent. „There are teenagers who consider “tight” for their personality the family environment, stating that the parents are not in line with the new generation, even as regard the moral development, and in consequence they are not able any more to help them solve the problems the life may create.“[18]. From here to the appearance of conflicts there is only one step. The cause consists in the differences between these two worlds; the majority of the teenagers consider they belong to a world different from that of the adults, that the times when the grandmother was a young lady are gone, they want not to hear any more stories of old times! they have “more advanced” life conceptions. If they knew more proverbs and if they did not despise them (for now), they would remind us: You were a young lady once but it’s over now! The old man sings, his old lady dances; God would better get down to take with His rake some old people. And other such sweet things. They consider themselves modern and their parents, even if some of them are under forty years, for instance, are considered old, obsolete, with one foot in the grave, suffering from scleroses and so on, we’d better stop here with the examples!

Their ideas, feelings, their manner of thinking are different from the adults’ ones, more future-oriented. As it is natural, young people have ideals different from the ideals of their parents. While parents have already moulded their ideals (or gave up on them), the ideals of the teenagers are being moulded now. But as the parents were themselves young once (otherwise from where all these old men and old women!) it is natural that they know and understand the concerns of their children. In the speciality literature appears the idea that the parents know only vaguely and empirically, based on their own experiences, the problems of their children – teenagers and in consequence it appears “the necessity that the parents become acquainted with the main psychological and sociological aspects of adolescence age and – on this basis – with the moulding of a modern scientific conception about the main problems of the adolescence.”[19]. This is an aspect related rather to the theory. In fact, due to the fact that any teenager has his own personality, beside the problems related to affection, dialogue, balance between authority and freedom, “the parents have not to forget a basic rule as regards their relationship with the teenagers: the individual treatment, as differentiated as possible.”[20]. The teenagers need also to be helped to solve some age specific problems. In order to sole the conflicts between parents and teenagers, the first step is the clear definition of the problem and the effort to understand each other. But for this wish to become true it is necessary to communicate.

In the relationship teenager - adult, the incapacity of each party of communicating may generate serious distortions or the blocking of the communication. Between parents and teenagers there are different styles of communication, each of them with specific effects that determine the type of parental domination. Philip Rice identified 4 styles of parental domination [21]:

The authoritative style – follows to have as result a strict obedience. The communication is unilateral; exclusively the parent does the decision-making, because the suggestions of the teenagers are not taken into account. Effects: the teenager does not learn how to take decisions and to undertake responsibilities, he lacks the self-confidence and the self-respect and, in consequence, he will be dependent on others.

The permissive style – His parents do not orient the teenager, he acts without constraint, and he is let to take his own decisions in all respects. He may become very easily spoiled and selfish and may develop relationships of conflict with those persons who do not allow him to do what he wants. Because he doesn’t know the limits of his own behaviour, he may feel sometimes insecure, disoriented and he may accuse his parents for this fact.

The inconsequent style – alternates the discipline with the permissiveness. The parent threatens the child with punishment and then he gives up. The teenager exercises his control over the parent. Effects: the teenager will manipulate the others and will be permanently in conflict with the persons in an authoritative position. He will not learn to take decisions rationally but by momentary impulses.

The democratic style – has as purpose to help the teenager to become self-confident and to use his mind. The communication is one-to-one, the parent assumes together with the child the preferences related to the consequences of decisions. Effects: the teenager learns how to take decisions; he assumes risks and acquires “the communication key”, by developing his abilities of speaking and listening. The ideal is when the parents and the children discover and understand each other and avoid the tensioned relationships that might appear. This is about a protective love that creates for the teenager an atmosphere of security that harmonises with the two natural tendencies, discipline and freedom.

What could we say to a teenager?

-          It is recommended to pronounce his fist name as often as possible. He is not a child any more, he sees himself as individuality: Razvan, Ionut, Dragos.

-          To underline the characteristics that makes him different from the others, especially from his parents.

-          To ask for his opinion, giving him the impression (that may become fact) that he is the one who decides the high school to go to, the faculty to follow and the career to dedicate to.

-          To underline the natural manner in which he integrates himself in the contemporary realities.

-          To appreciate his taste for cloths, even if it doesn’t correspond to our views.

-          To try to understand his preferences for the music he chooses.

-          To ask for his advice when we make changes to the apartment.

-          To let him arrange his rooms as he wants.

-          To suggest him that he is prepared for an exceptional destiny.

-          To compare his nice gestures with similar ones made by heroes of books or by remarkable persons.

-          To speak to him in short about the plans the great personalities had in their youth.

-          To recommend him biographical novels. The books of Andre Maurois are a pleasant and instructive lecture.

What it isn’t good to say to a teenager:

-          Not to underline the sacrifices we made for him.

-          Not to underline the difficult life we had in comparison with his great luck to have us as parents! The times will come when he will appreciate us on his own initiative.

-          Not to give him examples of children from neighbours or from other families, who do not cause problems to their parents.

-          To see toward whom is oriented his admiration, and if his option is correct to encourage it.

-          Not to give him an ultimatum: if you don’t do this way, you’ll see what will happen.

-          Not to tell him about episodes when he disappointed us.

-          To offer him the certitude that irrespective of what he will do he will find a warm place at home. Here it is recommended to read again, as often as possible, the parable of the wasteful son of the Bible and to remark that the father doesn’t reproach anything to his son who has wasted his fortune.

-          Not to tell him under any circumstances that we are ashamed with him.

-          Not to give us as a declarative example: At your age, I

-          Not to tell him that he is different (that he is evil or indolent), because he resembles his mother or his father. Not to tell him either he resembles one of his grandfathers, well known for his defects.

-          To remind him of the successes that delighted him.

-          To appreciate his memory or his spirit of observation, his consistency or his malleability – from case to case.

-          To speak to him about the moments when he was remarkable by a word he said or a gesture he made.

