Let's start with the first topic of our course: human communication. In this first topic, we'll talk about what communication is and its different levels. We'll introduce the topic of the three interpersonal communication skills that we'll deal with throughout this academic program. I'd like to welcome you all! Existentialist philosophers say that humans don't make communication, but instead, we ARE communication. This means that communication, which comes from the word "communicare" to make common or share, is very important in our life because we are constantly transmitting needs, thoughts, and feelings. On the other hand, we also listen to everyone around us because they also express thoughts, needs, and feelings. Our ability to relate to other people is through body language, spoken language, written language, and today through all of the electronic or mass communication media. the quality of our communication will determine the results we achieve while working on a team. The purpose of human communication is to to try to connect with or tune into other people, but with a concrete purpose, that of reaching agreements that will allow us to solve problems or conflicts that arise in any relationship, so we can reach agreements, precisely, and that they may be productive. I just commented that the word "communication" refers to sharing, and making common , such as those who seek a bridge to unite the banks of a river: conecting people who are on different territories. If those bridges didn't exist people and societies would live isolated and far away from each other. Another example can be found in cell phones. Thanks to this technology, we can call different phone numbers. In the world there are billions of cell phones, but when we correctly dial a number that we want, we connect to the right person. Human communication has many areas of application. We communicate at home, at school, on the street, at the sports club, and at our work. Unfortunately, traditional education has concentrated more on the transmission of theoretical knowledge and has ignored the development of skills. These life skills are fundamental to our satisfaction and productivity. One of these skills is precisely communication. Compared to organizational communication, which is a group of strategies designed at the top levels of a company, with the purpose of informing about what's happening in the company or what the strategic objectives should achieve, interpersonal communication takes place between two or more people. This communication can happen when we speak directly to people or when we transmit our message through other means such as e-mail, a phone call, or a written message, ore even a letter, and as we mentioned, through today's digital media. As we can see, we communicate almost all the time that we are awake: we talk to the taxi driver, we ask for a cup of coffee or a snack, or we converse with friends or work colleagues; we have meetings at work, we speak on the phone to our clients and suppliers; we have a dialogue with our collaborators and bosses, and when we return home, we have conversations with our loved ones. Unfortunately, many of these personal interactions can be frustrating both for us as well as for other people because we haven't developed our interpersonal communication skills. This leads to conflicts and misunderstandings among us. Human communication takes place on different levels of communication. Let's imagine for a moment that we cut an onion crosswise; we can observe the different layers, from the outer layer to the inside one. Something similar happens with the levels of communication. The first step to being an effective communicator is to identify on what level of communication we are transmitting our thoughts and feelings and, on the other hand, identifying what level of communication is being used by the other person. The first level of communication is the neutral level. On this level we exchange trivialities and clichés; that is, topics that don't affect us and don't commit us, but they also don't provide much substance, for example: the weather or the traffic. This level of communication is practiced when we've just met someone. The second level of communication is the external level. On this level we exchange points of view and opinions. On this second level there is more substance because the ideas that are shared provide more information that could help use make better informed decisions. Nevertheless, opinions can lead people to take rigid positions and distance us from other people. On the third level of communication, we express emotions and feelings. On this level, the information that we communicate is neither rational nor emotional, so it requires both individuals to have the ability to understand the emotions that are expressed and received. Finally, the innermost level of communication, the intimate one, will allow us to express and understand deep ideas and feelings, as well as sharing values or secrets that we wouldn't tell just anyone, except our intimate friends, the priest, or psychologist. To be an effective communicator implies understanding the concept of communication and its different levels. However, communication is not something that we develop just by acquiring knowledge; instead, it requires developing the skills and attitudes that will allow us to transmit messages and listen effectively. In the next topic, we'll talk about what a skill or ability and an attitude is, as well as identifying the most important communication skills.