(It should be noted, however, that competence is not the same as communication success. For example, a teacher can have the characteristics that are necessary for competence, but if he or she isnt also a master of the field being taught, students are unlikely to gain the meaningful understanding that generates retention and continued interest when the course ends. ) The most important characteristic is having knowledge of the rules that determine how and when to use different communication strategies (ontological knowledge in Hazleton & Cupach, 1986; tacit knowledge in Stemler, Elliott, Grigorenko, & Sternberg, 2006).
For example, another characteristic necessary for competence is the ability to use different forms of nonverbal communication (Chesebro & McCroskey, 2001; Neuliep & Grohskopf, 2000), but the forms used depend upon the nature of the interaction. For example, mens sports provide whats probably the only stereotypically acceptable occasion for male-to-male friendly physical contact, as when macho man hits a home run and is rewarded by pats in the butt from his teammates.
Its hard to think of any other contexts where this form of nonverbal communication is acceptable, let alone effective. For a teacher, effective forms of nonverbal communication would be smiling, making eye contact, moving in order to provide equal attention to students sitting in different sections of the room, moving towards the student who is speaking, etc. The latter form was brilliantly demonstrated by Bill Clintons seemingly spontaneous movements off the podium and towards the audience in his first televised debate with George Bush.
The third characteristic is actually a combination of two characteristics people tend to think of as opposites, being both responsive and assertive (Anderson & Martin, 1995; Neuliep & Grohskopf, 2000). However, its desirable to show interest, openness, and receptivity to what others are saying (being responsive) and also to be able to articulate ones own views (being assertive). My goals are to increase my knowledge of the contexts in which different communication strategies are appropriate, my use of effective nonverbal communication, and my responsiveness towards and assertiveness with others.
Theres a reliable and valid test measuring communication competence (Rubin & Martin, 1994) to use as an evaluation of my current competence. To minimize the problems in pre-post designs, retests will be conducted every three months for a period of a year. At some point in retesting, my score should improve and subsequent scores should either be higher or remain the same.
References Anderson, C. M. , & Martin, M. M. (1995). Communication motives of assertive and and responsive communicators.
Communication Research Reports, 12, 186-191. Chesebro, J. L. , & McCroskey, J. C. (2001). The relationship of teacher clarity and immediacy with student state receiver apprehension, affect, and cognitive learning. Communication Education, 50, 59-68. Hazleton, V. , & Cupach, W. R. (1986). An exploration of ontological knowledge: Communication competence as a function of the ability to describe, predict, and explain. The Western Journal of Speech Communication, 50, 119-132. Neuliep, J. W. , & Grohskopf, E. L. (2000).
Uncertainty reduction and communication satisfaction during initial interaction: An initial test and replication of a new axiom. Communication Reports, 13, 67-77. Rubin, R. B. , & Martin, M. M. (1994). Development of a measure of interpersonal communication competence. Communication Research Reports, 11, 33-44. Stemler, S. E. , Elliott, J. G. , Grigorenko, E. L. , & Sternberg, R. J. (2006). Theres more to teaching than instruction: Seven strategies for dealing with the practical side of teaching. Educational Studies, 32, 101-118.