-          To appreciate his simple manner of thinking, drawing his attention on the shades.

-          To be detached, as far as possible, in order not to let him feel that we try to manipulate him.

           

                         Communication in small groups

The essence of the group life is, according to Homans, “a dynamic interrelationship between several elements: activities, feelings, communication and interaction norms. The affection feelings between the members of the group arise from contact and cooperation; the interaction and the intercommunication lead to the assimilation of some common norms and to an affection, of the type of solidarity, for the group; the communication forms appeared mirror and sustain a structure with status differences inside the group and a certain distribution of the affection feeling between the members’’4.

It takes place when a group of people meet in order to solve a problem, to take a decision or to make proposals related to an activity that interests them to the same extent or motivates them differently, but not contradictorily. The group has to be small enough so that each of its members has the possibility to interact with the other participants to the discussion, members of the group. If the group is not small enough and does not ensure the communication between its members, then it divides in smaller groups, forming as we, the Balkans, call cliques or coteries…

            This type of communication is characteristic to the meetings of the board, council, executive committees, executive boards or operative guidance. In the army, this communication is specific to the operative guidance. In these meetings the purpose is to get in a relatively short time as many ideas and suggestions as possible, even if for a moment not all of them seem useful; but later these ones may be analysed quietly, selected and fructified. „Conceived by prof. Alexander Osborn from Buffalo University, the method consists in gathering, in a room specially arranged in order to create a relaxed atmosphere, a group made of 3-10 persons, who are asked to solve a problem about which they hadn’t been informed previously. In the classic variant, the time given to the participants varies between a half an hour and an hour and a half, but there are also more restrictive versions (the Philips 66 method limits the entire period of discussions to only 6 (!) minutes for a standard group of 6 persons). The characteristics that make the difference between the brainstorming and the communication within the work groups are:

a)      the accent put on quality (more ideas, the better!);

b)      the strict interdiction of expressing any critical opinion against the idea of another participant;

c)      the registration and memorizing, equally, democratically, of all the ideas formulated, no matter if they seem judicious, realistic or totally strange;

d)      the right of the participants to freely associate, in any manner, the ideas expressed by their colleagues, provided that the rule b be observed.”[22]

The conviction is that the modalities of structuring the relationships between persons generate particular methods of work [23], exchanges, practise and production: depending on the distribution of functions between individuals or between sub-groups in relation to:

      -    the eventual distinctions or non - differentiation of the roles distributed to individuals,

-          by virtue of the instructions regarding the length of time and the objectives,

-          by reducing or non – reducing to the different written, oral, audio-visual, computer science-related  means (generally  technological means).

         Even when it is about an individual analysis of a problem, this one could be more efficient if it was put into practice. Nicki Stanton considers that sometimes, after a group discussion, it is easy to recognise that one or two men could have arrived to the same conclusion without the help of the others and that it is difficult to determine which of the members of the group are able to solve on their own the problem or which of them will be the main participants to the discussion. Yet, „the research-related studies showed that the people are more interested in taking a decision (this is due to the fact that they are more oriented to decision-making rather than to solving the problem) when they participate to the decision-making process. This fact may be explained by two factors:

·         the implication of a group in the process of working out a policy or decision, ensures the fact that they are used to the nature, bases and needs of this policy. Thus they are more prepared to understand why the policy is necessary;

·         the attitudes tend to be more favourable due to the fact that the members of the group involve in the decision-making.[24]

                       The advantages of the groups in Stanton’s conception

            

  A situation is analysed more efficiently in a group. Sometimes, after a group discussion, it is easy to realise that one or two men could have arrived to the same conclusion without the help of the others. But it is difficult to decide previously which of the members of the group may be able to solve on his own the problem or which of them will be the main participants to the discussion. The speciality studies showed that the people are more interested in taking a decision (this is due to the fact that they are more oriented to decision-making rather than to solving the problem) when they participate to the decision-making process. This fact may be explained by two factors:

·         the implication of a group in the process of working out a policy or decision, ensures the fact that they are used to the nature, bases and needs of this policy. Thus they are more prepared to understand why a special approach is necessary;

·         the attitudes tend to be more favourable due to the fact that the members of the group involve in the decision-making.[25]

The pupils and the students, all the collaborators have to be persuaded, with arguments, that, generally speaking, the groups take better decisions than the individuals. It is true that sometimes, for objective or subjective reasons, the interesting, brilliant ideas of an individual may be suffocated by a conservative majority. In the history of the Romanian culture there are sufficient examples of this kind. G. Calinescu, for instance, published in the year 1941 the well-known Istoria literaturii romane de la origini pana in prezent. Excepting Al. Rosetti, the director of the Publishing House Fundatiile Regale Carol II, who assumed the risk of publishing this book and lost his job immediately, the book didn’t satisfy anybody. Some people attacked him saying he is not enough Romanian, others that he is too Romanian! Some people said that he appreciates too much Eminescu, others that he does not appreciate him sufficiently. The nationalists got upset that the Jewish origin writers are too much appreciated, the latter that the they are not treated with sufficient respect. Finally, the war changed the regime, and the unique party decided that it is necessary to have an official history of the Romanian literature. Commissions and committees made of academicians or non – academicians, young persons and old persons, men and women were constituted. Quite as it should be! Not even up to present the action has been finalized. But there are also exceptions. The professor Mircea Zaciu together with Aurel Sasu and with Marian Papahagi, two of his students, become remarkable literary historians and critics, conceived, in unfavourable circumstances, an excellent Dictionar al scriitorilor romani. It appeared only after the Revolution, it’s true, but we discuss now about the fact that the group may accomplish an activity either with excellent or with mediocre results, depending on the group.

