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Information as key factor to know things

"Knowing the receiver's cultural and educational background, along with communication skills and convenience can make us communication experts"

Politics and democracy are fine but people have to do so many other things for themselves and for their families. Pakistanis are more interested to have a political leadership consisting of people who are not corrupted. The overwhelming majority is quite dissatisfied with the country’s politics and prays for a better political system and better political practices. We need political news, but most of the media is creating hype in their content by publishing political propaganda in the headlines and their content. This type of journalism is based on utterances and not on occurrences. There is a dearth of investigative, development, and social news. Now, there are millions of sane people who show their disappointment in the role of media, especially on social media. Parents find their kids over-involved in social media and have complaints about their attitudes of not listening to them and becoming unsocial under the influence of social media.

Being a professor of media and communication, many times, I face questions from parents who are worried about the attitude of their children and are quite annoyed about the sensationalism and irresponsible role of the media. My advice for such people is always that no one in the home should make use of the media without having any purpose. Media in this world is not only the means of information but they always have their objectives. We should tell the children that those who don’t have their objectives, they are always used by those who have their objectives. Children must discipline themselves by organizing their daily activities according to a well-planned time table. This time table must be displayed in front of their study table and followed strictly. It should tell clearly how they will spend their time after coming back from school i.e. lunchtime, tea time, rest time, game time, home assignments, TV and newspaper time.

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Android phones should not be used for social media only. There is a dictionary, Google, and YouTube in phones. These mobile applications are an unlimited source of information regarding academic, business, and general needs. Sitting long hours before TV or using a cell phone only for socialization and entertainment is fatal for our health and for our life goals. After food, information is the second biggest input of human beings. It goes without saying that quick and easy access to information is the key to success. All-time and moment-to-moment information is received by five senses i.e. seeing, listening, smelling, tasting, and touching. Communication is not only an exchange of information, but it is an understanding of the information also. We try to understand other humans and make them understand ourselves. Information is important for understanding anything in the universe.

Our success in life depends on our decisions, if we will make wise decisions we will be successful, and in case of unwise decisions, failure will be our fate. There are oceans of information in this modern era. We must be selective in seeking information and must not waste our time seeking irrelevant information. Communication is life. This system ceases working only with our death. Communication skills play a major role in one’s success. It is communication that is a manifestation of people’s wisdom and command. Today, in this column, I will briefly explain some very important facts about communication that are generally ignored by us. Scholar David Berlo, in his model of communication, mentions four components of human communication. The first component is source or communicator, meaning a person or persons who impart information or communicate. The second is a message or information. The third component is channel which takes information from one to another place. The fourth component is the receiver, a person or persons who receive information.

For effective communication, we need to know in-depth characteristics of all of these four components. But right now, I would like to mention two-three very important facts about communication explained by American Professor Dr. Josef Ascroft who conducted a workshop on Development Support Communication at the Punjab University in June 1985 attended by communication teachers from all over the country. He started by saying: “Ladies and gentlemen! This is a communication workshop. A workshop is a place where so much work is done and communication is a message construction job. Therefore, every one of you will be constructing so many messages in this workshop.” Then he asked the participants to construct their first message by telling their and their institutions’ names. Everyone told his and his institution’s name. Then, Dr. Ascroft pointed at one of the participants and asked him about the name of the person sitting beside him. The participant said, “Sorry, I couldn’t remember it.” He put the same question to a second, third, and fourth participant and asked the names of their bench fellows. No one was able to recall the name of his/her bench fellow.

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Then, the professor announced it loudly: “This is the first lesson of communication science that communication is not so simple and easy as we generally consider it. You have observed it yourself, that people couldn’t recall the names shared just a couple of minutes before. Communication is a complex process and it is not a one-time product. Then he said, “We must know each other for seven days of the workshop and we can do it another way.” Then he distributed tags to the participants and said, “Write your name on them and pin them on your shoulders.” When it was done, the professor asked one participant to shake hands with him. During this handshake, both of them were standing on the right side of each other. The professor posed to be in trouble while looking at the name pinned on the left shoulder of the person standing in front of him. Then he asked him why he has pinned it on his shoulder. The person said that he has done it so that other people may know his name. Then the professor said if it is for others why have you pinned it on your left side?

He said with his right hand, it was difficult to pin it on the right side. “I found it easy to pin on the left shoulder.” Then the professor looked at the other participants and said, “Every one of you has pinned your name tag on your left shoulder what is the reason?” The answers were: It was easy for him or her to pin it on the left shoulder; I like it this way; it is fashion; it was easy to pin it on the left shoulder, etc. At this, the professor shouted again and said that this is the second most important lesson of communication science that people generally have a source-oriented approach to communication, which means that as a source/communicator, we always keep our own comfort in mind and forget about the receivers of our communication. If we can understand this most important barrier to communication and go out of this room with a receiver-oriented approach, we will be perfect in our communication. Knowing the receiver’s cultural and educational background, along with communication skills and convenience can make us communication experts. So readers, keep in mind this principle for your wonderful communication.

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