Learning Objectives

Define communication competence.Explain each part of the meaning of interaction competence.Discuss techniques for occurring communication competence.Discuss communication apprehension and also public speaking anxiety and also employ tactics to control them.

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Communication competence has end up being a emphasis in greater education over the past pair of years as educational plan makers and advocates have actually stressed a “back come basics” mentality (McCroskey, 1984). The capability to interact effectively is often included as a major undergraduate finding out goal in addition to other vital skills favor writing, an essential thinking, and problem solving. You most likely haven’t heard professors or university administrators usage the ax communication competence, yet as we learn much more about that in this section, i am certain you will see how interaction competence can benefit you in many aspects of your life. Since this publication focuses on interaction in the real world, methods for occurring communication competence room not only minimal to this section. A “Getting Competent” function box is contained in each chapter, especially to assist you construct communication competence.

Defining Competence

We have currently defined communication, and you probably understand that come be experienced at something method you know what she doing. As soon as we incorporate these terms, we acquire the adhering to definition: communication competence describes the understanding of effective and also appropriate communication patterns and the ability to use and adapt that expertise in miscellaneous contexts (Cooley & Roach, 1984). To far better understand this definition, let’s rest apart that is components.


Developing communication competence can carry many rewards, yet it also requires time and also effort.

Paul Shanks – communication – CC BY-NC 2.0.

The very first part that the meaning we will unpack encounters knowledge. The cognitive elements of competence include knowing exactly how to execute something and understanding why things space done the way they are (Hargie, 2011). World can construct cognitive competence by observing and analyzing the plot of others. Cognitive competence can likewise be occurred through instruction. Because you are at this time taking a communication class, ns encourage friend to shot to watch the interaction concepts you are finding out in the communication practices the others and yourself. This will assist bring the principles to life and also also aid you advice how interaction in the real people matches up with interaction concepts. As you build a repertoire of interaction knowledge based on your experiential and also classroom knowledge, girlfriend will also be arising behavioral competence.

The second part of the an interpretation of interaction competence that we will unpack is the ability to use. Individual factors influence our capability to perform anything. Not everyone has actually the same athletic, musical, or intellectual ability. In ~ the separation, personal, instance level, a person’s physiological and psychological characteristics influence competence. In regards to physiology, age, maturity, and ability to communicate impact competence. In regards to psychology, a who mood, stress and anxiety level, personality, and level of interaction apprehension (level that anxiety about communication) impact competence (Cooley & Roach, 1984). Every these determinants will either assist or hinder you as soon as you shot to apply the understanding you have actually learned to actual communication behaviors. Because that example, you can know tactics for being an efficient speaker, but public speaking tension that kicks in when you get in former of the audience might prevent friend from fully putting the knowledge right into practice.

The third part of the meaning we will unpack is capacity to adapt to various contexts. What is skilled or not varies based upon social and social context, which makes it impossible to have only one standard for what counts as interaction competence (Cooley & Roach, 1984). Society variables such together status and power affect competence. In a social case where one person—say, a supervisor—has much more power 보다 another—for example, his or her employee—then the at sight is generally the one who sets the traditional for competence. Cultural variables such together race and also nationality also impact competence. A Taiwanese woman that speaks English as her second language might be praised for she competence in the English language in her residence country yet be perceived as less competent in the joined States since of her accent. In summary, return we have a clear an interpretation of communication competence, there are not definitions for exactly how to be knowledgeable in any type of given situation, since competence different at the individual, social, and social level.

Despite the fact that no guidelines for or interpretations of competence will be applicable in every situations, the National interaction Association (NCA) has figured out many facets of competence regarded communication. The primary focus has been on competencies concerned speaking and also listening, and also the NCA notes that occurring communication competence in these areas will help people in academic, professional, and also civic contexts (Morreale, Rubin, & Jones, 1998). To assist colleges and also universities construct curriculum and also instruction techniques to prepare students, the NCA has defined what students should be able to do in regards to speaking and also listening competencies by the time they graduate indigenous college:

State principles clearly.Communicate ethically.Recognize once it is appropriate to communicate.Identify their communication goals.Select the most appropriate and also effective tool for communicating.Demonstrate credibility.Identify and manage misunderstandings.Manage conflict.Be open-minded around another’s suggest of view.Listen attentively.

