7 junio, 2024

Communicative situations structured and unstructured

The communicative situations they are the different contexts where the informative acts take place; that is, they refer to the different techniques that people use to share their ideas on one or more topics. Therefore, the communicative situation occurs when two or more subjects begin to exchange opinions.

For example: on Monday afternoon, Susana went to the beauty salon and asked the specialist what treatments they could do to eliminate the marks on her skin; The doctor replied that there were several methods to clean her complexion, but first it was necessary to perform some tests and she gave him an appointment for early Friday.

The meeting between Susana and the doctor allowed a specific communicative situation to take place, since both shared the same context: they communicated in a respectful language; the two assumed the role of sender and receiver, which is why there was a mutual understanding and they spoke in a specific place, which was adjusted to the circumstance.


Elements of communicative situations

As can be seen, the most important elements of communicative situations are people and the environment.


The role of people is fundamental because they are the ones with the ability to start, maintain and end a conversation.


As for the environment, it not only shows the year, the time and the characteristics of the space where the conversation takes place, but also indicates whether the environment is suitable for making a certain comment. This is because –depending on the place and the moment– the interpretation and meaning of the message can change.

There are two types of communicative situations: structured and unstructured. The first ones are characterized by covering the events that are planned, while the second ones indicate those conversations that are born spontaneously and are daily.

Structured communicative situations

Structured communicative situations require time and dedication, since they are events that occur on a specific date and require a methodological order.

For example, it is necessary to specify how to organize the place, indicate how many minutes each member of the group will speak and –on certain occasions– it is necessary for the participants to prepare their speeches in advance.

These situations include the following:


The panel is an informative act where a group of four or six specialists meet to exchange opinions about a certain topic. When the debate between the experts ends, they have the option to interact with the public; although it is not mandatory.

It is convenient to mention that the speeches of the specialists can be informal, since they seek to obtain the attention of the spectators; even so, they must be objective. These conferences usually last one or two hours and from start to finish are led by a moderator.

Example: Gonzalo is going to present his book and the editor organized a press conference where five members of the editing team will participate. At the beginning, Gonzalo and his companions will talk about the history and design of the work; then, the editor will be in charge of answering the questions of the followers and the journalists.

Phillips 66

It is a technique that is used in courses or workshops when the number of participants is large; The idea is to divide the group into several teams of six so that each one speaks for six minutes on a specific topic, which the coordinator proposes.

It is worth noting that this method was created in 1948 by J. Donald Phillips and is used to encourage group work and a sense of responsibility.

Example: Irene will give a class, but she wants her thirty students to participate actively. For this reason, she divides the group into five teams; each team has six students, who have six minutes to explain what leadership is. After everyone expresses their ideas, an attempt is made to establish a general conclusion.

Round table

For this communicative situation to take place, it is necessary for three or more people –with opposing views on the same topic– to sit around a table with the purpose of expressing their points of view and debating. Generally, these acts are broadcast in the media or performed in auditoriums.

The aim is that the public understands the different approaches exposed. Discussions in the round table last one hour and are governed by a director, who indicates which guest has to speak and must also avoid possible conflicts between specialists.

Example: the round table was a strategy used in Colombia in the 1950s, where conservative and liberal politicians met in an assembly –despite their differences– with the aim of signing a peace treaty to join forces and eliminate the unsafety.


This technique seeks that several people dedicate themselves to talking and –by turns– presenting all the ideas that occur to them for the development of a project; the proposals have to be innovative and must be written down on a piece of paper so that –at the end– the group focuses on analyzing them and selecting the most appropriate argument.

Brainstorming was put together by publicist Alex Osborn in 1938; Since then, it has been widely used in the academic and labor fields in order for students and workers to expand their creative thoughts, easily find solutions to problems, and interact more frequently.

Example: a family of computer scientists built a new application to detect plagiarism, but they still don’t know what to call it; Due to this they chose to see each other and together propose the possible denominations. After each family member expressed their numerous ideas, they all examined the various names on display and decided to call the application syncopies.


It is the best known and quickest communicative situation to organize; Its main purpose is for a person to choose a topic to analyze and – based on it – make a catalog of questions, then inform the group that they are leading which was the topic they selected and that they should study; aside, he tells them when the discussion will take place.

The purpose of the debates is for the participants to reflect before answering any question, logically argue their answers and question the comments of their peers.

Example: Rodrigo wants his 12-year-old students to learn to reason, which is why he organizes a debate: before leaving class, he tells them that on Tuesday they will exchange opinions about environmental contamination. His students focus on investigating and on Tuesday Rodrigo questions the children, then asks them if they agree or disagree with their classmates’ comments.


It is a form of instruction, either at an academic institution or offered by a commercial or professional organization.

Its function is to bring together small groups for recurring meetings, focusing on a particular topic. This is often accomplished through Socratic dialogue, with a seminar leader or instructor, or through a more formal presentation of research.

guided discussion

A guided discussion exposes students to a variety of different perspectives, helps them recognize and investigate their assumptions, improves listening and conversation skills, and fosters connection to a topic.

By participating in the discussion, students place new knowledge in the context of their current understanding, facilitating understanding of the topic at hand.

Unstructured communication situations

Unstructured communicative situations are those that predominate in everyday life, are not governed by any rule or need organization; They stand out for their spontaneity, since they are carried out naturally between people. It is pertinent to highlight that these situations arise in any environment and all members of society participate.

The two most relevant unstructured communicative situations will be mentioned below:

The conversation

Thanks to the ability of human beings to express their emotions and interests through words, conversation can be classified as the most natural communicative act. This is because people are constantly exchanging opinions, either physically or through social media.

By starting a conversation spontaneously, people care less about language and use colloquial terms. It is pertinent to highlight that the conversations remain active until people exhaust the topics of common interest, which can be varied. This communicative situation is important because it occurs in multiple contexts.

Example: Emma has to buy a medicine, but she doesn’t know how to get to the pharmacy. Therefore, she asks a lady if she can guide her and she accepts. On the way, Emma tells the lady that she is new to the country and it has been difficult for her to adapt; while the lady tells Emma that her grandson also emigrated recently and already wants to return to her home state.

the discussion

Like the conversation, the discussion can arise on the street, at school, at work or at home. The purpose of this communicative situation is for people to present and justify their points of view on a given topic; The idea is that each interlocutor defends her opinions and denies the arguments of the subject with whom he speaks.

Unlike debate, discussion is not planned or requires a moderator. For this reason, many people tend to lose control and raise their voices.

Example: Rafael tells Luis that books are better than movies, because they are more explanatory and detailed; Luis replies that his comment is absurd, since the movies are more entertaining and don’t require much time; Rafael replies that such an opinion is typical of a lazy person; Luis gets upset and insinuates that he is arrogant.


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