There are many reasons for which the groups may take better decisions, Stanton discovering four of them:

There is more information available

In his intention to solve the problem an individual has access, normally, to his own experience, to observations and reports written by others. In a group, that individual may be subject to the experience, observations and investigations of the other members of the group. This enriched information helps the members finding the correct solution and allows its members to choose from a large number of alternatives. The number of different ideas tends to increase according to the number of the members, but the practice shows that finally the group will be made of 5 or 6 participants.

There is the possibility to artificially increase the quantity of information got within a group, especially the new imaginative and creative information, by the methods of the technique known as “brainstorming”. We will insist on this topic, based on the experience of others, just because we consider we have a lot of things to learn when we collaborate with other people. The author of these lines declares openly his incapacity of having exceptional results when working in a group, while, when working by himself he was able to create some poems with some memorable line he had in mind for a long period of time

So, here are the rules of the brainstorming:

·         the topic or the problem has to be clearly and simply delimited;

·         the adverse critics are not allowed and the mental auto-critic has to be avoided. This one is an essential rule. If we have an idea, but we know there is someone ready to disapprove or to criticise it, we are tempted to keep it for ourselves. So that, in a brainstorming session, the evaluation of ideas is suspended until the end of the session;

·         all the ideas have to be written down. Each idea is registered by a secretary or by means of a tape recorder, in the order of their occurrence, as quickly as possible. There is also the variant that the suggestions be written on a blackboard, so that all the people may see them;

·         the free association of ideas is encouraged.

·         there have to be as many proposals as possible. The members of the group have to be encouraged to generate a large number of ideas, because in this stage the quantity is more important than the quality;

·         the generation and combination of ideas must be encouraged. An idea may generate other ideas, an idea may be a combination of other ideas or a development of a previous idea.

At the beginning of a brainstorming session, the person leading the session should remind the rules to the group. First, there will be an accommodation session about a less-known topic.

This accommodation session has as purpose to eliminate the initial inhibition and to protect the negative attitudes that could exist.

         Usually, after about 10 up to 30 minutes – depending on the topic – the ideas begin to disappear and the evaluation of the stage may begin, even if it is recommended to make the evaluation of the session a day or two later.

         The results of the brainstorming method show that, by using this method, the groups come with more ideas than they would do it in other circumstances, and for some problems they come with high quality suggestions. The method not only encourages the original thinking of the participants but learns them at the same time to manifest more tolerance for the ideas of the others. Thus, a climate favourable to the group may be developed, by stimulating the interaction, each of the members getting the impression to have a special contribution.

        The groups, characterised by a favourable communication climate, will offer more solutions and solutions of superior quality than those obtained as result of the individual work. It is true that there are charges for which the group is not the best solution, but there are others for which the group is absolutely necessary, such as:

  • the charges that need a work (working out) division;
  • the charges  that need manual rather intellectual skills;
  • the charges for which the creativity is a necessity;
  • the charges for which the memory and the information remembering is important;
  • the charges for which the judgement presents ambiguities.

       The charges that impose work division or skills may be better solved by a group. The groups are more efficient for the charges requiring judgement, creativity and memory – more minds may judge better and may be more creative as results of the exploration of many possibilities and of memorizing more information.



            The groups learn also more quickly than the individual, as there are less chances for the learning process to be interrupted. The personal perception of the experiences and of the points of view of the others may generate an individualised point of view. Another interesting difference between the group thinking and communication and the individual one is that people are more willing to accept a risky decision taken in a group than they would do it if they took it on their own. The theories that explain this phenomenon are:

·         each of us prefers to share the responsibility of decisions with other members of the group instead of assuming the responsibility on his own;

·         the groups assume a risk of a certain value. This act may be seen as a courageous act and, besides, nobody wants to be considered conservative and refractory to new things.

People prefer the groups for various reasons, but irrespective of the reasons, by working with other people, the increase of the productivity is stimulated. The members of the group work often in order to obtain the social approval.

As regards us, we consider that the development of the work in group should be one of the main priorities of the education in schools and faculties. And not only that. At the work place, either a small limited liability trading company or a big and important trans-national company, the important thing is to integrate ourselves and to know how to work with others, as Romanians do, since old times, to say shoulder to shoulder. Besides the fact that we tried sometimes to demonstrate that we have years of service in the field of the community, with reference to the work in common, the reality shows that the Romanian obtained performances working by himself, but the reality of the last hundred of years imposes the co-operation. The co-operation in family, in building, in institutions, within projects of any kind, the division of responsibilities and the consciousness of the fact that you have not, because it is not possible, to know everything, but to be specialised as well as possible in a certain field of activity to such an extent that you become indispensable.

Drawing up in group

After having participated to the definition of the topic and after having established the area of interest, appears the problem of finalising our work. Usually, any activity of this kind should be finalised by the drawing up of a material, a document, otherwise it would be a simple discussion, as if we met to find a place from where to leave! The stages of the finalisation, that proves the utility of the group, are as follows:

1. The stage of pre-drawing up in group: organisation

 The planning of the activity of the group

3. The drawing up in group

4. The establishment of the charges and limits

5. The post-drawing up in group

6. The choice of a drawing up method

7. The catalogue for the drawing up in group

8. The summary 

It was noticed that many graduates of a college or a faculty are surprised to ascertain that, once getting a job, either related to business, or to industry, they have to co-operate to the writing of some documents. Often a committee or a team making a project – with three or more people – has to draw up a final report of the activities carried out.[26] If the members of the team do not co-ordinate their activities, the procedure do ut des (bring and take) of the group review may cause unpleasant feelings, frustrations and finally an inferior report. The best way to draw up an efficient document is to follow a clear writing process. For each of the writing stages, you should not only plan the document drawing up but also to facilitate the activities of the group.

The stage of the pre-drawing up in group: organisation

During the pre-drawing up stage, besides planning the subject, you have to organise the group as a unit with a leader and a plan.

Choose a leader who has not to be necessarily the best writer or the most informed person as regards the topic. Probably the best leader is the best person - chief, that individual who may easily settle any unavoidable conflict of personality, or the best manager, the one who may conceptualise the best the stages of the project.

