Art and Science of Communication

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Public sphere communication can take many forms. Variations are contingent on the cultural specifics. There are regional peculiarities in communication and Manipur is no exception. Take for instance, public speaking, which is one important facet of communication. Annual commemorative gatherings, public deliberations on issues that matter are unimaginable without public speeches. Given the scenario of social turbulence we have as part of our everydayness, there are issues unbound and so are public meetings. It is customary to begin speech with greeting, which is relevant in written communication as well. In fact, greeting is as natural as breathing. The point however is the redundancy of mentioning the day and its date along with the year, the subject of discussion and its background etc., repeatedly by almost all the speakers who have gathered to speak. To save time, this kind of monotony needs to be avoided. And again, there are speakers who seem to have abandoned the idea that they have to speak within a limited duration. Unfortunately, there are too many speakers like them among us.

Selfish habit of speaking beyond a given time not only confuses the listeners, but it also ruins the purpose of gathering. Irish poet, WB Yeats rightly said, “Think like a wise man but communicate in the language of the people”. Yeats’s statement could perhaps enlighten some of our social organisations. Having said this, we do not however claim to be expert communicators. It is our solemn duty to disseminate information to the public, in a language that is explicable. Therefore, it is essential for the media to primarily understand the ‘story’ before communicating it to the public. Press communiqué of some of our social organisations have been like cryptic crossword puzzles to be solved. The languages, at times are too lofty to be understood. This is not to diminish the literary beauty of using antiquated words and sentences of a language that is rich and vibrant. Nevertheless, one should accept the fact that languages, like living organisms, constantly go through process of evolution. The language and style once employed by Dr Kamal or Hijam Guno in their poems would have obvious variations, with those written by Thangjam Ibopishak or Yumlembam Ibomcha for that matter. Above all, literary works can be interpreted and reinterpreted in so many ways. The meanings can also have variations depending on the interpreter, because every individual has different sensitivities and subjective moorings.

Public communication, then again demands clarity of language. A public communicator must come down from the lofty height of literary disposition. The consciousness level of the public leaders can be perceived to be higher than those of the common man. But not so much that their manner of speaking should become a barrier to communication. It is important for them to communicate in the language of the people. Some of the great leaders of the world are the best communicators. It is also said that communication is an art, and as well as science. A blend of both, not necessarily perfect would perhaps be an expectation too great.

Leader Writer: Senate Kh

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