Updated: Mar 9
Communication is the exchange of information between two or more people where both parties receive and send information. Communication takes place for a variety of motives such as entertainment, information sharing, socialization and many other functions. Words are used to convey different types of messages in different ways. Learning about the different types of communication is not only helpful for studying but can also help you understand people better.
What is Communication?
When you think of communication the thought that pops into our heads is that it broadly refers to countless ways that humans have of keeping in touch with each other. Communication can be regarded as a two-way process of exchanging or shaping ideas, feelings, and information.
The ultimate goal of communication is to guide the direction of the receiver of the information. The change can be at three levels-
Cognitive level- in terms of increasing the knowledge of a person.
Affective level- in terms of alteration in the existing behavior and attitudes.
Psychomotor level- in terms of acquiring new skills.
Communication is a vital part of our normal human relationships. Our communication skills, e.g. speaking, writing, listening, reading, and reasoning, determine our ability to influence others. It is well said that “without communication, an individual could never be a human being and without mass communication, one could never be a part of modern society.”
Communication may seem very simple, but when we break it into components it’s a complex process. It has the following features:-
The source/originator of the information. To be an effective communicator, he must know:
His objectives should be clearly defined,
His audience should be aware of its interests and needs,
His message should be clear and precise,
Channels of communication,
The audience may be a single person or a group of people. It is the element of the audience and their state of mind that lends meaning to various types of communication. The audience can be of two types-
controlled/homogenous audience- held together by common interests.
uncontrolled/free audience- comes together by motives of curiosity.
The more homogeneous the audience, the more effective the communication.
It is the information a sender wants to transmit to a receiver to receive, understand and act upon. It can be in the form of words, pictures, signs, or audio clips. A good message is-
In line with the objectives,
Based on the needs of the audience,
Clear and understandable,
Specific and accurate,
Timely and adequate
The right message, to the right audience, at the right time is a crucial factor for communication to be effective.
As the name suggests it is the physical bridge that a sender uses to communicate the information with the receiver. It can be via three media systems-
Interpersonal communication- it is one-on-one/face-to-face communication. It is the most effective and persuasive mode of communication.
Mass media- comprises televisions, radio, newspaper, etc. it is helpful when the aim is to transfer information to the masses. It has a few drawbacks, i.e., being a one-way channel the feedback system is often poor, and it isn’t as effective as interpersonal communication when it comes to changing the behavior of a person.
Folk media- every community has its own traditional or folk media, like folk dances, signing, drama, Katha, etc. It is an important channel of communication close to the cultural roots of the people.
A receiver gives feedback to the sender in response to the message. It provides the communicator with an opportunity to modify their message, or use appropriate channels, to make the communication more effective.
Different Forms or Types of Communication
It is the traditional way of communication. It is the use of language for the transfer of information. It is useful in settings like face-to-face, or in group settings like office meetings during presentations, telephonic conversations, video conferences, etc. It is very effective and efficient. It is often combined with non-verbal and written communication.
It is usually in the form of letters, documents, emails, case reports, blogs, memos, pamphlets, and more. It can be handwritten or typed. It is helpful as the information is documented.
It comprises pictures, posters, maps, drawings, illustrations, charts, graphs, pictograms, etc. It is helpful as a visual aid can be helpful in making a deeper impact on the audience, and it also helps the audience understand the information easily. It is often used alongside written and verbal communication.
As the name suggests, it is communication without words. It includes gestures, bodily movements, and .facial expressions like smile, raised eyebrows, frown, staring, gazing, etc. Nonverbal communication can be helpful in understanding a person's thoughts or feelings. Sometimes it is the sole mode of communication as in sign language.
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Park's Textbook of Preventive and Social Medicine by K. Park