The planning of the activity of the group

 You have also to think from the perspective of the activities of the group and to draw up an extensive plan that solve all the differences and manage the activities. The solution of the differences is an inevitable part of the group activity. Your group has to approach a reasonable method for solving the differences that appear and for clarifying them. The usual methods are the voting, the coming to a consensus or the acceptance of the specialist’s opinion. The voting is a quick process, but potentially divergent. The people who are not elected, usually loose their interest in the project. The coming to a consensus is a slow but affirmative operation. If you may solve the differences without alienating from each other, you will maintain your interest and energy for accomplishing the project. The acceptance of the specialist’s opinion is usually, but not always, the simplest way of solving the differences. If a member, who studied closely the quotation methods, says that the group has to use a certain format, this decision may be easily accepted. Unfortunately, another member of the group will not agree. In this case, our group shall have to use one of the other methods in order to establish the harmony.

In order to manage its activities, the group has to work out a work plan. It has to establish the charges and the limits of each person within the plan. The members have to use a calendar in order to determine the last date established and to discuss the reasonable periods of time for each stage of the process. On meetings, the members will take decisions – as for instance, the writing style of the chapters and the format of the quoted passages. Write down these decisions and distribute them to all the members. Draw up – and insist upon – the reports in progress. Help each other in order to solve different problems. Tell the other members of the group how and when they may find you.

Take care when you form the group, when you treat its activities as for a programme that, after all, will increase the chances of finalizing successfully a project– while you will become closer and closer to each other.

The drawing up in group

Before starting working out a project, the group has to have a meeting of “pre-drawing up”. With this occasion the group has two key charges: to establish the charges and the limits and to choose a working out method.

The establishment of the charges and limits.

  In order to establish the charges and limits, answer the following questions:

- Which is the sequence of sections?

- Is it necessary to finalize some of the sections in order to begin other ones?

- Which is the writing charge of each person?

- Which is the limit for each section?

Pay a special attention to the limits. Calculate your time starting from the final limit. If a report is established for May, 1st and you need one week for printing, then two weeks for review and revision, then the limit for working out is April 9th, three weeks before May, 1st!

Select a working out method. The groups may work out a document in two ways: each person writes a single section or a single person writes the entire document.

Generally, each person writes a section if the document is long or if the sections are too specialised. For a tender project, for instance, a single person may make the technical description while another person will draw up the tender budget. If each person writes a section, the work is equally distributed. Anyhow, this method may not be efficient enough because of the possible conflicts of style, format or tone.

In order to work out a consistent document, it is often recommended for this document to be written by a single person, especially if it is a small project. A problem that appears as concerns this method is that the author may leave the mark of his own ego, feeling himself  “offended”, especially if a member of the group suggests major reviews. The group has to decide what method to use, taking into account the strong points and weak points of the members of the group.

The Post-drawing up in group

The finalization of a document supposes two activities: the drawing up and the output of the final form of the document.

The choice of a drawing up method

 The groups may draw up in many ways. They may draw up in group or may designate a writer. If they draw up in group, they may pass the sections from one to another in order to comment them, or they may meet to discuss together about the sections. Briefly, this method is embarrassing. Very often the groups will “split hears”, getting into to the most detailed aspects of the material (such as: whether to use capitals for all the letters of the title or not, according to the occidental model, whether to make another layout, etc) and they will forget the more important aspects. If the group designates a writer, that person may, usually, make a consistent document. The writer has to bring back the drawn up document for being reviewed. The basic questions related to which the group has to answer, as regards the drawing up, are:

- Who will suggest the changes as regards the working out of the document? A person? A writer? The group?

- Will the members meet as a group in order to draw up the document?

- Who will decide whether the changes will be accepted or not?

During this stage the mechanism conflict – solution is critical. For instance, it is difficult for some people to accept the suggested changes, especially if they are insecure as regards what they wrote.

- Select a final production method. The group has to designate a member for supervising the final working out. Someone has to collect the parts worked out, to employ a typist and to read the document in order to find the errors. Then, someone has to write the introduction and to take care of some problems such as the table of contents, the bibliography and the visual support. These charges need time and require a special care for the details, especially if it is about a large document. Here are some of the questions addressed to the group, for taking into account this stage:

- Who will write the introduction?

- Who will lay out the table of contents?

- Who will prepare all the quotations and the bibliography?

- Who will prepare the final version and the visual support?

- Who will supervise the output of the final document?

In conclusion, the process of writing the document in group will provoke your abilities as a writer and as a person. This one may be a pleasant experience or on the contrary, a bitter one. The adequate planning will increase the chances of drawing up a successful report and will represent a pleasant experience. When you work in group, remember that the feelings of people may be easily offended if you criticise what they wrote. Be gentle. Or, as a student said, “Get some tact.” The catalogue below reviews all the special characteristics of writing in group.

Catalogue for the drawing up in group

If you answer the following questions, you will be helped to make easier the project of drawing up in group

The planning stage

a)     Who will the leader be?

b)     How will the group manage its activities?

- Select a method for solving the differences.

- Establish the limits and the charges.

- Meet regularly.

- Make always reports (minutes) of the meetings.

- Draw up progress reports.

The writing stage

a)      Ask and answer all the planning-related questions.

- Which is the sequence of sections?

- Is it necessary to finalise some of the sections in order to begin other ones?

- Which is the charge of each person in the writing process?

- Does everybody understand the writing style used?

- Which is the limit for each section?

b)     Select a working out method.

- Will each one write a section?

- Will a single person write the entire document?

The post-writing stage

a)   Select a drawing up method.

- Who will suggest the changes in the document working out process?

- Will the members of the group meet for drawing up the document?

- Who decides whether the changes will be accepted or not?

b)   The supervision of the production process.

- Who will write the introduction?

- Who will lay out the table of contents?

