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Written and audio-visual communication

comunications

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Written and audio-visual communication

Written and audio-visual communication

1.     Sources of information

2.     What is a text?

3.     Competent letter

4.     Positive attitude

5.     Communication by image

6.     Means of visual communication

Objectives:

-          To appropriate the technique of reading with a purpose, other than those of information or relaxation

-          To know how to draw up a letter

-          To know the importance of visual communication

-          Accessories: from the sheet of paper to the Internet

Applications:

-          At the end of the lecture course, we will be convinced that, before writing we must know how to listen

-          The students will be helped to draw up an address to a beneficiary

-          It will be elaborated a text for an official institution, for the papers, for the television, for publicity. 

In a study of a writing system, a basic distinction must be made between the crude material (subject mother), which is studied, and the systems deducted from it. Initial speaking (or writing) represents the raw material of the language; a grammar book or a dictionary presents an abstract linguistic system, which is rebuilt in its materials. So are the written texts, representing the row material of the writing for which an alphabet can be rebuilt. 

The amount of information sources, supports, according to the Britannic Encyclopaedia, a writing system:

            1. The written sources include only texts, inscriptions, books and manuscripts. The ability of understanding these sources can be understood in the traditional way, from generation to generation, like in the case of Jews’ or Chines’ writings, or it must be retrieved in a decoding process like in the case of Egyptian hieroglyphs.

      2. Lists of signs, alphabets, syllabus and others that can be discovered inventions of writing during the time when the writing is the first presentation; or it could be rebuilt for other times for the sources written by teachers, or students for didactic or erudite purposes. 

 3. The studies are grounded on a written source or lists of signs, alphabets, syllabus and others. These sources can be primary, when they are directly grounded on a source, or secondary, when they must be grounded on primary studies for informing.

A partial study, which delimitates the mother subject, time and space, must be distinctive generally, comprehensive study of the subject. Thus, an analysis of the writings in Medieval England, the hieroglyphic Egyptian writing, or the Greek alphabet could contrast with an analysis of structures in the alphabetic writings or a study of handwriting or the writing on monuments.

b. What is a text?

No matter how we look at things, sustains Cezar Tabarcea, when we read it, a text is, first of all, a linear development of linguistic enounces. Of course, nothing keeps us from reading at first the middle part or even the end, but in the case of this last probability, in fact we will not read the end of the text but the final part. Reading only the end of a text means, “reading” the last word and the white page that follows after it.” But, acting like this, we couldn’t seriously say that we acknowledged the message the author intended to transmit and we couldn’t say about us either that we were authentic receivers. This is because, “any text assumes a progressive development, from the semantically point of view, development that is based upon a synthetic structure identified by the reader due to his linguistic competence which helps him to resolve also the possible ambiguities (for example, if there is not a specific intonation, the adverb “so” always announces the appearance of a consecutive sentence”.[1]

As we emphasized many times, across these pages, the language, the words we pronounce, sentences, phrases, even interjections, are not spontaneous manifestations of the organs of talking, but the result of our system of judgment. We speak as we think, so, we think as we live. The reciprocal could be also valid. “In virtue of a logic which we could consider as determined first of all by its own practical activity, when something “happens”, the man knows that there is an agent of the event, that this agent develops an action, that this action reflects on a object or a patient and that it is directed or goes from another object. This natural logic, extracted first of all of action, reflects directly on the structures of verbal enounces, fact that determined even new theoretic perspectives in grammatically describing the language.

So, we can simply assume:

Someone / something – does – something –    a) for someone / something

-          b) against someone / something

Synthetically, the scheme corresponds to the structure:

Subject – predicate – direct object – indirect object

Such a model exists in the receiver’s and the sender’s mind as well, when a narration starts. It is certainly disposed on the axe of time, fact suggested in the scheme even by the horizontal development, from left to right.

Starting from Karl Buhler, Sextil Puscariu[2] makes a suggestive analogy for what composing a complete enounce, according to the speaker’s conceptual model means: ”When I compose a sentence it is like I would take someone’s hand and take him on a street in a building. The verb- the essential element of the phrase- is the shelter I give to Him. In order to feel good, I must buy furniture for the house. Who? Whom? Whose? There are the bed, the table and the chair, without we couldn’t imagine a house. How? When? Why? etc., are the accessories furniture: a wardrobe, a bookstand, a mirror, a carpet, some curtains etc., all are more or less objects of luxury, we could live without, but we wouldn’t feel at ease”.[3]

“Therefore, at the moment a narrator starts” a narration (he should) know that he will “close” it too, so like his listener (should) know this thing. After Michel Butor [4]  “a text ends where no inverse connection is required by the reading or, in other words, the text ends when the inverse connection doesn’t bring any important information”.

