Two concepts—communications and communication—mistakenly or unknowingly are used interchangeably in the applied filed of communication in Bangladesh. If you see the visiting card of a communication officer or a communication expert, the organisation where she/he works terms this designation as 'communications officer' or 'communications expert'. Even, journalism and communication graduates after taking up the job describe their designation as communications officer/expert/ manger/director. What is the problem adding 'S' to communication? Communication and communications are different concepts that derive from two different disciplines. Communication is a process of sharing messages involving individuals. Communication is the study of how messages are shared, received, perceived or understood, and what meaning is produced through interactions. This process of interaction among human beings is called human communication. On the other, communications is a system of technical transmission of information, like telephone, radio, television, fiber optic representing engineering system. Communications is a technology-based system. You can also say road communications, rail communications, which are absolutely correct with 'S' while completely wrong without 'S'. May be in a bid to help avoid such misconception, Sheikh Shafiul Islam and Dr Shah Nister Kabir, teachers of Journalism and Mass Communication at Daffodil International University, have written a book titled 'Foundation of Human Communication' defining and clarifying fundamental concepts and theories of communication.
Students, academics and researchers have been facing difficulties in using books on communication in terms of contextualization since the inception of Mass Communication and Journalism department at Dhaka University in the 60s as these books have mostly been written in western or alien perspectives. Till date, there are six or seven books on communication, written by native writers. Of the books, at least four are in Bangla but all the books reflect more or less the same perspective. Two books have been written in English focusing on development communication issues in Bangladesh. But no book in English focusing on communication concepts and theories has been published depicting Bangladesh context. The authors did an excellent job in writing this book focusing on fundamental communication concepts and theories clarifying these in the context of Bangladesh in simple and lucid language. The presentation of appropriate and real-life examples with photos and illustrations throughout the book increases not only its attractiveness but also understandability of readers. Eminent communication expert Dr. Golam Rahman in his foreword in the book said, “The examples and analyses have been made in the local context coupled with established conceptual framework.” By going through this book, communication students in general can enhance their cognitive capacity easily with matching their native perspectives.
Why do we communicate? Why are communication skills needed? In this regard, the authors said, 'Communication is a part of skill, a part of art and a part of science. It is a 'skill' as it involves certain fundamental techniques, it is an 'art' as it involves creative senses and challenges, and it is a 'science' because it involves logics of approaches (p-18).'The writers added, 'Quality of human life depends upon communication. Communication is vital to functioning effectively in the modern world. It helps achieve personal, social and organizational success (p-19).'
The book includes a diverse range of concepts, theories and models of human communication in its ten chapters. Chapter One begins with conceptualisation of communication and highlighting its scope and importance in personal, social, national, international levels and even religion and culture. Chapter Two mainly presents emergence, definition, nature of human communication while Chapter Three describes its process, components, and models. Chapter Four focuses on verbal and non-verbal communication and meaning as well as their aspects in effective speaking and writing. Chapter Five describes intrapersonal communication, self, self-development and self-motivation techniques. Chapter Six offers a step-by-step introduction of interpersonal and group communication as well as element and effectiveness of interpersonal communication, relationship development, group formation process, and organizational communication while Chapter Seven elaborates public and mass communication as well as art of public speaking.
Chapter Eight mainly provides techniques of enhancing communication skills, listening and effective negotiation and leadership skills while Chapter Nine discuses attitude and credibility matters. The last chapter explores various research methods in communication, including content and discourse analysis, survey, focus group discussion and case study. It also presents guidelines of writing a research proposal.
Once, communicators used to be born but now professional communicators are made through training and education for which reading books is one of the principal prerequisites. If you fail to communicate with people effectively, your goals will not be achieved. You can say how the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) effectively communicated with people without any training, education or reading books. Actually, he knew the way of communicating with people irrespective of religion, language, race, sex and social status. As a prophet, he took into account the psychological peculiarities of the individual and society to disseminate divine messages among them in the most effective way. Along with following such successful born communicators, reading books on communication can help you make an eloquent one. In this regard, this book can be an excellent read.
As a whole, the book presents concepts and theories in communication logically and systematically but it would be great if the book were free from some mistakes in language and presentation. Despite some slight flaws, which are quite natural, the 160-page book, published by Anyadhara, will serve better the purposes of communication teachers, students, researchers and communicators.