Hej! How are you doing? Hopefully fine. If you try to ask me the same question, I’d say I’m fine too, and that I’m glad to be back to Gothenburg after spending holidays in Italy. Anyway… I’d say also that I’m excited to start a new semester. Remember what I’m studying, right? For those of you do not recall it, have a quick look at here or let me spoil it instead: I’ve been studying a Master’s Programme in Communication at the University of Gothenburg.
Few days ago a new course has started – it seems is gonna be really interesting, and I would add very intense as well. What am I talking about? Exactly about that: Multimodal Communication.
What is Multimodal Communication? Bearing in mind the definition of Communication that I’ve already given (don’t let me spoil something again!), I think it’s useful to know also that when we interact with other people, we basically want to reach a goal – as well as the others communicating with us. There can be some means and processes involved in this activity: means going on within the interaction itself and also within ourselves. Means like turn management, feedbacks or sequencing along with the capability to process in our mind what and how to communicate, and to change/shape our thoughts, when needed.
If we shrink our attention to the interaction between humans, and especially regarding face-to-face communication, we can claim that we’re coping with… multimodal communication. Two or more than two modalities are used when we talk face-to-face. Modalwhat?
Let’s put it in this way: we have sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste. Right? All of these are modalities, or it’s better to say sensory modalities: when I speak, the receiver is using and/or combining two or more sensory modalities in order to process and interpret my message. The other way around, when I speak I also can use two or more modalities, in this case we consider them production modalities: I use my voice, I can use gestures, I can touch, and so on.
The effects of the multimodality can vary and depend on the interactions: the message can be reinforced and the overall comprehension improved; the message can be considered more dynamic; relations can be strengthened and conversations regulated. However, it may happen to make the message unclear as well, or even confusing and disturbing.
Headache? Naah, come on! Of course there would be a lot to mention, but you’re lucky: I can’t say more for the moment, as my course has just begun…
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