Although many have tried to explain the essence of the art, starting with psychologists and finishing with the moralists, “those who knew equally to what serves a creation and how is it produced, were the art creators, little interested or not gifted with the particular talent of explanation. Maybe it seemed everything obvious to them so there weren’t necessary any explanations. Those who still tried stumbled usually by the language. That is because the language was always the uncrossed barrier in the way to explaining the arts and to the “joy” offered to us (we use an inappropriate term for not having a better one).”[5]

Borges[6] wrote in 1960: ”Fact is that every writer creates his precursors. His work modifies our conception about the past, as well as it will modify the future. In this correlation it has no relevance the identity or the plurality of people”.   

  Within the written communication we can distinguish the following forms:

·         suggestions

·         notices

·         internal notes

·         letters

c) a competent letter

A written message must have some characteristics in order to reach its purpose. These characteristics are clarity, accuracy, adequacy and the content. 

Clarity

The written message must be easy to read. The used language must take into account the reader’s level of culture, the specific of his profession. It is necessary that the language should be simple and not pretentious. The construction of sentences and phrases must be simple, not to complicate the message; in the complicated parts of the phrase, shorten the length of sentences and use active voice. 

Split the page in paragraphs. They must contain only one idea. The paragraphs mustn’t contain more than 5-6 sentences. 

Accuracy

The letter must respect the grammar rules and have a correct punctuation. A single orthographic mistake will show the level of education of the person who writes it. That is why the letter should be read once again after elaborating it. Respect the rules of writing and the layout of page.

Adequacy 

The message must comply with certain rules according to the person that receives it and his/her position within the society. The letter shall have tact. It shall be written in a polite manner and in a friendly tone. You should avoid the dense details, the phrases should cover the subject and justify the conclusions. The opinions that we want to express and transmit to the receiver shall not be asserted, but they should be the result of facts and of the way of approaching the subject, of its research. Be careful with recommendations, if they were not required, don’t hurry to offer advice, because, in general, it is not advice that the receivers of our letters need. Remember the line of a humorist: don’t give me advice, because I myself also know how to make mistakes. The letter should not indicate a tone of uncertainty, fear, defence or auto-justification. Do not exaggerate with apologies, so that you do not pay like in Gogol’s sketch The Sneeze. The message shall clearly express what is desired and what is expected as a result of communication. That is why the message shall comprise all the explicative elements necessary for some conclusions.

Reason

The message in its content shall also bring a reason component. The process of reason shall begin before writing, not while the message is written. And, of course, it should not be forgotten that after the message has been sent there is nothing we can do, it is not worth becoming wise after the envelope got to the receiver, was opened and read. This makes us think of Anton Pann’s  advice you had better coughed instead of saying that word!

The subject of the message has to be thought and drawn up in a way that should show the competence of the message writer. The analysis of the conclusions shall be justified by data and facts. The message shall be analysed objectively. It has to be convincing and correct from an ethical point of view.

The elaboration process

Writing is made with a view to inform, instruct, improve and encourage, convince and influence. The process of elaborating a letter begins with the questions that the author asks himself:

  1. Is it opportune the use of communication in writing?
  2. Who will read the message?
  3. What is the expected reaction after reading the message?

The next step in the elaboration is the clarification and systematisation of thoughts. 

The process of thinking comprises three stages: the elaboration, systematisation and organization of the letter material. The final step consists of writing the message starting from the draft, carrying on with the editing, reviewing and finalizing the message. The thinking stage represents almost 40% of the time allocated for writing the letter, and the second stage, the writing, 60% of the time allocated for drawing up the letter.[7]

Drawing up – Editing

To draw up a letter means to create. Editing is an analytical process. Drawing up means writing on the draft of the letter. The purpose is to gather thoughts in a structure that should be based on a plan and outline the final form. Editing is not recommended while drawing up the letter. Between drawing up and editing there should be an interval of time in order to assure the draft review with “other eyes”. In conclusion, as a main rule of an efficient and effective communication, we can resume: Tell the reader clearly and simply what he wants to know!

Yet, the fear of consequences should not inhibit us so much that we cannot write a single line on the paper. Horatiu warns us that running from mistakes are an even bigger mistake. And when referring to the lack of talent, he writes, in Ars Poetica:  

Many of us…

Indulge ourselves in the illusion that it is right:  concision is the target,

But in writing I am obscure; seeking for elegance in style,

The nerve and the elan are lacking …

Intending amazingly to transform the simple subjects,

It depicts a dolphin in the forests, a wild boar in the waves;

Seeking escape from the bad is even worse if art’s lacking.”

