History Of Communication – In Quirks And Quartz

by Diane M. Hoffmann, ph.d./th.

The history of communication is a large subject to cover. Communication encompasses so many facets that it is not possible to cover it all in its diversity of topics. Its history is just as far and wide reaching, but I’ll share the following with you.

History books tell us that we do not have any written record of man’s development beyond approximately three thousand years BC. That is when we begin to read about some of the history of communication as it was written from that time onward.

It is obvious that people communicated, verbally and nonverbally, before that time. We do find archaeological tablets of Phoenicians origins showing pictographs and hieroglyphic writings dating back some thirty five thousand years. But only from written records available do we know anything about ancient times.

To corroborate this three thousand years of recorded accounts, my research on the history of communication took me to historical beginnings from around twenty-nine hundred BC. So where do we place our focus on the history of communication – verbal, nonverbal?

For this article, we touch on written communication and its means, which entail the Greek phonetic alphabet to Chinese writings on bones dating back to fourteen hundred BC; the first encyclopedia written in Syria circa late twelve hundred BC; the first postal service in China around nine hundred BC.

Then we read about first recordings of homing pigeons to communicate messages, the first library, the first portable writing surfaces known as papyrus – all between the eight to one hundreds BC from the Greek civilization.

Even before that, humans rode on horseback or on foot relaying communication messages from stations to stations throughout Egypt and China and anywhere else that followed suit in the broad expanse of the old world.

Then of course in the more recent centuries of our AD era, we have the inventions of heliographs, the Gutenberg printing press, first image making, first newspapers, first typewriters, books and paper as we know it, the telegraph line, the talking machine, the morse code, mimeograph equipment, telephone, radio, motion picture, television, computer, and everything in between that is not mentioned here – right up to our present Internet wonder.

So you can see what I mean about communication being an unlimited subject to write about. Every step of the development in the history of communication and every facet of communication can be written about directly, individually and collectively forever.

But I want to tell you about one of my own little time facet of the history of communication that I came across in a news item today.

It is about a man who was a punctuality fanatic. When I heard the story, I was really excited. Why? Because, I too, am a punctuality fanatic. That’s an important part of communication. I really do not appreciate when people are late for meetings or seminars, etc. I was at a community meeting just last Saturday which was announced to begin at 11 am. As usually, I arrived to sign up about five minutes before eleven. At 11:30 the meeting had still not begun.

With each passing moment, I was getting more and more agitated and frustrated at the lack of leadership. “Why don’t they get started”, I repeated to my husband who came along for the ride. I find it very discourteous, and downright rude, to let the people who are there on time, go beyond schedule for the sake of a few undisciplined, unprofessional and disrespectful time robbers.

Time is money to business people. And that’s what folks do when they don’t show up on time -- they rob others of their time and the cost of it.

But the biggest blame has to be placed squarely on the shoulders of the leaders who should start promptly whether those late comers are there or not. And don’t flatter them either when they do stroll in late. If people who run meetings would stick to the scheduled time and agenda, folks would get the message and we would become a more punctual society.

So what is the name of my double on punctuality fanaticism in this current history of communication bit? His name was Sir Thomas Roddick. He was a renowned surgeon and the Dean of Medicine from 1901 to 1908 at McGill University. It is written about him that he would arrive at a lecture a few minutes early and then walk through the door on the dot. Isn’t that the kind of surgeon you want yours to be? Oh that we would have more of these professional people around!

The news item of the day was that for the 85th anniversary of the Roddick Gates at the University, the clocks and bells in its tower were re-started at a ceremony on October 1, 2010, after decades of stillness. So this is just another part of the history of communication in its time facet. And I was glad to be a part of it and to find out that I’m not the only punctuality fanatic./dmh

Article Copyright(c)Diane M. Hoffmann. You may print this article making sure to include the following bio without any changes.

Diane M. Hoffmann is the founder of Hoffmann-Rondeau Communications and author of the 296-page printed book "Contextual Communication, Organization and Training". Diane also provides a 2-part e-book version of her printed book, "Improve Communication, Verbal and Nonverbal" and "Improve Communication, Organization and Training" as well as many free articles which can be seen at her blog at http://contextual-communication-hrd.blogspot.com/. Rondeau Communications and author of the 296-page printed book "Contextual Communication, Organization and Training". Diane also provides a 2-part e-book version of her printed book, "Improve Communication, Verbal and Nonverbal" and "Improve Communication, Organization and Training" as well as many free articles which can be seen at her blog at http://contextual-communication-hrd.blogspot.com/.

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