Types of Communication

Communication is fundamental to the survival of man as well as to an organization. It is a two-way process where a piece of information is coded to form a message and sent by a sender. The message is transmitted through a medium and received and decoded by a recipient. Based on the success of decoding of the message, the recipient (or decision-maker) takes an action or sends feedback to the sender. 

Effective and efficient communication is a must for any situation or programme to be a complete success. If communication is not clear, the instructions given out may create confusion among the receivers or even worse, the communication may remain incomplete. Thus, it is important to communicate effectively in order to make a venture successful. 

Importance of Communication Skills

In the case of business operations, communication skill is of utmost importance. One’s communication skill determines one’s style of communicating with others. There can be several methods or ways to deliver a particular message. The skill of communication sets apart an individual from others in his way of delivering a message successfully. 

Types of Communication 

Broadly communication can be divided into three categories- verbal, non-verbal and visual. The following sections will give details of each of these types and their sub-types. 

1. Verbal Communication

This refers to communication using spoken words of the language. But in the broader sense, the written form of information is also a part of this. 

a. Oral Communication

Communication using spoken word through a channel or media in direct or indirect form; the information here is passed only in the form of sound. The conversation is an oral mode of communication which can take place face-to-face, over the phone or via voice messages. 

b. Written Communication 

When information is delivered in the written form; letters, e-mails, texts, research reports, handbooks or posters, even flyers or posts on social media are also considered as written communication. 

2. Non-Verbal Communication

Here the communication is wordless and mainly facilitates verbal communication. Facial expressions, body language, signs and symbols, gestures etc fall under this category. Your expression often shows how you associate with the message. If these non-verbal expressions are under control, the communication can be regulated too. There are several types of it. 

a. Physical Non-Verbal Communication 

Anything that is physically observable falls under this head. Body movements, body language, hand gestures, posture, touch and stance, facial expressions etc are its examples. Daily, as researchers suggest, we use about 55% non-verbal or physical communication method to convey our message. 

If one’s shoulders are drooped and he sits with his face in his hand, it can be assumed that he is in despair or distress. Thus, biological reactions and emotional situations are integral. 

b. Paralanguage 

This is simply to understand the implied meaning in addition to the explicitly stated one. 38% of our daily communication is thus. Style of delivering a message, tonal quality of voice, intonations, emotions and stress all indicate the inner meaning of what is being said and one can thus read between the lines. 

c. Aesthetic Communication 

 This is how artists convey messages- through art. Since historical times, art has been in use as a mode of non-verbal communication to date. 

d. Appearance 

Appearance creates the first impression of an individual. One’s choice of attire, the fabric of the cloth, the colour choice all determine what the audience thinks about the deliverer. 

3. Visual Communication 

Using tools that involve visual aids like drawing, diagram, graphical representations and illustrations etc are modes of visual communication. These also aide the verbal communication and brings out a greater impact. 

Other Types of Communication 

There are two more types of communication namely formal and informal. 

1. Formal Communication

This occurs when there is a formal relationship between the deliverer(s) and the audience such as in a business setup. This can again be of three types:

a. Vertical, where the flow of information is along with the organisational structure (both up and down)

b. Horizontal, where communication happens between organisations of similar levels

c. Diagonal, where communication ours across the employees of different departments

2. Informal Communication 

The extremely general communication without any hint of formality among any random people is termed as informal communication. 

It is surprising that contrary to the popular belief, it is the non-verbal mode that completes most of the communication, almost 55% of it. Thus, the flow of information is also higher in this mode. Knowing the types and acquiring the right communication skill can ensure success in any venture one partakes.