What is Communication?

Introduction to Communication

Communication is the act of transmitting information of thoughts, ideas, and emotions.



Communication is where exchanging of information and ideas occurs between two or more individuals. It is one of the important processes that keeps the world connected. Various studies and researches around the world states that, proper communication is one of the key factors that has the ability to solve the problems. Whether its the issues within an individual, between individuals, families, society and the Nations, etc…; Communication plays a vital role in finding solutions for all those. Let us further understand, the importance of communication, types of communication and process of communication.

What is Communication?

Communication is the process of sharing or exchange of ideas, information, knowledge, attitude, and feeling among two persons or a group of people through certain signs and symbols or passing of information from source to destination.

The purpose of communication is to share ideas, opinions, and feelings. This could be through email, phone calls, text messages, or face-to-face conversations. This includes verbal and nonverbal communication. Verbal communication is when we talk to others about our thoughts, feelings, opinions, etc. Nonverbal communication is how we communicate through body language such as facial expressions, gestures, posture, eye contact, tone of voice, and eye contact, etc…

Communication is the act of transmitting information of thoughts, ideas, and emotions. It is the process of sharing or exchange of ideas, information, knowledge, attitude, and feeling among two persons or a group of people through certain signs and symbols or passing of information from source to destination.

For effective communication, there should be a sender and receiver that the information has to be sent from source to destination. The goal of effective communication is to understand each other’s point of view and feelings. Effective communication helps us build relationships, solve conflicts, and achieve our goals.

Common Forms of Communication


Types of Communication

The communication process includes all forms of information exchange between two parties. This may include verbal, written, electronic, visual, audio, etc. There are mainly two types of communication: Verbal and Nonverbal.

Verbal Communication

Verbal communication includes speech, words and language. It can be done in person, face to face, by phone, or via email, meetings, conferences, presentations, interviews, etc… It is categorized into further two types of verbal communication namely oral and written communication.

Oral communication is the oldest form of verbal communication wherein information or messages are transmitted through spoken words. This type of communication usually takes the form of conversations, presentations, seminars, discussions, etc… Example: Face to face, Voice Chat, Video Conference, Mobile & Telephone Calls.

Written communication is where the words are arranged in written format. It usually takes the form of letters, manuals, telegrams, text messages, documents, etc… Example: Emails, SMS, Social Media. includes email, text messages, letters, memos, reports, and other documents. Of all types, written communication is considered to be more effective as it holds proof for what was communicated by the sender to the receiver.

Nonverbal Communication

Nonverbal communication includes gestures, facial expressions, eye contact, touch, posture, and tone of voice. This type of communication is not bound to any verbal languages and are considered to be understood universally. Non verbal communication is a form of is considered as one of the oldest type of communication.

Types of Non-Verbal Communication

Kinetics (Body Movement)

The word kinesics comes from the root word kinesis, which means “movement”. Hence communication through body movements. Example: the action of thumps up, standing ovation, etc…

Haptics (Touch)

The term “Haptics” means anything relating to the sense of touch. It’s derived from the Greek word for touch.
Example: The ways in which people and animals communicate and interact via the sense of touch.

Proxemics (Space)

The term “proxemics” was coined by researcher Edward Hall during the 1950’s and 1960’s and has to do with the study of our use of space and how these spaces can make us feel more relaxed or anxious. Example: Public Space, Social Space, Physical space, Intimate space

Paralinguistic (Voice)

It refers to vocal communication that is separate from actual language. This includes factors such as tone of voice, loudness, inflection, and pitch. Example: Hmmm !!!, Oho!!!, what??

Chronemics (Time)

“Chronemics” is the study of the role of time in communication. It can be defined as the way in which one perceives and values time, structures time, and reacts to time frames communication. Time perceptions include punctuality, willingness to wait, and interactions.
Monochronic Time: A monochronic time system means that things are done one at a time and time is segmented into precise, small units. Under this system, time is scheduled, arranged, and managed. Example: Communicating one at a time.
Polychronic Time: A polychronic time system is a system where several things can be done at once, and a more fluid approach is taken to scheduling time. Example: Communicating different things to multiple people at a time.

Oculesics (Eye Contact)

It refers to the study of eye contact, eye movement, eye behavior, pupil dilation, gaze, and eye-related nonverbal communication. Example: gazing at someone.

Olfactics (Smell)

The study of smell in humans is called olfactics. Conversation or communication based on the odor or smell of the person or group of persons is related to olfactics. Example: Speaking with a celebrity, model, and a beggar or a waiter is different because they all odor or smell differently.

