THE COMMUNICATION PROCESS is explicable from within a range of contrasting theoretical frameworks (see Griffin, 2000). What happens when two people meet and initiate a social encounter can be accounted for, as we have seen in Chapter 1, in terms of each behaving skilfully in order to accomplish sought-after goals. Several features of skill in this sense were also outlined in the last chapter. In sum, this type of behaviour may be thought of as an efficient and effective way of achieving warrantable outcomes. Furthermore, behaving in this manner should be in keeping with the rules and conventions governing acceptable conduct in that particular context. A televised advertisement for a digital television company specialising in sport depicts a young man at the end of a panel selection interview. He gets up, goes over to the members and, in turn, ruffles hair and pinches cheeks as he would were he with his football friends. While this form of leave-taking might be perfectly acceptable in that situation, it is an embarrassingly inappropriate way to finish off a rather formal interview. Skilled behaviour must be appropriate to situational expectations.
But what precisely is communication, in any case? The first part of this chapter will be given over to addressing this question. Having done so, it will develop a skill-based, theoretical model of the communicative process which highlights its transactional nature. What takes place when two people interact is presented as being undergirded by a complex of perceptual, cognitive, affective and performative factors operating within a person-situation framework. The activity is held to be energised and given direction by the desire to achieve set goals and