- Who will prepare the quotations and the bibliography?

- Who will prepare the final versions and the visual support?

- Who will supervise the final output of the document?

Summary

This chapter explains the process of professional drawing up and the special models of the process of writing in group. During the process of professional drawing up, the writers plan, work out and give a final format to their documents.

The planning includes answering these eight questions:

  1. Who is my audience?
  2. Which is my objective in this drawing up situation?
  3. Which constraints affect this situation?
  4. Which are the basic actions?
  5. Which is the expected form?
  6. What represents an efficient schedule?
  7. What format and visual support should I use?
  8. What tone should I use?

         The working out consists of writing and rewriting a document in order to render it more accessible to the reader. The writers follow a preliminary sketch, but they also have to develop efficient strategies in selecting the words and in elaborating sentences and paragraphs. They have to use some means such as “brainstorming” and ramification that could help them in the process of assimilation.

The final stage is that of working out the final form of the document. The writers bring the text in an accurate and precise form, by verifying the orthography, the grammar and by a consistency and logic of all the similar elements of the documents.

The process of drawing up in group requires special activities for each stage of the usual writing process. During the initial stage, the groups have to designate a leader and to draw up a plan for finalising the document. They have also to choose methods for eliminating the differences and to establish the charges and the limits. While the work advances, the members have to meet regularly in order to draw up a report of the activities, to adopt decisions related to the style and to share the information. Finally, they have to select a method for working out, drawing up and finalising the document, paying a special attention to the charges, limits and conflict.

Exercises

1.     Analyse a professional document from your field of activity (an article, a business letter, a chapter of a book you are studying) in order to see how did the author answer to the planning questions. Then, image you are an editor working to an institution that publishes such documents. Use your analyses in order to write a letter to a possible author explaining to him how to prepare such a document for your company.

2.     Review the following paragraph. The new paragraph has to contain two sections of reasoning about the writing and the format. Review at the same times the sentences.

Charges in the drawing up process

Interview three people who use the writing as a part of their academic or professional work, in order to find out the type of writing process they use:

- A student of your department

- A teacher of the teaching department

- A professional of your activity field

Prepare the questions for each stage of their drawing up process. Show them the process model and ask them if this one mirrors the process undergone by them. Then prepare a memoir of one or two pages for your schoolmates, making a summary of the results of the interview.

1.              Describe an instrument or a draw up a sketch that may be used in your field of activity or that you use frequently. Before making the description, perform the following operations:

a)      Answer all the planning-related questions regarding your document in a memoir you’ll forward to your instructor.

b)      Make a time schedule for each stage of the process.

c)      Have at hand the catalogue, the schedule and the answers on paper.

Here is a list with suggestions. Other persons may also use it.

Microscope

Form of contribution

Funds expense sheet

Cash register

Oscilloscope

Industrial robot

Camera of 35 mm

Film projector

Horizontal camera

Computer

Condenser – magnifying device

All or a part of the computer system

All or a part of the stereo system

Microwave oven

Sewing machine

Car engine

Knife, saw and other tools

Waxed metal for ski

Footwear for running

Typewriter

Lamp with oxyacetylene

2.              Write one or two pages describing the process you used in the last document. Include also a “process-model” diagram.

3.              Your instructor will distribute you in groups of three or four persons, according to your professional interest. As a group, try to consider the charges presented at no. 1, from above. Each person of the group shall interview different persons. Your purpose as a group is to draw up a memoir of one or two pages making a summary of the results of the interviews. Follow the steps presented in the section “Drawing up in group” of this chapter. Beside the memoir, the teacher may ask you to have also a journal of your activities.

- specialised communication

This communication is the action by which the individual maintains the relationship with the following groups and processes of the activity:

with the audience, electorate, customers, beneficiaries, press.

 This is the communication of a person charged with responsibility by his chief, within an important institution that needs such a thing – he is required to express his opinion, he has a high reputation and his position is very important. The person charged with such a responsibility needs a special training, at least it is recommended for him to have such training. In such cases the economy of words is extremely important: you have to speak very little and accurately, only two or three additional words and the entire message deviates from the initial purpose, causing troubles to the sending person. Sometimes a single word may have catastrophic consequences, because there isn’t always the possibility of denial, and when there is such a possibility, the period of time between the sending moment and the denial moment is long enough and there was already sufficient time for causing troubles, some of them with significant consequences.

within the personnel selection process

An institution with many employees and in development process, but also during the reorganisation process, is obliged to communicate, to analyse the capacities of the personnel employed, to decide which person to keep, to promote or to let go. This action is extremely important, because the future of the company depends on the way in which these operations are performed. This is an extremely serious reason for which the process should not be carried out empirically, but after discussing with each employee. The discussions may not be formal, because otherwise the result would be based on hazard. In order to decide the future of a person or of a company, it is evidently important to know well the persons for whom important decisions have to be taken. The respective discussions may be led only by persons specialised in this field of activity, able to communicate their intentions but also to discover the qualities and the defects of the interlocutors.

within disciplinary activities

In the work process, quite often appear difficult situations in which the employees haven’t accomplished correctly their work-related duties. It doesn’t matter now if they didn’t accomplish their duties because they didn’t want to or because they were unable to do it. For them and for their colleagues it is absolutely necessary to take a disciplinary measure, otherwise the situation could repeat and could have irreparable consequences, catastrophic ones. Of course, it is not recommended to call the respective person to the manager’s office, to insult him and then to communicate him the decision: you shall never set your foot in my factory since this very moment, leave and let me never set eyes on you again. This thing is unacceptable for many reasons:

·         for humanitarian causes,

·         it is not civilised to apply somebody such a treatment

·         he has to be persuaded that he was wrong and that his error was a serious one

·         he has to understand that the it is impossible for him to keep working there

·         the situation in which he may become an serious enemy of the company should be avoided