Process of Communication

a) SENDER: The first factor essential for any communication to take place is the sender who wants to send a message to the person with whom he/she is communicating.

b) ENCODING: Encoding is the process of turning thoughts into communication. The encoder uses a ‘medium’ to send the message — a phone call, email, text message, face-to-face meeting, or other communication tools.

c) MESSAGE: It is the end result of ideas, emotions, and thoughts that the sender feels necessary to communicate.

d) CHANNEL: The message cannot be transmitted without a channel. The communication channels work in the same way as the bridge that connect one end to another.

e) RECEIVER (Audience): All messages have a destination commonly known as the audience. In fact, without them, the existence of messages cannot be imagined.

f) DECODING: The audience then ‘decodes’, or interprets, the message for themselves. Decoding is the process of turning communication into thoughts.

g) FEEDBACK: The reaction or processes initiated by the receivers of messages is called feedback.

Noise: In any interference, Noise is a part that causes a disruption between sender and receiver in the communication process.


Psychological Noise: These are the things that are going on in your head as you engage in communication
Physical Noise: Physical sounds that make it difficult to hear someone’s message
Physiological Noise: The hunger, fatigue, headache, stress or really anything that prevents us from giving our full attention
Semantic Noise: It is when we have a hard time understanding the words, language, or grammatical structure of a message.

Ways of Communication

There are two main ways of communication. Namely, One Way Communication and Two Way Communication.

One Way Communication

It is when a person sends a message to another person and there is no questions, feedback, or interaction back. For example, the announcements through loud speakers, radio etc… are examples of One way communication.

Two Way Communication

The communicator & receiver interact. The communication process is relatively simple and is divided into three basic components: a sender, a channel, and a receiver. The sender will initiate the communication process by developing an idea into a message. This is also known as encoding. The sender will then transmit the message through a channel, or a method of delivery; think of things like e-mail, phone conversations, instant messages, face-to-face discussion, or even a text message. The message then moves through the channel to the receiver, who completes the communication process by interpreting and assigning meaning to the message, which is also known as decoding.

Levels of Communication

Depending upon the communication happening between number of individuals, there are various levels of communication. From a large group to individual, communication is categorized into different levels as discussed below.

Intrapersonal Communication
Interpersonal Communication
Group Communication
Mass Communication

Intrapersonal Communication

It is the communication that one has with oneself, i.e., in the mind. the facility to talk to themselves.
The whole process of thinking in human beings can be considered as communicating to themselves. This kind of communication is called intrapersonal or auto-communication. you are both the person sending and receiving the message
e.g, reading, thinking, dreams, daydreams, analysis, prayer, talking to oneself, meditation, writing, and making certain gestures while thinking.

Interpersonal Communication

It may be a one on one conversation or an individual speaking to the members of a group. The conversation that you have every day with your family members or with friends is a kind of interpersonal communication.
As interpersonal communication takes place between two or more persons when they are present at a given place at a given time, it is not only the language that communicates, even the facial expression, gestures, postures, hairstyles, dress, etc., become an important source of information.

Different stages of Interpersonal communication

  • a) Phatic Period: Its derived from the Greek word “phasis”, which means warming up time during which ritualized greetings are exchanged. It begins with a “Hi!” or a “Hello ! How are you”, “Good Morning”.
  • b) Personal Stage: It introduces a more personal element into the conversation. Such as talking about one’s profession, the family, health problems etc…
  • c) Intimate Stage: This stage is reserved for friends and relatives, the degree of intimacy depending upon the closeness of the relationship. To some, we open our hearts out completely; to others, though good friends, we are reluctant to tell all. This stage is reserved for individuals who have established a deep union based on love, respect, and understanding.

Group Communication

A communication where more than two persons can be seen as group communication. Group communications occur when people gather intentionally or when an act of communication in a group is organized with a particular objective in mind. Eg. Family get-together, conference, office meetings, etc…

Mass Communication

A process in which a person, group of people, or an organization sends a message through a channel of communication to a large group of anonymous and heterogeneous people and organizations. It is “public communication transmitted electronically or mechanically or in social large gathering’. In this way, messages are transmitted or sent to large, perhaps millions or billions of people spread across the world. The ‘mass’ in as mass communication refers to the group of people towards whom this communication is directed. Eg. Social Media, Television and Film, Journalism, Advertising, Photography, Radio

Main functions of mass media/mass communication

Inform (Example: News and discussions)
Educate (Example: Radio and television programs)
Entertain (Example: Films and television serials and programs)

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