Types of Communication

Published on: Jan 26 2011 by Zaheer

Communication is a process or activity of expressing ideas and feelings or even of giving people information. It is a process by means of which information is encrypted and conveyed by a sender to a receiver through any medium or channel. The receiver in turn interprets the message and gives a proper response. So, we can say that communication is a process used to assign and impart meaning in order to generate shared understanding. Means of communication can be auditory like speaking, singing, or tone of voice; and non-verbal or physical like writing, eye contact, touch, or body language.

A wide range of skills are involved in the process of communication such as intrapersonal and interpersonal processing, evaluating, listening, speaking, observing, analyzing and questioning.

Types of Communication

Different process and methods are used for communication. There are two broad terms on which different types of communication are based, i.e. types of communication based on communication channels and types of communication based on style and purpose.

Types of Communication Based on Communication Channels

The process of communication is grouped as verbal communication and non-verbal communication based on communication channels. The verbal communication comprises of written and oral communication, while non-verbal communication comprises of body language, gesture, facial expressions, visual diagrams, or pictures etc.

  • Verbal Communication

Verbal communication is subdivided into oral and written communication. The oral communication deals with the spoken or verbal aspect of communication. Spoken communication can be held face to face, or through phone calls, or even over the Internet in form of voice chat. Pitch, voice modulation, speed and clarity of speaking largely influence the spoken conversation. On the other hand, written communication involves communication through written means such as snail mail or email. The productivity of written communication largely relies on the selection of vocabulary, style of writing, grammar, clarity, and precision of language.

  • Non-verbal Communication

Non-verbal communication deals with the body language of people. By body language we mean gestures, body postures, facial expressions and other related body movements. Facial expressions are also vital aspect of non-verbal communication. One can easily understand or judge the mood of the person through the expression on his/her face. Similarly, even a handshake, smile or a hug impart emotions and feelings. Other forms of non-verbal means of communication include signboards, paintings, pictorial representations etc.

Types of Communication Based on Style and Purpose

There are two sub-categories of communication based on style and purpose of communication, i.e. formal communication and non-formal communication. Each of which has their own distinct features.

  • Formal Communication

As the name suggests, formal communication takes place in a stricter formal environment. Formal formats usually comprise of business communication, or corporate communication. The communication takes place under such formats is highly restrained and refined language that suits the official and formal environment. Formal and official communication can be used in official meetings, conferences, and official letters, written memos, corporate letters etc. however, and there is an instance where formal communication occurs outside the business or corporate environment. It is when two strangers come face to face for the very first time. Formal communication is usually precise and rigid in tone.

  • Informal Communication

Informal communication is a sort of casual communication takes place between two people who are closely related to each other, such as close friends or close relationship. Informal communication is an unrestrained way of communication which occurs between the members of family, friends etc. there are no strict and rigid tone involved in informal communication. It is free from any restraints. One can communicate to his/her friend or family member without being so formal or cautious.


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