Elements of Social Communication

social communication

Some basic elements of social communication govern the effectiveness of how we express ourselves to others. While these elements are easy to understand, they often take years to master.


Social Communication Isn’t Voluntary

There may be times when we feel we do not want to communicate with others, but this is not an option. You will find that if you try harder to stop communication, the opposite occurs, and you communicate more. Even when you are not using your communication skills, you are saying a lot. You may come across as being annoyed, furious, or perhaps bashful. Other times, you may seem as if you are too busy or preoccupied with something else. Even if you ignore another person, you are still saying something to them.

Most of us can communicate well using non-verbal communication. How we stand or sit can be a form of communication. Our body language can tell a lot about a person. Having eye contact with others often speaks hundreds of words, while not having eye contact can mean the same thing.

Others often give signals through both verbal and non-verbal communication. These may not always be easy to pick up on unless we are skilled in construing social communication.



Social communication with others is not something you take back. Once you have said something, you can not erase it. You may certainly regret saying it or wish you had worded it differently. You might even opt to apologize. But once it has been laid out on the table, it is there.

Frequently we will behave and communicate with others based on past communication situations.  We stereotype other individuals, many times without even thinking about it. Perhaps this might be by sex, social status, faith, ethnicity, and other elements. Stereotyping is frequently excessive. Because of this, when we communicate with others we make assumptions about what those individuals are thinking or how they’re expected to conduct themselves. We may have thoughts about what the effect of the conversation will be. These assumptions affect how we talk to people, as well as the language we use and our tone of voice.  We speak in a manner that we feel is most suitable for the individuals we are conversing with. Unfortunately, our assumptions of other individuals are often wrong. This might mean that our way of speaking is wrong, thus possibly being misinterpreted.

A goal of communicating with others should be not to make assumptions. When we do, we make more problems for ourselves. Use an open mind when you have conversations with other individuals, then you will be less likely to be mistaken or say things that you could regret at a later time.



It is not always easy to communicate with others. The forms of communication are complex at times, yet there are reasons why others are communicating with you, as well as how it is being communicated. How others are speaking and how you receive it can also play a role in the complexity.

There are various factors that one should take into consideration when interpreting a message. Besides the reasons listed above, other variables may affect the conversation. This may include environments, the language, and how the message was sent or received.

We also tend to switch out words. These words or phrases may mean different things to everyone.


Context of Communicating

There are instances when communication will fail because one or more of the participants overlooked the context. All context should be understood by every participant to avoid any misunderstanding. Everyone needs to be on the same page regarding what is being said or why the conversation is taking place.

With that being said, some issues can make it hard for other individuals to understand the context of what you are communicating. One problem is timing. If your timing is wrong, the communication will not go as planned. There should be enough time to cover what needs to be said by all participants.

Your location is also something that could affect your communication. Noisy places that are full of distractions will not be good places to have a meaningful conversation.



When we communicate, avoid making assumptions about others.

You should not assume everyone knows what you are talking about, nor should you believe that you know how other people feel about the situation. You should also not assume that you are automatically right and they are wrong.