Discuss how time effects communication - with an emphasis on clocking and orienting.

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M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Verbal communication is affected by clocking and orienting:

1. focus- when communication has no focal theme or topic the orientation (goal, purpose) is not defined. Therefore, the result is unnecessary "rambling" that could eventually lead to the complete loss of focus and purpose. Think about politicians. Their timing and orientation must lead directly to a specific cause for which they should come up with 

  • the identification of the issue at hand
  • the identification of the causes that led to the issue
  • the identification of the potential solutions
  • the identification of the resources available to convert the potential solution into a viable one
  • the disclosure of a timeframe that can be put into place to fix the issue

Notice how that type of essential communication could make or break a politician. But, how about regular people like you and me? It affects the same exact way. Effective communication (that which is done for a specific purpose and with a goal in mind) is not merely "casual speak". It is a vehicle through which links and correlations can be made, and through which problem solving is possible. 

2. action, cognitive synchrony, and time-The Oxford University article "Communication, Coordinated Action, and Focal Points in Groups: From Dating Couples to Emergency Responders" by Andrea Hollingshead names the following essential elements to assure good communication, IN TANDEM with clocking and orienting

  • coordinated action
  • cognitive synchrony

Coordinated action has everything to do with orienting: focusing on which way the conversation goes, what goal it is supposed to achieve, and in how many ways the issue at hand will be presented (and in how many ways) for it to make sense to the listener. However, over-saturating the listener will not work: this is why you need cognitive synchrony, which has a lot to do with timing.

Timing basically means to know when is too much, too early, or "the right moment" to communicate. It has to do with cognitive synchrony because, if you are at a cognitively mature state *notice I did not say "if you are an adult", as many adults are still more immature than some children* you would have the cognitive acumen to discern when is a good time to say something. Likewise being at a proper cognitive synchronicity with your speaker means that at least you know how and when to communicate with your listener. This entails that you will have the ability to time and orient a conversation in a way that your message will be effectively conveyed. 

In not so many words, "clocking" means timing: when, how much, and for low long. - When you plan ahead, you can say whatever you need to say in less time, less words, and more effectively. Combine that with non-verbal communication(coordinated action) for backup, and cognitive synchrony as your bridge to reach the listener, and you will achieve success without a doubt.