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1.1: Why Study Communication?

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    Learning Objectives

    1. Explain how studying communication can help you academically, personally, and professionally.
    2. Understand the layout and content of this textbook.

    As a student enrolled in a required communication course, you might be thinking, “Communication isn't my major, so why am I required to take this course?"  The short answer to this question is the more skilled you are at communication, the greater potential you have to succeed in all aspects of your life. We spend most of our day communicating.  In fact, when we are in the presence of other people, we are constantly communicating, whether we are conscious of what we are communicating or not. Learning about communication can help you communicate with more intention, resulting in the potential for improving your performance in your other courses, building stronger relationships, and accomplishing your career goals.  

    Studying Communication Can Help You Academically

    In this class, you will learn about language, nonverbal communication, listening, intercultural communication, working in teams and small groups, and giving presentations.  Since these skills have applications in your other college courses, communication study can help you academically. 

    Studying Communication Can Help You Build Stronger Relationships

    In this class, you will learn about interpersonal relationships and ways to manage conflict in those relationships.  You will be introduced to tools to help you better understand yourself and others—not just their words, but also the nonverbal communication cues they are sending.  By applying the knowledge you learn in this class, you can potentially improve your relationships at home, at college, and at work.


    3 Essential Tips For Making It As A Celebrity Photographer
    Figure \(\PageIndex{1}\): Communication Builds Relationships. Source: Trey Ratcliff is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

    Studying Communication Can Help You Professionally

    A survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers found that “College students who wish to separate themselves from the competition during their job search would be wise to develop proficiencies most sought by employers, such as communication, interpersonal, and teamwork skills.”  An individual with excellent communication skills is an asset to every organization. No matter what career you plan to pursue, competent and professional communication skills will help you succeed.

    Figure 1.2 shows the results of a survey conducted in 2018 by the National Association of Colleges and Employers. This chart identifies the top eight skills employers identify as being essential for career success.  

    Each of these skills will be discussed or used in this course. Thus, the study of communication can help you succeed professionally.

    8 Competencies Adapted from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) Career Readiness Competencies
    Figure \(\PageIndex{2}\): A Look at Eight Essential Career Competencies.  Source: "10 Steps to Career Development Success," Adapted from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) Career Readiness Competencies by Southwest Tennessee Community College's Career Services Department.

    Your Communication Textbook

    Your textbook is called Competent Communication, in part, because each chapter addresses one or more of these eight essential competencies.

    • Chapter 2 (Communication and Culture) - Global and Intercultural Fluency
    • Chapters 3 - 5 (Verbal Communication, Nonverbal Communication, Listening); Chapters 10 - 17 ( Public Speaking) - Oral and Written Communication
    • Chapter 6  (Interpersonal Communication) -  Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
    • Chapter 7 (Career Communication) - Professionalism and Work Ethic/Career Management.
    • Chapter 8 (Leaderships and Working in Teams) - Leadership/Teamwork and Collaboration.
    • Chapter 9 (Mass Communication and Social Media) - Digital Technology
    How to run an effective meeting
    Figure \(\PageIndex{3}\): "How to run an effective meeting" by Nguyen Vu Hung (vuhung) is licensed under CC BY 2.0

    Career Advice

    Communication can occur without your even realizing it. Consider the following:

    Is your e-mail name professional? The appropriate form for an email to your professor or in a business e-mail contains some form of your name. While an e-mail name like “LazyGirl” or “DeathMonkey” may be fine for chatting online with your friends, it may send the wrong signal to professors and prospective employers. When sending an email to a professor, always use your school email.

    Is your outgoing voice mail greeting professional? If not, change it. Faculty and prospective recruiters will draw certain conclusions if, upon calling you, they get a message that screams, “Party, party, party!”

    Do you have a “private” social networking on or another social media site? If so, consider what it says about you to employers or clients. If it is information you wouldn’t share at work, it probably shouldn’t be there.

    Have you Googled yourself lately? If not, you probably should. Potential employers have begun searching the Web as part of background checking, and you should be aware of what’s out there about you.  (Organizational Behavior)

    Topics for Discussion

    1. The opening of this section says, "we are constantly communicating, whether we are conscious of what we are communicating or not."  How do you interpret this statement?  Do you agree or disagree?  Explain.

    2.  When you see an e-mail full of typos, poor grammar, or incomplete sentences, how do you react? Does it affect your perception of the sender? Why or why not?


    Career Services. Career Development at Southwest.  Southwest Tennessee Community College. 2021. 

    The College Board. (2004, September). Writing skills necessary for employment says big business: Writing can be a ticket to professional jobs, says blue-ribbon group. Retrieved from writing_for_employ.html.  

    National Association of Colleges and Employers. (2009). Frequently asked questions. Retrieved from  

    National Commission on Writing for America’s Families, Schools, and Colleges. (2004, September). Writing:  A Ticket to Work…Or a Ticket Out, A Survey of Business Leaders. Retrieved from  

    Organizational Behavior. University of Minnesota. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0

    Pearson, J., & Nelson, P. (2000). An introduction to human communication: understanding and sharing (p. 6).  Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill.

    This page titled 1.1: Why Study Communication? is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Lisa Coleman, Thomas King, & William Turner.

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