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Types of Communication

Communication is an essential part of human life, and people are constantly communicating almost every moment using various forms of communication. The communication style may vary from one person to another, but clear communication is the key to sharing information appropriately. Inappropriate communication methods often confuse people. Improper communication skills give incomplete or incorrect information, data and instructions to the audience. That is why it is very important to know the types of communication and develop strong communication skills.

In this article, we are discussing different types of communication. We also outline examples and possible ways to improve communication quality. Before discussing the types of communication, let's take a quick look at the definition of communication and its process:

What is Communication?

By definition, communication is a two-way means of communicating information in the form of thoughts, ideas, opinions, or instructions between two or more persons to build an understanding.

The style of communication usually varies from one person to another. During the communication process, one can use many mediums/channels/modes/methods to convey his message. However, the communication process does not depend only on the source that produces the information or relays it. Instead, it also depends on the medium used and how the receiver interprets the message. Let's first understand the process of communication with which we communicate:

Communication Process

The communication process is based on a sender and receiver. In short, this process begins with the creation of ideas by a sender. The sender then conveys the ideas as a message, using different channels for the receiver, who then accepts the message and sends another message back to the sender as feedback or acknowledgment.

The entire communication process can be divided into the following seven components:

  • Sender: Here, the sender conceptualizes the ideas or conversation to be conveyed to the recipient.
  • Encoding: After that, the sender starts the encoding process, where the sender translates the idea into a message using words or non-verbal means.
  • Message: Once the encoding is done, the sender finalizes the message to be sent using a suitable medium.
  • Communication Channel: The sender then decides the channel or medium of communication to send the message to the recipient. A sender must choose a proper channel to effectively and correctly interpret the message to the recipient.
  • Receiver: The receiver receives the message and tries to understand it in the best possible way.
  • Decoding: The receiver then translates the sender's message and tries to decipher the actual meaning that the sender is trying to explain through the message.
  • Feedback: Finally, the receiver acknowledges the sender's message and shares the response. This assures the sender that the recipient has successfully received the message and understood the information, whatever the sender has elaborated with the message.

Types of Communication

There are mainly four major types of communication, such as Verbal, Nonverbal, Written and Visual. Let's discuss each one by one:

Types of Communication

Verbal Communication

Verbal communication is the use of voice or language to convey information to the target audience. This can also include the transfer of information using sign language. Verbal communication is the most common and widely used type of communication. This can be seen in one-on-one conversations, group meetings, conferences, presentations, phone calls, etc. Verbal communication is so efficient that it can also support non-verbal and written communication in one way or another.

Verbal communication can be used in both formal and informal communications. For example, scheduling a meeting for office work over a phone call (formal) or talking to a friend over coffee (informal). Despite the type, verbal communication is not just about using words. It also involves the caliber and complexity of the words used during the conversation and how they are attached to create a compelling message. Apart from this, the way used for intonation (i.e., tone, pitch, cadence, etc.) also plays a crucial role while speaking. And when there is a face-to-face conversation, although words are important, they cannot be completely separated from non-verbal communication.

We can improve our verbal communication by following the steps given below:

  • Using a strong, confident speaking voice: It is necessary to use a strong voice when presenting information and sharing ideas with people. This ultimately allows everyone to hear our voice loud and clear. Be sure to speak with confidence so that everyone can focus on the information and understand it easily.
  • By actively listening: Another way of improving verbal communication is to intently listen to others. Active listening skills are essential in every state or situation, especially while organizing meetings, presentations, and participating in one-on-one conversations. Doing so will help us grow into a good communicator.
  • By avoiding filler words: It is not good to use filler words (e.g., "um", "like", "yes", "such", etc.) during oral communication. While it seems natural and meanwhile helps gather more ideas, it can often distract the target audience. To avoid using filler words, we can ask our friend or colleague to pay attention to the time we use filler words. Also, whenever we use filler words, they should immediately inform us to stop using such words. When we are tempted to use them, we can take a breath and prevent using them.

Examples

Examples of Verbal Communication include the following ways:

  • Terminating employees
  • Training others to perform a role or completing tasks
  • Speaking calmly, while worrying
  • Boldness
  • Using self-revelation to support sharing

Nonverbal Communication

Nonverbal communication uses our body language activity and gestures and facial expressions to convey information to the target audience. It can be used both ways, intentionally and unintentionally. For example, we can smile for a while when we hear positive or pleasant thoughts or information. It depends on the situation. This type of communication is beneficial when understanding the thoughts and feelings of others.

If the person we are communicating with displays "closed" body language, such as crossed arms or hunched shoulders, etc., the person may feel anxious, uncomfortable, or nervous. A person can also show open body language, like both hands on the table and both feet on the ground. In that case, it is a sign that the person is comfortable, feeling positive, and open to conversation.