Advice for drawing up

An efficient writing depends on the clarity and easiness to read, but also on the content. The organization and presentation of your ideas, the unity and coherence of presentation and the way of forming sentences, the grammar and diction are very important, as well as the technique of drawing up – orthography, punctuation etc. The secret of communication successfully consists in using the language correctly. When it is about a written paper, it is required to find words, phrases, sentences and paragraphs that express precisely your ideas and thoughts and that may seem interesting to the others. There is another important aspect of language that has to be considered. In the last years, the writers, professors and editors became more and more concerned with the language social connotation. The attentive author shall avoid formulations that reflect or imply unfounded generalizations on somebody’s age, economic class, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, religious or political orientation, race or sex. In other words, your language should not suggest predilection or antipathy towards any group. For instance, many authors do not use the personal pronoun “he” anymore in order to make reference to somebody whose sex is not known – “doctor”, “director”. For information on the existing practice, you should consult your coordinating professor, if you draw up a bachelor’s degree paper, the professor responsible of the drawing up techniques or a guide. Refer, for instance, to Umberto Eco’s paper, the well-known writer, entitled How to prepare a bachelor’s degree thesis.[8] It is an excellent practical guide.

So, do not write and do not say:

-          Romanians are Italians are

-          Humans are those who

-          Old people make mistakes (or they do not make mistakes), when

-          Many people agree that

-          Nobody knows that

A good dictionary is an essential tool in writing. The coordinating professor may recommend an American standard dictionary to you such as: The American College Dictionary, The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, The Random House Dictionary of the English language or Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary. Because dictionaries differ in content as concerns writing by hyphen and orthography, you should use one dictionary only for the research paper. You should also have a reliable guide for drawing up. Your coordinator may help you to choose one of the multiple available dictionaries.

A selection of the guides for drawing up, classified in three chapters – composition manuals, usual dictionaries and books of stylistics – may be consulted.[9] For those who draw up in Romanian, they should always have on the table Dictionarul explicativ al limbii romane, as well as an Orthographic, Orthoepic and Punctuation Guide. For the studies with literary character, you may refer to the Dictionary coordinated by Mircea Zaciu, Romanian Writers, with a rare accuracy.   

Attitude in written communication

The Sender, in order to establish a relation when sending a letter, shall adopt a positive attitude. The positive attitude implies a positive thinking, positive feelings and a tendency towards a positive action. 

d) positive attitude



Promptitude

The promptitude in sending an answer represents an element of the positive attitude. The prompt answer communicates politeness and consideration by the language time.

Politeness

Politeness is an elementary attribute that forms part of the civilized man’s character. Orientation towards the reader.

Empathy appears by orienting the message towards the reader. Calm, polite, sensitive words may bring joy in a discouraged and tired soul. The message will centre on a positive, prompt tone and with a language without negative connotations. Courtesy, clarity and amiability – these are the fundamental elements of our public relationships, even if relationships exist by writing or by direct speaking.[10]

Personalized message 

It is advisable that personal names should be used in the second person: You. Using the name of the addressee shall make the tone. So, it is not advisable to use Dear Sir, but Dear Mr. Vasilescu. Dear Engineer Dan Vasilescu (also including the forename) is even better. This personalization will give the reader the feeling that he is appreciated and important.  

Tact in communication

When somebody writes a critical message, he shall take into account the reader’s point of view and perception, the way in which this one will “feels” the message. The expression of concern and comprehension as regards the reader’s point of view denotes tact.

Concision, completeness and clarity

The leader that writes a message has the entire responsibility for the efficiency of the sent message. The letter must be a unitary, clear, concise and complete whole.

Concision

Using short sentences and eliminating the necessary information obtain the message concision. Each kept word must be important. The repeated formulations, the same idea expressed in several sentences by other words shall be avoided. They might offend.

Clarity

The message shall be sent through an adequate language, a correct grammar and a good use of the parallel structures shall contribute to the messages clarity.

Completeness

A sender shows his efficiency by introducing in the text the necessary information in order to accomplish the purpose he had in mind. It is desirable that the receiver should take a decision concerning the content of the letter. 

