Welcome to module one. In this module, we'll talk about rethinking communication. Communication is absolutely central to all aspects of working with others in groups and teams. Making decisions, solving problems, sharing information, resolving conflict, planning and coordination and developing new ideas. Virtually everything we do, involves interacting with other people, so this module is all about communication, but specifically rethinking communication. Looking at the underlying assumptions that shape our communication behavior. So why do we need to rethink communication? Is there something wrong with the way we think about communication or how we communicate? I mean, we've been communicating our whole lives, and seem to be doing just fine. Well, despite our extensive experience with communication, it's still the case that quote unquote communication problems, are cited as one of the main issues in so many areas of our society. From politics and business, to family and personal relationships, communication seems to be at the root of so many of our complications. And this certainly is the case for working with others in groups and teams. Now why is that? With so much practice you'd think we'd be better communicators. Well, maybe it's our conception of communication in the first place. What we think communication is really about, and what we're actually doing when we communicate with other people, that's what I think. I think it's our theories of communication, that are at the root of most of our communication problems, and especially in groups. Not just our communication behavior per say. Theories of communication are the underline assumptions that guide our communication behavior. There are explanations for what we think we're doing when we communicate. So, my purpose in this module, is to discuss these underline assumptions about communication. And different theories of communication that can shape our interactions with other people. And in this introductory video, we'll begin by talking about why communication theories are important for our understanding of group interaction. Now, most people don't think they theorize about communication, they just do it. Communication is a practical skill not theoretical speculation, but we all have a theory of communication, an explanation for what we think we're doing when we interact with other people. And assumptions about how people should interact with each other in various situations, whether we recognize it or not. Think of your communication theory, like an operating system for your computer or other electronic device. Like a pc, or a Mac laptop, or an Apple, or Android smartphone. This operating system is what enables you to run various programs and applications on your devices, while also constraining you from doing other things. Now at some point, you made a conscious decision in favor of one operating system over the other. But most of the time, you really don't think about it. It just hums along in the background as you do your various tasks. Probably the only time you think about it, is when you run into a compatibility problem. Basically, there's something you want to do with your device, but your current operating system won't allow you to do it. Or at least it won't enable you to do it with the ease and convenience you'd prefer. At minimum you need an upgrade, though you might even need a whole new operating system, depending on what programs or applications you want to run. And communication theories are kind of like this. Most of the time we don't think about the underlying assumptions that guide our communication behavior, we just act, we just communicate. With our theory of communication humming along in the background, enabling or constraining our interactions with other people, and informing, even subconsciously, what we say and how we say it. But things get difficult when we run into a compatibility problem. When we realize the system we're running, our theory of communication, doesn't seem to allow us to accomplish what we want in a given situation. We seem to be doing everything right, but it still isn't working, or at least not working very well. For example, consider Steve, a manager at a technology company. He might assume that good communication is clear, concise, open, and honest. But then he's surprised, when he's in a situation where this sort of communication isn't very effective at all. Like a difficult negotiation at work, or resolving a conflict in his team. He might feel like he's trying to run a program on an incompatible operating system. Frustrated that this just doesn't seem to work, for some dumb reason. And likely to blame others for what seemed like the poor communication choices that they make. I think this is at the root of most so-called communication problems in many areas of our lives, both personally and professionally. It's not just that we're saying the wrong things, but that our underlying assumptions about what is going on in this communication situation, may be incompatible with what we're trying to accomplish. Leaving us frustrated that other people just don't get it, or that you just can't seem to get your message across, because people misunderstand your intentions or what you are trying to say. Incidentally, ever notice how many communication problems people discuss are about other people? We communicate just fine, if only those other people were better communicators, we wouldn't have so many communication problems. But this understand of communication problems, is rooted in a particular theory or way of thinking about communication. One that might not be compatible with the complexities of group interaction in today's world. In that case, we might need an upgrade, or maybe even a new operating system. We might need to consider alternative communication theories, we need to rethink communication. So, in this module we'll look at different ways of theorizing communication. Different explanations for what's going on when we interact with other people. Specifically, we'll discuss two main communication perspectives. Communication as transmission, and communication as social construction. And why all this matters for our understanding and practice of group interaction and working with other people. So let's get started, I'll see you in the next video.