A common sight: Students sitting in the classroom, and taking down notes, while a professor stands in front, giving a lecture to the students or writing something on the board. Another scene is where a worker is given a plain order from his/her supervisor. Both of the scenes are very much common in the society, sharing similar characteristics. These situations display a one-way communication.
There are various ways to communicate, but proper communication is what people really need. This society could use real communication that is neither one-sided nor coercive, but rather full of mutual understanding.
1. Why Communication Is Necessary
A decent life is hardly imaginable without good communication. Humans are often called social animals, communicating with one another in order to identify ourselves, and assure their importance. People easily get angry when they feel that their very presence is being denied. Some of the recent incidents show how people fail to control their anger when they are ignored. People cannot live alone; therefore, they constantly have to interact with other people.
Communication targets mutual understanding. Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, once said, “I am a great believer that any tool that enhances communication has profound effects in terms of how people can learn from each other, and how they can achieve the kind of freedom that they are interested in.” His words show how communication can affect one another, thereby resulting in people learning or achieving something. Another importance of communication is that it allows us to understand others and improve ourselves by accepting how others perceive us.
2. Importance of Proper Communication
Not all kinds of communication can be a solution for society’s problems, such as inability to deal with anger or cooperate with other people. A proper communication is the key point. As mentioned above, an order from a supervisor is also a form of communication; however, it is considered as unilateral. If the society is filled with such one-sided communication, it would soon be flooded with complaints. Therefore, it is important to have proper communication in the society. What does it take to communicate properly with other people?
Communication should be bilateral and used to share information with other people. In other words, it should be an interaction among people. They should be given equal rights to express their opinion. A lecture delivered by a professor or an order by a supervisor cannot be considered proper example of bilateral communication if it lacks mutual interaction. When all the people are engaged in the communication process, they can feel a sense of connection. Virginia Woolf wrote, “Communication is truth; communication is happiness. To share is our duty.” This means that sharing is an important part of proper communication. Therefore, people should acknowledge the importance of interacting with each other.
3. Communication Endeavors in our Society
- Large Letter Board in Gwanghwamun
In the center of Seoul, there is a place where pedestrians can freely communicate. There is a large letter board in front of the Kyobo Book Centre and Seoul City Hall. Actually, the letters in this board are ideas of the citizens. In other words, it is a collaborative art of the people in order to provide the citizens with comfort and peace of mind. Furthermore, the beautiful phrases on the letter board are written in order to convey messages filled with hope and happiness to busy and tired modern people.
-The Presidential Committee on Young Generation
The Presidential Committee on Young Generation has been established with a view to cultivating talented youth and promoting active communicating with them. Listen closely to what youth are presenting and maintain eye contact. The committee’s role is to show the proper way of communication between the government and the youth as well as to support their dream and courage.
-SBS Show Take Care of Father
The show deals with communication among family members. It shows a restoring awkward relationship between a father and a daughter. Fathers have difficulty communicating with their daughters. The show covers a real life conflict. The viewers say that they felt sympathy with the stories in the show. One of the audiences said, “Watching this program with family made our family to communicate more than before.”
-KBS College Student Presentation Contest
Recently, KBS held a presentation contest. The topic was “Young Public Broadcasting, Change and Innovation of KBS”. Its purpose was to communicate more with the young audiences and hear their precious opinions. This was also a way of seeking a new vision of KBS. The college students have had the chance to think of KBS’s present time situation. The previous image of KBS made an effort to communicate with the young generation’s idea.
With regard to true communication, ST introduces a representative communicator these days.
“Professional Presenter: Chae Ja-young”
She desperately wanted to be an announcer who interviews and communicates with people. Fortunately, she achieved her dream. However, as time went on, she discovered that to be an announcer was not what she really wanted to be. She felt something was lost as she found herself communicating more with cameras than with people. She made a critical decision to change her job in order to become a professional presenter. She is now spending her time giving lectures to college students for free. She helps the students achieve their dream by communicating with them. Currently, she is not only a speaker but also a presenter who pays attention to the audience and communicates with them until the presentation reaches its end. ST had a candid interview with her.
Chae: I used to ask myself a question: “Is this really what I wanted?” I wanted to meet with many people and communicate with them. That was the reason why I became an announcer. Unfortunately, it was not how I envisioned it. Announcers are very dependent on cameras. However, facing a camera rather than interacting with people was not what I dreamed of. Some people could think that communicating via camera is the best. But it was not for me. “One of the abilities that an announcer should possess is physical appearance.” I hated the idea of lookism. I wanted to be evaluated based on my ability and not on my appearance. I had to overcome this at that time when I could not understand the idea behind it.
ST: It must be a difficult decision to change your job. Can you explain the process of changing your job?
Chae: Since it involved changing the direction of my life, I was very worried and concerned about it. And then I realized something important. “The answer is inside me.”
Actually, I have asked the people around me for advice. However, their answers were all different. The reason was that their opinions changed according to the nuance of my voice. I realized that this is not something to ask people for advice. Anyway, I made the final decision. The answer was inside me.
When I have to make a difficult decision, I listen to what other people have to say. However, do not be too dependent on other people’s ideas. I concentrate on what I really want, respect my own ideas, and do my best until the end. In addition, I will have no regrets in making decisions based on my strong will. For this reason, it is always best to trust yourself.
ST: When was your most unforgettable turning point?
Chae: When I was in college, I had a presentation in front of the executive, the staff, and the students in the CJ council chamber. I will never forget that experience. I could not sleep while preparing for it until the day before the speech. Moreover, I could not sleep for several days even after the presentation.
“Was this the moment of ecstasy?”
At that time, I decided to have a job involving standing in front of a lot of people. I asked my professor this question: “Is there any job that only requires presentation?” There was no such job at that time. While I was working as an announcer, I saw a notice for recruiting a professional presenter. That was what I had been looking for. Even though the work place was in Chungjoo, and not in Seoul, I gave up all my life in Seoul and went there. I knew that I really wanted this job, and that I would not regret my decision.
ST: What do you focus on the most when you are giving a presentation?
Chae: The truth, not presentation skills. The presenter should think about the reason of the speech, and should be immersed in the given topic. When thinking of the tone of the voice or how to deal with audiences, the presenter should ask himself this question: “Did I think about this topic thoroughly?” It is always important to deliver the truth. When audiences sense the truth from the presenter, it will not matter to them whether the speaker has crude gestures or weak speech skills. The presenter himself should be part of the message. For this reason, I consider the truth first when I have to speak in front of people.
“Speech is a dish full of emotions.”
The word we are conveying is just a form. In that word, we should give the audience the truth, so that we can truly connect with them. Many people say that presentation is a speech of persuasion. I hope that people will throw out that kind of prejudice. People can tell without difficulty when they talk about their own story. During the planning process, there could be a persuasion involved. However, the presenter himself should not think of the persuasion but the storytelling.
“Don’t forget to tell people your own story.”