-          reports

-          newspaper articles

media news.

e). Communication by image

Communication by image is achieved by various communication instruments such as: TV set, video, computer, rear projector, slides etc. It is the kind of explosive communication, in full process of expansion. At this point we shall only point out to the modern need to accompany any public conferences by images presenting: the product as such, its picture, operating scheme, components, maps, graphs, pictures of the beneficiaries that appreciate such achievement. For the social worker images representing those who benefited from an intervention are the best evidence there are real chances for the recipient of the message as well.

Most people, when failing to efficiently communicate what they meant, lay the blame on external factors: the essential thing was cut off, the editor did not allow him to say what he wanted to, the light was improper, they were nervous because of the video camera, they were interrupted. At this point we should reproduce a famous statement of the scene painter Robert Edmund Jones referring to the star Antony Quinn: ‘Only a bad actor wonders where the limelight falls; a good one bears such light in himself’.

Communication by visual means

It is one of the most difficult communications as it implies team working. A TV team is made up of at least the following persons with special training and charges:

Director (editor) of the broadcast

Reporter – is the one effectively working out the subject received or approved by the director.

Sound engineer – as the names put it, he records the interview with specific devices.

Light engineer – is in charge with the proper providing of light, regardless the meteorological conditions.

Driver – drives the car during shooting to and from the shooting place.

This team is completed by:

Film editor  – selects the images required for the film. Sometimes by having the reporter by his /her side, some other times by carrying out only the received recommendations. Consideration should be laid to the fact that most part of a shooting is thrown away, and just a small part is maintained.

Programmer – decides what time and day the program is to be broadcast at. This is extremely important since audience depends on it. It is also very important to see what broadcast is in its proximity as sometimes neighbours may influence positively or adversely.

Appearing at a public television is the surest guarantee that you will become known or that the ideas you want to propagate will be made public. Due to the fact that there are many applicants and a wide range of offers (there are all kinds of pressures - from the intervention of the political parties to the financial offers, more or less disguised, as the TV magic box entices as flame entices butterflies), it is necessary that before shooting you know exactly what you want to say, of course, but also to synthesise your message.  Any speaker invited to present a material to an audience shall make a synthesis. The audience wants to accept the message and to maintain it, but this is not up to the speaker exclusively, but even more to the receiver. That is why visual communication uses various modern methods.

Advantages of visual communication

Visual instruments have at least two special characteristics: visual impact and special control ability.

Visual impact

The image conveys instantly what could be written in hundreds of pages.[11] Visual instruments have a special impact as they use, besides the broadcast host, the most efficient canals of interpersonal communication: dialog with the auditor and special presentation through visual elements.

Control ability

Visual instruments prove themselves efficient as they may be used quite easily and they convey the message so that the auditor might catch it. Moreover, they help the auditor receive and understand more easily the message.[12]

d). Means of visual communication

Most authors believe that communication resorting to visual elements is best exercised by:

·         Fixed boards

·         Paper or cardboard,

·         Display devices,

·         Physical instruments,

·         Models

·         Rear projectors

·         Slides projectors,

·         16 mm film projector.

·         closed-circuit television.

A few words about each of them:

Fixed board

The traditional black board and the nowadays white board with special coloured pen. The white screen has the advantage that it permits the use of various colours, thus the writing being well evidenced visually.

The advantages of this method consist in the following:

·         The message is visualised in a simple way

·         The information is permanently exposed

·         It is useful and at hand for anybody

·         It outlines the verbal message.

We are warned about certain details that are, however, very important: it is necessary for us to be provided wit chalk or coloured pens; they should be checked to see if they meet the required qualities; there should be carried out a preliminary compact plan that is to be written or drawn up; Nicki Stanton suggests us that when the drawing is too complex, there is no trouble if the general lines are traced beforehand.

Plane table sheets

They may be best used when the auditor is not too vast, the room is quite small and the writing can be read, is quite tall, evidently, on a paper of honourable dimensions. Schemes, diagrams shall be put on such papers. It is essential to get familiarised with their order and content and not browse them in an annoying manner in front of the auditor until we finally find what we look for.

Displaying devices

They include magnetic boards, those fixed by needles. In our country it is quite difficult to find this kind of materials, so we do not recommend them, one of the reasons for such being the fact that they involve transport problems and require much time for preparation.

Physical instruments

They are small objects, which the audience may have heard, about, but never seen. When necessary, such object may be described, passed from hand to hand, discussed as to its qualities and utilities.

