BY BINISH QADRI
When only two persons or a small group of people are involved in informal conversation or chatting when they come face to face, it is called face to face communication. When we talk to each other and see each other physically, we call it face to face communication. It is part of oral communication or one sort of bi-way oral communication for the reason that both the parties are involved in dialogue or conversation. The classic example is that of business communication. However, a telephone conversation cannot be termed as face to face conversation, though it is an oral communication as there is no physical involvement of the concerned parties. Face-to-Face communication is a notion and perception in sociology, linguistics, media and communication studies highlighting or explaining organizational behaviour (Kendon, A.; Harris, M.R.; Ritchie, 1975), distribution of work(Bonnie A. Nardi; Steve Whittaker, 2002), and social interaction carried out without any intermediating technology(Crowley &Mitchell, 1994). It is the mutual power or impact of individuals’ direct physical company or presence with his/her body language(Janet Sternberg, 2012). It is the essential component of individual socialization and forms an important part of observation and experience gaining during the course of one’s lifetime. It has some unique characteristics that are not found in other communication methods.
The important feature of face-to-face communication is that it is very much unswerving or straight as the concerned parties exchange message openly or in a straight line devoid of any media and for that matter it involves no cost. Certainly not other communication techniques are as uninterrupted as it is. It is very easy-going and informal in nature as it involves informal talks with no formalities as such depending on the mutual relationship between the sender and receiver of the message. In the ordinary business of life, we find communication taking place in the form of face to face dialogue. For the reason that it is intrinsic in nature, it is widely used in almost every sphere of life in general and economic activity of production, distribution, and consumption in particular.
One more imperative distinguishing feature of face-to-face communication is that it not only generates colossal word of mouth effect at interpersonal level (Berger, 2014)but at the same time helps in multiplying it. An externality in economics is the benefit or cost influencing a party who did not cherry-pick to experience that benefit or cost. Face-to-Face communication creates both negative and positive externality as it helps to spread quickly the negative and positive newsflash about no matter what of the communication. Accordingly, we can create Devil or God with a word of mouth. A good word of mouth can create God and a bad word of mouth can create Satan. There is a direct and proportional relationship between the word of mouth and the level of efficiency of face-to-face communication. Higher the quality of word of mouth, particularly good jargon and vocabulary, which is the creation of grammatical soundness, larger will be the goalmouths of face-to-face communication and vice versa.
Face-to-Face communication does not have any legal satisfactoriness, acceptability, and backing as it is not on paper or in black and white. It is almost like invisible communication which is analogous with Adam Smith’s invisible hand doing everything on its own yet unseen or too small to see. But, it has a power of rumour dispersion as it very often has a tendency to thin out chitchat that may malign the image of the entity or organization.
A different yet important inevitable characteristic of face-to-face communication is that of facial expression of the sender and the receiver because it has colossal upshot on the entire process of communication. Facial expressions are the arrangements which have the power of expressing the demonstrative, sensitive yet passionate state of an individual to onlookers. Being a part of non-verbal communication, they are the most important ways and means of passing on information, personal or social between humans and refection of one’s personality and moods. The better the facial expression of the sender and the receiver, the better will be the process of communication and vice versa. A key feature of face-to-face communication is that it produces instant and quick feedback. The better the facial expression and the word of mouth of the sender and the receiver, the better will be the process of feedback in the process of communication and vice versa.
Till the recent past, communication skills in general and face-to-face communication, in particular, have been profoundly for all intents and purposes viewed as the casual talk overlooking the role played by facial expressions and body language together with the bond of both parties involved. With the advent of the process of Globalization, Liberalization, and Privatization, as the economy opened up, more and more importance was given to the development of better communication and for that matter Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector must be scientifically and prudently on the global front observed as made up of public-private models of communication that attempts to generate dynamic, skilled, and lively humans. Consequently, such models should be highlighted and discussed on different platforms in higher education thereby shifting the importance merely from technology or technological expertise to the development of communication skills for human resource development and economic development that is sharing and caring, and for that reason supportable. Communication in its general form and face-to-face communication, in its precise form, is a complementary aspect of the socialization process and learning process that was not previously given much importance. After the dawn of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in schools, colleges, and universities, we find thrust on skill development coupled with computer familiarity tempting contrary to old-style language laboratory atmosphere or classroom quarantine. Therefore, it is very important to promote more and more understanding of communications and its various forms, verbal and non-verbal in nature (Ritchie, 1980) and holistic communication models in an underdeveloped country like ours so as to pep talk or upsurge the productivity or efficiency levels of all sectors in general and education in particular.
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— The author is an ICSSR Doctoral Fellow in Department of Economics, at Central University of Kashmir. She is also Guest Faculty, NIFT, Srinagar and can be reached at:[email protected]