We communicate with others on a daily basis, but communication is much more than having a conversation with someone. It is how effectively we communicate that matters.
As human beings, we do not always recognize the inconsistencies in our methods of communication. By taking the time to understand it, even just a small amount more, we can improve the effectiveness and appropriateness of how we communicate. Let’s further explore the power of communication and the four main levels of communication.
In This Article:
- Understanding Communication
- The Four Main Levels of Communication
- How To Become an Effective Communicator
- Understanding Communication at GCU
You may think you have a pretty good grasp on the aspects of communication. After all, you communicate every day. But is how you communicate effective when interacting with others? How are you behaving physically and mentally? Communication involves more than the simple verbalization of words; it entails how you move, how you are perceived and what you do.
It is important to know that the way you behave and speak, both verbally and nonverbally, can positively or negatively affect the way others perceive your communication and how they might approach you in future situations. Certain people in your life may have specific expectations of receiving communication, and it is important to be mindful of these expectations. It is important to know how to approach this and effectively communicate with them. For example, consider how they wish to be addressed — are they a doctor, Mr., or Miss?
The way you communicate with others can set the tone or simplify the interactions you have. By better understanding communication and knowing your own communication style, you can help others understand how to approach you as well. Improving methods of communication can greatly increase effectiveness and improve the overall relationship of those involved.
The Four Main Levels of Communication
When thinking academically about communication, it can be helpful to have a basic understanding of developmental psychology. As a person grows from an infant to adulthood, they gradually acquire increasingly advanced levels of communication skills — particularly if they, once grown, actively work to cultivate their communication abilities.
There is power in communication in all of its levels, but the more one advances, the better able that person is to communicate effectively. Here’s a quick look at the four main levels of communication:
- Level One – Self-Expression: Infants can express themselves as soon as they are born—by crying to communicate a need. As a person grows, they begin to develop more sophisticated means of self-expression.
- Level Two – Interactive Communication: Communication isn’t a one-way street. The second level requires the ability to pick up on verbal and nonverbal cues from others; to listen to them and to respond to them.
- Level Three – Emotional Intelligence Regulation: Not everyone masters the third level of communication; it requires some work. Those who do develop greater self-awareness of factors that can affect communication, such as their own emotions, their attention span, and their ability to become aware of the emotional needs of others.
- Level Four – Communication Adaptation: The fourth level of communication recognizes that different people communicate differently and respond differently to various communications. Everyone has their own unique experiences and worldview, which shape their frame of reference. A fourth-level communicator can adapt their message and communication style in a way that allows them to connect with different audiences.
How To Become an Effective Communicator
Understanding communication is only the first step. Now that you have a better understanding of the power of communication, it’s time to take a look at some of the strategies you can use to become a more effective communicator. If you decide to become a communications major, you’ll have opportunities to refine your communication abilities.
Just as all people are not the same, all people do not communicate in the same way. Since some people are more comfortable in certain situations than others, take the time to notice what makes the people in your life feel safe, comfortable and welcome, and approach them in this way.
A helpful tip might include finding out their “love language.” This is a tool that can show you how you best receive love and help your relational partners to understand how to communicate with you more effectively, especially when it comes to showing appreciation.1
How Simplicity Fuels Power in Communication
Every good communicator has a knack for words, but truly effective ones know how to speak or write in a way that genuinely resonates with people. It can be off-putting to customers, clients or team members if they have to sort through technical jargon before they can figure out what you are saying.
Take your cue from writer Mark Twain, who once reportedly said, “Don’t use a five-dollar word when a 50-cent word will do.”2 Remember that the end goal and the power of communication is to convey an idea, and it is hard to get your message across if your audience is busy reaching for a dictionary.
Adjust Your Message
During your time as a communications major at Grand Canyon University, one of the topics you will study is campaign development. Your future career may involve social, marketing or political campaign strategizing. In this field in particular, it is essential to know how to adjust your message based on your audience’s responses.
Remember that communication is a two-way street. Based on feedback, you may need to tweak the campaign strategies multiple times, while still remaining true to the core mission and values.
Collaborating and Leading Small Groups
At GCU, communications majors can become skilled at addressing all sorts of audiences, including small teams. Leading and contributing to small groups are skills that you will likely develop further as you build your career. In these settings, visibility is important. Technology makes it easier than ever before to collaborate with someone remotely, whether that person is on a different floor in an office building or on the other side of the globe.
However, electronic communications cannot truly replace face-to-face interactions, or even a phone call. Your team will benefit from having a personal connection to you and to other team members. Maintaining your visibility as a team leader and scheduling regular face time will support team morale and engagement.
Living According to Your Words
The most compelling message imaginable will still fall flat if it’s delivered by a person who doesn’t live according to their own words. In other words, it’s essential to ensure that your message is clear, understandable and compelling, but it’s equally as important that you heed it yourself. In order to gain people’s trust, you must match your actions to your words.
Understanding Communication at GCU
If you are interested in learning more in-depth methods and strategies of human communication, pursuing a communications degree at GCU may be a great choice. This degree program allows you to explore many different types of communication and how successful communication works in our daily lives. There are many reasons to earn a degree in communications – find the one that inspires you and start your journey at GCU!
1 Gordon, S. (2023, Feb. 8). What Are the Five Love Languages? VeryWell Mind. Retrieved Oct. 31, 2023.
2 Lowe, L. (2014, April 7). Which English word has 45 letters? The world’s longest words. Parade. Retrieved Sept. 13, 2023.
Approved by the assistant dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences on Oct. 24, 2023.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.