·         for precaution: he might make an uncontrolled gesture against him, his family, against the managers of the company or against the equipment of the company, the building, the employees, etc.

within negotiations

An institution or a company is in a permanent contact with the partners. The collaboration is intense and brings daily new elements, as it is right to be for a modern company, either it is a production company, a trading company or a resale company. There are orders received and merchandises delivered, of either industrial, banking or consulting nature. Nothing may be done without negotiating. The price, the terms, the delivery conditions and the contractual clauses are negotiated. This implies absolutely the oral communication. The situation of a producer of radio or television programmes is also a kind of negotiation: he will be always oriented toward the listener – viewer, trying to establish the real middle course, to speak but also to listen, to be calm but also nervous, to be full of live. The situation of the social worker is the same: his communication is a continuous negotiation, related to how much he says and how much he finds out, how much he wants to express his intentions and how much he wants to know his interlocutor, based on his sincere reactions and not on those determined by the intention of obtaining advantages We say that because the interlocutors lie in wait them too, negotiate them too, that is they want to know what they win if they give a certain answer and what they lose if they give another answer, which are the advantages offered by one information and the advantages offered by another information.

     within meetings ( sessions, assemblies)

Beside the daily communication with the employees or with the partners, there is also an organised communication, when the people are gathered in one place, for a certain purpose. These meetings are previously announced or, if there wasn’t the possibility of scheduling it, at the moment when the event of force majeure occurred. It would be better for the people to know previously what might be called the agenda, but there are sufficient cases in which the deciding factors do not disclose the secret of the meeting, relying on the surprise element and reach better in this way their objective. But if the invited persons or the employees are not previously announced and the intention is that of surprising them as concerns the topic under discussion, in exchange the organizers will never come to the meeting without knowing clearly what they will communicate and how they will do it.

The meetings of this kind are chaired by the chairmen or by the leader of the group. According to Nicki Stanton, he has to take permanently into account two things: the charge to be accomplished and the type of group he leads. The delimitation of the purpose is absolutely necessary. „This is done by establishing the meetings in due time and by giving the reference topics for the meeting – in other words, by establishing the agenda and the work plan. The objectives have to offer a control basis, for the leader, and a work direction, for the group. The objectives well defined, conceived with a special care and clearly expressed in an agenda shall constitute a solid basis for the teamwork”.[27]

 within the co-ordination of projects, contracts, etc.

It is the most concrete activity of a company. It doesn’t take place daily, because the projects are not executed daily, they constitute long-term objectives. But their discussion supposes a lot of time, and the final form takes the shape of decisions, with terms, responsibilities. For the person co-ordinating such an activity, it is unimaginable that an activity of this type might be conceived and carried out beyond discussions, communication, information and opinion exchange. Here is, for instance, the way in which was created the player disk Sony, according to Stephen R. Covey’s account: the manager Kozo Ohsone went one day to work and cut a piece of wood having the dimension of a compact disk and put it in front of his engineers. He didn’t tell his chiefs why he had done such a thing, but he communicated to his engineers the fact that he wants the future disk to have that dimension. He called also the design researchers and told them the same thing. Almost all of them grumbled, but they started to work in this direction. When the new Sony version was put on the market, it was twenty times smaller than everything done until that moment, three times cheaper and, obviously, acceptable for any buyer due to its dimensions.[28]

within the writing of the reports

Any work meeting should be ended by drawing up a report, otherwise it would be a simple discussion more or less friendly, more or less casual. The decision has to be registered, written in a special register (notebook, file) in order to be used as a basis for the subsequent actions deriving from this meeting or related to it. These reports, as useless as they might seem at first sight, will offer important elements regarding the evolution of the problem, its origin and the obstacles appeared in its way, the persons involved, avoiding thus any subsequent confusion and eliminating the subjectivism generated by the false memory. In order to be sure that a report will be written, a person shall be charged with this responsibility, usually the secretary of the commission – but any participant to a meeting has to be prepared in case such a responsibility is given to him. The person that declines to assume such a responsibility or excuses himself, justifying that he doesn’t know how to do it, he has never done such a thing, that it is not the job he is the best prepared to do, etc. doesn’t make a good impression. 

A Report must comprise:

 - The Title

- The Date

- The Occasion

- The Participants

- The purpose

- The issues debated

- The person taking the floor

- What he stated

- The propositions made

- The way they were argued

- What was decided?

- The signature of the person authorised to make it.

3. Public communication

         Within this type of communication the speaker (and the sender) transmits a message to an audience. The audience being big, the message must be strongly structured, the channels are amplified, the speaker being allowed to use additional visual channels as well in order to transmit the information as correctly and completely as possible. This type of communication is characteristic to the conferences, public lessons, parliamentary speeches, sermons, and protest demonstrations. The main feature of this communication mean consists of the existence of only one sender and of several receivers, the latter being either listeners in a conferences room, participants to a protest demonstration, or connected to a radio or television network. Mass communication, defined especially through its public character, is, in Stappers’ opinion, a communication process within which the sender does not exclude anybody from the message decoding, the communication being public and, for this reason its purpose being to be generally accessible. Stappers thinks it is more reasonable to define mass communication as the messages transmission through which the sender addresses everybody with no exception, by means of a channel to which each receiving instance has unconditioned access, at least to the extent to which the access depends on the sender. However, judging the situation in its essence in mass represents any communication, which the receiver wishes to spread in order to reach to as many persons as possible so that his ideas, feelings, opinions or events with which he came into a direct relationship become public.

         The 20th century and the ongoing century distinguished itself particularly through the proportion of the mass communication, mass-media facing with a degree of development as never before, yet considerably detached from other means of communication due to its information possibilities which they have, but also to the manipulation methods to which it may appeal in any moment. Usually, during the process of daily communication between the persons, the most important issue is naturally the interpersonal communication.        

