The NCA defines communication thoroughly.
Communication focuses on how people use messages to generate meaning within and across all kinds of contexts, cultures, channels and media (Association for Communication Administration, 1995).
Communication is learned. Most people are born with the physical ability to talk, but we must learn to speak well and communicate effectively. Speaking, listening, and our ability to understand verbal and nonverbal meanings are skills we develop in various ways.
Communication relates to all the ways we communicate, so it embraces a large body of knowledge. Communication includes both verbal and nonverbal messages as well as messages that are sent through electronic means like the phone, computer, radio and television.
Communication is a large and diverse field that includes inquiry by humanists, social scientists and critical and cultural studies scholars. A body of scholarship and theory, about all forms of human communication, is presented and explained in textbooks, electronic publications, and academic journals. In the journals, researchers report the results of studies that are the basis for an ever-expanding understanding of how we all communicate.
This definition is inclusive as it speaks broadly of how messages are sent verbally, nonverbally and using various means of communicating. The definition includes judgment in how it states we must learn to communicate. This definition does not include intentionality.
I do believe that communication requires intentionality. I believe that whether we realize it or not, everything that we communicate has an intention. It is like Postman’s belief that “embedded in every tool is an ideological bias, a predisposition to construct the world as one thing rather than another, to value one thing over another, to amplify one sense or skill or attitude more loudly than another” (Postman, 1992, p. 13).
The message needs to be received in order for communication to occur. I don’t believe that everyone a message is intended for needs to receive it, but at least one must in order for it to be communication.
Christian communication should be different in that it should always be spoken in love. 1 Corinthians 13:1 says, “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.” (NIV)
National Communication Association. (n.d.) Communication defined. Retrieved from http://www.natcom.org/Default.aspx?id=546
Postman, Neil. (1992). Technopoly: The surrender of culture to technology. New York, NY: Vintage.