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Theories of Communication: Observed Event Essay


The paper addresses various theories of communication in reference to conversation between two people. The conversation was held in a restaurant during a weekend. The focus for this paper is to illustrate and explain the live conversion, analyze what they were doing, the key factors during their conversation, evaluate their conversation in reference to sender-receiver, semiotics and discourse theories of communication. It also focuses on answering the question about, which among the theories researched and applied provides most insight into understanding the dynamics of the observed event.

Verbal Conversation between two people

There was a discussion between two people during my visit to one of the restaurants in town. Two men opposite my table were having some drinks. These men had an interesting topic that they were conversing about which caught my attention. The conversation was on a business proposal that was initiated by one of them. The conversation started; by the way, I have a plan for a business that I hope we can venture together.

The other person responded let me here about it. Current clearing and forwarding business ventures are making a lot of profit and I thought we could also venture into it. Well, I think it a good idea but what are some of the risks associated with this business. No, we cannot start by analyzing the risks before the benefits of this business. However, as much as we analyze the benefits the risks are also essential. I get you but let us first evaluate the benefits and we shall then focus on the risks. The benefits associated with this business are… but before he finished the statement, the other person interfered.

Though we are doing all this, do you think we shall be able to raise the capital? Fine, capital is not a problem I already have two million US dollars that I hope is enough for us to start with. What are the requirements? The requirements are not many but we need to hire Lorries to ferry the goods from the place of collection to their destination. Do you think this is possible? Why can we not make it? This is a booming business and what we need is to have a good plan, a good business proposal and carry out a research on what those who are in this business do to succeed. Well, we need to take the challenge and the risks associated with this business and find where we shall be in the next few years. However, I left before the conversation was over and I left them continuing.

What they were trying to do

To my perspective, what these two men were doing is what I can call communication. There was exchange and transfer of messenger between them. Guffey & Almonte (2009) asserts that communication is the transmission of information and meaning from one individual or group (the sender) to another (the receiver). In this case, the man who initiated the conversation is the sender while the other man is the receiver.

There are two main components of the communication. There was also the message, for example, what they were conversing on, the channel through which they were using to pass the message, which was verbal, the interference such as noise, the context, and feedback. Weiten, Dunn & Hammer (2011, p.241) asserts that the components of communication are the sender, the receiver, the message, the channel of transmission, interference or noise and the context in which the message is communicated. Thus, what the men were doing was simply communication.

Key factors

The key factors during their conversation were the pace, pitch, language barriers, cultural problems and the interference. During their conversation, the key factor that I took into consideration is the interference. The pace at which they were talking was reliable as they were able to hear and understand each other without pardoning. The language they were using was understandable to both of them and cultural problem was not a barrier to their conversation.

The problem that I realized was on the pitch and the noise. As the mentioned earlier, the conversation was taking place in a restaurant and there was noise from loud music that was in the restaurant as well as the street traffic. This affected the tone/pitch that they were using and bearing in mind that the conversation was taking place in a public place the tone that they were using was high, which caused the attention of the people to their conversation.

Application of theories

Sender and receiver theory

The theory also referred to as information theoretical model of communication is a model in which message is sent from the sender to the receiver through a medium or channel (Bingham & Sidorkin 2004, p.13). In verbal communication, the sender and the receiver are present but the channel through which the message is passing through is not certain. The model also includes the encoding of the message by the sender and decoding on the other side of the receiver. The theory focuses more on information than the meaning. However, in this conversation the focus between their conversations was not the information but the meaning. Bingham, Sidorkin 2004, p14 asserts that the sender-receiver model omits the crucial part of human communication, via, the interpretation of the message on the receivers side.

Semiotic theory

The semiotic theory mainly focuses on how societies produce meanings and values in a communication (Stumptner, Corbett & Brooks 2001, p.265). This method also perceives how meaning is generated from objects associated with cultural environment to give the meaning. In the context of the conversation, little could be associated with this theory since there were no cultural differences noted between the communicators. On the other hand, one could not establish the culture of the two men and its meaning.

Discourse theory

The theory mainly focuses on text and talk as the properties of communication. It also deals with social situations or communicative events that may influence text and talk (Pratt 2011, p.32). Moreover, this theory is characterized as a form of verbal interaction. In our context, the theory focuses on what is said during the conversation, where during the conversation, they were trying to understand and convince each other. Therefore, the core of their conversation is to actually get the meaning and internalize and find whether there was possibility or not. However, discourse theory also involves more physiological realities than sentences. It put into considerations several factors such the philosophy of science, language, cultural studies, and feminist studies among others.

Views on the theories

The sender-receiver and discourse theories are the most applicable theories of communication in this context. In my opinion none of these theories can be useful without the other, for example, each of the two theories has its critics. For instance, the sender-receiver theory does not give much attention to the meaning of the message than it does to the parties involved during communication, that is, sender, and receiver.

It therefore fails to focus on the understanding between the sender and the receiver, which is a core aspect of communication. On other hand discourse theory focus more on the meaning but gives little or no attention to the sender and receiver who are also among the most important components of communication. The two theories are in support of each other and applicable in the context of the conversation. However, on the non-verbal communication the discourse theory is most applicable.


Bingham, C & Sidorkin, M 2004, No education without relation, Peter Lang Publishing Inc, New York.

Guffey, M & Almonte, R 2009, Essentials of Business communication 6th Canadian Edition, Cengage Learning, Stamford, USA.

Pratt, D 2011, Modelling written communication: A New systems approach to modelling in the social sciences, Springer Science + Business Media, New York.

Weiten, W, Dunn, D & Hammer E 2011, Psychology applied to modern life: Adjustment in the 21st century, Cengage Learning, Stamford, USA.

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