What is communication?
Communication is transmission of information.
As simple as that. Someone has some information that he sends out there. Where to? Wherever. Bacterias communicate, fungi communicate, plants do that also. Every living organism communicates.
LittleMissLisa thinks that “Cogito Ergo Sum” is not enough. I communicate, therefore I am – that is what she believes in.
Now, the ever present alien in our stories, being an alien, and not quite getting this communication thing yet, wondered:
“If some information is transmitted from you to me does that mean that we communicate?”
“Well, yes, it does, it satisfies the definition we adopted at start.”
“Great, I get it!”, alien put a smile on his fluffy alien face, “We are here, you and me. We are a kind of group. Right?
“Yes, you could say so.”
“You told me more than once that communication is essential for the functioning of the group.”
“Yes, I did. That is what I believe.”
“What you meant is that if all the members transmit what they think to other members, they communicate and all will be good and great?!”
“Hm, not exactly. The communication is not a one time thing. There is also a time dimension to it. But, what is the most important is the feedback that leads to the flow of information. For successfull communication within a group you need the feedback and you need the flow.”
Little fluffy cheeks hang down. “Oh, now, but what is this feedback thing?”
“If I give you a candy, what would you do? Here you go, here is a candy!”
“Ha, you see!”, LittleMissLisa clapped her hands.
“I did not do anything?!”
“Yes, you took the candy, you thanked me, and your eyes smiled! That is the feedback!”
“Hmm, but I did not give you any information!?”
“On the contrary, my dear Watson! You accepted the candy and you showed me that you like it with both your non-verbal and verbal communication! That is a lot of information you gave me back as a feedback! And a positive one! ”
“Aha, I liked getting the candy and showed it. Non verbal communication told you that I really did like it, while my verbal communication just showed that I was well brought up, according to Earth standards.”
“Right. Now that is what I call a start of communication. For a better quality communication you would have to give me more than a positive acknowledgment. You could have told me about the kind of candy you prefer, or that you maybe do not feel like candy right now, since you ate recently… for the richness of communication you need more quality of information in return. Then the wider flow can develop and new possibilities open.”
“Hm. Right. Now I understand what feedback means. Information can be passed in different forms, and when you give it in return, that is a feedback. But… one more thing – why did you call me Watson!?”
“Oh… Here you go, here is another candy!”
“Thank you! I love you, LittleMissLisa, you are my best friend! Not because of all the candy, you know”
“I know. You are my best friend, too. And now we have the flow”.