We can improve our nonverbal communication by following the steps given below:

  • By noticing the emotions: It is a human tendency to have different emotions (such as happy, frustrated, energized, bored, etc.) in different situations. It is better to know how our emotions affect our body to better learn to control a body accordingly. This will eventually help us to improve our external presentation.
  • By being intentional about nonverbal communications: We should always present positive body language if we experience alert, openness, and responsibility around the surroundings. Besides, we can also use body language along with verbal communication. When we want to ask a question in meetings, we can raise our hands. Despite this, we can nod our head to respond positively to the presentation, use our fur eyebrows in non-formal communication to express many emotions, etc.
  • By mimicking effective nonverbal communications: If we consider certain facial expressions or body language to be effective for certain situations, we can often use them to make our nonverbal communication more efficient. For example, if a person nods their head during communication to express their involvement, we can apply the same body language to the next meeting when we feel like it.

Examples

Examples of Nonverbal Communication include the following ways:

  • Body language
  • Eye contact
  • Facial expressions

Written Communication

Written communication is known as writing, typing, or printing symbols like letters and numbers to convey information to the target audience. This can include an email, a note, a report, a social media post, a tweet, etc. This type of communication is beneficial as it is in written form and can be used for reference or even record for evidence. This communication mode is mainly used to share information or knowledge through books, websites, blogs, pamphlets, etc.

The primary objective of written communication is to clearly and concisely share the information; however, the goal is often not achieved. Despite this, poor writing skills generally lead to confusion and embarrassment. Typically, there are two basic written communication concepts- first, write well, and second, ensure the message's content is something you want to convey to the target audience.

We can improve our written communication by following the steps given below:

  • Striving for simplicity: The core concept of written communication is to keep the writing as simple and clear as possible. We can also include as many details as possible to properly share our thoughts or information with the audience.
  • Not relying on tone: We don't have a nuance of verbal and nonverbal communication while making written communication; thereby, we need to be very careful while using a certain tone when writing. Because attempting to use jokes, sarcasm or excitement might be understood differently depending on the audience; therefore, we should better avoid using certain tones in written communication and keep the writing as simple and plain as possible.
  • Taking additional time to review written communications: We can set an additional time to review written emails, letters or memos to eliminate mistakes. Reviewing writing can sometimes give more suggestions for saying something different in a more effective way. Besides, large companies and organizations typically have professionals to review written materials before they are sent to the public.
  • Keeping a communication template (effectively written file): If someone sends us an effective email, pamphlet, or note, we can save it for further reference and use it when writing our communications. We can also create suitable styles for different audiences and keep all such styles as templates. This will help us improve our writing skills as well as writing time.

Examples

Examples of Written Communication include the following ways:

  • Letters
  • Postcards
  • Emails
  • Faxes
  • Social Media platforms or forums
  • Advertisements
  • Brochures
  • Proposals
  • Telegrams

Visual Communication

Visual communication refers to the use of visual actions and activities for conveying information to the target audience. This can involve arts, photographs, videos, graphs, charts, drawings, banners, sketches, etc. This type of communication is mostly seen to present advertisements. Apart from this, visuals are often used during the presentations to additional helpful context to the project. Visuals help display powerful contents alongside written, verbal and nonverbal communication. For example, Facebook is a platform that allows visual communications alongside videos, images, texts, etc.

However, we should select effective types of visuals during communication. When it comes to deciding the right visual communication for a company, it depends on its objectives of the communication and the target audience. Because different people have different learning styles, visual communication can be more effective and beneficial for some people to consume ideas and information.

We can improve our visual communication by following the steps given below:

  • Taking others' opinions: Getting a third-party perspective is always the best option to make visual communication more efficient. This means that if we include visual aid in our email or presentation, we can ask others to share feedback on it. This helps eliminate confusing or misleading visuals that can sometimes change the communication motive and purpose.
  • Targeting the right audiences: It is essential to know about the target audience and what they can easily understand. For example, if we present a chart with unfamiliar data, it can be difficult for people to easily understand it. Therefore, we should also define what is happening in the visuals and how they relate to the subject we want to explain. Furthermore, we should never use visuals that are too aggressive, sensitive or violent.

Examples

Examples of Visual Communication include the following ways:

  • Training videos or other educational presentation
  • Conferences
  • Social Media Graphics and posts
  • Websites
  • Trade shows
  • Office presentations

Importance of Communication

We communicate with others almost every day in nearly every environment, workplace, house, or any other place. Communication becomes highly necessary when we want to build a strong relationship with the other person. It is also essential while sharing ideas, managing a team, delegating responsibilities, and much more. If communication is not effective, we won't make a great impression, either we are presenting information to a large group or giving a slight head nod in any agreement.

Communication is the key to success in most fields, and having good communication skills undoubtedly helps us succeed in our careers. It can make us look a little bit extraordinary from others when competing as a job candidate. Besides, it is one of the core requirements in sales and marketing. Improving communication skills takes time and constant practice, but it is worthy of investing our time and standing apart from the crowd.


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