Communication can go in either of two ways. We can communicate our ideas to other people and other people can communicate their ideas to us. Both of these types of communication can change us.
It is easy to understand how communication from others to us can change us. There are many examples of ways in which we can change through hearing the thoughts of others. For example, I might take a class where the professor’s words change my way of thinking and, thereby, my life. As another example, I might go to a religious meeting where hearing other people’s testimony inspires me to a deep religious faith. Again, this would change my life.
It may be harder to see how communicating to other people can change our lives. I would argue that communication of this sort can change our lives because it can encourage us to think about our own ideas and to get closer to others. When we have to communicate to others, we have to think hard about what we are going to say. As we think about our own thoughts, we examine them and come to understand them and their implications. As we communicate with a spouse, for example, we might come to understand better how much we love and value them. As we communicate with others, we have to think about them and their needs. Thinking about them as we communicate can bring us closer to them. Again, this can change our lives.
In these ways, we can be affected both by incoming and outgoing communications.
Communication can change people in many different ways, depending on the type of communication and the message it conveys.
Communication may be oral, sent through the use of the human voice in spoken, yelled, sung, or whispered words. Such messages could result in the hearer becoming happy or sad; could make the hearer hurry up an activity or slow down; could cause the hearer to start doing something completely different from what s/he was involved with before the communication took place.
Communication may be visual, conveyed through print, picture symbols, body language, or in other ways. Motions may be used to convey a welcome or a warning to stay away; may provide encouragement or direction; may be directed at one particular individual or a whole crowd.
Communication changes people by educating them; allowing them to exchange feelings and ideas with others; making possible arguments and reconciliations; and in many other ways.