These are just some the the competencies the NCA determined as vital for college graduates. While these space skill focused rather 보다 interpersonally or culturally focused, they carry out a concrete means to evaluate your own speaking competencies and also to prepare you yourself for experienced speaking and also listening, i beg your pardon is frequently skill driven. Due to the fact that we connect in numerous different contexts, such as interpersonal, group, intercultural, and also mediated, we will certainly discuss much more specific meanings of competence in later on sections that the book.

Developing Competence

Knowing the dimensions of competence is critical first action toward arising competence. Everyone reading this book already has some experience with and also knowledge about communication. ~ all, you’ve spent countless years explicitly and implicitly discovering to communicate. For example, us are explicitly taught the linguistic codes we use to communicate. ~ above the other hand, although there are numerous rules and also norms connected with nonverbal communication, we rarely receive explicit instruction on just how to carry out it. Instead, we learn by observing others and also through trial and also error through our own nonverbal communication. Competence obviously involves verbal and nonverbal elements, but it additionally applies to plenty of situations and contexts. Interaction competence is required in order come understand interaction ethics, to develop cultural awareness, to usage computer-mediated communication, and to think critically. Competence requires knowledge, motivation, and skills. It’s not sufficient to understand what great communication consists of; girlfriend must additionally have the an inspiration to reflect ~ above and far better your communication and the skills needed to do so.

In regards to competence, us all have areas where we space skilled and also areas wherein we have actually deficiencies. In most cases, we can consciously decide to work on our deficiencies, which may take substantial effort. There room multiple stages of competence that I an obstacle you to assess as you communicate in your everyday life: unconscious incompetence, aware incompetence, mindful competence, and unconscious competence (Hargie, 2011). Prior to you have built up a affluent cognitive expertise base of communication concepts and also practiced and also reflected on an abilities in a specific area, you might exhibit unconscious incompetence, which method you room not even aware that girlfriend are connecting in an incompetent manner. As soon as you learn much more about communication and also have a vocabulary to recognize concepts, friend may find yourself exhibiting mindful incompetence. This is wherein you understand what you must be doing, and also you realize the you’re not doing it and also you could. However, as your skills increase girlfriend may advance to mindful competence, definition that you recognize you are communicating well in the moment, i m sorry will add to your bank of experience to attract from in future interactions. When you reach the stage of unconscious competence, you just communicate successfully without straining to be competent. Just since you with the stage of unconscious competence in one area or v one human being does not average you will constantly stay there. We are faced with new communication meet regularly, and also although we may be able to draw on the communication an abilities we have actually learned about and developed, it might take a few instances of mindful incompetence before you can advancement to later stages.

In plenty of introductory communication classes that i teach, a college student usually claims something favor “You need to be really great at this stuff because you study it and have been to teach it because that a while.” in ~ the exact same time student assume that I have a high level of interaction competence, they are difficult on themselves for being at the stage of mindful incompetence, whereby they record themselves connecting poorly in regards to a concept we freshly studied. In solution to both of this comments, i say, “Just because I recognize the concepts and definitions doesn’t average I constantly put lock to great use. We’re all imperfect and fallible, and if we suppose to it is in perfect communicators after examining this, then we’re setup ourselves up for failure. However, as soon as I perform mess up, I nearly always do a psychological note and also reflect on it. And now you’re beginning to perform the very same thing, i beg your pardon is to notice and reflect on your interaction more. And that currently puts you front of many people!”


Becoming more mindful of her communication and the interaction of rather can add to your communication competence.

One means to progress toward interaction competence is to come to be a much more mindful communicator. A responsibility communicator proactively and fluidly procedures information, is sensitive to communication contexts and multiple perspectives, and is able to adapt to novel communication situations (Burgoon, Berger, & Waldron, 2000). Ending up being a much more mindful communicator has many benefits, including achieving communication goals, detecting deception, preventing stereotypes, and reducing conflict. Even if it is or no we attain our day-to-day communication goals relies on our interaction competence. Assorted communication habits can signal that we are connecting mindfully. Because that example, questioning an employee come paraphrase their knowledge of the instructions girlfriend just offered them shows that you are aware that linguistic messages room not always clear, that people do not constantly listen actively, and also that people often do not speak up when they are unsure of indict for are afraid of showing up incompetent or awkward themselves. Part communication actions indicate that we are not communicating mindfully, such together withdrawing native a romantic partner or engaging in passive-aggressive actions during a period of interpersonal conflict. Many of us understand that such habits lead to predictable and avoidable problem cycles, however we are all guilty that them. Our tendency to i think that world are informing us the truth can additionally lead to an adverse results. Therefore, a specific amount of tentativeness and mindful surveillance of a person’s nonverbal and also verbal communication can assist us detect deception. However, this is no the exact same thing together chronic suspicion, which would not indicate communication competence. This is simply the start of our conversation about communication competence. About the ahead examples, we will learn much more about paraphrasing in chapter 5 “Listening”, conflict management in thing 6 “Interpersonal interaction Processes”, and deception in thing 4 “Nonverbal Communication”.