Models and experiments

They shall be resorted to when an object was created, it’s about a new object, and we deal with a new installation. There should be avoided situations when trivial object are shown as if America had been discovered. Disillusionment caused by the difference between the announce with much puffing and the object exposed may make people think about the earthquake ended with the coming out of a little mouse from below the stones …

Rear projector

The rear projector OHP is a modern derivative of the traditional chalkboard. Today it is quite known and used in the church and has the advantage of fixing auditor’s attention on the image presented by the speaker. Ministers may present their subject by association to an image          visualised by association to an image visualised through the transparent foil of the rear projector.

Advantages:

·         There may be projected images, drawings, schemes or graphs

·         It allows the visualisation of an increased image

·         They provide a complete control of the presentation

·         They provide security and flexibility to the speaker

·         They provide vitality and mobility.

Slides projector

Slides projection device. It is an efficient instrument in public preaching of Christian gospel or particular homes. When associated to a tape player or speaker, this is a good mean to know the Gospel.

Advantages:

·         Slides have the advantages of colours and clarity

·         Reproduction of the image is quite good

·         It brings a plus of reality before the auditor

·         It has the advantage of long term maintaining of the sent message.[13]

16 mm film.

More agreeable the impression, more difficult it is to produce a film and project it, thus increased attention should be paid to. It would be safest to acquire films from the authorised directors.

Video-projector

The technological revolution offered mankind the possibility of sending messages via satellites all over the world. Such televised messages may be reproduced in churches by devices specially designed for visualisation on the big screen – video-projector. It takes over both the image, and the sound by a receiver adapted to the frequency of the transmitting satellite. It projects the image in an increased form on a big, special screen.

Advantages:

·         Presenting a speaker from large distances

·         Highly accurate visual and auditory messages

·         Direct transmissions or replay transmissions, by adapting a video-recorder

Computer

The wide range of information specially created for the users of personal computers can make it a really useful instrument for documentation and presentation. Today there are lots of multimedia materials for computers. Through the video-projector and by the aid of a specialised soft it may be used in image, sound and film presentations. By special effects it can render more attractive an image presentation (type slide show).

Internet

It was projected and developed first by the Defence Department of the United States even since 1973. In 1984 it began to be used by several governmental agencies, and nowadays it has come to be used by 100 million users of computers. Today, most church organisations have a Web page where they introduce themselves to the public, as well as an e-mail for correspondence.

The Internet is used for the electronic transmissions of information by networks of optic fibres or telephone line, of radio and microwaves. Nowadays, the Internet is used for the most diversified 'online' services: information, shopping, bookkeeping; the Internet is an integral part of the informational infrastructure in these times. It means that, in practice, anybody may communicate almost instantly to anybody.



[1] Cezar Tabarcea, De ce o naratiune trebuie sa se “inchida”, in Limba si literatura romana, Analele Universitatii Bucuresti, Anul XXXV 1986, pag. 19.

[2] Sextil Puscariu (1877-1948) – lingvist si filolog, academician, profesor universitar la Cluj. A intemeiat Muzeul limbii romane si revista Dacoromania. A condus ani indelungati lucrarile de elaborare a Dictionarului limbii romane. Autorul volumelor: Limba romana, Istoria literaturii romane. Epoca veche,  Dictionar etimologic al limbii romane.

[3] Sextil Puscariu, Limba romana, Bucuresti, 1976, p.143., cf. Cezar Tabarcea, Op.cit.pag.21.

[4] Michel Butor, scriitor francez nascut in 1926. Licentiat la Sorbona. Profesor in Egipt si in Elvetia, la Salonic si Manchester. Opere principale: Pasage de Milan, L’ Emploi du temps, Le Genie du lieu, Degres, Repertoire, Essais sur les modernes.

[5] I. A. Richards, Op. cit., p.49.

[6] Borges, poet, prozator si eseist argentinian (1899-1986). Printre volume: Istoria universala a infamiei, Istoria eternitatii, Poeme, Fictiuni.

[7] M. Hunter, Guide to Managerial Communication, Prentice Hall -Englewood Clifts, 1987, pag. 24.

[8] Umberto Eco, op. cit., Ed. Pontica, 2000.

[9]  Joseph Gibaldi, Walter S. Achtert, MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, second Edition, New York, The Modern Language Association of America, 1984, p. 23.

[10] Robert Pierson,  E. W. Torr,  Pentru a fi un conducator ideal (To be an ideal leader) , page 143

[11] O. Girault, Comunication profesionelle, Paris, Les Editions Foucher, 1986, pag. 60-61.

[12] Nicki Stanton, Comunicarea, ed. cit., pag. 112 si urm.

[13] Ni    Nicki Stanton, Communication, The Macmillan Press Limited.., 1995, pag. 110 si urm.

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