What is communication:
Communication is derived from a Latin word commūnicāre, meaning “to share”.This is a process of exchanging information, ideas, thoughts, feelings, and emotions through speech, signals, writing, or behavior. In the communication process, a sender encodes a message and then using a medium/ channel sends it to the receiver who decodes the message and after processing information, sends back appropriate feedback/ reply using a medium/channel.
Why do we communicate?
We live in a society. Besides ourselves, there are others who may be rich or poor, living in big houses or in huts, literate or illiterate. They may also belong to different religions and communities, often speaking different languages. But still, all of them can speak or interact with one another. Such interaction is essential for societies to survive. We ask questions and get answers, seek information and get it.
We discuss problems and come to conclusions. We exchange our ideas and interact with others. For doing all these we use communication. Imagine a situation where we are not able to speak and interact with others or think of a family living in the same house without speaking to each other? Such situations can create plenty of problems. When we get angry don’t we stop talking to our friends or family members at least for some time? Soon we talk it over or discuss matters and begin normal conversation. If we do not speak to each other we cannot understand each other. So communication can help us to understand each other and solve problems.
Types of communications
Oral communication is a skill that is developed or evolved. It uses language. This would mean words and sentences. Words do not stand independently to communicate. If you say ‘sky’ or ‘blue’ or ‘high’ they may not mean much. These words are just symbols. The moment you say the word ‘sky’ the listener would be able to imagine this. ‘Blue’ would mean color and ‘high’ would mean much above our head. In oral communication, we group words into what we call sentences which can convey meanings.
When we say a full sentence where the right word is placed at the right place, using grammar or the rules that govern language, it would result in understanding. Otherwise, it will just be using some words without any meaning.
The advantages of oral communication are
- It is spontaneous and natural.
- It is therefore easy for others to understand.
- The choice of words generally suits the listeners.
- The communicator or the person who communicates is always physically available.
- It can develop close relations between the speaker and the listener.
Disadvantages of oral communication:
- Words are spoken disappear into thin air. The words are temporary.
- Words are not permanent unlike say written communication.
- What is heard is often forgotten
- Nonverbal communication that supports oral communication may not be understood by people from other cultures.
- A word once uttered cannot be taken back.
2. Written communication
It includes letters and documents, e-mails, reports, handbooks, brochures, various chat platforms, SMS and any form of written interaction between people. Today when we talk about written communication it is limited to people who can write and read. For this one should know the alphabet, script, and grammar of the language. For someone to write, say the language English, one should know various parts of speech besides a good knowledge of words or vocabulary.
Writing unlike speech, involves thoughts, correction, editing or rewriting and occurs in isolation. That means for a writer it is an individual activity involving a lot of preparation and hard work, unlike speech, which is a shared activity.
Advantages of written communication:
- Written communication gives words and thoughts permanence.
- Knowledge and information became available to people who could read.
- Suitable for lengthy messages
- Written proof
- Presence of both parties is not necessary
disadvantages of written communication:
- Unfit for uneducated persons
- Lack of secrecy
- No quick feedback
3. Nonverbal Communication:
Nonverbal communication is the process of communicating by sending and receiving wordless messages. These messages can aid verbal communication, convey the thoughts and feelings contrary to the spoken words or express ideas and emotions on their own. Some of the functions of nonverbal communication in humans are to complement and illustrate, to reinforce and emphasize, to replace and substitute, to control and regulate, and to contradict the denoted message
Physical nonverbal communication: An individual’s body language, facial expressions, stance, gestures, tone of voice, touch, and other physical signals constitute this type of communication. For example, leaning forward may mean friendliness, acceptance, and interest, while crossing arms can be interpreted as an antagonistic or defensive posture. Research estimates that physical, non-verbal communication accounts for 55 percent of all communication. Smiles, frowns, pursing of lips, clenching of hands, etc. transmit emotions that are not expressed through verbal communication.
Para language: The way you say something, more than the actual words used, reveal the intent of the message, The voice quality, intonation, pitch, stress, emotion, tone, and style of speaking, communicates approval, interest or the lack of it. Research estimates that the tone of the voice accounts for 38 per cent of all communications.
4. Visual Communication:
Visual communication through visual aids such as signs, typography, drawing, graphic design, illustration, color, and other electronic resources usually reinforces written communication. Sometimes, it may replace written communication altogether.
Visual communication is a powerful medium. It is the reason that the print and audio-visual media makes effective use of visuals to convey their message. Visuals like graphs, pie charts, and other diagrammatic presentations convey clearly and concisely a great deal of information. They are an essential part of official presentations these days.
5. Intrapersonal communication
intrapersonal communication is communicating with oneself. We all do it. Think of a situation when you spoke to yourself. You went and met somebody and said something silly. Don’t you tell yourself “I should not have said that…” or “I shouldn’t have behaved that way…” or “I made such a fool of myself…”.
All of these are very common. We all do it as long as we live. In fact, this is looking inward or looking at ourselves. This can also be accepting our faults and mistakes and correcting them. Intrapersonal communication or communicating with oneself is essential for our growth as responsible members of society.
6. Interpersonal communication
When you come face to face with someone and communicate with that person it is called interpersonal communication. This happens in our daily life. In the morning you get up and meet your parents, brothers or sisters. You wish them or speak to them.
When you go outside you meet your friends and talk to them. You go to the doctor and discuss your problems. If you want to book a railway ticket, you go to the booking counter and speak to the person sitting there. All of these are examples of interpersonal communication.