“Getting Competent”

Getting began on Your roadway to interaction Competence

The “Getting Competent” boxes transparent this publication are supposed to aid you end up being a much more confident and skilled communicator. While each box will focus on a details aspect of interaction competence, this crate addresses communication competence more generally. A typical communication pitfall that is an problem on many students’ roads to communication competence is viewing communication as “common sense.”

Many students note that several of what we learn in communication classes is “common sense.” i agree v this monitoring in some cases but disagree with it in others. As I’ve listed before, this course builds on expertise that girlfriend have already gained, through experience and observation together a human with many years of interaction under your belt. Because that example, a student can say the it is “common sense” that problem avoidance can lead come built-up tensions that ultimately hurt an interpersonal relationship. Yet many the us prevent confronting what is causing conflict in our relationships even though we know it’s much better to talk about our troubles than come let them develop up. In stimulate to put that “commonsense” expertise to competent use, us must have actually a more nuanced expertise of just how conflict and also interpersonal interaction relate and also know some conflict management strategies.

Communication is typical in the it is miscellaneous that we spend most of our time doing, yet the capability to make sense of and also improve our communication takes competence the is learned with deliberate examine and an individual reflection. So, to gain started top top your road to competence, ns am proposing the you carry out two things. First, an obstacle yourself to view the worth in the study of communication. Apply the principles we are finding out to your life and also find methods to make this class help you attain your goals. Second, go to making use of the expertise you gain in this class to boost your communication and also the communication of those approximately you. End up being a greater self-monitor, which method start to notification your communication more. Us all know locations where we might improve our communication, and taking this course will more than likely expose even more. However you have to be all set to put while to improve; because that example, that takes effort to become a much better listener or to give better feedback. If you begin these things currently you will certainly be primed to take it on more communication obstacles that will be gift throughout this book.

What facets of communication do girlfriend think room “common sense?” What aspects of communication do girlfriend think require much more formal instruction and/or study?What interaction concept has appealed come you most so far? How can you view this concept using to your life?Do a communication self-assessment. What space your toughness as a communicator? What space your weaknesses? What have the right to you execute to start boosting your communication competence?

Overcoming Anxiety

Whether friend will provide your first presentation in this course next mainly or in 2 months, you might be one of numerous students in the advent to interaction studies food to confront anxiety about communication in general or public speak in particular.


Communication apprehension and public speak anxiety are common but can be controlled productively.

Decades that research conducted by communication scholars shows that interaction apprehension is common amongst college student (Priem & Solomon, 2009). Interaction apprehension (CA) is are afraid or anxiety knowledgeable by a person because of actual or imagined communication with an additional person or persons. CA contains multiple creates of communication, not simply public speaking. Of university students, 15 to 20 percent experience high properties CA, definition they are generally anxious around communication. Furthermore, 70 percent of university students endure some trait CA, which means that addressing interaction anxiety in a class like the one she taking currently stands to benefit the bulk of college student (Priem & Solomon, 2009). Windy speaking stress is kind of CA the produces physiological, cognitive, and behavioral reactions in civilization when faced with a real or imagine presentation (Bodie, 2010). Research study on public speaking anxiety has concentrated on three crucial ways to address this usual issue: systematic desensitization, cognitive restructuring, and skills training (Bodie, 2010). Communication departments are generally the only departments that deal with communication apprehension explicitly, i m sorry is important as CA is “related to an unfavorable academic consequences such as an unfavorable attitudes toward school, reduced over-all class achievement, lower final course grades, and higher college attrition rates” (Allen, Hunter, & Donohue, 2009). Additionally, CA can lead others to make assumptions about your interaction competence that might be unfavorable. Even if you are intelligent, prepared, and motivated, CA and also public speak anxiety can detract from your communication and lead rather to perceive friend in methods you did no intend. CA is a common issue challenged by many people, therefore you space not alone. We will certainly learn more about speaking stress and anxiety in thing 12 “Public speaking in various Contexts”. If you must feel free to read ahead to the chapter, girlfriend can also manage your stress by adhering to some that the following tips.

