Types Of Communication and How To Improve Them: Communication can be defined as the exchange of ideas and thoughts within two or more individuals through mediums such as writing, gestures, symbol and speech. It is a continuous transmission of information among two or more individuals who are either the sender or receiver.
Communication is an integral part of our day to day activity. From the definitions above, it can be deduced that generally, for there to exist communication, there must be presence of more than one person who are either the sender or receiver. There must also exist an understanding of the original information which was originally intended to be passed across.
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When is Communication Said To Be Complete?
Communication becomes successful and complete only when the receiver understands the information intended by the sender.
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Basic Components Of Communication
The four basic components of communication are:
a. Sender: The information must emanate from a party who is known as the sender, to another known as the receiver. There cannot exist a communication without the sender.
b. Message: This is the substance of the information intended to be communicated across by the sender. Information is a processed data. Being a processed data, it is organized and meaningful. Therefore where a message is without its inherent quality of meaningfulness, it ceases to be a communication.
Where a message is communicated through a language not known to the receiver, it does not cease to be information, as long as it can be interpreted.
c. Channel: This is the medium through which information is passed. This could be by way of face to face interaction or by use of electronic and communication gadgets, internet, writings, etc. without these mediums, the sender lacks the capacity to transfer his ideas and thoughts to the receiver, no matter how beautifully made his ideas and thoughts are.
d. Receiver: This is the person to whom the information is targeted at. It also includes persons who come across the information even when they are not the target audience. The receipt of information is the avenue where the process of communication is said to be at end, coupled with the understanding of the information by the receiver.
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Types of Communication and How To Improve them
Communication can be classified into five types which are:
1. Verbal communication
2. Non-verbal communication
3. Written communication
4. Visual communication
5. Audiovisual communication
1. Verbal Communication: This is a type of communication that involves sending and receiving messages with words. This is also known as oral communication or communication by speech.
Since verbal communication involves the use of words, it therefore includes both spoken and written words. Sign language is sometimes categorized as verbal communication. Any communication that makes use of spoken words is considered a verbal communication.
Verbal communication may take the form of face to face interaction, conversation over the phone, speeches, teleconferences or video conferences, etc.
Verbal communication is indestructible in the sense that once it is voiced out, it remains so and cannot be retracted.
Verbal communication is the most common and available means of communication. Its necessity encompasses through our day to day activities. It is in fact said to be indispensable.
The effectiveness of verbal communication is attributable not just to the skills of the sender but also extends to the listening skills of the receiver. Verbal communication has in itself certain elements of other types of communication, and these elements are that which foster the effectiveness of speech, such as; gestures, body language, tone, articulation, mood, breakage, clarity of tone, eye contact, etc.
How to improve on verbal communication
It is the responsibility of the sender in a verbal communication to produce information in a manner understandable to the recipient. There is a common phrase that reads thus, “I am responsible for what I say, and you are responsible for what you understand”.
The best interpretation to this phrase is that the duty to implement effective communication behoves on both the sender and the receiver/listener. The phrase merely suggest that where the sender has discharged all that is necessary in his own part to effect a sound communication, it is then left for the receiver/listener to discharge same in his part.
The first step to effective verbal communication is articulation. Articulation is the clarity, quality and sharpness of speech. Quality is the substantive nature of the structure of the speech. When a verbal communication is well articulated, it is deemed that an average person in the position of recipient will understand the information. While in the process of articulating the information, another important thing to consider is the position of the recipient in life. If the recipient is a larger audience, then a simple language should be employed.
Where the transmission of information is verbal, the suitable intonation should be employed. Intonation is simply the rise and fall of the voice in speaking. Where there is need for emphasis, such should be observed. In determining where and when to employ certain devices, it is important to understand the nature and content of the information, and of course the category of audience.
Improvement in a verbal communication is an intentional process. Relevant books on effective communication skill must is recommended to be read and practiced continuously.
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2. Non Verbal Communication: Nonverbal communication includes every other type of communication not being verbal. Particularly, nonverbal communication is a communication in a from other than written or spoken words, such as; gestures, facial expressions, body language, silence, signs and symbols, etc.
Nonverbal communication can be made inadvertently and can as well be made in the course of a verbal communication. Nonverbal communications are sometimes said to speak louder that verbal communication. This is arguable, but it is correct to say that non verbal communication may speak better where verbal communication fails to do better.
Now let’s have a little illustration of a nonverbal communication. For instance, where a person is being accused of stealing something belonging to another, ordinarily, natural human instinct manifests to make the person outrightly deny such allegation if he is not guilty. When the person in such a case remains silent coupled with a body gesture that suggests admittance, this may suggest that he is guilty. But what if the person maintained that silence as a result of the unimaginable, sudden and baseless allegation which left him speechless?
Here, body gestures, facial expression and other bodily conducts put together will communicate an answer.
The use of nonverbal communication may be advertent or inadvertent. Nonverbal communication particularly those exhibited advertently may be improved by observing others do it, and by watching movies.
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3. Written Communication: This is a communication in a permanent form. This is when the sender by the use of writing materials, convey the intended information in a written form to be delivered to the receiver. Greater weight is always attached to written information because it is formal and it is contemplated. Written communication also extends to those typed through electronic gadgets and online medium.
Written communication refers to all communications that involves the use of language which can be written and be read, whether on a paper on through electronic or digital means.
Written communications are easy to preserve, easy to present complex matters, has element of permanence, sometimes more effective in communication, and it is verifiable. Written communication allows people to share thoughts and ideas regardless of distance. The easiest way to improve on written communication is to read fictions and nonfictions.
4. Visual Communication: This is a type of communication which involves the use of imagery, pictorial or graphical representation. It includes all the visual elements of a multimedia presentation, usually in contrast with normal text or audio.
Instances of visual communication includes the use of signs, symbols, drawings, animated GIFs, charts, graphs, videos, industrial designs, maps, advert animations, etc.
5. Audiovisual Communication: This is a type of communication which involves the combination of sound and graphical representations. It is the use of a medium which combines audio and visual content with the purpose of transmitting information to the audience. This includes videoconferencing, TV shows, live theatre production, etc.
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Barriers To Effective Communication
This includes certain impediments that may obstruct the smooth passage and reception of information in the course of communication. They include:
a Language and cultural differences
c. Difference in communication style; diction and semantics
d. The act of poor listening
f. Lack of interest or distractions
h. Poor communication technologies
i. Physical barrier; distance.
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Communication is a necessary, indispensable and integral aspect of livelihood. This is so, to the extent that people who are unable to speak would devise a means in order to effect communication. Effective employment of the communication tools makes life easier and minimizes conflict and violence.
Edeh Samuel Chukwuemeka, ACMC, is a lawyer and a certified mediator/conciliator in Nigeria. He is also a developer with knowledge in various programming languages. Samuel is determined to leverage his skills in technology, SEO, and legal practice to revolutionize the legal profession worldwide by creating web and mobile applications that simplify legal research. Sam is also passionate about educating and providing valuable information to people.