3.2 Types of Communication
Communication can be categorised into verbal and non-verbal communication which can be broken down into different types. Let us have a look at the types below.
- Verbal communication
This type of communication relies on words to convey a message.
Verbal communication is the most common method of communication that people use on a day-to-day basis. However, people often join other communication types while communicating verbally, such as gestures and body language.
A phone conversation, a chat with a friend, an announcement made, or a speech delivered are all forms of verbal communication.
Verbal communication can be further divided into four subcategories:
- Intrapersonal Communication
Intrapersonal communication can be defined as communication with yourself and the silent conversations that we have with ourselves, where we juggle roles between the sender and receiver who are processing our thoughts and actions. That may consist of self-talk, acts of imagination and visualisation, and even recall of memory. This process of communication can either be conveyed verbally to someone or stay confined as thoughts.
- Interpersonal communication
Interpersonal communication is the process of exchanging information, ideas, and feelings between two or more people through verbal or non-verbal methods.
This kind of communication commonly happens between two people. However, it may include more than two and often include face-to-face exchange of information, voice, facial expressions, body language, and gestures.
- Small-Group Communication
Small–group communication occurs when a small number of people meet to solve a problem. The group must be small enough so that each group member can interact with all of the other members.
- Public Communication
This type of communication usually takes place when one individual addresses a broad audience gathering. The audience members may have a chance to ask questions at the end of the speech, but they are usually not free to address the speaker as he or she is talking. Public speeches and election campaigns are examples of this type of communication.
- Non-Verbal Communication
Non-verbal communication is a process of communication without using words or sounds. It can include gestures, facial expressions, body language, eye contact, clothing, tone of voice, and other cues to convey a message, making our communication more effective.
- Written Communication
Written communication is the medium in which the sender’s message is conveyed with the help of written words. Personal journals, e-mails, reports, letters, articles, and memos are some forms of written communication.
This form of communication also features visual communication, primarily when the messages are conveyed through electronic devices such as phones, laptops, and visual presentations involving text or words.
Unlike some other types of communication, written messages can be edited and rectified before they are sent to the receiver, thereby making written communication an indispensable part of informal and formal communication.
This form of communication involves the visual display of information, wherein the message is understood or expressed with the help of visual aids. For example, movies and plays, television shows, and video clips are all electronic forms of visual communication.
Other forms can include topography, photography, signs, symbols, maps, and designs that help the viewer visually understand the message.
Unit 3.3 Communication Barriers
The skilled communicator needs to be aware of the barriers for communication to be effective. In many communications methods, the message may not be received exactly the way the sender intended. Hence, the communicator must seek feedback to check that their message is clearly understood.
Barriers may lead to the sender’s message becoming distorted so that what is received is different from what is intended by the speaker.
There are numerous barriers to communication, and these may occur at any stage in the communication process. Some common barriers to effective communication include:
- Cultural differences- The norms of social interaction differ considerably in different cultures, as do how emotions are displayed. For example, the concept of personal space differs between cultures and between different social settings.
- The use of jargon- over-complicated or unfamiliar terms.
- Emotional barriers and taboos.
- Lack of attention, interest, distractions, or irrelevance to the receiver.
- Differences in perception and viewpoint.
- Physical disabilities, such as hearing problems or speech difficulties.
- Physical barriers to non-verbal communication.
- Language differences and the difficulty in understanding unfamiliar accents.
A skilful communicator must be aware of these barriers and try to lessen their impact by continually checking if the message is understood and encouraging appropriate feedback.
- Barriers to Communication by Category
- Language and linguistic ability may be a barrier to communication; especially if the speaker and receiver do not use the same language and words, there is no meaning. Not using the words that other people understand makes the communication ineffective and prevents conveying the message.
- However, even when communicating in the same language, the terminology used in a message may act as a barrier if it is not fully understood by the receiver(s).
- For example, a message that includes a lot of technical jargon and abbreviations may not be understood by a receiver unfamiliar with the terminology used.
- The psychological state of the receiver will influence how the message is received. This can also affect how the sender communicates.
- For example, if someone has personal concerns and is in a stressed state of mind, they may be preoccupied with these concerns and not as receptive to the message.
- Someone who speaks when they are angry or upset can easily say things that they may later regret, and they may also misinterpret what message others are talking about or trying to send them.
- People with low self-esteem may not feel comfortable communicating – they may feel shy about what is on their minds or how they feel. They may also read negative sub-texts into messages they hear.
- Physiological barriers result from the receiver’s physical state. An example can be poor eyesight to read text. Another example is a receiver with poor hearing, which may not hear and understand the entirety of a spoken conversation, especially if there is significant background noise.
Physical barriers can prevent an individual from being able to interpret non-verbal cues. These barriers include:
- Worn-out or broken equipment used for communication
- Uncomfortable temperatures
- Environment noise
- Poor lighting
- Communicating in a rushed or anxious state
- Attitudinal barriers are perceptions or behaviours that prevent people from communicating effectively. Attitudinal barriers to communication may occur from personality conflicts, poor management, resistance to change, or a loss of motivation.