3. Professionalism: discourse

Nicki Staton admits that none of the reading and learning techniques presented in books shall create a reliable and competent speaker. The radio or television recordings, certain books, for instance, contain the long careers of some famous orators and they reveal that these people practised for years and they improved themselves in this art. The discourses of Lloyd George[29], a great orator with persuasion power, show that in the beginning his interventions were not that strong but he kept improving himself. Titu Maiorescu, an excellent speaker, not just a man of letters, so that we come with an example of our own too, was not ashamed to carefully prepare his discourses or pleadings for the processes, on the contrary he even practised them in front of the mirror. Nothing valuable can be obtained starting from the principle „I shall handle somehow, I shall see what to say”!

            Whether we want to become politicians or not, life puts us many times in the situation of speaking in front of a crowd, which, of course, is difficult, but we can learn. And we must remember that not only the political discourse must captivate the audience. Teaching a lesson in front of some pupils, taking the floor in a meeting with many participants, teaching a university course must follow, in order to be efficient, some well-established rules, verified in a long practice. Straton provides a few suggestions, which we shall synthesise, pointing out the steps:

             Discourse preparation

            Just like other types of communication the discourse hides the following questions: Why? Who? What? When? Where and How? These are the main questions for any information, taken over from the Greek-Latin classic literature and made actual by the press studies, gathered under the name Theory W., due to the fact that in English the questions start with W letter. If we shall be the first to speak, it is recommended to find out when the meeting shall be held and to decide what time we have left to prepare ourselves – both for the written material as well as for the visual means.[30] We must remember that nothing is more persuasive than a brief discourse and that no matter how important our words might be, the audience becomes easily tired. There are often quoted the words of an orator: “If I must speak for five minutes, I need two weeks to prepare myself, if I must speak for an hour, I need a week to prepare, but if it does not matter how long I shall  speak, then I can do it right now.”

            It is also necessary, to know where we shall speak (in order to organise the space and to efficiently resort to the auxiliary materials: drawing boards, video-projector, posters), who shall attend the meeting and, if possible, to know, in detail the types of participants (men, women, the intellectual level, the general knowledge on the subject, their reasons to participate and their attitudes, and their possible objections). According to these elements, we shall prepare, accommodate and choose our language.

            How to adapt to the circumstances

            If you are responsible with organising a meeting (conference, meeting, reception etc.) you must make sure in time, you must take measures, as they say, so that all the problems related to the place of the meeting should be settled (the room is available for sure, there are enough chairs, there is a desk, a writing board or anything that might replace it etc.). Also, a conflict must be avoided regarding the desired situation and the possibilities the space in question provides. Still, in case of an unforeseen situation, make the necessary changes on the spot and in no case waste your energy trying to show that it is not your fault but it is somebody else that must be held responsible. Leave for later the role of prosecutor or attorney, and now prove a real ship captain: give tasks, grab the objects which hamper you and do not use them to threaten, on the contrary, hide them! Smile detachedly, calm the nervous ones, agree with those protesting, ask for a few minutes of patience in order to settle the incident. When you start you may even make a joke, tell that one of your bosses, at the beginning of his career, called a meeting in another town. He was fired for this blunder, but he did much better with his new job, he mistook his neighbour for the daughter of his boss, and now he is the heir of the trust and it seems that he is a millionaire, obviously, in dollars, and his boss’ daughter is his wife.     

12 ways to start a discourse

1.      State the subject or the title – do not insist too much, because the listeners are already aware of it.

2.      Set the discourse objective and plan – use deductive sentences and try not to reveal too much. At the right moment, include the objectives and the discourse structure in the introduction.

3.      Informal introductions – for informal situations. You may use common phrases.

4.      Question – anticipate the type of questions the audience might ask related to your subject.

5.      Intuitive – similar to the use of the questions. Anticipate the problems, the questions of the audience, state them right at the beginning of the discourse and develop them afterwards.

6.      Anecdote – you may begin your discourse with an anecdote, but it must be well said, in accordance with the subject tackled, it must be brief, and if possible to have been experienced by you.

7.      Jokes – if your experience allows you to start your speech with a joke, then you may make it without any risks. The humour of those listening to you might be different from yours. The jokes must be relevant, brief, and especially, well said.

8.      The sense of place – may be extremely efficient for the introductions, but use it carefully and sincerely:”I am always glad to return to these places which remind me of my native place, of…”

9.      Facts and statistics – they must be used in the introduction as little as possible; they must be only mentioned without getting into details. The most technical, commercial subjects provide a great diversity of facts, which shall certainly raise the public’s interest. They must be carefully chosen, so that they be as real as possible and presented as simple as possible.

10.  Quotations – starting the discourse with quotations is an extremely useful method and most often efficient. The quotation must be carefully chosen and the author must be known by the public. It must not be too long, but very relevant for the subject of the discourse.

11.  Shocking sentences – make phrases, which astonish the listeners and always follow them by a pause, in order to obtain the impact you want. For instance: “Training is a waste of time and money …” make a pause and continue “if it has no purpose and no aim and especially if is not accomplished by means of competence”.

12.  Interesting stories – anything, but an anecdote or a joke. In general, everybody loves stories, if well told and strongly adapted. It is advisable that you stay away from the intrigue stories, with a tragic end or unrealistic.

The entire discourse shall depend on the type of variant you choose and especially on the ability to be flexible, clever and spontaneous. Make an original introduction, keep improving your methods of beginning your discourse, in order to make sure that the following stages shall be listened to with the same interest.

The discourse being represented not only by the parliamentary speeches, but also, by any communication with a well-defined purpose made in front of an audience rather numerous, assuming the suggestions of other analysts as well, we came to the conclusion that the rules of an efficient discourse are the following:

- The shorter, the better. In this sense Caragiale left us a wise word: what is left out won’t be howled. He wanted to say that if a line in a play has no effect, it must be rather eliminated than explained because idle talk shall cause the howling of the audience. The discourse shouldn’t be longer than 5-7 minutes. It’s true that, to be efficient, these minutes must be essence, must contain substance for the coming thoughts and actions, the audience being able to talk about them, and them being exactly that: two, but words, according to another famous line of the same I.L. Caragiale, this time uttered by one of his characters. This advice is also available both for the politicians in the middle of an electoral campaign as well as for the kindergarten teacher. There has not been issued yet the subject which may be presented in five minutes. If you want to check this, open any encyclopaedia and you shall see how much information is comprised in one column.