Top Ten means to alleviate Speaking Anxiety

Remember, you are not alone. Public speaking tension is common, so don’t ignore it—confront it.You can not literally “die that embarrassment.” Audiences are forgiving and understanding.It constantly feels worse than it looks.Take deep breaths. The releases endorphins, which naturally fight the adrenaline that reasons anxiety.Look the part. Dress professionally to enhance confidence.Channel your nervousness into positive energy and motivation.Start her outline and also research early. Much better information = greater confidence.Practice and get feedback from a trusted source. (Don’t just practice for her cat.)Visualize success through optimistic thinking.Prepare, prepare, prepare! exercise is a speaker’s best friend.

Key Takeaways

Communication competence describes the knowledge of effective and also appropriate interaction patterns and also the ability to use and adapt that expertise in various contexts.To be a proficient communicator, you should have actually cognitive knowledge about communication based on observation and also instruction; know that individual, social, and social contexts influence competence; and be may be to it is adapted to those miscellaneous contexts.Getting integrated: The NCA note that arising communication competence in speaking and also listening will help college college student in academic, professional, and also civic contexts.Levels of communication competence incorporate unconscious incompetence, mindful incompetence, aware competence, and unconscious competence.In order to build communication competence, friend must become a an ext mindful communicator and also a higher self-monitor.Communication apprehension (CA) advert to are afraid or anxiety proficient by a person as result of real or imagined communication with another person or persons. Public speaking anxiety is a type of CA that much more specifically concentrates on anxiety about giving a publicly presentation. Both are generally experienced by many people and can be managed using miscellaneous strategies.


Getting integrated: Evaluate her speaking and also listening competencies based upon the list generated by the NCA. The end of the an abilities listed, which ones room you much more competent in and also less skilled in? Which ability will be most helpful for you in scholastic contexts? professional contexts? an individual contexts? civic contexts?Think the a person you recognize who you think own a high level of communication competence. What renders you think this? What communication features do they have that you might want to have actually yourself?What anxieties perform you have regarding communication and/or public speaking? because communication and also speaking space a necessary component of life, identify some methods you can use to control those anxieties.


Allen, M., man E. Hunter, and William A. Donohue, “Meta-analysis of Self-Report Data ~ above the effectiveness of public Speaking tension Treatment Techniques,” Communication Education 38, no. 1 (2009): 54–76.

Bodie, G. D., “A racing Heart, Rattling Knees, and also Ruminative Thoughts: Defining, Explaining, and Treating Public speaking Anxiety,” Communication Education 59, no. 1 (2010): 72.

Burgoon, J. K., Charles R. Berger, and also Vincent R. Waldron, “Mindfulness and also Interpersonal Communication,” Journal of society Issues 56, no. 1 (2000): 105.

Cooley, R. E., and also Deborah A. Roach, “A conceptual Framework,” in Competence in Communication: A Multidisciplinary Approach, ed. Robert N. Bostrom (Beverly Hills, CA: Sage, 1984), 25.

Hargie, O., Skilled Interpersonal Interaction: Research, Theory, and also Practice (London: Routledge, 2011), 9.

McCroskey, J. C., “Communication Comptence: The Elusive Construct,” in Competence in Communication: A Multidisciplinary Approach, ed. Robert N. Bostrom (Beverly Hills, CA: Sage, 1984), 259.

Morreale, S., Rebecca B. Rubin, and Elizabeth Jones, Speaking and Listening Competencies because that College Students (Washington, DC: National interaction Association, 1998), n.p.

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Priem, J. S., and Denise Haunani Solomon, “Comforting Apprehensive Communicators: The results of Reappraisal and also Distraction ~ above Cortisol Levels amongst Students in a Public speaking Class,” Communication Quarterly 57, no. 3 (2009): 260.