- Avoid digressions. This leaves the impression of slippery, the impression that you do not know exactly what to say, that you look for a subject that very moment.

- Avoid personalisation and insignificant memories, such as, just while I was heading towards you, I ran into a friend whom I worked with for a project, we had been school colleagues, but we hadn’t met for while and now a happy circumstance put him in my way. He told me, after asking me how I was and where my wife worked, because he knew her too, since she had spent her childhood with one of his sisters, a very distinguished lady, they have a nice apartment in Cotroceni and they built a villa near Breaza too, not right near that of Minister X and so on, with no effect but boring the audience.

- Respect the classical rules, which proved efficient during the millenniums:  introduction, contents, and conclusion. It is recommended that the first two stages should be surprising. For example they may be:

- I am speaking about a subject which has never interested me but which I have been studying during the last three weeks.

- I need your help to figure out together what the following means

- Three events had a great impact on my life: 1, 2, and 3. Making a short sentence for each of them.

            - I disagree with Voltaire saying that

            - I think Michelangelo was joking when he said that

            - If Freud is right when saying that then we

- I dislike public meetings, but in this case, you

            - I don’t like children who but you are

            - I think I might upset you saying thatbut

- After saying: as a conclusion, you must feel as if your desk is on fire and consequently, in less than a minute you must leave. Otherwise, those who have been listening for you shall wonder what you are still doing there

          - No acting! Remember that you are not in front of the audience, of the group, of the class etc. to say a poem. This means that you won’t leave the impression that you came with a lesson learnt by heart. Make pauses; discover the truth at the same time with the audience. Ask yourself if the audience can read on your face the fact that you think what you say, look for information in your mind, resort to logic to make the demonstration.

            - No reading! Even if you have a paper in front of you, in order to make sure that you will not run out of subject, do not read the discourse. This had to be done long time before and not only a few times.

            - Do not panic if somebody leaves the room.

            - Do not get into polemic, irrespective of somebody’s reaction.

            - Do not get angry, even if everybody lost his or her calm.

            - Do not say that you will never speak in public again.

            - Do not search responsible persons.




[1] Oger, Stefanink, La communication, c' est come le chinos, cela s'apprend, Paris, Rivages / Les Echos, 1987, pag. 56.

[2] C. Noica, Rostirea filozofica romaneasca, Bucuresti, Editura Stiintifica, 1970, p. 17.

[3] Ferdinand de Saussure, Curs de lingvistica generala, Editura Polirom, 1998, pag. 87.

[4] Emmanuel Pedler, Sociologia comunicarii, Bucuresti, Editura Cartea Romaneasca, 2001, p. 22.

[5] Mihai Dinu, Comunicarea, Bucuresti, Ed. Algos, 2000, p. 77.

[6] Jurgen Habermas, Cunoastere si comunicare, Bucuresti, Editura Politica, 1983, p.192.

[7] Dennis Wilcox, Public relations. Strategies and tactics, Ed. Harper-Collins, 1992, p. 188.

[8] Jurgen Habermas, Op. cit., p. 182.

[9] Allan Pease, Alan Garner, Limbajul vorbirii.  Arta conversatiei, Bucuresti, Ed. Polimark, 1999, pag. 60.

[10] P. Golu, op. cit., p. 167.

[11] Ibidem.

[12] Ion Dumitrescu, Adolescentii - lumea lor spirituala si activitatea educativa, Craiova, Scrisul Romanesc, 1980, p.96.

[13] Lawrence Bauman, Robert Richie, Op. Cit, p.114.

[14] Costin Nemteanu, Comunicare sau instrainare, Bucuresti, Ed. Gnosis, 1997, p.177.

[15] Carmen Ciofu, Interactiunea parinti- copii, Bucuresti, Editura Medicala Amaltea, 1998,  p. 113.

[16] Ion Dumitrescu, Op. Cit, p..237

[17] idem, p.182.

[18] idem, p.132

[19] idem, p.133.

[20] idem, p.134.

[21] F. Philip Rice, The Adolescent: Development, Relationships and Culture, USA, Allyn and Bacon, Inc.,1975 p. 247-249, apud Iulia Burada.

4 Denis Mcquail, Comunicarea, Bucuresti,  Institutul European, 1999, p.120.

[22] Apud Mihai Dinu, Op. cit., p. 84.

[23] Andre de Peretti, Jean-Andre Legrand, Jean Boniface, Tehnici de comunicare, Iasi, Editura Polirom, 2001, p. 26.

[24] Nicki Stanton, Comunicarea, Bucuresti, Stiinta si tehnica, 1995, p. 70.

[25] Nicki Stanton, Comunicarea, Bucuresti, Stiinta si tehnica, 1995, p. 70.

[26] Steven E. Pauley, Daniel G. Riordan, Technical Report Writing Today, Boston, Houghton Miflin Company, 1990,  p. 32 si urm.

[27] Nicki Stanton, Comunicarea, Bucuresti , Societatea Stiinta si Tehnica, SA., [1995], pag. 85.

[28] Stephey R. Covey, Etica liderului eficient sau conducerea bazata pe principii, Bucuresti, Editura Alfa, 2000, pag. 255.

[29]David Lloyd-George, earl of Dwyfor (1863-1945), British politician, prime minister between 1916-1922, played a role at the Peace Conference in Paris (1919) and the treaty of Versailles (1919-1920).

[30] Nick Straton, op. cit, p. 101 si urm.

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